Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reminding myself of compassion

Today, my mom called around noon, an odd time for her to call on a weekday. I'm weird this way and notice patterns in people, like the fact that she is even calling me means something is up--invariably it's bad news. Yep, I was right.

She was in tears, because one of her cavaliers died this morning. She had taken Fergie to the vet two days ago. Labs were run and it was conclusive she had diabetes. Then, she got a call this morning saying Fergie died in her sleep, that they just couldn't get her glucose levels under control and she had other damage to her kidneys.

Like most of us do, my mom blamed herself--that she wasn't aware which dog it was that was drinking so much water (there were 4 cavaliers and 1 chow mix plus two cats), that she should have gotten her there faster, that she should have gone to visit the night before but wasn't able to, that somehow she should have known.

All I could do was what is natural to me--to console, to comfort, to tell her how sorry I was, to let her know that Fergie was in a better place, that she wasn't in pain long, that Fergie knew how grateful she was for rescuing her, that she had people who loved and care for her. Still though, words never feel like enough when someone is distraught and in pain. I can only imagine my own suffering when my dogs pass.

I called her in the evening to check up on her. She thanked me and told me she would be okay. I know she will be, but she will be fraught with worry since four of the other dogs are the same age. I hate to see her worried. It's probably one reason why I have kept so many of my thoughts private from her.


I think about how easy it is to nurture, console, and feel compassion for someone else (humans and animals alike), however, when it comes to myself or people actually caring about me, it's like I'm really not allowed that. The image I always have with this particular issue is Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" in the Sistine Chapel. The fingers are there reaching out, and if only I could grasp it completely, fully.

Sometimes, I wonder where I have gotten this notion. Where and when did I set this rule for myself? I doubt I'll ever know the answer, so all I can do is remind myself of certain things:

Rules can be broken.
Sometimes, it's even good to break rules.
Compassion for others and oneself is allowed and needed.


On a side note, my mom said something interesting to me. She said last night she woke up at 2 AM and was wide awake. Although she discounted this thought, she wondered whether that might have been the time Fergie passed away. I told her this was a very likely scenario. I don't know whether she believed me or not, but I've always believed that animals have a wonderful sense of telling us things. And in this case, it was Fergie's way of telling her she was leaving this earth and going to the Rainbow Bridge where all animals go.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unbearable weight

There's no doubt that Eating Disorders Awareness Week is important. I truly value it, however, the week has always left me feeling a bit awkward. In college, I belonged to an eating disorders awareness group. We did activities like a health fair, had panel discussions, showed movies, and even sponsored the Century Project one year.

I always did my part for the group and attended the events. My favorites were usually the panel discussions, however, I always found myself sitting in the back, slumped down in my chair, worried about who might be there/see me. I still feel this way at times going to eating disorders events. Maybe if I was in a stronger place in recovery, it might be different. Or maybe if I went with other people, I might feel more at ease. It's hard to say for sure, but I'm giving myself a challenge this week.

On Friday, there is a presentation by Susan Bordo, the author of Unbearable Weight. I've known about this for months and have even arranged to take the afternoon off of work to go. I also reread the book just to refamiliarize myself with her theory on "body studies." It was interesting that even though this book was originally written in 1993, I still saw the same basic issues relevant to today. It seems body studies are an in thing and don't go out of style. I also realized in her notes section of the new preface, an article was cited that I was in some years ago.

The challenge I'm giving myself is to sit (upstraight I might add) in any other place than the back row. I'd say front row, but that might be a little daunting for me. I just have to remind myself that really no one is going to care whether I am there or not. I'll give a report back if anything interesting is said.

*Note--rereading this, it seems like such a pathetic challenge, but I'll do it anyway ;-)
*Note--the book is quite good. It is philosophical and academic, and some parts do go over my head, but it does give an in-depth look at the role of culture and our bodies.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bones, bones everywhere!

Okay, not those kind of bones!

