Rebecca and David Epston: In Conversation



DATE: 21ST MARCH, 1994

DE: I’m talking to Rebecca and it’s the 21st day of March, 1994. You have been in the grip of bulimia for how long now?

RM: About 14months now.

DE: On a couple of occasions it pushed you into suicide attempts…on two or three occasions?

RM: Three.

DE: And you have come today and it isn’t a total surprise out of the blue but…

RM: There were probably signs in the session we had last week..

DE: I thought that since it was rather an historic event that we record this for you and perhaps for the League. You came in looking pretty happy and you said: “I am doing really well”. What do you mean by that?



RM: And retaining food (laughing). And the best thing about that is that I am not panicking that I am.

DE: That is pretty important. This is pretty remarkable even though I don’t want to go over the top about it. First of all, when we got talking last time, you did tell me that you really weren’t eating and then you would become ravenous.

RM: I was in a cycle….

DE: What’s all this about? What’s behind it? What’s in front of it? Can you tell me everything that….

RM: Yah….like ten days ago when you saw me…the minute I left that session up until last Thursday. So it would have been ten days. You know, I was really,really miserable and quite…distressed.

DE: Do you want to tell the people why that was…what was the nature of your distress?

RM: Because he was not interested in carrying on our relationship.

DE: And that had been an important relationship for you?

RM: Yah…listening to him say that even though I didn’t feel he had shut the door but I felt like he had half closed it on us. And you know I wasn’t any better and he was going to leave me. So that week was just horrible. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in my apartment or move home. It was a horrible week..just miserable. Since then, I haven’t really had any contact with him. This just came…not overnight but probably within two days.

DE: (writing) “Not overnight but in two days”. What came?

RM: What came? Just the idea that I didn’t need to do this to myself.

DE: Wow! That’s good to hear. (writing) “I didn’t need to do this to myself”. How had bulimia convinced you that you did need to do this to yourself?

RM: Because I was a horrible person.

DE: It convinced you you were a horrible person? On what grounds? How would it talk you into that?

RM: Initially because what I had done to end our relationship. And then it took me more into it because you are a failure not to be able to eat properly or get rid of it. That kind of compounds it because it makes you feel worse. So you feel twofold. There is the first reason and then you get caught up in it.

DE: If someone else wanted to understand this, how would you describe it to them so they would know what to watch our for? You kind of saw through this. What did you see through? What did you understand that you didn’t understand before?

RM: I really think…and I have been saying to Mum and Dad because I told them too because I worried it was a false alarm but I’ve never been this close before…I think the best thing for me in the last week is that I’ve had a almost a 100% turnaround in my thoughts.

DE: “A 100% turnaround in my thoughts.”

RM: And I think from that your eating ..your control and becoming normal in commas just follows. In the past I tried to change my habits but still had this mind thing about how guilty and horrible and deceitful and untrustworthy I was.

DE: So was it a bit pointless until you changed your thoughts?

RM: Absolutely, I don’t think there is any point in trying. Or trying to struggle with it when you still haven’t got that all sorted out. It just won’t happen, I think.

DE: Okay, I am excited about this and I am interested. How did you turn your thoughts around? And what were they? And what have they become?

RM: I just turned all the negative and hateful feelings towards myself…the feelings that I had created. And that was really apparent from that meeting with Ken. That I was creating myself in my mind. Just negative, self-hating feelings that weren’t coming from him.

DE: No…no. I didn’t sense that. Was that the first time you realised that?

RM: Yah. I think that session was really so beneficial for me. Definitely.

DE: I doubt if Ken would have realised that, would he?

RM: No…I don’t think so. He didn’t really say anything. He wasn’t actively involved in that session. He really sat back. But it was my time to share with him and let him know how it’s been. Yah, I guess the realization that I didn’t need to do it anymore. There wasn’t a point.

DE: And when you turned around all these negative and hateful feelings that had turned against you, what did it leave behind? When you stepped aside from those feelings, what were you left with?

RM: HAPPY. I can’t stop smiling (laughing). It’s stupid (laughing). I just feel that everything is easy. And I knew and I certainly didn’t do this to get back together with Ken I will have to be able to get on with things by myself in case they don’t work out.. When I say ‘I did this’, I haven’t done it yet. I should say: ‘I am doing this for me’. Because I know whichever way things work out, I don’t want to get myself better for him. And then things don’t work out and go back to square one again.

DE: Yah, that would be a hazardous undertaking, wouldn’t it? You can’t make up Ken’s’ mind for him?

