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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Laura Jane Gives Back: FREE ANOREXIA THERAPY!
Nearly a month has passed since I wrote "Let It Beat", which I will never be able to read again in my life. Writing it, and sharing it with all you fine people, was beyond therapeutic for me. The positive and supportive responses I received were monumental in leading me towards the free-er, chill-er, happier, "more recovered than not" place I'm in now. I am in no way 100% recovered, but there is an end in sight, and after spending three years in a living hell, that is more than enough.
I can't read "Let It Beat" because I don't want to think about it anymore. Now, I only look forward. I said it already. I write, and move, and I do cool things like eat veggie dogs off the street at one-o-clock in the morning, because I'm hot. And like veggie dogs.
The initial concept behind "Let It Beat" was to write something instructional, a sort of "What To Do/What Not To Do"-style resource that friends and families of those suffering from anorexia could learn from. In the end, I realized that I was entirely ill-equipped to do this- I'm a Beatles writer, not a therapist!
Luckily for me (and you, hopefully), my therapist is a therapist! She is also one of the most intelligent, perceptive, classy, and inspiring individuals I've ever met in my life. She also has THE BEST PERSONAL STYLE EVER; it seriously blows my mind that I scored into a therapist so goddamned well-dressed.
Behind the jump is an instructional "What To Do/What Not To Do"-style resource that she gave me for my birthday. If you are suffering from an eating disorder and/or know someone who is, it is imperative that you read what she wrote. It is a very clear and honest representation of the eating disordered experience; I think it would give anyone a lot of insight into the disease, the mechanisms behind it, and how recovery can be effectively facilitated. Please feel free to circulate this information as you see fit!
I am writing this not only as a therapist dedicated to working with those affected by eating disorders, but also as someone who has been under the imprisonment of the an eating disorder and has managed to break free (entirely) from its influence.
1) No one is "an anorexic"; rather, they are a person who is affected by anorexia. We lose sight of the people we love and begin seeing them as the illness rather than the person. Identifying the eating disorder as something a person is affected by, rather than what they are, helps to create distance between them and the eating disorder. It also develops a platform from which that person can begin to protest against its pathology.
2) In recovery, uncovering what influences the eating disorder (trauma, insecurities, fears, lack of predictability/stability), and not the symptoms of the eating disorder (binging, purging, starvation) should be a main focus. Dealing with the root issues is how progress can be gained.
3) Another misconception is that eating disorders are about food and bodies. They are not. Eating disorders are purely about control. When people feel out of control or unfulfilled in their life, they turn inward on the body to regain a sense of control and fulfillment.
4) Because the issues that lead to the development of an eating disorder are individual and personal, treatment will also need to be individualized and personalized. Methods and modalities that work for one person may not work for another. For example, someone may do quite well in a residential treatment program, while others may need to simply find a therapist they can connect to. Some may find solace through yoga, meditation and acupuncture; others may prefer highly medicalized intervention. Some may want constant familial support, while others may want the support and comfort of art and music. Recovery is about trying out many avenues until one- or several- fit.
5) The person engaging in symptoms may be directly affected by the eating disorder; however, they are not the only ones suffering. Loved ones are suffering indirectly as well. Therefore, it is equally important that family members/friends seek out support of their own so that they, too, can recover.
6) Most importantly, a cure is possible. It is a misconception that an eating disorder is a lifelong struggle and that it will forever have a hold on you. I, myself, am one of many who live entirely free from the influence of an eating disorder. This is possible for anyone.
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