Tuesday, March 3, 2009

wait, the redesign wasn't a joke??!

NO, it wasn't!

A year ago Saturday, I officially bought the www.frozenoranges.com domain. On one hand, YAY, we all know I love anniversaries like none other. On the other (as it is only a one year buy) this means that I am running out of time to redesign as I'll be transferring my blog to Wordpress.

The transfer is going to be between 11p and 1a tonight (03/03/09), at which time my site will be down for maintenance. When I get it back up, it will officially be on Wordpress (and hosted by moi, not Blogger) but, frankly, will look like crap. It is temporary while Bill (my coding wiz) and I get together the new template, probably another week or 2.

I'm really excited about it and, so far, pretty happy with my design. I can't wait to finally have it up. I have been dying to redesign for months now.

I appreciate you're patience. Love you all!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

so yummy, so yummy.

It's Sunday. It's been a very long week, I'm exhausted, and am running on somewhere between 2 and 4 hours of sleep. I'll cop out and post this really amazing video for you all. Enjoy, and happy March!

(Warning: do not watch if you're currently high or on acid.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

meda event: "panel of recovery"

MEDA held a very successful event last night called "Panel of Recovery." It was basically as it sounds: a panel of people who had an experience with eating disorders. There was a father, an ex-MEDA intern who was recovered, a recovered woman (one of my readers, Jen) and her husband. They were all very beautiful and hopeful stories.

The father's story (and his delivery) were scarily identical to my father and what he would say. The content, his body language.. if you were there last night, you met my dad and how we would talk about the process of my recovery from his point of view. Seriously.. it freaked my mom and I out.

If anything effected me last night, it wasn't so much the speakers as it was the reaction of the audience to their stories. There was a young couple across the aisle from me, probably somewhere in their early 20s. At some points, the girl would nod in agreement with the speakers' experiences and start to cry a little, and her boyfriend/husband (whatever) would put his arm around her and ask if she was doing okay. It was really beautiful. I get really excited when I see such supportive significant others like that. I always felt so lucky to have that kind of support throughout my recovery, as well. I know how hard it must be for boyfriends and girlfriends to watch someone they love go through that process and how easy it would be for them to give up. I see that all to often as well.

The turn-out was really great. They place was full with families and friends alike. My mom said she had wished something like that existed while I was struggling. It probably did, but you never know about it until you have to really get involved. Now we know.

Last night gave me some great ideas on how I want to write my story and a lot of motivation to just get it done already. I'm such a procrastinator, but I know I could be doing so much more of what I want if I would just get this one speech written.

Monday, February 23, 2009

communication is key.

For a relationship to work (to thrive, to grow), there needs to be communication. One lesson I have really had driven home in the past two years is how necessary communication is to maintain a healthy relationship, be it with a friend, a significant other, a roommate, or a family member. We all know this, but it can be difficult to really get a grasp on and it takes a lot of work. For any of us that have really put time into it, we know how much stronger a connection grows between two people when things are being talked about rather than kept to oneself. It feels great when everyone's on the same page, doesn't it?

Somehow, we seem to think that because we live within ourselves, there doesn't need to be communication. That would be considered "talking to yourself," which is wrong and makes you look like a crazy person, am I right? ..I'm so not. Talking to yourself is not necessarily talking out loud, although, that's also rather healthy for you (despite it not being a societal norm). Making out our concerns towards ourself and our lives is much easier for us to work out audibly than it is visually, like how "thinking out loud" is often necessary to really work through a thought.

With body image issues, especially eating disorders, there is a strong disconnect between the mental and the physical. Hunger/satiation cues are lost and confused and our body's needs are silenced to what our mind thinks we need. I often told my treatment team I felt like two people trapped in one body, which I now realize were the physical and the mental. Both were screaming bloody murder for things they needed and drowning each other out. Can you imagine if that's how you and your best friend tried to solve a problem? No one will ever be heard and no one's needs will be met.

