Reflecting on the 2014 International Conference on Eating Disorders

Tetyana’s Note: Instead of writing two separate posts, I’ve decided to interject and add my own thoughts/opinions to Andrea’s post. For one, I think this will reduce repetition and I think it will be better to have any differing opinions in one place (I think this will facilitate discussion, I hope).  I will clearly mark my own comments so that they are not for conflated with Andrea’s. If I don’t comment it is because I wasn’t there, have nothing to add, or completely agree and thus have nothing/little to add. Admittedly, I’m going to focus more on things I didn’t like because I think it is important to talk about how the field can improve. – Tetyana

I am finally writing down some thoughts and reflections from ICED after taking a week to marinate on the proceedings and to grade a lot of papers. I love going to conferences — I’m a big fan of live Tweeting and it is always great to meet new people and/or “Internet people” in real life. That said, there is something inherently exhausting about …

Good Clinicians, Helpful Comments, & Unpopular Opinions: SEDs Readers’ Responses – Part II

A few weeks ago, I asked SEDs readers a bunch of questions about their experiences with an eating disorder. Then, pretending to be a qualitative researcher, I went through the answers to see if I could find trends. I blogged about people’s responses to the first half of the question here; this post will be about the second half of the questions. (Here’s a ED survey results – Parts I and II to the pdf with all of the raw data).

Please note that this analysis was not rigorous, so in grouping and identifying themes (or how many times a theme/word was mentioned), I will use words like “approximately.”

[The breakdown for the last half of the respondents is:

6. What are characteristics of good eating disorder clinicians?

By far the two most comment themes, mentioned ~13 times each were “understanding” and variations of “willing to challenge,” “confront,” and have a “no bullshit” attitude. Other qualities mentioned were patience, good listening skills, nonjudgemental, empathetic and compassionate, not dismissive, patronizing or condescending, and firm but flexible.

Two individuals mentioned the …

I Asked, “Are You In Recovery? Why or Why Not?” Here’s What You Answered (And More): Exploring SEDs Readers’ Experiences

Are you in recovery right now? Why or why not?” That’s one of the questions I’ve been asking on the SEDs Tumblr every once in a while. It is interesting for me to find out about the people who read the blog/Tumblr. But more importantly, it gives me an opportunity to show diversity of experiences (and feelings).

Last week I decided to formalize this a little bit and to open the floor to non-Tumblr users; I made a survey with over a dozen questions. I received a lot of responses  and I wanted to share them in the hopes that some of you will, perhaps, find them reassuring. I won’t get to cover all the questions I asked, so this will be part I of, well, I don’t know how many posts.

Please note that this survey is not scientific, not comprehensive, and not necessarily representative of the general population of ED sufferers. Here’s a PDF of all the “raw” data for the questions covered in this post: ED survey results – Part I. Some of the …

2013 in Review: Most Popular Posts & Most Searched Queries of 2013

It is 2014! How did that happen? The year went by quickly; I defended my MSc, settled comfortably into self-employment, made huge strides in my recovery, and went to my first eating disorder conference.  I also helped Liz with psychoeducation seminar on Reward Systems in Eating Disordes, which she delivered in November at Sheena’s Place. It as a blast and I learned a lot from Liz. (Maybe I’ll organize myself and deliver my own seminar’s at Sheena’s Place in the near future. That would be fun.)

2013 was a busy year for me, but it was awesome. Really awesome. So awesome that posting frequency decreased in the last few months of 2013. And although I’m not making any promises for 2014, I do hope to write more. There’s so much left to write about! So many topic to cover.

I’d like to give a big thanks to SEDs contributors Liz, Andrea, and Shelly for writing such wonderful and informative posts in 2013. Here’s to more of the same!

But I digress.

Here’s a look at 2013’s most viewed …

International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED) 2013: Personal Reflections

The 2013 International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED) ended on May 4th. I thought I’d reflect on the experience (short version: it was awesome and I’m so glad I went!). Please note, the following is in no way comprehensive, representative, or scientific.

There were a lot of overlapping events at the conference, which meant that I could only attend a fraction of the events. I highlighted in yellow the workshops/panels/presentations I attended.

In his keynote speech, Dr. David Barlow wondered whether we are “missing the forest for the trees” as he highlighted some of the changes in the upcoming DSM-V (more disorders, more categories, more, as he said, ‘splitting’). Many disorders in the DSM-IV have the same underlying characteristics: high trait anxiety, neuroticism, negative affect, and emotional avoidance. Those of us with eating disorders tend to have difficulties recognizing and experiencing emotions—not just negative emotions, but all kinds of emotions.

I thought of the lyrics from Silverchair’s “Ana’s Song”:

Please die, Ana
For as long as you’re here, We’re not
You make the sound of laughter

What’s Wrong with How We Talk About Eating Disorders in the Media and in ED Communities – Part 2

This is a follow-up to my last post on what I think can be improved in how we talk about eating disorders in the media and in ED communities. If you haven’t read my last post, I strongly recommend doing so before reading this one. My focus in this post will be on what individuals with a history of EDs and ED organizations can do to improve how eating disorders are perceived by the general public.

(Sidenote on my last post: I feel I didn’t emphasize enough that I used Emma Woolf’s quote as an example and a starting point. I’m confident I’ve made the same blunders that I am now speaking about. It is okay. I think the important thing is to think about our future actions, as opposed to dwelling on the past. My goal isn’t to single anyone out. Woolf is not the first, the last, or the only person to have said things of that nature–her quote was just on my mind since I saw it just a few days ago on tumblr.)


What’s Wrong with How We Talk About Eating Disorders in the Media and in ED Communities – Part 1

I’m going to do something different today. I’m going to talk about some of the problems I see in how eating disorders are discussed by some media organizations, ED awareness groups, and ED advocates.

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of everything that’s wrong (and there will be a follow-up). It is my personal opinion and I strongly encourage readers to leave comments if you disagree with me or feel that I’m missing something important.

I saw this quote on tumblr two days ago:

Anorexia is a young person’s game and I don’t have the time or energy to play any more.

This quote is amazing for all the wrong reasons. It is so wrong, so harmful, and embodies so much of what’s wrong with mainstream ED discourse. It was written by Emma Woolf. I traced the quote back to this document put out by the UK organization ED awareness organization b-eat.

Let me be clear: I do not care who said this quote, or what was meant by it, or what context it was said in. …

Diversions: Answering Your Questions! Part 1 (Scientist in the Lab)

Six month ago I made my first post on the Science of Eating Disorders blog. I want to say a huge big thank you to everyone who reads, “Likes”, shares, comments and subscribes! This has been one of the most (if not the most) rewarding thing I’ve ever done (for real). I’m really happy that I have wonderful contributors who blog about their own interests and share their insight. I’m really happy people comment when they disagree, find something confusing or suggest topics for future posts.

In the last half a year I’ve amassed a large collection of search terms have landed people on the Science of Eating Disorders blog. Most are unremarkable, some are funny, others are worrisome. Once in a while people ask questions. Questions that I want to answer, false beliefs I want to tackle, or simply share with others because they are just too funny (and serve as good starting points for a serious topic).

So, to take a break from doing a typical post, I want to answer some of the search queries that have …