Swedish Author Examining Eating Disorders, Needs Your Feedback
Posted Sep 12 2008 8:57am
There's a very important book in the process of being written by a Swedish woman named Frida discussing the serious but often neglected issue of eating disorders. I've heard from quite a few people with eating disorders since I started this blog in April 2005, including this memorable cry for help from a bulimic earlier this year.
From overeating to anorexia, bulimia to ortorexia, as well as sugar addiction to carbohydrate obsession, this is a subject that has been swept under the rug long enough and I for one am glad to see it coming out in the open in the form of a book.
When you have been overweight or obese as I was for most of my life, you never really THINK about an eating disorder. I don't know if people even realize it when they are that close to the situation which may explain why the problem persists for many years before it is detected if ever. It is perhaps the saddest and most lonely state of existence you can possibly be in and there are countless numbers of people dealing with this day in and day out.
Frida wants to hear from anyone who "would be interested in sharing their experiences" with any eating disorder.
"Obviously it’s anonymous and you will of course get a copy of the book," she said.
The book will contain real life stories of people who have been through various eating disorders and how they overcame them. For Frida, this is a topic of personal interest for her.
"A friend of mine almost died in anorexia, and that's how my interest in the disease started," she explained.
She expects to devote about ten pages to each person's story to share all the intimate details so that others who read the book will find comfort and hope for their own situation. Frida says we can learn from our shared experiences in an effort to show others how to avoid making the same mistakes.
"I think that recognizing yourself in other people is a good start in recovering," she explained.
What do you need to share? Pretty much your story in your own words or the story of a friend or family member who has been through the pain of an eating disorder. Your identity will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous, so don't worry about providing as many details as you can using the following keywords and questions as a guideline for sharing your thoughts:
Growing up School Friends Sports and exercising Strain & demands (your own? From the surroundings? From parents?) Self-esteem How did everything begin? When? When did you realize that you were ill? What did people around you say? When did they notice it? Did you try to hide it? How did this affect you as a person? Do you feel like this has been a waste of years? Do you consider yourself healthy today? How does someone get rid of this disease? Can you do that by yourself? How long did it take to get better (if you are)? Why do you think people get this desease? Why is there an obsession to look good? Why do a lot of people feel ashamed of this? Give examples of what a typical day was like. Better and worse days? When is it better? How are you today? Excuses Can you ever get completely well from an eating disorder? Did you ever think that your body could get hurt? Did you care? Social life? Isolation? If bulimia and compulsury eating, was it expensive buying all the food? Did someone ever discover you ”in action” with your eating disorder? How much did you eat? What? How did it get so far? How did you deceive friends and family? How do you handle your feelings today? Are eating disorders common among your family and friends? Why? How do you feel in general about those years? Share excerpts from your diary. Did you feel the need for control? What do you want your future to be like? When did you make the decision to become well? How do magazines, TV and so on affect you? What role does society play in eating disorders? Most people do want to get well, so why don't they do something? Did you ever think that your health can get damaged? The trend of healthiness, how did it influence you? Tell a little about yourself--age, personality, quirks. If you think back in time, what would you have done differently? The best tip you can give for other people? Why do you think you became ill? Why is it so difficult to get well?
The following is a sample story to give you an idea what Frida is looking for:
It is difficult to say when everything began. I remember as a young child sitting at the dinner table with my family and my father and I having eating contests. I always loved the potluck suppers at church, especially all of those delicious desserts. I was an active child and didn’t have any eating issues at that time.
My major issue is lack of self-esteem. As I progressed into my teenage years and young adulthood I bought into the myths that our media spoon feeds us. I used to starve myself and it began. It was so easy to lose weight as a late teenager, young adult. I was of average weight, but I always wanted to be thinner.
I got married, had a child at 23 and within a month I was back into a size 5. I just stopped eating until I got there. I also did drugs and each time I did I would be so hard on myself with negative self talk that I never could get the munchies like most people. I had my next child at 29 and ballooned up to over 200 pounds. I was married to a man that was extremely emotionally abusive (a pattern it seems as my father was verbally abusive as well). I learned in my marriage that to stand up and speak my mind, heart and feelings was fruitless, I was never heard.
And that, I have a feeling is where the monkey jumped officially on to my back. When I was angry, sad, hurt, lonely, I just ate. And ate. And ate. After my second child I got back to my pre-pregnancy size of about size 7 within five years. I had my last child at 35. Again I ballooned up to over 200 pounds.
I divorced my husband when my son was almost three and my weight continued to climb. I had an emergency surgery, and became homeless, moving six times in two years. I was well over 220 by this time. I was depressed, overwhelmed, dealing with a child with bipolar disorder and I finally snapped. I started using amphetamines and drinking and lost over 75 pounds for the second time in my life.
I looked good and felt good, but felt angry because of the way people treated me when I was thin versus fat. I resented that people gave me more value and worth as a thin woman. I was the same person inside dammit. I stopped doing the drugs (that I had gotten through my physician) and drinking, but had met a man on the internet that I felt was my soulmate. We moved in together seven years ago. Life was good.
I was a size 10, was in love, had a great job. Time went on and the holidays came around. My bipolar child was hospitalized and I baked some holiday goodies to bring to her for Christmas. I ate a few, and then a few more…and next thing I realized I was again a size 20. I realized that again I had been sucked in by my demons, that instead of owning my power and speaking my truths that again I had numbed and buried them in food.
Food is horrible for me. It’s not like drugs or alcohol where you just quit and you are done. We require it to live. I can’t just eat to nourish my body, once I start eating I eat and eat. I can’t eat just one cookie. If I eat one, I eat the entire bag. I do well sometimes and just stay away from the foods that I know are my downfall. But I always end up back there.
It’s difficult in our culture. If you are young and thin you have value. If you are older and less thin you are invisible.
I have successfully isolated myself from the world. I stopped watching television for over ten years. I have no friends, nor do I want any. I am challenged in relationships. I have major trust issues. I trust no one. I look forward to death. I am not suicidal, but I am tired of life. I don’t know who I am and I am so governed by what I must do that I cannot find a way to discover who I am. I like much about who I am, but I dislike much of who I am."
This is an extremely sensitive subject, but it is the unspoken pain carried around by millions. If you have overcome your eating disorder and want to help other avoid the same mistakes that you made, then please e-mail your story to Frida at firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll feel great inside that you gave others the chance to see they are not alone in this battle. THANK YOU for helping out with this worthy cause!