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Is it really May, already?
Life has been good… definitely busy, but equally good!
The frenzy of prepping for gallery openings along with late nights doing my own work at the studio, holding support groups combined with some Yoga&Massage on the side has been quite the balancing act to say the least.
The end of the school year countdown has begun by our daughter, who has been finding recovery balances, challenges, and triumphs, mingled in with the excitement and plans for what she’ll be wearing and planning for graduation along with pre-summer preparations– Life is good!
And daily I try to make time to reflect on how grateful and blessed I am for my family, dear friends and acquaintances on this journey of Life- merci!
When caring for an adolescent suffering with an eating disorder for any length of time, you soon realize how invaluable earlier diagnosis and treatment become in making purposeful and healthy strides forward, as well as any necessary changes and re-strategizing needed to better support a loved ones recovery process.
And while there is a better knowledge base available regarding eating disorders today, studies and research of “what works” and “what doesn’t” in the real day to day of those living with this illness, and how to better train, educate and provide for those treatment services are still slowly surfacing.
Dr James Lock, whom many a parent are familiar with from his work and book: Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder is spearheading one of the Largest-Ever Bulimia Study involving adolescents suffering from bulimia through Stanford University:
…psychiatrists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago are seeking volunteers for the largest-ever randomized controlled trial of bulimia treatments for adolescents.
Only two small randomized trials have previously been done in this age group. “We desperately need more information,” said James Lock, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford and the study’s senior investigator. Lock is also director of psychiatric services at the Comprehensive Eating Disorders Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
Prior bulimia-treatment trials focused on adult patients, Lock said, which is why the National Institute of Mental Health awarded his team a five-year, $2 million grant to compare bulimia treatments for young people. Full-blown bulimia affects 1 to 2 percent of adolescents, and another 2 to 3 percent display significant bulimic behaviors, Lock noted. Female patients outnumber males by five to one, he said.
The team will study three treatments that may help adolescent bulimics. Study subjects will be randomly assigned to receive 20 outpatient consultations using cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy or individual psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is widely recognized as the preferred bulimia treatment for adults, whereas family therapy is used in teens with anorexia nervosa. Individual psychotherapy has succeeded as an alternate treatment for bulimic adults and adolescents.
Interested individuals should contact research assistant Brittany Alvy at (650) 723-9182.
The pathology Lock hopes to heal stems from poor body image and an unhealthy focus on rigid dieting. Strict dieting sets up patients for lapses of control—binge-eating episodes. After binge eating on thousands of calories, patients purge with vomiting, laxatives or excessive exercise. They then feel guilty over their loss of control, fueling further negative thoughts and deepening the downward spiral.
Cognitive behavioral therapy works on changing patients’ behaviors and thinking patterns related to food and to body image. The therapist aims to help the patient stop thoughts that overemphasize the importance of weight and shape and end severe, destructive dieting. Family therapy focuses solely on eating behaviors.
The patient’s parents are involved in every therapy session, and the underlying goal is to change the home environment so that it reinforces healthy eating and discourages dieting. “In this treatment, we see parents as a resource to facilitate behavioral change,” Lock said. Individualized psychotherapy, rather than targeting eating, examines underlying life problems that contribute to negative self-image.
“We hope early intervention will become a chronic, long-lasting strategy,” Lock said. Instead of treating bulimia in adulthood, “after the horse is out of the barn,” early treatment has a better shot at causing a lasting cure, he added.
About Stanford University Medical Center Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions — Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu/.
About Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Ranked as one of the best pediatric hospitals in the nation by U.S.News & World Report and Child magazine, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford is a 272-bed hospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Packard Children’s offers patients locally, regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs and services — from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness and injury. For more information, visit http://www.lpch.org/.
Even though both our daughter’s are well beyond the fantasies of a “real” Santa, the story of the Tomtem, mythical Finnish elves, (and these days what I would give for a Tomtem to help cook and clean!) and snuggling up to endlessly open each envelope within Tolkien’s Letters From Father Christmas, the magic and our imaginations still shine with wonder and grace for the season– no matter what.
The Spirit of the Holiday is quite powerful if you take the time to remember and reflect on what truly is important and meaningful. Such a simple and beautiful gift to give oneself, but not always easy to do.