I stumbled over a really beautiful blog tonight. It's called "letters to my body " and is written by an anonymous actress who struggled through years of Hollywood's poking and prodding at her body image and has decided to bring communication back where it matters. I thought it was such a genius idea. I can't believe this isn't used in treatment programs.

We need to start learning how to talk to ourselves again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the more you know.

An interesting statistic, in honor of Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2oo9.

Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

meda events in honor of EDAW 'o9.

Hey, boys and girls. I've received a few e-mails looking for more information on MEDA's upcoming EDAW events. For information, please visit the Events page at MEDAinc.org. (If you click on the "FLYER" links, you'll see the flyers I've drawn up for the events.)

For a quick overview:

Monday, Feb 23
Panel of Recovery at Holy Cross College, Worcester MA
Exactly as it sounds, there will be a panel of speakers discussing their experiences with eating disorders.

Thursday, Feb 26
"The Thin Line" at BB&N High School, Cambridge MA
A one-woman performance (approximately 30 min) of an eating disorder, as seen from the patient, her best friend, her mom, and the "man" himself. A Q&A will follow the performance.

I, myself, will be working the Panel of Recovery event. I hope to see some of you there!
Feel free to e-mail myself for anymore information that may not be covered here or on the MEDA Events page.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

messing with clean slates.

"Yeah, well, you're fat!" A pretty big burn for a second grader to deliver to a fourth grader. She looked a lot like me at her age: slightly runt-ish in comparison to the other kids with a very short stature and the kind of measurements that make your friends feel the need to grab your arm and tell you, "Oh my god, I could just like.. snap your wrist." That used to scare me. I thought they would actually try; kids love to experiment.
The fourth grader - and healthy, strong tennis player - made a face. "Am not!"
"That wasn't very nice," I said to the second grader, questioning myself. What am I promoting by saying this?
"Well, she is!"

She wasn't. But if she was, why is that still a terrible thing to say? If someone decided to comeback at me with, "Yeah, well, you're skinny," I wouldn't feel particularly offended. I am. It's a fact. I keep wondering where "fat" went from an adjective to the worst "f word" you could say around a person. Why has it become such a horrifying thing?
I couldn't help but wonder if the reason was because we teach children that it is. By me saying, "That wasn't very nice," I was really only enforcing the fact that calling someone "fat" is an insult. But she meant it as an insult, so, as the adult in the room, I had to tell her that wasn't appropriate to talk to her peer as such.

The line in body-image vocabulary is not a straight one. It's so frustrating to find where to draw it. It seems like every word is insulting to someone. Are we trying too hard to protect everyone from saying the wrong things?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

holla atcha hallmark holiday.

If you're single, hey, me too! Enjoy the candy ;)

Friday, February 13, 2009

this $%#& is bananas.. b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

I've had a lot of cramps and pains. I've been having mini-anxiety attacks, which I haven't had in close to a year. I've been exhausted. My memory's been shot. I was unaware that these could be caused by low potassium intake.

I've been very aware of my heart, to say the least, since it started to occur to me what I had been doing to my body. It has shrunk a bit from starvation. Though I have had little to no symptoms of orthostasis in a long time (which was far better than expected), I still need to keep an eye on my electrolytes.
Potassium is a very important electrolyte for the heart and the brain. It occurred to me - since running out of my best source (yogurt) - that I don't have many others left. I went through my kitchen the other night and checked the nutrition labels on all the foods I've been eating; no potassium to be found. I grabbed a Gatorade (75mg/bottle) and added a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup (90mg/can) to my dinner. (Don't worry, Mom, I've picked up some good ones since.)
The average potassium intake (K, if you will) an adult needs in a day is somewhere between 2,000 - 5,000mg, from what I've found. Per usual, different websites/sources give different information. I didn't even know where to find it. I know bananas are pretty well known for their supply, and I knew yogurt had it because my doctor said that's probably what was keeping my potassium in a healthy range (*phew!*).
Heart complications in eating disordered patients are (according to my doctor) often the result of a potassium deficiency, a condition called "hypokalemia." Symptoms of this condition can be irregular heart rhythms, muscle weakness, constipation and fatigue. With eating disorders, it is extremely important to keep up with blood testing to make sure that electrolytes are within healthy range.
For more information, these are a few good sites with effects of the definciency and some great sources where you can find potassium. Honestly, I was pretty surprised to see some of the places it's found. I would have never known it was in mushrooms or watermelon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

