Posts Tagged ‘bulimia’

Poem by Ali Valenzuela

March 4, 2008
Ali wrote this poem about her experience of recovering from an eating disorder and kindly sent it to me for publication on this site. I would like to take this opportunity to commend Ali’s courage, determination and generosity. In her struggle to gain treatment for anorexia and despite being desperately ill, she has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of eating disorders in Wales.

I was lost and alone, didn’t know who to be,
and felt like an outcast, unaccepted for me.
When I needed a friend; a voice to console,
I heard a small whisper: “You’re not on your own.
I’ve seen you around and you’re needing a friend,
and i promise to be there right until the end.”
I jumped at the offer of close company,
but little did I realise quite how close it’d be.
I felt proud to decline food-it showed me my strength
To say bno to the things I would want at great length.
I felt so in control and my confidence soared,
what with all of the exercise, I was never bored.
People said “what willpower it takes to do this!”
but little did they know it came with a twist
I was hungry and needed to eat a good meal
But the voice would get louder and started to squeal:
“what the HELL are you doing, you fat, dirty BITCH?!
We’ve got you SO far, now you shovel down THIS?!
It doesn’t make sense to delay your progress!”
But by this point, I only began to obsess
about every morsel that passed my lips
Added shame and disgust to the top of my list.
Temptation’s no match for this beast that’s insidethat slowly consumed me- I had nowhere to hide.
It was eating me up, and rotting my soul-
If it were to continue, it’d swallow me whole.
My clothes wouldn’t fit and my body was frail,
but no matter my state I couldn’t possibly fail
The anorexic voice that drowned out the lot
of my terrified family, begging me to stop.
Who crept into my room in the dead of the night
To see if their daughter was still breathing alright.
People gasped at my bones that protruded my skin,
pointing with horror at ‘the girl that’s so thin!’
I was ashamed and afraid, so much internal pain,
I thought i would never become me again
It was the worst nightmare i could possibly know
as even when I woke up, it was there in full flow.
At a rock bottom where I could have easily died
Finally, hospital help had arrived!
It took all away control of anorexia’s ways
and slowly but surely I started to change
My passion for life started to get on track
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back!
With recovery started, I learnt to control
The anorexic voice, and listen to my own.
But I still live in terror of the voice I followed,
Dragging me back to it’s world of sorrow
So I’m sharing my story of horror and pain
to prevent this from happening to anyone again
I can never repay those who supported me through
the hardest time of my life- all i say is Thankyou.

xxx
Ali Valenzuela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eating Disorders and Pregnancy

February 29, 2008

Eating disorders and pregnancy

Having an eating disorder can have serious consequences on one’s health. When the body is not getting significant nutrition, it may respond by stunting bone growth and allowing it’s muscles to waste away. One of the most important muscles in the body is the heart, and unhealthy weight loss can result in an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, and the very real possibility of cardiac arrest. While these problems affect one’s health to a great degree, there can be an even greater strain placed on the body when one is pregnant and has an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. In this article, we’ll discuss the problem and offer some help when it comes to dealing with it.

The damage that is done to the human body through an eating disorder can truly have a negative effect on a woman’s endocrine system. This system is crucial when it comes to proper pregnancy, as it regulates the hormones that are responsible for proper development. For that reason, some women who have had eating disorders that they’ve successfully treated in the past may still be threatened with the aspect of having a risky pregnancy. Sadly, roughly twenty percent of all female visits to fertility clinics are made by women who have had an eating disorder in the past.

If you currently have an eating disorder and you’ve become pregnant, it’s important to do all that you can to save yourself from the disorder before the baby’s health is threatened. You should immediately seek the help of a physician or a counsellor in order to bring your body back to where it needs to be. Unfortunately, women who have eating disorders face a much higher risk of miscarriage. There is also a greater chance of having the baby prematurely, which can result in a host of developmental problems. Also, those with eating disorders need to consider how pregnancy works. Babies sap much of the nutrition that their mothers eat, so if your own health is not stable, your child’s life can be threatened as well as your own. Women with eating disorders often have low levels of calcium, and when the foetus begins to demand calcium, osteoporosis may occur, causing your bones and teeth to become weak and brittle.

Another thing to consider is the mental state that you are in. If you are busy being concerned about your self-image due to an eating disorder, you may be unable to give your growing child the attention that it needs. Before making any decision about becoming pregnant, be sure to consider all of the facts when it comes to the child’s development. Do your best to get yourself back to a healthy way of living before considering bringing a child into the mix; the resulting stressors can heavily outweigh your desires for having a child. Make a responsible decision before you do anything rash, and be sure that you’ll be able to provide a loving and peaceful setting for a child should you decide to have one.

