Wednesday, December 31, 2008

to 2oo8.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy new year!

If you're in the Boston area and heading out tonight, please be careful on the roads.
See you all in 2oo9!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

i would be merry.. but i'm Hebrew.

Until I was about 4 or 5 - when my brother started going to Sunday school - my family wasn't very well-educated about our religion. So, for those magical couple of years, we hung stockings and joined in all the reindeer games. There was one Christmas where my parents used a package of all kinds of flavored Lip Smackers (back before they had all that glittery, sparkly gloss and their flavors only ranged from vanilla to peppermint to bubble gum) to stuff my stocking. I was so excited and the smell those chapsticks always brings me right back.
I love Christmas and, regardless of your religous beliefs, today is December 25th and it is Christmas. With that said, I hope it's a good one, no matter how you're spending it. I wish you all happy holidays and a healthy new year.

To my girl, Becky, and all others who are spending their holiday inpatient:
I know it's hard. I know it's hard enough to fight at any point of the year, but especially during the holidays. I hope you all get to spend time with your loved ones. Push yourselves so that, next year, your holidays can be spent without restrictions (of any kind) and being with your families.. not your doctors (as much as we love.. most.. of them).
I love you all. Hang in there. <3
Karen: So what's this big news, then?
Daisy: We've been given our parts in the nativity play. And I'm the lobster.
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: Yeah, *first* lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
Daisy: Duh.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

kids don't think like us: barbie.

I have been mulling over the idea of this for a while and (once again) Jezebel finally inspired me to come out with it. For as far back in my adult life as I can remember, I have been swamped with the idea that Barbie is a terrible influence. She "sets unrealistic standards" of being able to carry out any and every job in the world and having a gait so fragile, she would have to walk on all fours... if she was real. (She's not, by the way.) This used to upset me. How could such an idea be used for a child's toy? What are they trying to teach?
I don't know about you guys, but when I was playing with Barbie dolls, as far as I was concerned, I had a pretty little doll that I could dress whatever style I wanted and she had fun tiny accessories. (I always loved things that were far smaller than what the item should be, or crazy over-sized.) She would go shopping, she would go to the movies, and, occasionally, she would end up horizontal on top of a genitalia-less Ken. (Come on now, we've all done it.) She was just a woman that I could drive around in her hot pink car when I was years from a license and one that I could learn how to french braid on (although, Cabbage Patch dolls were far easier to learn with). I never looked at her and thought I wish I could look like that. Her little cone-like boobs were never something I dreamed of someday growing. Oh, and I hated that I couldn't put her in a split or move her arms that much. She was plastic; woman-shaped (I used that phrase loosely, of course) plastic.

This society seems to be looking for anything they can use as a scapegoat for all the mental anguish in the world. Halo inspires kids to shoot up their school, Barbie pushes little girls to purge for her "figure," right? I don't buy it. I'm sorry. If anything, maybe they're the last straw. And, while I don't agree that kids should be playing violent, bloody video games, there has to be a foundation for the kind of mental state it takes to bring a gun to school. A child with a healthy mental base and upbringing knows that shooting is wrong and it's just a game. But this is besides the point.
We're adults. We know so much more, obviously, than we did as children. Their innocence, their lack of analysis and psychological information.. they see shapes and colors, toys and activities. I haven't taken a child's psychology class, so - if you have - please correct me if I'm wrong. I can't possibly imagine that a little girl (or boy - I don't judge) will pick up his or her first Barbie doll and think, "She's perfect. If I don't look like this piece of plastic, I am ugly, misshapen, and a horror show to the human race."
Sure, we could use more shapes of Barbie. A bigger Barbie, a "plumper" Barbie (I'd model myself after that one); yes, I think these should exist. A lot of other dolls come in all kinds of strange and unrealistic shapes, too, though. Dolls aren't really meant to be anatomically correct. They're meant to be toys.

I don't have a history of anorexia nervosa because I played with Barbies. I never once associated any of my toys with my undeniable quest for emaciation. Now, I don't want to assume this is the case for everyone. Maybe I'm wrong.
Would any of you in an way associate toys or childhood activities with your illness?

[P.S. I just noticed that my last post was my 1ooth of 2oo8. Woo!]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

live from mass.

I always find it rather amusing the comments I end up with while on a minor blogging-hiatus. People seem to take the opportunity to skim back through my older entries and I get e-mails about comments on posts that I assumed were buried months ago. I like it; it's a nice reminder that just because I wrote a post upwards of a year ago, it's still affecting someone.

I have a job. I am working and, while I'm still looking for more to do, it feels pretty good to be worn down again. Shortly after writing my last post, I hit a wall and freaked out a little. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with myself. Of course, Mom is always my #1 reality check and I got a grip and did what I had to do. I'm, of course, making it sound a lot easier than it was, but that's not really important anymore.

I really want to write more. I was all up on my posts in November and then everything kind of piled up, but I'm back! Just try to contain yourselves.

Hope everyone's holiday season is running smoothly. Hang in there; it's supposed to be a happy time of year! The level of depression during the holidays makes me sad. I love this time of year. I wish, for the sake of the season, everyone could just let it go for this one month. What could it hurt? I believe, as we speak, my city of residency is getting it's first actual snow of the season. I hope it sticks :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

where my life at?

I always feel guilty when I don't write for long periods of time (i.e. 3 or more days pass without a post). I've been feeling really unmotivated about everything, lately, and generally unproductive with my day. Unemployment doesn't look good on me.

I've been kind of a physical mess lately. I spend most of my day in my pajamas, I go to bed between 3 and 4am and wake up between 11 and 1pm, I'm basically living off of Boost and ice cream as I'm financially very afraid of going to the grocery store (chill out, mom.. it's a slight exaggeration), I've been having some f-ed up dreams lately that are really screwing with my head, and I'm struggling to let stupid things go that I shouldn't have in the first place. Oh, and I find myself really missing my glasses in a most desperate kind of way.. especially when my career of choice involves me staring at a computer screen for absurd amounts of time.

The good news is, I'm doing FAR better with my status than I was 2 years ago when I was in this position. Nonetheless, I could be doing better.

So.. here's to positive thinking and getting my ass off this damn couch.. and getting in touch with my school about jobs that are actually in my industry and could help me far better than throwing myself into retail suicide. I'm going to fine.

Monday, December 1, 2008

"i eat 33,000 calories a day."

Okay, I'm on a pretty hefty weight-gain meal plan, but there is a line to be drawn.

We have all seen them on Lifetime, or whatever; the so morbidly obese, they haven't been out of their beds in over 10 years and needed a forklift to get to the hospital when their body finally couldn't take it anymore. So many people sit and think, "Wow, what fat, lazy, disgusting people. How could you do that to yourself?" and can't seem to change the channel because it is just so amusing to watch people who can't get their life under control. In all fairness, these people put their lives on tv, which is totally their choice.

I never really felt much compassion for them. I mean, I didn't sit and mock them or anything; I didn't feel much at all. Just people on TV and something to watch. Most people just talk about how they love food and can't seem to stop and would like to lose weight, but don't really sound too determined.
Last night, my friend and I came across a show called, "I eat 33,ooo calories a day." It was different. They weren't talking about how much they loved food; they were talking about how addicted they were to it. One man is a self-confessed binge eater who has no idea how to stop. One man was in complete denial and said he had everything under control and only ate two meals a day. When they showed him his day's intake in a buffet-style spread, he refused to believe it, but couldn't sit in front of it for more than 5 minutes before he almost mindlessly began attacking it.
I was really intruiged by one woman, Jackie, who was approximately 500 or so pounds and was on a very dangerous slope. She talks about how she would sit down with a plate of food and nothing else existed for that time. It was as if she were in a "trance" while she was eating and would feel a sort of high for a very short period after before crashing into this intense self-hatred and guilt. I know that trance. I was in that trance every night of my spring semester, freshman year of college.