This is a picture of the dogs' bone basket. It looks like I need to go through these, huh? Can you guess the weight? I have not a clue honestly, but it's damn heavy! And just like kids, they literally leave them everywhere. It's fun waking up in the middle of the night only to step on a bone or better yet, find one in your bed!

My dad's reaction when he first saw this a month ago was, "so what are you trying to put together a cow?" For whatever reason, this makes me laugh. Now, every time, I look at the basket, I keep wondering if the dogs will put the pieces together.

Okay, obviously this is very random, I'm tired, and my sense of humor is a little off the wall.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Existential anxiety

This week has been a fairly ho-hum kind of week. Of course, compared to revealing secrets last week, anything is considered more tame. Surprisingly, however, I've managed better than I anticipated. In my other attempts to get past this particular secret/issue, it would leave me headed for a downward spiral. So the fact that I haven't gotten too disorderly is a positive sign. But then again, maybe I have some of other issues that are stirring in my mind.

Last Friday, I had an interesting talk with a client who happens to be a former professor of mine. We got into talking about the new undergraduate degree in gender and women's studies which is slated for approval in the fall. I had been thinking of possibly getting this degree since I already have 12 hours in the department, just didn't finish my actual minor in college.

I expressed my concern to P. would be how could the degree help me for a future purpose. She rattled off some ideas, and then said, "if you were to close your eyes, how do you see yourself in the world? What is your purpose in the world?"

Although P. asked this in the nicest, thought provoking way as possible, it was still probably one of the worst questions to ask me. My simple answer is an "I don't know." This answer is better than a few years ago where I couldn't even envision myself in the future at all. Yet still, I struggle with what am I supposed to do with my life? What is my purpose? How do I really go about finding it? Where does my passion really lie?

I've read a number of books about overcoming your quarterlife crisis, trying to find what it is in life you enjoy, stories of other people recreating an enjoyable life for themselves that isn't stuck behind some CEO job, etc.

Yet again, I get lost in it all, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like I'll never figure it out at all due to some existential anxiety/crisis of sorts. I know I'm certainly not the only one in the same boat. So many people question themselves about this at one point or another in their life. Why is it even when you get to this point, you continue to feel like you are the only one who will fail at this?

Right now, P.'s question just keeps replaying over and over in my head like a broken tape recorder. I don't know which is better to be honest--thinking about horrible crap from the past which is depressing, shameful, guilt-ridden or thinking about the future which just creates loads of anxiety.

So that's where I'm at this week. The one good thing out of discussing this with P. was that she said she would try to help me in any way possible and that she is my cheerleader. What a sweet thing to say!

On another note, it's good I have a therapy appointment on Monday. I can't remember if I mentioned that I brought Tovah with me at my last session. She did stellar! This week, I'm bringing Baxter.

*Here is an interesting study on the Role of Existential Anxiety in Anorexia Nervosa. I don't necessarily agree with all of it but food for thought anyway.
Here is also a cyber sermon about existential angst from James Park at U. of Minnesota. Personally, I can relate to a lot of what he says in this prsentation, however, at the same time, it feels over the top too?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Obese toys?

Dr. Deb recently posted about the Active Life Movement, a Texas-based non-profit organization, encouraging healthy, active lifestyles for children. Their current campaign, entitled "Keep obesity away from your child" uses obese toys like this to promote their message.

While I can understand the message this group may be attempting to send, I think there are more educational ways in showing it. Why does everything have to be about the negative, including their awful tagline?

What's your opinion? Is this the right way to go to encourage healthy lifestyles for children?

Other toys used can be seen here: pirates and superman

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My reminder of the importance of fat

Full set here

This is my reminder of the importance of fat in a diet. Yes, I know it seems really cheesy, but for someone who was fat-phobic for years (okay still is to a degree but working on it), I need to be reminded.

Tovah is a growing puppy (current weight 30 pounds) and fat in her diet is important. Although dogs' digestive systems are built differently from humans, primarily in that they have a much shorter digestive tract (one reason why they eliminate faster), the role of fat still plays a major role in their diet.

