Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who's Supposed to Fix This Shit, Anyway?

You see this? This is you. I'm serious! Right here, life is about to form on this planet for the very first time. A group of amino acids is about to combine to form the first protein. The building blocks of what YOU call "life." Strange, isn't it? Everything you know, your entire civilization, it all begins right here in this little pond of goo.

- Q. [John de Lancie]
Star Trek: The Next Generation
All Good Things... (series finale, 1994)
It's amazing how people think they can pull the wool over the world's eyes, how human beings act when they believe no one is looking.

Take, for instance, young women with eating disorders. One would think the last place someone battling such a disorder would go would be a grocery store. After all, the place where most folks buy food should be a repellent to anyone trying to avoid it.

But in college towns across the country, that's where the savvy anorexic goes to buy the tools of a rather unhealthy trade. At pharmacies, someone is more likely to face questions over excessive amounts of diet aids. Cashiers in this region tend to be suspicious of any large quantity of over-the-counter meds, thanks to a blossoming meth industry. Unlike supermarkets, there's rarely a full house in a drugstore - empty stores lead to chit-chatty cashiers who might have time to give a rat's ass.

A grocery store? Throw in a few bars of soap, some toilet paper, a bag of baby carrots, and a few rice cakes, and no one is going to ask any questions, thanks to self-service checkout.

Last night, I watched four college students, one right after the other, pull the same self-checkout trick I've seen a hundred times in this town and in other college communities. Each one carried baskets filled with diet foods, diet soda, Fiji water, Special K, and South Beach products. Not one of them could have weighed more than 110-115 pounds.

As each of these women emptied their baskets at the counter, I noticed that all four were buying the same brand of liquid laxative. Not small bottles, either. We're talking enough laxative to pass a 1974 Chevy Malibu.

What are the odds that four women, wearing the same Greek letters, would all be constipated at the same time? Or would all pretend not to recognize each other in adjacent check-out lines?

Every single publication I see while I'm waiting in line - all geared towards women - has at least one article regarding weight loss or staying fit mentioned on the cover. Headlines scream out, in bold four-color print, about how such-in-such A-lister lost 10 pounds through a miracle diet, or how some actress has lost her sexiness because she - gasp - had a child and "let herself go a bit."

All four of the women in fron of me were, coincidentally, purchasing copies of these magazines.

I can't be the only one in this goddamned town who notices this kind of stuff. I looked around, but nobody seemed to think anything was out of place. Three stereotypical Miami students doing what Miami female students stereotypically do.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Almost every trip to the store here in Oxford, I see the same scene play out in some form or fashion. Young women, lined up to redefine thinner, working to keep the Auschwitz physique in style.

Eating disorders have been a destructive staple of the college experience for decades. I've met women in their 40s and 50s who developed eating disorders in their college days and fought to regain their sense of true beauty. One rarely meets women in their 40s or 50s who have not addressed their eating disorders because, frankly, those who don't seek treatment usually don't make it that far.

Eating disorders are just one of the dozens of problems plaguing college communities these days. The problems are almost as old as higher education itself. Have we finally reached a point where the silent institutionalization of so many dangerous practices has led campuses to just treat these problems as if they're part of everyday life?

It is impossible for one living and working in any college community to not notice these problems, yet no one seems ready or willing to solve them.

The faculty? Please. The vast majority are too busy grading papers, conducting marginally relevant research, and publishing mostly-bullshit articles to think of students as anything more than an identification number in a gradebook. Many of those with tenure sit on thrones of bullshit; those pursuing tenure seek to pile on their own in an effort to gain job security. Faculty these days barely have time to actually teach, much less care.

What about a university's administration? They must have some concern for future alums, right? Maybe a bit, but probably not beyond the need to meet admissions requirements and accreditation standards, to crank out graduates, and to stalk said graduates in an attempt to secure additional funding.

Students? They see the problems daily and bemoan them; yet by refusing to police themselves or to take more action beyond the occasional rally or protest, there is no hope of a solution. Who has time, after all, to care? There's organization meetings, campus activities, study groups, classes, and the quest for that elusive post-party hook-up.

