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

NEWSLETTER

Why the OBAMA campaign spells HEALTH

February 5, 2008

As I stood before Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Oprah, and Maria Shriver at last Sunday’s Women for Obama rally, I was struck by the emotional strength of every point they made.

This campaign, Maria Shriver said, is really “about us, and what we can do when we come together.”

“The question in this race is not whether Barack is ready,” Michelle Obama agreed. “The question is, what are we ready for?”

“We have won the struggle,” Oprah said, “and we have the right to compete… free from the constraints of gender and race.”

“Each and every one of us can be an agent for change,” Caroline Kennedy told us, to which we, in our thousands, thundered back YES WE CAN!

Unity, Engagement, and Hope are the real watchwords of this campaign. They are also, in my opinion, key to our psychological and emotional health as individuals and as a nation. This is the real reason so many find Barack Obama’s candidacy so inspiring, but also why he is fighting a difficult battle.

The forces of fear are entrenched in this country, as evidenced by our epidemic rates of anxiety disorders, depression, substance addiction, eating and personality disorders. While the causes of these often intertwined conditions are enormously complex, most of them feed on fear -- of failure or shame, rejection or futility, loneliness, poverty, physical harm or death itself. Whatever its source, if persistent, pervasive, and unrelieved, fear is destabilizing.

That is why the exploitation of fear is such an effective political tool for those who wish to conquer by dividing us against each other and ourselves. Novelist Michael Chabon, in a Washington Post Op-Ed today, wrote eloquently of the resulting political anxiety disorder: “Fear tells us that ugliness, rage and brutality are the central facts of human existence, that decency and tolerance are luxuries on whose altar our enemies will be only too happy to sacrifice us.”
Fear, in other words, is the reason we will not trust, act, or come together even for our own good. For fear that we might fail or be disappointed, we dare not even hope. This is a recipe not just for apathy, but for despair.

Barack Obama dares us to recover from our national anxiety disorder. He reminds us that our health depends on our cultivating a sense of purpose, passion, connection, and trust. But we must not expect our candidate – or our President, for that matter -- to solve our problems for us, any more than we would expect our doctor to recover our mental health for us.
As Maria Shriver said Sunday, "WE are the change we've been waiting for."

Yes, we all hopefully answered back. We are.

CLICK ON THE TITLES
below for more about Aimee's books & work.

Anthology
Anthologies of fiction and nonfiction that Aimee has edited or contributed to.
Novels
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