RM: No.

DE: Nor decide his heart for him? I know this has been happening over a period of time and I certainly saw the glimmer of it on our last meeting, when did you first describe yourself as happy? What day was it that you experienced yourself as being happy, given that you had almost had an unendurable period of misery?

RM: Wednesday.

DE: Wednesday, was the day.

RM: Yah.. Definitely.

DE: And how did happiness dawn on you?

RM: Ken was supposed to come around on Tuesday and couldn’t make it. And that really, really upset me. And I was in the same sort of thought frame of mind. It was almost like it happened overnight. I went to bed miserable that night. And I had been throwing up. And I woke up on Wednesday and I didn’t have to start work until 2.00p.m. I could have easily spent that time in the kitchen and the bathroom. I don’t know but I just got myself up and went out for the day and drove to Devonport. I walked around the shops. And I WENT AND BOUGHT MYSELF LUNCH.

DE: Was that a bit of a first to buy yourself a lunch?

RM: To buy it with the intention of enjoying it and sitting there was a first.

DE: “I bought it with the intention of sitting and eating it and enjoying it”. Okay, what would you usually do?

RM: Oh, I probably wouldn’t sit anywhere in public. I wouldn’t have. And I wouldn’t has just bought one thing, I would have gone mad. And gone home.

DE: “So would have gone mad”. And eaten in secret?

RM: Mmh. Oh yeah!

DE: Looking back, how do you understand what possessed you or what was going on for you that allowed you or freed you to do this? Hold on, you went to bed feeling really miserable and one would have predicted that you would have had a very bad day the next day? Ken didn’t show up as he promised or said he would. You could have felt really let down and in despair? Can I ask, did you have a dream?

RM: Not that I am aware of.

DE: See how you feel about this: if you had had a dream that night AND YOU REMEMBER IT, what do you think the dream would have been? What possibly could you have dreamt about that turned you around like that?

RM: Maybe a period of my life that happened or was make believe but was definitely me. And I would have been happy or…

DE: So you would have dreamt a happy time in your life. How old would you have been?

RM: Sort of….adolescent…. because I was happy then.

DE: Can you think of a memory from then that you might have dreamt that would have had this effect if by chance you had done it?

RM: I think probably being with Ken.

DE: How old were you then?

RM: Oh from 16 to however. 16 to 20. I was really happy all the time. And most important, i was happy with me.

DE: “Most important, I was happy with me”, so would that have been the theme of your dream, being happy with yourself? Not being self-hating and given yourself a hard time?

RM: Yeh…yeh.

DE: When you were happy with yourself, what aspects of yourself were you most happy about? What did you like about Beck?

RM: Stuff that I am seeing now in the last couple of days.

DE: Like what?

RM: Things you can’t even describe. I don’t know, just bits of me….that I hadn’t ….I guess just having the time..for the last couple of days, I have had so much space in my head for other things. Like I don’t think about it for two hours. And that makes me smile.

DE: Do you realise now how much of your mental space was occupied?

RM: I kinda knew at the time. Of course, I knew at the time. I just thought about it so much. I just couldn’t help it.

DE: So what were you able to think about that you hadn’t been able to think about for a long time?

RM: Oh, what am I going to this afternoon. Mundane things that people think about all the time….that people who are o.k. take for granted.

DE: What would be an example of what you would consider a mundane thing that you can now think about that you couldn’t have thought about before when you were captured by bulimia?

RM: I have just been able to hold a conversation with somebody. Like I spoke to my parents and the girls I am living with. And some other friends who came around for dinner last night. I have been chatting to people the last couple of days. And they have all said the same thing in different ways. Like you have been away and you have come back. And especially Mum and Dad. They said ;you were here in body but you were always a million miles away in fairy-land’. Just being able to have a conversation with somebody and be in touch with what they are saying and to think with them and talk without nodding and being a thousand miles away, thinking about the next ‘what shall I eat tonight?’, ‘will I be able to get out and eat secretly’. You know, horrible things that creep in.

DE: Did you realise that people had been missing you?

RM: YAH! I HAVE NOW! I didn’t realise it at the time.

DE: I remember meeting you with your girl-friends and how outraged they were.

RM: It didn’t effect me.

DE: It didn’t even touch you?

RM: No. Not really. You know I was sorry for them but it didn’t sway me in any way.

DE: Who was your friend that felt most strongly?

RM: Jo. She doesn’t know. I haven’t spoken to her yet.

DE: Jo had first hand knowledge from her sister?

