Are you lonely? No, it’s not your fault! Don’t believe those trendy articles that blame the victim!

Have you read all that “positive thinking” stuff out there?  Those magazine articles that say “If you are lonely, it’s your ATTITUDE that’s the problem?”  Oh, please.

I’m going to cut to the quick. (Sometimes I do, often I beat around the bush.)  She didn’t take into account societal prejudice, hatred, bullying, and stigma.  Not one bit.

It very well could be true, that people don’t like you.  Only not for the reasons you think.  It’s not because you’ve got some moral problem or because you are a defective.  YOU DID NOTHING WRONG.  The REAL reason folks don’t like you is because they are jerks.  They gossip.  Let’s face it.  They yap.  Prejudice and stigma.

So look at the schoolyard and tell me what you see.  The fat kid gets teased.  Why?  For no reason.

So society hates poor people, sick people, the veterans our country used and then tried to make excuses to, those it labels “crazy,” anyone with some “other” skin color…oh, anyone different whatsoever.

I remember the peels of laughter and jeering of mean girls in junior high.  Why?  My ankle socks.  Wrong color, wrong length.  The schoolyard is a microcosm of society and it wasn’t my fault that I was too young to shop for my own clothes.  It took months of PR with my mom and countless elastic bands around my shins before finally I found a pair of the “right” socks that didn’t make me the laughing stock of seventh grade.  I wasn’t even fat!  Can you imagine the nightmare the “fat kid” went through?

Don’t tell me to be “politically correct” and not talk about it, cuz we all know there was one “fat kid” in the class that got it bad.  I was a kid that got teased for other reasons.  So I cried for the “retarded kids,” the kids with various injuries, the kids who had some facial scars, the very tall kids, the kids who walked funny and everyone laughed.  I cried for the kids that had trouble in gym class cuz they got laughed at and I wanted to say, STOP!

That’s our society now, and we’re grownups now.  Do people grow up on the inside?  Naw, folks gossip. That’s the adult way that they tease, the grownup version of teasing the kids that are different.

Gossip takes on different forms and it’s often disguised.  Your medical record, of course, contains gossip, stuff that isn’t scientific, but opinion based on no scientific measurement or data.  This stuff gets spread around like wildfire.

Then there are the patronizing folks that claim they love you, but they don’t.  They tell you, “We care so we spoke of you….” and you notice they yapped some untrue statement about you all over your school or your town or social media or wherever you hang out.  How lovely.  You feel like everyone hates you.

No, I refuse to leave off here and say life totally sucks and the human race sucks so bad that we lonely folks might as well give up.  I’ll tell you why.

It’s not true, first of all, that everyone goes though extreme bad shit.  Most people in our society have never been through extreme social isolation.

Okay, so imagine the writer at the writer’s retreat.  Alone in a cabin for a month with no one around.  He knows he has loving family waiting for him when he’s done writing that novel.  Friends, family, a spouse, kids, his teaching job.  Solitude is awesome for writers.

Now imagine having no idea how you ended up in that cabin.  No loving family waiting.  No publisher.  No teaching job.  No way home or out of there.  No end in sight.

I’m here to tell you that you didn’t cause the “cabin in the woods” problem (it’s a metaphor I’m using).  Societal hatred and of course, bad luck caused it.  It’s not because of your “character” or “bad personality.”

Be patient and persistent.  Don’t give up.  I didn’t.  I’m not lonely like I used to be.  To end the extreme loneliness and social isolation, I didn’t have to fake it and pretend to be someone I wasn’t.  I didn’t have to put on a mask.  I didn’t have to be anyone’s slave or take bad happy pills or join a support group or “comply” or pretend or kiss anyone’s ass.  I didn’t have to admit I was “wrong” and fake some confession.  Because I wasn’t wrong!  I was right all along.  And slowly, folks are waking up to that fact.  I do have friends now and I am cherished and loved.  I feel proud of who I am.

Be yourself.  You are wonderful just the way you are.

If she only had known – A letter to Dr. P, my former shrink who may even in fact read this someday

She was giving me those pills
And every day, I asked Joe,”What is happening to my body?
I don’t know why I keep gaining weight.”

“I wish there was something I could do,” he said,
“I don’t understand it, either.  I have never seen you
gain weight like this.  You know
how guys are, putting the pounds on all winter,
and then poof!
in a summer, it’s gone.”

And I think about now.
Poof!  A summer, gone.

Dr. P, you thought I was happy on that pill?
No, you were under some delusion.
All I could think of was that stupid weight,
And how badly I wanted to take it off.

I was a mediocre student
Because I never gave a thought to school and writing anymore.
I was focused on the gym now
And calorie-counting.

I spent over twenty hours each week at the gym trying to take the weight off.
People looked at me and I was the fat girl at the gym.
One day, I did the bike real fast, working up a sweat, and got a clap from people.
I felt so humiliated I never wanted to go back,

Finally, you took me off the pill.
And the pounds came off.
My writing took off.
And here I am.

I listened to the music I worked out to during all those years,
My “fat music,” which I’ve got on right now, right here in my apartment,
With tears in my eyes right now.

I can’t believe that during our last session, you were so delusional
As to tell me I was happy during my years on that drug.

After I finally exercising my butt off too much,
My body couldn’t take it anymore,
And I became injured.
I spent three months in a wheelchair
And if I was lucky, I occasionally could hobble using a walker.
I had nobody to help me out.
I cried every day.
I had no transportation except taxicabs about once a month.
They were too expensive so I didn’t get to go out.

My therapist’s office wasn’t wheelchair accessible.
Would I pay $1,000 to go back to those days now?
To be drugged to death, to have a therapist I disliked,
To have a body I couldn’t stand,
To be in physical pain every time I stood up.
People took one look at me,
The fat lady struggling in her walker,
They figured I was “mentally retarded.”
So they discriminated against me and
Helped me with things like dialing numbers and
Filling out forms.
Hey, I have a brain in my head.
Bug off.

I don’t think I want to go back to being drugged, Dr. P.
And you thought I was “happy”?

I think we have a misunderstanding.

Perhaps including a current photo of myself might be an appropriate way
To end this letter, but I’m feeling shy right now.
Let me only say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
I’ve trimmed down a bit.

And Joe is gone, too.
Ten years now since he died.

As he said,
In a summer, poof! You can be gone.

As fragile as the candles we light in church,
Which can be blown out with the slightest puff of wind.
These simple daily reminders
I felt like one of those candles while walking Puzzle this morning,
Feeling like I could be blown out by the wind.
Feeling like this tiny dog could pull me over.

Advantage to the DSM-5’s inclusion of Binge Eating Disorder as an actual diagnosis

Okay, having just read an excellent dispute of this….Well put….

Of course, there are subsets and different mindsets of binge eaters.  I have no clue what it’s like to have been overweight since early on, and be fighting a lifelong weight issue and of course, perhaps the worst of it, the bullying and horrible weight bias from I mean like day one that goes along with being the least bit chubby or accused of having even one part of you that’s even imagined as chubby.

This is another world and it’s a world I’ve stepped into very briefly in my adult life.  Let’s say I tested the waters, then quickly yanked my big toe out as if the pool was filled with sharks.  I was fucking terrified.

Oh yeah, I do remember struggling with my weight, begging my doctor to take me off the darned pill that had gotten me to that point.  In other words, this is a trait that never really happened to me except by artificially-induced means, I’m talking true extremes.  Like you had to force me into that mold.

Okay, so if a person is of that mold, then, is it a different disorder than if they are my type that is the restrictive type, that started their disorder because of a diet?

See, so many people I know of with ED started with a diet, maybe schemed to get skinny, then developed further bad habits such as binge eating cuz their bodies were so starved.  Then, say, they panicked, saying, WTF? what’s this? and purged out of terror for what they had done.  Then maybe they looked up “laxatives” online and said, “hmm, maybe this will work,” and decided to go that route. Or whatever.  By then, the whole thing is incredibly unstoppable.

Okay, what of this diet…why go on a diet to begin with?  Low self esteem?  I mean, most of us weren’t even fat to begin with, right?  Most of gained “the freshman 10” maybe, or something very, very negligible and were still within range and could very well have exercised it off during summer break instead of going on that 300 calories a day crash diet we went on.

Agreeably, this is not the same as the pattern of the person who has been overweight since childhood.  I am wondering to what extent the dining commons, the Freshman Ten, or any of this…none of this means the same to the entering freshman who comes in say, already clinically obese and most likely the instant target of bullying.  Or maybe not.  You hear about the stereotypes.  The “fat kid” who is the “life of the party.”  Or, the “fat kid” who is, conversely, the “depressed loner.”  Either may be a secret binge eater.  Or maybe the kid never does have what we now will know, officially, as this painful disorder, Binge Eating Disorder, but the kid overeats at many, many meals, enough to sustain a larger body than he or she should have.