Article by Mike Serov

letter from bulimia sufferer

February 28, 2008

 

This is an extract from a letter I received this morning, written by a woman suffering from bulimia. I wish to protect her identity so it is anonymous… She describes so clearly how it is to suffer from bulimia – an illness often side-lined or ignored as “taboo” in comparison to anorexia nervosa…

 

 

 

Thankyou for your message Wenna.

I can understand how you must feel about body image. Only with love of ones self, can you really see how beautiful you are.

Anorexia is a hell.

I recently viewed an episode on an intervention talk show that is aired in America, called ‘Dr. Phil’. One of the episodes featured an anorexic girl who had severe problems with binging and purging. You cold obviously tell that her extreme low weight made avoiding binging and purging, extremely difficult. Her body was at a point where the need to eat over-rid her, but she always compensated her binges with purging. Up to 150 times a day.

She is an absolute shock to look at. Extremely emaciated.

I think one of the reasons I developed this binging and purging obsession once I reached a certain low weight is similar to the girl’s reasons. I have tried so hard to spend my day not giving into it.

But I just cant.

The girl also stated that her binges have left her with no food and money and she has regularly shoplifted to fuel her compulsion. I feel very ashamed to admit this, but that is where I am.

I cannot stop this. I promise I have tried so hard. But I cannot escape.

I live alone without any family and friends. My dislike for my body and my huge problem with body dysmorphia makes socialising far too difficult. I live alone in a flat. My day is spent going out food shopping and shoplifting, and binging and purging in the evening. I have never eaten a meal normally for literally years. I cannot eat at all and keep food within me.

 

EDAW… failing families?

February 24, 2008

EDAW’08 Report:

Failing Families?

No one who loves and cares for someone with an eating disorder should feel ashamed; no one should feel so responsible and so alone. Yet time after time, families tell us that is exactly what they feel.

BEAT are launching Eating Disorders Awareness Week with a damning report, Failing Families?

“It has devastated us all. We have lost someone so precious because we were trying to do our best but did not have enough information or knowledge. It is difficult to bear the guilt and to carry on.”

We ask a simple question. Why are so many families being failed by services that should support them?

To read the report in full please go to the national eating disorder association’s web page: www.b-eat.co.uk

The Globalization of Eating Disorders

February 24, 2008

This is a wonderful short essay  by Susan Bordo which was originally posted by Patsy Clairmont on her blog:

Butterflies are just around the corner… adventures of a starving artist.

It is so interesting, insightful and filled with common sense, I just had to re-print it here.

“The young girl stands in front of the mirror. Never fat to begin with, she’s been on a no-fat diet for a couple of weeks and has reached her goal weight: 115 lb., at 54–exactly what she should weigh, according to her doctor’s chart. But in her eyes she still looks dumpy. She can’t shake her mind free of the “Lady Marmelade” video from Moulin Rouge. Christina Aguilera, Pink, L’il Kim, and Mya, each one perfect in her own way: every curve smooth and sleek, lean-sexy, nothing to spare. Self-hatred and shame start to burn in the girl, and envy tears at her stomach, enough to make her sick. She’ll never look like them, no matter how much weight she loses. Look at that stomach of hers, see how it sticks out? Those thighs–they actually jiggle. Her butt is monstrous. She’s fat, gross, a dough girl”.

 

As you read the imaginary scenario above, whom did you picture standing in front of the mirror?

If your images of girls with eating and body image problems have been shaped by People magazine and Lifetime movies, she’s probably white, North American, and economically secure. A child whose parents have never had to worry about putting food on the family table. A girl with money to spare for fashion magazines and trendy clothing, probably college-bound.

If you’re familiar with the classic psychological literature on eating disorders, you may also have read that she’s an extreme “perfectionist” with a hyper-demanding mother, and that she suffers from “body-image distortion syndrome” and other severe perceptual and cognitive problems that “normal” girls don’t share. You probably don’t picture her as black, Asian, or Latina.

Read the description again, but this time imagine twenty-something Tenisha Williamson standing in front of the mirror.

 

Tenisha is black, suffers from anorexia, and feels like a traitor to her race. “From an African-American standpoint,” she writes, “we as a people are encouraged to embrace our big, voluptuous bodies. This makes me feel terrible because I don’t want a big, voluptuous body! I don’t ever want to be fat–ever, and I don’t ever want to gain weight. I would rather die from starvation than gain a single pound.”

