September 29, 2012

ED says don't listen to me

We all know that eating disorders whisper cruel lies to patients: I'll keep you safe, It's easier this way, no one can help you, it's not worth the pain.

The worst lie is: you're different. YOU are too stubborn, too scared, too far gone, too smart for anyone who might help; you aren't like other patients.

ED lies. You ARE different but your eating disorder isn't. You ARE unique and stubborn and scared and unwell and smart as hell but your eating disorder has none of that. Your eating disorder is dumb as a sharp stone: it only does one thing and it isn't even very original and clever about it. He just turns every thought against your authentic self. He doesn't know how to even do it artfully.

YOU do, but ED's only cleverness is in his being difficult for others to understand at first. But when we listen to what ED says, we can easily see that he only has one purpose: hurting you. He never does anything positive, he only offers ways to numb and shut down - not build or nurture. The cleverness is all you. The stubbornness is all you. The person you'll be without ED is glorious, unique YOU.

You know I don't ever use my blog the way I am right now, and you know I'm speaking to you. You know that I don't believe in begging, exhorting, encouraging, or platitudes to eating disorder sufferers. I believe in caregiving and family and not making patients have to do all the thinking. I believe strangers on the Internet can't do much without being there and DOING. But I do know that reaching out to those who can't really help you DOES mean something. It means you're afraid to ask it from those who can help. We've all been there. If someone ELSE reached out to you you would respond immediately and with respect and belief that all would be well. You wouldn't begrudge a bit of it. You wouldn't be angry or disappointed or judgmental: you'd just DO for them.

Put yourself into the caring and respectful hands of someone who CAN ACT. I know they are there. Let others do the thinking for a bit, and be stubborn later. And later, describe it to us so we can help others as well, together. Allow others to be there for you, imperfect as we are, and then be there for others with all of us together.

September 27, 2012

What you see you can't get

What happens when a family seeks out Family-Based Maudsley Treatment but can't find it?


Registered: July 31, 2007
Posts: 5,613

This is the reality. There is very little FBT out there and even fewer who have experience and skill offering it. It is kind of like we are living at the early days of antibiotics, or germ theory -- the savvy parent or patient may well know far more about the issue than most specialists.

I feel bad, sometimes, for spreading the word on something that most families won't find and the knowledge of which may actually undermine their relationship with clinicians they CAN find. But 10 years ago it was nearly impossible and now it is somewhat available -- and part of that has to do with building demand and a knowledgable public. As more parents search for it, ask for it, and expect it more providers will become aware and get training. As more families turn away from those who can't offer it there will be a strong incentive for clinicians to get appropriate training. I think it is reasonable to say that in 2012 anyone treating child or adolescent eating disorders should be able to offer FBT. I think it is reasonable to say to a family that they can decide not to work with anyone without that expertise. This is not to say that the family should GET FBT, but that a provider who cannot is like a doctor who doesn't offer the range of antibiotics and keeps giving out less helpful ones instead.

But now we are at a stage where parents are justifiably perplexed, frustrated, and then angry not to be able to locate FBT. Parents facing what is probably the most frightening challenge of their lives should not also have to know to research treatment modalities BEFORE they consult clinicians or that they may be offered any number of un-supported treatments before they stumble on the one the experts say ought to be tried first. It's horribly unfair for those of us in the know to have to walk in and start over with each new clinician with the likelihood that the person will not be updated nor will they know they are not.

It's unfair but it is true. I like to think we're better off knowing even if we can't find the best fit, but sometimes I wonder if it just makes US a little more crazy-appearing.

What I'm long-windedly trying to say is that what you are observing is accurate, and unfair, and you are not alone. THere are times when I could just scream, frankly. For comfort, or at least rationalized misery, Google "Semmelweis Reflex" named for the doctor who first grokked that doctors going from the autopsy room to the delivery room were the cause of childbed fever but was ridiculed by his colleagues and disbelieved for years. (Don't read to the part where he dies in infamy and never gets to see the field realize he was right.)

Laura Collins (Moderator and forum founder)
Executive Director of F.E.A.S.T.
Daily blog post at:
Edit | Delete

September 25, 2012

stir the possum

How can I have gone this long without learning that my mission in life is -- just learned this from an Australian friend -- stirring the possum!

I love English.

Is Disney making Minnie anorexic?