I always find it really interesting how much the eating disorder is really not about the number on the scale; that's just a terrible side-effect. We gain weight, we lose weight, we binge, we purge, we starve, we hate. An eating disorder is an eating disorder, and it's so painful to watch someone else experience the things that you have.

I wish I could talk to Jackie.

Friday, November 28, 2008

recovery without knitting? how dare you.

When I was 7, my gramma taught me how to knit. I had little half-completed projects hanging off needles all over the house. I didn't have the attention span for the length of a scarf, let alone anything much more involved. Little did I know that this skill would play a huge role in my treatment from a life I wouldn't even see coming for another 11 years.

I always joke that recovery isn't possible without knowing how to knit. If you don't know how, don't worry, you can still recover from an eating disorder. That doesn't mean I don't highly recommend learning, though! Every treatment program I went through, most everyone was knitting or crocheting. There was even a boy when I was on Alcott who really wanted to learn because everyone else was doing it, so a few girls taught him. He spent the rest of his stay on the EDU knitting with extra yarn and two pencils. How no one had a spare set of needles for the poor boy is beyond me.

There's something amazing about knitting to me; it is the one and only activity in my entire life that I can do and not pay attention to it. I can keep my hands busy and pay full attention to other things going on around me and, above all else, not be anal about it. Mistakes and slipped stitches make it "all the more special" and counting rows takes the fun out. For really intricate patterns, I'll write them down so I don't have to keep thinking about it, but for the most part, I just go with it. That's sort of a huge deal for me considering how I beat myself up for everything else I do, from my artwork to washing the dishes correctly.
It also calms my anxiety which, in turn, calms one of my worst OCD habits. By keeping my hands busy, I can't use one of my worst behaviors. That was also a great excuse to be allowed to knit during groups.

Today, I stumbled over a really cute blog run by a group of recovered / recovering knitters. They have chosen to take their skill and use it to encourage recovery in a really adorable way. I love what they're doing and I would love to get involved with a project like this. Check out their blog here.

So, here's a little audience participation for ya:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

it's that time of year.

It is dark, dreary, and the daylight hours seem to taunt us with their very limited presence. And with the freezing temperatures sweeping in, the holidays are upon us. Family, food, and - for many of us - poking and prodding in very emotional ways.

It is no coincidence that treatment admissions are crazy right now, nor that my inpatient and residential admissions both fell in this season. So, is bottoming out avoidable? Well, yeah, of course. If you know that this time of year is difficult and possibly triggering for you, you have to face it prepared. DBT skills are huge if these months are as rough for you as they have been for me. Make sure you have some prepared if you know what works best when you're getting overwhelmed or anxious.

Also, there are some great tips from NEDA to keep you grounded and well-prepared for the holidays.
Just click on "How to Negotiate the Holidays" under Holiday Tips.

There's a lot to be thankful for.
Hope everyone has a fantastic holiday :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the great facebook outting.

In about a one hour time span, I receive an e-mail from my brother with the link to the following Newsweek article, and my Google Reader informs me of two new posts by Rachel and Jezebel about the same article.

In short - as you can read the article for full detail - what used to be a very secretive and underground community is now becoming very public in an almost "flaunting" nature on one of the largest, most popular social-networking sites: Facebook. Groups are being produced where people can join and share tips and "thinspiration" in what is commonly known as a Pro-Ana community.

The controversy seems to be in whether or not it's better to have it out in the open rather than so secretive. I, myself, am a member of one of the more popular Facebook groups to ban this kind of behavior, as it is, in fact, against their terms and conditions; the groups promote self-harming behaviors to themselves and others.

To the common, logical thinker, the immediate reaction is most likely that this is a disgusting and disturbing situation that needs to be closely monitored and banned wherever possible. It is, don't get me wrong. However, I find myself torn.
I did it. I know a lot of girls I was in treatment with did. We knew the sites, we had the notebooks, printouts of tips and pictures of hauntingly emaciated celebrities and models. It's terrible, especially to people who have never felt so lost in their own mind and so uncomfortable in their own skin that you felt physically imprisoned in your own body. People who have never experienced an eating disorder, first hand, don't know that feeling. The people on these Pro-Ana/Mia webites.. they got it. Please note, I am NOT in any way shape or form condoning these behaviors or promoting these websites. I am just saying I understand why they're out there. It's a support system, when some people have nothing, no matter what they promote.

Is it better to have a harmful support system than to feel completely alone? I know just as well as anyone who has fought an addiction that you cannot get help until you are willing to receive it. What can you do until that point? The world of an eating disorder is tricky.. fragile.. pressuring.. and fucking lonely, support or none.

Do I think that community should be public? No. I have a problem with it being so easily accessible, especially in a predominately high school and college setting where self-esteem and body image are constantly gnawing at these age groups in every day life as it is. Talk about vulnerability. More often than not, Pro-Ana/Mia supporters stand by the fact that eating disorders are a lifestyle, not a disease. It has a very strong, cult-ish vibe. If you ban them, yes, they will still exist. But if they are public, you're just pouring gas on the fire. It's enabling.

This is not a lifestyle. It is one mindfuck of a disease. And I am torn because.. what can you do when people feel like they have no where else to go and don't understand what their own brain is doing to them?

Monday, November 24, 2008

treating from experience.

Over at GreyThinking, an interesting topic has been raised. Here's a little summarizing excerpt from her entry:

How do you feel about being treated by someone with an eating disorder history?

I’ve always felt very strongly AGAINST seeing a therapist who had an eating disorder herself. I think part of that is related to the competitiveness of the eating disorder (not that I think SHE will be competitive, but that I will be), but I also think part of it is about objectivity. I don’t know if you can be completely objective having suffered from the same thing yourself. I’ve never really wanted empathy. Maybe this is weird of me? I just have a thing about people with eating disorders guiding others with eating disorders. It’s the blind leading the blind. I want to work with someone completely removed from the eating disorder world.

Before this, she raises the obvious point that a large part of our community is hugely interested in pursuing degrees in psychology and nutrition (guilty). This, of course, is based on the fact that we are drawn to what we are exposed to.

Now, my therapist is absolutely incredible. I don't know what it is about him; he has never personally struggled through an eating disorder, nor did he ever imagine that he would even be in the field. He was just lucky he had a psych degree to fall back on after his first career choice [in sales] did not pan out.

However, there were two women that really played a huge part in my recovery. One was my best friend from college, who had recovered herself. Her role was very important because I was unable to fully accept recovery until I could see that it was possible, which she showed me while sitting on my hospital bed one night last fall.
The other was a counselor at one of my treatment programs. I knew, long before she was able to tell me, that she had recovered. Many of the counselors were very good, but she knew how to communicate with us on a different level than most of the other doctors. She knew how to talk and how it felt and how to word the things she said, as she had experienced it all. Nothing was more comforting than being able to talk to someone who really knew what it was like.