 

Tenisha is no longer an anomaly. Eating and body image problems are now not only crossing racial and class lines, but gender lines. They have also become a global phenomenon.

 

Fiji is a striking example. Because of their remote location, the Fiji islands did not have access to television until 1995, when a single station was introduced It broadcasts programs from the United StatesGreat Britain, and Australia. Until that time, Fiji had no reported cases of eating disorders, and a study conducted by anthropologist Anne Becker showed that most Fijian girls and women, no matter how large, were comfortable with their bodies. In 1998, just three years after the station began broadcasting, 11 percent of girls reported vomiting to control weight, and 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting during the previous months.

 

Becker was surprised by the change; she had thought that Fijian cultural traditions, which celebrate eating and favour voluptuous bodies, would “withstand” the influence of the media images. Becker hadn’t yet understood that we live in an empire of images, and that there are no protective borders.

 

In Central Africa, for example, traditional cultures still celebrate voluptuous women. In some regions, brides are sent to fattening farms to be plumped and massaged into shape for their wedding night. In a country plagued by AIDS, the skinny body has meant–as it used to among Italian, Jewish, and black Americans–poverty, sickness, death.

An African girl must have hips,” says dress designer Frank Osodi. “We have hips. We have bums. We like flesh in Africa.” For years, Nigeria sent its local version of beautiful to the Miss World competition. The contestants did very poorly. Then a savvy entrepreneur went against local ideals and entered Agbani Darego, a light-skinned, hyper-skinny beauty. (He got his inspiration from M-Net, the South African network seen across Africa on satellite television, which broadcasts mostly American movies and television shows.) Agbani Darego won the Miss World Pageant, the first Black African to do so. Now, Nigerian teenages fast and exercise, trying to become “lepa”–a popular slang phrase for the thin “it” girls that are all the rage. Said one: “People have realized that slim is beautiful.”

 

How can mere images be so powerful? For one thing, they are never “just pictures,” as the fashion magazines continually maintain (disingenuously) in their own defence. They speak to young people not just about how to be beautiful but also about how to become what the dominant culture admires, values, rewards. They tell them how to be cool, “get it together,” overcome their shame. To girls who have been abused they may offer a fantasy of control and invulnerability, immunity from pain and hurt. For racial and ethnic groups whose bodies have been deemed “foreign,” earthy, and primitive, and considered unattractive by Anglo-Saxon norms, they may cast the lure of being accepted as “normal” by the dominant culture.

In today’s world, it is through images–much more than parents, teachers, or clergy–that we are taught how to be. And it is images, too, that teach us how to see, that educate our vision in what’s a defect and what is normal, that give us the models against which our own bodies and the bodies of others are measured. Perceptual pedagogy: “How to Interpret Your Body 101.” It’s become a global requirement.

 I was intrigued, for example, when my articles on eating disorders began to be translated, over the past few years, into Japanese and Chinese. Among the members of audiences at my talks, Asian women had been among the most insistent that eating and body image weren’t problems for their people, and indeed, my initial research showed that eating disorders were virtually unknown in Asia. But when, this year, a Korean translation of Unbearable Weight was published, I felt I needed to revisit the situation. I discovered multiple reports on dramatic increases in eating disorders in China, South Korea, and Japan. “As many Asian countries become Westernised and infused with the Western aesthetic of a tall, thin, lean body, a virtual tsunami of eating disorders has swamped Asian countries,” writes Eunice Park in Asian Week magazine. Older people can still remember when it was very different. In China, for example, where revolutionary ideals once condemned any focus on appearance and there have been several disastrous famines, “little fatty” was a term of endearment for children. Now, with fast food on every corner, childhood obesity is on the rise, and the cultural meaning of fat and thin has changed.

When I was young,” says Li Xiaojing, who manages a fitness centre in Beijing, “people admired and were even jealous of fat people since they thought they had a better life….But now, most of us see a fat person and think ‘He looks awful.’”

 

Clearly, body insecurity can be exported, imported, and marketed–just like any other profitable commodity. In this respect, what’s happened with men and boys is illustrative. Ten years ago men tended, if anything, to see themselves as better looking then they (perhaps) actually were. And then (as I chronicle in detail in my book The Male Body) the menswear manufacturers, the diet industries, and the plastic surgeons “discovered” the male body. And now, young guys are looking in their mirrors, finding themselves soft and ill defined, no matter how muscular they are. Now they are developing the eating and body image disorders that we once thought only girls had. Now they are abusing steroids, measuring their own muscularity against the oiled and perfected images of professional athletes, body-builders, and Men’s Health models. Now the industries in body-enhancement–cosmetic surgeons, manufacturers of anti-aging creams, spas and salons–are making huge bucks off men, too.