omg, that's so bad for you.

Ahh, one of my favorite lines. "Don't eat that! That's so bad for you!" Unless you're my nutritionist or my mother, I'm probably not going to listen to you when you say this. (Warning: this unfortunately does not apply to all mothers..)
Two facts I learned from treatment: 1) there are NO "BAD FOODS." 2) Everyone has different nutritional needs and not all bodies need or shouldn't have one thing over another. The exception to this is the obvious stuff like, everyone probably needs protein and fruits and veggies and basically your general food groups.
I need carbs. Lots of 'em. My brother, on the other hand, needs to greatly control his intake due to the 'betes. (Um, that would be "diabetes" for people that don't know me, my family, or Wilford Brimley.)
I digress.
My point is that when I eat a donut, I really don't need people telling me, "Oh man, do you have any idea how bad those are for you?" They're not. I can eat whatever I want. It ain't good if you eat 12 a day. There are no "bad" foods. Everything that your specific body can physically handle is okay in moderation.
On the contrary, I may have taken this too far. I eat a lot of junk food lately. Now that I am at a point where I freaking love food (and.. I do), it's time for me to start focusing on actually balancing my intake correctly. Especially in my family where high cholesterol is common, I do need to keep an eye on it.
I think that's a difficult thing to do. Coming up on "full recovery," it seems no one really cares what you eat as long as you're eating. That's all great and well. Yay for anything with calories! I was happy that I could eat whatever my poor, little, deprived heart wanted. And, okay, I still can. I just need to work on balancing out that junk food with the good stuff. I've gotten better, but damn I love my junk food.
Man, I really hope I can raise my kids with good nutritional values. That seems like such a difficult thing to do without pushing to one extreme or another.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

happy birthdayy to bloggggg. (kenya believe it?!)

[special thanks to bd for helping me actually get this done.]

Saturday, February 7, 2009

pledge for positivity.

I'm a wee bit miserable lately. Finances, the weather, a lack of respect from a certain authority member who shouldn't have authority.. I bitch and I moan. I drive my friends crazy (I'm sure) and I know I'm driving my mom nuts. My brother constantly mocks me for my attitude, which makes me worry that this is the way everyone actually sees me.
That's not the person I want to be and it's definitely not the way I want to be known. I apologize for the pity parties and the occasional buzz kill.

Here is my goal for February. Kick the attitude. Nothing is that bad, I know that. Things are as good as I make them and I've seen proof of that in the past. Maybe it's my attitude that's keeping me from finding what I've spent 6 months desperately searching for.
So, no more bitching about my finances. Yes, Mom, that means no more "I can't afford ___." I'm sure there is something better to focus on than the frost-bitten Northeast, which is inevitable and out of my control for now. I'm also going to work harder on not letting people - even those who are directly disrespecting me - have such an effect on me. It's not worth my time and all I can do is steer clear and work even harder to get out of there.

Hey.. 58 days until Opening Day. That is less than 2 months, guy. What better sign of warmth being around the corner do we need?

Friday, February 6, 2009

ruining self-confidence, one pixel at a time.

**This was an extremely poorly written post written in a hurry and on a night when I was angry, too tired, and a little communicatively inept. I'm going to try writing it more.. eloquently at a later time.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

ladies & gents, our society.

Man, I can't wait for my beautiful, innocent 15-year-old daughter to think that this is the way she needs to dress for school. I'd like to think I'll be able to raise her with a little more confidence, but you know how kids get tangled up in societal-induced peer pressure.

The following is just absolutely terrifying. The photos are from the newest issue of Teen Vogue. Yes, Teen. This is what they're admiring and aspiring to. (God, I hope I'm lying.)

Credit to Jezebel who, by the way, is absolutely hilarious with their captioning.
Click the plasticized model to our left for the full article.

By the way, as a professionally-trained retoucher.. they ain't real. The boobs, the tan, not even her make-up was that flawless.

And on the last day of the month, I hit my promised 10th post. Holla!

Friday, January 30, 2009

vote for MEDA to get $25,000!

Via Betsy H, MEDA's office manager:

VOTE FOR MEDA TO GET $25,000! Through their partnership with Virgin Unite, Virgin America wants to support organizations focused on youth education and the environment, such as the Multi-service Eating Disorder Eating Association (MEDA)! Virgin America is gifting $25,000 to Virgin Unite to support these organizations and $25,000 to a Boston cause of your choosing based on your votes. Submit a non-profit cause that matters to you and be automatically entered for a chance to take your revolution global and fly across the world.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

stop, drop and roll.

If (god forbid a million times) I were caught in a burning building, I know the rules: stop, drop and roll. I got it. It sits, stashed away in the back of my mind. But, should the alarm sound, I know all the right steps to take.

All through treatment, we are told that "relapses happen" and to always be prepared. They can be sneaky little bastards and hit you between the eyes before you even know what's happening. I have fallen victim to this many times, as have many people I know. It's too easy to miss all the red flags if you don't know to look for them (and, even more so, if you don't want to look for them..).
Learning the red flags (i.e. smoke) and knowing what to do when you see it coming (i.e. drop it like it's hot) is extremely important. However, I feel that treatment all too often enforces that it stays at the front of our mind at all times. I strongly believe that this is the reason I continued to lapse and relapse. When you constantly think about it and "know" it's going to come, it will. I didn't start to really recover until I thought it was possible that I could live the rest of my life without another relapse.
I used to get into slightly intense "debates," if you will, with one of the Walden counselors (M). One day, she was asking me about how I was holding it together so well. I told her that it wasn't really something I think about anymore since I let go of the assumption that I'll eventually crash-and-burn. She voiced her concern about me not being prepared if I'm not always ready for a relapse. See, I don't think that's true.

Don't get me wrong; this takes a lot of time and work. You do need to know that it can happen and it takes a long time to really recognize a red flag and what to do when you see one coming. It should certainly stay in the front of your mind until it becomes almost an instinct.. the same as being mindful of meal times until your body learns - on its own - that it is hungry/satiated. No, it's not as cut and dry as "stop, drop and roll," like we learn when we're three. This is something that needs to be learned, internalized, continuously repeated so that it's ingrained in our out-of-our-own-control-ed minds. There is a lot of emotional work behind this.
However, you have to also know that full recovery is obtainable. If you prepare yourself to have an eating disorder for the rest of your life, no matter how hard you fight, then you're probably going to have an eating disorder for the rest of your life. I had to let that idea go and realize that I could, in fact, go on to live completely free of a disordered life before I really began to move towards it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

i'm mrs. "she's too big, now she's too thin."

I've been telling people I don't want to do my H&I speech until I'm more - how did I word it before - "visually appropriate?" In speaking with my MEDA "advisor" about this a while ago, she told me (per usual) I'm being too hard on myself and to just do it. I'd be worried about the fact that I've heard of speakers getting ripped apart for telling their story of being recovered and not "looking" recovered. I want to be taken seriously. She told me, "Maybe write that into your story."

