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Topic : 03/15 Starving for Perfection

Number of Replies: 249
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Created on : Friday, November 10, 2006, 09:21:57 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 11/16/06) Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, 'If I could lose five more pounds, I'd be perfect?' Dr. Phil's first guest, Darlene, thinks that every day, even though she's 5' 3" and weighs 60 pounds. She walks 20 miles a day followed by 500 stomach crunches and 1,200 leg lifts, so she doesn't have to worry about eating. Her twin sister, Marlene, says she's tried everything to help Darlene win this 11-year battle. Could something in her past be at the root of her problem? Is it too late for Darlene to recover? Then, 22-year-old Jennifer weighs 63 pounds and has the bones of an 80-year-old. Food is such an enemy to her that it takes her up to two hours to eat as much as a tablespoon. Jennifer's parents say she needs to control everything  -- throwing out their food and telling them what they can and can't buy -- and her anorexia is affecting their marriage. They plead for help to save their daughter's life. What does Jennifer need to do to regain her health? Will these women choose to take a step in the right direction? Join the discussion.

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November 12, 2006, 5:04 pm CST

To all you eating disorder specialist...

I am 16 and have been struggling with anorexia/bulimia for 4 yrs. I went to counselors but they didnt help one bit. I have been in the hospital and everything. You crazy people think that Eating Disorders are about bigger problems but they are really a battle against ourself. We want to be thin. Most people dont have eating disorders b/c their best friend died or they made a bad grade on their report card. They have them b/c of sports, people telling us that we will never be anything or popular if we arent thin. My anorexia first started when I was told by my gymnastics coach that I had to lose 10 pds. or I couldnt compete in one of the biggest competitions in the season. So if you think it is about something stupid like our dog died, GET OVER YOURSELF B/C YOU KNOW NOTHING UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH IT YOURSELF.

 

 

 
November 12, 2006, 5:30 pm CST

Why are these all white people?

Has anyone ever noticed that these girls/women with these anorexic behaviors are usually white?  I sure have, I don't think I've seen one show about these topics that has a woman of color affected.  Same goes for the cutting disorders, I have noticed the same thing.  I sure wish Dr. Phil would do a show about disorders that seem to affect only white girls or only black girls or whatever...in our family whenever we see these things on tv we always just shake our heads and say, "silly white folks!" I guess because we just cannot understand/fathom the whole thing from a cultural perspective.
 
November 12, 2006, 6:23 pm CST

suggestions

Quote From: lotlee71

My husband and I are trying to help our 13 year old son who has anorexia.  He works out 3 (or more) times a day to gain that "6 pack" and limits his food intake drastically.  He is extremely athletic and feels that any weight will reduce his athletic ability.  He won't eat in front of people, lies about what he's eaten, hides food, and continually makes excuses when we try to get him to eat (food to cold, hair in food, not cooked properly, etc.)  Does anyone know of any good books or resources for teenage boys who have anorexia?  My husband won't accept the problem.  I'm willing to try/read anything! 

I do a lot of mentoring on anorexia and bulimia (i started down the anorexia path at the early

age of 3 or 4.  I am currently 47 and have my anorexia under control...)

I strongly suggest having your son read Dr Phils book Self Matters make sure he does all

the exercises.  This book will help him get to the root of his eating disorder.  He has to learn

what id driving his anorexia before he can find the answer.

Then he can follow up with Relationship Rescue - its more than why do I date jerks !  Its about

why you attract or are attracted to the people you keep getting involved with.

And finally - trust me on this OK........Weighloss Solutions - its more than diets its about identifying you destructive behaviors and making constructive life style changes to correct them

If you eat food - READ THIS BOOK no matter what you weigh !

Be ready for lots of hard work - but its is so worth it.  If there is ever anything I can do let me know.  You also might check the anorexia and/or bulimia message board.  I try to mentor

a lot of people going through this very same thing.through the mssg boards  Until you have had an eating disorder it is very hard to explain or identify with.  But I am sure he can find help if he is willing to puch up his sleeves, be totally honest with himself and do the work

 

Goof Luck

 

Brenda

bmitchell@centurytel.net

 
November 12, 2006, 7:14 pm CST

THANK YOU THERAPISTS

Quote From: survivor5

 People don't seem to understand that being anorexic is connectedt o the mind.  This is not all about the desire to "be thin" to look attractive.  Depression is a real culprit and it  pulls you down in every way imaginable.  It is painful to read the messages  that display anger at the anorexic.  Be angry at the disease, not the person.  At first, all the attention was being focused on teenagers.  Has anyone noticed that both men and women are much older with this disease?.  This is extremely disturbing since many are well educated, successful and mature people.  They are not driven to be model thin......there is something much darker going on here. 

I am not anorexic but am the mother of two adult children who are or have been.  This is heartbreaking to see and realize I can't just kiss it and make it better.  The entire scenario is difficult to deal with and, as a parent, I must simply give them all the love and support possible. 

Hopefully, the program will address the issue of why this disease has spread across the board to both sexes and all ages.

Please learn more about this disease before making rash statements. 

J

Hi,  I've had the good fortune to have GREAT therapists. A therapist doesn't have to have an or have had an e.d. in order to treat someone suffering from one.  While I had several therapists throughout my e.d. career, I went as far as I was able with each therapist.  I learned a bit more about myself,  but FEAR prevented me from giving me up my e.d. altogether.  So many people blame the therapist and not themselves. 

 

Giving up an e.d. comes from within.  I had to understand that I could die from this dreaded disease.  I had to understand whether I wanted to live or die and how much time was I willing to invest in living.  How long was I willing to put into the process of unraveling all the hurt and pain throughout my life to find a life worth living?  Could I trust my therapist to take the venture with me?  The answer was a resounding YES! 

 

Instead of someone else putting me into the hospital, I checked myself into a hospital.  After hospitalization, I stayed in that city and spent 7 years in therapy with the same therapist to get on the right track to health and sanity.  The emaciated body no longer has appeal for me.  I am afraid of the vulnerabilites I now allow myself to have.  I get through each day without starving, laxatives and over exercising. 

 

Not every therapist is the "right fit" for every patient. Don't blame any therapist for your lack of progress, it is your inability at any point in time to move further. 

 

I, too, became anorexic when no one was looking for it.  Back in 1970, I had no idea there was a name for what I had.  I had no idea there was a name for my mother's thowing up all day long.  Not until Karen Carpenter died, did I have names to put with my odd behaviors.  I still didn't believe laxatives or exercise could be a form of bulimia.  I didn't give up my disease until the age of 46.  I'm now 54 and still suffer the repurcussions of over exercise and laxative abuse.  One's body can only take so much. 

 

I'm alive.  I have a voice - and oh how outspoken I am!

 

I give thanks to my therapist for being with me every step of the way.  She didn't cure me, but she was there in times of fear, sadness, uncertainty and finally happiness.  To every therapist who is willing to work with us e.d.'s, I can't thank you enough.  We are crafty, stubborn, sneaky, smart but most of all,  a most grateful bunch when we finally see the light.

 
November 12, 2006, 7:39 pm CST

its ashame

When i was in school, women and men looked very healthy. today, if you look like a twig, its more acceptable. I blame the fashion magazines and men for this problem. Even myself, until i got married, i liked exactly how i looked. then my husband wanted me to look like the skinny women out there. he says healthy but i think he means skinny. its to bad, society is so harsh, and unrealitistic.......................
 
November 13, 2006, 6:51 am CST

HUH???

Quote From: brendamm

 am 47 y/o and have been anorexic since the age of 2 or 3.  Growing up my mother just labled me a "picky eater"  During a school physical our famiily physician labeled it "Malnourished".  I am sure

you can imagine the mood at home that evening !  My mother was livid - our family was upper

middle class with more than enough of everything, and here I sat  "malnourished"

As a child I had no idea the root of the problem (thanks to Dr Phils book Self Matters now I do)

When I graduated in high school 1977 being overly thin was NOT in - I weighed 89 lbs at 5"6"

After getting into a disasterous marriage I found out I was pregnant that was one of the first major

light bulb moments in my life.  I was then in nursing school and knew HAD to eat to successfully

carry this pregnancy to term.  The anorexia was MY problem...NOT the problem of an unborn child

So my weight went from 89 lbs to 160 lbs at the end of the pregnancy.  When I left the hospital I

weighed 128 lbs and have for the most part stayed in the 115-130 range until this day

HOWEVER, let me stress to every anorexic out there by not eating you are playing with dynomite

In my 30's I started having problems with my blood pressure & heart palpatations.  Being a nurse

I figured it was stress, took the prescribed meds. 

Valentines Day 1992 I had my first heart attack, 6 months later I had a stroke.  The next 10 yrs were

a nightmare of going from a very well paid successful single mother to being unable to walk, talk

and legally blind and in a wheelchair for the next 13 yrs.  I went to medical centers all over the country and was eventually diagnosed with a mitochondrial myopathy.

Every cell in my body had taken on the characteristic of anorexia.  The cells in the nerves and muscles were not able to receive the nutrients they needed to survive.  My body had more or less

turned on itself - to the point my body was destroying its own red blood cells.  I went through 2 yrs

of endless transfusions and bone marrow biopsies. II even survived breast cancer

Thanks to 2 brilliant neurologists in my state, they not only made the diagnosis but started me on

what was then experimental treatments - they worked.  For the past 2 yrs I am out of the wheelchair,  walking, talking and doing great.  I am legally blind - no peripheral vision and I am

losing my central vision very quickly.  But for the most part the mitochondrial disease is in remission.  And I am currently cancer free.

I will always be anorexic.  I still have body image issues and maybe I always will.

But it is not worth the long term damage you are doing to your body.  You may not see it for many years but the damage is done every day you deny your body nourishment. You are setting

your body up like a house of cards.....and it doesn't take much for that house to fall apart.

And when it falls it falls fast and it falls hard

I hope I been able to reach just 1 person by sharing this.  Learn from my mistakes.  I was a nurse before I became to sick to work.  For many years I just tried to exist because the mitochondrial disease had ravaged my body.  Now I am a patient advocate and do a lot of

motivational writing and speaking.   I know there are millions of people (men and women)

suffering from eating disorders, I think by working together we can help each other find our

way to healing physically and emotionally.  Just take it one day at a time and some days its

just hour by hour.  But you can do it.......I did

 

Brenda

First of all congratulations for overcoming such horrible odds. I know that you will never be free from this disease but can you please tell me how you could have anorexic at the age of 2 or 3 years old. How does a 2 or 3 year old child know what calories are or how to starve themselves? I was a picky eater when I was younger, still am, but it was because I was a picky eater not anorexic.

 

 

 
November 13, 2006, 7:55 am CST

This is wonderful advice

Quote From: im_online

Hi,  I've had the good fortune to have GREAT therapists. A therapist doesn't have to have an or have had an e.d. in order to treat someone suffering from one.  While I had several therapists throughout my e.d. career, I went as far as I was able with each therapist.  I learned a bit more about myself,  but FEAR prevented me from giving me up my e.d. altogether.  So many people blame the therapist and not themselves. 

 

Giving up an e.d. comes from within.  I had to understand that I could die from this dreaded disease.  I had to understand whether I wanted to live or die and how much time was I willing to invest in living.  How long was I willing to put into the process of unraveling all the hurt and pain throughout my life to find a life worth living?  Could I trust my therapist to take the venture with me?  The answer was a resounding YES! 

 

Instead of someone else putting me into the hospital, I checked myself into a hospital.  After hospitalization, I stayed in that city and spent 7 years in therapy with the same therapist to get on the right track to health and sanity.  The emaciated body no longer has appeal for me.  I am afraid of the vulnerabilites I now allow myself to have.  I get through each day without starving, laxatives and over exercising. 

 

Not every therapist is the "right fit" for every patient. Don't blame any therapist for your lack of progress, it is your inability at any point in time to move further. 

 

I, too, became anorexic when no one was looking for it.  Back in 1970, I had no idea there was a name for what I had.  I had no idea there was a name for my mother's thowing up all day long.  Not until Karen Carpenter died, did I have names to put with my odd behaviors.  I still didn't believe laxatives or exercise could be a form of bulimia.  I didn't give up my disease until the age of 46.  I'm now 54 and still suffer the repurcussions of over exercise and laxative abuse.  One's body can only take so much. 

 

I'm alive.  I have a voice - and oh how outspoken I am!

 

I give thanks to my therapist for being with me every step of the way.  She didn't cure me, but she was there in times of fear, sadness, uncertainty and finally happiness.  To every therapist who is willing to work with us e.d.'s, I can't thank you enough.  We are crafty, stubborn, sneaky, smart but most of all,  a most grateful bunch when we finally see the light.

 Wow, you made a very important point.  Each therapist adds to your knowledge about yourself.  There is no magic pill or perfect advice that any therapist can hand out.  E.D. attacks each individual in it's own way for various reasons.  You may have opened they eyes of many, many sufferers.  Thank you so much.

J
 
November 13, 2006, 8:08 am CST

Anorexia is not just for silly white folks

Quote From: trybird00

Has anyone ever noticed that these girls/women with these anorexic behaviors are usually white?  I sure have, I don't think I've seen one show about these topics that has a woman of color affected.  Same goes for the cutting disorders, I have noticed the same thing.  I sure wish Dr. Phil would do a show about disorders that seem to affect only white girls or only black girls or whatever...in our family whenever we see these things on tv we always just shake our heads and say, "silly white folks!" I guess because we just cannot understand/fathom the whole thing from a cultural perspective.

Hi,

 

  I can understand by what you see on tv, that you think only white people have anorexia.  Eating disorders do not discriminate.  Every race has their share of anorexics, bulimics, self-mutilators....  Many eating disorder clinics and hospitals have patients with all races.  You'd be amazed by the patients from around the world that come to our American hospitals because there is no help in other countries. 