 

What is to be done? I have no easy answers. But I do know that we need to acknowledge, finally and decisively, that we are dealing here with a cultural problem. If eating disorders were biochemical, as some claim, how can we account for their gradual “spread” across race, gender, and nationality? And with mass media culture increasingly providing the dominant “public education” in our children’s lives–and those of children around the globe–how can we blame families? Families matter, of course, and so do racial and ethnic traditions. But families exist in cultural time and space–and so do racial groups. In the empire of images, no one lives in a bubble of self-generated “dysfunction” or permanent immunity. The sooner we recognize that–and start paying attention to the culture around us and what it is teaching our children–the sooner we can begin developing some strategies for change.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week… utterly divine…

February 24, 2008

 

In honour of EDAW check out this amazing jewellery…

 

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=9496503

 

It was designed by Carrie Arnold to commemorate recovery from anorexia nervosa and all profits are donated to BEAT (eating disorders association). Also, it is seriously lurvley…

 

EDAW UK events…

February 22, 2008

Three days…

EDAW’08 will take place between Monday 25th February to Sunday 2nd March

See below to find events in your area. If you know of additional events occurring throughout the week, please let us know.

 

Events in Wales

Cardiff

Wednesday 27th February at 5:30 pm, WAG building.

A range of speakers and the launch of the cross party for eating disorders aims and objectives…

If you are a service provider please also complete our data base form on-line at www.grahammenziesfoundation.com (under the resources link).

 

Events in Scotland

Presentation evening at Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Medical students will be presenting their research at the Young People’s Unit at Royal Edinburgh Hospital on Thursday 28th February from 6-8pm.

Patients, parents and interested professionals are welcome to attend.

For more information please e-mail jane.morris@lpct.scot.nhs.uk

 

 

The Priory Hospital Drop-in days:

Free Information, support and advice is available for those affected directly or indirectly by eating disorders. Sessions starting at 10am, 2pm and 5pm will cover the following topics:

  • Families Beating Eating Disorders
  • Understanding Eating Disorders

To book your place at Glasgow on the 28th February or for more information contact Deborah Martin on 01416 366166 or deborahmartin@prioryhealthcare.com

 

Events in England

 

The Priory Hospital Drop-in days:

Free Information, support and advice is available for those affected directly or indirectly by eating disorders. Sessions starting at 10am, 2pm and 5pm will cover the following topics:

  • Families Beating Eating Disorders
  • Understanding Eating Disorders

Spend time with our Consultant Psychiatrist and trained Eating Disorder Professionals as well as taking away self-help literature.

To book your place at Highbank on the 25th February or for more details contact Jennifer Yates on 01706 829540 / 07717 507079 or jenniferyates@prioryhealthcare.com

To book your place at Altrincham on the 26th February or for more information contact Sarah Carroll on 0161 904 0050 or altrincham@prioryhealthcare.com

To book your place at Preston on the 26th February or for more information contact Ruth Brooks on 01772 691122 or ruthbrooks@prioryhealthcare.com

 

 

EFT – Free Workshop

Wednesday 27th February, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

EFT – Emotional Freedom Therapy is a simple tapping technique that can help to dramatically reduce the anxieties and behaviours of many eating disorders.

This 2 hour introductory workshop, will demonstrate how you can apply EFT to manage your:

  • Emotions
  • Cravings
  • Behaviours with food & self

Venue: Healthy Living Centre; Thornton Heath; CR7 8LF

To book your ticket, e-mail: info@awakeningdawn.com

or call Vathani on 0845 639 8248

 

Newcastle Public board

Thursday 28th February

Between John Lewis and Charles Clinkard, Newcastle. 9am – 8pm

It is going to be a big magnetic board in centre of town where we are going to have lots of magnetic coloured letters and we are going to be asking the public to either write the first thing( or poem, riddle anything) which comes in their head when eating disorders are mentioned.

 

 

UK wide

Free Teleseminar:

Tuesday 26th February, 6pm

Awakening Dawn – Eating Disorder Counselling and Training Services, is offering a free teleseminar. This one-hour call will cover your most frequently asked questions on all aspects of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, obesity and compulsive eating.

