Friday, September 30, 2011


This has been an interesting week. It's the anniversary of a couple of suicide victims I've known. One was a family member that took his life on September 25th, 2008. As I started to heal from that one, on September 29, 2009, a man came into the ER - a suicide. The difference between the two was that I saw the second one. I didn't know his name, but I can tell you every outstanding detail about him. From hair color to shoes. That one was a toughie for a long, long time.
I started intensive outpatient therapy (IOP) this week. Can you guess the very first topic she chose to talk about? Suicidal thoughts. I just shook my head thinking, "You've got to be kidding!" I felt like I had dealt with it enough this week - even journaled about the guy in the ER. I think often of him - and dearly of my family member.

Seriously, if you are having even the slightest thought of suicide, call the number in the picture. People want to help. And you are so worth it!
Thank you for reading.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Powerful Stuff...

2000 Page Views

 Thank you all for reading my blog. I truly appreciate it. New material will be coming shortly, but I wanted to thank the following countries especially. They've remained in my top viewing list for some time now. The United States and Russia have remained in the same spot for quite a long while. Thanks again so much for reading!
(in order of most views)
United States



United Kingdom

New Zealand





Thank you for reading!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eating Disorders Statistics
Treatment and Research Statistics

According to eating disorders statistics, not everyone with an eating disorder seeks treatment. Yet, according to eating disorder research, those who do seek treatment have a better chance of eating disorder recovery than those who don't seek help in eating disorder treatment centers.

Treatment & Research

  • 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder seek treatment (including in eating disorder treatment centers)
  • 6% of bulimics receive treatment
  • Only 20% of those who seek treatment get the amount and intensity of treatment they need to recover
  • The average length of stay required for recovery from an eating disorder is estimated at between 3 and 6 months of inpatient treatment
  • Eating disorder treatment is extremely expensive
  • Average cost for eating disorder treatment centers treatment is $30,000 per month or more
  • Costs for inpatient eating disorder treatment centers range from $500 - $2,800 per day
  • Costs for outpatient treatment - therapy and medical care - can cost more than $100,000 through the course of the eating disorder
  • Only 50% of those with eating disorders report that they have recovered
  • With treatment, 60% report recovery from an eating disorder
  • 5 - 10% of anorexics die within 10 years of developing the eating disorder, anorexia
  • 18 - 20% of anorexics die after 20 years of developing the eating disorder (that doesn't mean they had anorexia for 20 years ...)
  • Up to 20% of those who do not receive treatment for their eating disorder die
  • In general, 6% of people who develop an eating disorder die as a result
  • With treatment, the mortality rate is between 2 & 3%
  • More people die from an eating disorder than from any other mental health issues
  • For teenagers and women between the ages 15 & 24 - 12 times more die from anorexia symptoms than from all other causes of death combined
  • 75% of people in the US believe eating disorder treatment should be covered by insurance companies
  • Funding for Alzheimer's research is 75% higher than for eating disorder research
  • $1.20 per person is spent on eating disorder research as opposed to $159 per person for schizophrenia research.

Friday, September 23, 2011

So What Do YOU Want?

Unless I'm in a professional's office - one from my treatment team - eating disorders are rarely discussed in my life. Typically, I don't like to talk about mine too much. Ironic, right? Girl blogs about it but won't talk much about her own in detail.
Are there any things you want to know about these disorders in particular? The sufferers, on average, know a LOT about them while suffering.

Are there rumors about them that you would like squashed?

Do you want to know what goes through the mind of a sufferer?

What questions have you always wanted to ask someone with an eating disorder?

Can't finish this blog without YOU. :) Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Freak Flag

Ordinary Courage


Ordinary Courage
I really was humored by this "Freak Flag" when I saw it on Brene Brown's website, OrdinaryCourage.

Brown writes "We can try to fold it up and stick it under our jacket or up our pant leg, but it’s not very comfortable. They’re big and itchy and hot. I’m pretty sure that’s why there are so many angry people – their flags are riding up."
I encourage you to go read the article. It's pretty humorous. I'm currently reading her book The Gifts of Imperfection.
There's a lot of information in it that can be applied to one's recovery from an eating disorder, addiction, whatever.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Communication as a Bridge to Understanding