She makes a good point. I think too much emphasis is put on physique when it comes to recovery. I think the point is being missed and it needs to be addressed. I'm skinny. I'm just a tiny person - always have been, always will be. Am I underweight? Yes. Is anyone worried about it? For the first time in my life, no. Weight is merely just an unfortunate side effect (sometimes, yes, a symptom) of an eating disorder. None of my doctors or family members or friends (as far as I know) are worried about my weight any longer because, mentally, I am very healthy. That's what counts for recovery.

It seems strange that I should be afraid to tell my story because I don't "look" fully recovered. What's even more strange is that I felt like I wasn't sick and didn't need to be in treatment because I didn't "look" sick (enough). A lot of people in treatment aren't too thin. Some are "normal" or average weights, some are overweight. Sickness is not necessarily determined by the way you look, and health shouldn't be either. Of course, it plays its part. You cannot be emaciated and healthy, you cannot be morbidly obese and healthy. But you also never know the circumstances of someone's weight. I think it is just a ridiculous way to live, feeling like my level of recovery is constantly being judged by how I look.. and not by doctors or family and friends, but solely by friends that I've been in treatment with or people looking to me as someone who can prove that full recovery is possible. It's frustrating and really not worth my time.

I am actively working on restoring my weight. It takes a very long time and is difficult after what my body has adjusted to, but that doesn't mean I should put off a great opportunity because (as I've been told from experience) it could take me another year or so to get to where I need to physically be. I'm not going to let someone else's judgement (who does not know me medically or personally) lead me to waste valuable time that could be spent doing something that means a lot to me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

sharing is caring.

Fainting, seizures, heart monitors, plans of suicide.. EKGs, EEGs, echocardiograms.. How often do you hear about these things in relation to your friends (assuming you're under 70)? How often do you hear "ER"? I hear them a lot, especially lately. These are people I know and love, whom I've lived with and shared way too much personal information with.

I sat next to a good friend of mine from Walden at dinner Saturday night. I met her in PHP just over a year ago now, which is strange, as it feels like it's been years. As she talked, I looked at her face and thought, If I were emotionally removed from this community, it would send a chill down my spine to think of the things she's done in her past. But, I'm not. And it didn't.
I'm not much phased by any of it anymore, which is odd knowing how those who haven't experienced it, personally, are so overly shaken by it, it seems. This, of course, is not to say that I don't care. I care very much. I care every time I hear a friend is going to the ER or back to treatment. I care every time I receive an e-mail or Facebook message from someone I've never met that wanted me to know s/he is going to treatment for the first time and was hoping I could settle their nerves about what to expect.
I think the difference is that I no longer worry. Worry is wasted energy and, let's be honest, it doesn't help anyone. Action and care help, worry does not. Maybe it's because I know the routes or because I know that everything will turn out how it's meant to. I can support someone, but I cannot save them. They have to save themselves and, when they're ready, they will.

It's hard when you form these relationships. You grow to learn these peoples' stories and to love them during some of the hardest times of their lives. Meanwhile, you're fighting for your own. I just hope people are able to find where to draw the line so that they don't lose sight of what's most important: their own recovery. You can't be much of a wall to lean on if you can't even hold yourself up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

smells like change!

In honor of our newest president being sworn in today, I would like to present you with this really adorable letter sent to Mr. Obama by one of the country's younger concerned citizens.

Now, you may think this letter was written by a cute little 7 or 8-year-old, but no. It was apparently written by my 26-year-old brother, Jayme. Way to disguise your boy-writing.
(Coming up: Jayme's "angry" comment calling me an idiot!)

For more childrens' letters to our new president, check out Jezebel! You'll laugh, you'll cry.. you know how it goes.

Here's to the start of a new era.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

the taste of her cherry chapstick.

"I'm really critical of my posture, it makes a big difference," Perry told Tarts at Thursday night's Critics Choice Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. "And I try to suck my belly in. Everyone should do that whether you're on a red carpet or not. Even if you're just going out to dinner with your boyfriend you should try and suck it in."

This is a quote from Katy Perry, via FOXnews.com (and my brother, who keeps me updated on sweet ED-related news stories). I like her. She's got spunk. I like her edgy-type pop sound. But, seriously, this woman has a doll. She clearly has some influence on younger girls.

Does this scare anyone else??

Friday, January 16, 2009

a plug & my work.

Hey, girls and boys. I'm determined to stick to my "10 posts per month" quote, despite having fallen a little behind for this month. It's alright; there is still plenty of time! Things have been crazy and my schedule is filling up quick. On top of work and my internship at MEDA, I have also been offered a teaching gig for an elementary school's after school program. I'll be teaching little kids how to knit, and I'm wicked excited about it. I start next Friday. I'm also auditioning for a show on Sunday, sweet lord.

Anyways, MEDA's first event (with me on board) is coming up and I've completed the flyer for it. Not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of it. If you're in the area, you're more than welcome to attend! More events coming soon, and I'm sure you'll hear all about them.

[The image is a little small. If you're interested and can't read,
shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you the PDF.]

Thursday, January 8, 2009

water challenge.

Dehydration can be a huge problem with eating disorders and, actually, the human race in general. It can cause serious health problems including (and in my specific case) chronic orthostasis. Far too many people not only come nowhere close to how much water they should be drinking in a day, but don't even know what the required amount is.

Water has always been a huge problem for me. I was required to drink a large amount of Gatorade while I was in treatment, and still try to keep up with that regiment. My friend - a far more active and healthy human being than myself - found a website today that calculates how much water you should be drinking in a day. I thought it would be interesting to challenge myself to drink that amount - 51 oz - which is far more than I do drink in a day. This is just a one day challenge. Baby steps.

Here is the website if you would like to join me: Hydration Calculator.
(The site asks for your weight. If you don't know the number, just plug-in what you think a rough estimate would be.)

Fact: if you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

so this is the new year..

Happy 2oo9, everyone!
Hope you all have a great new year. I personally spent my new year with some good friends, hot cider (mmm) and.. quite a bit of Guitar Hero, actually. I had to work the following morning, so that kind of sucked, but yay for holiday pay!

Big things are in store for this year. First, let us reminisce over the fact the one year anniversary of my discharge from Walden is approaching. This, of course, means that, for the first time since 2oo6, I will have gone one year without treatment. That's pretty kick ass, not gonna lie. I actually got to catch up with Kyle for a bit tonight who, one year ago this time, was fighting his way through the day program with me. He's doing pretty well and seems to be pretty happy these days; always a beautiful thing to hear.

As some of you know, via Facebook, I started my internship with MEDA today. It's going to be pretty fantastic, for sure. The run down seems to be that I'll be mostly in charge of design work (flyers and whatnot) which is amazing because I'll actually get to combine my interests and I'll get to use my work for portfolio. I'll also be doing some clerical duties (which I love in some sick way), hopefully getting to do some presentations (e.g. school health fairs), and.. apparently a little acting? I can't even put my excitement into words.

I also seem to be getting little pushes from people to start up my Hope & Inspiration story. For those who don't know, H&I is an open forum at MEDA on the first Saturday of every month. A recovered speaker shares their story and opens themselves up for Q&A afterwards. Apparently, after doing so, you also have the option to become a group leader at MEDA, which I pretty much dream of.
I guess I should get started on writing it so I'm prepared when the time comes. As I told someone today, I would like to wait until I am a little more "visually appropriate" before speaking. Somehow, people don't take as well to recovery stories spoken by someone who doesn't physically look the part. And, from a patients' eyes, I can understand where the skepticism comes from. So.. I continue to work.. and eat.
Before I head to bed - which I am crazy overdue for - here are some goals for the new year:
  • minimum of 10 posts per month.
  • completing my redesign by Frozen.Oranges' 1 year anniversary (2/o8).
  • some serious work on time management (which will help the above two a lot, as well).