Call spaces are limited to 150 people so please register now, and post your own question before the 22nd February. To book your place visit www.awakeningdawn.com/html/ask.html

Eating Disorders Awareness Week Wales – Free Event

February 17, 2008

Eating Disorders

Awareness Week 2008


GMF & the Cross Party Committee on

Eating Disorders

Invites you to an event to mark

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2008

Venue: The Neuadd, National Assembly for Wales

Wednesday, 27th February 2008, 17:30pm

Please e-mail Rowenna Menzies at:

thegrahammenziesfoundation@hotmail.com

 

or contact Bethan Jenkins AM for more details.

**********************************

Wythnos Ymwybyddiaeth

Anhwylderau Bwyta 2008

 

Mae Bethan Jenkins AC

Yn eich gwahodd i ddigwyddiad i nodi

Wythnos Ymwybyddiaeth Anhwylderau Bwyta

2008

Lleoliad: Y Neuadd, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Amser: 17:30

Dyddiad: Dydd Mercher, 27ain o Chwefror 2008

Manylion i ddilyn

Call for ALL eating disorder services in Wales!

February 15, 2008

 

Eating Disorders Data Base

Graham Menzies Foundation and the Welsh Assembly Government’s Cross Party Eating Disorder Group are working to create a single comprehensive data base of all services available to people with eating disorders in Wales.

The data base will be used primarily for referral purposes – but will also enable the development a new funding/referral pathway strategies for the treatment of eating disorders in Wales.

If your organisation provides treatment or support for people with eating disorders at any level (telephone help line, internet support, therapy, day care, after care etc.) then we would like to add you to the central data base. Please complete the on-line form at our mail web site: grahammenzies.com

You will find it under the “resources” link.

What will happen to this information?

The data base will be shared with GPs and other health professionals throughout Wales. You will be able to access the data base at: http://www.grahammenziesfoundation.com by clicking the “treatment” link.

 If you have questions, suggestions or comments we would be very pleased to hear from you. Please contact:

Bethan Jenkins AM

Chairperson for the Cross Party Eating Disorder Group:

www.bethanjenkins.blogspot.com

Tel: 01639 643549


Rowenna Menzies

CEO Graham Menzies Foundation:

www.grahammenziesfoundation.com

Tel: 01970 881052

Woman over 25 with eating disorders

February 14, 2008

Information about eating disorders in women over 25

Eating disorders are not only for young teenaged girls. The stereotype has been proven wrong year after year as children, adults, seniors and men are diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating syndrome.

In general, men develop eating disorders later than woman, and the onset of bulimia is later than anorexia. We are also facing the relatively new problem of long-term anorexia and bulimia. Individuals who were diagnosed in their teens but received no successful treatment, and who are now in their thirties or fourties.

The following information is taken from:

http://eatingdisorders.suite101.com/article.cfm/eating_disorders_in_adult_women

The article is called “What happens after Recovery?” by Lori Henry.

“One of the recent phenomenon is the discovery that adult women are still struggling with these issues. Those who had suffered in their teen years were still effected, but could not be diagnosed with an eating disorder because they fell under the radar for specific symptoms.

There is also a huge jump in women who develop eating disorders later in life, usually due to the many changes and stressors that present themselves as their children grow up, they go through deaths, possible divorces, pregnancy, and age changes their perspectives and bodies.

Not many studies have been done, though, on adult women who suffer from full blown eating disorders and especially those who are suffering but are not quite diagnosable.

In Trisha Gura’s new book, Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women, she diligently explores this hidden epidemic that is ruining millions of people’s lives. Chock full of scientific research, personal stories and the author’s own experience, the read is both a fascinating and shattering one.

The book doesn’t stop there, though. Trisha also provides answers to difficult questions about eating disorders in adult women’s lives, as well as inspiration for those dealing with these issues.

What happens when girls with eating disorders grow up into adults? We hear from them in direct stories about their struggles and how aging has effected their latent eating disorders.

Women she interviews range in age and experience, but all share the growing battle with disordered eating. One woman is 92 years old and developed anorexia in her senior years because “there was just too much she wanted to do in her later years” (Lying in Weight, Harper Collins, 2007).

Trisha Gura is not only someone who empathises with the subject matter, she is a scientist herself and has spent 15 years as a medical journalist. She holds a doctorate in molecular biology and has written extensively in such publications as Science, Nature, Scientific American, the Chigaco Tribune, the Boston Globe, Child, the Yoga Journal and Health, to name a few.

Above all, she offers hope to those suffering or who know someone who is suffering. Mixed in with her scientific research are the women’s stories themselves who have shared their own experience in order to shed light on their age group.

Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women is available from Amazin and is a great read for laypeople and professionals alike”.