I predict an epidemic of nose jobs
to match Minnie's fetching schnoz!
Where Laura annoys friends and foes, equally...

Many friends in the ED world are exercised about a collaboration between the store, Barneys, and Disney where the holiday campaign shows the designer clothing on Disney characters - morphing those iconic figures into, well, cartoonish figures of cartoon figures.

As a friend so wisely quips, "a mouse in clothes is only slightly less ludicrous than a cat in clothes."

I'm not worried about Barney's morphed mice. I'm worried about the fact that the eating disorder world can't agree on anything, ANYTHING, but we can pull together a press release on animated characters?

I am a member of AED and BEDA and they both are doing the best work on eating disorders out there,  hands down, truly. But there is a galling irony that we can only get people to agree on stuff that not only doesn't have to do with eating disorders but furthers public confusion about eating disorders.

I say this having waited years in vain for an unequivocal statement on parents causing eating disorders, and then strung along for two years waiting for a promised statement on the role of weight restoration in resolving psychological symptoms only to be chided in the paper for having asked, and not having the question addressed. I've begged leaders in the ED world for clear statements on a number of issues that should not be controversial, but keep being told it can't be done. And yet: Barneys holiday campaign lights a fire that gets action within weeks?

Is thinness anorexia? no. Do children get their self-image from advertising campaigns for haute couture? no. Is Minnie Mouse any more realistic in her original form than in the Barney's campaign? um... no. 

What will the public get out of this? That eating disorder advocates are more exercised about cartoon figures than anything else about the illness. That deadly mental illness can be caused by mere images or ideas. Where are the joint statements decrying widespread diet industry marketing to children? Where is the rally to speak out against the lack of funding for eating disorder research? I don't see a collective movement against high school athletics programs that discourage dinner and publicly weigh athletes. Where's the petition against "Anti-Obesity" initiatives that sow terror around weight gain in children? Did I miss the eating disorder advocacy world coming out against the use of non-evidence-based treatments? I can think of 45 more important topics for public statements and none of them feature Disney.

All this firepower of outrage, this wonderful focus, and the public ear may not be possible with what we really need the public to hear: that eating disorders are deadly mental illnesses and with specialized care are treatable to full freedom from symptoms. But silence might be better, I fear, than affront over the most frivolous eating disorder controversy available.

#weightstigma week: what are you doing about it?

Tomorrow is the first day of Weight Stigma Awareness Week, and a good time to examine some bad assumptions out there about weight.

Start with Harriet Brown's New York Times piece, 

September 21, 2012

online support for carers of male ED patients: survey

Carer feedback survey by MGEDT now online!

"Men Get Eating Disorders Too is currently looking at ways in which we can develop online peer support services for male sufferers and carers with eating disorders. Please help us as we shape our proposal, by completing this short survey via the link: (it should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete). Even if you haven't used forums/discussion boards/live chat before, we'd still be interested to hear your thoughts..."

September 19, 2012

well, men deserve equality in mis-reading of eating disorder symptoms, too

When I read an article on eating disorders I'm looking for a clean piece. What I mean by that is "can I offer this article to a parent in crisis with little time, not much grounding, and in the middle of critical decisions?

So, an otherwise interesting article that includes much of what I'd like the parent to see is ruined for my purposes if it has certain poison pills. 

This GQ article is a good example, "Male Anorexia: 20 Percent of Anorexics are Men."

It's movingly and artfully written, and in a widely-read publication. It includes some simple (actually, simplistic) biological information. It brings up the very important issue of lack of treatment resources for men. Many of those quoted are people who do know the science and the history and have devoted themselves not only to eating disorders but to male eating disorder patients. All good.

But can we really afford some of the mistakes in this piece?

"More and more men are starving themselves to death in a pathological pursuit of perfection."

How evokative! But, we don't know whether more men are developing anorexia or not. We know that more are being diagnosed, yes, but the leap to the numbers growing is unsupported. Rates of anorexia in the population seem to be steady over time and across cultures as well. This idea that a disease has to be growing in numbers to be important is maddening. But worse is the implication that the growth has to do with society's pressures on men. So, this begs the question: if it turns out that diagnosis and not prevalence is growing does that mean male eating disorders are less important? Will we be dropping all the speculation about six-pack abs and body as metaphor and pressures on men?

