Monthly Archives: May 2014

EVERYONE WITH AN EATING DISORDER IS SKINNY & NEEDS TO GAIN WEIGHT

Stereotyping that stops people from getting help. Not everyone with an ED is a skeleton. Very interesting post.

Grace on the Moon

There are many things that all sufferers of an eating disorder have in common, whether they deal primarily with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified).   Many a book, lecture and website has been filled with a detailing of the commonalities, such as low self-esteem, bad body image, a history of painful life events, a lack of healthy coping skills, and not knowing how to get help.

As well, virtually all approaches to recovery from an eating disorder have things in common.  Therapists, doctors, inpatient professionals, nutritionists, co-sufferers and others usually recognize that everyone who wants to recover must address their fears, assumptions, and painful emotions.  They must challenge beliefs that have held them down for a long time.  They must show up to their treatment appointments and do the homework it takes to apply those lessons to their lives.  They must take stock of their…

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Buffets and Bulimics

Buffets and Bulimics

Take it from me: never invite a bulimic to a buffet dinner. It is like feeding time at the zoo. My friends took me out for dinner tonight and I was an animal.

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Hollow Girls

Hollow Girls

They are concave, made of bones and sinews and tired muscles. Their feet are over arched and much abused as they float across the stage, ethereal and see-through. Clavicles and scapulae are on display for all to see. Chest bones, rib bones, hip bones poke through scanty costumes. Tutus and tiaras on skeletons. They sit pale and wasted through rehearsals. Not all, but many. Some wear their thinness like a badge of honour. Others follow them with envious eyes. They stare at their reflections in too many mirrors. Those asked to lose weight take note of their fraying forms. They have made the leap towards perfection.

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Help

I like the help button in the corner.

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We Are Broken And Can’t Be Fixed

“Any idea what happens if you grind up laxatives with an enteric coating before taking them?”

“No idea. I’ve tried dissolving them in hot water to make them work faster.”

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On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand…

…all other ground is sinking sand

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny

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Things I Wish I Could Say To My Mother

Things I Wish I Could Say To My Mother

“You’re a very picky eater. I think people are scared to try and feed you.

My mother tells me this before I go away for a weekend with friends who will be feeding me. “That’s why I always made you butternut. You loved butternut.”

My poor Momma. I cannot forgive myself for the years of hell I put her through with my eating disorder. It hurts me to think about how much pain I caused her. I remember her sitting next to me as I ate, or tried to eat, variations of butternut. The one time she put cheese on it and I scraped it off. It upset her so much. She couldn’t save me from myself.

I have carried it with me all my life. I have longed to talk to her about my suffering, but I do not know how without making her suffer too. We are too close and yet this yawning chasm of ED stands between us. It seems wrong to have such a vast, all consuming secret from her.

I long to tell her about the years of anorexia, bulimia, hospital visits, outpatient treatment, counseling. I don’t know why. I feel like I want her to know this part of me as an adult that she couldn’t deal with when I was still a child. She was so angry then. I don’t blame her. There were no resources, no books, no help. And I didn’t want her help. I was churlish, ungrateful. I hated her for making me eat. I shut her out of the ED part of my life and now it is my entire life. I don’t know how to reconcile my eating disorder and my mother.

All my life I have carried with me the pain I have caused her. Even when she tells me I am a “picky eater”, I recognize the refusal to acknowledge the extent of my eating disorder. I want to correct her but I don’t. What purpose would it serve 21 years later?  Some days I would just like to say “sorry”.

She has suffered enough and I cannot forgive myself for it.

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A Letter To The Things in Which I Am Learning to Love

Beautiful.

Oh Dear, Watch The Headlights!

To my stomach, an anomaly of soft curves made from proudly eaten cupcakes and pizza,

To my feet, calloused with midnight adventures and every tree that I have ever climbed while trying to prove to my brothers that girls are strong too,

To my hair made of tangled forests and wild vines- the dominant trait from the blood of my ancestors comprised of beasts and lion-hearted girls- I hold my head high to balance this crown.

