Why do so many survivors of eating disorders “care” end up with insomnia?

I know now. A person who cannot sleep due to trauma is AFRAID to sleep. Our bodies won’t let us sleep out of necessity, to protect us.

What was I doing while they were abusing me? Lying in bed. Unable to get up. Trapped. Afraid.  No wonder my body puts its rabbit ears up whenever I am in bed.

No wonder so many survivors of “eating disorders care” can’t sleep. We were too weak to get up, too starved and exhausted. That’s when they harmed us. When we were that fragile and alone.

They insulted us, discredited us, told us we weren’t worth it, accused us of lying or sneaking, ignored our real physical needs, treated us with force of all kinds, violated our privacy, abused us physically, emotionally and often sexually, lectured us, told us we were sinners, morally insulted us, told us we were “mentally incompetent,” treated us like we were unintelligent, or as if we were toddlers.

And we got no visitors and no support from our loved ones. While those recovering from cancer or a heart attack got visitors, cards, and flowers, we got nothing, and told we deserved nothing.  We were entirely alone in a life-or-death situation where by all means, we should have been nurtured.

If you are like me and cannot sleep after they did all that, you don’t have a “disorder.” You are reacting because your body is protecting you from further harm.

Stop the harm from happening in the first place.  Validate those that have been traumatized so that they can heal. Validation will prevent a longer-term trauma reaction.  Stop blaming those who were harmed. Stop calling trauma a disorder, a moral problem, spiritual problem, bad attitude, or “mental illness.” Stop using degrading language to describe us.

6 thoughts on “Why do so many survivors of eating disorders “care” end up with insomnia?”

    1. Know that you are not alone. Know that I affirm your trauma. Know that I would never demand “proof” that it happened, nor put you on the defensive. I believe you. I know how other people who are clueless as to what happens in these places tend to find our stories hard to believe.

      1. Thank you so much. I was only 12 The first time I was admitted at Walden. I strongly believe a child, let alone anyone should ever have to go through this. Unless you have been through it yourself it is hard to know what those treatment centers do to a person.

        1. No child or any human should ever have to endure the scare tactics used in traditional ED treatment. The forced blind weights are a two-fold human right violation. 1) The person is denied access to important information about her medical condition. 2) This constitutes forced “care.” No human should be bullied over her weight. Most would agree on that. Many of us were bullied over our weight in the past. This may have set on the ED path. I can’t see that re-bullying, and then getting told that it’s “care,” is going to help anyone.

  1. This is a very accurate description of the hospital experience – I was struck by how you portrayed the vulnerability people feel and the way the hospital acts opposite to how one would expect. I will never forget the number of times I heard “Stop crying! You’ll disturb the other patients!” What ever happened to “What’s wrong?” or a simple “Are you ok?”?

    1. I know why they don’t ask. Their main concern isn’t “What happened” but “What’s wrong with you?” They don’t want to hear the answer to “What happened?” Insurance doesn’t profit from it. It means more effort for them, you know, listening is just too much work. The reason why “staff” act opposite of what we expect is to ridicule us and to keep us submissive. “Compliance….”

Feedback and comments welcome!