I am running out of reading material. Please comment if you have any more suggestions for ED books! xxx

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Anorexics on Anorexia

Edited by Rosemary Shelley.

This was the book that inspired another editer to publish 'Bulimics on Bulimia'. I am glad that someone adressed bulimia in the same way; a collection of first hand stories of what it is like to suffer. However, to me, I gained more inspiration from the original 'Anorexia' stories. Somehow the endings in this book seemed on the whole, more sucessful.

‘I believe now that sufferers need to live out their Anorexia until they reach the point where they no longer want to have it.’

‘The main thing this time was that I wanted to get better for me, not to get out of hospital or to prove a point, but so I could start living again.’

‘Control that is so controlled it is out of control.’

‘By dying, no one would ever be able to take that achievement away from me.’

'Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.'

- A quote from wise old Albus Dumbledore - RIP

I think I am sick of the word 'quote'. It simply means very few of these words are actually my own. And yet I feel like a collection of many small meangingful things that people say are worth more than any individual voice. And besides, you will find me quoting myself sometimes ;) Rarely, but sometimes, yes, I do think what I have to say matters. From now on though, if it's in italics and between apostrophes, it is a quote (" is too confusing to me, unless I copy and paste). I know this is probably obvious, but I am so paranoid about 'stealing' other people's words that I have to be sure. So...

One on anger
"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." - Buddha

One on hope
'Don't cry when the sun is gone, because the tears won't let you see the stars.' ~Violeta Parra

One on strength
'You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.' - Christopher Columbus

And one on perseverance
'If you are going through hell, keep going.' -Winston Churchill

:) xxx

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Owl was a baker's daughter

Obesity, anorexia nervosa and the repressed feminine, a psychological study by Marion Woodman.

I am still confused as to what the owl has to do with anything... I must have missed something. Feminist books tend to irritate me, but as they go, this was a good book. I don't like books that spend the whole time blaming everything on the fact that females aren't treated as 'equal'. I agree we should be treated as equal, but I think you've got to be careful not to go beyond 'making a valid point' into the valley of 'oh, poor poor us, our needs have been battered down'. I don't care if it's true, I do not want pity.

However, some good quotes from the women she interviewed:

‘Sometimes when I am watching others eating and I am not, I feel morally free. I don’t have to eat. They do. Other times I feel morally inferior because I am tyrannized by weight... They are free. I am not.’

‘I am selfish, but I hate to be thought selfish. I throw up a smokescreen of politeness in order to be liked...’

'...It is sick to wish for the suffering to come back just so I can feel alive.’

The Golden Cage: The Enigma of anorexia nervosa

By Hilde Bruch

I have just finished reading this and I borrowed it from an private eating disorder service I am supposedly attending, at some point... when? I don't know, they haven't got back to me :( It is a 45 minute drive away. But I also want to go back so that I can return the two books I have nearly finished and get some new ones. I have got my eye on one about EDs in males.

Anway, The Golden Cage is pretty out of date. Published in 1978. But Bruch is known for her break-through in discovering how best to treat those with EDs, and most of her book is still relevant. What isn't revelant is her overenphasis on how the patient is normally a rich, white girl who is suffering because she has everything, but doesn't think she deserves anything. That can be true, but not in the majority of cases. Although to be honest, I do see myself in that stereotypical category.

‘One more enigma: on the one hand they declare they do not see how thin they are, and deny the existence of even severe emaciation, but at the same time they take extraordinary pride in it and consider it their supreme achievement.’

‘About 25 per-cent of anorexic youngsters go through the binge-eating syndrome, and many get stuck in it. Whenever they experience anxiety or tension, they run for the comfort of food and thus avoiding exploring the deeper problems.’

‘An anorexic patient cannot be considered outside the danger of relapse unless she has honestly reported on the terror of starvation and her inability to repeat it.’

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia: How to help

By Marilyn Duker and Roger Slade

The best literature I have read on the subject. Most of the book is worth quoting, and has very little waffle. I read it a while ago but one thing I remember it covering is the theory of Anorexia and Bulimia being 'two sides of the same coin.' I will have to re-read it sometime...