Calling a mental illness a "pursuit" of anything is to misunderstand it terribly. The perfectionism in anorexia is a symptom, yes. But do we say that people with OCD are in a pathological pursuit of symmetry? That depression is a pursuit of unhappiness? This kind of language around eating disorders perpetuates the myth that eating disorders have a reason, a justification, a deep meaning. Those myths are great for social causes and fundraising walks but if they're wrong then they hurt advocacy in the end.

Perhaps the most telling is that these narratives of victimhood and deep pathology don't go together with the other information about brain function and treatment included in the piece. It's a kitchen sink prose poem including opposing ideas without resolving the contrast, not journalism. When the public reads these pieces without that analysis, more misunderstanding ensues.

And oy gevalt, the pictures! This is just the imagery that makes well-meaning eating disorder media into pro-ana porn. Eating disorders are a mental illness, not a weight condition. These pictures don't illustrate anything but a tired, incorrect, harmful reflection of what the public thinks these disorders are and what the not-quite-getting-it author has gathered. It pains me that equality for males with eating disorders has to carry with it the same myths as we've had about female eating disorders. 

"There is no data to support this belief" does appear here, but isn't applied to most of the content. 

September 18, 2012

guest post from Charlotte on UK conference for parents and carers

A charming guest post by Charlotte on the UK conference for parents and carers:

Keep Calm and Carry on Conferencing

So the first F.E.A.S.T. UK conference, being held in conjunction with Professor Janet Treasure, Gill Todd and the Maudsley Carers, is beginning to become a slightly scary reality.  I have to admit to sometimes hovering the mouse over the “Cancel this conference” button but have resisted the temptation so far......

We have a programme (still in draft) which says I am allowed to bebossy for precisely 5 minutes each morning.

What is different about this conference as compared to your standard ICED or somesuch?

For a start, it is a very relaxed conference.  We are not aiming for slickness and clever slides. (If I know Janet, she will arrive with the notes for her speech to be included in the Welcome Pack that morning.  They will appear to have been photocopied either a) whilst the photocopier was breathing its last or b) whilst the printer ink was running out.)

Everyone is lending a hand at organising from Batty doing the rooms, Fiona doing everything else, Dr Z keeping an eye on the finances (well she would, if I would just get round to sending her the bank statements), D trailing round the countryside armed with posters, all the tweeting and sharing and poster printing and P walking into her ed unit scattering posters like confetti.....
Sue is turning up with goody bags, C and K are doing the name badges (because they both do that calligraphy thingy), Helen is threatening to bring the Welsh, the Scots are invading and the wonderful Miranda Bunting is doing the whole “twit” thing – anything AED can do, we can do!

We are not top heavy on people wanting to expound their new theories or raise money for their research.   I doubt there will be very much controversial or confrontational. Instead, we are hoping to offer a safe and warm welcome to clinicians, parents and carers to share our experiences and offer hope and help where it is needed.  I want to work out new ways that we can all work together to get better treatment for people with eating disorders and better support for their carers.

This time, I am going to resist the temptation to drink more than one bottle of wine with Fiona the night before and I certainly shan’t be dancing on any tables.......

(To register, please follow this link)

No Glee at Ipecac joke

A preview for the next Glee TV show episode shows a drill-seargant-style abusive dance teacher recommending "rice cakes and ipecac" for a student. I'm not humorless and the character is meant to be "what not to teach" but still: it's not funny. Ipecac can be deadly. I used to have a bottle, as instructed by our pediatrician, in case of poisoning - but that recommendation is long, long outdated.

Here's the clip:

And here's my letter to Fox. Please consider writing your own: these letters matter. If I don't hear from Fox soon, I will post a petition and I hope you will join me. Even if the show can't be changed, we can raise awareness about the inappropriateness of associating ipecac with weight loss.

Dear Ms Paez and Mr Grogin,

I just viewed a preview of a Glee episode in which Hudson's character upbraids a dancer for her weight and recommends "rice cakes and ipecac."

Your writers may not be aware of the dangers of Ipecac.. Although it was once standard for parents to have on hand in case of accidental poisoning, it is no longer recommended ( What ipecac is now used for is self-induced purging in pursuit of weight loss: a habit-forming and potentially fatal behavior every single time it is done. 

