It's a very convincing ride
Colleen, you have a gift for analogies:
"If you have ever gone to Epcot, you may have gone on that great ride, Mission to Mars. You enter a 'space capsule', get strapped into a seat and watch the monitor right in front of you. You 'know' you are on the launch pad about to be blasted into space because you can see it and you are willing to believe it. You watch the monitor and there you are on the launchpad. As the rockets start firing, you can feel the g-forces increase and you are pushed back into your seat. This all makes sense! You are lifting off!
I think later on you get battered by space debris and you can feel the capsule hitting those rocks. It's a very convincing ride--you really feel like you are heading for Mars.
You have these real feelings of g-forces, weightlessness and rock-hitting, and by watching the monitor you have a context that makes them very convincing and real.To the ride operator and the rest of the world, you are in a centrifuge that spins and bumps.
They aren't seeing your movie...they are outside the ride and have a different context for your feelings.I think of our AN kids as being in this ride. They are experiencing very real feelings: depression, anger, self-harm, joylessness, fearfulness. But the context that they put those feelings into isn't real, any more than the movie on the monitor is. They are inside the ride.
It makes perfect sense to them if ED tells them that food is scary or that they are fat or that Mom hates them or that nobody likes them--because that is what is playing on their monitor. Their feelings of depression, fear and rage are real feelings that physiology is playing on their bodies and minds...and ED plays a movie on their internal monitors that puts these feelings into a context that makes sense to a mind recovering from starvation."