Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

follow-up to yesterday’s post

Yesterday’s post on Pro-ana and Pro-mia sites didn’t generate as many comments as I imagined it would.  I had honestly hoped for more.  I did delete two comments that ignored the content of the post entirely and resorted to name calling (me) and attacking (me).  I don’t mind if you all disagree with me, and I expected that yesterday, but I really don’t want to be called vulgar names.  Just for having an opinion.

Cheryl brought up a point:

“You could pretty much say that everyone is prone to an eating disorder with the media and the way the world is about food/weight, add proana in the mix and it increases the chances.”

Okay, then. Not everyone is prone to an eating disorder.  The media does not make someone prone to an eating disorder, they provoke eating disorder symptoms in people who are already prone to one.  There is a big difference between the two.

And if media is making people prone (it’s not, as I said in the prior paragraph, it’s just encouraging people who are already vulnerable to succumb to an eating disorder) to eating disorders, then let’s delete Facebook.  Sure we know we can type in “anorexia” in the search box in the group pages and find thinspiration pages galore.  But there’s another type of insidious form of pro-ana/mia sites on Facebook: the unbelievable number of treatment site groups.  Seriously, how many Frew Crew groups do we need?  Or Remuda groups?  Or any of the main treatment centers that have multiple groups.

You Know You’ve Been to Sheppard Pratt When . . .

the sound of trays rolling by gives you a mini heart attack.
you predict how good your day will be by whether or not your juice is frozen at breakfast.
you can look at your arm and make jokes about being a junkie.
you know the flobotomists on a first name basis.
you will hate wednesdays for the rest of your life.
flushing the toliet amuses you.
you can beat all of your friends at rummy.
getting to go to the bathroom makes you really happy.
when sitting at the table with your friends, you randomly suggest that they all play a table game.
just thinking about ensure makes you sick.
replacement tray=death.
you get super excited on the rare occasion that peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches make it onto the menu.
when you consider shaking ensure as a form of exercise.
when you’ve prayed to gain exactly 0.2 kg per day, no more no less.
if you’ve memorized dining etiquette, word for word.
you’ve sung songs about having a pocketfull of prozac and a body from ensure.

sure some of these are cute–beating all your friends at rummy.  But these groups, and this is a VERY tame one, contribute to the idea that eating disorder treatment is fun and glamorous and something to take pride in.  You should be proud of surviving the eating disorder and recovering.  You shouldn’t be proud of what particular treatment center you went to.

Here’s a great group about Remuda:

I Drove the MHTs crazy!
if you…
-got several redirections a day
-was offered supplement quite frequently
-argued with the dietician for hours
-exercised in your room at night
-ran to breakfast on your last meal
-ate your resource cookies in a circle (they aren’t good any other way)
-whispered about MHTs behind their backs
-walked to Cherokee without wearing a sweatshirt
-pretended that you were signed up for shaving every day
-sneaked all of your nail polish up into your bedroom so that you could give yourself daily manicures and pedicures
-never sat at privleged table
-always argued about how much syrup you had to use for french toast dippers
-was on couch rest more than once
-made up songs about different MHTs
-always moved your feet when you sat down and got called on for excessive movement
-asked to use the bathroom all of the time…especially after meals and snacks
-tried to skip drinking water after leisure walks……

I know people who join treatment center groups in mass numbers for reasons such as this.  I know girls who have joined this group because they were on their way to Remuda and now have a list of ways to try to get away with things, AKA delaying recovery.

So why aren’t we protesting these groups?  Is it because they’re closed?  Is it because they have this guise of recovery until you start reading posts and discussions?  One thing I value is honesty, and I respect people at pro-ana sites who at least know where they stand.  They aren’t flaunting it.  They aren’t recruiting people.  (THAT does get me angry.)  but they’re honest.

I made a group for fun:

Sheppard Pratt Helped Me Save My Life!

[we welcome people from any treatment center who feel this way, who will acknowledge that no center can save someone’s life, but that the center can give you the tools to save your own life.  If you let them help you.]

FINALLY, a group to celebrate the POSITIVE aspects of the RESULTS of being in a treatment center.

This isn’t about all the “fun times” or “cool friends” or “tricks pulled” or “stupid rules” or “strict staff” or “stupid groups.”

