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

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Conversations with Anorexics

By Hilde Bruch, edited by Danita Czyzewski and Melanie A. Suhr.

Bruch passed away before this book was published, but before she went, she made sure that the content was essentially complete. The book is mostly made up of conversations with many of her patients during the therapy process.

‘While the binge-purge cycle may occur during the first or second year of the anorexic illness, often it appears later. When the simple starving becomes too strenuous or exhausting, then the idea of eating and vomiting looks like a solution, in order for the patients to give in to their desire for food and to stay slim at the same time.’

Anorexia often develops into Bulimia, and the above explanation for this makes sense. But what doesn't make sense is me; I moved onto the bingeing, but I never purge. Purgeing sounds awful, and don't get me wrong, I am glad I don't have this addiction. But people binge so that they can purge, or they purge so that they feel slimmer. If I have such a fear of getting fat, as is the case with anorexia and bulimia, then why don't I compensate? I fast, but I think I do that because I get sick of all the eating and I want a break, rather than doing it in an attempt to lose weight. This implies that I suffer from binge eating disorder or EDNOS, not bulimia as the doctors say. But there doesn't seem to be many books on BED, so I don't know...

The following bits do describe the way I think, or used to think:

‘” I could have a peaceful mind only when I went to bed and couldn’t do any more, when I was physically and mentally exhausted. Then I could think, ‘Yes, I have a right to sleep and I have a right to eat,’ but only then. When I went to bed without being really exhausted and tired, that meant there was still more I could do and wasn’t doing..."'

'"...when I weighed a lot less than I do now I had so much energy. I mean, I could do fifty projects at once and I didn’t have to work so hard at my grades. I don’t have that energy and the drive that I had when I was thin. That’s really scary for me to cope with."'

Monday, 13 December 2010


By Crystal Renn

When I was leaving yet another psychiatrist the other week and he saw the title of this book he laughed and said 'Are you trying to tell us something?' Since he had been so understanding throughout the session (unusual in my experience of psychiatrists), I managed to see the funny side.

Although I have a lot of admiration for how Crystal let go of her disease, I could not relate at all to the second half of the book (her recovery and emergence as a plus-size model). This was probably because; 1 I have never been a model, and 2; Because it was modeling that trapped her in anorexia, and modeling which steered her out. Her book indicates that her illness largely came about due to pressure from the outside, while mine resulted mainly from the inside.

It has however made me look at models with more compassion than I did before; I was quite oblivious to the fashion-model industry. I guess I get angry at people blaming the media for eating disorders in young girls, and I forget that actually being a model is an entirely different thing. Many models starve because they have to look frail and that is part of their job.

‘I look at pictures from that time and I’m stunned. Not at my thinness – unlike some anorexics who always think they’re fat, I knew on some level how thin I was. No, what astounds me in those photos is my blankness. There was no light in my eyes.’

‘Coco Rocha... “I’ll never forget the piece of advice I got from people in the industry when they saw my new body,” she told the Associated Press in 2008. “They said, ‘You need to lose more weight. The look this year is Anorexia. We don’t want you to be anorexic, but that’s what we want you to look like.’”

‘It wasn’t always this way... Maybe it’s a response to the rest of America getting heavier. If you see human heft as déclassé... then extreme thinness can be a way of distancing yourself from and seeming more high-class than the people you scorn.’

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Sensing the Self: Women's recovery from Bulimia

By Sheila M. Reindl

Okay, I reviewed this before I deleted everything from my blog and started afresh, but this time I will try and summarise it with less waffle.

It is a very long-winded read, but, if you collected together all the good bits that are scattered eveywhere, and made the book a fraction of the size, then it would be very useful.

A comment it makes on Bruch, who wrote 'The Golden Cage' (reviewed the other week):

‘(Bruch) relied upon what she called “the constructive use of ignorance” – that is, her willingness to learn from and with patients...’

‘Susan Sands points out that “many bulimic patients are expert at dissociation” and that bulimics “portray their bingeing episodes as one might describe a trance state, drug trip, or delirium...”

A patient - ‘”It is pretty angry... an angry thing to do, to make yourself vomit, or with force expel things that are inside your body...”’

To recover, Reindl states that the person must come to a point where she accepts that:

'...she was sick enough...had suffered long enough... had tried hard enough to recover alone, and that she mattered enough to be worthy of care.’

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Someone who cheers me up.

A picture I thought I'd lost
when I trashed my phone.
Kitty and I :)

Gizmo watching intently as
I type away at the laptop.

Gizmo steals my chair :(

Gizmo gets festive

The Monster Within

Facing an eating disorder: A Bulimic's journey of hope and healing By Cynthia Rowland McCure

I would not reccomend this book to anyone wanting to read specifically about eating disorders. However, for someone looking for a general memoir about overcoming inner conflicts through inpatient, group, and one-to-one therapy, it would probably make a good read. The points made by Cynthia and her therapist at the very end of the book were more directed towards eating disorders, but most of the book was not (not that this was a bad thing, just not what I wanted nor expected!)

Mike Moore (Cynthia's therapist): ‘Each individual has unique rituals and perceptions as part of their symptomatic patterns, and it is the individual person’s patterns being addressed, not the abstract diagnosis.’

P203 Cynthia ‘People with eating disorders always harbour intense inner pain or locked-up secrets. Often they don’t realise the depths of their pain because of the numbing effects of their eating disorder.’

Friday, 3 December 2010


By Lauren Greenfield

The book which goes alongside the film THIN, which can be seen on youtube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fF0lAlo80fU. The book version includes stories from patients who were not seen on the film. The photography Lauren uses to convey the pain of these girls at times made me close to tears. Especially the self harm pictures. However, the acknowledgement of self harm in the book made me feel less alone. In my treament I have been treated as an anomaly because I self harm, and therefore they believe I will not respond to any treatment an Eating disorder service has to offer. This book, and many other books, show that self harm is common in eating disorders and it should be adressed with the ED, not separetely. Afterall, it is a symptom just like purgeing is; it is a way of dealing with the psychological pain of eating.

I have not copied any images out of the book, as I am not sure how copyright works, but these are some pictures I found on google.

Left: Shelly with her P.E.G feeding tube.

Quotes from other residents:

Cara - '...I didn’t want to feel anger. I didn’t want to feel loneliness. I didn’t want to feel unprotected. By not eating, I didn’t feel those things. But I didn’t feel anything else either.’

Polly - ‘My stomach has started growling again. I can’t even tell you how many years it hasn’t done that. I don’t feel like myself. I don’t feel like I’m in my own body and it’s really, really weird.’

Quinn - ‘I knew how thin I was. I could see bones sticking out. It was just never good enough for me. I think it all comes down to self-hatred issues.’

Cathy - ‘When I came here, I was the only overeater, so I felt very alienated. But I was welcomed. The girls said I didn’t intimidate them, being overweight. It was only their own bodies they were concerned with.’

Left: Polly at her mother's home. In the last chapter on Polly, she wrote ‘I just want to be happy. Before, when I was really sick with anorexia, I didn’t think I had anything worth living for. But now I’ve got too much I still want to do. I look forward to the rest of my life.’

Reading this broke my heart, as I knew before reading the book that Polly did not survive beyond the age of 33. She died in her home from an overdose. Whether this was an accidental or intential overdose, I guess noone will ever know. But regardless, if it wasn't for her eating disorder, she would probably still be here :( xxx

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: