Saturday, May 29, 2010

Quick teaser 2

You've now seen the cage (I like to call it her "safe house" or enclosure) for my new furry animal which should be arriving in a few weeks. Since this new furry animal likes toys, here's something I've been saving for awhile:

I don't think a lot of people really think of all the uses of cardboard besides recycling and packing, but there's quite a bunch. I've been saving additional cardboard too from our various shipment orders at work. So I'll likely be trying my hand at "cardboard" invention soon.

First exposures

Over the last few weeks, I've been working on a new "puppy prep" powerpoint for one of our seminars. We find that the majority of owners have no clue what puppies involve, so we thought this would be a good educational tool. Our seminars are only 90 min. sessions, and there is a lot of information in each one. It's difficult to cram everything into that time frame, but I do my best to hit the high points and not go into multitudes of detail.

The biggest thing we stress as dog trainers is socializing your puppy. This is essentially getting your puppy used to "first exposures" in everything--humans of all sizes, shapes, and ages, other dogs, other animals, a variety of objects, etc. Because puppies go through several "fear" periods during their life, we want them to have positive associations to these exposures. We find that puppies who have this early socialization grow up to have better manners, have more confidence, and are less likely to be relinquished by their owners (we won't get into the stupid reasons why people decided to surrender their pet. I've heard everything from "the puppy got bigger" to "I had no more room" to "I'm having a baby" to "the dog doesn't match our furniture.")

Okay, that's the prelude to this post which is obviously about first exposures. Recently, on facebook I've added some more old high school acquaintances. I have not kept in touch with these people since then, so naturally (or maybe it's just the curiosity in me), I wonder what has gone on with their lives. Don't we all wonder that to some degree?

Anyway, what surprised me was how many of them either married different races or fell in love with a certain culture. I think I've mentioned it before, but I grew up in a small, fairly conservative, white town in Virginia. At the time, besides black, you really hardly ever saw other races or ethnicities at all. I truly was one of the only other Asian people there with the exception of the family who ran the Chinese restaurant, another student in my school who had some learning development problems, and a little girl a number of years younger than me who was also adopted. Oh yes, and there were some Japanese students at the small, liberal arts, female-only college and a few Asian students at a private school in town. But those were all the Asian people there. I heard that town has developed quite a bit and it's more diverse.

One of my best friend's in high school I learned married a Hispanic man and is now living in Arizona. This was a person whom I never would have imagined dating or marrying out of her race. Not that she wasn't open to it per se, but just that she didn't have much exposure to that particular subgroup of people prior to college (she went to UVA) and moving to the west coast. I'm thankful her family accepted him and she is happy with a young son.

Another person I found out joined the army, went to Iraq, and somewhere in between there visited Thailand and fell in love with that culture. Prior to that, I doubt he had exposure to anything different than the town we grew up in.

Another boy who was a year older than me who had some trouble with drugs and alcohol in school eventually straightened himself out and wound up marrying a Filipino woman. Again, this surprised me, because his family was conservative, highly privileged, etc.

Then, this other boy I knew who was a year younger than me married a Korean woman and recently had his first child. His mother was our high school guidance counselor and was one of the only adminstrators I liked and talk with. In fact, she was one of the first people to recognize how depressed I was, telling me how my personality had changed so significantly. She also was the person who nominated me to go to Girls State too.

What I realized with this is that it is likely these people's first exposure to an Asian person was me. Now, I know this is speculative, but it makes sense too. It sort of makes me smile actually.

The other thing with this is that I'm sure these people did not say "Oh, Tiptoe was my first exposure to Asian people, and she was really nice, and that's why I fell in love with this Asian person," but it was rather a subconscious thing. If you think about it, we have subconscious first exposures all the time.

