Category Archives: queer talk, gender issues and sexual identity

purple wednesday, with a story

Rainbow of colors
okay, so here’s my purple story.

many years ago, i bought myself a nice, comfy, fleecy track suit. i came home with it and proudly paraded it in front of my husband. he gave me one look and didn’t talk to me for two days.

at the end of the two days, i finally found out. you see, the track suit was purple. and purple was the colour of the very outspoken lesbians and feminists in berlin, where we had just moved from. it turns out that, clad all in purple, i was aligning myself with those man-haters and therefore man-hating my husband.  (logical, huh?)

reason #359 why, a few years later, i got rid of him and traded him in for a much better model.

and what’s all this purple about?

links: psychology, morality, social media and dogs

in my long-suffering attempts to organize my internet life better, i’m going to see what it’s like if i post the occasional link article.  so here’s a stroll through the links open on august 1, with the first paragraph of each post so that you can get an idea what it’s all about.  you may even end up reading something!

gifted relationships: on being “too much” to the right of the curve

for most of my life, finding friends and work that honored my intensity and intelligence wasn’t an issue for me.

make my psychotherapy plain, but with a twist
by tom ellis, PsyD, ABPP on july 23, 2010

jon allen‘s post “is psychotherapy going to POT?” is spot on in terms of describing the quandary faced by psychotherapists and their patients with respect to the double-edged sword of “prescriptive therapies.”

my hopes for mental health camp UK

the moment i spotted MentalHealthCamp toronto i wanted to help make it happen here. years ago i was a volunteer MIND mental health advocate in the old hackney psychiatric hospital (a former workhouse) which was a schooling in one side of mental health services. now that i’m an accidental digital innovator i can see the huge potential in a mashup of mental health and digital, which i can’t really put better than the MentalHealthCamp toronto mission statement :

dr. khalid sohail, a psychiatrist by profession has been passionately writing for the last two decades. his collections of poems, stories, travelogues, novellas and essays have been published in english, urdu and punjabi. his writings are an attempt to share his humanistic philosophy of life. he summarized his views in his book “pages of my heart” in the following words:

edge: getting at the neuroanthropology of morality
edge has just posted a new seminar, the new science of morality. you get lots of access to interviews, links to papers, videos, exchange of views, reactions from the press, and more. quite stimulating.

calling all social change geeks: it’s netsquared camp vancouver

a month from now, on saturday, august 14, i’ll be attending vancouver’s first NetSquared camp, a day-long event for people who work at the intersection of social change and technology. the goal of the event is to build skills and capacity through peer learning, and invites the participation of “nonprofits, activists and social entrepreneurs [along] with their friends and allies in the world of technology and communications.”

study shows possibilities for predicting how patients will respond to antidepressants

in a study of an experimental treatment for major depression, pretreatment testing to probe the function of a specific brain center predicted how patients would respond to ketamine, a medication that can lift depression rapidly in some people. the work suggests it may be possible to develop ways to use such assessments in the future, not only to better understand depression, but to guide treatment choices for individuals.

effective confrontation

basic principles to remember:

the 30 second rule: the first 30 seconds in a confrontation, or your response to being confronted, will determine whether or not productive dialogue will even begin.

coaching at work magazine – mark on a difficult case
mark mckergow is featured in the current issue of coaching at work magazine (http://www.coaching-at-work.com). in the troubleshooter column, a difficult case is presented and expert responses are sought. here’s the problem:

international online training program on intractable conflict
conflict research consortium, university of colorado, USA

non-violent struggle
the problem with the use of violent confrontation strategies is that they quickly escalate to the point where the parties’ only concerns are victory, vengeance, and self-defense. in these cases, the moral arguments of people who are being unjustly treated become irrelevant. what matters is that they have used violent strategies and their opponent is, therefore, justified in a violent response. this problem is complicated by the fact that both sides are usually able to argue that the other side started the violence.

eight steps for workplace confrontations
one of the challenging things about working in a team environment is that there are times when people behave in ways that we find unproductive, offensive, or hurtful.  when we ignore these feelings the relationship can suffer as our resentment festers.  yet fear at confronting others can prevent us from taking positive action.  today’s post contains a checklist you can use to determine if a confrontation is appropriate, and if so, how to move forward.

the missing ingredient in most social media strategies
what is the missing ingredient in most strategies i’ve seen? actual strategy.

expressive writing for the treatment of gay-related stressors

according to research published in the journal of consulting and clinical psychology, writing about stressful or traumatic events related to one’s sexual identity may be an effective treatment for gay-related stress.

forms in english haiku
keiko imaoka

japanese haiku have been traditionally composed in 5-7-5 syllables. when poets started writing english haiku in the 1950’s, they adopted this 5-7-5 form, thinking it created a similar condition for english-language haiku. this style is what is generally considered “traditional” english haiku.

gogyōka (五行歌?, literally, “five line poem”) is a form of japanese poetry invented by enta kusakabe (草壁 焔太) in 1957, in an attempt to escape the constraints of haiku and tanka poetry.[1] unlike traditional japanese poetry, gogyōka has no mora or syllable requirement for the length of its lines, which is instead governed by the duration of a single breath. the only defining rule of gogyōka is that the poem should be five lines long. in addition to japanese and english, gogyōka have been written in french, chinese, arabic, tagalog, korean, and latin.

on being chronically absent : “calling for my soul, at the corners of the world, i know she’s playing poker, with the rest of the stragglers”
i have always been an absentee.  sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance. i still do all of my work, and put great effort into it.  but i have never been keen on always attending class.  sometimes i feel that the time is better spent working from home, getting much more done. some classes i never want to miss, and am sad when i do.  i don’t play hooky, like i must admit – i did quite often in elementary school – but at times absenteeismt is necessary. sometimes i need “mental health” days off.  actually, i find it ridiculous that this isn’t expected at the “workplace”, since it has been found that most “sick calls” are due to feeling mentally worn out, than due to being physically ill.  if you get the flu, go home, best that you not spread it!  i feel the same is true of mental exhaustion and the need to get away for a while – a short leave of absence is simply necessary for one to “perform to the best of their abilities” (what any employer assumedly wants – accuracy, efficiency, obedience…, but when you  try to suppress the negative energy that fills your disposition, it spills out onto the people you are working with, and for (diners, students, etc.)

the rise of the psychopharmaceutical industry 1987-2010
written and submitted by mary ackerley ***md, mdh

mary beth ackerley md is a harvard and johns hopkins trained board certified psychiatrist. she now practices holistic psychiatry.

robert whitaker’s brilliant book anatomy of an epidemic asks a simple question.why , if psychiatric drug treatments are so efficacious, has the number of people on disability for mental illness more than tripled in the last 25 years? most doctors and researchers answered this question by stating that the numbers have increased simply because we are diagnosing more people with mental illness. in response to this stereotyped dismissal of his data, robert began to do more research on the efficacy of known psychiatric treatments. and then, while poring through the psychiatric scientific literature on treatment effectiveness for the last fifty years he found an even darker question beginning to emerge. “is it possible that psychiatric drugs are actually making people much worse?” could it be that far from “fixing broken brains” the drugs being offered actually are worsening, and even causing, the very illnesses they claim to heal?

handy google search tips: 19 simple tricks you need to know

google may be expanding into cell phones, operating systems, and tablet pcs, but it’s still known best for search.  google’s engineers have tricked out the search engine with a number of tools, shortcuts, and features that can help you better access the information you’re after–whether it’s finding out how many euros to the dollar, when your favorite team is playing next, or whether to leave home with an umbrella.

psychologists develop two potent new predictors of suicide risk

sciencedaily (july 30, 2010) ” two powerful new tests developed by psychologists at harvard university show great promise in predicting patients’ risk of attempting suicide.

saving the lives of 15 eight week old puppies
a better life dog rescue has just agreed to save the lives of 15 eight week old puppies that were going to be euthanized by a california shelter on friday. a rescue organization in los angelos asked numerous rescue groups in the states and canada for help to save these puppies lives.

dog breed selector quiz
ibizan hound size: medium. coat: silky. straight. coat length: short. grooming: easy, low-maintenance. very unlikely to drool. little to no shedding. very high activity level. bred as a game hunting companion. low intelligence. somewhat easier than average to train. very wary of other pets. tolerates strangers well. good with kids four and up. very affectionate. quite dependent. quiet. somewhat shorter than average estimated lifespan. in america, a rare breed. not well suited for apartment living.

diversity and inclusion

here’s a little more from raul’s blog. the topic raul broached was diversity. by the way, those of you who are not engaged in social media, please don’t run away. because guess what – what’s happening in social media is very similar to what’s happening IRL – i mean, in real life 🙂

raul quotes tamera kramer

“diversity actually means diverse voices too. and I also would throw in that while lack of women’s voices is a HUGE issue, we should also be talking about opening the field beyond white/ straight/ physically capable. let’s define what being truly diverse really means.”

tamera is absolutely right. why isn’t there a conversation around diversity and what it means both in general for the speaker’s circuit and for the social media world overall?

there are some very good comments on raul’s blog, ranging from whether “having a conference for example for gay Latino men that excludes everyone else” is or isn’t the answer (tris and cecily say something about that) to underscoring the need to hear the voices of people with disabilities (ganga and glenda weigh in on this) to wondering how supportive social media in vancouver – and probably elsewhere – really is (kudos to steff) to warning of the pitfalls of social privilege given to people with diverse backgrounds, using the example of livejournal (atomicpoet).

here are a few things i added to the comments

inclusion AND diversity, once we go beyond the obvious, are very difficult, one of the reasons being what tris mentioned – it’s HARD to grasp.

it’s like fish trying to understand why humans fear drowning, or a grasshopper trying to grasp what’s so good about living under a rock 200 m deep in the ocean.

or wait! in most cases that would be the wrong metaphor – because a grasshopper sees no need to imagine the life of an undersea creature.

or wait! THAT’s what social media and blogging are – theoretically – so good for: hearing/seeing/reading what “those other” people live like, love, hate, and laugh about.

social media and blogging have helped open a lot of topics that were previously taboo or accessible only to far-off corners of society. terra gave a fabulous example of that when she talked about how mommybloggers did away with stigma around mental illness during MentalHealthCamp.

are we ready to take the next step?

the next step is going from nodding enthusiastically to acting on what we have found when we looked through the social media windows into other people’s lives. here are a few ideas if we truly want to hear the voices that so far we have not heard, for whatever reason (one of them being that our ears were closed). how do we make it possible for those voices to be heard?

let’s take the voice of poverty. how is someone on low income going to get to an event in a far-off suburb? car? probably not. public transit? IS there public transit going to the event? and if so, how much does it cost? how do you think it feels for someone on low income to always ask for money for such events? and remember, they need to get the money for it beforehand, not after, because if you are on low income, you have days where you have no cash whatsoever.

the voices that haven’t been heard much are often untrained voices. tris says we should look for “the best person to speak on that topic”. it’s easy for the mainstream to say what “best” means, and that measuring stick is often self-referencing. does “best” mean polished, up-to-date, articulate, in-group like? or could it mean someone who adds a new perspective, someone who wakes us up, perhaps by making us feel uncomfortable? we all love to quote people like gandhi, dr. martin luther king or einstein for the courage they instill to go against the grain. easy to do in hindsight and from our comfy chairs. but think about how lonely, scared, inept and other they felt when they first started out. are we ready to tolerate, even embrace that otherness?

inclusiveness means including everyone. here’s an example, which is the second part of my comment on raul’s blog

re blogging dads, tris – one of the reasons why social media here in vancouver is clique-y (and it’s not terribly clique-y but still noticeable) is because the vast majority of people who can get together at a bar on a thursday evening at an hour’s notice are single, mobile people, who live and/or work downtown.

a south vancouver grandma like me, or rob who has two little kids – well, it’s hard for us to do that. so the cliquishness comes from different lifestyles, among other things. added to that are the unique social skills and habits that social media types display.

my point is that inclusion is not only about the obvious. tris also made a good point – that being in loud crowds does not appeal to everyone. now of course we can’t always try to make everyone happy or comfortable. but it’s important to remember that if a group always behaves the same way, it automatically appears unwelcoming to those who don’t or can’t behave in that way.

a big topic, i know.

which is why i like to propose something: let’s have a topic for our next northern voice blogging and social media (un)conference:

diversity and inclusion!

then maybe we can think about it and take it into the flesh-and-blood world …

homophobia, the 4 noble truths, and the 8-fold path

today, on the international day against homophobia and transpobia, i’d like to gather a few thoughts on homophobia in view of the four noble truths, the core ideas of buddhism.