‘Tis the season of gift giving and ever-expanding commercialization of Christmas as we modern people know all too well. This busying and running here and there has robbed the “sacredness of the season” as I refer back to the wise words of John Matthews:
This season our wish is for our youngest daughter to really begin believing, once again, within her own inner gifts, her endless possibilities to live a full and happy Life, without ED. That she can accept herself as she is, feel safe, trust herself and others, allow her body and mind the time it needs to heal; and acknowledge her own true needs.
It again, seems so simple.
I also wish for all of you to give yourselves the gift of time to listen to your own true needs, find an inner abundance of Peace and Love, and allow time and space to fully ENJOY this holiday season!
* Many Heart-Felt Thanks to all who have emailed and written with your thoughts and support! We feel very blessed to have such caring individuals in our lives– especially at this time– THANK YOU! Marielle the gift-basket was so incredibly generous and such a surprise…. words can’t begin to convey our appreciation. -XO*
I have a group of friends, some of us have been buds since high school, that take an annual “getaway” to the Cape Cod of the Midwest and rekindle to a cabin, enjoy great food, great sights and wonderful memories. We are an eclectic bunch, love and support each other dearly, but most of us either live at opposite ends of the globe or within different states, have families, busy careers and do our best to stay in touch via email, phone and the annual escape.
When we discovered Kate Jacobs The Friday Night Knitting Club we began to loosely refer to our own “group” of eclectic Momma’s, hip-Sista’s, and cherished Friends within similar shadows cast in Jacobs endearing novel. Some of us do also knit, but my abilities at this craft (my Finnish G-Ma I know is grimacing down… all those beautiful scarves, legwarmers, mittens and sweaters to my clumsy and pathetic scraps of endlessly funny looking pot holders, both of my girls can also needle me to blushing embarrassment! What I yield with a paintbrush, quill and acrylics makes up for that I guess) are definitely comical.
Two years ago it was impossible to consider this pilgrimage with our daughter’s eating disorder diagnosis, and everything in our lives just seemed to stand still, as if one was holding in the deepest breath, waiting to exhale.
Next fall, we’ll be approaching three years in… deep exhalation; I take the moment to do something for myself, heck even have some fun!
And it was well worth it, and probably why my body is clearly present back here in the city, but my mind is still back in Door County, appreciating those gifts of friendship and remembering that caring for oneself is just as important as caring for others.
As parents, caregivers, extended family members, and partners who support and care for our loved ones recovering from an eating disorder, it doesn’t matter if you head for the woods or take a bubble-bath surrounded by candles and peaceful solitude, what does matter is that you remember to take the time to honor and care for yourself as well.
Simple yet so easy to forget… so please remember.
A wonderful non-profit organization created by Gail Schoenbach For Recovery and Elimination of Eating Disorders – F.R.E.E.D. will be holding a Mother-Daughter Workshop in conjunction with the Eating Disorders Association of New Jersey Saturday, October 18th from 9:30AM-2:30PM at Summit Medical Group.
The workshop’s aim is to “engage women and girls as they explore and challenge their beliefs about themselves, their bodies, and body image”. Freelance journalist, blogger and author, Courtney E. Martin who wrote Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters will be the keynote presenter along with therapist, Suzanne Rubinetti.
F.R.E.E.D.’s mission is to:
- Provide financial support for treating eating disorder (a major hindrance for sufferers and their families in obtaining treatment/recovery resources as well as follow-up care — F.R.E.E.D.’s priority and focus on this issue is to be commended).
- Increase public awareness and provide educational resources.
- Advocate for the acknowledgement and acceptance of Eating Disorders as a serious and urgent disease.
Ms Schoenbach’s own battle with ED and body image issues took place in silence for years until she began the slow process of recovery, and it was during this healing time that she found a passion and drive to create F.R.E.E.D. and her additional adjunct G.R.Schoenbach Foundation which holds annual fund-raising events and campaigns to continue her committed work.
Organizations like these are inspiring, so if you live in the New Jersey area, are a mother with a daughter with/without an eating disorder, go partake in “day of empowerment”, sharing, support and learning– it will do the body&mind good!
Interesting use of metaphor…
are you taking care of your Earth Suit– I hope so!
- Bonne Nuit