I am hoping that's how people will feel when I am able to get more involved, personally, with others' recovery. I want to be in treatment, but from the other side because I feel like I could make such a huge difference having gotten through it. Patients have such a difficult time trusting doctors as it is; I think it would be easier if they knew where they were coming from. No matter how good of a therapist you may be, you can never get into someone's head. Someone who's already experienced it is already there. That is as trustworthy as it can get.

Now, GT raises the point that treating patients may be risky to both the patient and the provider based on how recovered s/he may or may not be. I do not believe that anyone who is not absolutely fully recovered should be treating anyone, as I would think it would be detrimental to both parties' recovery and treatment. I assume that goes without saying. You cannot help anyone until you receive the help you need, first. I would hope employers would double check information like this before hiring treatment staff? I don't know how that works, but wouldn't any treatment center - eating disorder, drug, alcohol, etc - check for a background history of behaviors before allowing someone to treat others for it?

What are your thoughts on it? Would you prefer to be treated by someone who has never personally had ED in their life, or someone that totally gets what is going on with you and the way your brain works from the inside?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

my favorite week is in the making.

I know, I know.. it's about 4 months away, but the planning has begun and I'm trying to get a head start. I didn't do anything for NEDAW last year because I tried to get something together too last minute. I don't have a clue what to do this year, I just know that I definitely want to get involved.

The cool this is that by the time the week (the final in February) rolls around, I will be volunteering for MEDA. So, more or less, I will have to be directly involved, which is awesome. I can't wait to see how I can help.

What have you done in past years to get involved?
Any thoughts on what you would like to do for NEDAW 'o9?

Friday, November 21, 2008

unite ED bloggers, part ii.

I'm being asked these two questions a lot and I figured I should probably just put the answers out where everyone can see them. So, here ya go!

  1. The group is secret. It does not appear in search results, nor will it be seen on your profiles. For those of you who aren't ready to "out" yourselves as an ED blogger (or an ED connection, in general), I can absolutely respect that and you will be safely anonymous (besides, of course, to the other group members).

  2. Friend me to join. As the group is secret, I don't believe the link on the previous post works. Therefore, you will have to find and friend me on Facebook (as well as send me a message with your blog address) and then I'll invite you. I can be found on Facebook by searching Emily Sam. I don't think there are many others, but I'm CDIABU '1o.
Any other questions, please e-mail me so I can easily get back to you. I'm really glad there's so much enthusiasm about this group! There is currently rather low activity, but I'm hoping we can all use this group in the way that I'm intending it. I suppose we will see.

Thanks, guys :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the goal: unite ED bloggers.

I have created a group in the one place that is almost guaranteed to house the majority of the computer-owning human race for us to group up: Facebook. I thought it would be nice to associate a face with the writer and content, and to be able to communicate with each other about what we write, what projects we're working on, and what we're doing for the community outside of our blogs.

The group currently consists of myself (obviously), Carrie, Laura Collins, Harriet Brown, and my love, Kiersten. It is a closed group, so please request an invite and either leave me a comment on here or shoot me a message on Facebook with your name & blog. I will, obviously, not accept anything but blogs written in a pro-recovery nature.

[Blogging for [ED] Awareness & Recovery]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

dr. roy g. biv.

In my Text/Type/Layout class, we spent a night being lectured on color. I am not ashamed to admit that I was absolutely loving every second of it. However, my nerdiness is beside the point.

All the colors were broken down into emotions and "reasons" that we seem to relate to different hues in different ways. For example, purple (or violet) is associated with royalty and nobility because wayyy back when, the only way to achieve purple dye was extremely expensive and only royalty could afford it. They would wear purple robes, as it was a sign of wealth. I believe, more specifically, it came from some sort of sea creature and they could only collect the dye in tiny amounts at a time.. but I may be mixing up my stories.

A lot of thoughts kept popping into my head throughout the class, relating - of course - to the treatment world. We discussed how orange is a color that tends to evoke hunger in a person. (Ah, and suddenly, my blog takes on all new meaning, doesn't it.) It is also an "approachable" and optimistic color. Red is also associated with food as many of the most appealing foods are some shade of red. I'm the kid that picks through the Skittles and the Starburst for all the red and pink ones, I'll admit it. And we all know the best fruits are red. Come on, now.

Blue, on the contrary, tends to turn the mind off to food. This is mainly due to the fact that there is no natural food that is colored blue. (And no, blueberries are actually purple.) There is bleu cheese, but that only further backs up my point. The only natural foods that show any hint of blue.. are rotting. If blue makes you hunger, you've got a different problem on your hands.

I find yellow to be one of the most interesting hues. It is strongly associated with anxiety, which I can understand. You almot get anxious just looking at it, especially if it's used to color a font on a white background. Damn, I hate when people do that.. (heh). It also symbolizes caution and awareness, as well as intellect and concentration. Probably a good classroom color, besides that whole anxiety thing.

You have really got to wonder if someone takes all of these things into consideration when they put together a treatment center. Maybe the dining room should be painted orange. Maybe there shouldn't be blue or yellow anywhere. Purple tends to have a spiritual and contemplative feeling; that might be a good one. Maybe that's why treatment centers often go with one-flew-over-the-cukoo's-nest white (new Crayola color), because then they don't have to think about all the effects colors might have. Who knows.

Just something to think about.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

strange side-effects.

Does anyone else ever get the strange (and most likely irrational) fear that your poor eating habits may have rubbed off on your pet..

Just me? Oh well..

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a spoon full of sugar.

I know how the world thinks of prescription drugs, believe me. There are far too many who believe meds are a sign of some sort of weakness. "I shouldn't need pills to be happy." Well, unfortunately, many of us do. They're looked at in a very negative manor, but here's the breakdown: not all brains are optimized for pleasant means of living. If you have an eating disorder, there is a very good chance that yours is one that is not. They've showed proof of anorexia on brain scans. Mental disorder or not, there is a physical side to every disease.

I, myself, have a chemical imbalance. It runs in my family, it is not my fault, and I do what I need to in order to enjoy my life the way I deserve to. The imbalance leads to anxiety, panic, depression.. That means that twice a day, I need to take a stabilizer so that my brain can make the right amount of serotonin, just like anyone who needs a pill to keep their blood pressure down. It's all body chemistry.

I know they suck to take. My T & NP will be the first to tell you that I really blow at taking my meds, but I can tell you that my life has become much more livable since I've learned that going off of them or being erratic about it is the worst idea possible. I have very minimal anxiety and haven't shown symptoms of depression in almost a year, now. It's a tool, and it only works if you use it properly.

Now, I am no doctor. I do believe medication is a very necessary tool for recovery from any mental disease/disorder*, but I also know that not all people respond the same to prescription drugs. This is something you need to discuss with your doctor. They are also not a miracle fix. I remember, a year ago, telling my NP that I was still in a lot of pain, to which he responded, "Well, of course.. you're still human." If a pill numbs you out of pain, it's going to numb you out of every other emotion, as well. If that's the case, you should probably get off it immediately. It's all about trial and error.
A resource you may want to start with might be - a list of some of the more common scripts, what they do, common side effects. Of course, you should be careful about the urge to self-diagnose yourself, as I've had problems with in the past. This should, again, be discussed with your doctor above all else.

*there are currently no prescriptions to treat eating disorders.
medication can be used to treat the symptoms that usually accompany EDs,
such as anxiety/panic disorders, depression, ocd, bpd, and so on.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

another hungry american.

