Sunday, June 29, 2008

excuse me, miss.. there seems to be an elephant in your personal space.

fellow blogger and a mother of a young recovered (i believe?) anoretic, came upon a sticky situation a while back. while shopping with her daughter, she noticed another girl - same age - shopping with her mother as well. the girl was frail and emaciated-looking (from what i gather of her post), which is enough to make your only-human mind jump to judgement as it is. the tip-off, however, was that she was apparently desperately trying to convince her mother that she was, in fact, a size 7 and that the dress she wanted would fit her body. long story short, she made the decision to pull the mother aside and offer her a little awareness. (click here for the whole story, in harriet's words.)
on more than one occasion, i have heard a close loved one of mine say, "i saw a girl in class/the mall/my gym today who looked so painfully skinny. she was obviously anorexic." this drives me insane, as i've openly voiced to the closest of these loved ones. first of all, you could be the closest loved one in the world - attending years of doctor's appointments, reading all the books amazon could offer, sitting through treatment intake after intake, even being talked to extensively by the person him/herself - but if you think all it takes is looking at a person to tell, you still really don't get it.
second of all, people who appear underweight to emaciated may be anorexic. they may also have thyroid problems. unexplained weight loss is also a symptom of cancer and arthritis. my brother became rather thin before he was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. there's a reason treatment intakes usually last at least an hour. if all they had to do was see how a person looks, a small percentage of ED patients would be unpacked within 30 minutes and a much larger percentage would not even be accepted into the program. have you thought about that: how many people we probably walk by each day that look perfectly "normal" to us and probably have severe weight problems? i digress.
my feelings on the matter are as follows: i, personally, believe it's best not to say anything. please know, harriet, i respect your decision to do so. however - and i hope you do not take this to offense - i know that if i were that mother, i would have been very upset by a stranger overstepping my personal boundaries and making assumptions about my family's mental well-being. this is less towards you and more to the other parents who are wondering if and when they should step forward and say something to others, themselves.
the fact of the matter is that if someone is ignorant enough to miss that there is possibly a serious problem with themselves or someone they love, no stranger outside of that wall would certainly be able to break that boundary. it is really unfortunate how this disease goes unnoticed often for far too long, but it can rarely go any other way. people cannot seek help until they are willing to accept that they need it; this goes for both the patient and their families.
now, if this is a close family member of yours or a friend/friend's child, that's a different topic and that is based solely on your relationship with them. but for a completely random person in the store who has only known you for 30 seconds, tops, you don't know what is going on with that family or person. i mean, for all you know, that girl could have just been kicked out of treatment for the 6th time. it's far too large of an assumption to make with less than all the facts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

a little extra cushion.

two very close friends of mine were married this past weekend.  starting on friday night, it was rehearsal dinner, to breakfast and lunch at home, to wedding night, to hotel brunch sunday morning, to dinner with the bride's family sunday night, to breakfast with the groom monday morning, to a pizza dinner monday evening.  meal after meal after meal.  it was fantastic.
i hadn't eaten this well in a while, so i was hoping it would do me some good.  my moment of truth came while i was driving over to meet my roommate at an apartment we were checking out.  now, bare with me; this is not an incredibly gripping tale, but it was huge for me.

i had an itch on my ribs, while i was in the car.  these are usually my least favorite to scratch because i might as well be scratching the bone itself.  it's painful where there's nothing but thin skin between bone and your fingernails.  but, today, there was not just skin; it was squishy.  there is padding building up over that bone and, if you know me at all, you know i wiggled a little.. by myself.. alone in the car.  i'm pretty sure i even squealed a bit.

the fantastic part is that, because i've been eating so much and so consistently, i'm used to eating that often.  i've been hungry constantly the past couple days, like i used to get when i would hit a growth-spurt as a teenager.  i've been snacking more and eating larger meals.  it's awesome.  i think i've got myself on a roll and i can thank my friends' wedding weekend for that, i suppose.

