An Interview I Did on Overcoming an Eating Disorder…

Some have you have seen this already, but I wanted to share this on here for those of you who haven’t…

http://theblackdogblog.com/2013/07/katie-heeran-gets-busy-living-an-interview-on-eating-disorders-yoga-freedom/

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Porcelain

Cold porcelain memories

Dreams, emptied, staring back at me

In the True State they were in back then:

Vile, lifeless —

Acid dreams in porcelain

I remember way back

When I played

When the sun Stayed

That hot cement

We’d throw our pool towels down on it

Lie on our stomachs — dripping wet

Stare at each other excitedly

As if we Knew some Secret Thing

(Something I’ve long since forgotten)

The cool breeze blew over our little-girl backs

With our little-girl secrets and our little-girl laughs

I sometimes wish I could go back

But the memories feel like dreams

Cut to:

The little-girl Blues

I’d stay in my cold, little-girl room

Crying and crying til my eyes met with sleep

Battling possession in my little-girl dreams

The boys at school all made fun of me

I remember how he would say I was

Flat as a Board

Stupid

Fucking ugly

A fat fucking bitch

I remember when the girls laughed

I didn’t know why

I just knew I wasn’t wanted

I wasn’t cool

Tried to fit in

In that suffocating school

Somehow always felt like a fool

Who didn’t ever have a clue

Of what it took or meant to be cool

At home I was told

Don’t let them know

The pain that you feel

They want that, you know

So I hid all the pain

Like a duck – let it roll – but

Life was not taking a little-girl toll

Something closed up in me one day

Quite permanently

I don’t remember the first time I threw up

But I knew I had found

Something for Me

Something to speak when I could not speak

I remember way back

When I played

When the sun Stayed

When I did not know the meaning of Shame

I can hear her laughter now

Little girl, little girl

Please come back out.

Happy Ending

I don’t want to eat

I don’t want to Need

I don’t want to want

To want to need to Feed

I hate that fairy tales told me

That Life should only be

This ever-after love-fest

Filled with just One Thing

They sure as hell left out a lot

There at The (gift-wrapped) End

Forgot to say Life’s challenges —

The evil witches, the Malices

The Queen of Hearts and Alices

Are merged far past The End

So the darkness and the struggles

Don’t just cease when evil dies

Death is just a pit-stop

Another Thing will rise

And They didn’t ever tell us

That the Princess is a zealot

And Charming oh-so-jealous

‘Cuz that would ruin that Happy End

I hate that fairy tales told me

That darkness is Out There

That Perfection is a pretty princess —

Because Real Life requires Wear!

Dirty, bloody, messy, muddy

Darkness lives Inside

But The Hero also lives within

Just open that Third Eye

Do the work, eradicate

The inner, self-effacing Hate

Face the Monster, don’t run away

Watch darkness be transformed

You don’t need no Fairy Godmother

To make yourself Reborn

As for me,

I may not want to eat

I may not want to Need

I may not want to wrestle

With What Will Truly Feed

But as I do I can feel

My heart, betrayed, is mending

I’d rather have an authentic life –

No, I don’t need a Happy Ending.

The Sick Girl

She walks in with her too-loose sweats

Flat ass

Casual tee

Eyes darting about

Until they reach their destination:

The cookie display

The snack-tray

She fingers a bag of BBQ chips

Pursing her lips

Hating and loving the salty sweet things

She gets to the front

She’s ordering

Yep

I can always spot The Sick Girl

I see her mind darting internally

As fast as those eyes

A million thoughts about

What to buy, what to buy!?

But one bag would never be quite the thing

To stop the Pastry Sirens from their incessant singing

And One Cookie is like blasphemy

I mean, really?

Really!?

Really. You must be joking.

As if there were such a thing as One anything

When it comes to her Insatiable Feeding

She can’t fill the hole in her Soul

With any material

Or flour-and-sugar-filled thing

But she’d get an A-plus for trying

And trying

She orders safely ‘til she can go crazy

“Non-fat latte, please.”

Yep. I can always spot The Sick Girl.

She’s at the supermarket now

Free to unleash the Craving Beast

With her unwashed hair in her face

Or Hat or hoodie

Attempting to be incognito as her bony fingers throw in

5 more boxes of Lucky Charms

Or Haagen Daz

Or chocolate-caramel bars

Her manicured nails distracting from

Her knuckle scars

On fingers that help her get every last bit

Out

They help her shout in that silent kind of shout

Because she doesn’t know what the hell to do

But try and numb the pain all out

I would try and meet her gaze and say

Everything will be okay

But the truth is I don’t know

And she thinks she’s hidden, anyway

There, on bright florescent light display

In aisle 3

She’s standing, then, in front of me

The clerk tries to make conversation

As she scans across things no one should eat

The Sick Girl can’t mutter back a single word

‘Cuz talking about the weather is just absurd

When her life is forever hanging in the balance

And you might Judge her but I do not

For we should never mistake Pain for Malice

I walk out, I say a prayer

One day she will be the one in line behind

The Sick Girl.

(Or better yet, there won’t be a Sick Girl to be in line behind.)

SOLD

I am tinged green by these Summertime, Wintertime

All-The-Time means

The Ad Man has of slamming us against the Shame Bricks

Slicing us through and through

Again and Again and Again

With their never-ending selling

Telling us what our own Souls are

Lest we start to think that ought to be

Our own self-discovery

Lest we start to think

Well, damn

Lest we start to Think.