As cruel as that character is meant to be, she would not be saying that line if the public knew the reality of ipecac use. She would not be cavalier about purging if she knew eating disorders are fatal for 10% of sufferers and that the target audience for Glee is the same age range in which experimentation in purging can lead to lifelong mental illness. Try replacing the word "ipecac" with "crack cocaine" and it isn't funny any more.

The line certainly wasn't funny for me, the parent of a former eating disorder patient. Nor are the members of my organization, F.E.A.S.T., amused. Humor shouldn't be censored and illness shouldn't be protected from humor but that line just isn't funny. It's sad.

"Cut off a butt cheek" isn't meant to be real. "Rice cakes and ipecac" is being framed as extreme weight loss advice. Ipecac doesn't promote weight loss and has no appropriate use. Experimentation with disordered purging like this can lead to disability and death.

We are calling on Fox to re-edit this scene or write in appropriate information about ipecac into the series. You could save lives with the latter idea and we hope you will.


Laura Collins, Executive Director
F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders)

Gaude Lydia Paez
VP of Corporate Communications
Fox Broadcasting

Scott Grogin
Sr. VP of Communications
for Fox Television

September 12, 2012

Has your family participated in family-based treatment?

Posted by request of the researchers:
Research Participants Invited – University of IowaOur research team is conducting a study to investigate parents’ uniqueexperiences of participating in family-based treatment.We are recruiting 25 parents who have participated in family-basedtreatment for a child or adolescent with anorexia nervosa.Who can participate?• Parents (biological, adoptive, or step) who have participated infamily based treatment for a child with anorexia nervosa at somepoint in the past• Child was between ages 10 and 18 at the time of family-basedtreatment• Are not currently in family-based treatment
What is the process?• Participants will contact the researcher• The researcher will email information about the study and ademographic questionnaire• Participants will review the information about the study and, ifthey consent to participate, will complete and mail the demographicquestionnaire to the researcher• Some participants will be invited to participate in a 60-90 minuteinterview which may occur in person, via telephone, or via web chat
This study is being conducted by Joanna Wiese and Megan Foley Nicpon,PhD. If you are interested in participating, please contact Joanna Wiese at563-676-2500 or If you are an eating disorderpractitioner and have eligible clients interested in participating, pleaseforward them this contact information.

September 11, 2012

The sound of the keyboard

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I'm having trouble with that tendinitis from O'Connell over using my my rest and so I am actually dictating this through my computer and not using my hands so I thought I give it a shot as a blog post and see how it works it's kind a need I'm not sure Maddie

or, edited by hand:

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I'm having trouble with tendinitis from overuse. I'm giving my hands a rest and so I am actually dictating this through my computer and not using my hands so I thought I give it a shot as a blog post and see how it works. It's kind a neat I'm not sure what I think...

September 8, 2012

one hand tied

this should be fun with my lifestyle: one hand in brace from over-use. my dominant hand. must learn economy of wording...

September 7, 2012

California, Coming Home

I was born in San Francisco but haven't been "home" for 22 years. Too busy going around the world, too poor, too busy parenting. But I got an invitation I couldn't resist: the opportunity to hold forth on activism in a keynote presentation at a fundraising conference. So, tickets bought, relatives called, I'll fly into the city of my first five years and give a speech only 20 minutes from my kindergarten and the former kangaroo farm at my bus stop!

See you there?

EDRS, Inc. 7th Annual Eating Disorders Awareness Fundraising Conference
Save the Date!  February 7-9, 2013
Petaluma, CA: February 7-9  EDRS, Inc. 7th Annual Eating Disorder Awareness Week Conference.

Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc. is a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to promoting community awareness of eating disorders, professional education and collaboration, and providing treatment scholarships to California residents in need of financial assistance for treatment. Each year EDRS, Inc. holds a fundraising conference to help accomplish these goals and 100% of the registration fees go directly to the Treatment Scholarship Fund.
The EDRS, Inc. Board is pleased to announce that the 7th Annual Eating Disorders Awareness Fundraising Conference will be taking place at the Petaluma Sheraton on February 7th, 8th, and 9th in 2013.

In 2013, the keynote speakers include Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, MS, the Executive Director of F.E.A.S.T. and Walter Kaye, MD the Director of UCSD's Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Program. For a sneak peak at additional presenters, please visit our homepage - registration is soon to follow!

For more information, to register, or make an online donation, visit For any other inquires, call Bridget Whitlow, LMFT, EDRS, Inc. President at 415-827-0283.

Nominate or create: eating disorder film festival!

Tired of wailing and bemoaning wrong and unhelpful media depictions of eating disorders?

Worry that your head will explode if you have to see another distorted mirror image or "painfully thin" girl illustrating a story on eating disorder? Review all the depictions of mothers and fathers associated with eating disorders: do they reflect what YOU know? Well, here's your chance to take a stand:

Nominate or create a film clip or slideshow on the theme of our 2012 Alexandria conference, "There's No Place Like Home."

Five clips will be chosen to be viewed at the conference and then posted online.

Nominate or create!!

September 6, 2012

"don’t give people license to expand their waistlines"

Jeez. How do people get it so wrong even when presented with the right information?

People just really, REALLY want to believe that weight is completely under a person's control, that you can see or measure health by weight, and that it just can't be right not to be afraid of SCARE QUOTES HERE fat ENDQUOTE.

Time to stand down, folks. Also, to stop accompanying articles on obesity with "headless fatties."

Fitness Trumps Fat as a Gauge of Health is not new news but it has to be brought up breathlessly with cautions and shock every time it is mentioned.

But why, oh why, does this have to be funded by Coca-Cola? Please. Is that really credible? I know it isn't going to be funded or pushed by the Brocolli Producers of America but, really?

I love the "give people license" thing. Like the world is just waiting for a reason to go gain weight.

Genetics and stigma revisited, no: really visited for the first time

you're reading...

Startling Read the blog post above, by Tetyana, Science Of Eating Disorders blogger. Marvelous insight, scholarship, and truly fascinating examination of how genetic explanations of eating disorders can increase or decrease stigma. Important comparison with other mental disorders.

And a gem, included, that rings so true it hurts:

The anticipated harms largely flowed from reductionist and deterministic theories of genetics. Notably, respondents’ own genetic theories were usually more complex, with ample roles for environment and personal volition interacting contingently over time.. Nevertheless, they presumed others to have simple theories, a presumption that has empirical support.. 

September 5, 2012

A new project to organize eating disorder information

Have you heard yet about the new Eating Disorder Information Gateway project? Check them out and consider a donation to help them get started: F.E.A.S.T.'s Board of Directors just voted today to send a donation!

September 4, 2012

BMI can be deceiving

Many of us in the ED world have an allergy to the term BMI, and especially to the wildly artificial and judgmental categories for BMI: underweight, healthy, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese. Although weight and BMI have a small bit of utility in screenings and evaluations they are largely bogus. Never meant to be used the way they are and horribly misunderstood. The correlation between BMI and health is SO flawed as a concept and nearly without meaning for individuals (who should only be compared with themselves).

One fun activity, if you haven't done so yet, is to cruise through the BMI Project initiated by Shapely Prose. After a while you stop seeing a body and judging it, you stop having automatic thoughts based on size, and you get to just enjoy humanity. With practice, you can go out into the street and extend that lack of judgement to the humans you encounter. You don't know squat about a person by evaluating their appearance, not even their BMI. You don't know their health or their eating habits or their morality - and you certainly don't know their mental health.

September 2, 2012

Hope and thanks from me

A kind and generous message to the Around the Dinner Table community, below, by "inaweofyou."

The ATDT moderators can't allow posts by patients, but I'm glad to post it here:

Hey there. 

I wanted to make this post for you all. I'm pretty sure I am not allowed to post here as I am not a caregiver- so I will just post this one post to you. I do respect your rules, I just didn't know how else to tell you all this.

I came across this site about a year ago. I have been looking at it on and off. I have cried reading some of your posts. I have rejoiced with you when your children are doing well. I have felt such an ache in my chest for you all.

You are truly INCREDIBLE human beings and parents.

I live in Europe. I am a final year medical student and have suffered with AN and BN for the last decade. I am currently in intensive outpatient treatment and doing the best I have EVER done. I am making real changes. I noticed the use of a word that describes how a sufferer never really 'gets' that they are so ill. (ag...??!) I really, really agree with this. It's the strangest thing. I still find it very hard to understand why people get concerned about me. This illness is baffling.I have individual therapy twice a week. And five hours of group therapy. My therapist is recovered herself. I mean REALLY recovered. Free. Free of self doubt, perfectionism, low self esteem, never feeling good enough, extreme anxiety etc. She loves and respects herself now. She is amazing because she catches EVERY single ed trick. I mean EVERY. My nutritionist is recovered too. And sees through everything. They are like mind-readers. 

