Thursday, 6 September 2018

Blog Pause


Dear Blog Readers, 

I want to send a quick message to tell you I haven’t forgotten this space, or the wonderful submissions I have received. Your moderator is a teacher and back-to-school has interfered with my groove. 




The blog will be back on track in the next few weeks. 

In the meanwhile, I hope to see some of you at camp! And remember to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

- Kira 


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Incomprehensible


For some, externalizing an Eating Disorder can make it possible to recover because it takes the illness out of the person and makes it a separate entity. It can feel like a dysfunctional relationship with a being that is both you and not you at the same time. 

Finding the metaphor that works for you in recovery is like finding a light switch is a dark and scary basement. 

This week, Ana writes about her ED as a best friend she needs to take space from. 


Take good care of yourself, and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.


Your blog moderator,

Kira


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Incomprehensible by Ana


Best friend, I am your serving slave

You keep me company when no one else does, and help make sense of my sorrows in the most incomprehensible way.


Though I serve you, I don't like you.

You want my all; my time, my body, my mind

and in exchange you offer me nothing that I want or that I need.

How did we even became friends you and I?


We are in a toxic relationship and I'm a fool to engage in it.

For so many years.

Your destructive nature once made me tremble with its power.

But dear, haven't I told you that disasters foster creation?


I'm not happy to have you in my life but I'll settle for this long distance relationship

Worry not.

I promise that even if I miss you, 

I'll be fine.


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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content on this blog is edited and approved by the moderator. Sheena’s Place does not specifically endorse any advice or content. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your family doctor if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. No one can recover alone.


If you would like to share your story, or other writings or art, please email your submission to Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org


If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at http://nedic.ca/ 


If you would like more information or to register for groups, visit Sheena's Place website at www.sheenasplace.org


If you are in a country other than Canada, please google your local or National Eating Disorders Centre.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Mask


Dear Blog Readers,

This week I am thinking about how much pretending we do when we are in the midst of our ED thoughts and behaviours. It is incredibly exhausting to present one person and to feel like someone entirely different. I think that many of you will connect with the idea of wearing masks to hide our pain, judgement, shame, and suffering.


Take good care of yourself, and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

Your blog moderator,

Kira

The Mask
By Jodi















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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content on this blog is edited and approved by the moderator. Sheena’s Place does not specifically endorse any advice or content. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your family doctor if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. No one can recover alone.

If you would like to share your story, or other writings or art, please email your submission to Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at http://nedic.ca/ 

If you would like more information or to register for groups, visit Sheena's Place website at www.sheenasplace.org


If you are in a country other than Canada, please google your local or National Eating Disorders Centre.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Blooming into Freedom


In this week's post, Kate wrote: 

"The darkness cannot hide me anymore. I am ready to take on what life has planned for me. I am ready to be free."

As we have learned from Brene Brown, shame cannot live in the light. Coming out from the darkness and identifying the problem is the first step to recovery. Kate writes about the experience of perfectionism and the ultimate realization of how beautiful imperfection is. In this piece, she writes about being called “fat” and believing it. This is such a common experience that I decided it does not break the safe space guidelines to use a word that for some is empowering while for others demoralizing. It is a description, not a label. It is a word, it is not truth. It is the meaning and power that you give to the word that makes it what it is. 

Take good care of yourself, and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

Your blog moderator,
Kira

Blooming into Freedom
By Kate

I have always had a desire to be perfect. The perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect girlfriend. It wasn’t until recently that I realized perfection doesn’t exist, and that even if it did, I wouldn’t want to be it. It has taken me so long to get to this point. I can finally say that I am whole-heartedly happy with who I am on the inside and out. I am not perfect, and I am one hundred percent okay with that.

My name is Kate, I am nineteen years old, and I am a survivor of Anorexia/Bulimia Nervosa.

When I was ten years old, I began to compare myself to everyone around me. I soon came to the conclusion that I had more baby fat than everyone else, I was short, I was round, and I was not athletic. This realization kick started nearly a decade of self hatred. When I was in the fourth grade, a boy in class said he would never like me because I was fat. That left me with burning questions. Was I fat? Was being fat wrong? Was I unhealthy? This led to constant feelings of inadequacy. Some people say that your childhood shapes who you one day become. I had always believed that was true. For years, I was certain that I was forever going to be a person that would never accept myself for who I am, and that I was always going to be inadequate.