I've been bitching and moaning for a while about how I can't afford groceries. I have even recently been denied food stamps because I "make too much," which I find amusing seeing as how I still couldn't afford groceries. And now, here I am, laid-off as of thirty-four hours ago with hardly enough money to my name to pay my first cold-months heating bill.
Yes, I have a lot of opportunities to bring in a little income. I have retail (god, help me) which are all hiring for the upcoming holiday season, I have my temp agency which could have me work by mid-week, I'm not worried about that. My roommate works a job with an authoritative position that I don't have the qualifications for and makes in a week what I used to make in a night.

Let's revisit the part where I'm recovering from an eating disorder. Am I the only one in recovery who doesn't have ample income? I'm pretty sure I'm not, especially with the economy being as it is. It ain't right. My insurance covers my medication, my doctor can even write me a prescription for boost, but I'm on my own for food? Just think about how ridiculous this is for a second. It doesn't even make sense. One of my friends [from treatment] has resorted to dumpster-diving. His therapist is just happy that he's eating. This is what we've come to.
We have to go through treatment (hospitalization, in some cases) because we're not feeding ourselves, but once we're out, we're left on our own whether we can afford it or not. There has to be a way around this. If a doctor tells you that you have to take your medication every single day and it is absolutely necessary to your health, they will find a way to help you afford it if it isn't covered by insurance.

I wonder if I could start something: a non-profit that helps people recovering from eating disorders to get nutrition when they can't make ends meet. I don't know how it would work; I know there are a lot of technicalities that go along with that. I could figure it out. If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to them.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

there's gotta be more to life..

Jenni Schaefer wants to know, "Are you truly alive?" I will admit that my initial reaction to this entry was that it seemed a bit cheesy to place a tie between the power of an election and how well a person is doing in their eating disorder recovery. However, as I read to the end of her post it hit me that, in lives like ours, it's all tied in.

She writes:
Sadly, I can’t remember much about other historical events that I have lived through. I was so sick with my eating disorder that I was not truly present in this world.

I sat for a minute and thought this through. There are not only bits and pieces from the last couple years that I can't recall or remember in varying inaccurate accounts, but there are events I remember quite vividly, right down to the detail of not having much feeling based on what was going on. Even if I remember something that was going on, I didn't necessarily have an emotional reaction tied to it; the affair was kind of just happening around me.

This was the most powerful election year for me in twenty-two years. I have only been able to relate my emotional experience of hearing that Obama had officially crossed the 270 cut-off to those that come with that Game 7 walk-off homerun; that absolute split second when you realize, "We just took the World Series." It's that feeling, and then we'll say we topped with winning the WS a second time.. in the same season.. and then Obama is announced as our 44th president.

And let me just say, I watched the Red Sox win their 2oo7 World Series from the cold-tile floor of the EDU's common room. There was an awkward kind of "woo" moment and we were all promptly sent to our beds. I didn't feel much for events happening outside of the hospital; not many of us did. I was so much happier watching the counts come in from my friend's couch, school work on the table in front of me, and a bowl of ice cream in my lap. That is how history should be shared.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

from patient to doctor.

Things I find amusing: last year, I was a [legit] hospital patient on Halloween. This year, I was a doctor. It was an easy costume, complete with Fisher Price equipment. I was cute, not gonna lie. Let's see if I can pull up a picture here..

See? Cute. Of course - and, I'm not sure why - I looked like I was 12 that night for some reason.. I think it's the poor bang-cut that I gave myself (they were way too long) and the lack of eyebrow waxing. They seem to bring me right back to the awkward years pretty quick. The sword, by the way, is my friend's. She was a pirate. I cut her out for her own privacy.
I handed out Pop Rocks to my (very few) tables. That seemed to get a pretty good response, especially from the early college range where it feels like a "throw-back" to them, even though Pop Rocks were before their time. Whatever, as long as they were happy.

Now, to return the costume and get that much-needed money back. I'm keeping the scrub pants though. Way too comfortable.

How was everyone else's Halloween?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

more responsiblities than a year ago..

Everything is sneaking up on me again. I may have done a bit of procrastinating, I'll admit. Sometimes, I miss the way things were on Alcott; my room & board were not costs I had to worry about, I didn't have to be anywhere, there were no deadlines, and I always had a minimum of 4 professionals around to help me sort my head out. Not to mention, I'd kill for one of those blueberry muffins I used to have for breakfast every day, but that's way besides the point.

On the other hand, it's so much more fun to run my own life. There is so much going on and coming at me from so many different directions. It's going to be a great month. Maybe you guys could join me for some of it?

NaNoWriMo: or National Novel Writing Month. If you guys are writers (which, I have an inkling that most of my readers are..), you should absolutely get involved. Try something new, find a new sense of accomplishment, challenge yourself. It's a novel in 30 days, it's not intended to be a best seller. The point is to know that you can bang out 50,000 words in a month. No one even has to read it. So what the hell are you waiting for? The word count starts in less than 36 hrs!
[If/When you join, find me and my writing buddies on the site: emsr18]

NaBloPoMo: for those of you who are not fiction writers and don't have an interest in giving it a shot, I know many of you have no problems with blog writing. This is a bit different, but still a fun challenge if you would like to take one! Just a blog post a day.

The 2oo8 Election: I will be going "home" on the 4th to vote. I hope you are all registered and voting. This is the most involved I have ever been in an election, besides the fact that it's only the 2nd one that I can vote in (there is no reason that under-18ers shouldn't be involved, even if they can't vote!). To be honest, I'm a little freaked out about what may happen on Nov 4. Some of the things I hear right now are making me sick, but this isn't a political blog, so I'll stick to the things I am informed about. Here's an e-mail that I think all woman should consider.

MEDA: I am in the midst of setting up an interview with them to join their winter/spring volunteers. I am so excited about this. It may just be a volunteer opportunity, but you never know where that can lead. It's all about getting your foot in the door.

Finances: The rooming situation, the job situation.. it's all slowly falling into place. It's also completely - once again - proving how everything comes together when it's supposed to. It's a process, but it always works out for the best and I'm no longer worried. This upcoming month may be the end of my rough patch. We'll see.

Finally, I've had this idea rolling around in my head for a while about an ED Blogger's Meet-Up of some sort. It would be something that would have to wait until the new year, of course, but I've been thinking about it. I'll post more about that later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

"some days, i think art is the only thing that saved me.."

I was reminded a little while back that I was interested in collecting samples of art therapy from other readers and was considering searching for more submissions.  Shortly after I had the thought, I received an e-mail from a 30-year-old woman, Shawna, who was intrigued by my earlier posts on art and recovery.
She was first diagnosed with AN at the age of 14.  She recalls two relapses since then (one at 17, in which she was hospitalized, and the other three years ago, where she was placed in an outpatient program).  She has her MA in Art and her work is incredible.  The meanings are almost too intense to put into words, which I suppose is the true power that comes through art.  She even says she often has trouble discussing the art and explaining the meanings to "academic types."
Below are some of the pieces I found particularly powerful from her site.

"Soul Escape"



"War Goddess (sculpture)"

I want to post so many more.
If you would like to see the rest of Shawna's art, her website can be found here.

If anyone else is interested in sharing their art therapy works, feel free to send them to me over at

Friday, October 24, 2008

happy anniversary. it's a big one.