It’s not to say “treatment kids are rad!” or “I got kicked out of rehab!” or “I drove the MHTs crazy!” or “I was bad in treatment!”

THIS is a group to say, “Hey. It sucked that I was there. I DON’T MISS IT. I don’t miss the people, the helpful staff, the environment.”

And most importantly, “I DON’T MISS BEING SICK.”

I went to treatment. Maybe I laughed and joked while I was there, and yes, I made friends. But I will not make light of driving the MHTs and, therefore, the other patients, crazy, nor will I declare myself cool for having been to treatment, nor do I think it’s funny to be kicked out of rehab. And why in the world would you want to join a group, “I was bad in treatment”? Is this something you really want to be proud of or make light of since it most likely held you back from recovery?

I’m not going to refer to an eating disorder-a deadly illness-as Ana, Mia, or Ed. It’s an illness, people, not your friend.

I did the work to get myself better, but there is no way that could have happened without the help I received from Sheppard Pratt.


So this is just a follow-up.  I’d really like more discussion on these topics.  I think we need to discuss them.  Calmly.  Rationally.  And with a willingness to at least consider other people’s points of view, if only for the time reading the post.  Suspend your own beliefs and convictions and try something else on for fit.  Then if you think it doesn’t fit, state why.

We learn, I think, by discussing these things.  And I don’t think we should ever stop learning.



November 19, 2009 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I know that I did not respond to your last blog because your stance infuriates me, and I would only get upset or frustrated trying to type up a response to legitimize my opinion and try to explain why they are bad. I think one person did respond and said something along the lines of responding to the post in her mind was just giving more time to these sites which she never wants to do. So I read it, tried to dismiss it and not let it get to me.

    I think your new group is good, however, you said highlighted the part “most importantly, I don’t miss being sick”! I think that is a great idea, and now I do not really miss being sick, or I definitely do not miss being inpatient, HOWEVER, I think it is okay to MISS IT or WANT it as long as you do not act upon it. I think that phrase may make some people feel ashamed if they are missing it. I know it took me a long time NOT TO MISS Renfrew or aspects of it. I think something like “I don’t miss being sick, or when I do miss being sick, I know it is still not worth going back” or “It is okay to miss being sick, miss treatment, but I won’t let those feelings be an excuse to regress” But whatever, honestly, I mean that was just a knit-picky comment lol, I don’t really care that much.

    Comment by Jessica | November 19, 2009 | Reply

    • see, you can disagree with me and not get struck by lightning!

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 19, 2009 | Reply

    • On a more serious not, I do realize why these sites infuriate people. I am not denying that, or saying that you shouldn’t be infuriated by them. All I’m asking is that you consider my opinion.
      And I think you’re right in one thing–the sites themselves get too much attention. But the people using them still DO need our attention. Very much so. sometimes I think if people didn’t make a big deal out of them, if they would fade a little. In a lot of my interview for my papers I’ve presented at national conferences on the subject, girls have said they’ve made multiple sites just to piss people off when the whole banning issue gets media attention again. I think if we focus on the people and not the sites, we’d be better off.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 19, 2009 | Reply

  2. I think that the media and more specifically the world makes people more prone to ED’s because there is intense pressure to be thin, lose weight, etc. You don’t know that everyone isn’t prone to an eating disorder, they on the rise big time, which tells me that you don’t have to be prone, you can be anyone and fall into an eating disorder. Regardless, these sites contribute to the problem of the rise of ED’s and bad body image.

    Comment by cheryl | November 19, 2009 | Reply

    • I think we can safely say that not every single person in the world is prone to an eating disorder. We know this because these people are exposed to the media on a daily basis and do not develop eating disorders. We do know they don’t discriminate between socioeconomic statuses, which is, thankfully, a myth we have broken in recent years.
      And no where have I claimed that eating disorders are not on the rise, and no where have I said that the sites were healthy. In fact, I believe I state that they aren’t healthy.

      My main point is that the individuals that are using the sites are suffering, and we need to find the best way to help them. While you may have been lucky enough to find supportive online sites and people in your life, some people honestly have never heard of these sites. Just like if someone stumbles on Something Fishy as her first ED support forum, they may never know of any other type of site, so would someone who first experienced a pro-ana site know there are different sites.

      Even if you hate the sites, hating the people who use them only hurts them more.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | November 19, 2009 | Reply

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