Like I try to remember my first exposure to eating disorders, and I really can't for the life of me remember. The only thing that sticks out in my head was reading the book Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher, (still one of my favorites) and realizing how it was so sad how much pressure adolescent girls had. It was the first book that I truly identified with. I also remember distinctly saying I could never have an ED, because I loved food too much. Well, a year later, there was the ED smack dab in my face. I know I never had any moment of seeing someone else who had an ED (I did in high school not long after me but she was not the catalyst to my ED), seeing an after school special about EDs, seeing a tv movie, reading some magazine article about a diet turned awry, etc. It just kind of happened with a full array of internal and external events pertaining to both me and my family that certainly would be considered catalysts.

So then, this makes me think about what my first exposure to "recovery" was. Again, I'm not so sure, but I do remember a brief period in college where the ED thoughts didn't consume me so much, but then again, maybe I was just too tired to think with being on heavy duty drugs for my liver at the time.

In any case, I think this is an interesting thing to think about. First exposures and first impressions have a great meaning in life, and they can be positive and negative. Sometimes, they are conscious when you directly remember an event, person, or thing, but other times, they are subconscious. I think even with those subconscious ones, you can eventually become aware of them. I think this is one reason why I'm hoping I can somehow take Tovah into the school system one day. She loves children, and children love her. And it makes a vital impression on them, especially at young ages. Plus, it's incredibly rewarding and educational too.

Note: A fun kid's story--Last weekend, all three of my dogs got a chance to meet the neighbor's children. They have seen them outside quite a bit and get excited when they are out. Hank has a tendency to bark due to a fence being there, but it is only because of the fence and not the kids. Anyway, I asked the kids if they wanted to meet the dogs. All their faces lit up, giddy with excitement. I brought each dog out one by one and let the kids give them treats and pet them. Meanwhile, yes, I was also telling them the correct way to pet a dog and what not to do (one tried to hug Daphne which could have been disaster!). Tovah also got a chance to meet her first baby too which she did well with. It was just a great experience for all of them, well, except for one. One of the little boys has severe allergies to dogs. I felt horribly bad for him to have to watch as his siblings and friends got a chance to pet the dogs, but he couldn't.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A quick teaser

I was going to post this later, but I just can no longer contain myself! If you have been following me on twitter or facebook, I've hinted at it. I'm getting a new addition to my crew very soon. This condo will house the new furry animal.

Girls State

Last weekend, I went to an all day dog seminar. Since it fit in so nicely with what we are doing at the new facility which officially opens June 1st, it would have been a shame to have missed it. It was also not far from me, so it was a win-win situation. I talked my boss into going as well.

We both enjoyed it and got some good suggestions and ideas of how to run our facility. During one of the breaks after lunch (an unplanned pizza moment), a girl sitting in the front row (there were only about 20 people) turns to me and says my name. Then, she asked whether I went to Girls State. Immediately, when she said this, I placed her. I knew she had looked familiar but wasn't sure if I had randomly seen her at another dog conference or what. She told me her name, and then I completely remembered her.

It was one of those "what a small world" moments. We had both attended Girls State in Virginia nearly 14 years ago, now lived in nearby states, and worked with dogs. Well, her day job is working for NASA and dog training is her side job, but still it was very cool to say the least. If you're not familiar with Girls State, it's a week long program for girls who are rising seniors from all over the state. They are placed into different groups and form a mock government as a way to learn the responsibilities of being adult citizens. Each state but Hawaii has one. At my school, two girls (and boys too--there is a Boys State) were nominated to go. Now, I really had no desire about government, but I thought it was such a good honor to go and represent my school there.

Overall, I did have a good experience there, but at times, it was overshadowed by the ED (more on that below). I met some wonderful girls there who had many aspirations. One was determined to be the first woman Navy SEAL. I don't think that one happened due to the SEAL's stringent, traditional policy of remaining all male, however, I wouldn't doubt it if this particular girl wound up going into the Naval Academy. Others dreamed of medical school, law, engineering, and other esteemed professions.

For awhile, many of us kept in touch with senior photos of each other, snail mail and e-mail letters, etc., but like many people that age, we drifted off. There are some I remain wondering what became of their lives as these were all girls with so much potential.

Despite that this was such a great event for me, I think I missed out on a bit of it due to my mental functioning at the time. This event struck at one of the worst times in my life. Several weeks prior to that event, I had cut my wrist out of a fit of anger.. I was seeing a doctor at the time, was honest with him, and said that I didn't feel safe with myself. Little did I know that those words would put me in a locked up adolescent ward for almost a week. (I may have talked about this before in earlier posts but it has been awhile) I really hated that place. The ED was full force there, so all I ate was salad and cereal at night. I was horribly cold, constantly wore sweatshirts, was depressed, and could not stay awake for the life of me during actual therapy sessions. The other things I remember about that experience are an angry, young boy, the sobs of a girl who ran away to be with her boyfriend, a cutter, a boy there for substance abuse, the movie The Color Purple which was constantly played over and over, finding coloring therapeutic, night checks with a light flashed into the room, weighing myself on scales (they didn't know I had an ED until my therapist came to visit me one day and told them, then they kept doing blood pressure readings and threatened me with Ensure during the last few days of my stay), and deciding to run around the gym x number of times partly due to boredom and fear of gaining weight.

I also remember during one my visit with my parents, there was so much tension in the room, it could have easily been cut with a knife. The only thing that broke this tension was that my father brought one of my good friends in to see me. At first, I was horribly ashamed, but also felt really happy that she came to visit. She even brought a teddy bear with her.

So where does this go with Girls State? Basically, I almost didn't go, because I would have been stuck at that locked ward. When I found this out, I sort of whittled my way into getting to go, nodding my head that I had a plan of action if I felt overwhelmed, that I would take my medication, that I would talk to the nurse there if I felt worried, that I'd remain safe, etc. It wasn't pure lying per se, but I knew that place was of little help to me, and the best thing to do would be to get out.

Luckily, I was granted that wish. And as I said before, I did have a good time. But, there were those pesky ED issues. I feared food so much--either that I'd binge or eat nothing at all. I had thoughts of purging constantly but was so afraid of someone finding out (the bathrooms were a suite style). I had an Asian roommate was so incredibly smart, funny, could dance hip hop like you wouldn't believe, and was so tiny. I just felt a constant comparison which I'm sure was all in my head anyway. I worried about not getting any exercise and gaining weight. I realize this is stuff that plagues most ED people, and I'm no different. These issues were severely exacerbated a number of times during big events. I think this particular setting was the first time I was out of my environment and had to try to deal (or not deal) with the ED.

I guess my point here is that I probably could have had an even better experience had I not been so food/body obsessed. I think we can all understand this to a degree--how the ED robs us of a FULL experience of life. I really hadn't thought much about this event or prior to it until I saw this girl at the seminar. It's kind of sad too that that is what pops up into my mind rather than what Girls State was all about.

I doubt that the girl even knew I really had an issue, but I could be wrong. Often times, when we think we're being secretive and hiding things well, it's just the opposite. In any case, I'm going to try to keep in touch with this girl who lives a few hours away from me. It's hard to find people my age in the dog training industry as so many of them are older and have dog training as a side business or as a second career, so it's good to snag them while I can. ;-)

Did anyone else go to Girls State and what were your experiences there?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dalai Lama recap

Sorry for keeping everyone in suspense. I'm fighting some sort of fatigue thing. My guess is it is sleep oriented, but I haven't tried to figure out what all the factors could possibly be.

So my Friday trip to see the Dalai Lama started out in a frazzle. I OVERSLEPT! I could not believe it. This rarely happens to me. I woke up at the time I wanted to leave, so I felt like my ass was on fire at the rate I was moving to get everything done. Everything got done but the shower part which I had planned that morning. There just wasn't enough time, so me and my grungy self left in 30 minutes with a cup full of joe, a water bottle, and my camera.

Amazingly, I got there with time to spare. Let's just say I had a few factors in my favor like 70 mph almost all the way there, no rain (had previously rained several days before that), and no accidents. A friend of mine and her husband were also going, so she saved me a seat.

There were quite a few people there and flashes went off everywhere! I attempted photos, but I was at an awkward angle, on a macro setting, and just couldn't stop jiggling the camera. Most of my photos turned out like this. Ahh!

I wound up taking some photos on the screen ahead of me.

And of course, the only really in focus photo I took, the Dalai Lama's back was turned.

I attempted a video too, but it's difficult to hear. Though I think very highly of the Dalai Lama, it was a little harder than I expected to hear everything he said due to broken syllables. I understood the gist of what he said, but some words were lost in translation. In any case, it was very inspiring. It's not everyday you are in the same room with such a well known world leader.

Much of his talk was about what you would expect him to address--love, compassion, affection. These all seem so common sense, but still, it is difficult for people to completely contemplate. He also touched on remaining positive through difficult times which was humorously conveyed in the answer to a question a woman asked about how to not remain angry at her ex-husband. This was the other thing that was out of the ordinary--the
Dalai Lama has a good sense of humor! I had seen it before on television interviews, but to see it in person really makes you laugh even more.

Overall, despite my unplanned, on the fly morning, I was so glad to go. I had hoped there would be some photo ops with the Dalai Lama, but after his talk, he was whisked away. My friend, her husband, and I looked around at the vendors. I bought a few little Tibetan items like medicine wheels, a keychain, and metal plate to go over doors to bless people as they walk in. One thing I saw there were blessed handmade dog collars made by a Buddhist nun. They were nice but also $40. I love my pets greatly, but even that seemed a bit steep to me for a pet collar.

After that, we went to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory and the Hard Rock Cafe. My friend's husband got a hurricane. My friend said the hurricane was fruity, so I took a sip. Well, apparently not fruity enough for me. Call me sissy in that way, but I only like really fruity drinks. I rarely drink at all, maybe once or twice a year.

I left after that and headed home. It truly was a great experience, and it was fun to meet my friend there. I feel fortunate enough to have seen the Dalai Lama before he is no longer here with us. He's 73 years old and apparently in good health, but still, it is easy for something to go wrong suddenly at that age. He has done a lot for the world and it has been forecasted, he'll be the last Dalai Lama from his people. It is likely that China will pick their own Dalai Lama once he is gone. It's kind a sad prospect to think but realistic.

The day after I went to an all day dog seminar which was fun. I made some new contacts, met a girl who I had not seen in 14 years (more on that in the next post), and was forced to change my lunch plans at the last minute. By the end of the weekend, I just felt like I was dragging and have since had a hard time getting myself going this week. Hopefully, next week, I'll be more energized.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Maybe I'll be enlightened

This is a quick post in reference to the title. I'm super excited. I'm going to see the Dalai Lama tomorrow morning!!

I learned about this way back in March and bought a ticket. I figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and he was not going to live forever. I seriously think I would have kicked myself if I didn't decide to go or made some excuse. Though I do not affiliate with a religion, (though do lean towards Buddhism) I've always loved what the Dalai Lama has had to say, especially about his stance towards non-violence and having compassion. towards humans and animals.

A good friend of mine is also going, so we're hoping to meet up there and go out to lunch afterwards.

I'll post all about it when I get back. It may not be until the end of the weekend as I'm going to an all day dog seminar on Saturday.

The Dalai Lama is traveling quite a bit with next stops in WI, IA, and NY. You can look here at his full schedule.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scales on the horizon

To the left is a picture of a dog scale. My boss has decided we needed one for when we board dogs to monitor their weight when they stay with us. This was vastly prompted by a client's dog who was staying at a vet's office for boarding and lost 20 pounds (not sure how long the dog was there). Apparently, there was some miscommunication on how much to feed the dog, and the vet's office was only giving half of his normal intake. Why, they didn't increase his food or even notice his sudden weight loss is beyond me.

