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.