  1. there is suffering – giving birth, aging, illness, etc. in the pali text, there are two things that specifically apply here, i believe: “union with what is displeasing is suffering”; “not to get what one wants is suffering”
  2. the origin of suffering is craving (often presented as “attachment”)
  3. “it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it.”
  4. the way leading to the cessation of suffering: the noble eightfold path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

“union with what is displeasing is suffering”.

what is displeasing? we all have ideas of right and wrong. often these ideas are unreflected, not thought about. rather, they are reflexive – mental chain

reactions that we get roped into, because of the conditioning that we experience in our environment: families, schools, countries, cultures. that which is “wrong” and unfamiliar is displeasing. displeasing easily turns into disgusting, probably one of the core feelings in homophobia. “your family does not look like mine and you don’t have sex the way i do. that’s disgusting”

“union with what is displeasing”: union as in being close to. neighbours, for example. “it’s disgusting that my neighbour – in my street, in my city, in my country – lives in a same sex marriage”.

from a buddhist point of view, these sentiments cause suffering – interestingly, not just to the persons who are found to be disgusting but also to the person who feels disgusted.

the suffering comes from what the second noble truth explains: craving. an expectation is a craving. “these people shouldn’t get married!” “they can be homosexuals but shouldn’t practice it!” “they shouldn’t have sex like that!” etc. probably also, “i can’t do and be who i want to be so they shouldn’t either”. the craving of expectation is: “i don’t want reality to be like this!” unfortunately, reality rarely gives a damn.

the homophobic person suffers from wanting reality to be different from what it is. “people of the same sex shouldn’t be parents” and yet they do. “a woman shouldn’t fall in love with another woman” and yet it happens all the time. the homphobic person stomps their foot and creates anti-gay laws, beats up and kills gay men, appropriates lesbian sex for their own fantasies, all to no avail.

and like it is with so many other human foibles and atrocities, we don’t want to give them up, no matter how much suffering they cause us and others. the way we get around recognizing that they cause us suffering is by turning our suffering into false pleasure, which then give birth to more suffering and more craving. the pleasure of a short term solution: “they shouldn’t do it, it’s wrong, so we’ll write a law”. there is a lot of short-term satisfaction in self-righteousness, in the busy work of petitioning and politicking, in gathering around us people who think like us (“union with what is pleasing”), etc. then the law gets written, it goes against reality (dare i say “it goes against nature”?), so it doesn’t really work, so we push more. the wheel of karma grinds on and on.

how can we help our homophobic brothers and sisters give up their suffering?

here it gets tricky. it’s easy to make a simple-minded jump to the eightfold path and say that being homophobic goes against ideas such as right view, right speech and right action. we could even point out that there are striking similarities to the ten commandments there.

but by doing that, all we do is do exactly what they do: OUR way is right, YOUR way is wrong. we get roped into jumping on OUR karmic wheel. they are wrong! they shouldn’t think like this! suffer, suffer, suffer.

for today, it seems to me that starting at the end of the eightfold path might be something we could experiment with. right mindfulness, right concentration. these can be interpreted in many ways; i suggest for this instance to think of right mindfulness as reflection, and right concentration as meditation. reflection is quiet, careful, unhurried contemplation of the situation. of reality. meditation stills the mind and body. these two take us out of the craziness of the frenzied craving for “i HAVE to do something about this!” and “they are SO wrong” and into deeper understanding of underlying realities.

sometimes – often – we can help others best by just stilling our own cravings a bit.