When my boss told me about possibly getting a scale, I cringed. Though I certainly understand the intentions of this scale--for the health and well being of the dog (as well as any liability issue in case someone may accuse us of starving their dog), but there is still a slight bit of uneasiness for me. I have the ( ), because I'm not positive this is the case, it just seems like the liability issue is another one from the way my boss talks. That, and I think she likes thinking that this is yet another thing in how we are different from other dog facilities. Apparently, this scale would only be used for boarding clients which was a sigh of relief for me as I did originally think she wanted this for daycare clients as well! The thing is this doesn't necessarily guarantee anything. There could easily be a client who would be upset that their dog lost 2 pounds while staying with us, while on the flip side, someone else may be happy that their dog lost weight with us if the dog was a bit overweight.

I'm sure I'm projecting more of my issue about this than anything else, and to most people it is not a big deal. I don't know if my hang up is the fact that there would be a giant scale in front of me everyday (I do not have scales in my house) or that I feel like this blurs a funny line between health practitioner and dog trainer, something my boss is very adamant about not crossing.

There isn't much I can do at this point. The scale has already been ordered and is on its way. I guess like in most things in life, I just have o learn to deal with it. So am I overreacting? C'mon, you can tell me a "Tiptoe, this is just a dog scale," my feelings won't be hurt. ;-) Is my viewpoint just filtered through ED-esque thoughts, or is there any inkling of sense?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Surviving some shopping

A few weeks ago I talked about how I was dreading shopping. I still am, but I truly want to try to get some of it done and not procrastinate like I usually do. I think that would just leave me more anxious and frazzled to find khaki pants that I liked and fit.

After taking advice from those who commented on the post above, the weekend before last, I decided to shop a little--mostly just browsing stores. For some reason, I had thought there was an Ann Taylor store in the mall, but it was a Ying's Loft. I stupidly curiously thought it might be similar to Ann Taylor Loft, but I was wrong. I walked through quite a few stores but didn't find anything that would remotely work except for a nice pair of Gap khaki pants that ironically I found at a thrift store for $2.25. That was a serious score!

So I was a bit bummed and had not planned on going shopping this past weekend due to feeling bloated, gross, and fat. I don't know what overcame me, but I wound up shopping anyway. I think my logic was that I had time on Sunday to go, so I thought I'd browse a few stores. I went to a different center this time and went into an Eddie Bauer, Banana Republic, and an Ann Taylor Loft. I figured I was bound to find something, or at least I prayed I'd find something that would look okay and hide all my appropriate body conscious areas.

All the stores in general, the pants were way too long. The Ann Taylor store was the only one that had a petite section, but the people there were the least friendly and helpful. I did manage to find one pair of khaki in a petite size, but even that was too long. I went ahead and got them, figuring I can fold the cuff underneath.

Eddie Bauer had a pair of khaki I liked, but did not fit well in the hip area. Overall, they had the most clothes that I wanted to try on (Banana Republic was a close second) but none fit exactly. It was interesting how even if I got the same size, the fit would be entirely different depending on the style. This made sense to me but not the actual size. Like I could get size X in one pant and that would fit. But in a different one, the same size X would be too small or I'd be swimming in them. The girl who was helping me was very nice and explained the different pant styles to me. Unfortunately, since everything was like a foot long, and there were not petites there, the only thing she could offer was to help me with a catalogue order which does run petite sizes. I decided to wait and see the other stores since that was my first store.

At Banana Republic, there was surprisingly a good selection of pants--yes a tad on the expensive side but I tried not to look at that number too closely. Since I hadn't tried on pants in any of these stores, I guessed on my size which wasn't too far off the mark from what I thought. I tried on a number of pants at B.R. and found two pairs I liked--one was a khaki pair, and the other was a nice, black pair. The person helping me was a guy (pretty sure he was gay--was the mustard yellow V-neck sweater and high pitch voice a give away?) who was very nice. After trying on the items, I told him I liked them, but they were all incredibly long. He said B.R. gets that a lot, so it's one reason why they send out their garments for alterations.

