Hearing about the destructive compulsion of bulimia nervosa, outsiders may wonder, "How could you ever start?" Those suffering from the eating disorder ask themselves in despair, "How can I ever stop?" How do you break the cycle of bingeing, vomiting, laxative abuse, and shame? While many books describe the descent into eating disorders and the resulting emotional and physical damage, this book describes recovery. Psychologist Sheila M. Reindl has listened intently to women's accounts of recovering. Reindl argues compellingly that people with bulimia nervosa avoid turning their attention inward to consult their needs, desires, feelings, and aggressive strivings because to do so is to encounter an annihilating sense of shame. Disconnected from internal, sensed experience, bulimic women rely upon external gauges to guide their choices. To recover, bulimic women need to develop a sense of self - to attune to their physical, psychic, and social self-experience. They also need to learn that one's neediness, desire, pain, and aggression are not sources of shame to be kept hidden but essential aspects of humanity necessary for zestful life.
The young women with whom Reindl speaks describe, with great feeling, their efforts to know and trust their own experience.
Sheila M. Reindl is a psychologist at Harvard University's Bureau of Study Counsel and has a private practice of psychotherapy in Cambridge.
Introduction 1. Coming to Their Senses 2. Sensing When Enough Is Enough 3. Physical, Psychic, and Social Self-Experience 4. Beauty and the Beast 5. Learning to Sense Self-Experience 6. Sensing Self through Relationship 7. Sustaining Recovery 8. Implications Appendix: Research on Recovery References Acknowledgments Index