***

others who have talked about buddhism and homophobia:
dharmadude
meditations for black men
my out spirit
san francisco zen center
buddha TN

monkeymind

image by codispodi

best of carnival of eating disorders

welcome to the 24th edition of the carnival of eating disorders! blog carnival has been really problematic for the last few months. so instead of struggling with the blog carnival site, i just went back and looked at some posts from the past that i really enjoyed. here they are:

a poem

for the buddhist carnival, i always start with a poem.  let’s do that here today, too, with an excerpt from a poem by clinically clueless, expressing the challenge of wanting to talk and at the same time wanting to hide the struggles with an eating disorder:

don’t touch this subject because it is mine
i have control and will be just fine

i’ve surrounded it with good defenses
no one will know the self-hatred and the rages

i’m really okay and can handle it on my own
with this i just want to be left alone

finally talking after all these years
makes me feel all my fears

yet, comfort in finally sharing
with someone loving and caring

no matter my weight the feelings and thoughts always there
i think, all i ever wanted was someone just to hear

no one really knows what goes on in my head
starting to talk is what i know i need to do instead

body image, men and women

hugo schwyzer talks about male and female body anxiety in glorious me:

it’s a classically masculine anxiety: the sense that the body is a “performance machine” threatened by sloth and by ageing, always in need of vigilant monitoring.

here’s a LOUD contribution. i won’t comment on it because, well, nancy hayssen says it all:

today at the gym, i was noticing how many women love to tear themselves apart.

too fat, too old, too big, too much cellulite, butts too big . . . and the best one of all is: “if only i could get FLAT ABS” …

WHO CARES!
women are NOT made to have flat stomachs!
it’s NOT truly feminine.
women’s bodies are made to have babies.
women are not naturally supposed to have:
* barbie doll fake breasts
* rock hard anything
* plastic injections of God knows what
* fake boobs, fake butts, fake ANYTHING

. . . . INCLUDING rock hard flat abs which serve NO purpose whatsoever!! except to feed into the media hype, sell more ab machines, make plastic surgeons money and fuel the economy some more!

get over it!

a real woman has full hips to give birth to babies, nurtures and comforts others with her soft skin (and YES! some FAT on her body), feeds her young milk from her breasts . . .

and isn’t so self-absorbed that the only thing that matters the most in life is getting her stomach to look like someone flat ironed it to death!

maybe it’s time for women to wake up and know it’s OKAY to be a real woman. fat butts and all.

read the rest here, at the flat ab gym rant!

in this powerful post, dr. susan gregg talks about the difference between domination and dominion:

society is based on domination. the way our mind thinks is most often based on domination: black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, positive emotions and negative ones. symbolically this is represented as a line. as we deepen our connection with our spirit, with our true nature we move into dominion. symbolically dominion is represented as a sphere.

after explaining this concept a little more, she then posts a video that illustrates her thoughts in a deeply moving way. everyone who has ever had any issues with body image or any other feelings of “otherness” will know what susan is talking about. please visit her post, judgment, domination and the line.

and here is a video clip of the film shredded submitted by daniel lafleche. it provides an unusual glimpse into the problem of body image for teenage males, and warns about steroid use.

overeating

sacha brings us body hate at her blog that is so queer… she talks about the dieting experience, something that many of my readers will be very familiar with:

a room full of women that got fat, not because they’re stupid, not because they like chocolate and not because they have no willpower. it is a room full of women who are doing everything they can to get through each day. … and sometimes that means 15 oreos.

therapydoc, witty as always, has a very good suggestion for what to do when overcome by cravings or assaulted by the mounds of food we’re dealing with this time of year

the problem: tis the season to eat like crazy. i understand that starting october 31, eating season begins. most of humankind gains a few to a thousand pounds by january 2. in the northern climes it’s fatten up to melt the snow …

the solution: let us consider the nap. the nap is perhaps the most under-rated, yet effective way to stop a binge,napping away a binge and it need not be a cat nap (short) or a sexual nap (preferably long). it can just be a nap. and you can reach for the sack in a minute, seriously, crawl right under that afghan and close those baby blues, refresh your rhodopsin and reboot your head. and it costs nothing.