i see my new RD (registered dietician; aka nutritionist) for the second time on wednesday morning.  i'd say this sets us off to a good start.  maybe i'll be over trips by my birthday.  i mean, come on now.. what 22-year-old weighs as much as a 12-year-old.. and still looks like one.  time to grow up.... and out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

does this wii make my butt look big?

before seeing any articles on the subject, i saw a commercial for the new video game, "wii fit."  my first thought was, this is something i would be far more inclined to do - daily - rather than the workout mode on DDR.  i've got to be honest; the concept is pretty kick ass.  people love video games, especially those that they can interact with.  in fact, it seems people would much rather be indoors staring at a 5o" screen than out being an active member of society.  so, why not make the people happy and let them play video games all day, but keep their bodies moving?  i can tell you i would be more inclined to exercise if i had a video game that let me do aerobics, yoga, and strength training - as i pleased - all in one day.

so, wii fit basically rocks, right?
well, hold on.  before you jump into your mii personality and get your balance training on, wii needs to evaluate your physique, via bmi.  this equation, (mass/height)^2, is how to determine whether you are underweight, "ideal", overweight, or obese.  if you're a clinician - or have spent so much time in ED treatment that you might as well be one - then you know the flaws of this measurement.  it is a very loose guideline for physical health.  the measurement also does not take muscle mass into consideration.  2 men of equal weight and height, 1 perfectly fit and well-built and 1 rather overweight, will have the same bmi.  (please, correct me if i am wrong, here.)
unless you are discussing this with a doctor or clinician, no average person should be left to read their bmi if they've never seen it before (or if they already have a weight complex..).  however, the wii leaves you alone with it and has left a perfectly fit and active 10-year-old girl telling her parents she needs to lose weight.  so, what to do here?

i am completely in favor of a video game that helps you workout and stay active.  it's the same as watching a home workout tape (without the 80s workout outfits that drown out the music).  if you're going to play video games, you might as well keep yourself moving (to a healthy degree, of course).  but is it necessary for the game to know your physical stats?  perhaps, to make sure that the workouts are appropriate for your build and to track your progress in terms of muscle improvement.  i haven't played the game, so i don't even know if it does this.
however, should children be playing this game?  is there a way that the game does not have to tell you your bmi unless your age is 18+?  is it even necessary in the first place?

at this point, i don't know what else to think.  i'm more confused about how i feel about the game than i was when i started blogging about it.  feel free to share your thoughts, especially if you've actually experienced it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

this is an odd entry..

laura collins, author of the blog "are you 'eating with your anorexic?'" has posted an entry of frustration that i can greatly connect with.  i find it aggravating when dieting and eating "disturbances" are immediately seen as eating disorders.  are we over-diagnosing?  ..are we under-diagnosing?  perhaps, i've missed the point.  but i'm confused and frustrated, nonetheless.

on a completely unrelated note, i am so freakin' excited about food today.  i'm going home for father's day and my mom said we should make my favorite cupcakes ever* just for the hell of it.  then, we're going out for an early dinner at the mandarin restaurant in my home town which has the best chinese food i've ever had in my life and i've been craving it for about 2 weeks now.  can't.  f-ing.  wait.
i love father's day.  oh, happy father's day :)

*for the record, the picture on that recipe page
looks nothing like the recipe will come out.
it should look more like a tie-dye cake.

and.. now back to your regularly scheduled, "i'm not actually 4-years-old" f.o writings..

Friday, June 13, 2008

neda con 'o8.

i dream of the day when i can get this e-mail from neda and book my flight out to the conference.  i've received this e-mail for the 3rd time and i would really love to go.

maybe by the time i can afford to up and fly out, i'll be speaking at it.  hey, nice to dream, right?

click here for more information, in case you aren't subscribed to their newsletter.  everything is in there from topics and talks that will be covered, to the logistics of travel and accommodations to how to get involved with the conference itself (my dream).
if you have the time (& money) and have any connection to the eating disordered world, get the hell out there and enjoy it for me, too!