The mission is simple: keep my head above water until January.  When the new year rolls around, I'll graduate, be done with the show that I'm co-assistant directing, and be let go from the photographer position I'm holding at the portrait studio for the holiday season.  Then, and only then, would I be able to calmly retreat from my life and receive help for my most recent and dramatic rock-bottom spiral.  Just three more months.
The red-flags were surrounding me like land-mines.  I had dropped all my meds, I was processing all of the nutritional numbers, but none of the nutrition, I was isolating, and the anxiety attacks.. oh, the anxiety attacks.  But, like we do, I ignored them all.  Nothing mattered but the ultimate goal: hold onto to my (imaginary) control.
There were three factors that played into aborting my oh-so-genius plan.  The first came on October 19th, the day that I would be told I was not only no longer above water, but I was already drowning.  I called Brie, my unfortunate partner in crime, having an unbearable panic attack at work.  Without delving back into the details, she insisted I go to the ER.  I told her I had to work, but didn't last long when I got back inside.  My mom took me to the hospital shortly after.
I was fine - and no one was particularly shocked - but this one wasn't getting past the two big guys (see also: drugs & therapy).  I had  appointments set up with each of them very shortly after.  Of course, the morning of those appointments (and I mean the morningest part of morning), is when factor two actually came along.  I was still full-blown on my "must please everyone else before saving my own life" path until this point, but there was really only one person that could've slapped me in the face the way that I needed to realize what I was doing to myself and everyone around me.  And he did.  And I was starting to realize that I didn't have it in me to finish everything I'd started anymore and I wouldn't.. until I went back.
Factor three wasn't so much a factor, because it was slightly against my will, but I saw the men.  I figured, perhaps they'd let me get away with some low-level outpatient for the next couple months.  However, my thought process was changing and I realized I wasn't going to make it strongly through the next three months at that point.
That afternoon, my mom and I found ourselves on the 5th floor - "upstairs" as some like to call it.  And there you have it.  It's my one year anniversary of the day I finally officially decided to kick the shit out of this thing and was admitted to the EDU.  I can't believe how much a person can change in a year.
My head's in a lot of different places right now.  This has been weirder for me to recall than I expected.  I guess it was kind of an intense experience, looking back on it..

Thursday, October 23, 2008

just meat and potatoes.

When I think about what I can do to change how the world looks at itself, I always get tripped up by 1 minor detail: self-image has been tripping us up since the beginning of time.  You can blame it on the models and MTV and "today's standards" all you want, but "today's standards" centuries ago were the same.  Women were literally breaking their ribs for "skinny".  If you think about it, though, we are always moving forward.  As I've learned from the following e-mail, we are improving.  We have more information than we've ever had before and we're using it.. and, more importantly, we're talking about it.
I received this e-mail a few days ago from a faithful reader, and one of my biggest fans of 22 years.  She's one of the most beautiful people I've ever known and it meant so much that she shared this story with me.  I knew weight has always been a problem in my family (does anyone's family not have that problem??), but this was a story I had yet to hear.
Hi Em,
I want you to know that you and your generation are so fortunate to have nutrition know-how.  When I was growing up, [I had] a mother that only worried about getting food on the table, and food that she was used to in europe. I didn't have a clue as to what to eat or fats or sugar or anything.  My mother was so frustraited with my being "SO FAT".  I was so unhappy and lonely in grammar school.  Everyone validated the fact that I was different.  That's where i developed my humor and kindness and always befriended the people that were not as cool as the beautiful ones who lived off their attractiveness.  I never could figure out what they had.  They were not kind.  They grouped together.  So i guess that was a good thing to have: to rely on what was inside of me.
When I got into high school, [my sister] Jeanie was married and she put me on a "diet," or "program" as they would call it today.  I started to lose weight and I ate only what she told me to eat.  I can remember being at a girlfriends house and she offered me an orange.  I actually called Jeanie to see if it was allright to eat it.
When I got married, there was a period when i was in my 30s that I lost a lot of weight and my hair got long and i was "HOT".  I can remember being out with Grandpa and we loved to dance and I would catch the looks of the guys sitting at the tables and all I could think was, "I'm the same person as i always was.  Where were you then... BASTARDS (I'm still angry).  I went to dances at school and would be excited, but all the time knowing that I would have to keep walking around the place so i didn't look like a wallflower.  What hurt was when my parents would ask if I'd had a good time and I lied and said "yes".
Anyway, as I said, the girls today have wonderful information at their disposal.  Some have eating disorders or whatever, but their problems come from different directions of their life.  I know today it isn't about" food".
I hope they have programs in the schools for girls and boys that come from a busy home that have no time to check what anybody is eating and their only company is a computer or a game thing and snacking.
I think the food pyramid was upside down then.  Oh wait... we never had one.  Just "meat and potatoes".
[my gramma, Natalie B, age 69]
[edits made with permission.]
I guess we sometimes take our progress for granted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

welcome back, october.

I wonder if I'm the only one that isn't just reminded of how I felt at a certain point of time (by a certain event or song, or just by how someone is reacting to me), but I feel it all over again as if it is physically happening to me at that exact time.  So many songs have such strong emotions attached to them that I can't even listen to them.  Even if the emotion is a good one, sometimes, it's actually too strong and I just can't handle it when I'm not in that mind-frame.

Weather is huge for me.  That's one of the reasons I love summer so much is because of the emotions that it holds me for me.  I've been through some pretty rough times during the colder seasons (besides your average case of SAD, but that never helps much).  Anniversaries come easy to me because there is a direct emotion attached to dates and seasons.  It's one of those weird things that I can just kind of feel.  Of course, this leaves me with reminders for anniversaries of things you wouldn't even think to mark, but it leads me to rock at birthdays and vet appointments.  The anniversary of my accident is May 24th and the anniversary of bringing home my baby boy (of the feline variety) is October 12th.

Three days ago was the anniversary of my last day at PortraitSimple, before I took medical leave.  I had such an absurd panic attack about the fact that I could possibly - accidentally - kill myself that my mom had to bring me to the ER so I could be reassured I wasn't on the verge of a heart attack.  There, of course, was no way of getting out of that one without a little extra hospital time.  I called my manager and told her I wouldn't be coming back for a while.  My next anniversary is in three days.

The emotions attached to this time of year are confusing for me.  The past 3 years, I've been in treatment around this time, or at least was approaching it.  Last year is the time that really stuck and everything that came with that is rushing back to me, now: how it felt to want to starve myself (for the record, I can feel the emotion; it doesn't mean I feel the urge to do so), how it felt to know that I was going to be forced to drop my whole life, my job, my education that I was so close to finishing, how it felt to know that I was letting everyone down that I loved, how embarrassing it would be to tell my friends that I'm going to have to go back to treatment.  At the same time, the weather is frighteningly similar right now as it is to the end of the winter when I was finishing up my treatment cycle at Walden.  Fuck, that felt good, but it's confusing to feel that emotion at the same time as those that came with the beginning of the process.

This is going to be an interesting winter for me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

friends don't let friends "fat talk".

As an advocate for body acceptance, I think this is a beautiful thing. (As a graphic designer [student], I have a crush on this video.) That aside, I think it needs to stop. The week is almost over, but it should continue on. Not just "fat" talk; all weight talk. Fat, skinny.. what does it matter?

On the other hand, where are the lines drawn? "Fat" and "thin" are just describing words. What makes these words lethal is that they also double as judgmental words. When you say something is thick, or soft, or yellow, you are describing them with fact. All of these words are adjectives and yet, at some point along the timeline, "fat" became a word that you can't say with judging, simultaneously.  Is it too late to change that?

thanks to a.s. for finding the above video ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

let there be light.

Sometimes, I really enjoy reading personal blog entries [on ED blogs] that are actually about the person and not their illness/recovery.  I like to know who I'm reading about and I know that eating disorders are not all that you guys are.  It's not all I am, either.

In my last entry, I briefly mentioned something about my religious beliefs.  Recently, this is a topic that has come up quite a bit with some people in my life, all completely unrelated.  I finally decided to gather all the chunks and pour it out, essay style.  If you have an interest in religion and other peoples' thoughts on it (or you just really love reading about me - whatever), feel free to read and comment.

Friday, October 10, 2008

..on Yom Kippur, it is sealed.

Yom Kippur (Yome Key-pour) was yesterday, marking the end of Rosh Hashanah and the Jewish "Day of Atonement".  Ahh, atonement.  How do we atone?  Well, the Talmud says that we atone by abstaining from sex, bathing, moisturizing, eating, and wearing leather shoes.  Now, this brings me around to a piece I've been working on about how outdated I feel most organized religious practices to be, but I'll save that for another time.  I believe the shoes I wore yesterday were not leather, but they were suede.  Sorry, God.

All besides the point.  Why do we abstain?  Because it is about denying ourselves pleasure on a day that we should not think about ourselves, but others and how we've wronged.. the world.  So, we fast.  Now, I'll save my rant for another day (and, probably my other blog), but come on now.  When we now know what food does for the body and how much we need it, we still give it up for a day because we're sorry?  And for what?

No, it is not required that you fast.  In fact, it is even forbidden for young children or those who would be put at some sort of *AHEM* medical risk by doing so (i.e. my whole family).  But, can't we atone while still nourishing ourselves?  It's not just a pleasure; it's how we live.  Should I sit and think about what I've done (which I shouldn't atone for only one day a year, if it was that awful) and deny myself oxygen?  ..Isn't denying ourselves food for 25 hours (yes, 25) really putting anyone at some sort of medical risk, healthy or not?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

jumping the fence.

One of my best friends - who had finished her last full treatment experience just before I had started mine - asked me one day, "Is it strange that I really miss the hospital sometimes?"  I didn't even have to think before responding that I did, too.  It's kind of like an old camp memory; it was controlled, it was structured, it was comforting.  There was no skimping on meals, or parts of meals, or buying and preparing groceries.  I also loved that I could knit all I wanted without worrying that I was blowing off something else I needed to get done.

Even some of the hardest times I went through aren't things that I look back on with any form of regret.  There were some really painful moments, obviously, but I made it through them.  I, of course, could have lived without the writhing-in-pain from refeeding, the prison-like shower stalls, and having to ask permission *every time* I had to use the bathroom, let alone the fact that they would stand there and listen.  Come on now, treatment can't be totally cool..

I do, however, really miss the environment in the out-patient programs.  I wish there was some way - without 3 under- and post-grad degrees - that I could go back to be on the other side of the process.  I kind of loved the end of my treatment cycle, when I was so done with being there and could no longer emotionally relate to my group, but was told how much I had helped them as I "improved" (for lack of a better word).  That's all I want to do.

I'm not sure what it is about the hospital environment, but I love it.  There must be a way to be apart of it without an MD.. or a wristband.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

wow, have you put on weight?

Tonight, I was talking to my friend about how I was trying to gain weight.  He asked me what happened that I had lost so much and - being open about what I've been through - I told him I had been working on recovering from anorexia.  After explaining (the short version, of course) and telling him that I was now working hard to pull my weight (literally) on the physical end, he replied with, "Wow, I had been thinking you'd put on a little weight."
"Yeah, it looks like you've gained a few pounds!"
That, my friends, totally made my night.  I felt like most women seem to feel when their friends tell them, "Wow, have you lost weight?"
Does anyone else wonder why the number of women trying to gain weight doesn't balance the number of women trying to lose?  That always bothers me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

a burning torch that's turned upside down..

"Quod me nutrit me destruit."

Class, raise your hand if you know what this Latin phrase means?  WHOA, chill out, I said 'raise your hand'!  Okay, so you've all been doing your Latin homework, apparently.  Good for you guys.  Now, raise your hand if this phrase haunts you.

Me too.

For those who don't study Latin or an infamous, terrifyingly-tragic web community, the above phrase translates into, "What nourishes me also destroys me."  Often used in association with fun - yet destructive - lifestyles (drugs, sex, and rock & roll?), this is also the unofficial motto of the pro-eating disorder community.  So, as that is how the phrase is most commonly found, I thought it would be interesting to delve deeper into its origin.

This particular line actually has no known author or source within classic Latin literature.  It is a spin-off phrase that comes from "Quod me alit, me extinguit," which means, "What feeds me, extinguishes me," or "Qui me alit, me extinguit," meaning, "Who feeds me, extinguishes me."  The second one gives a much different meaning to the overall idea.  This was first printed on a portrait of a student (believed to be Christopher Marlowe) of Corpus Christi College (Cambridge, UK).  A few years after the portrait was estimated to be done (1585), Shakespeare wrote the play, "Pericle, Prince of Tyre," in which the line appears in Act II, Scene II.

It's nice to associate the phrase with something other than starvation.  Maybe we can spread the concept.


Monday, September 29, 2008

apples & honey.

It's the high holidays, folks!  Well, for about 1.3% of your beautiful country, it is.  For those who don't know what this means, it is that the two most important holidays in the Jewish faith have arrived: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Yome Key - Pour.. not Yahm Kipper).  If you just said - or plan to comment - that you thought Chanukah was the "most important Jewish holiday," just e-mail me.  We'll talk later.

Moving on.  For those who do not know what these two holidays are, they are the Jewish New Year (5769) and "our" day of repentance, respectively.  They are also the days of seeing the entire hometown congregation for the first time since you moved out of your parents' house, shvitzing in the local synegogue for two hours, sneaking Tic Tacs around the back row, and having a silent party in your head when they sound the shofar because you know that means the service is coming to a conclusion.

Unfortunately, the holidays (like the other 98.3% of the population's) come with stress and part of that stress always involves food in one way, shape, or form (no pun intended).  Tonight, my mother received the infamous, "You gotta put some meat on her bones!  Girls these days don't eat enough!" To which she replied, "Oh, haha!  Believe me, she knows.." and we semi-awkwardly walked away.  This duo has a wide range of responses along those lines.

Less than being part of our society, it's a part of my history; Jewish women must be sure that all other people of the world are well-fed.  Truth be told, I would probably still hear lines like that even if I were at the weight I am working towards.  I take about as much offense to comments like those as I do to any Jewish person telling your average "big nose joke".  I think it's mostly because of the generation that is commonly trying to feed every not-as-hungry-as-she-thinks person; they were raised in a different time when eating disorders were never spoken of.  Of course, I think that specific time ended with the "baby boomers" generation, but that really only reinforces my point.

I'm starting to realize that as much as comments about other peoples' weights and eating habits can really frustrate me, the people who makes those comments are ignorant to that.  We have two choices of how to deal with that ignorance: express our discomfort, or let it roll off.  Not saying anything and then being frustrated about it is like hating our president when you didn't vote.  I'd prefer to let it go.  There are more important things.

..Like enjoying our sweet new year.
L'shana tova :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

another way to look at it.

