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

Friday, 28 January 2011

Random thoughts of the day

The books I am reading at the moment are mostly not ED books, so I thought I would post something more personal in the meantime. Today I got up in the middle of the afternoon, and noticed light was streaming in through the hall. I opened the door, just to look outside for a few minutes and feel the fresh air. It struck me how wonderful it would be to just walk down the street. I have not done that in a very long time, and it saddens me. I feel like a mole popping its head out of its burrow, then retreating out of fear. I couldn’t step out of my own door alone, because the Ed thoughts get louder and louder as I walk, until the purpose of getting out is destroyed. I heard a neighbour move, and I quickly closed the door before they wondered what I was looking for.

When people ask me what my illness is, what is actually stopping me from doing these things, I feel my throat close at the back as though locking in something I want to explain so badly, but there are no words. I try and the thoughts get tangled and misinterpreted. You can throw all the logic in the world at me, but words don’t dint the creature inside, because it is not human. It isn’t even an animal, more like a spirit. I am not religious but in some paradoxical way, the closest thing I can liken this evil thing to, is God. I have this belief that I have to stay loyal to whatever it is inside me, despite there being no proof that it is real, just like there is no proof that God is real. Even when religeous belief causes harm, people don't stop believing. There was something about reality I wanted to write about, but I have just accidently taken my sleeping pills thinking they were paracetamol. So now I am all lethargic and keep stumbling when I try to write. I may come back tomorrow x

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Passion of Alice

By Stephanie Grant.

Thanks to Elara for reccomending this :)

After reading the novel Wintergirls, I didn't expect to like The Passion of Alice. However, there was something about this book that made it intrigueing. Some of the reviews on Amazon* weren't impressed with the lesbian theme of the book, but I thought this gave an alternative view which is usually overlooked. I am not convinced of the accuracy regarding eating disorders, but as a novel it was good. It demonstrates how within inpatient treatment you can often learn more about yourself from other patients than you can from the therapists. The only problem is I feel that the story could have been built upon more, and I would have liked to find out what happened to Mauve (The protagonist's lover).

* Amazon.com. There are usually more reviews on the American site, so I check there before buying at .co.uk.

'...So I almost told him right then and there about the emptiness that the overeaters tried to fill with impossible amounts of food, again and again; the emptiness that the bulimics try to disgorge, as if it had been caught, a chicken bone or a fragile green fish’s gill in their quivering throats; the emptiness which we anorexics, in our superior knowledge and practice, tried to constrict, tried to compress by strangulation and deprivation...’

‘What seemed remarkable, finally, when I thought of it, was not that I loved women, but that I had loved a woman so imprecise. Maeve in all her chaos... That I loved her imperfection...’

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Getting A Grip

On my body, my mind, my self By Monica Seles.

Monica's story was admireable; how she made a comeback both physically and emotionally, after being stabbed at one of her matches and losing her dad to Cancer.

As an autobiography it was good, but the tennis talk did get a bit repetitive, and if you are looking for a book on an eating disorder, i wouldn't reccomend it. I kept reading until the end in the hope that her resolution may be helpful to other sufferers, but like 'The Monster Within' (reviewed earlier), her recovery was very personal to her, in the sense that the cause of her disordered eating became obvious and it was clear how to deal with it; admitedly not easy, but clear. The end to her weight problems was basically 'give up dieting and start living'. I think for most people with an eating disoder dieting may play a part in triggering the illness, but once you are there, dieting is no longer the issue; the thing living inside you is the issue.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Great Starvation Experiment

Ancel Keys and the men who starved for science, by Todd Tucker.

This book was not about Eating disorders, but due to the results of the experiment, it did touch upon Anorexia.

'The other volunteers began to notice Sam Legg’s strange behaviour before the scientists did. In the barracks, he began collecting cookbooks, reading the recipes, and staring at the pictures of food with almost pornographic fascination.’

‘...For weeks, it had been known that Legg liked to be left alone at meals...’

‘...He had combined all the food on his tray into one pile. He then took his fork and stirred and smashed it together... until it was a homogenous dark gray-greenish paste on his plate...’

‘...He was on the verge of crying... A lifetime spent in clinical environments had honed his instincts, and he deftly shoved himself away from his desk just as Weygandt vomited the forbidden fruit upon it.’

- Obsessing over food, even pictures of food

- Being irritated by any presence while you are eating

- Mushing all your 'meals' into one singular lump

All these things are common symptoms of anorexia nervosa, and all these symptoms were experienced by Legg, a man who had begun the experiment as a mentally and physically healthy individual. The final quote was describing a different participant, who had given in to hunger and eaten the food he was stacking in a shop he was working in. The act felt out of control. He was consequently mortified and panicked, so much so that he acted as a bulimic would and threw up the food.

The point I am trying to make is; put any normal human being in a situation where they are starving, and it is only natural that they start to act like a person who suffers from an eating disorder. In other words; these are instinctual reactions to starvation. Once you have lived it, you realise you were barely aware that you were performing these bizarre rituals, and you could not control them.

Before and after pictures of Sam Legg: Top: Healthy Legg at a Cilivilian Public Service camp before he (the conscientious objector) moved to Minesota to take part in the experiment as an alternative to forestry work. Bottom: A picture of Legg by Wallace Kirkland, which appeared in Life magazine in 1945.

‘Crow was fascinated to find that just like anorexics, the men in the experiment had at time greatly distorted body images...'

Conclusion: ‘Keys noted that the Minnesota experiment actually more closely duplicated anorexia than it did wartime starvation, in that conditions other than food intake, such as cleanliness and accessibility of medical care, were “normal.”’

The result was a 2 volume work created by Keys, A. et al. 1950: The biology of human starvation.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

In picture form

These are some pictures I took from the net, which I like because they speak the truth. The hope one should be at the end, but for some reason that hunchbacked monster below it wouldn't let me move the hope any further down the page. I don't know if this is trying to tell me something.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

This Mean Disease

Growing up in the shadow of my Mother's Anorexia Nervosa By Daniel Becker

This is the second memoir which has made me cry. I didn't learn much about eating disorders from it, other than what it is like to suffer from the other side; the side who is watching a family member melt away, seemingly willfully. But it was very well written, to the extent that I read it within a few days and didn't need to motivate myself to finish it.

‘As one Stanford doctor explained, “It’s the only disease I know about where people like their illness. They do not want to get rid of it.”

‘My conflicting feelings during visits with Mom always zigzagged between anger and guilt. The anger, which I first noticed on our trip to Israel, sprouted from Mom’s unwillingness to get better... I felt it most when I watched Mom push the food around her plate or listened to her chatter about restaurants and recipes.’

(the Dad) ‘” I was always optimistic that your mother would get better,” he told me. “ That is what kept me hanging in there for 20 years.”’

(the Dad) ‘”And then I realized: She’s never going to change. It would always be the same. I could no longer sit by and watch her destroy herself. I had to get out.”’

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: