Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Triggers & Pro-Ana

Here is this week's video. It's not up to my usual standards as I was incredibly pressed for time and had to patch in clips from much older videos (from when  my camera gave me a fake "lisp" and did not always have a "professional" backdrop behind me), but it does cover some important things.

Monday, June 27, 2011

'Full Mouse, Empty Mouse' Earns My Respect

When it came to my attention that there is a fairly recent children's book out there in the world entitled "Full Mouse, Empty Mouse: A Tale of Food and Feelings," I was very interested and couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

At long last, I found the time to order the book and read it. I got choked up at parts.

Now, I don't consider the book overly sentimental. What touched me was the fact that a book actually exists which can so beautifully speak to children on the subject of eating disorders and their own feelings in regards to eating disordered behavior.

The book is by Dina Zeckhausen, who I understand is the founder and exec director of the Eating Disorders Information Network. I applaud her 1) for creating this book 2) for doing so with such sensitivity and care and 3) for including a Note to Parents, Discussion Questions (for parents/caregivers with children), and Resources in the back of the book.

Is "Full Mouse, Empty Mouse" the best book I've ever read? No. Is it meaningful and helpful? Yes.

It's written in rhyming verse, which can seem forced at times (to me anyway, since I have a degree in English and consider myself in tune with this sort of thing), but in general that sort of verse speaks well to kids, so I think its purpose is served. The illustrations (by Brian Boyd) are great. The advice for children is even better.

What I really appreciate is that the book is not gender-biased and does not focus solely on the under-eating/anorexia-like eating disorders. It depicts a boy mouse and a girl mouse who overeat (to deal with negative feelings/situations) and restrict (also to deal with negative feelings/situations) respectively.

There is no mention of purging - but I find that wise. Where it would seek to help some young ones feel less ashamed/less alone, it would seek to make others aware of the possibility of throwing up food, if the idea had not yet occurred to them. It's also not "necessary" in that the book delves into emotions and coping mechanisms in a way that does not discriminate between eating disorders.

"Listen to your body.
It's not too hard to read.
Go inside and you will find
The answers that you need.

To find out what you're feeling,
Here's the place to start:
Understand the language
Of your Tummy and your Heart.

Speak up if you're angry,
Get a hug if you feel scared,
And if you're sad, just cry those tears,
'Cause feelings should be shared!"

I'm impressed. I like the book and I highly recommend it - for kids with eating disorders, for kids without eating disorders, for kids who have displayed some poor coping mechanisms/eating disordered behaviors, and for adults too. As I said, it touched me. I'm so happy someone decided to publish a children's book that rewards the bravery of coming forward with scary feelings, that encourages talking to parents even when it feels hard, that upholds listening to one's body and heart, and that shows that no one who struggles with these things is alone.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Call For Women Over 70

I am asking for your help.

I am doing a small research project for my MSW (Masters in Social Work) on body image/food issues in women ages 70 – 100. This is a topic not often discussed, but I know struggling women in this age group exist. The harsh reality persists that many women do not reach age 70 and older due to eating disorders or complications from behaviors related to eating disorders, but there ARE still women out there who have these issues and I would like to a) give them a voice b) contribute to (lack of) research in this area and 3) learn.

If you are a female aged 70 or older who has body image issues (whether diagnosed with an eating disorder or not), who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder, or who struggles with food (whether diagnosed with an eating disorder or not), or all of the above, please contact me by clicking "EMAIL ARIELLE" on the left sidebar if you would be willing to participate in a brief interview (via a 10 question survey) through email. You can also leave your email address in a comment to this post and I will contact you. You may participate anonymously if you prefer, or may give your full or first name. I am only interested in your responses and your age, and will not judge or label in anyway; I am conducting this research from a personal place of deep understanding.

It does not matter if you dealt with these issues as young adult and still deal with them today or if you developed these issues later in your life – your story is important to me.

I know you are out there, because I’ve received emails from women meeting these criteria in the past!

If you know a woman who meets these criteria and would be willing to talk about body image and/or eating issues, I will gladly email a survey you can print so that you may ask the questions yourself and reply to me via email.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Patience & Plateaus

In this video, I direct you to a slew of other videos that relate to this topic. Check them out if you have time. 10 minutes isn't really enough time to say all I want/need to say!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Challenges

The summer presents challenges to those in recovery from self-harm and eating disorders. Even for individuals with body image issues, summer can be filled with fear and anxiety. This week I discuss "Summer Challenges."