摂食障害リアル克服体験談

今現在摂食障害で苦しんでいる方に向けて、克服者がどのように治っていったのか、そして今どのように生きているのか、たくさんの事例を紹介します。

Interview with Jenni Schaefer

 

 

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Jenni Schaefer

Introduction

Jenni Schaefer is the National Recovery Advocate of Eating Recovery Center’s Family Institute and an internationally known writer and speaker whose work has helped change the face of recovery from eating disorders. She is the bestselling author of Life Without Ed; Goodbye Ed, Hello Me; and Almost Anorexic, a book about subclinical eating disorders in collaboration with Harvard Medical School. She has been featured as an expert in a wide range of media, including on shows like Today, Dr. Oz, and Dr. Phil and in publications ranging from Cosmopolitan to The New York Times. Her first book, Life Without Ed, was released in a Tenth Anniversary Edition as well as an audiobook. Jenni is also Chair of the Ambassadors Council of the National Eating Disorders Association and an accomplished singer/songwriter living in Austin, Texas.

Visit her website. https://www.jennischaefer.com/

 

Suzu: Thank you for today. I’m from Japan. I had have eating disorder for six and a half years before, but now I am completely recovered. In Japan, we have a number of people who are suffering from eating disorders. I interview with people who are recovered from eating disorders and write how they are recovered in my blog. Today, I want you to share your story of recovering from eating disorders, and I think it will be definitely helpful for people who are suffering from them right now.

 

Jenni: Thank you for today. I’d love to share my story.

 

“You are fat. You aren’t good enough.”

Suzu: Let’s get started. When did your eating disorder begin?

 

Jenni: At the young age of four-years-old, I heard a voice in my head that said, “You are fat. You aren’t good enough.” That voice was my eating disorder (aka “Ed”). Not until I was 22-years-old did I learn that I didn’t have to listen to Ed anymore. My eating disorder began as negative body image thoughts. This led to restricting, which eventually led to the binge/purge cycle.

 

Suzu: What was the cause of your eating disorder?

 

Jenni: An eating disorder is like a complicate jigsaw puzzle. Eating disorders are biopsychosocial illnesses. Some researchers say, “Genetics loads the gun, and the environment pulls the trigger.” I believe this was true for me. I was born with traits like perfectionism that contributed to the development of my eating disorder. Living in a culture that glorifies the thin ideal also contributed. 

 

Eating disorders thrive in secrecy and isolation

Suzu: How did your disease develop?

 

Jenni: Eating disorders can thrive in secrecy and isolation. At first, I hid my struggles from everyone. I was so ashamed to be struggling with food in this way. Ultimately, I broke through the isolation and told my family that I needed help. Then, I told my friends. In the end, I realized that an eating disorder is a real, life-threatening illness. There is nothing to be ashamed about. Similar to cancer, people don’t choose eating disorders. But, they do choose to get better.

 

Separate eating disorders from myself

Suzu: What was the turning point of recovery? How did you get recovered?

 

Jenni: In early recovery, my motivation to get better was based more out of a desire to move away from pain. (An eating disorder is tortuous.) Later in my recovery, I began focusing more on what I was moving toward in life and less on what I was moving away from. We recover from our eating disorders in order to recover our lives. At Eating Recovery Center, we work with our patients to connect with their authentic values. Often, our values can guide us toward meaningful motivation.

 

Suzu: You called eating disorder “Ed” and your perfectionist “Ms. Perfectionist” as if they were human beings. Why did you start calling them? What was the positive effects of giving them such names?

 

Jenni: In therapy, I learned to treat my eating disorder like a relationship—rather than an illness or a condition. I actually named my eating disorder, “Ed,” which is obviously an acronym. Ed was like an abusive boyfriend or husband. I hated him, but, for so long, I could not leave. This method of personifying Ed helped me to view my eating disorder as separate from myself. I could finally talk back to Ed and make room for my own thoughts and opinions. By connecting with my true self in this way, I gained some hope that I could recover. I have heard that the metaphor of Ed helps many people to feel this same hope. For that, I am deeply grateful. Finally, by using the metaphor, my friends and family began to see my eating disorder as separate from me as well. We could all fight against Ed and for me. This felt good.

 

<Examples of conversations between myself and Ed and Ms. Perfectionist>

(quoted from “Life Without Ed”)

Ed: You should not eat dinner

Jenni: I know. I won’t eat dinner.

Ed: You should not eat dinner.

Jenni: You are wrong. I should eat dinner, but I can’t.

Ed: You should not eat dinner.

Jenni: You are wrong. I should eat dinner, and I will.

 

Ms. PerfectionistYou can’t go to that party tonight.

Jenni: Why not? All of my friends will be there, and I really want to go.

Ms. PerfectionistYou can’t go, because you binged today. You were not perfect today, and you don’t deserve to go. And besides, you look too fat.

Jenni: You are right. I don’t deserve to go, and I am fat.

Ms. PerfectionistYou can’t go to that party tonight.

Jenni: I am going to the party. All of my friends will be there, and I really want to go.

Ms. PerfectionistYou can’t go, because you binged today. You were not perfect today, and you don’t deserve to go. And besides, you look too fat.

Jenni: I did binge today, but that doesn’t mean I need to deprive myself of fun tonight. And I’m not fat.

 

Suzu: Perfectionism trait is considered as one of the main factors of eating disorders. How did you deal with your perfectionism in your recovery?

 

Jenni: I was not born with an eating disorder, but I was born with the perfectionism trait. Constantly striving to be perfect certainly made me more vulnerable to having an eating disorder. So did other genetic traits like high anxiety and obsessive-compulsiveness. However, when channeled in a positive direction, these traits played a crucial role in my recovery. I was able to refine perfectionism, for instance, and apply it to things like attending doctors’ appointments and finishing therapy assignments. When taken to the light, our genetic traits absolutely support recovery.

This might sound strange, but part of my recovery meant learning how to have fun and even “wasting” time. I actually was assigned to watch the television show, “Friends. “ In my second book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me, I discuss this in a chapter called “Having Fun to Save my Life.”

 

Suzu: I think there were times you were about to be discouraged and give up getting recovered. How did you keep you motivated for recovery?

 

Jenni: Gratefully, I had mentors and a treatment team. My family and others were my support system. When I fell down, which happened a lot, they helped to pull me back up again. We all need support and connection to get better.

 

Suzu: When did you think you were recovered from eating disorders?

 

Jenni: I fully recovered from Ed sometime in my early thirties!

 

Recovered from my Ed, but not from life

Suzu: How do you describe yourself after you recovered from eating disorders?

 

Jenni: I often say I am recovered from my Ed, but not from life. Today, life is real. Life is fun and joyful. But, life can be tough, too. Recovery taught me resilience! I have learned gratitude. Recovery taught me the importance of family and friends….of having fun!

 

Suzu: What do you eat every day?

 

Jenni: I eat balanced! I learned to eat intuitively. I no longer have food rules. Food is just food. It doesn’t have a label like “good” nor “bad.”

 

Suzu: Do you work out?

 

Jenni: Similar to eating, I learned how to exercise intuitively. I listen to my body to determine if I want to go for a walk, ride my bike, or just lay on the couch and rest!

 

Suzu: What do you think about your body and yourself?

 

Jenni: Thanks to recovery, I learned to love my body and myself! Today, my goal is perfectly imperfect!

 

Suzu: Now you engage in eating disorder enlightenment activities. Why did you decided to do those activities?

 

Jenni: I wanted to share my experience, strength, and hope with others. An eating disorder is so painful. I don’t want others to suffer for as long as I did.

 

Suzu: You wrote some books about your experience, and one of your books is published in Japanese (https://www.jennischaefer.com/books/life-without-ed-jp/). Also, you released the song in Japanese (https://www.jennischaefer.com/life-without-ed-jp/). What kind of thoughts and messages did you put into the book and song?

 

Jenni: My main message is one of hope: people can and do fully recover from eating disorders. Achieving a full recovery IS possible!

 

Suzu: Could you give your message to those who are suffering from eating disorders.

 

Jenni: Never give up! My favorite quote is a Japanese proverb, Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

 

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I really appreciate it!

I hope everyone can be recovered from eating disorders as soon as possible. I’m sure your story will encourage people who are suffering from eating disorders. Thank you so much!

 

For more information, visit her website and also Youtube channel!

https://www.jennischaefer.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/JenniSchaefer

 

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