I have had 2 different psychologists in the past who hadn't a clue about what was going on with me. They clearly learned about ed from a book. But as I'm sure you have ALL realised, to understand an eating disorder- you need to live with one. You need to see your child disintegrate before your eyes. You need to see the empty eyes and the self hate. You need to see how little we feel we deserve. I honestly think you women are experts when it comes to eating disorders. Not because you always know the right thing to do or say, but because you TRY. You are experts because you've lived with it. It has infected your home and your lives. You have lived it. 

An eating disorder doesn't occur in a vacuum and I am so so so sorry that this monster has happened to YOU.Yes, you. You too are a sufferer. Let no one EVER let you feel you have it easy not being the sick one. We sufferers are numb to it. So numb. You are not. You really need to give yourselves such an amazing amount of credit for all you have been put through and survived, by this disorder. I often think you yourselves need to be in therapy too. I cannot even imagine how hard it must be for all of you. When I see you write kind words to each other, I get so happy. I honestly feel a little swell in my chest. You are so lucky to have found each other. You guys can do this!!!! Together you can do anything.

I was reading about the emotional anorexia side of things. This broke my heart. As I myself put my mother through the worst. Please let me explain. Ed fills our heads with thoughts and nonsense. It whispers. It picks out people to blame. I decided MANY years ago that everything was my mothers fault. I honestly couldn't look at her. The mere sight of her made me so angry. At the same time I craved her love so badly. I am the eldest child. I am the one that caused no trouble (pre ed obviously). I was the one that was the perfect child. I achieved and behaved. But while I did this I denied my need for human affection. I told myself I didn't need it or deserve it. I would see Mum hug my sisters and I would get so angry. Because I so badly wanted her love and hugs. If she tried to hug me I would push her off. It got so bad I just stopped speaking to her. I flinched if she spoke. I sat in a room she was in and inside I felt rage. I had all these DISORDERED thoughts in my head that she was the enemy. I'm not trying to upset anyone by saying this, and I am confident it was pathological and NOT just a teenage thing.

BUT- in the last year I have let her in. I don't know when the anger started to subside but with time I began to stop hating myself so much, and at the same time I began to stop hating her. I had projected so much of my self hate onto her. This past year has been such a turn around. I began to tell her I actually desperately needed her. I would tell her to leave me alone, while inside I was crying out for her. When she did leave me alone (as I had asked) it proved to me that I was unloveable etc. So please moms, do not give up on your daughters. It is so very much part of AN. 
The denial of basic needs such as a mothers love. It gets better. Me and mum do arts and crafts together now. We meet for coffee. We shop. We chat.  I answer her phone calls!!! I answer texts. I speak to her. I hug her. I let her hug me. For years I secretly wanted things to be like this, but couldn't seem to allow myself it. Please do not lose hope, things change. I promise.

I have read posts that make me cringe. I am so sorry to you all that you are so affected by this. That you bear the brunt of our horrific words. 

I cannot explain to you how deep the self hate runs. I cannot explain the never good enough. I cannot explain the perfectionism. But something that helped me and I learned in treatment was about being the highly sensitive person. Please look into this if you haven't already. I used to think I was wrong wrong wrong. Not a human. A mistake. But now I realise I am simply highly sensitive. I am learning to cherish this sensitivity. I am learning to not turn to self destruction. 

I want to thank you all. You have helped me sooo much with regard to my own mother. I would read what you wrote and apply it to my mum. I would ask myself if she could possibly care the way you all do. Dads- I wondered the same about you guys. 

My father comes to group therapy with me sometimes. He finds it so challenging as our groups are all about learning about sense of self, building self esteem, tips to deal with all the shoulds that go in our heads. Tips to help us deal with the feeling that we don't deserve anything. I cannot begin to explain to you how it feels to not believe you deserve to breath. Deserve to eat. Earn eating, earn love, earn sleep, earn rest. I cannot explain the guilt. The guilt for speaking, eating, breathing. But what I will say is that things improve. They do. Honestly. I have watched other girls in treatment blossom. Others see the changes in me. There is always hope. Never ever give up.

Thank you for always trying. Thank you for your never ending pursuit for the team effort to eliminate the ed beast.

Focus on life. That is what has helped me. Focusing on the illness and ed is very unhelpful because ed values sickness. Ed values self destruction. Ed gets a sick satisfaction at ill health. Focus on life. Where focus goes, energy flows. Focus on life. Call it life, not recovery. Your children are learning to live. Reward healthy behaviour and activities. Create a life worth living. Fill your child's life with fun and enjoyable activities. It really helps as we cannot do these things when we are unwell. It creates a motivation to have energy. 

I began collecting positive quotes. I know this won't suit younger kids, but it will suit teens. I collect quotes. Take photographs of beauty. 

I have so many fears about life. Fears about social occasions. I have poor coping skills for anxiety. But I am improving. Honestly, it gets better. It's not about the food. But it's not NOT about the food. The food fears are very real. But it's not all about the food and the numbers and size.

There are times I wanted to die. But I don't feel that way now. I don't know when the progress happened, but it did. And it does.

I have so much at risk if I choose to let my nutrition drop. I will lose the life I've been building. I will lose university. I will lose trust and friendship. I find it helpful when people point this out to me. Point out what is at risk. I find it helpful to write out what ed values- thinness, sickness, isolation, quietness, extremes, punishments. Then write what I (the real me!) value- family, uni, friendship, energy etc. Then people remind me if I'm living by my values. Sometimes I am not. It is a wakeup call. Ed sneaks quietly. Request self honest off your kids. Ask what they are avoiding. The fears are REAL to us. The fear of failure. The fear that no one likes us. The fear that we are too much. 

When we are having an ed tantrum- you know the ones   Screaming, tears, fist pounding, self harming, throwing clothes around, refusing food etc. There is ALWAYS something real behind it. I never realised this until perhaps a year ago. That real-life anxieties cause an ed meltdown. Ignore the meltdown and try to figure out what is really going on. Eg the sufferer is afraid to go to a birthday party. the sufferer is scared of some bully in school. Look for the real thing causing the heightened anxiety- I promise you there is something real happening. 

I have gotten such inspiration from this site. I have read your highs and lows. I don't know why I read here, but it gives me so much understanding for what it must be like for my loved ones. The frustrations, the worry. I am so grateful to have read what I've read.

Please never ever forget to stop taking care of yourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean it. You are human beings who deserve the love and attention that you give to your children. Please show yourselves the same kindness. Please self care. Please go out and see friends. 

Please model healthy living. Remember you are our role models. You show us how to socialise. You show us an effortless relationship with food. You show us what normal is. Please show us that life goes on. We may be self destructing, but life goes on. Ed makes us act selfishly. It can be so helpful when I realise how much I am missing out on by insisting on dancing with my ed.

I'm sorry I'm still talking and if you read this you deserve a medal. I just wanted to thank you all for being so utterly magnificantly inspiring and wonderful examples of parents. I can only dream of one day being the strong and wonderful parents you are.

Keep hope in your heart. I am in final year of medical school. My bmi is healthy. I eat 3 meals and 3 snacks. I am building/repairing a fantastic relationship with my mother. I am socialising more, I am exercising only rarely, and for enjoyment. I am not recovered yet and struggle a lot. But I am getting there. And your child will too. Never give up.Keep holding the hope for your child, even when they are drowning with ed.


September 1, 2012

Australian families mark your calendars!

Have you heard yet about the eating disorder conference for parents and carers coming up in May 2013? This is a collaboration between F.E.A.S.T. and four Australian organizations and is the first of its kind in Australia.

Exciting stuff: spread the word!

How do you get an anorexia patient to eat?

The question seems so obvious and yet so impossible: food is medicine for the psychological symptoms of eating disorders but HOW? The patient generally doesn't believe it, doesn't want it, is terrified of it, will do almost anything to avoid it, and has the final say: a closed mouth.

So how is this miracle achieved? Is it "force feeding?" Is it begging? Threats? Nope. It's closing all the other doors and predictable structure.

Residential care does initial refeeding very well because compliance is pretty much guaranteed. Patients rarely refuse, and if so not for long. Most patients begin to eat the very first day even when they were unable to do so at home.

Timing is Everything.

There's a lesson here for those refeeding at home, too: clear structure, expectations, and Plan B.