Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Unlabel me

I don't have a huge amount of time right now - really need to be doing other computer things, but I wanted to post this photo. (It's been sitting in my draft folder for a week now)  I was reminded of it when I recently read a post by another dog trainer talking about how some of her friends called her the "Dog Whisperer."  I have also been named this at times as well.  None of this would be so bad other than this trainer and myself, well, we just don't align with the modern day Dog Whisperer techniques (Paul Owens was actually the original dog whisperer, titling a book the same name back in 1999. His book offered dog training guidance in compassionate, non-violent methods)  Although the people who "label" us this do not mean any offense by it, but rather, they are actually trying to give a compliment of sorts.

So labels, do they give importance? What are the values in them? I can see both sides of the argument on this, but for the purpose of this blog on eating disorder recovery, labels do have a tendency to narrow you into one definition. Anyone who has dealt with insurance certainly knows this.

In recovery, I think a lot of us try to shed the label of whatever eating disorder you may have had. We find we are much for than a definition, and we actually begin to value ourselves as such. We find that we want others to see us differently - as a person with a lot more qualities than how we appeared when suffering.

In thinking this, what labels do you want to shed? Is it only the ED one or are there are others as well? It's good food for thought. :-)


Kaylee said...

This is really interesting! I've always resisted the anorexia label because I feel like it has such negative connotations and stereotypes associated with it. Sometimes even MY first thought when I hear "anorexic" is of skeletal supermodels snorting coke. It's hard when certain labels have such strong cultural images attached because people can't always get past those, but it's also hard to describe the problem without using these labels.

In recovery, it's also hard not to get caught up in the labels - if I gain X pounds, am I suddenly not anorexic anymore? Am I less anorexic today than I was yesterday? Having the diagnosis has been helpful in allowing me to get adequate treatment, but it also makes me feel trapped in the identity of a sick person.

Tiptoe said...

Kaylee, you are right. It is hard to know where to stand. The dx helps for treatment purposes but continues to be a part of you. But I think in the end, we have to remember who we are without the illness. It's not something we want to be known for in the end.