When I was on my high school gymnastics team (5 years ago, good lord), the first two weeks of the season were spent doing a torturous level of conditioning.  I was extremely out of shape and far from flexible.  In fact, I was easily one of the least flexible on the team.  I never thought I would have been able to drop into a full split.  Our coaches would push us until we thought our muscles were going to rip and just as we hit that point, we were told to stretch just a little further.
If you don't challenge yourself past what you can already clearly do, that's as much as you'll ever be able to do.  That is the sort of the mindset I kept during the whole refeeding process.  I would eat until I absolutely didn't think I could finish any more of my meal, and then I would force myself to take just a few more bites.  It's all about pushing past your limits.

When you're in recovery, doing only as much as you (think you) can will never be enough.  You've always got to take one more step past that point.  That's the point where you learn new things about yourself.

I had a split by the end of that season.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

enough about my disease, tell me about yours?

For those who don't know, I am not the only one in my family living with disease.  My senior year of high school, my father was diagnosed with scleroderma.  He was given medication, chemo, and limited other sources with little success.  The disease is so new - and so rare - that no doctor seems to really know what to do with it right now.  At least, that's been the case for the last couple years.  Everything that happened was "expected," and anything that wasn't happening yet wasn't something that we could expect or not expect.

As the disease progressed and we were told there was nothing much else to do, my parents took matters into their own hands and did all the research they could.  Then, my dad found Jane, a woman who had reached about the same critical level of his illness and opted for an experimental stem cell transplant.  The process was long and involved, but my parents eventually relocated to Waterville, ME for the duration of the procedure (approximately 2 months).

Since the procedure - almost 2 years ago - my dad's condition has been up and down (currently up, but with irreparable damage).  The transplant is exremely experimental, so results may (and absolutely do) vary.  However, more and more people are being diagnosed with Scleroderma, and more and more are resorting to stem cell transplants.
Below is an article my mom sent me this morning.  The news "just keeps better and better."

[Click the article to read on at]

For more information on Scleroderma and getting involved, visit The Scleroderma Foundation.
For information on helping raise money for experimental-transplant patients,

walden west.

While I was a patient at Walden - within the past year - there was talk of the program opening a treatment center out in western Massachusetts.  Until now, there were no convenient treatment options for anyone living out that way.

I have recently received an e-mail from Walden Behavioral Care to announce the official open house of the new center in Northampton, MA.  The Northampton site currently does not offer inpatient options, but provides adolescent and adult PHP and IOP programs.

For more information, check out the site here: Northampton Open House.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

losing someone else's weight.

Brick walls are pretty sturdy.  You can lean all up on that for days, weeks, years and it ain't comin' down.  Punch it, kick it, there's no give.  People.. well, people are more like.. not walls.  We've only got so much support in us before we come down and need to pull away to protect ourselves.

Everyone wants to believe that the people we love unconditionally will have an unconditional amount of support to them.  When we're most in need, we can be quick to feel betrayed or deceived by the strength of a relationship when the person we need the most has to remove themselves from the picture.  It can be extremely painful when we realize that we not only have nothing left to fall back on but ourselves, but that the people we feel we would take a bullet for might not do the same for us.

Unfortunately, I've been on both sides of the track.  I think, unless you have been, it becomes much more painful for people on either side to understand the idea of needing to walk away before we've lost so much support, we can't even hold ourselves up anymore.  On the inside of the disease (addiction or otherwise), it can feel like we don't have enough of our head together to depend on ourselves, which - of course - leads to a strong (and, often clinging) dependency on others.  On the outside, it feels like we're being spread too thin and don't have time to take care of ourselves.

People tend to lose a lot of patience for those who aren't willing to help themselves.  It's hard to stay active in someone's life when all they want to do is continue to hurt themselves.  It's even harder when you've put more energy than you thought a human being could possess into removing yourself from that kind of lifestyle.  It's a sticky situation, but we all know that you cannot help someone who isn't ready to receive it.  Some may see it as selfish, and if that's the case, then we need to learn how to be a little more selfish if it means keeping our own health and stability in check.

In the end, we can't really care for anyone - emotionally or phsyically - until we're taken care of; that goes for everyone, no matter which side they're on.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

reality [show] check.

Extreme Makeover, What Not to Wear, The Swan, even The Biggest Loser (since the realization that it was less "becoming healthier" and more "doing whatever it takes").  You know the names.  These are the names of reality TV shows that all share a similar bottom line: "Don't like yourself?  We don't either.  Let us help you fix it."  Now, that may seem a bit Extreme, but let's be honest; one of the above titles even encourages rebuilding your entire body via plastic (and other such) surgeries.  These are the ideas that women (and men) are filling their heads with, whether it's for some prime-time amusement, or to get the feeling that someone else is living their reality dream.  (I know.. the irony.)  Let's not forget the children of these men and women that are plopped in front of the TV while their parents' think it's just mindless entertainment during dinner.  Psssssst!  Hey, parents!  Your kids are ingesting this crap!

Nonsense aside, there's a fairly newer reality TV show brought about by our favorite after-school-special channel, Lifetime.  How To Look Good Naked, hosted by Carson Kressley (of Queer-Eye), puts a new spin on makeovers.
I watched this show for the first time, yesterday, slightly skeptical about the fact that it would be anything different than all the others: "it's a bad cut for you, your clothes are too shlumpy, you're clearly not cool."  I was pleasantly surprised.  For one, the makeover almost comes as an afterthought in the show; it's more of a gift to liven things up (and what woman doesn't want a free makeover?) after all is said and done.

The show starts off with a woman telling her story about how she's lost her confidence, she feels ugly, she feels worthless, in one way or another.  There are tears, as there are in an unfortunate number of stories where women must confront how they actually feel about themselves.  Then, where you'd expect the host to have a team of makeover artists and fashion experts pop out of the bushes and yell, "LET'S FIX YOU!," Carson had her strip down to her underwear, and pointed out everything amazing about her.  Then, he had her stand in a line up of women that range from sizes lower than her to sizes larger than her and have her pick out the one who she thought she looked like.  They always seem to shoot too high, don't they?  Already, you could start to see her attitude change.

By the end of the show, she was struttin' the runway in rockin' langerie and her pre-teen daughter was telling her how proud of her she was.  Okay, so the way I worded that may have taken away from the point I'm trying to make, but it really was a beautiful thing.  She even looked 10 times more amazing, because you could see the confidence she was carrying.  It was probably the most incredible esteem-transformation I've ever seen in an hour (or, if you include all the time it took to film it, 12 or so hours?).

It's sad that only one woman can be on the show at a time.  They should make it into a group situation.  Like.. America's Next Top Healthy Model.  I know, nerdy and cheesy; I get like that sometimes.

If only it were so easy for those of use who have transformed a disease to look like we just don't like ourselves naked.. or clothed.. or.. at all..  At least there's a way to start.  Baby steps, right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

back online & rockin'.

Hello, my beautiful, faithful readers!

I have my lap top back and I'm rearin' to go!
A few surprising things happened while I was unable to update:

1) A few new readers commented that they were glad I was offline for a while so they would have time to start reading "from the beginning".
2) My fan count on Facebook went from 73 to 98.  (If you're on Facebook, you can find F.O here.)
3) I watched a disturbing amount of dvr'd episodes of Scrubs..

It's a beautiful thing to see the good word ("recovery," in this case, not "Jesus") spreading.  Thank you guys!!

I'm working on big things for F.O, right now.  An intense redesign project is in the works, as is integrating my hat project with the blog.  I know it's slightly ambiguous, but I think I'll leave it there for now.