Besides, the faculty and administration are supposed to fix things, right?

Or maybe the buck gets passed to the townsfolk, the "townie." Should townies clean up a college's mess? They seem to be the ones who care, at least in terms of protecting their livelihoods and families. They're the ones who vote on the sales taxes and the breaks for students. They support the police department and non-campus social services.

I'm sure there will be at least one college student who'll read this, some day, who thinks that's just peachy. I'm also sure there will be at least one townie, somewhere in some college town, who thinks that idea is utterly insane.

I'm not just talking about Oxford Fucking Ohio here. Ask the folks in Durham, North Carolina, how much they're looking forward to cleaning up Duke's shit stain of a lacrosse program. Go ahead and ask the Indiana faculty how much a fraternity member's death this weekend really impacted Monday's lectures.

Welcome to the world of higher education. As long as the tuition check doesn't bounce, nobody really gives a shit how you choose to ruin your life - or the lives of others. As long as no one sees it or hears about it, obviously, no problem exists.

Oh yes! Where was I? Oh, that's right. Laxatives, eating disorders, and the grocery store...

I recognized one of the girls in the check-out line. She and her roommate had me over for supper and gave me a tour of the so-called party scene here in Oxford.

I asked her how her semester was going. Her answer - fine. She smiled and asked if it was true I was dating a girl at the University of Cincinnati. Total rumor, I explained.

I laughed. She laughed. Good times.

I made a comment about her gigantic bottle of liquid laxative.

She said that she simply needed it to make her feel better. She stared at me for a few seconds, got this angry look on her face, and just walked off.

Hope she feels better soon. She looks way too thin and jaundiced. I hope to God she's not using it for what I think she's using it for.

At least she'll be able to read People in the can while she's making herself feel better.


Anonymous said...

Yea, coming from a very large school I would never expect administration or professor to notice anything about theire students for the m ost part except their work .
It is rampant I knew so many anorexics in high school I have friends who are members of vrious frats in colleges all over the country- these friends ar goo dpeople and the frats in many cases do good work but the reasons they joined was for connections later on in life and several tell me that despite the fact that they are already getting job offers and other percs just for the fact of beibg a frat member they wouldn't do it again. Some sneak out on weekend to pretend events they really don't have to go to just to avoid all the drinking and partying that goes on. These are people at very good schools all across the country.
The anorexia thing I never got but know people here and f rom the past that suffer from it. I can't relate for some reason I just can't but feel sorry for people on that rollercoaster.

alice from wonderland or not said...

me- pfft

Cat. said...

Mmm, I hate to sound jaded, but I'm in my 40s and this was old news when I was in high school. When I was in college--a small, private Christian college in the midwest--a newborn baby was found in the trash can in one of the girls' dorms. No one even noticed the mother was pregnant. In a college with less than 1500 students.

All you can do is do what you can. You at least had the courage to call one person on her behavior, to make it clear that she wasn't fooling you. Someday she'll be grateful--if she lives that long.

Chris said...


Just wanted to say I totally love your blog! I wish we had peple at miami that had the balls to talk about the problems on campus. i lived in mcbride when i was a student and i Knew too many girls who had eating disroders. miami's the capital of binge and purge and it embarrasses me as an alumni that nothing is done about it.

Sorry for the typos. My mobile sucks.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol...you must be posting comments via laptop...

I've been so frusterated lately with the institutionalized acceptance of certain things in higher ed. lately. I actually started writing this after reading your last post on Duke. It's gotten to the point where people simply say "there's no problem here." That's just pathetic as a culture.

I know quite a few good frat guys and way too many awesome sorority girls - none of whom meet the supposed stereotype. Oodles of sororities were actually founded in my hometown. But WTF? Rape and eating disorders. Everybody here, Miami-affiliated or not, seems to know somebody. I've met more women here who have known someone sexually assaulted than at the three different universities I attended over seven years as a student. In a town this size, that's astounding.

It's bigger than a culture of rape...it's a culture of enabling silence. And it's all over.

