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Coming in February, 2007 (National Eating Disorders Awareness Month)!



February 4, 2008

I’ve been so impressed by the early entries to the “Give Eating Disorders a New Name” contest that I’m hosting at http://www.eatingdisordersblogs.com/life_after_recovery/
I’d like to share them with you. These suggestions really speak to the true experience of this unique body-mind relationship.

The entrants have given me permission to post their ideas and comments so that we can inspire others in coming weeks to send their ideas to gainingcontest@gmail.com

Take a look and put on your thinking caps! The contest will continue until February 26. I am now gathering a group of eating disorders experts to help me pick the winners.

I really think there are terrific insights in these suggestions and comments. Read on:

From Julia Temple-Mcneill:
• “S.E.A.S.” self evaluated anxiety syndrome
I have had an ED for 27 years and it leaves me washed
out like the sea can. Also, we make our own
evaluation of our worthlessness, nobody makes us hold
onto these feeling. In the air of hope, the tides can
always change, perhaps washing IN healing.

From Tricia Kuchan:
• Genetic identity syndrome.
I understand that research is finally proving that genetics play a part in this devastating illness. I have been fighting for years for freedom and a life. I lacked an identity my whole childhood and it traveled with me until I found an eating disorder to claim who I finally was. It has taken a lot of hard work to
discover who I am and I am only just beginning.

We need people to understand that an eating disorder is not about food but about a destructive fight in our minds. It is hard to fight for recovery when we don't even know who we are fighting for.

It is a catch 22 because having an eating disorder is finally having an identity. Giving it up is the scariest thing because we feel like we are going back into that void of being nothing again. I truly believe the only way out of the disorder is slowly finding things that give us an identity outside of our disorder. Only then can we begin to let go of our devastating illness that in the end was never really our fault because we were genetically predisposed to this life of hell.

From Dana Leigh Tidwell :
• “Inappropriate coping syndrome.”
I hate being lumped into that category of an “eating disordered person”. Not only is it it I had for a repnaccurate, it is not placing the importance on emotions. It is not about the actual eating, it is about what is going on behind the fact we feel compelled to act out.

From Kate Semmens:
• “Dissociative syndrome” (the mind and body are dissociated from one another)
• “Maladaptive coping syndrome”
• “Deprivation addiction”
I am a soon to be 24 year old woman who has struggled with anorexia and related problems since 2002. I am now finishing my last semester in graduate school (masters) and will probably go on to get my doctorate, but I find that my eating disorder is both a coping mechanism and a hindrance that holds me back from achieving many things. There is much of my life I wish to change...

For instance, I have, in my own terms, money anorexia, where I have an extremely difficult time spending money on myself, accepting gifts from others, etc. I will go to the grocery store and even if I can convince myself to get a certain item my other side argues that it is too expensive. I also do not buy myself clothes, never go out to movies, restaurants, etc because it costs money and I do not feel I am worth the expense. I used to love riding horses but because it is a very expensive sport I have stopped. This also presents a problem in getting help and seeking out treatment, for my ED mind argues it is much too expensive and I will probably relapse and it'll be a waste. One cannot function in this world without spending money on themselves, so I know I must get over this.

Also, I've noticed that although I've managed to suppress most emotions, guilt and shame have not gone away and are huge issues in my life presently, almost to the point of paralyzing me. I know they are irrational but they are so overpowering at times.

From Marilyn Mandel:
• "Nourishing Syndrome"
• "Sustenance Deprivation"
• "Sustenance Support"
• "Feast/Famine Crisis"
• "Feast or Famine Defense"
• "Nurturing Reception"

From Laura Collins:
• "Not-eating disorders"
AN, BN, and BED share a common quality: erratic and restrictive eating patterns. I think that's a useful connection.
Beyond that, the real question is what category to put these illnesses: anxiety disorders, personality disorders, endocrine disorders, autoimmune disorders?


With great thanks to all of you,


Send your ideas to: gainingcontest@gmail.com

below for more about Aimee's books & work.

Anthologies of fiction and nonfiction that Aimee has edited or contributed to.
a suspenseful novel of rescue and redemption set in Central Asia at the start of the Cold War, featuring two unforgettable heroines whose fates are irrevocably intertwined.
The unforgettable tale of star-crossed love that spans four decades and two continents.
A young photographer wrestles with her repressed past and identity as an Amerasian in New York's Chinatown. Now back in print after more than a decade, FACE is Aimee's first novel.
Work on Eating Disorders
While there are numerous memoirs available chronicling individual women’s struggles with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, this is the first book to bring together many people’s stories to create a complete and candid picture of the recovery process. Aimee Liu has skillfully brought together firsthand accounts of recovery to create a realistic roadmap for the journey. This book also includes informational sidebars, written by professionals in the field, on topics including treatment options, choosing the right therapist, the pros and cons of medication, how parents and spouses can help, and much more.
How do anorexia and bulimia impact life AFTER recovery? GAINING is one of the first books about eating disorders to connect the latest scientific insights to the personal truth of life before, during, and especially after anorexia and bulimia.
America's first memoir of anorexia, and one of the earliest books about eating disorders, originally published in 1979
Craft & Criticism
Resources and suggestions for students and fellow writers
Aimee's latest book reviews