RM: Her sister and another friend. She has had lots, probably more so that anyone else.

DE: She knows what you are going through?

RM: Yah.

DE: To some extent. How much you were lost to her whereas you might have though you were just changing

RM: It is really weird though because since I have been going through this, I have hardly seen her at all. Probably I have avoided her. I do. Absolutely. Like I would speak to her on the phone but I certainly wouldn’t make arrangements to see her.

DE: I’ll bet you wouldn’t! (laughter) She would be pretty high on anti-anorexia, wouldn’t she?

RM: Oh yeah. She has had a friend who has just come through it. She was bulimic for years and her boyfriend was anorexic. And they were engaged And the wedding was called off a week before because they both were just not in control. You know -she was bulimic and he was anorexic. He left the country because she decided she just had to get well. She had been bulimic for 5 or 6 years. And she has just come through that and she spent a lot of time in hospital this year. She’s my age. So Jo went through a lot of that with her. And probably knew what was in store for me if I didn’t pull back.

DE: Do you think you will be able to recontact Jo at some time in the future?

RM: Oh yeah…absolutely. I think I’ve got a barbeque at her house this weekend.

DE: She’s not expecting you to show up?

RM: She won’t be yet. I’ve got the message but she probably won’t expect me to. But I will.

DE: Were you touched by your Mum and Dad?

RM: Oh yeah.

DE: Vanessa, Alex and your other girl friends.

RM: Yes.

DE: Did you feel like you had come home to yourself too?

RM: Yes, I just felt so comfortable and relaxed. But I’m not worried but I still a little bit dubious. I don’t want to say I’ve done it because I don’t think I have.

DE: Please don’t.

RM: It’s only been two or three days.

DE: I’d urge you to consider that you are learning some things about your enemy.

RM: I know the grip of all that nastiness has gone so the determination to do it is there now. And that’s never been there before.

DE: “Determination is now there”.

RM: And the urge to kind of do it has gone too.

DE: The urge to do bulimia?

RM: Yah. Absolutely.

DE: This is pretty extraordinary! Well would you be willing to theorize about this?

RM: Mmh.

DE: If we were to theorize about where you have got to now, I guess it must have a lot to do with the fact that you shed all these self-hating, negative thoughts?

RM: It hasn’t all gone. It all hasn’t just dropped off me.

DE: What per cent of self-hate has been replaced by self-appreciation?

RM: The bulk…70% has gone, purely because I am not throwing up. The cause of it-the mind thing – that leads to that has gone. Therefore obviously the throwing up has gone. The two together..I mean throwing up can make you feel just as bad.

DE: Is throwing up a duplication or a reproduction of how you were feeling?

RM: Yeah.

DE: So you were feeling something and the throwing up was acting towards yourself in a hateful way?

RM: Yah, but that’s all you feel. I never felt anything. I didn’t experience any feelings. I just ‘be bulimic’.

DE: So were self-hating feelings being expressed?

RM: Sometimes even after a counselling session or talking to Mum or Dad, I would want to go and think about it and feel however I wanted to feel. And 9 times out of 10, I would just cut off and be bulimic and then I would go to bed. And I would never think things through. I wouldn’t let myself….FEEL.

DE: What’s it like to have your feelings back? Do you think they are a valuable part of your experience?

RM: Yah!

DE: I guess some of those feelings are mixed?

RM: Yah, I’m still feeling….

DE: But you’re feeling it! Not acting it!

RM: Yah, I just feel happy with ME. Not a 100%…not as much as I would like to but I know that I am no the road now.

DE: You can imagine it was a little confounding for me because I knew this recent history of you…from you and from your friends. I know you might not have felt it, but I very much felt the love and appreciation your friends had for you on that particular day. It was very apparent. They all came. They all talked so strongly and deeply. And it may have been on that day that bulimia wiped that off the record but I need to tell you that’s how I experienced your friends in relationship to you. I knew that you were a very popular person. Many of those friends were friends from way back. From primary and intermediate school. It’s pretty good to keep friends that long. So this is an interesting time! How would you think bulimia takes your feelings away?

RM: Because it really says you don’t need to feel anything because you have GOT IT. There is no need to waste your energy crying or being sad or arguing or getting angry or standing up for yourself. there is no need to do any of those things. Well I guess it told me – I don’t know about anyone else – there was always the voice that said: ‘What’s the point of feeling those things. No one would listen to you. And what you have said really doesn’t count. So don’t bother’.

DE: That your feelings didn’t count or you didn’t count?