I decided to go ahead and get the khaki and black pants and get them altered. I had to put them back on, so he could pin them for me. That was kind of a weird feeling for me, not exactly sure why. Maybe it felt different that it was someone else pinning me other than my mom? Plus, I was on a pedestal too. I had to restrain myself from asking him how he thought I looked, just you know for a second opinion.

At check out, I got talked into getting a B.R. card, so I saved an additional 15% today, along with 30% off on the khaki pants. The black pants weren't on sale though. It was pricier than I thought, but I'm reminding myself that they are good quality, look nice, and will last awhile. The only thing I worry about is that the khaki pants might be too nice. After all, I am still working with dogs.

Overall, the shopping experience wasn't too bad. The anxiety didn't completely consume me, but I did find myself taking a huge breath and closing my eyes before I tried on each pair of pants. Then, I had difficulty scrutinizing if the pants really looked okay or it was just my imagination; hence, why I thought about asking the guy at B.R. for a second opinion. I guess the positive, take away message was that I didn't have a meltdown like I thought I might have, that I managed to get through it. Afterwards, I have to say, I was wiped out, completely exhausted. That just took a lot more mental energy than I anticipated!

One thing I still realize is that my body distortion, though a little better from past years, is still way off from how others perceive me. I continued to get one remark on my body size over and over, and I have a hard time believing it. :sigh: I just don't see it.

In total, I have found three pair of khaki pants, plus one pair I already had. I'm debating if this is enough or if I still need to continue shopping? I have to wear khaki pants 6 days/week for over 12 hours/day.

Note--*I'd have more photos, but for some reason, I could not find the khaki pants styles I bought on the B.R. and Ann Taylor websites. The photo above is the black pair from Banana Republic but the khaki look similar.

*I am still not a fan of dressing room mirrors, but the ones at Eddie Bauer's and Banana Republic's did seem better than most stores.

*I had one funny moment while trying on pants. I accidentally got a pair of khaki pants that was apparently for "skinny legs." I did not realize this until putting it on. I kind of chuckled, asking "how in the world do they think a leg can fit through that when it's the size of an arm? This was a lot better than berating myself on why my [insert obscenity, denigrating body thought] leg could not fit through it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to whomever you may be a mother to-whether they have skin, hair, fur, feathers, or scales. In the end, they all look to us for help, care, nurturance, protection, and love.

Here's a cute song from the movie Rugrats about mothers.
And remember that even though this is the day we observe Mother's Day, it is really everyday.

Note: a real post coming soon. And to those I owe e-mails-I'm not ignoring, will write soon. ;-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Bench

This is just a nice poem about needing support posted from Gurze Books  in the Eating Disorders Review.
If you haven't looked through Gurze, they have some great resources for eating disorders.
 The Bench

I know the journey is hard.
There's a bench just up ahead
Under some trees.
Let's sit down,
Stop for a while.
We don't have to talk
Unless you want to.
We can listen to the birds sing,
Feel the wind,
Enjoy the view,
And see,
Really see
The life that's out there for us.
When we are both ready,
We can continue
Our journey of recovery.
I know it has its bumps
And steep hills,
But it also has its
Easier, smoother valleys and vistas.
The most important thing,
My friend,
Is that we not travel it alone.
It is a journey meant to be taken
Hand in hand.
Take mine.
by Anne Edwards

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Deconstructing "myths about suicide"

A few days ago, NPR's Talk of the Nation spoke with Thomas Joiner of Florida State University, a prominent researcher in suicidal behavior, on deconstructing "myths about suicide" Joiner has a new book out called Myths about Suicide in which he talks about this very thing.