Anyways, more to come ;)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

blame apple.

I regret to inform you that the macbook pro is in the shop and, therefore, F.O will be on a short haitus; approximately 5-7 days.

I have about 4 entries in the works and I promise to be more on top of updates upon return.

Love you all :)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

caution: our restaurant sells calories.

At work, we have we have this pb pie.  It is unbearably fantastic and I wish I would get one every shift I work, but - alas - I can only afford so much food and I try to put my limited income into the more necessary stuff like, you know, protein and vegetables (damn you, health).  However, it's hard for me to keep from wanting to lick one whenever I have to compile the deliciousness for a table of mine.

"Oh, man, I'd kill for a slice of this right now."
Without fail, about 3 consecutive times now, the response to this has always been, "Ugh, do you have any idea how many calories are in that?  Like, 1200, at least."
"Oh.. then, I should probably be eating about 3 of these a day.  Thanks for pointing that out."

No one usually knows how to respond to that, which is even funnier.  The weird thing is (besides the obvious fact that people need to raise my awareness to the caloric value every time I say I want to eat the pie, of course) is that two of those times weren't even women.  It's sad, but I find that surprising.

Why do people think it's so important to put that out there, especially when you don't know who you're talking to?  It drives me insane when people say things like that, knowing how they can effected.  Maybe I'm over sensitive about things that people say because of what I've been through and seeing how words can destroy a person from the inside out.  You can't expect everyone to know just what to say and what not to, but come on, that's just strange.

[Side note: no one comments on the caloric value of the pie when my (male) manager decides to throw a slice into the blender with 2 scoops of ice cream and a bit of whole milk?  Of course not.  ...Genius milkshake recipe, by the way.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

"fat is not a feeling," it's a visual.

I need as wide-spread involvement with this thought as possible.
I have been working with a doctor (actually working with her, not as her patient) in the area who is interested in treating anorexia.  I found her on Craigslist looking for a digital imager who could help her achieve a goal she has in mind for something that has never been done before.  I've brought up my skepticism to her about the ideas, but I'm also interested to see where it goes.  My goal, as the recovering, is to keep her up to date with reality checks about certain aspects of the project.
The general idea is that pictures are taken of patients and then manipulated to look as overweight as they "feel".  Now, hold on a second.. the point is not to show these images to patients and be like, "See, this is not what you look like!"  The point is to give patients a visual to describe how they feel, so that they can show someone what they feel like when they see themselves differently than other people do.
The more I go into it, the more skeptical I feel about it.  However, I think about groups that some treatment centers do with body-tracing and how helpful that can be because it's visual.  Maybe there aren't enough visual outlets in treatment.  Yes, so much of it needs to be about emotion, and feeling, and the deeper stuff, but the fact of the matter is that, to the patient, there is such a visual aspect that maybe it isn't addressed as much as it should be?  I'm not sure.
The bottom line is, if a doctor asked to take a photo of you ("you" being the recovering anorexia patients) and to manipulate you to look "heavier," how would you feel about that?  Do you think it would help?  Do you think it's just an absolutely disgusting idea?
I can't decide if I think it might be interesting to try or if it has the potential to make things much, much worse.  Or, even, if it's overall irrelevant?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

everyone's a little disordered... sometimes.

"Can I start you folks off with a plate of our famous guacamole?"
"No, thanks, I think we're all set to order.  Honey, why don't you start."
The gaze shifts to the 9-year-old girl sitting in the back corner of the 6-top booth.  She apprehensively peers around her grandparents at me and immediately shifts her eyes back to the menu.  "Umm," she began, then took a stalling sip of her Diet Pepsi.  "I think I want the Original Steak Fajitas, but I have a question."
"Sure!  Shoot!"  I could feel her discomfort, but there was something more than just a fear of speaking to strangers.  I focused on her, curious.
She continued, slowly, "Is there a lot of fat on the steak?"
I felt my face twitch in an oddly questioning manor; I tend to have a difficult time controlling my facial reactions.  "No, there's no fat on the steak at all.  It's a great cut," I answered, putting my server-face back on.
"You also get your choice of beans with that: refried or black?"
"Which ones are better for you?" she directed at her mother across the table.
"Okay, I'll have the black."

I took the rest of the family's orders, snapped my notebook shut, and shuffled off to a POS.

The thought of the little girl remained in my mind.  I was a little picky-eater once upon a time, too.  So was a girl I grew up with and she doesn't have an eating disorder, now.  A lot of kids are picky eaters.  A lot of people are picky eaters, or have strange habits, disordered habits, even.

My radar is always on for little red flags like that.  I can't help it; I've lived it for so long.  But, like I talked about in my post about whether or not to take a stance when a huge red flag is raised, how can you ever actually know what is going on with someone?  When is it even considered "disordered" or even "worrisome," for that matter.  What if this was your own child?  I suppose that would be different..

At one of my appointments with the nutritionist in Walden Residential, I fought my right to use a straw in order to get my daily fluids down easier.  She told me that the use of straws was against the program's rules because it was a "behavior."  I didn't understand why. It wasn't a behavior I ever used, it was just easier to get liquid down with a straw and if they wanted me to stay hydrated, it would be a fine idea.  "'Normal' people don't use straws," she said.
"They use them every day.  What about in restaurants?  You can't get a drink without a straw in restaurants."
"Well, yeah, but that's just restaurants.  I mean, people don't keep them in their houses; they don't use them at home."
"Yes, they do.  My mom keeps them in her house, my friends have them, I keep them in my apartment.. why else would they sell them in the supermarket?"
"Well," she started to get defensive, "everyone has a little bit of an eating disorder."  End of session.

Doesn't that make every everyone's "somewhat" disordered patterns "normal"?

I hate when I become confused by my own blog entries..

Saturday, August 16, 2008

8th grade science.

i stretched out on the couch - "my" couch - as i half-absently listened to him run down his list of reality checks, raising awareness to what my life has become in the absence of my old, destructive lifestyle.
"i mean," he continued, in his sarcastic, driving-the-point-home tone, "you haven't been using any behaviors, have you?"  i snapped back into real-time.  behaviors, i mulled. i repeated the word in my head a few times, waiting for the definition to register in my brain.  what kind of behav--.
"oh!  i didn't know what you meant at first," i finally responded.  "it's been so long since the word 'behavior' has even been brought to my attention, let alone having one be used."
"then, i make my point."  his point was that i was living life, not - as the saying goes - "just surviving."  i was out, i was working my ass off to pay for my newfound lifestyle, i was nourishing myself to be able to work my ass off for 40 - 50 hour weeks, i was spending time with my friends.  i was taking back what belongs to me.  it felt pretty damn good.  what felt almost as good was knowing the faith and trust that my treatment team had in my stage of recovery.  he knew i was fine and i know what it sounds like when he knows i'm not.  i hadn't heard that tone in his voice since last october.
as i headed out the door of his office building and onto the sidewalk, a feeling in my legs drew my eyes downwards.  i was wearing my favorite running shorts, which seemed to cover more surface area when i first bought them.. approximately 8 years ago.  with each step, the shock of my sole hitting the pavement sent a wave up through my leg, resulting in what is known as "jiggle" to woman-kind.  it's physics, i thought.  action, reaction.  i couldn't help but smile to myself; it was such a simple concept!  i have mass, i have weight, i have a body that properly reacts to physical laws of nature.  how could this have ever upset me?  it's such a beautiful thing.