‘Few people appreciate the extent to which anorexia nervosa and bulimia can wreck family life, either by the way it erupts into physical violence to people or property, or by the suffocating tension it creates.’

‘So well in fact does she hide her feelings that the way her later bulimia or compulsive eating is related to her former anorexia nervosa is also hidden. Because the episodes appear to be discontinuous, few theoreticians perceive that there is a clear relationship between the two problems...’

‘...Moral rules... it is starvation that pushes these familiar values to almost unrecognizable extremes...’

And hence:

‘There is a cruel irony in the frequent assertion that anorexia nervosa is a mysterious illness...’

Eating with your Anorexic

How my child recovered through family-based treatment and how yours can too.

By Laura Collins
First off; I hate the name of this book, although admittedly I have had a few funny conversations about it. I am not sure why it sounds so ridiculous, but all I can think of is having a Pet Anorexic. Somehow the title gives inhumane connotations.

Next up in the series...

Eating with your Dog

On a serious note, I guess the book could be useful to those who believe in family-based treatment. I don't, unless the patient is really young. I believe that the interactions within the family should be looked at, but I do not think that this should be the basis of the therapy for fear over over-dependance or a feeling of being trapped by the family. I could be wrong though.

A good point that Collins made was:

‘Anorexics do not lack appetite, they are afraid of it.’

The Anorexia Diaries

By Linda M. Rio and Tara M. Rio, with advice and commentary by Craig Johnson Ph.D

Note: The picture isn't really revelevant, but I couldn't find a good picture to represent girls having to have more body fat than boys. So instead... we will throw rocks in our anger that nature isn't fair! Also - I have no idea why I can't change the Authors names so that they are not vertical.

This was similar to 'Biting Anorexia' in the style, but even more dragged out, made up of diary entries which where pulled straight from er, their diaries. Some people's diaries are well written in the first place, and very to the point and artistically descriptive, such as Emma's in 'To Die For.' These, however, were not. The only bit possibly worth reading was the commentary, from which I dug out the following information:

‘...The average girl is expected to gain 40 pounds in the 4 years between the ages of 11 and 14. Normally, girls will again about one-third of their adult body weight during these 4 years...’

‘...Most women have to maintain 17 per cent body fat to menstruate and 22 per cent to be fertile. Essentially, body fat in women is out species’ way to control the population. If there is a famine, women’s body fat drops and they become infertile...'

‘...Boys cannot reverse puberty by reducing body fat in the same manner as girls. This is one of the reasons the disease primarily affects girls...’

Bulimics on Bulimia

Edited by Maria Stavrou

Finally! A book dedicated to Bulimia. I didn't find this as interesting as 'Anorexics on Anorexia', but it did give me some comfort that I wasn't the only person in the world who knew how debilitating, sickiningly time-consuming and humiliating Bulimia can be.

‘Despite all of this, I still found bulimia more debilitating. Anorexia was clean, quiet and simple. Bulimia was messy, loud and complicated.’

‘Sometimes the urge (to binge and/or purge) is so strong I feel like I’ll literally collapse and die if I don’t act on it. It makes no sense, but this has never been and never will be a logical illness.’

‘I fitted my studies around my full-time job of bulimia... I rarely did any work, rarely saw other people; I spent my life with food.’

‘At the age of 25 I have had to declare bankruptcy because of all my medical bills. I will never be able to get a credit card, own my own house, or get a car because my credit has been ruined by over drafting my account from buying binge food and letting medical bills go to collection... Thus I’m led to steal to keep my disease alive... I have been to jail. I face fines that I cannot pay.’

Biting Anorexia

By Lucy Howard-Taylor

I have read that some people like the sense of humour in this book, but to me... It read like a rambling teenage journal, to be blunt. All I saw was a very bland, stereotypical representation of the disorder. My apologies to anyone who likes this book, that's just my opinion.

However, I am all for picking out any good that I can find, and this is the only bit I found slightly amusing:

I’m constantly cranking open that little trap door to anorexia... It is so heavy, and my arms will ache. But it is harder to close than it is to open... I fight. And if that means cementing that trap door over ... I can always put a nice potted plant on top.'

Since I have no more quotes to add, I have subsituted them with a picture. Hence the plant.