 Communication as a Bridge to Understanding

When Jenn asked me if I wanted to write a guest post on her blog, the first thought that came to my mind was, “I’m honored to be asked, but…I have no experience with eating disorders”. After seeking some ideas from Jenn about the direction in which I could potentially take my guest blog, she quickly reminded me of our days together in high school. I was (and still am) one of Jenn’s good friends that never gave up on her when she had trouble talking about what she was going through. I remained open and willing to listen whenever Jenn needed a friendly ear—or if she just needed someone to walk next to her in silence—keeping that love and openness always at the ready.
Today, I still value the power of what being loving, open, and willing to listen can do for those who might have trouble communicating the struggles they are going through. I own a business dedicated to helping people learn how to strengthen their communication skills & relationships, manage conflict, create positive and peaceful home & work environments, and anything else related to interpersonal communication that clients are seeking to utilize in their lives. I understand what can happen when communication between people becomes ineffective and/or nonexistent, and I try to help people bridge the communication gaps between each other as a means of understanding, as well as building stronger, more loving relationships.
In relation to eating disorders, Jenn has made it very clear in her blog that open and honest communication is critical to recovery, and I wholeheartedly agree. I believe that the lines of communication must not only be open between the person in recovery and helping professionals, family, friends, etc. I also believe that the person in recovery must be able to communicate with oneself: to be able to look within and seek whatever it is that she (or he) wants from recovery. Doing this undoubtedly involves also asking oneself what the eating disorder was truly providing in the first place (power, control, attention, escape, etc.). This is my opinion, and my intent is only to shed a bit more light on the situation from a communicative perspective—not to diagnose or advise on ED recovery, as that is not my area of expertise.
Speaking from the perspective of a friend to someone going through the recovery process, I find it important never to make any judgments about what it is like to live and deal with an eating disorder. I approach everyone I counsel with the same nonjudgmental stance. I remember doing my best to support Jenn back in high school—being her friend no matter what was going on. Knowing something was wrong but waiting for Jenn to reveal it to me in her own time was difficult. I trusted that, as long as she continued to make it to school each day that she was still making an effort to be around others and to keep herself alive. Of course, she eventually told me what was going on. I didn’t jump to immediate conclusions or rush to judgment, and I believe that Jenn appreciated that.
    I relied on Jenn to keep me updated on her experience once I knew (I tried my best to keep looking out for her in my own way), and she wrote me notes and letters when she couldn’t say the words out loud. We kept regular communication going, and I’m guessing it was a bit therapeutic for Jenn to write her thoughts and feelings down. Perhaps this “therapy” continues as she writes her blog today—I hope so.
    Eventually, our communication subsided as we graduated from high school and went our separate ways in life. In the age before Facebook, staying in touch took much more effort. I remember thinking of Jenn a lot, as I navigated college and my adult life; however, I didn’t know how much the eating disorder issues progressed in her life until years later when we reconnected. I wish we had kept our lines of communication open; however, I am grateful that we have reestablished them over the past few years. While I do not believe that I ever had the power to force Jenn to recover (only Jenn could do that), I like to think that all the listening and sharing that comprised our teen friendship helped her to keep moving forward at the time.
Today, I tend to think of eating disorders differently than I did in the past. Although my graduate school counseling training did not include instruction on how to treat people with EDs (in the state of CA it requires additional specialized training), I have learned that what we think of ourselves is largely influenced by outside sources (family, friends, culture, media, etc.). In more recent years, I have also learned how to see myself in a less materialistic and more spiritual light. My goal when helping people work through a situation in which they believe themselves to be “defective”, “disordered”, or “broken” is to remind them that their spirit cannot be any of those things. I also remind them that they do not necessarily have to identify with an ED in order to help their bodies and minds heal. This usually involves changing language and externalizing the issue: for example, rather than saying “my bulimia” or “I have depression”, I encourage people to change their talk to “the bulimia” or “I’m battling depressive thoughts”. This has proven helpful for me in dealing with my own issues, as well as for other friends of mine. I provide it here only as an example of another way to look at one’s circumstances.
As a communication counselor, my main duty (in my opinion) is to help people look at old issues through a new perspective. This is what I love to do—being a kaleidoscope of sorts—and working with folks to shift focus a bit here and there to find different, more effective solutions to utilize in their lives as a force for good. I want to thank Jenn for the opportunity to share my thoughts on the topic of communication as it relates to ED recovery. I hope everyone who reads this is able to pull something useful out of these words for your own journey towards health and healing.

 Communication as Counselor & Healer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Long?

After my very first meeting with my therapist in 2009 I asked her "How long is this going to take?" And after that first session she answered with "It's going to take a long time." Well. It's 2011, and I still see her weekly. I think we've finally reached the main issue. Relationships with other people.

It's so hard for me to establish and maintain relationships of any kind. With my husband, I didn't have to get to know him; I grew up with him. I have a friend that is one of my agents in my power of attorney for healthcare. I've very comfortable with her.

I do fear that people will take this personally. But if you want to know what it's like having an eating disorder, this is it. With others, I'll smile a genuine smile and be happy to see you, but I fear getting too close. Physically and emotionally. I fear you really won't like who I am inside. I'm starting to figure out who that is. Here are some things I am:
I am a writer.
I am a perfectionist.
I must have my dictionary, thesaurus, notebook and blue pen with me at all times.
I've been diagnosed with major depression, ED-NOS, anxiety, insomnia and ADHD.
I also have hypertension and chronic constipation (complication from the ED).
I've got a lot of OCD tendencies, but not diagnosed.
Do you still want to know me? Do you want to work hard at building a relationship with me?
Do you know that's why recovery is taking so long? A lot of people don't want to make the effort and get tired of do I.

"I need you to know. I'm not through the night, some days I'm still fighting to walk towards the light."
"There are days I'm not ok, and I need your help." - Superchic(k)

My goals in therapy are very socially oriented. And I am having a very, very hard time with it.
This is life with an eating disorder. You can see why it would take a long, long time to recovery....if I ever do. I've been told I'll die. I've been asked how badly I want to recover. Power statements and questions that need to be said.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sticking Around

No, I don't think I'm going to ditch Renegade. I was just going through some kind of writer's funk. Some things in therapy have been kind of difficult, and now I just recently lost my dietitian because my insurance won't cover anything for her services. NOTHING. Medical Nutrition Therapy is not a covered service. Well, excuuuuuuse me! Just trying to get healthy here. Luckily, I still have my great therapist and doctor and lots of helpful books and information to utilize.

Thanks for sticking around. And thanks, as always, for reading.

Be Coolio