overexercising

jenna, in her post i remember running, muses

i remember listening to lectures about anorexia athletica and the “female athlete triad.” i remember seeing team-mates sneak back to the gym after practice to do extra elliptical workouts. i remember looking on their plates and seeing only peas and sprouts there. i remember diagnoses of anemia, bulimia, and stress fractures.

food addiction

jolynn braley from the fit shack talks about some interesting research conducted by dr. theron g. randolph:

his article correlates to what i have been writing about sugar (that it is a drug), and he specifically points out that corn is the leading cause of chronic food addiction in this century. high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, these are all sugars made from corn and are main ingredients in most processed food and fast food.

i also learned that corn is the most prevalent ingredient in alcohol manufacturing, and that it is corn sugar that is used in cigarettes (i thought it was cane sugar)

fascinating stuff! read on in her article can food addiction lead to drug addiction?. i’m not sure that i would 100% subscribe to the “one addiction leads to another” theory but randolph’s research is most definitely worth pondering. he also talks about the connection between food allergies and food addiction, a topic much discussed by the 12-step recovery community.

research

let’s follow this with a post from sizenet, a fat acceptance site, which looks at BMI (body mass index) as a measure of fat distribution across the body. it does this from an engineer’s point of view. a great fan of interdisciplinary research, i’m happy to post this here.

BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. a person five feet tall and weighing 128 pounds is 1.52 meters tall and masses 58 kilograms, yielding a BMI of 25. according to the BMI charts, this person just misses being “normal” and is at the bottom end of the “overweight” range.

if we scale that same person up to six feet tall and keep all proportions the same, then height increases by a factor of 1.2 (20% higher), and so does waist, arm length, inseam, and every other linear measure. so volume and mass increase by 1.2 cubed, or 1.728. the six-foot tall (1.83 m tall) person of the same proportions weighs 221 pounds (masses 100 kg), and so has a BMI of 30. so, this person just misses being “overweight” and is at the bottom end of the “obese” range.

something’s not right; the taller person comes out “fatter” even though he/she has the same proportions as the shorter one.

for the rest of the article, go here.

in second generation of nutrigenomics products – what to expect? at eye on DNA, rachel c. dechenne states that these products are “going to change the face of the functional food industry, providing it with the “scientific foundations” for its wider ambitions.” she adds that her concern

is that almost no research has been done on the broad societal implications of this type of nutrigenomics-developed products including their impacts on consumer’s perception of official dietary patterns. what about its impact on captive audience in lower socio-economic population in the north and in emerging countries? will they being able to buy these new superfoods? would this bring a more fatalistic attitude towards eating unhealthy food?

spirituality

bad buddhist vs. the sixth precept is the title of a blog post by marie that was submitted to the last carnival of eating disorders. i was quite intrigued by it and would like to talk a bit more about it.

buddhist precepts, says diane esshin rizzetto in waking up to what you do

can be thought of as a beacon of light, much like a lighthouse beacon that warns sailors that they are entering dangerous waters and guides them on course … pay attention! look! listen! … the precepts are offered and received as tools to help free us from domination by the ever-changing stream of thoughts, feelings and sensations.

there is a varying number of precepts (5, 10, 227 …). marie talks about the precept to abstain from taking untimely meals.

in observing the sixth precept, the lay buddhist eats one or two simple meals between dawn and noon and avoids taking food beyond that. this cuts down the time spent on meals and allows him more time to spend on meditation.

yes, what do you want to spend your time on? no matter how we look at time, we only have a limited supply of it. come to think of it, do we want to “spend” it or do we want to “use” it?

watching TV and mindlessly crunching potato chips would definitely fall under the “spending” category. it goes into the “expenses” column – and not an expense in the form of investment. actually, it’s an investment in liabilities.

anorexia

lola snow has a thoughtful post on the notion of being special, something very important for a lot of people who are in the throes of anorexia. some would say that being anorexic is about being special, about showing the control that results in standing out. in 12-step circles, this attitude is referred to as “terminal uniqueness”, a sometimes literally life-threatening attitude of being different: needing to be different, suffering from being different and the “no-one understands me” syndrome. there are a lot of interesting conversations about what it means to become less terminally unique and still remain the unique one-of-a-kind specimen that each and every one of us is. here’s lola’s contribution to that conversation: becoming unspecial.

