Thursday, March 22, 2007

My New Favorite Book

On my MySpace one of the groups I belong to is for RR alums. One of the girls/women/"whatever" I was with had mentioned the book and it sounded interesting. However, over the past I don't know how many years I have read a TON about EDs (for both triggering and not so triggering reasons) and wasn't sure if I really wanted another book. Of course all my other books (both good and bad) were given to Rob before I went to LIFE the last time.

A few weeks ago I got a friend request from the author. My guess it was based on the fact I belong to a couple ED groups on MySpace. Anyway, I accepted and looked at Aimee's MySpace and decided I'll get the book.

Last week at the mall I popped into Borders and bought it. I read it straight through from cover to cover. I bought a copy for Rob and I think he was shocked. So, now I am trying to go through it slowly and really read what she is saying and how that does (or not) apply to me. My only complaint is that it is all based on anorexia and bulimia and leaves out ED-NOS. In some ways that is no biggie because I would venture most of us know where we fall on the spectrum. While to look at me one would guess "COE" I am not even close. My mindset and traits fall into anorexia and, as my RR therapist told me 7 years ago, you are a blip on the screen for bulimic tendencies.

There is so much in here that makes sense to me. Aimee writes:

Our similarities went way beyond where and when we were raised: we both dreaded making a mistake;both hated being the center of attention, even though we craved praise and needed to excel; we didn't laugh easily or openly trust ourselves to relax.
I do think I laugh easily...depending on who I am with...but the rest fits like a glove. Even knowing I am going to make mistakes I dread it. There is no way around it because we aren't perfect (really...I promise...we aren't), but I hate it...especially when I try so hard not to make one. Even presenting to Session the other night I so wanted them to like what I did (putting together our Children's Ministry handbook) and yet I hated that the focus was on me.

Rob accuses me of being there mainly to be compliant. I finally emailed him and told him I have realized there is NOTHING I can say that will convince him otherwise. Then I read this:

"...we try to move patients to a new framework, to enable them to accept growth and change." The problem is that growing and changing run directly counter to the craving of order and familiarity the typifies anorexia nervosa. Carefully constructed rituals and disciplines protect and illusion of emotional safety. By challenging these rigid patterns of behavior and thinking, treatment threatens to expose "unacceptable" emotions like fear and and grief and despair.
Ack! I am realizing how true that is for me. I have rid myself of many food rituals and things like that over the last few years since my last stay at RR, but I have also seen myself other things I try and do to keep some sort of order to my life. Things like working today at the HP instead of seeing Rob, while my choice, has me in a bit of a tizzy and kinda has me paralyzed to do much else today but sit here and blog!

I saw this on one of Aimee's blogs:

I’ve been prowling some of the chat rooms where my new book GAINING is being discussed, and I’ve noticed just one complaint, from those who are still fully in the grip of an eating disorder. Why, they wonder, does the book not spell out “how to” recover?

I find this a very telling comment. It reflects an assumption that there is a single, one-size-fits-all solution. But there is no single way in to an eating disorder. How could there be a single way out?

I fully understand the hunger behind this comment. Just tell me what I have to do to get free of this suffering! But ultimately, freedom comes with self-awareness and self-acceptance. Because each of us has a different “self,” shaped by a different temperament, interests, desires, and experiences, we must each find our own ways to the pursuits and passions and people that best nourish us.

The desire for a prescription also reflects the black-and-white thinking that gives rise to eating disorders in the first place. We get into trouble because we embrace what researchers call the “overvalued ideal” of perfection as suffering. This notion of perfection, I believe, lies closer to the true heart of eating disorders than the ideal of physical thinness.


Dreaming again said...

wow indeed.

awannabe said...

Wonderful, thanks for sharing.

Elaina said...

I just finished reading this book too, and I loved it. It was very insightful. I'm glad you've found it helpful too.

I read your story on Renee's blog, and I really identify with your struggles--as I've encountered similar ones myself. If you're interested, check me out on MySpace at