My hands can’t fix everything no matter how badly my soul wishes they would, my eyes are wide and naïve searching for a god- a beauty that scratches deeper and realer than any manicured hand ever could- and my skin is rough and weathered and tethered but it is made of earth and young civilizations so I will not apologize.

To my body, I will apologize for betraying you because American Apparel only makes size…

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Eating Disorder Presentation

Eating Disorder Presentation

Today is the day I have waited for, for (almost) a decade. An eating disorders clinic gave a presentation to the staff at the ballet school. It was to raise their awareness of EDs and give them signs and symptoms to look for in students. Since I have worked there I have been appalled at how ignorant teachers in this professional ballet school are towards eating disorders. Their lack of concern considering the industry they are in and the outright denial has sickened me. They don’t know anything and they don’t care enough to educate themselves.

Perhaps because of my history of EDs, I am passionate about helping our students. Many times I have been irate because I have mentioned a student that I am concerned about and no one has taken me seriously. I would prefer our students didn’t have to suffer our collective ignorance. I think many of them have because we have not had the resources (knowledge, counselors etc) to help them. I am glad that so many of our staff have never suffered an ED, but I am angry that even though they don’t know what it is like to have one, they haven’t bothered to learn anything. Lately there has been an epidemic of EDs spreading through the school and residence which prompted this sudden action.

This long-awaited day finally arrived and we gathered in studio 5 (the one with the fat mirrors) to watch the presentation. Right before we went in, one of my co-workers who refused to come upset me (read my last post). She used to have bulimia, briefly and told me that she doesn’t have patience for EDs. “I don’t know how to deal with it. They must just get over it.”
I think there are a lot of unresolved issues on her part.

I was quite wound up by the time I went in. I knew I would have questions and answers, but I also didn’t want to give away how much information or knowledge I have because of my own ED. I was alarmed at how bad I felt sitting there and hiding the truth of the extent of my ED from the rest of the staff. When the facilitator described symptoms of Anorexia or Bulimia, I squirmed. She talked about looking for callouses or scraped knuckles (Russell’s sign) and I hid my hands underneath my notebook. A few of the staff know a very limited amount about my ED. I avoided eye contact and took notes. I wondered how many of them might put two and two together as she listed most of my behaviours out loud and on a power point while describing signs and symptoms to look out for in students.

Most of the time I listened to the staff ask their stupid questions and tried to keep my mouth shut so I wouldn’t shout at them which is what I felt like doing. A few times I had to interject with what I knew to be pertinent to ballet, dancers and ED in order to clear things up for the facilitators as the rest of the staff were clueless. I managed to avoid a few arguments where I would basically have to give myself away by saying “I know this because I do it…”

I didn’t learn anything that I hadn’t heard before, but I was glad to be reminded of a few things that I don’t always attribute to my ED. Anxiety disorder in bulimics can be as high as 75%. I suffer debilitating anxiety that has got a lot worse in the last three years and I never link it to my ED. She also said that the ED sufferer’s behaviour and reactions are complicit with their main form of ED. For example, bulimics are impulsive and over react. They explode in uncomfortable or negative emotional circumstances. I did find it ironic that this explanation was going on at work in front of my colleagues because I feel like this happens to me a lot. Daily sometimes. It actually upsets me that the size of my reaction is disproportionate to the situation.

I was also reminded that after five years of having an ED, the chance of a full recovery is almost nil no matter the age of onset. Imagine how I feel after 21 years?

I was most grateful for the moment when the facilitator explained that not everyone with an ED is excessively thin. Our staff are the kind of people who need to see a skeleton before they will react. In the past I have heard statements like these:
“She doesn’t look sick.”
“She isn’t thin enough to have an eating disorder.”
“Maybe she is just naturally that thin.”
“I saw her eating a sandwich/a pizza/an apple…”
“She is so fat she should get an eating disorder.”
The last one is always meant in a sarcastic, joking manner to be funny.
Disgusting.

I thanked her for finally explaining that ED has its own logic and not to try to use logic on someone who has one. I hope the staff keep that in mind. If I have to hear “she should just eat something” in reference to my students ever again after today, I might just bite someone.

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