National Eating Disorders Association

I am excited about the release of Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders - The Diary Healer, because it resounds with the ‘voices’ of experience of seventy diarists from around the world in exploring the role and use of diary writing as a coping, survival and healing tool. 

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Undoubtedly, one of the first questions we are asked when people meet us is, “Is it weird to have the same name?” quickly followed by, “Do you spell it the same way?” To answer your questions, “no and yes, respectively”. Together we are collectively referred to as “The Jamies”, and individually our nicknames are CJ (Cousin Jamie) and OJ (Other Jamie, that’s me!).  

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As a little girl, my mother and I would sit on the sofa and watch television together. I remember being fascinated by cosmetic commercials as the supermodels floated across the screen, with seemingly flawless skin and long, flowing hair. I wanted to be apart of that world more than anything, and wondered if there was a place for me there, somehow, someday.

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The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures

sent from a distant party—but they say nothing

and if we do not use the gifts they bring

they carry them as silently away.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

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After a busy holiday season of cooking, eating and football at my in-laws, I spent ten minutes writing about my victories/successes of the past year.  I felt ecstatic to pause and look at my accomplishments, a topic that certainly never came up during the holiday.  The write was a way of reclaiming a me deeper than the one laughing with family at the dinner table.  I like the me who joins in the laughter and I love the family and their good spirits, but I also need to keep in touch with that truer and more complex me.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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One writes to capture and crystallize one's joy, but also to disperse one's gloom.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh, War Within & Without: Diaries and letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1939 – 1944

CRYSTALLIZING JOY

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When I want to spice up my writing, I turn to Kathleen Adams'  Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth.  Adams writes in the preface, “...this book approaches journal writing from the standpoint of techniques—different ways to write that will not only add variety but can also help maximize the clarity and effectiveness of the journal.”  Using the List of 100 technique islike taking an elevator a few layers down inside me, where the doors open into surprising new ideas. 

LIST OF 100

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