Swallow Up

I've recently finished reading Cheryl Kerrigan's book, Telling ED No! and it strikes me that a new era of eating disorder literature is emerging: an optimistic one. The eating disorder narratives of the past were, in the main, fault-finding, death-defying social commentary validated by excruciating medical details. The villains were dark, the triumph embittered, the recovery sour with recrimination toward self and others.
It cheers me to see more focus on practical skills, more forgiving, and less psychobabble. 

I was particularly struck by this chapter: "Swallow Up," where Kerrigan describes her therapist, Bob, giving advice on how to think of eating: "think of the food going up into my brain. When I eat, my brain is being fed and my mind can function properly."

Learning this concept, she reports "With each bite came clarity, and with clarity comes recovery."


  1. i love her therapists comment. i'm going to remember that.

  2. I'm happy to see that there is a new, informative and optimistic body of literature emerging around EDs. I really dislike 'misery lit' in many forms. I understand why people write 'tragic life stories' (mainly catharsis), but unless it contains useful information and some hope then I cannot see the point in publishing it...

    I don't like the title of the book though. I just have a dislike of calling an eating disorder 'ED', or 'Ana', or 'Mia'. I understand the rationale for separating the illness from the primary/original self, but it's become something of a trend which makes me feel uncomfortable.

    I guess if I had written the book I would have said: 'With each bite came HUGE ANXIETY/PANIC - that I thought would kill me. The skill was learning to master the panic so that I was able to continue to eat and to repair my brain.'


Post a Comment

Popular Posts