Our expert says:
Eating Disorders Expert
What a dreadful experience and a very difficult one to resolve, even though no physical harm was done to you and your three daughters. My wife and I had a similar experience a few years ago, so I can relate to what it must have felt like. We both (even though we are both psychologists) went for debriefing counselling at the police station following our armed robbery, which we found critically important to help us more forward. I strongly advise and wish that I could insist that you do the same. The police service actually offers excellent debriefing, but I am not sure if they provide it in your small town. If you can afford it, you might want to see a psychologist who specialises in trauma in a city closest to you. Schmeggs, you cannot underestimate the experience you went though. Your mind and body will remember it for some time. You will likely experience (if you are not already) flashbacks, which is the mind’s way of seeking resolve. Please reach out and seek support. Talk to a professional and talk to family and friends. If you live reasonably close to Cape Town, email me and I will refer you to some specialists. Now, the fact that you don’t want to eat is quite an understandable response. However, that does not make it normal or alright. Your previously active anorexia was a coping mechanism and your latest trauma has clearly reactivated it. It is quite usual, even years after recovery from an eating disorder, to suddenly revert to previous eating disordered behaviour following a crisis or traumatic event. A car crash, for example, can suddenly provoke old bulimic behaviour in much the same way that an alcoholic might relapse following a bereavement or loss. What you cannot afford is to allow yourself to be thrown back into an active anorexic state when right now you need to resolve the terrible trauma you experienced and move on with your own and your family life. You need to be strong for yourself and your three girls, while starving yourself is completely counter to this. At 49 kilograms you are already uncomfortably underweight, and you need to consider restoring about 5 kilograms. I understand that you say that you have always been thin since being anorexic, but remaining very slim keeps you at risk. Think about consciously eating healthy as part of recovering what you have been through and moving forward. You have to be very conscious now to be nurturing to both yourself and your children. You simply have to make the decision to give you this to yourself and take little steps forward, one at a time. Does that make sense?
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