No need to feel like you're sounding jaded...that's actually where I am with the whole thing. I wasn't even thinking intervention at the time (though that might be a good thing), I was thinking about the sheer hypocrisy this woman had thrown out a few months ago, trashing other students for doing the same thing. So it's wrong to, say, get a boob job because that's not natural? But sucking down laxatives? That's okay?

I've actually dated more women with eating disorders than not, some extremely severe. I guess I'm a bit touchy about it.

Re: babies in trashcans ... that's a common one. Somebody had to have known. Like I said, these problems have been around for longer than anybody wants to admit.

Hi yourself. Thanks for stopping by. And the compliment. As an alum, you may have more power than you think. Make an issue out of it.

Don't worry about typos. I'm doing about forty things at once and tend to drop a vowel myself from time to time ;)

renee said...

I agree that nothing good can come from silence. However, I'm not sure shaming someone suffing from this disease is the answer either. With these diseases we tend to blame the victim, but I'm not sure that that's productive, effective, or ethical. I'm not sure if that what you were getting at, though.

Interesting post

Smurf said...

The drive to be what SOCIETY poisons our mind that makes us valuable. Skinny, perfect and beautiful. Outward appearance is everything according to all the superfiscial bullcrap our media and SOCIETY on the whole is programing our minds from the time we can start seeing any type of tv or listen to the radio or see any media or books. Who is glorified and worthwhile?

I was reading about how Tyra Banks did this experiment on her talk show where she had a makeup artist come in and disguise her. It made her look 200 pounds more than she was. She got this idea while at dinner with some friends. They had every race and sexual preference and she noticed that by the conversation that one of the only completely acceptable form of discrimination is against overweight or obese or fat people in general. It doesnt matter if you are red, white, yellow, brown, black, gay, straight or bi, if you are FAT you will be made fun of and you arent worth as much. At least that is how they are treated. Anyways... back to what she did. She went out as a 350lb woman and got completely different results... (of course) and then they did one of those blind date dating shows I guess and she was turned down by not one, not two but 3 guys and they were all disappointed of course when she took off her costume to reveal a fit and beautiful Tyra Banks underneath. (Look at the Movie Shallow Hal... I could go on and on.)

Its sad that eating orders are so rampant in society, but c'est la vie. It is reality. Laxatives and throwing up are a rather gross way of doing it and very bad for your health, but to most people you would think it would be easier to cover up than anorexia to your family and friends unless they like YOU notice the MEGA LAXATIVE bottles.

I have to admit in high school, I did the laxative thing, until my brother in law made me stop, he pulled out a book on eating disorders and told me it could make me sterile among other things and I stopped.

But society is not going to notice and if they do, do you really think they will take the time to care ... being so caught up in the matrix of ... man this world J... what's it coming to?

KFigment said...

Get over it. That is what I have to say to all these 115 lb women who have self esteem issues. Stop blaming it on society, or your friends, or the pressure, or any other bullshit that comes along. Truth is you are insecure and you want people to like you so you find other insecure people to spend time with. Take a good long look in the mirror and realize that the only person you have to make happy in this world is yourself.

For the record I am a curvaceous and proud of it. I could starve myself and never be a size 6. My body was not built for it and besides who wants to look like a boy anyway. Stop reading the parts of the magazines that tell you how to loose 15 lbs.

Men don't want you to look like a stick figure or a crack addict. The truth is men love women for what makes them different. The way their skin is always soft or their hair smells. The way the curve of their breast feels against the bare skin. The way their hips sway when they walk. IF you look like a stick there are no curves to love.

If you truly dislike yourself enough to eat rice cakes and drink laxatives on a regular basis save the people who love you the pain of watching you deteriorate into nothingness because you will bring them with you. The painful truth is you are committing suicide in a deliberate and slow process that will waste you away until your organs shut down. Do you really want to die? Seek counseling and stop hanging out with girls who make you feel bad about yourself.

The ZenFo Pro said...

It's not about blaming a "victim" for me. There are too many victims - families, friends, etc. - just as there are too many culprits. Having lived with, been in relationships with, and almost married people with severe eating disorders, I can empathize with sufferers, but I have no sympathy whatsoever. Feeling sorry for someone who, in the end, is simply committing suicide solves nothing.

The ethical issue you raise is an interesting one. Is it unethical to call someone on their self-destructive tendencies? Would it have been more ethical to, say, not say anything? Is actively "shaming" someone any worse than passively enabling? Personally, I believe enabling is the worse of the offenses. And, well, the touchy-feeling, warm-n-fuzzy approach rarely works.

Hell, two of the people who've posted to this thread saved my life because they refused to enable my self-destructive tendencies.

Society - the cultural element - is perhaps the biggest explanation for why this sort of stuff exists and why it's basically considered acceptable behavior. I know there are researchers out there trying to find some magic bullet, doing researh into a possible genetic tie-in. Sure, it's worthwile research, even if it proves nothing. But, c'mon, does anybody really believe they're going to find some "white-girl-in-affluent-Western-culture" gene?

The laxative problem is one of those that's easy to hide, esp. on college campuses. If people want to be thin, then fine. But laxatives don't do much more than pull water out of your system. If you want to flush your system, then increase your fiber intake. But it's not really about being pretty or losing weight; it's about control.

The blame game shit bugs the hell out of me, especially here. I've heard students talk about the "high pressure" they're under being at such a "competitive" school. So that's the reason you don't eat? Competitive? Yes. Higher quality education than, say, Northern Colorado? No. Is the curriculum all that different from any other u.? Not at all.

The "who people hang out with" factor is a major problem, which I think is actually tied to the lack of diversity here. MU is known as J Crew U mainly because the overwhelming majority look the same, act the same, and come from similar backgrounds. I'm not just talking race, though that's a factor. Without diversity, there's a pressure to conform.

A lot of crackhead-looking girls walking around in this part of SW Ohio...I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that that might change if there was a larger segment of the population who'd actually lived next to crackheads...

Anonymous said...

This is way too harsh and it makes every miami woman look bad. We don't all have eating disorders. I'm in a sorority btw.

renee said...

I agree with you about enabling 100%, but I guess I see a difference between sitting down with someone and having a discussion about destructive behaviours and calling them out about it in public.

It's very easy for people who have never had the disorder to lack sympathy, and I realize the impact that these diseases can have on family members and friends, but it really isn't a surprise that the young women on this campus have eating disorders. We really do live in a society that rewards you more for losing weight then, say, getting a masters degree. I think that's where our angers need to go. This is a society that disciplines their young bodies at every opportunity (as you said).

It's not about being touchy feely. But you can be confrotnational and compassionate at the same time. These women deserve the dignity that they are being denied (even if it's by their own hand).

anyway, that's just my two cents. I get the sense that you're the kind of guy that enjoys a frank debate, that's why I'm picking on you! :)

Cat. said...

Yeah, you know this is really all about control, not weight. We can control our weight, our drinking, our drug use, our workaholism, our family, our anger...

...until suddenly one day you find yourself metaphorically naked at the bottom of a deep hole, alone. Where you've always been. Only now your company is a bottle of laxatives, or a needle, or whatever and seething pile of self-hatred.

And then you either die or get over yourself. If you choose (and it is a choice), eventually you have to realize that most of life is not exactly controllable; it's curveball after curveball.

And then you become zen. ;-) Or end up in an insane asylum.

Still trying to figure out which is true of me...

Smurf said...

I agree Jason. I dont think its cool that our society makes us feel that is what makes us valuable. I think that if your value comes from what is found on the outside... you are really selling yourself short. I am sorry if I gave the wrong impression, I was trying to help explain why maybe some of them do what they do, that is all. I agree it is sad. EXTREMELY... but I think because of the brainwashing media and our society does on us, that most of us fall into this trap of falling for the skinny barbie doll value mold we wont fit into and its really not what we should be shooting for... what empty dreams to really be shooting for... dont you think?

Voodoo Child said...

