Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Strip Me


I want to thank my friend, Michelle, for pointing me toward this video/song.

How many people have playlists or mix CDs or the like full of songs that match their depressed moods?  I know I do.  I feel more “called” to create a playlist of mood-matching music when I’m in the dumps.  Generally the only time I have made upbeat or inspiring playlists have been when I’m making them for someone else, to encourage them.  I rarely, if ever, have applied that same “skill” to myself.  Why spend time creating a playlist that would inspire me or cheer me up?  (I don’t have an answer for that.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever even asked the question, since the idea hasn’t ever crossed my mind in the first place.)

This is a song that should be on a playlist titled, “I KICK ASS AND NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME.”

I know a lot of friends who make things for other people, be it cards or crafts or pictures or playlists, but don’t expend that same energy on themselves.  Why is that?  Why are we so willing to use our time to help someone else but balk at using our time to help ourselves?

So this is a challenge for all my readers–and I am including myself in this as well: take some time to make something to inspire you.  If you make playlists for other people, make a playlist for yourself.  If you make cards for people, make one for yourself and write in it all that you need to hear.

Or just listen to this song and take it to heart.  You are one in a million.  You are unique and special and no one can ever replace you.  Listen to this song, dance to this song, and believe this song.  Let this song be your song.


If you have other inspiring songs, put them in a comment.  Let’s come up with one hell of a self-affirming, inspiring playlist.


January 22, 2011 Posted by | Body Image, depression, Eating Disorders | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

after long silence

I realized that I haven’t blogged in quite some time.  Not sure why, other than I haven’t had much to say and no one’s presented me with any grand and glorious topics, so I haven’t really had much to say.

Someone did just ask me what I feel about seemingly routine hospitalizations and the seeming lack of any interest in following rules of that treatment center or considering treatment professional’s suggestions.

I have to admit that I get rather pissed off.  Especially when I see people go in and out of treatment, most especially when I see them go in and out of residential treatment rather than a hospital treatment setting and then act as if it’s a joke.  “The rules are ridiculous.  The doctor doesn’t know what s/he is talking about.  The food sucks.  Guess what I got away with last night?  These doctors are totally clueless.”

If the rules were ridiculous, you wouldn’t need to be in treatment.  The doctors generally do know what they are talking about, but a significant number of patients think that because they’re the ones with the illness, they know what’s best.  If the ones with the illness knew what was truly best and what truly worked, we wouldn’t need treatment centers in the first place.  I know, I know.  You’ve read the nutrition sites and you know how much protein you need and yadda yadda yadda.  Why sit through more nutrition groups and learn all this useless information?  Mainly because if you truly didn’t need to learn this shit, you wouldn’t be there in the first place.  Just because we have an illness, doesn’t make us the expert on treating that illness.  If I were an expert on treatment, then I would never have had to go to those hospitals and have someone else put food in front of me and tell me, “Yes, you really do need to eat all that food.”  And just because I’ve been on medications for over ten years now, doesn’t mean I know all there is to know about medications and their interactions and how to tweak doses.  There is a reason treatment professionals have degrees.  They don’t google “antidepressant” and then decide what medication you should take.

Part of me gets exceptionally angry when I read FB posts or blog entries about how so-and-so is breaking such-and-such a rule and isn’t it hilarious that the staff is clueless?  (I’d like to inform you that the staff is rarely clueless, but they pick their battles.)  Posts like this are basically the same thing as the person making fun of treatment and rubbing it in other people’s faces.  People who, if they were given the chance, might actually go to treatment and use that time to recover.

So after long silence, my main message is that I’m sick and tired of people treating treatment like it’s some kind of joke, and I’m really sick and tired of people making light of the medical consequences of eating disorders.  I’m finding it exceptionally difficult to be sympathetic to people complaining about electrolytes or urine color after I read them talk about how much Red Bull or Pepsi Max they’ve had to drink that day and how pissed their doctors would be if they knew how much of that shit they were drinking.  Do you want to know what comments such as these feel like to people who are fighting to get into treatment and can’t afford it?  It’s one hell of a huge slap in the face and a way of saying, “Since I have no intention of using this treatment to get better, I might as well fuck around as much as I can and waste their time.”

This game of delaying recovery, it’s not so much of a game.  Not when the ultimate prize is death.  But we all think the big D word can’t happen to us, that we’re invincible.  Tell that to the list of my friends who once believed the same exact thing and then died.  I’m tired of funerals.  I’m tired of memorial funds.  I’m tired of “scholarships in the memory of . . .”.

