Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Absence, answers, and the addicting online social networks


I realize that I haven’t posted a new blog in a month-and-a-half.  Actually, I realized that I hadn’t posted anything awhile ago, but everything time I tried writing an entry, I stared at the blank screen and waited for words to come up.  And waited.  And waited.  And would stare at the blank screen some more. 

Some of you may recognize that inability to concentrate, to think, to lose oneself in time and the ability to sit for hours doing absolutely nothing as symptoms of depression.  Which I’ve been pretty open about in previous posts.  So I’ll be upfront about my lack of posts: the depression has been kicking my ass.  Writing–something that is usually as easy for me as breathing–has become a daily living skill at which I am totally inept.  So that explains my recent absence.

As for the answers to the questions I’ll inevitably get asked: Yes, I am talking to my treatment team.  Yes, I am taking my medications.  Yes, I am using my sunlamp.  Yes, I am following through with ECT, which has by far been the most effect part of my treatment.  Yes, my thoughts have been crawling through subway tunnels lately and could use a bit of light, but I’ve been honest with my treatment team about this.  And I have a couple really amazing friends who have listened to my tears over the phone and have reminded me of what the light used to look like–giving me hope and reason to believe that the light will, indeed, shine again.

For those of you who have followed me on Facebook and Formspring:  I have decided to deactivate my Formspring account, and I’m weeding out my friendlist on Facebook in search of some more privacy.  And, since my rather late discovery of Formspring, I’ve been appalled at how eating disorders are treated online–not on the pro-ana/pro-mia sites, but on widely accessed social networking sites that are open to people with or without eating disorders. The casualness with which eating disorders are treated, as if they are something to joke about, as if the rest of the world is to blame for the unfairness of everything, as if people didn’t die from these illnesses.  As if mentioning exactly how many times you puke per day will help anyone but your own competitive and egotistic nature.  As if putting other people down because they “obviously haven’t suffered as long as I have” is making anyone but you feel better.  As if making a list of what you will and will not eat will do anything but give someone else ideas how to follow suit.  

And there’s this trend of Vlogs and youtube “documentaries” and “educational videos” that have sprung up.  An actual educational video might indeed be helpful.  Letting people know what the main eating disorders are and what their symptoms are and the dangers of these eating disorders.  Listing facts and information.  Maybe even giving a couple of phonenumbers or websites that can help someone find treatment. 

Instead these Vlogs are ten-minutes of the narrator giving detailed descriptions of his or her symptoms–graphic descriptions that have the potential to be extremely triggering.  People note how much weight they’ve lost or gained.  People make jokes about how they hide their eating disorders from other people–friends and teachers at school and parents and family members.  People state how unfair it is that their parents are concerned and taking them to a doctor.  I’ve seen people compare their symptoms with other people’s.  With comments like, “Well, we know she’s not really all that sick” and “hah–she hasn’t even had a tube yet, so what’s she complaining about?”  Here’s something to think about: people die every day from these illnesses without ever having had a tube.  And how many people out there have put off going to treatment and put off going to treatment because they ‘don’t feel sick enough’?  Therefore, delaying treatment, prolonging the time it takes to recover, and increasing the chancing of ending up as one more statistic. One more death.  

And I can’t read these comments anymore and shrug them off.  People need to realize how powerful words are, and they need to take responsibility for the damage their words does.  So please, before you post that awareness video in an effort to spread the word about eating disorders, remember that there are people watching it who remember all the weights stated in the video, who compare themselves to the people in the video, who won’t seek help because “obviously” the people in the video are so much sicker and they don’t deserve help.  People who will try to become like those people in the video.  Will follow all the behaviors listed in the “educational video” until they’re too weak to pick up the phone and call for help.   

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March 26, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Alexis! It’s always so nice to hear from you.
    Firstly and most importantly: I’m so sorry to hear about how crippling the depression has been 😦 I can relate. I hope you get the help you need and start feeling better ASAP.

    Related to what you’re saying, now: Ugh, I agree with you about those youtube videos. Besides which, I have never understood the motivation to speak to a camera, online (!) (lack of privacy, hello??) about one’s eating disorder. Call me old fashioned in my struggles, perhaps it’s my age (though I have seen videos from some close to me in age) /a result of not growing up during the social-media storm, but… I have never, in any stage of my illness, had any desire to talk about it. To the public. Online. No way. a) I don’t have much to say and b) I don’t want to dwell on my suffering. (Yes, avoidance in part.) The fact that that’s a motivation for some is honestly just very weird to me.

    Comment by blogfortreatment | March 26, 2012 | Reply

    • Sorry, that was me. Janie. Signed in under an email address/account I never used.

      Comment by blogfortreatment | March 26, 2012 | Reply

  2. Once again, spot on! Thanks for writing and sharing this.

    Comment by Musia | March 26, 2012 | Reply

  3. I do relate to the difficult times you are going through. You’ll pull through and shall be fine. Hopes and prayers

    Comment by rashmenon | March 26, 2012 | Reply

  4. sorry things are so hard for u lately-mental illness is a bitch ❤ ❤ ❤

    Comment by Shira | March 27, 2012 | Reply

  5. I realize I’m about a month late to comment, but I just read this the other day and wanted to come back and say I’m sorry to hear the depression has been so bad lately, as well. I always appreciate your openness and honesty. I also really appreciate you sharing your experience with ECT (it’s something that’s been brought up over the last few years – I have nothing against it, I’ve looked into it, but obviously when seriously active in an eating disorder it’s not something my professionals have been thrilled about nor has it been the primary concern). Anyway, I’m grateful for it.
    I hope things are looking up a little bit, hope you’re able to do some of the things that you’ve mentioned that give you comfort (knitting, etc). Hope you’re cuddling with your cats a sufficient amount 😛
    As for social networking and eating disorders, obviously a lot of negative comes from it but I really think it’s a mixed bag. My own personal experience has been very mixed, certainly. Having been so public for a particular purpose, I’ve been laying as low as possible since; a lot of judgement came of it (me/myself and others/me), but I really don’t think I’d have been able to get the help I needed to deal with my insurance company had it not been for it. Which both literally kept me alive and, I like to believe, in some small way (entirely due to the people who helped me and the incredible lawyer I’ve been lucky enough to work with) has helped in the struggle to hold insurance companies accountable with eating disorders. I know I’ve also benefited a lot from the people online who have actually ultimately gotten into recovery, but I know that’s not really what you’re talking about…anyway, I got long winded. I’m sending you warm wishes and hope the last month has helped things, and if it hasn’t, I hope you’re able to reach out. All my love.

    Comment by Sofia B | May 1, 2012 | Reply


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