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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…

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: 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?

Great news to implement MHPAEA!

 

 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder effects more than just the body…

 

It’s uplifting to see the continuation and commitment towards treating and caring for those suffering with eating disorders, along with supporting and educating the families involved in their loved ones care.

Harmony Place licensed by the state office of Mental Health is the first residential program in the state of New York to open and work specifically with adolescent girls and boys ages 12-17 providing an additional resource for families vs sending their children out of state:

Harmony Place at St. Joseph’s Villa is the first program in New York State to provide residential treatment exclusively for adolescents struggling with eating disorders. Located on the suburban St. Joseph’s Villa campus in Rochester, N.Y.,
 
Harmony Place provides treatment and support for up to eight girls and boys, ages 12 to 17, who have had chronic difficulty maintaining recovery through medical inpatient and outpatient programs.

During the 4-6 week stay, a highly structured environment, evidence-based approaches and a caring, specialized staff help partici¬pants regain stability over their illness. Family involvement is a critical component of the program, empowering parents with the skills and understanding needed to help their teen achieve long-term recovery at home.

HARMONY PLACE program features:

-Round-the-clock supervision, with daily medical monitoring

-Safe, structured, therapeutic environment designed for adolescents

-Licensed nurses, board-certified psychiatrists, psychologists, masters-level therapists and dieticians
-Utilizes the Maudsley-Informed approach to re-feeding, on-site emphasizing family therapy, education and hands-on meal preparation

-20 + hours mandatory group therapy and 8+ hours individual & family therapy weekly

-Ability to address co-occurring disorders like chemical dependency, anxiety and depression

-Two-hours academic tutoring per school day
-Three months support following discharge


Post discharge there is a 90day follow up so that patients and families have the proper support they need to help within the transition.

For further information please contact Helena Boersma at St Joseph’s Villa      1.877.520.2667       

The Am Journal of Psych

… where are we?

Objective: The present review addresses the outcome of bulimia nervosa, effect variables, and prognostic factors. Method: A total of 79 study series covering 5,653 patients suffering from bulimia nervosa were analyzed with regard to recovery, improvement, chronicity, crossover to another eating disorder, mortality, and comorbid psychiatric disorders at outcome. Forty-nine studies dealt with prognosis only. Final analyses on prognostic factors were based on 4,639 patients. Results: Joint analyses of data were hampered by a lack of standardized outcome criteria. There were large variations in the outcome parameters across studies. Based on 27 studies with three outcome criteria (recovery, improvement, chronicity), close to 45% of the patients on average showed full recovery of bulimia nervosa, whereas 27% on average improved considerably and nearly 23% on average had a chronic protracted course. Crossover to another eating disorder at the follow-up evaluation in 23 studies amounted to a mean of 22.5%. The crude mortality rate was 0.32%, and other psychiatric disorders at outcome were very common. Among various variables of effect, duration of follow-up had the largest effect size. The data suggest a curvilinear course, with highest recovery rates between 4 and 9 years of follow-up evaluation and reverse peaks for both improvement and chronicity, including rates of crossover to another eating disorder, before 4 years and after 10 years of follow-up evaluation. For most prognostic factors, there was only conflicting evidence. Conclusions: One-quarter of a century of specific research in bulimia nervosa shows that the disorder still has an unsatisfactory outcome in many patients. More refined interventions may contribute to more favorable outcomes in the future.

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/short/appi.ajp.2009.09040582v1?rss=1

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!

OM

 

Men say the world is full of fear and hate,

 And all life’s ripening harvest-fields await

 The restless sickle of relentless fate.

 

But I, sweet Soul, rejoice that I was born,

When from the climbing terraces of corn

I watch the golden orioles of Thy morn.

 

What care I for the world’s desire and pride,

Who know the silver wings that gleam and glide,

The homing pigeons of Thine eventide?

 

What care I for the world’s loud weariness,

Who dream in twilight granaries

Thou dost bless

With delicate sheaves of mellow silences?

 

Say, shall I heed dull presages of doom,

Or dread the rumoured loneliness and gloom,

The mute and mythic terror of the tomb?

 

For my glad heart is drunk and drenched with Thee,

O inmost wind of living ecstasy!

O intimate essence of eternity!

-Sarojini Naidu
 

~~ Summer is in full-swing and we are finally escaping for a long overdue respite. Destined long nights, mythical and ancient sites… meditating on cliffs, dusting off the lens and capturing images that provoke and provide aesthetic sustenance. Lingering and contemplative hikes up temple steps that have been etched by devotees feet countless times before– who are we but humble and gracious guests- not the arrogant and time-constrained forceful tourist.

Foraging in sacred forests with gamelons playing in the distance, and dancing deities battling the age-old epic between black&white-good&evil ending with the balance of Life, once again, restored. Then taking what was digested of the day to a lamp lit night to write, write, write. Littering my splattered journal with poetic meanderings that have waited, sometimes it seems far too long, for a time such as this.

Life has certainly been blessed and full of positive changes lately! Our daughter has courageously turned the tables on Anorexia within the past couple of months, and is enjoying a summer filled without fear, vibrant, healthy and triumphant in this very moment– we are so extremely proud of her!

Thank you so very much to all of you who are a constant source of human wisdom, compassion and many who have also lent a comforting shoulder to lean on. Along with the ever gracious comrades who work with me tirelessly towards creating our monthly “healing&creative space”– which will return once again late this fall; I really don’t have enough words to do justice in this meager post to give adequate appreciation.

I am deeply grateful for the small patch of ground we continually attempt to uncover to help support those with eating disorders and their families, partners and loved ones. I hope to continue to dig a deeper and wider-reaching network that will eventually have an even greater substantial and purposeful base of resources, along with caring, intelligent and genuine individuals to be of greater service for those who continue to suffer. Patience, time and perserverance– many of us know all too well the meaning of those words, but they truly do remain at the forefront of what long-term recovery entails well after weight-nutritional restoration has been established.

As always, many additional thanks to those who continue to be of support, who listen, read the blog and email, and have allowed me this welcoming space to share our family’s Journey to Recovery– much deep love.

 Wishing everyone a relaxing, peaceful and enjoyable summer! See all of you when the leaves begin to crinkle and the crispness of fall begins to fill the air.~~

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