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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guest Blogger Shares Observations on Random Acts of Kindness


Who Does That? 

Recently, I sat in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. The door opened; I assumed I would be ushered to the exam room. But no, it was a woman I had never met. She explained she worked in the back office, but had seen me from time to time. She said to me, “I just wanted to come out and tell you what a pretty smile you have.” 

Later, I was with a friend in a local store that specialized in beads of all shapes and sizes, textures and colors. As my friend discussed her needs with the owner, I chatted with another employee, a young woman named Kara. She wore a beaded bracelet, an intricate masterpiece that had taken her 80 to 90 hours to create. My friend and I both admired the amazing piece of art. Several days later, my husband and I had occasion to be in the same store. Kara approached us. I introduced her to my husband and encouraged him to appreciate the bracelet. Clearly, she wore it every day. The following moment, she took the bracelet off and said, “Here, I want you to have it. “ She placed it on my wrist, and though I protested, she remained resolute. 

These two independent interactions ultimately begged the same question:  “Who does that?” Who takes the time to leave their office to extend a compliment to a woman she does not know? Who bestows a painstakingly crafted item of jewelry upon a relative stranger?
Seriously … Who does that? 

The question does have an answer. People with lovely, generous hearts, and kind, thoughtful  spirits do such things. They turn good thoughts into meaningful action. They take the extra step, go the additional mile, with only one thing in mind: doing something nice for someone else with no thought of personal gain.  

So … question asked, question answered. Case closed. 

No. It is not enough to simply pose a question and then content myself with the obvious answer.  I know experiencing these two significant interactions demands a more deliberate response. I decided it was incumbent upon me to revise the answer to the question.
Who does that? I DO THAT. 

I want to be one of those generous, thoughtful people. I prayed for help. I asked the Holy Spirit to quicken my heart, whisper softly in my ear, whenever the occasion to extend love to one of His children presented itself. He heard my prayer and as already answered it, allowing me to pass His beautiful heart on to another.  

Perhaps others might do likewise. Imagine a world where many people said, “I do that. At every opportunity, I selflessly offer love and kindness to others through my words and actions.” Imagine how much joy that could bring, how many lives might be changed, if even just a little.

Imagine how God, creator of the entire universe, would smile.
……….
And speaking of God smiling 

I have worked in the eating disorder field for many years.  I know the hardship, struggle, and pain associated with these terrible diseases.  I recognize and respect how difficult it is to achieve recovery.  But eating disorders inhabit the darkness; we serve a God of light.  If you let Him, He will help you throw off those dark shackles and enter the light where you can live free.  Additionally, he will pull the scales from your own eyes and allow you to focus on the needs of the world around  you, instead of the ever-escalating demands of an eating disorder.  As you grow into  the type of person who says “I do that,” God will smile on you, in you, and through you. 

Submitted by Guest Blogger, Debra Cooper, Expert writer on eating disorders

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Parity Act

  When someone is suffering from an eating disorder one of the most difficult tasks in recovery is to simply admit to having a problem and asking for help. When one conquers this step, the next battle is against the insurance company. According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, only 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder will receive treatment, and of those in treatment, at least half will recover; however, insurance companies are not required to cover eating disorder treatment. This article features Danielle, a 32 year old nurse who had battled an eating disorder for 15 years. She will testify at a congressional hearing in Chicago in favor of the Parity Act which is proposed to help increase mental health insurance coverage. In her own personal struggle, she received three months of treatment in an inpatient residential facility and it cost her $90,000 because her insurance company was unwilling to pay.  Though eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, the adequate treatment for those wanting to recover is quite often unaffordable. To read further about Danielle's journey and the congressional hearing happening on August 6th, click here.

Hannah, intern with Eating Disorder Hope

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hometown Hero: San Ramon woman helps parents of kids with eating disorders

  According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 24 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. Included in this statistic are the various types of disorders, anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, and EDNOS, all of which are associated with major health risks. An eating disorder doesn't solely affect the singular person who has the disease. Families are constantly riding an emotional roller coaster and walking on eggshells amongst their loved one. An article published in the San Jose Mercury News, titled Hometown Hero: San Ramon woman helps parents of kids with eating disorders, discusses the lack of resources for parents and families. Nancy Clarkson is the mother featured in the article and she is quite honest about the difficulties she had while her daughter, at the age of 14, began suffering from anorexia. In 2007, Nancy attended a NEDA conference and found support through other parents who were experiencing the same situations. Nancy started a support group for parents in November of 2007 and parents talk about a variety of topics including the intense emotions, depression and obsessiveness their child exhibits, as well as the conflict and turmoil which may divide a family. Thankfully, Nancy's daughter is fully recovered and Nancy continues to provide support for the community and paying it forward.

Hannah, intern with Eating Disorder Hope

Monday, August 6, 2012

Being Stronger Than The ED In Your Head

  This past week I ran across a blog titled, I Love To Eat: A Former Anorexic's Wisdom, and of course it caught my eye immediately. The author is Jennifer Pastiloff who has been featured on Good Morning America. She is a motivational teacher, yoga instructor and an advocate for children with special needs.  In this blog post she writes about a recent trip to Trader Joe's and a comment made by an elderly man, "You sure like to eat!". I related so much to this, that I had to share this blog post with all of you because I am sure you have come across situations such as these as well. When I first came out of treatment I was still on a high caloric plan and people would stare at me or even make comments, though I knew I was doing what I needed to do. When someone from the external world makes any sort of comment about our weight, image, or food, the "ED in our head" becomes large and in charge. This is when it is up to us to take charge and take the power away from ED. Whatever we are eating, however much it may be, we are the only honest judge. Please read Jennifer's article, and her other articles as well about her recovery with overcoming anorexia. Her story gives me inspiration and I hope it will inspire you as well.

Hannah, intern with Eating Disorder Hope