Though I've posted about suicide before, I think it is still an important issue to discuss, especially as May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Like with many other disorders, suicide is often stigmatized as well.

There were several points in this conversation that Joiner made which really struck out to me. One was the myth that suicide is a selfish act. He explained that to those on the outside this is how it appears, but really what the suicide sufferer is thinking is, "my death will be worth more than my life to others." Although this thinking is mistaken, to the sufferer, it is true.

This often rings similar to those with eating disorders. On the outside, people think "how could someone with anorexia think they are fat? Can't they see they are not?" (I know this isn't the case for everyone, but just an example) Or it is like when we say we are "feeling fat" to someone, and they say "fat isn't a feeling." This may be correct, but to that individual, it feels real at the time.

Another point Joiner makes is that suicide is not an impulsive act. He says that even though suicide appears out of the blue for some people, often times, there has been a long built up process to it. If you think about it, it is really hard to kill yourself. Your body's natural reaction is to fight back and resist. For some, it is one reason why their body doesn't let them commit suicide.

He also mentions the film The Bridge, the controversial documentary about the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, a place where many have gone to commit suicide. For one year, the director and his crew, filmed people walking across the bridge, trying to determine which ones were vulnerable to jumping. In the end, they could not tell who would or would not. This deconstructs the myth that suicides are easy to tell. Even those that seem to be functioning well outwardly, inside the person is a mess and in misery. Again, this is so similar to eating disorders. How many times do people think we are okay just because we are weight restored, functioning, or look "normal"

One other myth Joiner discussed was the idea that if someone was really going to commit suicide, they would. He felt that physical barriers were important and was an underappreciated means of suicide prevention, especially as high railings have been installed at other historic buildings like the Empire State Building which dramatically reduced the number of suicides.

Since callers were invited into this show, there was one guy who had had several members of his family commit suicide. This led into the question of genetics which Dr. Joiner agrees contributes to suicides. He feels that genes, risk factors, personality traits, etc. operate via three aspects of his model which are learned fearlessness, burdensomeness, and alienation. He explains his model as:

I think that there are two main processes that have to develop and that have to collide to end in this catastrophe that is suicidal behavior. One has to do with the-I think very basic insight that death is inherently fearsome and daunting. Therefore it requires a kind of fearlessness, a fearlessness specifically about physical pain, physical injury and death, in order to enact it. So that's one process that's unfolding. It takes time to develop.

So does the other process, which has to do with: Why would people desire suicide in the first place? And I think it has to do with states of mind having to do with the idea - two ideas, actually one, that you're a burden, and one other - that's what I meant when I was referring to death being worth more than life kinds of thoughts; the other is that you're hopeless alienated, cut off and isolated from others. When these two processes combine, the desire for suicide spurred by alienation and burdensomeness, when all when that collides with learned fearlessness, that's when you see these catastrophes.

This makes sense to me and again resonates with eating disorder sufferers. There is the fearlessness of becoming malnourished, starved, unhealthy, or even dying. Then, there is the burden factor where we feel like we are burdens on our families and may not communicate how we feel to them or that we really need help. And with alienation, we often cut ourselves off from people and isolate to feed our disorders.

These same aspects could also be why a number of those with eating disorders do wind up committing suicide. These traits, brain chemistry, and feelings all collide, leaving the sufferer to feel suicide may be the only way.

I think this is one reason why I think education is important. Mental illnesses, in general, have so many stereotypes and we need to de-stigmatize and deconstruct the myths behind them.

Lastly, if you feel suicidal, please get help or call 1-800-SUICIDE, 1-800-273-TALK

FYI: the Discovery Health Channel is broadcasting "Six Nights of Understanding" series, showcasing individuals' experiences with Anxiety, Rage, Dissociative Disorder, Schizophrenia, Addiction, Bipolar Disorder, Hoarding, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Thanks Dr. Deb for posting this!