 

  No, an eating disorder is not for silly white folks - it is an equal opportunity disease.

 
November 13, 2006, 8:34 am CST

THANKS TO ALL THE THERAPISTS

Quote From: bubblypooh

I am one who suffers and it makes it hard to survive and would love to give up..  It would be nice that for us without insurance to have the same opportunity for life as others that do.  If the profesionals would make the opportunity for survival to all.  I have struggled for 15 yrs and at 5'3" and 95lbs I want so desperately to loss a lot more at one point I was down to 75 lbs and I loved how I felt.  Know with the concern of wanting to lose and lose I have come to a point were I have lost interest in all things that were important to me..  I have a beautiful 15 yr old daughter who I have caught going down the same path..  With lack of money I have not been able to go back to a place that gave me hope WESTWINDS in Manitoba Canada..  Bryan was a lifesave but the way the American society is I have slipped back to a place I have never wanted to be again.

Hi,

 

Thanks to all the therapists who treat those of us with e.d.'s  YOU are not to blame for the screwed up health system in the United States.  The health care system has decided we are too tough to treat, too expensive to treat.  We are not "cost effective."  We take too long to get to recovery - if we ever get there at all. 

 

I would never expect a therapist to treat me for free!  While I'm out of the hospital and have moved after being with the same therapist for seven years, I'm in a city with a terrible health care system - much like any other city in the U.S.  I'm using the skills I've learned from my previous seven years as I go from therapist to therapist looking for the "right fit."  I don't need an e.d. specialist anymore, as food should never be discussed in a session anyway. 

 

I applaud any therapist willing to work with those of us who have e.d.'s.  You're taking on some of the toughest cases ever.  I applaud you.  How to get to the core issue of whether or not a person wants to live?  I'm not sure how you can do that.  I just know it takes a lot of digging into our feelings, a lot of listening, a lot of eye contact.

 

My particular awareness came when my potassium level fell so low that I could have gone into cardiac arrest.  My primary care physician told me my laxative abuse had nothing to do with my low potassium level and "no," I couldn't go to the E.R. and get an I.V. "fix."  Being on Medicare, my choice of physicians was very limited.  I cried for the first time.  I was scared for the first time.  I wanted to live for the first time.  I held my hand over my heart and prayed that it wouldn't stop - for the first time.  I didn't want to die, but I didn't know how to live either.  I got on the phone and searched for a hospital that would take a medicare patient of "my age."  Not one hospital in the state of California would take me.  I searched all over the U.S. and found one.  I went in the hospital for two months and then stayed there for 7 years.  I'm still on disablity, not ready for work, because I'm dealing with a change of meds.  It's tough adjusting to a new city.  I have to deal wih the state's health care system again.  I blame the GOVERNMENT, not the therapist for my lack of available care.

 

So, those who are angry about the health care system, VOTE.

 

It takes a very special person to be an e.d. therapist.  We are not "quick fixes."  We take years and years of help.  We are smart.  When the "light bulb" goes off and we decide to live, we work our best and I know there is no greater satisfaction a therapist can have than to see a broken individual walk in and a whole human being walk out.

 

Thank you to all the therapists!

 
November 13, 2006, 8:54 am CST

11/16 Starving for Perfection

Quote From: caladora

First of all congratulations for overcoming such horrible odds. I know that you will never be free from this disease but can you please tell me how you could have anorexic at the age of 2 or 3 years old. How does a 2 or 3 year old child know what calories are or how to starve themselves? I was a picky eater when I was younger, still am, but it was because I was a picky eater not anorexic.

 

 

I was about 3 or 4 when it first started.  I simply would not eat. Believe me I will never hear the

end of all the family stories  about how AUnt so and so made a beautiful Thanksgiving and ever

one ate..well everyone but Brenda and it jsut goes on and on.  Plus you can see in the photos

when I was growing up I was well beyond thin and had very gaunt features.

By the time I was in school every physical was the same - your daughter has malnutrition.

Back in the 60's it wasn't dealt with as it is today.  The children were lectures adn scare tactics

told but that was it.  I just didn't want food.  By the time you are 3 or 4 parents can't hold you down and force feed you - they tried it and it made me throw up.

I am sure I am not the only person out there that went threw this.  It was very embarrassing to be in junior high school & high school and be under developed.  When I got married to my

first husband I weighed 86 lbs and he thought it was funny to call me fat. Back then they didn't

have size 0 -  You had to buy a 3 or a 5 and take it in.

Trust me it was not fun being extremely thin growing up.  People made fun of me and I

was sick quite a bit- it affects your immune system.   No matter that was my childhood

And I wouldn't wish it on anyone..  There is a huge differencebetween being picky and just

not eating.

 

Brenda

 

 
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