In the ninth grade, things got worse. I always had a deep self esteem issue, but I had never really acted on it. The media played a big role in what turned my life upside down. I began taking on behaviours that I didn’t even recognize at first. Normally, I would outline what those behaviours were, but I think it’s best if I just sum it up: I was cruel to myself, and to my body, and to my soul. I punished myself. I let my mind take control of my existence. ED absorbed what was left of the real me, and began taking over my every move. For two years, I was silent. For two years, I didn’t even know that I was sick. In grade eleven, I discovered that I was depressed. I never wanted to do anything, yet I did everything. My strive to be perfect overpowered my desire to stay in bed, but I never smiled. I worked two jobs, got straight A’s, had friends and a boyfriend, but on the inside I was numb. ED haunted me every waking moment. The best way to describe it is to say that I was a host. It was my body moving, but I was not inside. Not who I am truly, but a deformed version of someone that I will never recognize. I began seeing a counsellor at school. We would talk about how I was feeling depressed. One day she asked me if there was anything else I wanted to talk about. I remember biting my lip. It was like a switch was flipped and I suddenly realized that I was sick. That the behaviours I was participating in weren’t normal, and that I had never actually noticed. I told her that I think I may have an eating disorder. We talked for another hour about why I felt this way. Suddenly, I was at home that night telling my sister, and the next few days led to telling my parents and friends and family. Like rapid fire, my journey to recovery began as quickly as my realization of my illness.


I was immediately admitted into an outpatient eating disorder youth clinic that I would attend once a week. The nurse practitioner would take my vitals, my dietician would discuss food with me, and my counsellor would listen to me vent. This program opened my eyes to a whole new world. A world I didn’t know could exist. Freedom. I loved attending my sessions, because each time, I left with a new piece of the puzzle that I had been trying to put together for so long. A puzzle that would replace ED forever. I don’t know if it was the time and the venting that slowly made it easier, or if it was the overwhelming feelings of support and care that I received from those around me. Looking back, I am grateful to have gone through this. Because it made me stronger than I ever was. I am hard working, dedicated, caring, I love myself. I want what is best for myself.


Flash forward, I am now entering my second year of college. I am optimistic, accepting, and excited for what my future holds for me. I never want to go back to where I was, and I honestly cannot see that happening. I am a beautiful train wreck. I was once a complete disaster that has now bloomed into a new found freedom. Freedom to express who I really am, freedom to love everything that I once despised. Freedom to look inside my heart and find compassion.


Bulimia Nervosa could have killed me. And for a while, it did. Bulimia Nervosa does not define who I am. I am not a girl with an eating disorder. I am a girl who has been through a self inflicted hell and has ended up on the other side. There is light after the darkness. The darkness cannot hide me anymore. I am ready to take on what life has planned for me. I am ready to be free.

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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content on this blog is edited and approved by the moderator. Sheena’s Place does not specifically endorse any advice or content. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your family doctor if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. No one can recover alone.

If you would like to share your story, or other writings or art, please email your submission to Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at http://nedic.ca/ 

If you would like more information or to register for groups, visit Sheena's Place website at www.sheenasplace.org

If you are in a country other than Canada, please google your local or National Eating Disorders Centre.




Sifting through the sands of time


Dear Readers,

Sometimes we struggle. At times the struggle feels endless. It feels like drowning. It feels like your whole life is consumed by the struggle.

Sometimes we need to use our skills, our resources, and our support systems to pull ourselves out of what this week’s writer calls “the muck”, or “the undertoe”. Other times, we just need to share our pain, seeking empathy, not strategy. And all of that is okay. It is okay to take a moment and feel yourself drowning. To truly feel it allows us to find a way to pull ourselves out.

This week, Oren uses metaphors to describe these moments of suffering.

Take good care of yourself, and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

Your blog moderator,
Kira

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Sifting through the sands of time.

watching as your life slip by.

Trying to clench your fingers tight.

watching as your life slips by.

you dig deeper within the muck.

hoping to get a grip.

watching as your life slips by.

pulled even further by the undertow

unable to see the light beyond the night.

watching as your life slips by.

treading water to no end
being pushed further to the deep end.
limbs getting tired, limbs getting weak.

arms getting heavy going to sink beneath your feet.

watching as your life slips by.

By Oren

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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content on this blog is edited and approved by the moderator. Sheena’s Place does not specifically endorse any advice or content. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your family doctor if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. No one can recover alone.

If you would like to share your story, or other writings or art, please email your submission to Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at http://nedic.ca/ 

If you would like more information or to register for groups, visit Sheena's Place website at www.sheenasplace.org

If you are in a country other than Canada, please google your local or National Eating Disorders Centre.



Monday, 23 July 2018

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS



Dear Bloggers, Blog Readers and Bloggers-to-be, 

Sending in your work is scary.

Do it anyway! Ha!

Please keep sending your submissions. Also, when you are on the Blog, click on the right hand side of the home page to follow the blog. You can also bookmark it.  I also want to encourage you to engage in discussions through the comment box at the bottom of all posts! (Comments are moderated to maintain safety)

All submissions will be published, with guidance to stay within the Sheena's Place safe space guidelines. I am humbled and honoured to have received so many honest, raw, and vulnerable pieces. Your ability to share continues to amaze me. 

Thank you for entrusting me with your stories.

I am currently calling for submissions explored in ANY format of text or art form on the following topics:
  • Invisible eating disorders due to not fitting stereotypes 
  • Experiences of ED in transgender, gender non-conforming, gender binary, and gender queer bodies
  • Experiences of EDs and disabilities
  • Mindfulness in recovery
  • The Health At Every Size movement (HAES)
  • What does body positivity mean to you 
  • Book reviews

Take good care of yourself, and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

Your blog moderator,
Kira

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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content on this blog is edited and approved by the moderator. Sheena’s Place does not specifically endorse any advice or content. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your family doctor if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. No one can recover alone.

If you would like to share your story, or other writings or art, please email your submission to Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at http://nedic.ca/ 

If you would like more information or to register for groups, visit Sheena's Place website at www.sheenasplace.org

If you are in a country other than Canada, please google your local or National Eating Disorders Centre.

Having an Eating Disorder an Obese Body by Maddi


My dear blog readers,
It is time for me to publish one of the more potentially sensitive posts that I mentioned last week. This particular piece sparked a great deal of discussion about whether or not vague references fit within the guidelines or not. This piece was part of my inspiration for writing last week’s post about censoring folk’s stories who use words that make some people uncomfortable.
I pointed out that it is important to remember that discomfort and being triggered are not the same thing. I do everything I can to keep this online space safe for everyone. In order to do that, it means being able to publish pieces that are from the heart, are painful, are thought provoking, and that spark (what I feel) are essential conversations.
Obese bodies are very often treated differently than many other bodies. There are many assumptions about why a person is living in a bigger body, how unhealthy they must be, and how they have “done this to themselves”.  Having an eating Disorder in an Obese Body is a piece by Maddi that has been revised more times than I can count. From the first time I read it, I knew that it needed to be published. I also knew that there would be people who would disagree with me because our guidelines are so clear. Maddi, shares her experience of the judgement, and misconstrued notion that having Binge Eating Disorder, or being over a particular BMI, is often not accepted as an Eating Disorder. It is seen as a lack of self-control or willpower. It is seen as the fault of the person struggling with what is actually a psychiatric illness.
Eating Disorders are not a choice and cannot have fault placed on the person suffering, or who has suffered, with this illness.
I decided that this piece was a significant conversation starter. It will resonate with many people who are facing life in a bigger body and the rejection and disbelief of family, friends, culture, and medical professionals. Medical professionals are not immune to societal influences and current beliefs about health, beauty, and acceptance.
This is not a trigger warning. This is an introduction to a piece that addresses BMI, the concept of obesity, and a difficult relationship with food. After many revisions, we have made it is safe as we possibly can without erasing or silencing an already silenced existence. It is time for the silence to be broken and for the gaps in the system to be addressed. There needs to be a shift in the “not sick enough for treatment” mentality or experiences. Thank you for your understanding and if you choose not to read any further, remember that you are loved and worthy.
For those of you struggling with ED in bigger bodies, your experience is real. It is valid. You deserve support and access to the medical care that you need. You are not invisible at Sheena’s Place. Having an Eating Disorder is not your fault.
Take good care of yourself, and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

Your blog moderator,
Kira
***************************************
Having an Eating Disorder in an Obese Body
By Maddi
I am obese, class III. Actually, if you listen to my doctor, I am pretty far into that class III, but the classes just don’t get any higher than that.
I’m at high risk for joint problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes… The list goes on (and on and on), and I can feel it every day. I wake up in the mornings, and I feel how unhappy my body is with me. It creaks and cracks just like an old house.
I’m never quite comfortable. I twist and turn at night, trying to find a position that doesn’t put too much weight on any one part of my body. My back gets worse and worse over time as I struggle to support my weight and my breasts get heavier and harder to support. Stairs knock the wind out of me, my legs ache walking to the car, and god forbid I have to walk any further than that.
Right now, I’m essentially carrying over double the weight that my body was designed to support. And it’s painful. And frustrating. And I hate it.
On top of the pain and discomfort, there’s the repeating thought in my brain that I did this all to myself. No one forced me to engage in symptoms, I have no thyroid problems, this is all about my relationship with food.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a ‘good’ relationship with food… For so long, I’ve seen it as a source of comfort and calmness when I most desperately need it.
My eating disorder has been my primary coping mechanism for years, and it shows on my body. And even now, as I’m engaging less and recovering more, it still shows on my body. Even when I’m learning new skills, repairing my relationship with food, and focusing on nutrients, my Binge Eating Disorder is reflected all over my body.
Years of regular disordered eating has affected my body in troubling ways. Some ED behaviours can lead to a sufferer looking visibly ‘ill,’ but because of the way my body looks, I’m not seen as a victim of an illness, I’m just weak-willed.
The negativity surrounding bigger bodies won’t be news to any of you, I’m sure. Fat people are so strongly associated with laziness, weak will, and personal flaws that my eating disorder wasn’t acknowledged or diagnosed for years. For years, my weight was an issue. For years, I struggled to control it. For years, food was my comfort, my tranquilizer, and my tie to the world.
In the midst of panic? ED.
Had a bad day? Oh hey, dear old symptoms.
Anxious for tomorrow? My good pal ED to the ‘rescue…’
Can’t sleep? Guess I have even more time to be symptomatic.
But no one saw it as a mental health issue, including me. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t actually a personal flaw of mine, but the result of a disordered relationship with food. But even now, when I’ve accepted it, it’s hard to talk about it with others.
I share a lot about my mental health. I write a blog, I try and do my part to support others and be an advocate. But my eating disorder feels different. Even calling it an eating disorder feels wrong. Like I’m not allowed to use the term.
Obesity is so strongly correlated to personal flaws, that those of us with above-average BMIs from our eating disorders are offered less help, less support, and less sympathy. An article written by two UCLA scholars discusses two case studies, one of a child likely affected by Binge Eating Disorder, and another about a child diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. While the parents of the child with Anorexia were sympathized with in their struggle to find help for their daughter, the single mother of the other child was at risk of losing custody of her child because of accusations of neglect. The article mentions that society views “anorexics as victims of a terrible illness beyond their and their parents’ control, while obesity is caused by bad individual [behaviour.]”
Though other factors like race, gender, social status, income, and familial structure can definitely be discussed as factors in these cases, my experience being a bigger size has shown me that there are different opinions of ED sufferers based on how their bodies appear.
Because my eating disorder is seen as an excuse, not a reason. It’s seen as a way to deflect my ‘personal responsibility’ for my weight.
Because my eating disorder is killing me slowly, it’s somehow less serious, less legitimate.
In my experience, some behaviours are assumed to take dedication and strength, whereas other behaviours are assumed to be a sign of weakness and lack of control. But when it comes to eating disorders, it’s just not fair to see it as anything other than a disorder. It’s not strength, but it’s not weakness either; it’s just a disorder.
I can’t compare my fight to the fight of those with other eating disorders, but I can tell you that it’s been a hell of a fight for me. My fight has been hard. It is a struggle. It is not about lack of motivation or willpower, it is not some flaw inherent in me that has caused me to not care enough to try — it’s a goddamn fight.
I am fighting for my health. But because I have a bigger body, no one believes me.
Maddi is a passionate mental health blogger and advocate.  She started My Bitter Insanity as place for her to write about the serious mental illness she lives with, because she did not believe it was talked about enough.  Maddi hopes to help normalize and destigmatize mental health discussions.

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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content on this blog is edited and approved by the moderator. Sheena’s Place does not specifically endorse any advice or content. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your family doctor if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. No one can recover alone.

If you would like to share your story, or other writings or art, please email your submission to Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at http://nedic.ca/ 

If you would like more information or to register for groups, visit Sheena's Place website at www.sheenasplace.org

If you are in a country other than Canada, please google your local or National Eating Disorders Centre.

Blog Pause