We all wonder where the Rage comes from

As it jumps out of the shadows into a

Darkened, crowded theater

Spewing bullets into infants

Where there ain’t no caped crusader

Just blood and chaos

Followed by The Bachelor Host Chris Harrison

Expressing “Everyone here at ABCs deepest sympathies…”

“And NOW…”

— Announcer Voice! —

“Back to the Bachelor Pad!”

And messages from our euphemistic Sponsors

And Un-Reality Housewives masquerading as reality so much that it has become Reality

With their Fake Everything

Now Mentors to the 12 year old girls

Who come into my office Anorexic or smelling like vomit

Jabbering on starry-eyed about The Kardashians who in turn say,

“We’re just business women.”

In the business of selling an image of…?

“Normalcy. We’re normal.” Robot-Kim insists with her unmoving 20-something face

And inflated lipscheeksbuttpocketbook

GIVE ME A BREAK

When will we STOP?

Put our wallets away.

Go visit our neighbors?

Unglue ourselves from whatever electronic device is controlling us this instant?

Take back what we have

Sold.

Addiction: Why can’t they “just stop?”

You might be surprised by how often I hear people ask why an addict can’t “just stop.” Usually, though I hate to say it, people ask the question not as a real question but more as judgment — with disdain and disgust in their voices. The internal dialogue (and often, sadly, external dialogue!) sounding something like this:

I don’t do that. How hard can it be? They must be weak. It’s their own fault.

Imagine someone saying those things about a person who has cancer.

Why don’t they just get better? It’s not that hard. They must be weak. It’s their own fault.

Never in a million years do we hear that, right? Yet people with addiction (though addiction is considered a disease by medical and psychological professionals) are often stigmatized.  There is this “thing” about placing blame on addicts. They are seen as merely “unable to control themselves” without an understanding as to why that is! This blog is to address the people who may struggle with understanding the “why.”

Let’s start with the basics: One definition of “illness” is “poor health resulting from disease of body or mind.”  (Webster’s). This is the first, simple piece of information that many people seem incapable of taking in: that the mind, just like the body, can be ill and it does not make the illness the person’s “fault.” In addition, when something is termed a “disease,” that term does not just attach itself to a word without a whole bunch of really motivated, intelligent people (say doctors or psychologists) having looked into the subject in some sort of extensive way; say, for example, a few thousand dissertations, research papers and laboratory studies.  In fact, in order to call something a “disease,” certain criteria need to be met. Now, I don’t know a whole lot about how that works in the medical profession, but in the psychological world, there is a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Inside it, there are criteria (i.e. a checklist of sorts) that an individual would have to meet in order to be considered having a specific disorder or diagnosis. It is the same with Addiction; it is called a disease because there are symptoms that all addicts have, the main symptom being an inability to stop the behavior despite a desire to stop  and numerous attempts. So when people who do not understand addiction or how it can be a disease, and mistakenly connect addiction to willpower or lack thereof, they are very much contributing to the horrific self-blame, self-hate and shame that are the very things keeping an addict stuck in perpetuating the cycle.

That leads me to pose the questions: Who would choose to be an addict? And, along those lines, who would choose cancer?

I can only speak from personal experience when I say that I am an addict (food, my main drug of choice) and also big on personal responsibility. People who misunderstand the disease often can’t hold that both of these facts can be true. I made this mistake for 15 years. It HAD to be “my fault,” “my choice.” How could I not have control of what I was doing, when I functioned fine in other aspects of life? I made a private vow that I would never “play the victim.” I vowed to take responsibility for my binging and purging: I was choosing this. The problem? I wasn’t. I spent 15 years of my life trying to fix the very thing my brain had gotten me into! Imagine that: trusting in a brain that led me to the coping mechanism of bulimia. That’s part of what makes addiction so dicey — “But, wait! I can trust my brain to finish this paper…to drive me to my friend’s house…to speak in a fairly cohesive way!” But I can’t trust it when it comes to my drug of choice. That split is enough to drive a person mad. And because I was convinced I had the power to stop the cycle myself, I spent many years in it — attempting desperately to prove that I could.  I came to realize that there are greater forces than willpower — forces like nature, illness, unconsciousness, even emotions like fear or love. As they say in 12-step programs, I came to see I was powerless and therefore needed a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity. That power, for me, wound up being a belief in yes, a Higher Power (although I find it important to mention that one need not believe in “God” to recover from an eating disorder or addiction — even community or a support group can be a “power greater than (your)self.”) It also meant a whole lot of personal work. In other words, I treated my illness. A person with cancer generally does not get better without chemotherapy or some form of treatment; a person with diabetes must inject insulin and a person with addiction must do the emotional and mental work it takes to get better (which for an addict may be a myriad of things — such as step-work, therapy, awareness work, medication, and of course living without a once very effective coping mechanism). Is a disease of the mind or spirit still a disease? My bias would be “yes.”

If you are not an addict, and you have trouble comprehending it, I would ask you to think of a personality trait or habit you have that you have had since you were very small. I know a woman who is a crazy-multi-tasker; she quite literally cannot do one thing at a time. I asked her to imagine that for the rest of her life, she could ONLY do one thing at a time. She could not even conceptualize this. This is the task of an addict — to transform the ingrained.

In the end, and I know I’ve said a lot, I wonder most about why we make it about semantics. Is it an actual “disease?” Is it not? Is it more a disorder, less a disease? Since the person initially moves toward it, can it be a disease since there is the element of choice there? (Although, with myself, I cannot remember the first time I threw up or why — so how is that a conscious choice?). But really, I find my heart screaming: WHO CARES? Call it whatever you like. For me, it winds up being just one thing: the sound of human suffering.