Slim to None: A journey through the wasteland of Anorexia Treatment

By Jennifer hendricks

This book is heartbreaking, and yet you cannot fail to admire Jennifer's determination to keep on going, looking for a treatment that would give her her life back. It also makes me angry because the poor treatment she recieved was mostly down to ignorance. This has improved a lot since 2003, when it was published, but there is still a long way to go and services today continue to get away with damaging their patients further.
If you have read the book, you will know what the dolphin is about :') xxx

‘Her doctor presumed Jenny’s anorexia was self-inflicted, a behaviour problem, and illness of choice... '

‘ ...no matter what anyone says whether or not I control this rage inside me or not, it is there BURNING away.’

‘I want to punish myself when others say I look or sound better. Part of me wants only to be sick, weak, totally depleted, and finally dead. Taking that away from me only enrages me because then I don’t know how to accept myself...'

Written by her dad: ‘”Not enoughs” hamper progress in improving the destiny of the eating disordered. Not enough understanding... Not enough money for research into cause, prevention, and treatment. Not enough integration of approaches – neurobiological, genetic, hormonal, chemical, general medical, psychological, and the most important... human compassion...’

3. Wasted

By Marya Hornbacher

Probably the most reccomended and referred to memoir on the ED shelf. I find the first half a bit tedias, as is more like an autobiography of her life in general which led to her ED. It is the second half which really touched me, the way she articulated things in my mind, and I dare say many other's minds, which I never thought could be put onto paper. She is astonishingly accurate in her description of bulimia and especially anorexia, and she describes the consequences in their blunt, devastating reality. She manages to communicate the paradox of both pride and destruction that the illness simultaneously gives.

‘I wanted to get caught to be seen as something, to have a claim to greatness, to have the sick admiration that comes to those of us who destroy ourselves particularly well.’

‘When she leaves you alone, there’s a silence and a solitude that will take some getting used to... There is a profound grief. And there is, in the end, after a long time and more work than you ever thought possible, a time when it gets easier... There is, in the end, the letting go.’

2. To Die For

By Carol Lee

Told in alternating chapters; half in the past when Carol meets Emma as a child, and half during the hell of Emma's eating disorders. I found the chapters detailing Emma's illness the most interesting, as she went through extremely severe cycles of both Anorexia and Bulimia plus compulsive overeating. It is the only book I have read so far which deals with all three disorders in such honest detail. Ideally, I would quote most of Emma's diary extracts, but to summarise I will leave you with two that I can particularly relate to:

‘i want this act of self-destruction to be recorded, documented, so that i never forget I did it. Anorexia is a fog in my memory, my decent into madness... Life has so much more to offer than this non-life... But first i want to get worse... i want to experience it as i now am – with me at the controls, hurtling this body into oblivion...’

‘...Our lovely surroundings have had a deeply unsettling effect on her. Startlingly beautiful as they are, they strip her of something. They do not provide her with a reason to be angry and they unlock a dread in her that it is only she, Emma, who is bad and wrong.’

1. Diary of an Excercise Addict

By Peach Friedman

I liked this book not because I could relate, (for many parts I couldn't as I have never purged through excerise) but because her personality came through the pages. It was an entertaining read despite the suffering she went through to defeat her excercise bulimia/anorexia.

One of my favourite quotes was:

'...This is the key to being an anorexic: You cannot eat! Once you do, it’s impossible to stop, the body responds so quickly, demanding more... Fighting my hunger, the strangeness of feeling so tempted, so out of control...’

About Me

My photo
Durham, County Durham, United Kingdom
(November 2010) > I am taking a year (or two) out of university to recover from an eating disorder; originally diagnosed as restricting anorexia 7 years ago, but has more recently morphed into BN non-purgeing type/ BED/ COE/ EDNOS / whatever you want to call it. I thought I would write a blog to give me a kind of project to work on, mainly giving an insight into the Eating Disorders books that I have read and any interesting articles/videos I find. However, there may be some updates on my life and thoughts once in a while. My quest is to understand these disorders, although I know the best I can do is to keep on researching xxx Update (2012): I have now returned to uni.


Pictures (not mine)

Tattoo one taken from: