Friday, April 20, 2012

The Anderson Cooper Daytime Show

I was invited to be on The Anderson Cooper Daytime Show! They flew my mom, me, and my cat Riley out to NYC, put us up in the Hudson Hotel, and we taped the show on Monday!

It's airing here on Monday (the 23rd) at 3:00 PM on CBS.

Excited and nervous!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dick status confirmed.

Yep, I'm a dick (see March 5th's post).

I had a bad feeling about my grandma's chest pains so I, in my grandma's words, "tattled" on her to my mom. While her chest pains were not likely a result of me stressing her out, I still felt like a, well, you know... My mother proceeded to come and take her to the doctor for a checkup, where she had an EKG that appeared abnormal.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur.

I was finishing up working at my grandma's apartment as my mom called to tell me she was taking her to the ER as recommended. An already incredibly stressful day, struggling with depression, my emotions began spilling over. I must have tried to put my facial tinted lotion on 3 times before I realized it was an exercise in futility. Lotion-less streaks running down my face, I grabbed my things and flew out the door.

My grandma means everything to me.

My mother urged me to calm down and go home as she seemed fine and I wouldn't be able to help or anything. I decided maybe that was best, but to calm down before driving I decided to go tanning and do deep breathing. Slightly calmer and a little sweatier, I decided I still wanted to be there for her and now was in a right mind to make that decision.

Usually an excellent driver, I drove like an idiot. The closer I got, the more idiotic. My thinking became clouded and as I approached the ER, I thought, wait, I don't want to follow the ER signs the WHOLE way because that's for people getting dropped off at the ER, not parking, right? Wrong. There is a lot. So I made life slightly more difficult by parking in an outpatient lot and proceeding to ask where I could find my grandma.

"She complained of chest pain and had an abnormal EKG and they suggested we bring her to the ER and so my mom brought her and I didn't know where they would--" 
"She's in the ER. Room 31."

I swear, lady, I'm not always an idiot.

5 hours later, she was fine and discharged with a recommendation for daily aspirin, which she initially refused, but that's another blog.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chest Pains & Epiphany

I just freaked out on my grandma and I feel like a dick.

She saw me eating trail mix I made (almonds/craisins) and said, “Are you munching?” I replied, “yeah…” And she tilted her head forward, raised her eyebrows, and said, “is it healthy?” And I FLIPPED. I didn’t yell, but I started crying. Even in “recovery” if someone tries to exercise control over me in that area I LOSE MY COOL. I even said, “I can eat whatever the hell I want!” “it doesn’t MATTER if it’s healthy. It’s MY body.” She always responds with something trying to diffuse the situation but that doesn’t make sense like, “Well I just want to make sure you’re getting enough to eat…you know there’s cookies in the kitchen.” What the hell? She sounds more confused than I am now! I also feel like a dick because all of this happened on the same day that my grandma had chest pains earlier. If I make that worse or if she has a heart attack today, I will NEVER forgive myself.

I just hate having to walk on eggshells around my mom and grandma with eating. They are honestly two of the most neurotic people I have ever seen interact with food. It must have passed down to my mom and then to me. I have to be sure to break the cycle. I don’t want my daughter or son to have to go through this shit. If I’m eating something in the kitchen or living room, my mom will often peek over or ask, “whatcha got there?” or “whatcha eating?” with this look on her face I can’t describe. When I watch movies or see people interact with others in real life I see the same face in specific situations: ones where someone is eating chocolate or wine or some decadent dessert that they either “shouldn’t” be eating or as if they are indulging in a guilty secret. It’s a look with eyebrows drawn up and sometimes biting their lip. My mom and grandma do that with REGULAR food and ALL food. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen my mom make that face with me eating and I doubt she has any idea. As a matter of fact, if I brought this up, she would definitely deny it. But that’s because it’s not a conscious behavior, I think she has learned through societal messages, her mother, her environment, her life events, whatever, that food = guilt or the enemy or something that has to be restricted to avoid overdoing it and gaining weight. But it’s disturbing because that look is not only reserved for a specific, decadent, rare food item. It’s used for the ACT of EATING, which is unhealthy. Very, very unhealthy. And unconscious. I truly believe she does not recognize it. And to be honest, it’s been bugging me for YEARS. I’ve tried to pin down just WHAT it WAS that was driving me nuts about it, and I’ve finally realized it.

Now, what does this MEAN?
It means, it removes blame from the equation. There's a reason for her behavior, just like there's a reason for her mom's behavior. Trying to point this out to her would likely only result in either 1. denial/dismissal 2. agreement but no change 3. agreement and acknowledgement that change may be health for her and me, but any change will not be lasting. These three possibilities are not products of the cognitive distortion "mind-reading," but rather actual reactions I have had from her over the years in relation to the eating disorder and other behavior of hers and mine.

It also means I can't necessarily change the way she acts, but I can change the way I react to her. But how? And I'm so tired of being the one to have to change. That sounded whiny. OH WELL. Adapt to my disordered behavior!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dog Stew

Did I mention I teach English to South Koreans over the phone?

The textbook was developed by Koreans.
Situation I was to read out loud to my student today:
"Your mom said that it would be rain. And actually it's raining now. Tell your friend that it is raining and your mom mentioned it already."


Best part is the instructions: "Read to student as is in textbook"
They must have had people changing the questions a bit...well DUH! I love when my students point out the incorrect grammar of a question and I'm like, "Yes, I know. But I am paid to read incorrect grammar out loud to you, so.."

Okay, they don't point it out. But if they did, I could say, "See! They tricked you into learning something!"

Oh, and another student talked about eating dog today. In a stew. I had an urge to cover my ears with my elbows, scrunch up my face, and run around the room yelling, "CAN'T HEAR YOU! CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

I have an exam today: SW 622 Psychopathology & Social Deviance and tomorrow: SW 690 Social Research.
Wish me luck...especially for tomorrow. A series of unfortunate events may have led that professor to not be in favor of me.

Stress: increasing. Last semester the stress was terrible, and I almost relapsed. Let's not do that again..mmmK?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Things are getting real...

I never thought macro social work was for me.

I was interested in person-to-person therapy, not addressing social concerns on a larger scale through policy development, lobbying, etc. interests are changing. I'm still interested in clinical social work, but I'd like to be an active advocate for eating disorder recovery as well.


  • I'm working for a non profit called Eating Disorders & Education Network (EDEN) as an eating disorder consultant. I maintain our Facebook and Twitter pages, I developed a new website for the organization (in the process of linking it to our old domain so I'm not going to post the link yet), I actively respond to comments, questions, concerns brought to me through our Facebook page, and I designed the flyer for our fundraiser benefit in May. I'm also on the committee for organizing our annual 5K. Last year I also organized the 5k through the Big House Big Heart race in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • I'm organizing a trip to Washington D.C. to lobby for the FREED Act along with the Eating Disorders Coalition. So far friends, in-recovery friends, fellow social work students, and even some people I don't know are going! We need NUMBERS (the irony).
  • I designed I SURVIVED t-shirts through my online store BreakUpWithED.
  • I actively promote positive body image messages, point out unhealthy and disordered talk/actions, and serve as a media watchdog (pointing out harmful images/ideas/words to media organizations), if you will.
  • I am registered with the National Eating Disorders Association's Awareness Week (NEDAW) as a speaker, which means schools, organizations, events, etc., can find me on the database and request me to talk with them. I received training through a webinar early this week and now feel confident about telling my story and educating others in a manner that is safe for myself and them.
You can be a recovery advocate too. Get involved.

Celebrity Status

Okay, not really.

BUT! I was contacted by an agent from a press agency in the UK that is interested in my story! (see: this post)

She wants to interview me, arrange for a photographer to come to my house (in the US), and publish the story in a newspaper and sell it to magazine companies! OMG that is so hard to believe for me! I am SO honored and grateful!

The photographer is coming this weekend! Excited!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eating Disorders in South Korea

One of my jobs is teaching English to South Koreans over the phone. Ever since their government eased up on regulations regarding Western products, TV shows, movies, music, etc., there has been an increasing pressure to be thin.

Many Koreans believe to be hireable (is that a word?) or able to find a spouse, your weight is an important determinant. Depressing, eh?

It's like saying the number of hairs on your head is a determinant for getting hired! "You only have 50,000 hairs on your head? Don't call us, we'll call you."

Ridiculous, no?

One of the lessons is "Diet" and my students often say, "I'm trying to lose my weight." At this point I struggle with correcting their English or unhealthy cognitions. Hmm...keep my job or plant the seed of awareness that weight is as ridiculous a determiner of self-worth as the number of hairs on your head!

I try to do both as I still need to put bread on the table. ;)