If I Was a Parent (of Someone with an Eating Disorder)

The holidays are here, and I've been thinking about what it would be like to be the parent of a kid with an eating disorder. While the holiday season can be difficult for those with eating disorders, it can also take a large toll on family members. If parents came to me for advice, this is what I would recommend:

Thank you, Sausi

As Thanksgiving approaches, I'm thinking more about what I'm thankful for. While the list is seemingly endless, I did want to take the time to recognize a person who played a significant role in my life. My best friend was an incredible person and I will always appreciate the care and consideration she showed me not only when I was in treatment, but both before and after.

Recovery Trumps Guilt

In my last piece, I mentioned that I’ve been conversing with someone who struggles with bulimia. Over the past few days, she’s mentioned how guilty she feels about the money her parents will have to spend for her to go in inpatient treatment. I let her know that I totally understand, and this is what I do to combat it.

It Gets Better

Anyone who's had an eating disorder and has a family that is aware of it will fight about it sometime. I can remember some of the devastating fights my parents and I had. The fights, tears, and constant tension between them and me were possibly worse than the physical disease was. As bad as the fights were, the talking, reconciling, understanding and healing was beautiful.

Psychology Today, the Misconception of Racism, and the Kanazawa Problem

I understand that Satoshi Kanazawa brings exposure and publicity for Psychology Today, but his writing does more harm than good. In his zeal to offend as many people as possible, he does a disservice to the field of psychology and brings scorn to Psychology Today.

Neurotic? Befriend a "Normie"

What's a "normie"? I will explain in eating terms. In various eating disorder support group meetings, I was introduced to the concept of normie as a "normal eater", aka someone who's not a food addict. I define a normie as someone who:• is comfortable with food• eats for pleasure and nourishment• doesn't eat with their weight in mind

What’s the Link Between Eating Disorders and Vegetarianism? (pt. 3)

I've talked to dozens of people who've had eating disorders and also been vegetarians, besides looking at my own reflections and writings, and received an overwhelming number of responses from those I don't personally know, and I've noticed certain primary and subsidiary factors to often be true.

What’s the Link Between Eating Disorders and Vegetarianism? (part 2)

I became a vegan out of desperation, not to be healthy, not to save the animals, not to lose weight, but to stop practicing my eating disorder.

What’s the Link Between Eating Disorders and Vegetarianism?

Not long before I decided to become a vegetarian, I started wanting to lose weight. Did I want to stop eating animals because I genuinely didn't want these creatures to suffer? Yes. Was all of it a tangled web of empathy, guilt, health and self-image? Probably. Did I think, I can become a vegetarian and lose weight in the process? Absolutely.

Ode to My Recovery Dog

One thing I learned from outpatient and inpatient treatment was that animals are beneficial to therapy. Having wanted a dog for years, I found this was the perfect pitch to use with my parents. I said, "The therapists said that animals are helpful for recovery." A couple months later, we brought home my puppy.

Suicide's Note

About three and a half years ago, an acquaintance killed herself. When a friend called and told me, I was shocked. I knew the woman had been in a bad place, and knew that she had recently relapsed, but I didn't realize how much despair she was feeling.

Combating the Stigma of Depression

As if depression weren't bad enough, the stigma associated with it can be quite intense. Here are ways to lessen the stigma:

The Sad & the Glad About Depression & Suicide, pt. 1

There has seemed to be more news coverage than normal about depression and suicide. Some high-profile people, who were reported to have dealt with depression for years, have recently ended their lives; a number of college students have done so as well. When I first head about these recent occurrences, I thought, how can we as a society lessen the stigma of suicide and depression? A few moments later I thought, how about you do your part? One way to change the perception of depression is for those of us who deal with it to share our experiences.

Tiger Woods and the Importance of Amends

When I found out Tiger Woods would offer a public apology last Friday, I wanted to hear it. I don't really care about his personal life, nor is it my responsibility to judge his sincerity. I was, however, interested because of my own experiences with amends.I've made amends to plenty of people for numerous things. I know I'll have to make more amends in the future because I'm human and continue to make mistakes. I can, however, use the lessons I've learned, some of which Tiger Woods reiterated, for the future.

Putting Guilt Into Perspective

When I first heard about the earthquake in Haiti, I felt sad, worried, angry. I didn't, however, feel guilty, which is a huge improvement.  

New Year’s Resolutions? Not this Time.

I believe the reason I've always rebelled against New Year's resolutions is because I wasn't totally dedicated to them. They always felt somewhat compulsory. I had good intentions when I created them, but good intentions didn't equal commitment. I can't recall ever having a resolution that I established at the beginning of the year that was crucial enough for me to follow it for a whole year. Yet, I'd find myself creating the same resolutions again and again.

Eating Disorder Recovery Holiday Survival Plan

People often mention that it can be difficult to eat healthily, stay in shape, heck - to stay sane during the holidays. It wasn't until I was in recovery from my eating disorder that I understood what they mean. These are some tips I've developed to maintain my sanity during the holiday season, and you might find them useful as well.

Letter to My Body

Last weekend, I found a letter that I'd written to my body. The letter, which I crafted during a body image class and typed later, was written a few weeks into my stay at an eating disorder treatment facility. Some of the particulars are different, but I still found the letter to be applicable to today. Here it is: 

Lessons from Sophomore Year

Apparently, it's my sophomore year in college because I've been experiencing plenty of déjà vu. It's manifested itself in various ways.  If I'm going to continue experiencing sophomore déjà vu, let me take the lessons from that year and make the most of them. 

Color Preferences, Michael Jackson, and the Love of Self

A couple weeks ago, after watching an MSNBC segment on Harvard's Implicit Aptitude Test, I jumped at the opportunity to try it. After sifting through the different options, I decided to take the light skin vs. dark skin sample test. Once I finished it, my result was: Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for Dark Skin compared to Light Skin. I was absolutely stunned. I didn't know what the result would be, but I certainly wasn't expecting that. 

Work With What You've Got

Tools are there to be used. It doesn't matter if they're conventional or unconventional. If something works for me, I'll use it. Likewise, if something works for you, use it.