And folks, are we ever, ever going to find out?  For freaking years and years and years?  Sure, the presentation is that this is the fat kid.  Sure, the other young college folk assume maybe the kid “likes” to eat.  They dismiss this.  No one wants to talk about it and it ends up an uncomfortable subject.  Like, forever.  This is a painful path to walk on.   Even doctors don’t tread this ground.

Well, folks, they should.  And now, they will.  Binge eating is real and it’s serious.  Just as serious for someone overweight as it is for me who has anorexia with binge eating and does not and is unable to throw up, or someone with anorexia who does throw up, which is the one written up somewhere, the “binge-purge” type.  Do we have to talk about these stereotypes even?

Binge eating is serious for anyone who does binge eating and should be treated seriously, as seriously as is the behavior.

Binge eating itself causes massive damage in our society and of course to each and every individual sufferer. 

And yes, you can indeed die directly from the act of binge eating alone.

Never mind the suicides, car accidents, financial ruin, wrecked marriages, night after night of lost sleep, shattered sex lives, multitude of health concerns, legal issues, and troubled children.

Yep.  I’d say BED is right up there with severe alcoholism.

I’ll throw homelessness in there, too.

And yes, you CAN smell it on a person.  Not all the time, but some of the time.  Try a whiff of donuts or chocolate or the smell of dangerously high blood sugar on a person’s breath.  Or the scary drop in blood sugar some folks experience afterward.

I’m going to put out a poll and I hope it posts related to binge eating.  I believe these polls are anonymous.  Or I hope so.  I myself that I know of will be unable to track folks who answer.  (Don’t panic yet…no obligation to answer but it will help change the world…well, maybe.  I hope in my own little delusion of grandeur over here that everything I do makes its footprint on the world.  Well, everything we do, sorry, does a carbon footprint thing, they say, right?)

If you don’t want to answer the poll, and I’ll bet most of you won’t, or if you have never or generally don’t engage in binge eating, then just think about the questions and what your answers are or what someone else’s answers might be.  And think about tomorrow.  Goodnight.

Okay, see ya later, done with polls…I hope, again, I did this right.  Best of luck answering them.

If I don’t say anything, no one will ever know…bullying….Goddard peeps, listen up

This occurred in January 2005.  I would call it a case of what they now call weight bias, or that’s one term for it.  I hope I can write this down real fast and then go to sleep for a while. It is daytime and I plan to sleep all day.

My name is Julie Greene.

It happened at all places, the Winter 2005 Goddard College residency, Plainfield, VT campus.  It is now 2013 and I’ll bet I’ve talked about this before but I want to make this loud and clear because I may not have another chance.  I was, in fact, going to contact the college to let them know that it happened, but now, it all seems rather pointless.

See, I was rather overweight then.  I had been taking the medication Seroquel, and had just gained 50 pounds in six months from the medication.  I am not overweight now and for most of my life I have been skinny.

So I showed up at the 2005 residency at five foot one and 297 pounds.  Yep.  I looked and felt rather yucky.  Especially considering that no, I am not “big boned” or “naturally curvy” or any of that bullshit.

So Goddard peeps, listen up.  Cuz if you don’t, no one will.  There were two residencies going on at the time.  Not just the writing one.  There was the Health Arts and Sciences one.  So when we had meals, we sat with the HAS students, too.

Those HAS students would go on and on about nutrition.  And I swear they did not know a thing about nutrition as far as I could tell.  Just total baloney.  What, folks, were their qualifications?

Every time I sat down to eat, they would come sit with me and yap about how fat I was and criticize what I was eating.  “You shouldn’t eat that, Julie, no wonder you are a fat pig.”  And so on.

I wanted to eat alone, or with one of the writing students.  But these HAS students kept on bombarding me no matter how hard I tried.  They would not leave me alone.  “You are fat because….”

I swore I would never go back to Goddard ever again.  I took time off.  I didn’t know what to do.

And in fact, I did indeed transfer to the Port Townsend campus.  I was much happier there.  I told no one of the bullying incidents.  But now, you know.  Just thought I’d say it, and lay it out on the table, just for the record, cuz I may not get another chance.

Today, I suffer from anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder.  I see no way out.