I’m sorry if you don’t take recovery seriously.  But there are people out there who do and would kill to have your opportunities and would like to wring your necks for doing everything you can to get away with shit while in treatment.

Do yourself a favor and consider the following question: Do I want to live?  Don’t follow that with the phrase “with an eating disorder.”  Just “Do I want to live?”  If you for whatever reason decide you don’t want to live, stop throwing it in other people’s faces, people who are fighting with everything they’ve got to stay alive.  Do yourself a favor and stop thinking of this as a game.

January 20, 2011 Posted by | depression, Eating Disorders, mindfulness, recovery, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

the ultimate risk

The new year isn’t starting out so hot.  It didn’t exactly end so hot, either.  News hit the online world last week with the confirmation of actress and model Isabelle Caro’s death from anorexia in November.  One of my mentees found out that someone she had been in treatment with had died over the summer.  Today, I mourn the loss of someone I knew from treatment.  I stopped counting the number of people I have known personally who have died from an eating disorder after I got to ten, although I’m sure I could figure it out.  But the number was getting too large.  Too real.  Too painful.  I could see the list of names grow, and knowing I could not stop the list from growing, I stopped keeping exact count.

But it doesn’t make it any easier.  Not really.  The deaths still happen; I can’t deny them.  And no matter how long the list of acquaintances who have died from an eating disorder grows, the pain doesn’t lessen.  You don’t get used to this.  At least, I can’t.

People look for a cause.  Lately, the media has focused on the film Black Swan and ballet.  As if either one could be the sole reason for the development of an eating disorder.  As if either one had the sole power to claim a life.  The people I know who have died battled multiple causes.  Every single person I have ever known who has struggled with an eating disorder has had to face down multiple demons that contributed to his or her illness.

Sometimes, the demons are stronger than the person’s will to survive.  Sometimes, the demons have worn down the person so much that by the time he or she decides to recover, they have no strength left to fight.  Sometimes the demons kill off any hope, making recovery seem impossible.

Why did I live and the three people mentioned in my first paragraph die? (And the people on my own personal list, and the people I hear about through online forums, and the sons and daughters of parents I know?)  My mentee mentioned feeling guilty, and I asked her not to hold on to that guilt.  But I have to admit to it, myself.  Did I not reach out enough?  Could I have said something different?  Could I have shown her or him another way?  Could I have been more supportive?  I will take my own advice and let these questions come and then let them go.

There are too many unanswered questions.  But there is one thing that should be very clear: eating disorder can and will kill. My list of people who have succumbed to these illnesses include both men and women, teenagers and adults, and people of various ethnic backgrounds.  Some had turned the corner and had decided to recover, but their bodies gave out on them.

Don’t think you can afford to wait to recover.  Don’t for a second think that you can put off making one small step of progress until tomorrow.  Tomorrow may not be here.  Do not give up on life.  Do not give up on yourself.

January 2, 2011 Posted by | coping, death, Eating Disorders, feelings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

1.1.11=looking back


In my previous post, I mentioned that I don’t make resolutions.  I’m not going to wait until one day each year to make positive changes in my life.

But I can’t help but look back at the previous year on this day.  And this year, I have a lot of “shoulds” in my reflection.  I feel as if I should be further ahead–in my personal life, in my academic life.  I should have made more progress.  I shouldn’t be stuck in a depression that was here last year at this time.  And I shouldn’t be needing ECT again.  And I should just get with the program and be happy.

I keep having “should” running through my head.  Almost every sentence begins with that word.  I have this tendency to be hard on myself.  I have a feeling I’m not the only one reading these words who is hard on themselves, either.  People who suffer from all types of addictions and mental illnesses have a tendency to be hard on themselves.

So I am practicing a couple of DBT skills.  The idea of being gentle with myself.  Maybe a lot of those “shoulds” really are true.  But even though they’re true, they don’t take away from the progress I’ve made this year and they don’t negate my accomplishments.  And there’s this idea of emotional mind versus rational mind.  A lot of my “shoulds” fall into the emotion mind side of things.  I’m trying to look at things from a more rational point of view and talking back to those “shoulds” with more realistic statements.  This moves me into a more wise mind state of being.

Most of all, it’s a matter of acceptance.  A skill I’m not all good at.  But I can’t change anything that happened.  I can learn from what happened, but I can’t change anything.  I could sit here and play over all of my regrets, but that wouldn’t really do me any good.  In fact, it would make me feel a hell of a lot worse about myself.  But if I look at the year as a learning experience and take that knowledge with me into 2011, I can grow as a person and live more fully and more freely.

Out with the “shoulds” and on to what may come.

January 1, 2011 Posted by | mindfulness, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments