Friday, April 30, 2010

International Resources

I know a plethora of eating disorder resources and can share them with people readily. Those resources (including hotlines, websites, forums, projects, blogs, organizations, support groups, and therapists), however, are only for the United States. And I've been thinking (and worrying) about how disheartening that must be for a lot of people.

A woman commented on one of my videos recently, telling me how she'd been to see a doctor who passed off her bulimia as something that wasn't serious, how she has struggled to get help, how she doesn't know where to turn... because she's in Korea. She pleaded with me to help her - what could she do?, she asked.

Well, I immediately began searching the internet for resources in Korea. And let me tell you what a difficult time I had. I couldn't find a thing. I began to search broadly for eating disorder resources, and all I came up with were American sites, a few UK sites, and even fewer Australian sites. I know part of this is because I am using a search engine here in the United States. But I also know that it must be very hard for people in other countries to find the resources they need.

I couldn't find a single eating disorder hotline that wasn't in the USA or the UK. There's ANAD and NEDA and SomethingFishy's resources... but they can't help anyone who's not in the US.

So I responded to this viewer with encouragement and advice, but with a lack of actual resources of a place she could contact.

Well, after a lot of digging, I found two websites I'd like to share with you, especially as I know there are people from several different countries who read my blog.

The first is: Eating Disorder Hope International Treatment and Resources

This site lists several countries (by no means all, but it's better than anything else I've found) including Austria, China, Italy, and Japan as links, and when you click the link for the specific country, the site will list all the eating disorder resources available. It's wonderful.

The second is: an international links page for a UK Eating Disorders Association

On this page are a variety of services and organizations, marked by the flag of a specific country. Represented are the UK, Germany, New Zealand, the European Council on Eating Disorders, Canada, the US, etc.

Again, there are only a few countries represented here, but it's very helpful.

So, now, two things I'd like you to do if you can:

1) Pass these resources on to anyone you know (or use them yourself!)

2) Please tell me if you know of any other international resources or websites I can add to my list.

Thank you!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bulimia Feelings & Situations

My Wednesday video is up. This week is all about Bulimia. My specific topic: Bulimia Nervosa triggers being hungry, feeling low, fat feelings, situations, all or nothing thinking, food feeling like a constant threat, guilt/shame. A lot to cover in 10 minutes! Did my best! :)

As usual, click to watch on YouTube as embedding has been disabled. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Question # 21: When You Feel You've Exhausted the Topic

An anonymous reader recently wrote:

"Hi Arielle :) I'd really appreciate if you could give some advice on what to do when you feel you exhausted the subject of your ED with a friend, or family, in my case my boyfriend, yet you still feel like you do need to talk about it sometimes."

I'd start off by asking yourself a few simple questions.

Why do you feel you've exhausted the subject? Is it because of a reaction you get? Or is it because of a reaction you're afraid you'd get? Don't let fear get in the way of your needs.

Also: Do you feel misunderstood? Do you feel like you're not being heard? Is it putting a strain on the relationship or are you just afraid it will?

Make sure you assess your particular situation. It's very important.

Talking about your eating disorder is not something you can give yourself a limit for. You can't say, "I will only talk about it 3 times this week and if I've reached my max and need/want to talk about it again, I won't." It doesn't work that way.

If you feel you are holding something in, it will put even more of a strain on your relationship and on yourself.

Remember that having an eating disorder is like many other things. If someone comes home every day and says, "I had a bad day," because they dislike their job, they are saying the same things regularly and you wouldn't tell them to be quiet.

It's true that it can be hard for people to listen to things about eating disorders (or your eating disorder in particular) on a constant basis. Just be aware of how often you talk about it and how they might feel. Also be aware if you are repeating yourself a lot. Where do you hope to get with bringing up the eating disorder?

You know as well as anyone else that listening to someone complain on a regular basis is not fun. So ask yourself if your eating disorder talks are productive or therapeutic or helpful. If they are just complaints, they aren't helping you or the person listening to you.

Also remember that your partner or friend is not your therapist. Some things are better discussed in therapy. There is a difference between requesting support or acknowledging something, and having a mentally draining conversation frequently. It's really hard for some people to listen to certain things that therapists are more accustomed to hearing. Not everyone is equipped to be able to deal with everything. If you're not in therapy, consider it. Could be you need that outlet to get your thoughts out and right now only have a special person in your life to discuss these things with and it's becoming too much.

That said, needing to talk about the eating disorder is normal and silence will not get your far in recovery. If you hesitate to speak up when you need to because of another person, you may need to evaluate your relationship with the person. If they are not willing to listen or will not try to understand why you need to keep talking about the eating disorder from time to time, the problem may be the relationship.

Anyone recovering from an illness or addiction needs support, and if you are not getting support in the right quantities or in the right ways, you need to be honest with yourself.

For some people, keeping a journal is enough to make them feel better. For others, talking about struggles and thoughts are necessary. If you are constantly wishing you could talk about something, but don't, your relationship is not healthy...and neither is your recovery.

Any successful relationship needs good communication. And any successful relationship needs support flowing both ways. Do you have these things?

It may be that the person with whom you are in a relationship is not able to give you the support you need. This happens. Some people can not give us what we wish they would give us. It is not necessarily the fault of the person and there is not necessarily anything you can do to change the relationship dynamic. Sometimes it's just about acceptance, which can be very hard. Always put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand what they are hearing from you and how it might make them feel. BUT don't do this at the cost of your own well-being. PLEASE remember that compromise is a solution, NOT completely giving up your desire to talk about something. If you keep quiet for someone else's sake because you feel or they feel that you have exhausted the subject, you are really cheating yourself.

Be aware.
Be thoughtful.
Be willing to compromise.
But do not be silent.
Your recovery will suffer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Factors in Anorexia Nervosa

Here's this week's video. This week is "All About Anorexia" and clearly there is a lot to say about this illness. I have a few specific topics in regards to Anorexia Nervosa, and I managed to include what I could in one 10 minute video.

As usual, please click to view on YouTube as I have disabled embedding.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I've hit 100 Followers! Well, actually, I had 99 this morning and now I have 101! In all honesty, I know a lot more people than that actually read this blog and just don't "follow" or have gmail, but seeing that number go up is cool just the same.

I've also surpassed 300 YouTube subscribers (337!).

Thank you, everyone! I appreciate your comments, questions, recovery stories, and kind words so much. Keep fighting and stay strong.

PS. Oh, and what do YOU want to read about? Let me know.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Three Things You Can Do Today

Those seeking recovery from an eating disorder, or those in recovery often talk about what they find difficult, what they feel they cannot do or are not ready to do, or what they'd like to but aren't able to do because of some kind of circumstance.

Well, here are 3 things you CAN do today - FOR SURE - so don't make excuses. Just do them. Sure, they are small steps, but they are steps. I'd like to do a post like this from time to time, with 3 things you CAN do right away. Right now.

Is this stuff earth-shattering? No. Is it good? Yes.

Three things you CAN do today:

- program your cell phone to tell you a nice message tomorrow at 10 AM (if you'll be sleeping, in a meeting, with a client, etc. at that time, it's no matter - the next time you look at your phone, that message will be waiting)

-look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I'll try to take care of you." This may sound a little cheesy, but when was the last time you told yourself that? And I'm not asking you to say, "I love myself" or "I'm beautiful" - think about it. You ARE ABLE to do this.

- find a positive post, quote, poem, etc. Print it, fold it, and put it in your wallet.

Do it now! There's no reason you can't.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Gives You Hope?

In this life, in this stage of wanting recovery, or of being in recovery, what gives you hope?

Perhaps it's a large goal, like wanting to have a child one day.

Perhaps it's a smaller idea, like being able to truly be yourself around a particular friend.

Hell, it could even be a soothing cup of tea late at night, when you're snuggling into your sofa, reveling in the time to yourself at the end of a long day and feel at peace.

Today, I'm not talking about plans you have to make or concepts you need to manage in order to keep going. I'm talking about hope. Pure, simple, unique-to-everyone hope.

What gives you hope? For the future? For each day as it stands alone?

Figure out what gives you hope. And if you can't think of something, you're not trying hard enough.

You may not have a support system. Your family maybe hurting your recovery rather than helping it. You may have been abused or bullied or treated unfairly. You may feel completely alone. You may be sick. You may be tired. You may be busy beyond belief.

But there is always hope. It's up to you to find it. I promise you, no matter how bleak things seem, the hope is there. It may be a tiny sliver barley showing itself... but it is there. And if you don't find it and hold it close, you're only keeping yourself in the dark.

Move towards the light, people! Grab the hope.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm Your Voice of Reason :)

I was thinking a lot last night - about a particular friend, about the world in which we live, and obviously, about eating disorders. I had responded to this friend's post and the more I wrote, the more I realized that the way she is currently feeling is the way a lot of people are currently feeling. There was so much I wanted to tell her and there is so much I want to tell you. So I propped up my webcam and made a quick video. It's below. As usual, click to view on YouTube as embedding has been disabled.

Love to all.