More than anything seeing things like that are damned frustrating. I always get eyed and questioned when I'm buying cold medicine. Apparently it's store policy to harrass young male parents buying a bottle of children's cold/cough medicine for a sick child, because I could turn this bit of nasty syrup into a mind altering white-trash drug. Anorexia, bulimia, those are just dieting methods since we all have to look the same, and weigh less than everyone else. Intentionally harming oneself to achieve a societal standard is an embarassing means to an end. Embarassing, not "bad". Medicating your child, now that's something worth paging supermarket security for. Me and my shifty parenting.

The ZenFo Pro said...

I hope this post wasn't misinterpretted as being a diss on the Greek system; if it came across that way, I apologize. No, not all students here have eating disorders, but that is, sadly, the stereotype around these parts. There are a lot of gifted, wonderful, sweet sorority girls out there who don't have eating disorders. It does exist, however. There's no denying that.

PRIVATE NOTE: Just finished your e-mail. I have no qualms whatsoever with most frats and sororities; however, on every campus there's always one or two that ruin it for everyone else. The girls in question were not members of your sorority, but I'm not going to post the name because I don't want to come across as blaming a chapter for the actions of a few.

BTW, did you know I've dated more women who were sisters in various chapters of your sorority than any other? For an "anti-Greek" guy, you've at least gotta give me some credit :)

Oh, I love a good, honest, frank debate! One day (I don't know if you've finished your program or not), but we'll have to do coffee. I've cracked the whip on the random lurkers showing up (hopefully), but OxBloggers are always welcome....

Okay, I think I see where you're coming from. I was a bit unclear on whether or not you thought I was actually accusing her of misusing laxatives in public. No, I just commented on her having a lot of laxatives and no real food. I intentionally left out certain bits which could identify these women (an earlier draft had hair colors and more eloborate descriptions), just in case. I included the link to a previous post in the hope that the girl's roommate might actually still be reading.

I agree, it's not surprising at all, given the make-up of the community. Miami's culture fits the eating disorder M.O. to a tee. Glamour magazine ran a rather groundbreaking peice on eating disorders in 1996, featuring Miami. The author was a local, but it's a rather startling account. Apparently, the author couldn't find a female student to interview who didn't know somebody with an eating disorder.

I agree...you can be confrontational and compassionate. Sometimes, confrontation is the only way to do so. I'm not sure about the denial of dignity, because, well, they're just as much willing participants as victims, sadly. That's the paradox.

Feel free to pick on me...love the debate!

Smurf said...

i missed the word control... I have heard that... I think it is a mixture of the two though actually...

Cowgirl said...

Interesting post. Eating disorders are a common occurence, and are not always due to wanting to be thin, but to have control over something.

Perhaps I will post about this sometime, because I could write a novel in your comment space.

Miz BoheMia said...

I had anorexia and wrote about it back in January...

It has really nothing to do with fitting in to society's view... the issues at heart run much deeper and a mental imbalance occurs with those who jump over the cliff into the dark side where the negative voices are stronger than the positive and you are a victim of your own sadism... because yes, it is an absolute, delightful, amazing fucking high to hurt yourself and know that with each stab you are closer to death... in a sense it makes you feel more alive...

Eating disorders are very much like an addiction and a very deadly one at that...

For those who have not been through it and try to explain it away, please stop because you can never, EVER know unless you have lived it. Never. It is pure hell on earth and those who are living through that hell deserve nothing but compassion.

As for why no one does anything about it? You can't. Period.

If friends with one honesty is fine but all you can do is love them. Preaching, trying to weigh them, observe them when they eat will only make it all worse and the negative voices stronger. If anyone reading this is sick or seeks help and understanding, go here. Peggy is one of the very few people who has cracked the code and truly knows how to help... The death rate for those with eating disorders is very high and most who seek treatment do not make it. Peggy's success rate is very high. I read her book. She knows what she is talking about.

As for laxatives... my laxative abuse started with my anorexia but also had roots in an actual inability to go which has me battling it still...