Like humans, fat in a dog's diet helps with cell structure and function, provides a healthy coat and skin, gives insulation and protection of internal organs, supplies and accesses energy, acts as a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins, and nourishes the brain for development. Without fat, a puppy doesn't grow properly nor a human develop appropriately.

I know this all consciously, yet still, I have to think hard about adding fat to either Tovah's diet or my own. It's not a natural thing. I have to resist throwing away the chicken and turkey skin which provides wonderful fat for a puppy. I have to be aware of increasing her fat at important times of her growth, especially if I want all those neural connections to be working properly and efficiently. In essence, it's been a challenge in the way I've had to think. But of course, I'm going to do the best for her as possible.

Now, I only wish I'd follow suit and think similarly for myself. Don't get me wrong, I do eat fat and much more than I used to, but I still have my hang-ups about it and have a long way to go. I really don't know if I will ever "embrace" fat, but I think if I can get to the point of continually challenging myself to the functions of fat, maybe fat can have a more positive spin for me.

*Side note: This also led me to think about how fat got such a bad rap and connotation. I came across this article in the New York Post about diet and fat and its misconceptions. The thing I found interesting about it was that Ancel Keys, yes the same Keys who was famous for the Minnesota starvation study, was convinced of the correlation between heart disease and fat consumption. Thus, the thinking of how a lower fat diet is better for heart health and otherwise was born and continues on even today.

*Note: All my dogs are fed properly and get appropriate amounts of nutrients in their diets. Just thought I'd should throw that in.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Model Sanctuary

The size zero debate has waned a bit since 2006, however, fashion week always resurfaces the issue of how thin is too thin. New York Fashion week just began Friday, so it's too early to tell how many rail thin models there may be walking down the runway. The last I had heard was that designers were choosing models who were maybe a size two or four rather than the infamous zero to wear their clothes. But beyond that and several basic guidelines drawn up, there hasn't been much done on a worldwide scale.

London, however, has made a bold move with their
model sanctuary which was established two years ago by supermodel Erin O'Connor. (On a side note, it is interesting, because she was quoted in other articles as saying she felt health checks would infringe upon model's dignity and rights) The model sanctuary, housed by a full-time nutritionist and psychologist, is a safe, confidential place where models can discuss issues relating to the modeling world such as eating disorders, stress, self-esteem problems, etc. The house is sure to provide plenty of food throughout the day as well.

Perhaps, others will begin their own model sanctuaries. At the London house, over a thousand models have walked through the doors. Models are obviously seeing the need and maybe beginning to take care of themselves as well.

Speaking of organizations, fellow blogger Kyla has co-founded the Healthy Models Coalition, an organization whose mission is to "fight against the symptoms, causes, stigmatization, and co-morbid conditions of eating disorders." Currently, their primary focus is passing legislation to mandate the industry have healthy models. I encourage you to check out the site and offer your voice as well.

On another interesting side note, it is apparent that Heidi Klum is not immune to attacks about her body. This article talks about how Klum is considered too fat for the runway. Hopefully, Heidi shrugs off these claims as she is in high demand in plenty of other areas in her life. This just reminds me how I never want to live a celebrity life, having your body scrutinized in every such way. No thank you to living under a microscope.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.
~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross~

Friday, February 13, 2009

One mother's mission for male anorexia awareness

I thought this was a moving video piece in the Lansing State Journal about Susan Barry's son, TJ Warschefsky, who died of anorexia Valentine's Day 2007 at the age of 22. He took his last breath while completing his nightly sit-up ritual.

One thing this video reminds me of is how insidious and powerful an eating disorder can be. Even when you have various treatment stints, parents who care and are supportive, there is still such a persistence with the illness. I don't know all the details of this particular story, but like so many others, it wasn't for lack of love or trying.

Susan Barry has now made it her mission to bring about awareness for male anorexia. She is currently writing a book, beginning a support group for parents in the Lansing area, and raising money for research through a 5K race.

I think it is important to have an advocate for males who are suffering from eating disorders. Although there is now more awareness that males too suffer from these illnesses, it is still an area of research and treatment which is lacking. Laura Collins points this out well in the piece.