has anyone ever been, or is anyone planning on attending this year?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

got bone loss?

my therapist has recently informed me that it's is much more likely for women who started their behaviors between the ages of 13 and 18 to become osteopenic/develop osteoporosis than those who started after.  (for the record, i do not have written evidence of this exact statistic.  do not quote me on this.  do the research.)  this, of course, freaked me out, considering i really began in high school.  it also made me a little angry at the unfairness of the fact considering.. i didn't know i was doing it.  dammit, disease, you sneaky, selfish bastard.

i always knew i should have a bone density scan done.  i haven't gotten one yet, but not because i'm scared; i am just really terrible at setting up appointments.  (if you know me at all, you know i'm not all that fond of picking up a phone for the important things.)  however, i'm a little freaked now, i'll admit.  i'm holding on tightly to the fact that from birth until about age 15, i would go through a gallon of milk in 2 or 3 days; all that milk-drinkin' must count for something, right??

i would love to see how this age thing plays out.  i am not sure i have enough readers who have been scanned to get an accurate representation on this, but let's give it a shot.  take the poll:

if you are like me, and have made the poor decision to have a scan done yet, maybe it's time to think about looking into it.  it's a scary thought; i am fully aware.  but it's going to be a lot scarier if it's not caught now and worked on.  osteoporosis is not curable or reversible, but it can certainly be slowed and treated.  better to catch it sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

.:. t.w.l.o.h.a .:.

so, i did the only thing i could.  i joined the street team.

i am finding that more and more people are learning about twloha, which i find to be a beautiful thing.  before this cause was started, the subject of self-injury was far too taboo and greatly misunderstood.  honestly, it's the first time i've heard the term "self-injury" separated from "suicide" under a supportive name.

for those who have never heard of this cause, it is about raising awareness of depression, addiction, self-injurious behaviors, and suicide.  it is a strongly music-influenced group, which i think is really cool and probably does wonders for reaching those who really need the help.

if you are any kind of supporter for eating disorder awareness, far too often these situations go hand-in-hand.  i strongly recommend you get involved.

you can check out the whole site @

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

what can i do..

all i want to do is help. i have been through so much and experienced a lot of trial and error that i feel like i am in a spot where i could really make a difference. it's all i want; i've said this. people aren't learning the proper coping skills early enough, so too many of them are finding their own paths: starving, purging, cutting, burning, smoking, drinking..

when it comes to eating disorders, i have received so much guidance and counseling that i have a starting point. i've seen the foundations, i've seen the paths, i know how to talk to others suffering and i'm a few years of medical school short of being an ED-specialized licsw. (ok, slight exaggeration, but i've been given good feedback on the way i help others when it comes to that.) i'm not saying i know everything about ED recovery, but i know where the starting point is.

the other day, my friend told me she had a fellow employee that admitted to cutting herself and i thought, "oh, been there, how about..... well, what if you....." and i realized i don't know what the hell to do. i was never helped. i was never guided. i was never in treatment for my SI behaviors. yes, self-destruction all comes back to the same points: outlets, control, and coping mechanisms. but, for some reason, i draw a blank. i'm being pretty hard on myself for it, which, we all know is in my nature.

the weird thing for me is that, as possessive as i was about my AN, i was aware there were other people around me hurting themselves in the same way. there's a whole community of eating disorder support. it's not all positive, but there's a community. when it came to SI, it was about being alone and being the only one. i didn't want to share it, i didn't want to talk to anyone that "knew what it was like"; it was mine. how do you get into that? it took me four years and being crazy in love to finally let someone break in and i just.. quit. i quit cold, and i quit for the wrong reasons. i was lucky that i went through a lot of unbelievable growth since then, but i was never given replacement tools until i went into treatment for AN.
i didn't want any. you like it. it grows on you. it grows into you. how do you break that wall??

should i accept that maybe i can't help everyone that takes a path that looks like the ones i took? because i can't. we don't learn life lessons to keep them to ourselves; that doesn't make sense. i should have been a psych major.

to be continued..