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There has been a firestorm of discussion and emotion since the release of Black Swan  that has me rereading Lauri Apple’s poignant article back at JEZEBEL  and rethinking. once again, the subtle but profound impact that media, culture, social; and familial arenas play and interact into our consciousness, whether they are actualized physically-mentally or not.

Since my daughter has suffered from Anorexia Nervosa and was a classically trained ballet student-dancer since the age of seven, as parents you may, unfortunately, get to see the side of ‘cygne noir’ – black swan that is layered within the walls of the dance studio. When eight year old girls are talking about having stomach surgery or that they are ‘fat’, or when you realize you are in the bathroom and a dancer in the adjacent stall, is intentionally inducing vomiting, it can become more than a bit disturbing.

While I don’t ‘blame’ the media, advertisers, etc. as the sole ’cause’ in perpetuating Eating Disorders , I find it simultaneously an act of denial to disregard the power and pull these mediums have and do carry, some more than others; and of course, within varying degrees for individuals and their set of environments, circumstances, genetic traits-pre-determinants, towards tipping a scale (no pun intended) sometimes in dangerous directions.

While I’m happy my daughter chimes in that she would rather see ‘True Grit’ vs ‘Black Swan’ I do believe the conversation happening is one worth continuing and deepening.

What are your thoughts and feedback? Please feel free to share…

Sometimes with the Heart
Seldom with the Soul
Scarce once with the Might
Few– love at all.
 
-Emily Dickinson

: Change Upon Change :
Five months ago the stream did flow,
The lilies bloomed within the sedge,
And we were lingering to and fro,
Where none will track thee in this snow,
Along the stream, beside the hedge.
Ah, Sweet, be free to love and go!
For if I do not hear thy foot,
The frozen river is as mute,
The flowers have dried down to the root:
And why, since these be changed since May,
Shouldst thou change less than they.

And slow, slow as the winter snow
The tears have drifted to mine eyes;
And my poor cheeks, five months ago
Set blushing at thy praises so,
Put paleness on for a disguise.
Ah, Sweet, be free to praise and go!
For if my face is turned too pale,
It was thine oath that first did fail, —
It was thy love proved false and frail, —
And why, since these be changed enow,
Should I change less than thou.

-Elizabeth Barret Browning

Kicking off today is NEDAwareness Week Feb 21-27. NEDA has created a daily calendar of ideas to help spark the conversation and theme: It’s Time To Talk About It. Find ways to get involved within your community and help the continuation of support, research, edcuation and improved treatment resources for those who suffer with Eating Disorders!

The mission of NEDAwareness Week

Our aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.

What is NEDAwareness Week?

NEDAwareness Week is a collective effort of primarily volunteers, eating disorder professionals, health care providers, educators, social workers, and individuals committed to raising awareness of the dangers surrounding eating disorders and the need for early intervention and treatment.
How NEDAwareness Week Works

This year, NEDA is calling for everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders. NEDAwareness Week participants can choose from a huge range of ways to contribute: Distribute info pamphlets and put up posters, write one letter for Media Watchdogs, register as a Volunteer Speaker or host a Volunteer Speaker, coordinate a NEDA Walk, or arrange interactive and educational activities such as panel discussions, fashion shows, body fairs, movie screenings, art exhibits and more. As an official NEDAwareness Week participant you can be involved in any way that works with your schedule, resources, community, and interests. These events and activities attract public media attention – on local, national and international levels.

Albany’s governor proposed budget eliminates funding for eating disorders in order to keep the focus on obesity and diseases related to obesity.

“In comparison to obesity and diabetes, eating disorders affect relatively few New Yorkers,” said Claudia Hutton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health.

The governor’s budget will end the $1.7 million annual subsidies to the state’s three eating disorder centers, including $500,000 to Albany Medical Center. The cut would eliminate Albany Med’s entire budget and close the eating disorder program.

“It creates a huge void in the services we’ve been able to develop,” said Dr. Sharon Alger-Mayer, medical director of the Northeast Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders at Albany Med.

The program serves about 2,000 people through outpatient services and 50 people who need to be hospitalized each year at Albany Med for dehydration, malnutrition and organ problems related to eating disorders.

Christie Macfarlane was hospitalized at Albany Med when she was 10 years old. She was transferred to Rochester for more intensive residential services and then returned to Albany where she has received therapy, nutritional advice and medical treatment for five years.

“I don’t know if I would be standing here right now with my 15-year-old daughter thriving if those services hadn’t been there,” said Christie’s mother, Deborah Macfarlane. The Macfarlanes and other families lobbied legislators this week to restore the funding.

“This money is critical,” said Michael Ruslander of Delmar, the father of a teenager who was in dire health because of anorexia. “The treatment my daughter received, as well as the education my wife and I received on how to deal with, communicate and eat with your child who has an eating disorder was invaluable,” Ruslander said. “It’s horrible that you have to go through something like this, but the end result is we came out a better, stronger, more communicative family.” His daughter Molly is now a healthy, successful student at Maria College.

As the state seeks to close a $6.8 billion budget gap, agencies like the DOH are focusing on core issues.

The Department of Health’s mission is safe drinking water, obesity education, childhood vaccinations, investigating disease outbreaks and hospital complaints, Hutton said.

“Those are the kind of things that are the core of public health,” she said. “They are based on what affects most New Yorkers and things that people, frankly, expect somebody to do.”

Looking at the disease statistics, eating disorders trail far behind obesity. Among New Yorkers, 25 percent are obese, nearly 8 percent have diabetes and less than 1 percent suffer from anorexia nervosa.

The eating disorder programs should see *more support from private insurance companies since the state passed “mental health parity” legislation, which requires insurers to pay for mental health services, Hutton said.

Read more

* Yea, right! Who’s dreaming now?

 

 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder effects more than just the body…

Fat Talk Free Week 2009

Outside of the word ‘Ma’am’ there is another word — the ‘F-A-T’ word that I despise quite vehemently… it’s been refreshing to be rid of at least one of those words this week!

Gustav Klimt

 

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.

-Pema Chodron
* A Very Blessed and Happy Mother’s Day! *

UCAN

 

I often, as many other parents of children suffering from an eating disorder, find myself envisioning what the future may hold for our daughter when she is older, well beyond the preparatory stages of ED recovery-maintenance, living a full, healthy and ED-free adult life will be like; especially when there may come a time when she decides upon a life-long partnership, marriage and/or family of her own.

Wouldn’t it be comforting and assuring to know that the care your son or daughter is receiving now will also be available for him/her and their partner-spouse when and if the time comes?

Thankfully some forward-thinking clinicians from the UNC Eating Disorders Program are working to provide just such a program, which is at this time addressing Anorexia Nervosa, and can continue to implement these necessary and supportive elements towards long-term health and maintenance for those who have loved ones suffering.

The UCAN Program

UCAN is a research program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and is part of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. UCAN aims to help couples work together in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Couples participate in UCAN over a period of six months and return for follow-up treatment three months after the end of the original six-month period. Your participation in UCAN can help you gain new confidence in facing anorexia as a team and can help us understand how best to involve partners in the treatment of eating disorders.
What Couples Can Expect
Treatment Team
Couples can expect that their treatment will be conducted by trained, licensed professionals from the UNC Eating Disorders Program who are experienced in the treatment of eating disorders.
Comprehensive Assessment
All participating couples have four assessments during which they complete questionnaires and interviews with a clinician, and are videotaped having a discussion with their partner about an anorexia nervosa-related topic.
Comprehensive Treatment
During their participation in UCAN, couples will be randomly assigned (like a coin flip) to receive 20 sessions of either:
• Couples Therapy
• Family Supportive Therapy
In addition, the patient also receives comprehensive treatment for anorexia nervosa from the UNC Eating Disorders Program at no additional cost, including:
• Individual Psychotherapy
• Psychiatry Consultations
• Nutritional Counseling

 

*For further information about registering for the program contact at: UCAN@unc.edu or phone: (919)966.3065

Niyama...

 

Grateful to be part of this year’s gathering
____________________
‘When the sun has set, and the moon has set, and the fire has gone out, and speech has stopped, what light does a person here have?’
The soul, indeed, is his light,’ said he, ‘for with the soul, indeed, as the light, one sits, moves about, does one’s work, and returns.’
BRHADARANYAKA UPANISAD, IV. 3.6.
End Health Discrimination
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