RM: Both! I guess it was sort of like my best friend.

DE: You thought it was your friend?

RM: Yah…right up until last week….I don’t want to say it’s finished…I have never hated it or got angry at it ever.

DE: NO, YOU SURE DIDN’T. Hold on: “Until last week, I never hated it or got angry at it”. Did you get angry at it?

RM: No, I get angry at me and think: “Oh, God! Get it together” but I would never get angry at it. Yah., I would just take it out on myself. And make me suffer worse because I wasn’t getting in control.

DE: “Would take it out on myself”. So do you think it is possible to speculate that in this dream you did get angry at it and hateful towards it rather than getting angry at yourself? Why I ask is that something happened out of your consciousness. You went to sleep in a certain frame of mind and woke up and you had turned your thoughts around 70%. Something happened in dream land! (laughter) And you woke up and stopped taking things out on yourself.

RM: Yah! Just from the moment I woke and I was exactly the same. Yah, I just went for a drive.

DE: When did you figure something was up?

DE: How long was that after you had awakened?

RM: About two hours.

DE: Two hours later, you found yourself walking around smiling?

RM: Yah.

DE: When can you remember smiling last?


DE: Did your face hurt?

RM: Yah, it has been (laughing). My cheeks have been really sore.

DE: Sore cheeks isn’t a bad price to pay. I’ll bet. does that suggest to you how unused you are to smiling?

RM: I’m sure I smiled but I didn’t mean it. I wasn’t happy inside. It was a little mask.

DE: If Rebecca of two weeks ago came to you and said: ‘Look , I’ve noticed that you have been able to turn your thoughts around 100% and bring happiness back into your life, would you help me do it?’ Is it possible in any way that reading Aliza’s notes helped?

RM: Yah, I think it has been a combination of things – 50% due to that session with Kelvin, myself and you.

DE: What’s the other 50%?

RM: It’s in bits…

DE: What are the bits?

RM: For once taking on what people around me were trying to tell me.From friends. Flatting – there is just no room for it in that situation. Working. You know I didn’t want to lose another job because of it. And another little per cent-yah, I just want to be happy.

DE: You’ve done your time?

RM: Yah. Oh yeah!

DE: And did reading Aliza’s notes fit in there.

RM: Yah, that was another bit. they were just so sad. It’s just so senseless. There is no need. That’s the whole thing – there is no need for it. Someone could have told me that four days ago and I would have said: “Of course, there is! There is ten reasons why I should be doing this”.

DE: Can you think of any reasons why everything fitted together so profoundly. For example, could the session with kelvin, you , and me have done it without the other bits?

RM: It was just in the space of days…

DE: What do you think would have happened if I hadn’t met you today and talked about this, do you think we would have developed the degree of awareness we are developing? Did you have all these ideas before we talked?

RM: Today. Yah, I knew something on Wednesday but left it until Thursday night to speak to Mum and Dad. It was worried that I was being tricked. I have never approached them before, this is the first time.

DE: So you talked to your parents on Thursday? And how did you go about that? Ring them up or did you go and see them?

RM: I saw Dad at work because I work with him…at the same place.

DE: How did he react to what you said? Was he believing?

RM: Yah, he was. He was really believing. For Dad, it made me happy…his response.

DE: What was it?

RM: He’s not very good at ….even though I know he cares…he thought it was great…..and it was good news. And that was the extent of it. I knew that he was feeling more than that. he didn’t know how to…My parents went out and celebrated on Thursday night WITHOUT ME! They went out for dinner.

DE: So he must have told your Mum?

RM: Apparently he told Mum that I had some news and I called her.

DE: So you rang your Mum up?

RM: Yah..I think she had an idea. He must have said something to her.

DE: So was she ready to heart it? And what was her response?

RM: Just….she was crying.

DE: Crying with joy?

RM: Yah…and she said that that has been our one wish. “If we could have anything in the world, it would be for you to get better”.

DE: And where did they go to celebrate?

RM: They went to CinCins. Wine and beautiful food. And she said it was the first night in months that her and Dad went to bed without worrying about me.

DE: “First night in months that they….

RM: Weren’t worrying or being conscious of…just having it in the back of their minds. I guess in a way they might feel a little bit freer.

DE: I would imagine. How much freer do you thin k your Mum and Dad might be feeling at the moment?

RM: A lot..I don’t know how much. A LOT. Like the stress has gone between us.

DE: Do you think you will have to do much work repairing your relationships with your mother and your father?

RM: Yah! Oh, Yah!

DE: And who did you tell next? when did you let Vanessa and Alex know?

RM: I sort of said to them on Wednesday night. They were sitting in Vanessa’s room. And I was reading through my notes and trying to think about things. And write things down and they left me alone in the lounge. And I went into their bedroom for something and they said: “How is it going?” And I said: “Oh good!” And I said: “You know I think I am getting there”…”I can just feel it”. And I remember saying to them: “I don’t want to tell anyone because I am scared that…it was a really short conversation. Basically the gist of it was I think I am there but don’t say anything to anybody. I am not going to say it to Mum and Dad. And they turned around and said: “Yah, we think you are too! We haven’t wanted to say anything”.

DE: “They turned around and said: “We think you are too!” What do you think they had observed about you that….

RM: God Knows!

DE: Take a guess!

RM: They wouldn’t have observed me being happy or any of those obvious things but just I think they saw me trying.

DE: How would they know you were trying?

RM: Because I would sit down and eat a meal with them; whereas before I would have gone to my room when they ate.

DE: Did you go into hiding?

RM: Yah..I had to leave the room because I couldn’t stand to see other people eat.

DE: Well, tell me about that…that must have been pretty hard? What made you decide to do that? It must have been hard for the first time?

RM: I don’t know because I have a special place I sit at the dinner table at home and I haven’t sat in it for over…I can’;t remember the last time. So I have swapped shifts this week for Wednesday and I am going to Mum and Dad’s for dinner.

DE: Have you really? Wednesday night. Are you ready for this?

RM: Yah…and I think everyone knows as well and are prepared for me to slip. Like it not like they think if I have a bad day, there is going to be a crisis and she’s had it.

DE: Par for the course.

RM: Yah, it will be kind of. One step back and…

DE: Yah, I wouldn’t do it any other way. Please don’t do anti-anorexia in a….

RM: The opposite way.

DE: Do it in a very imperfect way. It could be an interesting night, couldn’t it?

RM: Mmm.

DE: When would have been the last time they would have been able to enjoy a meal with you?

RM: Probably about a year and a half ago. I was almost anorexic before I started this. For probably a period of sex weeks. And they were bribing me with good. And then I just went the other way which was bulimic. So counting that sort of stage and the period when I was just losing my appetite…yeah, well over a year and a half. About two years.

DE: You are a pretty friendly family, aren’t you?

RM: Oh , yeah. it’s incredible how much of life isn’t involved with food but revolves around food in everyday living. To steal away from that, you cut out half of your living because you are not involved in anything. You miss out on so much.

DE: It is a special time, when you think about it. Breaking bread or having a meal is a symbol for peace..connection. I guess all our celebrations are associated with food and drink?

RM: I went supermarket shopping with Alex on Sunday night and we were in there for an hour and a half (laughing). And it was just fun. I had so much fun. Look I had been shopping of course, but it was always a whip round to the brownies and bread and whatever else I could find. I hadn’t shopped with the intention of keeping it in the fringe for a long time. That was pretty amazing!

DE: Oh great! What do you think Jasbindar is going to think about this? Has she spoken to you lately?

RM: She did leave a message on Friday. I should give her a ring.

DE: Do you think she will believe this?

RM: Yah.

DE: I guess when I think about me knowing you in terms of anti-anorexia/anti-bulimia, what I found hard to understand was why it was and how it was able to convince you it was a friend of yours. We talked about it a number of times along the way. Is there anything I should know and the League should know about the ways it beguiles young women into believing that it is a friend?

RM: I think that one of the pre-requistes for being captured by it-anorexia, I don’t think you have to be but I am sure it is more likely if you are in a bad place and feeling vulnerable and questioning your own identity. Like you are at crossroads and that comes along and says: ‘Come with me!” Initially, it seems like the perfect thing to do. And when you realise it’s not, it’s to late in a way. And because for most women who haven’t had experience with it, you don’t know what you are dealing with.

DE: How long into the 18 months was it before you knew you were over your head? That it was controlling you?

RM: I was told that I was but I just didn’t believe it. they said: “This will get away on you” but I said: “It won’t”. I was confident and just believed…because it hadn’t at that stage.

DE: When do you figure it got away on you? How many months along the way?

RM: No more than two. Six weeks. six to eight weeks.

DE: Six weeks! That is about as bad as cocaine, isn’t it?

RM: For 2 – 3 or 4 weeks, I thought it was great. I might have just thrown up dinner. And then I’d do it more often. And I’d fast and try to diet more often. Until I became like starving, dizzy, and head-acy and dehydrated and no energy. I’d feel awful and then: “Wham!” That came out of nowhere. I never thought that would happen. I didn’t know that that was part of it. I didn’t know that bingeing and throwing up. I just thought maybe I could control as a way of getting rid of meals when i felt like it. I didn’t know….

DE: When you were most in its grip, how many times did it cause you to vomit?

RM: A day…up to 15 times a day. And I was getting up in the night as well. It was like 24 hours. I wouldn’t stop and go to bed – I’d get up in an hour. And be trance-like and go downstairs.

DE: if you were to look ahead into your future and a time came that you felt you were free and out of danger, how do you think you would celebrate this event? And who would come?

RM: I’ve already been celebrating (laughter).

DE: How have you been celebrating.

RM: I had people over for dinner last night.

DE: Oh, that’s a pretty big thing! Who did you have?

RM: Six girls…no there was about 8 of us at my place.

DE: Was it a bit like a reunion?

RM: Yah, we just cooked dinner. And ate dinner.

DE: Did people comment that it was nice to have you back?

RM: Yes.

DE: Was that good to hear?

RM: Yah.

DE: I think it would be harder to fight with this if you didn’t have something to come back to?

RM: Yes.

DE: You said some people have lost all their contacts and have become disconnected with others?

RM: That kind of nearly happened. I was close to that.

DE: I think you would have had a hard time shaking your friends off.

RM: Yah, you’re right.

DE: I think they might have stood aside for awhile but I doubt if they ever wouldn’t have wanted your friendship. Did any of your friends comment on the celebratory nature of this meal

RM: Oh yeah. They were really so happy. Absolutely.

DE: Was it hilarious?

RM: Yah, it just seemed so stupid. I was laughing last night like I….it ended up that we split up. some of us were wanting to watch television and some of us were wanting to sit on the balcony. We were having chips and dip before dinner. But those who had moved inside had taken all the food. And there were about four of us outside. I said without even thinking: “Shall I go and get some chips from the kitchen for us?”. “Yah, you do that!” And I said: “I will!” Being in that atmosphere and not thinking: “should I be eating this?” I was so normal. I didn’t feel uncomfortable…embarrassed…I just felt very NORMAL. I felt like they would have felt. And for a brief instant that felt like so long ago when it was like two weeks ago. Because I felt so comfortable that it was weird. Not a 100% comfortable but normally I didn’t eat any food in front of anyone.

DE: `What you have been doing before….trying to get out of it?

RM: `Yah…first of all, I probably would have never got myself into such a situation in the first place. Or tried everything I could not to get into that situation.

DE: Would you make excuses, like saying you were sick?

RM: Yah, or busy or just didn’t feel like it.

DE: Say you got trapped into such a situation, what would you have done?

RM: Just eat nothing.

DE: If anyone had said: “Hey, Beck, would you like some of this?” what would you have done?

RM: “No, thanks!”

DE: If they said: “I’m worried about you!” would you have said, “Don’t worry about me?”

RM: Yah.

DE: Would you get bitchy?

RM: No, I never got bitchy. I would just say: “No thank you…I’m fine!” It was never really an issue. No one pressed ever.

DE: Well, I kind of avoided her. Or like I would turn up when everyone was half way through their meal and say that I had just eaten at home. Or something like that. Just lie without thinking. “I have just eaten and am really full”.

DE: Is it nice not to have to lie anymore?

RM: Yah…that makes you feel bad too! Lying to people.

DE: Well, Beck, the course of anti-anorexia is not entirely a smooth one, would you allow that there will be a few ‘hiccups’ along the way? And there will be times for us to study?

RM: I know that.



Questions for Consultation:

1) How do you know when your anti-anorexia is for real? Not fraudulent?

(“I don’t really believe it is fraudulent”)

2. Does anorexia have ways of talking you out of significant developments in your anti-anorexia? If so, how did it do this?

(“That would be easy to be talked out of it….like you could have a bad morning”)

3) “I am scared it is going to come back…bang…without any signs. I want to get on the defence”.

Has anorexia ever made a successful temporary come-back on your?

On reflection, were there some signs or clues it was creeping up on you?

4) Is it like giving up smoking? Like an ‘evil’ habit? Do you have to do it ‘cold turkey?” Or are there any other possible ways to leave it behind?

5) The next two months, I just have to grit my teeth and persevere. I know I am going to put some weight on and I don’t want to? How does one endure the possibility that one might gain some weight?