It is not simple, nor is it black and white... both are deep seated, deadly problems and the roots are very much the same pain that an addict has that drives them to drugs which is why I can so relate to those battling drugs and the underlying self-hatred and sadism that addicts thrive on...

Just my 2 cents... I have things I wrote when an anorexic... things that the negative voices said to me... maybe I will post it some day. You may have just inspired me to do so... I don't know.

I did get that you weren't lacking in compassion with her and feel others misunderstood you. But she unfortunately has to either hit her bottom or be forced into a facility and not let out until she goes through the necessary process to get over the major hurdles of recovery... and even after that it is a life long fight. Once you cross that line the voices have to be kept in check and you really cannot ever let down your guard. Some days are just harder than others but hey, baby steps...

Now I am rambling so off I go!

The ZenFo Pro said...

Whoa...this is gonna be a long one...will break it up in two parts...not in chronological order...
- Jason

That's a good point...for my substance abuse, I know I had to hit rock bottom and then pick the pieces back up (Wow, I'll be 9 years in Aug.) One has to hit rock bottom before realizing the real issues behind the problems. I went cold turkey on everything, but if I'd hadn't reached a point of no return, I probably wouldn't have stayed clean for as long as I have.

I think of eating disorders as being more akin to addictions than an actual illness. Mainly, because they are treated the same way. It's about control, but it's controlling the easily manipulated in the face of life's challenges.

Gotta love living in one of America's meth capitals...lol. Yeah, I have to show ID and sign a waiver before they'll hand over "over-the-counter" Claritin-D...from behind the counter...

Damned pseudoephedrine....

Hey, you definitely are more than welcome to post whatever you want, any time :) Write a novel...okay...maybe a novella ;)

It isn't just about being thin, you're right. It's about control and so many other things as well.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Smurf and Miz B.:

I wanted to respond jointly to both of you because I noticed something in both of your comments...

Both of you have different experiences with laxative abuse, but both have taken, from the sounds of it, completely different routes in recovery and healing. I think there's probably a bigger issue here than just this post. There's probably an infinite number of causes associated with eating disorders and possible roads to recovery because there are a virtually infinite number of people who develop them.

Somewhere, there has to be a common ground in all of this. Too manny problems, too few answers.

I'll respond to both of you seperately, but I figured I'd point that out. Don't want to go into it too much, because Smurf is actually a friend from the real world and I don't feel comfortable volunteering any of her personal info.

Lol...on a lighter note...

I guess I should've made this more clear in the post, but I was only using the experience at the grocery store as one example of the numerous problems in college communities in the U.S.

The ZenFo Pro said...

There has to definitely be some sort of cultural influence, because, well, eating disorders are mostly limited to highly developed, mostly white nations.

And I think there has to be some communicable element that's conveyed through things like media - why else would eating disorders be limited to a group of people with access and influence over the largest percentage of electronic communication? I tried doing a bit of quick research tonight, toying with the notion that eating disorders may be at least partially tied to the exchange of cultural image. The first published case I've been able to find was printed in France in the mid-1800s, smack dab in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. Some folks speculate it's tied to ritual fasting or other practices, but those aren't necessarily geared towards the same purpose. The 1800s also saw the rise of early color printing, mail-order sales, the telegraph, photography, a development of assembly-line standardization, etc.

For the first time in human history, women were allowed to see what their counterparts around the world looked like - different shapes and sizes, all communicated across great spans in a short amountof time. Technology has always been adopted by the wealthiest classes first, and, well, Europeans were the big kids on the block for most of the 17-19th centuries. Is it coincidence?

Do we really know what kind of cultural norms are buried beneath the surface? Could the ability to communicate information across vast distances have something to do with it? Who knows?

Damn...this turned into a deep post.

Just a thought. Not sure where I'm going with it.

The ZenFo Pro said...

I think I get what you're getting at, and I tend to agree that it does come down to the need to regain one's sense of self - a healthy sense. And nobody can do it but the individual.

I've been waiting for you to chime in on this, mainly because you've been on the other side of the coin in terms of dealing with a serious disorder, and you're trying to kick its ass back to wherever it originated for you. To me, that's something that offers hope.

I look at it from a different perspective, having watched this bullshit behavior go on from the outside as a lover and friend to numerous women - and even a few guys. It completely destroys relationships, just like drug addition. I've got scars myself, emotionally and physically, from playing the mythical savior for too many women who want someone else to fix their problems. That's why I don't mince words and refuse to play somebody's enabler - personally or in social situations.

I'm not friends with this girl, just know her through somebody I hung out with twice. Simply mentioning that I'd noticed the laxatives, as Karl Rove as it is, sends a rather terse message. You're right - she's the one responsible for her own salvation or destruction - just wanted to plant the idea that people notice these things.

That's kinda what I've been trying to get at, but, well, you know me...lol...I don't take the shortest path explaining things often. That's why I think its reaffirming to see so many different ideas spring out of a silly blog.

shayna said...

You know... I do think that a lot of time eating disorders are more about just not being happy with yourself. I had problems losing my "baby" weight... took me a long time... about a year to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. There were times I had thought about sticking my finger down my throat... not eating at all... but I never did. I exercised and started eating better...

A lot of times... we all seem to want quick fixes... just like me and the
tanning bed....

Miz BoheMia said...

I think to truly relate you would have to think back to your addiction... the underlying emotions are very similar...

As for your relationships with women with such problems I can say that the only reason Loverboy and I made it through this was that he never, ever, tried to save me. He was just there for me, loving me and I think to a certain extent accepted the fact that I might not make it if I didn't fight hard enough. He also knew that I am a fighter and don't have it in me to quit so that probably kept him going too. I kicked anorexia on mny own. Therapy came after I had my daughter and that was to deal with all the rage that surfaced due to my emotional abuse...

The reason I was able to survive anorexia while living with someone was because he never let me know he paid attention to my eating habits. He never asked me if I had eaten and how much nor did I get any speeches about what I was doing to myself. That made me relax and my guard came down and in time I started eating more without guilt but yeah, the "without guilt" part was a bitch to get to but I eventually did.

Loverboy was in pain. I would catch him staring at pictures of me during healthier times and he would sometimes be unable to talk to me for some hours. It wasn't easy but the main thing was that he was just there and showed me unconditional love... that is one thing most who fall into the grips of an eating disorder feel they lack and it makes for a huge wakeup call to get that much love from someone and see that you are hurting them...

... and his being a doctor helped in that I started to open up and without shame speaking of my ridiculous fears and he would educate me as to the body's functions with regards to food, what was healthy and nutritious and low in calories and the like... no shame in wanting low caloric food and he didn't treat the anorexic wife with shame for wanting to know that as long as I would start to eat more... and it took time and I shed the shame and the guilt and now just eat when hungry and yeah, I am attracted to healthy low-fat foods but I am doing great, have more meat over my bones and some days feel bloated and fat and know I am fine because I eat anyway and... you get the picture!

The point is that there is much shame and guilt and not honest understanding when treating anorexics I think. Had I wanted advice from a professional on a healthy and low-fat diet I would have been shamed about the low-fat part of it all... now I can laugh about it and Loverboy jokingly is romantic when he gives me a nutritious food and says "Try it. It is high in protein, low in fat and man will it make you go!" Ooooh! ;-P

Humor was a great part of the recovery too.

I am rambling and I don't even know where I am going with this! Made me laugh when you told Cowgirl to feel free to write a novel here... methinks there is someone who keeps doing that! Oh my! ;-P

Anonymous said...

You seem to maintain a rather unhealthy relationship with your students, Jason. Doesn't this sort of intervention make it difficult to have students take you serious as member of the faculty?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Who said I'm faculty? I think that's a bit of a reach to make that assumption based on a blog, dude (ette).

In regards to my life, I do, however, make a distinction between work (as a bonafide librarian) and play (this blog). I don't blog, for instance, while I'm working or mention who I work for; I've also started deleting comments that may or may not case grief for some of my colleagues at one of about a half-dozen different libraries, public, private, and otherwise, in Butler County.