I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Remember Your Goals!

A couple of weeks ago, a member of NAMI Georgia asked me to write two articles for a newsletter for NAMI and I agreed. I was ecstatic! I was told that I could pick out one topic myself and then the other topic would be given to me. I immediately responded by saying that I would write about eating disorders awareness, so imagine my surprise when the person said that he didn't know if that was allowed! WHAT?!!!

This is my therapist's response when I told her what he said, "What?! Of course, it's allowed! They're in the DSM!"

Her response is basically what I said. He looked a little embarrassed, and then tried to laugh it off. To his credit, he told me that I should definitely write the article on eating disorder awareness, so that people will know that in the future.

The thing is, as a person who works for NAMI, he should know this. I felt horribly stigmatized. Are people with eating disorders not welcome at NAMI?

It took me a while to write back to him and ask for more details about the articles, because I was so hurt. I am proud of myself though, because I sent him an email explaining why it took me so long to respond-that I was offended by his lack of knowledge and that I felt stigmatized, which is the exact opposite of NAMI's goal.

And I received no response, except from my eating disorder.

I started ruminating about my weight more and more, making myself miserable and hungry.

Only today did I realize that the major reason why I have been doing this is because my subconscious has been thinking to itself, "You don't believe me? Well, I'll make you believe me! I'll make myself so sick that you will have to understand that an eating disorder is just as serious as any other mental illness and deserves just as much advocacy work!"

*Note: I never claimed that my subconscious is incredibly mature!

Fortunately, that is why one goes to see a therapist! When I told my therapist, Tara Arnold, who is absolutely wonderful, that I was thinking of leaving NAMI, she grounded me with these words of wisdom: "remember your goals!"

She reminded me that I my goals are to be a writer, an activist, and to have a support group. I should not give these goals up, just because someone is ignorant and I certainly should not destroy my health. Oh yeah.

I had let this person take my own power away and the worst thing about this is that by not forgiving him and moving on with my life, I am ultimately hurting myself far more than I am hurting him. I cannot accomplish my goals by giving into my eating disorder, that is for sure.

And I do know that I am welcome at NAMI and that not everyone is so ignorant, for there had been a woman at the meeting who also heard him say that to me. She told me that she knew it was an illness worth talking about for her own daughter-in-law had died from anorexia.

Eating disorders are a mental illness. Their definitions are contained in the DSM-the mental illness Bible. I am going to write those two articles and I am going to continue writing this blog until people understand this. In fact, eating disorders are the mental illness with the highest mortality rate! I just do not feel that that fact can be stressed enough, so I will say it once again:

Eating Disorders are Currently the Mental Illness with The Highest Mortality Rate!!!

Do insurance companies not care, because 90% of its victims are women? Is that why there is so much ignorance about it? As a feminist, it is certainly very hard to not make that assumption!

But the point of this post is that I will not forget or give up on my goals! After my therapy appointment, I tried out a new restaurant and discovered that Pete's Pizza in Marietta has an awesome fettucini spinach and artichoke heart stromboli! I'm on my way to realizing my goals-what are yours?

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