National Eating Disorders Association

In my monthly writing group (we call ourselves the Journalistas), I led three other writers and myself to list the Steppingstones of our marriages.  I think of Steppingstones as milestones.  I've heard Kathleen Adams, author of Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth, define them as before-and-after moments in that, looking back, you can see that something changed distinctly as a result of this Steppingstone event.

“I am not as sick as the other women… I don’t need treatment.”

I heard this statement from time to time in my role as a support staff counselor in an eating disorder rehab. My response? I’d say,
“Interesting. Tell me, what makes you less sick than the others?”

The answers I would hear were:
“I am not that underweight…”
“I am not that overweight…”
“I am not as crazy as her…”
“I am not as angry as her…”

I would then ask,

It was a time when courage was essential.  It was a time when tears, shock, rage and grief were unleashed as if I'd pried open a Pandora's Box.  It was a time when innumerable doors began to swing open, new connections form and my intimate darkness fade to make room for the light of My Life, a time ending in the sunshine.

In my own biweekly journaling, I need to run the daily details through my pen to make sense of and absorb them.  And sometimes, there are times when I need the clarity and guidance of a long-scope overview.  I recently looked back at the Steppingstones of my life, which showed my entire life's path spilled out in a list of twelve items on a single page.

Finding the right treatment for an eating disorder can be a daunting process.   What kind of therapy will be most effective for my problem?  How do I find an experienced provider?  How on Earth will I pay for it?

As a therapist and admissions coordinator, I have spoken with individuals and loved ones struggling to find proper treatment amidst a variety of sometimes confusing options. In this post I will tell you about the different levels of treatment for eating disorders, the process of initiating treatment and how to zero-in on the right therapy and treatment setting for you. 

Thanks to the wonderful work of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the month of April is dedicated as  Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. RAINN says that, “the goal of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAM) is to spread awareness of sexual violence, and share concrete ways to address this issue.” This is a goal that NEDA whole-heartedly supports.

 “For all the information and raised awareness, the stereotype won’t die—eating disorders are a white-woman problem,” writes Michelle Konstantinovsky in her recent article entitled, “Eating Disorders Do Not Discriminate: Puncturing the dangerous myth that only white women get eating disorders.” The article, which recently appeared on Slate, hits the nail squarely on the head – anyone can be at risk for an eating disorder.

I like to talk. To anyone who knows me, this is not news.  From the time I was in elementary school, to my parent’s dismay, my report cards consistently informed them that I needed to stop talking so much in class.   Some may say that I talk too much, others may say that I am hyper-verbal.  Any way you frame it, the bottom line is, I am a very chatty person.  Being verbally outgoing has its advantages.  I meet wonderful people in strange situations where if I wasn’t comfortable initiating a conversation, I never would have made their acquaintance.

People like me who experience anorexia nervosa want to make our life count; we want to do something so that others do not suffer like us. And we can.

Already, hundreds of us have participated in exciting research, ANGI, the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative, by contributing a blood sample.

What an amazing turnout we had at this year’s Los Angeles NEDA Walk in sunny Santa Monica, California! As I take a while to pause and reflect on all of the time and energy that was put into preparing, sharing and executing this inspiring and emotional event, I am sad that it is now over, but I am also ready and preparing to have an even bigger and better time for next year’s event.