and a very controversial issue: pro-anorexia mothers. ex-model, ex-anorexic “mamavision” refers to a group of mothers on livejournal who are practicing anorexics:

there is no way in hell a mother can be pro ana, and be a healthy positive influence on her child. it’s impossible. these women who are are choosing this selfish, dangerous, vain lifestyle shouldn’t be parents. i believe if a social worker were to see their online behavior, their parental ability would be in jeopardy.

since i see eating disorders as a mental health issue, i have a hard time thinking of these mothers as “choosing a lifestyle”. just like people who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and even addictions don’t choose to live like that. in many situations they might tell themselves that it is a choice; it makes us feel more powerful if we think we choose something. – but i digress; that’s material for another post.

at any rate, mamavision’s opinion is worth noting. at the other end of the spectrum, we find a very well put-together video by laura collins, who interviewed a number of eating disorder specialists on the question of whether parents are the cause of eating disorders.

orthorexia
the article on orthorexia at every woman has an eating disorder is interesting because of the many comments contributed to it – from people who suffer from it, from health professionals, etc. definitely worth a read.

a book

adventures in reading reviews a book about – well, about women like me, i guess

the day i ate whatever i wanted and other small acts of liberation [is] the latest collection from elizabeth berg. this was my first time reading anything by berg and i found the collection humorous, thoughtful, and nice.

the thirteen stories scrutinize mostly middle-aged-women’s relationships with food, body image, aging and family.

anorexia and men

at the new gay, an insightful 2-part series on the experiences of a gay man falling prey to, and then recovering from, anorexia: i was a full-on feminist in every sense of the word – save one. my unrelenting best friend, who always kept me in check, fiercely and consistently pointed out how hypocritical i was being in obsessing over my body. one day she put her foot down. she demanded that i sit and not get up until i had read an essay titled the body politic in an anthology of writings by third-wave feminists called listen up: voices from the next feminist generation. i acquiesced, annoyed. i was never the same

other interesting stuff

i also enjoyed reading henry bagdasarian’s interesting observations in food and credit products are not very different from each other posted at free identity theft prevention, detection and fraud solutions.

i recently observed how food and credit products are similar to each other as i was watching a paid weight loss program on TV. it also reminded me how lucrative it must be for companies to sell us more of both food and credit products and then come to our rescue by offering us other products like diet and debt consolidation programs to resolve the problems that resulted from over consuming their products in the fist place.

tiernan o faolain from american red tory has an interesting list on the connection between obesity and poverty, another issue that is often overlooked. here are some points:

# supermarkets and grocery stores move out of poor neighborhoods; “convenience” stores and liquor stores move in.
# sometimes when you’re down on your luck, you just say, “screw it,” and indulge.
# for those of us working two or three jobs to stay afloat, whole foods and PCC aren’t open 24/7, while 7-11 is.
# and even if they were, who can afford them?! health food is more expensive than the crap.
# as the salon article points out, high fructose corn syrup and other bad things are federally subsidized, holding down their cost. (talk about gummint programs!)
# historically speaking, before the enclosure of the commons forced many of the poor to work for wages in the cities’ industries (owned or invested-in by their rural landlords!), they had family farms they worked, with all that physical exertion and relative self-sufficiency to boot. here in america we never even had a chance!

read here for tiernan’s complete article on what makes poor americans overweight.

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so here you have it.

because of the difficulties with the blog carnival site, i’ll have to rethink hosting carnivals. maybe i’ll keep going, maybe i’ll do something else. if any of you have any ideas, let me know. perhaps a group writing project a few times a year instead?

2 years of carnival of eating disorders!

welcome to two years of the carnival of eating disorders!

yes, it’s been two years as of today. here’s how it all started:

if you’re not familiar with blog carnivals, you may think this is an odd name – this link here will tell you more about blog carnivals. this carnival contains articles about bulimia, anorexia, orthorexia, body image and overeating gathered from other blogs.

i’d like to tell you right off that this carnival is not about dieting – for a very simple reason. dieting is usually the last thing needed by people who struggle with food. the majority of them already know pretty much all they need to know, and more.

difficulties around food often start quite early in a person’s life. for the first few years, these difficulties are often not taken very seriously. this is frequently followed by a period of immersing oneself in a variety of efforts to lose weight, which tends to be accompanied with reading up on (and following) information about dieting and nutrition.

for some people, that does the trick, and serious problems with food never become chronic. for others, though, this is the beginning of a downward spiral, centered around an obsession with eating food and losing weight. interestingly enough, this is the same for people who overeat and those who undereat – only how they go about these activities differs.

what helps in these situations is not yet another diet but a whole different outlook and set of behaviours around eating and body image.

what do you think? is this a valid introduction to a description of eating disorders? the only thing i would change today would be to add a sentence somewhere about body image because one way or another, that’s a related issue for everyone.

after this long introduction, i’ll do the same this time around that i do with the buddhist carnival (which also appears here on change therapy) and post this carnival in two parts. don’t want to make you work too hard, seeing that you need to get going with your new year’s eve celebrations 🙂  here’s part one, then:

anorexia and gay men
at the new gay, an insightful 2-part series on the experiences of a gay man falling prey to, and then recovering from, anorexia:

i was a full-on feminist in every sense of the word – save one. my unrelenting best friend, who always kept me in check, fiercely and consistently pointed out how hypocritical i was being in obsessing over my body. one day she put her foot down. she demanded that i sit and not get up until i had read an essay titled the body politic in an anthology of writings by third-wave feminists called listen up: voices from the next feminist generation. i acquiesced, annoyed. i was never the same.

well, as you can imagine – that book went right on my books to read shelf!

yoga: a new way to fight anorexia and bulimia
eating disorders are complex; so are the ways in which people recover. reading a book helps one person; yoga is a key element of recovery for others:

after carolyn coston took her first yoga class, she burst into tears. “this is not a real workout!” she thought. coston, then in her 20s, had recovered from anorexia but was battling an exercise addiction.

“i was used to pounding the pavement and burning tons of calories,” said coston, who had dropped 45 pounds at the height of her anorexia.

that was 30 years ago. thousands of sun salutations later, the trim but healthy blonde is grateful for the way yoga taught her to respect her body and helped her keep her anorexia and exercise addiction at bay.

bulimia is a dental disease
i was really excited to see this blog post and to hear about the book. it’s so important for health professionals to work together in helping people with eating disorders recover. like all chronic or long-lasting conditions, it doesn’t take long at all for an eating disorder to affect all areas of one’s life – one could say that that’s when the difficulties really start to set in. in that sense, health professionals who deal with chronic or persistent conditions could take a page from addiction specialists: the severity of the addiction is often measured by how much it affects the rest of one’s life. it’s not just about how much gin you pour down the chute if you’re an alcoholic or how many hours you spend on the treadmill if you’re an exercise addict – it’s what happens after and around that. how much time do you get to spend with your family if you’re busy at the bar or at the gym? what does obesity do to a person’s knees and feet? in my experience, eating disorder specialists do look at these issues but it’s the other health professionals – people in sports medicine, orthopedics and yes, dentistry – who will do well in educating themselves better in this area.

so much for my rant. let’s see what tiptoe from between living and existing has to say:

we all know that eating disorders can wreck havoc on oral health. bulimia, most notably can take a heavier toll at first symptoms which continue to accumulate further as the eating disorder progresses. in this press release, dr. brian mckay, a dentist in seattle, discusses his new book, bulimia is a dental disease.mckay’s goal is not only to educate about the damage of bulimia to one’s oral health, but also to bring together the dental community in helping eating disorder clients. mckay says, “we need a change in the standard of care. dentists must form alliances with eating disorder professionals. together we can treat both the mental and oral aspects of this disease and the result should be a higher success rate. there is nothing more inviting than seeing someone smile again.”

read here for the rest.

that’s it for today. i’ll be posting the rest some time by january 7.  in the meantime, do you have, or do you know, a post that would be a good addition to this carnival? if so, please submit it here or drop me a line, and we can enjoy it next month, at the carnival of eating disorders on january 31.