I hope this advocacy for males with eating disorders continue, because in the end, eating disorders don't discriminate, and it is as much an illness of a woman's as it is a man's.

Revealing secrets

I've never been the type to reveal secrets but in instances where there might be harm. Okay, there was the one instance that my family never lets me down when I was very young and right before my mom opened her Christmas gift, I blurted out, "it's a blue shirt." But besides that, I don't reveal much. In this way, I've become the "keeper" of secrets, even my own.

Except for yesterday.


When I decided to head back to therapy this time around, I told C. I really wanted to be as honest with her as possible. It's not that I try to be dishonest in therapy, it's just that I'm too afraid to say some things. I find when I get into these moments, I have to remind myself that I really want C. to know this, because it gives her better insight about me. By not being honest, how can she truly help me?

While it's true that sometimes it takes me a awhile to actually tell her whatever thing it is I am fearing, I do eventually reveal my secret. At my last appointment several weeks ago, I told her one small detail (okay big detail) why I was afraid of going on a medication. As always, she told me she appreciated me telling her and hopes that I can let go of my "safety net."

Yesterday's appointment, something similar happened. It was a gradual building. First, I talked about my
blurred lines post, then about the babies post. The latter offered interesting discussion. In some ways, this was up C.'s alley, as women and pregnancies are one of her specializations. I told her how I had not ruled out the option to have children but was worried about passing on eating disorder genes. She understood all this and just said how the best you can do is be aware of it and if you see it, to intervene as quickly as possible.

Then I said, "Sometimes, I think if I had a child, it would...not necessarily make me more recovered but maybe...more normal."
C. replied with a simple "Yes, I think it would." This was a moment of direct eye contact, and it seemed we were both a little teary-eyed for a split second. It was quite a moving scene.

Then, she went on about how your focus is on something else other than yourself, etc. Later, she asked me whether I wanted to just have a child or have a male partner, husband, etc. My reply was I thought having some father, male figure would be nice.

C. asked, "so when are you going to open yourself up enough to have that?"

And then I found myself saying why I was this way.


So that's how it all went down. When I walked into yesterday's session, I had not planned on talking about this secret. Most times it is just left in my distant mind, though it still lurks, reminding me of shame once again.

Although I don't regret talking about my deepest, darkest secret with C. which only very few people know, it leaves me scared, panicked, exposed, and vulnerable. Of all my issues, this is the one left virtually untouched. I say virtually, because in the past when I have tried to get past this, I go into a state of panic, feeling frenetic, feeling like I must run, thinking how fat I am, thinking how I don't really need this food. In essence, it leaves me a mess and easily headed down the relapse path.

Therefore, I've neglected it for both intentional and unintentional reasons. Intentionally, I know it opens a can of worms. I know I'd hurt all over again. Unintentionally, being out of mind, made it not seem so real. It made it buried at least in some shallow grave. But really, that grave is so shallow that no amount of dirt would ever really cover it.

I'm not always for rehashing your history or dwelling on the past, but this is a subject that's whittled at me for more than a decade. It's an issue that hinders me from ever having the life I really want, the life I used to dream about. I realize how much I'm missing out on things, because there is an intense fear.

This secret has left me emotionally scarred, and I want to learn to let it go. I want to learn to move on. I want to know that I won't necessarily be hurt again. But most of all, I want to learn to forgive myself. This is where I falter. I may let the secret out, but then, I don't know what to do next except panic, like some scared animal. The panic may eventually subside, but yet again, the remnants of the secret remain and I'm still left with myself.

What do I do? Where do I begin? Where does it end? Someone, please tell me I really do have the strength and ability to get through this, that I need to get through this healthily, because right now, I'm fragile like glass.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brain dead--no title for this post

This is going to be a fairly short blog post since I'm super tired and have a very long day tomorrow. On my agenda for tomorrow:

Work--morning, afternoon, and late night
Pick up a few items at the store. There is a sale on Luna Bars!
Therapy appointment

It's not a huge list, but the day will start around 8 AM and not officially be over until after 10:30 PM. There are a few hang-ups as well. First, there is prediction of rain all day with a severe storm watch placed throughout most of the day. This wouldn't be so bad except that I have to drive into town in the evening. I'm not a fan of driving in the rain, and if it is down pouring, like I can't see through my windshield, I seriously panic! I keep having this image of myself sitting in my car on the side of the road, calling C., saying I can't drive there due to a panic attack of rain!

I'm also still trying to decide whether to take Tovah with me to my appointment. Normally, I wouldn't except that I have to drive from work to my appointment directly. I got the okay from C. at my last appointment, but I'm a little worried that she won't settle. In some ways, this is like toting a little kid somewhere except I can't just hand her a coloring book and crayons. Well, maybe I could, but I doubt the crayons would be used for the correct purpose! Of course, I'd bring stuff to keep her occupied, but I'm just concerned I'll be more focused on her than my appt., and C. is really big into making sure I get my time out of the session.

All right, I'm about to fall over the keyboard, so I'm wrapping this up. I also took some new photos of Tovah yesterday at her first official outing at the Arboretum. She really did quite well and was thrilled she is generalizing her behaviors. The photos came out great, so I'll post some of those soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Triple Bind: pressure of girls

This month's issues of Psychology Today had a brief article asking the question whether girls have too much pressure placed on them these days. Today, MSNBC excerpted the book, The Triple Bind by Stephen Hinshaw, discussing the high expectations of girls in today's world.

According to the book,

At least one-fourth of all U.S. teenage girls are suffering from self-mutilation,eating disorders, significant depression, or serious consideration of suicide--or are perpetuating acts of violence.

Hinshaw also explains his term "triple bind:"
  1. Be good at all of the traditional girl stuff.
  2. Be good at most of the traditional guy stuff.
  3. Conform to a narrow, unrealistic set of standards that allows for no alternative.
I really don't doubt what he is saying, however, as I read through this excerpt, all I could really think sadly is "how is this really different from say ten, fifteen years ago?" I know I speak for myself here, but much of what he outlines, is what I felt. There was a need to excel at everything, both as preconditions which I placed on myself as well as my family and society too. Many considered me an "overachiever," although I never thought of myself that way. In retrospect, I undoubtedly was. There was a "specialness" if you want to call it that to be "superwoman" or "supergirl" as author Liz Funk says in her book Supergirls Speak Out in this article. Courtney Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and Alexandra Robbins in her book The Overachievers also touch on this topic.

Then, on top of all this, the Boston Globe featured an article about an organization using girls as a way to curb violence among the male youth. The organization wants girls to realize the power they wield over their boyfriends's actions. Talk about creating more pressure for girls!

Now, the question is what do we do to help young girls balance their life and not feel so much pressure? It's important for girls to realize their potential and seek it, but not at the cost of self mutilation, eating disorders, depression, or suicide.

Babies, babies, they just seem everywhere!

As I skimmed through a number of my high school classmates on facebook, it was interesting to see how many of them had children. Some I had guessed would by now, but others really surprised me. It kind of left me sad honestly. Not that having a child and family have ever been my top priority, but I think it was just more the sense of how they had moved on with their lives, found love, and created their own little being(s). Sometimes, I just look at my life and think what do I really have to show? One of them even asked me, "so are you a Dr. now?" She of course didn't say this meanly or jokingly, but it still somehow hurt.

Besides seeing these friends with children, my friend, the physical therapist S., who has unknowingly challenged me on foods, is also pregnant and due in July. I'm happy for her since creating a family is important to them.

as I left for work the other day, I noticed a banner on my neighbor's door. Since their house is down from the road, I couldn't get a close look, but the lettering was big enough for me to read which is surprising since I'm myopic! The banner read: IT'S A GIRL!

My first emotion was thrill for them. My second was "M. was pregnant?" Third, I thought, "this was a baby, right?" And lastly, I wondered whether I should go down there and congratulate them or offer to babysit sometime.

The funny thing about this is that really out of the five or so years they have been living there, I've only spoken to them a handful of times. Most have been on my times out running, and once was at the fitness center where I felt horribly embarrassed not even recognizing my neighbor.

Then, the most headlining birth recently has been the octuplets. I happened to catch part of the interview this morning on the Today show. This birth is already so controversial, and everyone has an opinion. What I find interesting about this is how flippant the media becomes once we've learned the details of this woman's life. This Time piece points it out well.


Okay, so I'm getting a tad off topic. What does this have to do with me? The idea of children has always been a wavering factor for me. There were times in my life where I said no way to children. Other times, I wanted to keep my "superwoman" status, thinking that I could be a successful career woman, fall in love, be married, have children, and all the other positive things that go along with starting a family.

Then, the ED hit, and I just didn't want kids anymore period, thinking why would I even want to bring a child into the world with the way it is? As I've gotten older, my thoughts have changed somewhat--that the option to start a family is not completely ruled out. However, now, I just have the horrible fear that I'd pass on eating disorder genes to my offspring, that I'd be an awful mother, that I'd panic too much or get depressed, or that I would just get overwhelmed and lose it.

I feel in some ways the only plus in having children for me is that (and I know this is going to sound kind of silly), by having trained dogs, I understand behavior better. This certainly doesn't mean I'd apply every single animal technique I know to a child, but just that with some behaviors, there are similarities. And most of all, my patience in general is a whole lot better, even though I still fear becoming too overwhelmed.

I really don't know why I'm necessarily having these thoughts. Maybe raising Tovah is bringing about this thinking? Maybe, in some other way, despite all my fears, I think perhaps (and deeply embedded I may add) I have something worthwhile to pass along?

*Note: I should also add that adoption would be considered as well, though even with that, that has its own issues as well.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I was watching part of the Martha Stewart show last week and caught an interesting segment on personalized medicine. She featured Kari Stefansson, MD, PhD, CEO and co-founder of deCODEme, a company in Iceland which detects risk factors for certain illnesses through your DNA. Their idea behind the genetic testing is to provide information to individuals for the ability to make preventative decisions about their health for the future.

The complete scan includes 35 illnesses covering various cancers, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, restless leg syndrome, nicotine dependence, glaucoma, psoriasis, and others. The company says it is different from its competitors, because it gives better accuracy and information on ancestry. Of course, this testing is only capable if you have about $1,000 lying around.

This made me think about genetics and eating disorders. Hypothetically, (we all know how I love to ask these questions) if there was a specific "anorexia," "bulimia," or "beinge eating disorder" gene, would you have gotten tested?

Another question I thought about was from a statement Stefansson said. His thoughts were that within 5-10 years, every child would have this type of testing--that it would be a standard thing in infant care. If this were the case (and I doubt it could actually get to the point of being "standard" as some people would be opposed to it), would you get your child tested for an eating disorder gene or any of the illnesses they cover?

*Note: My own belief is that any eating disorder is not solely biological nor cultural, but a combination of both. The questions asked are just for hypothetical questions and to get discussion going. ;-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Right now, I have this song "Sober" by P!nk in my head. It's only been recently that I really listened to the lyrics and found how powerful they are. Although the song itself is about substance abuse, and the life of the party, I think it is easily applicable to eating disorders. Here are the lyrics from the middle of the song. The rest of the lyrics can be found here.

I'm safe
Up high

Nothing can touch me

But why do I feel this party's over?

No pain Inside
You're like protection

But how do I feel this good sober?

I don't wanna be the girl who has to fill the silence
The quiet scares me cause it screams the truth

Please don't tell me that we had that conversation

I won't remember, save your breath, 'cos what's the use?

Aahh, the night is calling?

And it whispers to me softly come and play

But I, I am falling

And If I let myself go I'm the only one to blame

I'm safe
Up high

Nothing can touch me

But why do I feel this party's over?

No pain
You're like perfection

But how do I feel this good sober?

I'm coming down, coming down, coming down

Spinning 'round, spinning 'round, spinning 'round

Looking for myself - SOBER (x2)

When it's good, then it's good, it's so good till it goes bad

Till you're trying to find the you that you once had

I have heard myself cry, never again

Broken down in agony just tryna find a fit

There are a variety of ways to look at this song, and everyone's interpretation is unique and subjective. For me, this song is twofold. Some of the lyrics resonate the aspects of the eating disorder--the starvation, the "honeymoon" period, the "highness," the numbness, the falling down.

Other parts of the lyrics remind me of the search for myself--"the you that you once had." The chorus line of "But how do I feel this good sober?" asks a question many of us strive to answer. Whether it is simply finding life without the ED or in learning to feel good about yourself just the way you are, we all can relate.

The video for this song sparked a lot of buzz when it debuted in late November. I had not known the controversy until hearing about it on the radio. I can certainly tell how it might be considered controversial, but I think the video is trying to portray the lyrics. P!nk, herself, said here that
"Eventually it had nothing to do with alcohol but with identities. "'How do I feel so good with just me, without anyone to lean on?'"

You think about it and so many of us are afraid of ourselves, of being who we really are. We live in such an age where we feel the need to be something, somebody, some body we are not versus just simply accepting who we are as individuals. I wish this was a simple change, and we could all be hunky dory and feel okay with ourselves. But life doesn't happen that way. It all takes time, one small step at a time. Someday, I hope to get to that point.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blurred lines

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail completely out of the blue from a woman I met at a conference a number of years ago. She had e-mailed me, asking if I was interested in contributing a piece for a new book she and others were producing about a specific chronic illness which I had suffered from. After a few days of thinking about it, I decided to oblige with the request, thinking it might help someone.

I have not submitted my piece to her yet. However, I have done a lot of thinking and do have some handwritten material on nice yellow lined paper of a legal pad. What I'm having trouble with is remembering. Not the type of memory of not knowing what happened, but rather what was attributable to the chronic illness or the eating disorder.

The lines feel so blurry. How do I know whether my constant fatigue and foggy thinking was from insane high liver enzymes, anemia, or the eating disorder? Logically, I'm sure it was all attributable. However, for the purpose of this piece, I do not necessarily want to go into details of the eating disorder as that is not what the book is about. But then again, it feels phony too?

Another aspect is that at one point in my treatment for this chronic illness, I went off my medication for really stupid reasons. It didn't bode well for me, but it also gave a window of opportunity to try another medication which fortunately "cured" (and I use that lightly) the illness.

It's interesting how these types of matters can jumble all together. I even read through my old medical records to jargon my memory. That only helped with establishing a timeline but didn't help otherwise.


Blurred lines haven't ended there however. Recently, on facebook, other people have contacted me who know nothing about the eating disorder. I'm sure some high school friends suspected something, but it was certainly not something I spoke about in public. People who have met me later in my life really don't have an idea of the eating disorder, because I've simply hid it.

So now as the lines blur between what is private and personal, I struggle with what to do. Do I "out" myself? Do I make a new account? I should also note that this is exacerbated, because I found out one of my posts had a referring link to facebook. I checked the links and got my facebook page or some person whom I did not know. I still cannot figure out how that happened.

As I try to figure this out, I'm reminded that all blurry lines do is ask more questions than they answer, giving headaches and a glare of fuzziness.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dreams, perceptions, and reality

Before my power went out, I had wanted to write this post. A few weeks ago, I had this dream. I was at my old high school and mingling around. Maybe, this was a reunion but I'm not sure really. I came across this young woman who was a teacher. I did not recognize her but she somehow knew me. Her first words were, "You look too thin." I denied the answer and promptly left. I don't remember what happened after that.

Dreams are an interesting thing. There is such a variety in them. Sometimes, they depict subconscious thoughts underneath the surface. Other times, they are relevant to the present moment, becoming a way to suss out or mill over matters. Some are happy, some are sad and nightmarish, some are just in between, and some don't really have an emotion to evoke. My favorites are the dreams that make absolutely no sense, yet, you still try to figure them out anyway. Example: animals talking.

Then, in a category all its own, are the ED dreams. These are the dreams about food or treatment or your treatment team or the scale or your weight or your body image or the perception of yourself on others or illness or even death. I don't know about you, but these have always been some of the most vivid, memorable dreams for me. They tap into my fears and disillusioned perceptions and always ask "WHY" questions or leave strings unattached.

Fast forward a few weeks at my last therapy session. (I have another post on that in the works) Towards the end of the session, C. asked me how eating and exercising were going. I was honest, told her it was so-so. My exercising had decreased since I had Tovah and the visit with my parents--both good things for the most part. I told her I knew I had lost a little weight back in mid-late December. I only knew since I weighed myself at the fitness center. Of course, when I said the number which was not significant at all, C. claimed it was a lot. I told her I had probably regained most of that weight back anyway since I was exercising less and eating more.

Then, C. said, "You're thinner now than when I remembered you in college. Even today, you look thinner."

Seriously, I was quite shocked. I know my perception is skewed but I also know how my jeans fit around my waist, and they are not as loose as they were then. This should have been a victory for me--not falling down the rabbithole. (or is it pigeonhole?) But instead, it just made me question my perception of reality and wonder if I'll ever be able to see too thin, thin, normal, and fat, at least on myself that is. Has the eating disorder forever scarred my perception?

What's your take? For those recovered/in recovery, are you able to see the dimensions or your own body or the perceptions others see?

Related perception posts:
Perceptions and body image
Perceptions and our pets

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ice storm photos

My power was restored last night. Hallelujah! I'm quite thankful it was only six days versus the eleven almost six years ago. There are still quite a few people without power, and it isn't estimated until a week or more that everyone will be back up and running. Though I was not quite as prepared for this storm as I should have been, I at least learned a few lessons from the last severe ice storm. If anyone wants tips on managing in an ice storm, let me know.

With further ado, here are some of the photos I took. Most were taken several days after the storm when the thawing out process was beginning.

I lucked out that this was the only major damage I had. There were a number of other branches that fell but this was the only one that hit and bent the fence. I attribute not having more damage due to cutting limbs and knocking ice off the branches soon after the storm hit. Other places had some huge tree limbs fall, and one client had his masthead of his house ripped off.

These next few photos are compare and contrast of the same items taken during the storm and earlier this year.

The full set can be seen here.
Full size images can be seen by clicking on them.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Snow and ice are pretty but...

NOT when it affects your power. Yes, the storm hit here pretty hard, so much of the stCheck Spellingate was powerless. A number of people have power, but of course, well, I'm not one of them. :sigh: It's a pain, going on now day 6. This reminds of the line that Sawyer said in Lost last season when Kate asked why he was staying on the island. He said he was doing what he knows best, just surviving, something along those lines.

The temperatures have been cold enough where I can pretty much leave most food items outside. Food, however, had been challenging since I normally eat a lot of vegetables, salads which have frozen outside. I am not one to go to restaurants and such unless I have to, so I've had to think a little more creatively.

Anyway, for now, I'm getting by for the most part. However, I kind of miss those little perks which electricity brings. Can we say light, coffee, and my own computer?

On a side note, it's been interesting to people observe. For example, I walked/ran to work (only 2 miles each way) in the freezing rain and snow for three days, and only had one person stop and ask if I was okay or needed a ride. I guess most people wondered what stupid-ass person would be out in that weather? It wasn't exactly my choice but I needed to be at work for some of the time.

Well, I've got to wrap it up. I'm at the library and on a time limit. Hopefully, my power will be back on soon. Last I heard, they said Wednesday. I have a few blog posts I've been thinking of and some pretty pictures of the storm to share. I'll catch up on blog reading when the power is restored. I hope all are well and Standingintherain, thanks for asking about me. I appreciate it. It's nice to know that people wonder where I've vanished to all of a sudden.