Welcome!!! Please, if you are new here, READ THIS FIRST!!! Thank You!!!

Thank you for visiting. Content MAY BE TRIGGERING ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ABUSE, STRUGGLE WITH SELF-INJURY, SUICIDE, DEPRESSION OR AN EATING DISORDER. Contains graphic descriptions of suicidal thoughts, self-injury and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Do not read further if you are not in a safe place. If you are triggered, please reach out to your support system, a mental health professional or call 911.

All images and content are Copyright © to ClinicallyClueless. All rights to the images and all content on this site and on all ClinicallyClueless materials belong exclusively to the artist/author. No use of any content, commercial or non-commercial is permitted without written consent from the author and artist.

Disclaimer: Although I have worked with persons with mental illness for twenty years, I do not have a Master's Degree or a license. This is not meant to be a substitute for mental health care or treatment. Please obtain professional assistance from the resources listed on the right of the page, if needed. And call 911 if you or someone is in immediate danger.

A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Friday, February 27, 2009

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week ~ Binge Eating/Compulsive Overeating

Binge or Compulsive Eating is the number one eating disorder!
The following text is taken from http://www.friendlybingers.org/:

Binge eating disorder is a specific type of eating pattern, which meets the following criteria.

Diagnostic Criteria for Binge Eating Disorder

Care needs to be taken when making a diagnosis whether or not you have Binge Eating Disorder. To an anorexic, a head of lettuce can feel like a binge. It takes up a lot of room in the shrunken stomach and the fullness lasts for many hours. Just about any meal that is a bit bigger than what they are accustomed to eating can feel like a binge to a person with Anorexia or Bulimia.

People suffering from an eating disorder can report "binge's" but more careful questioning of their symptoms concludes that they ate a moderate amount of food, but due to their biochemical and metabolic state, they feel extremely full and guilty. A stepped approach to re-feeding can help a patient recalibrate their hunger and fullness cues correctly.

As treatment, I encourage some overweight people to first stop gaining weight. A pound never gained, is a pound always lost. Especially for people with Binge Eating Disorder, you may struggle with actually losing any weight while making that essential step to stop binge eating.

If you are a binge eater, weight loss will come in time. So really, the only way you can fail at the program described by my book is to not give yourself a chance to learn something. I get so excited for my patients when they come in my office and say "I am so much more aware of what I am doing". In reading my book, you may be able to realize that your eating behavior is sometimes a result of your thoughts and feelings. If you are not aware of what you are doing...you have little chance of making a good choice.

A rule of thumb when treating a bulimia and binge eating disorder illness (people who have large swings in calories intake) is that "smoothing out" eating patterns is the first goal. Weight loss will eventually happen, but only after you gain confidence that these days of over-consumption are over.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eating Disorders Awareness Week ~ Overview


Your mother, father, daughter, brother, neighbor, friend or colleague all could have an eating disorder. You might never know it and be unaware of the turmoil that follows every day throughout the day. On the outside, he/she may be normal weight or slightly overweight, seem successful, happy and have an enviable life. But, looks can be deceiving. Watch this video for some basic statistics. (Please, if you have an eating disorder there are images that may be triggering, so make sure that you are safe!


Somewhere within a month’s period it is a National Eating Disorder’s Week wherever you live. Today (2/24/08) is the beginning of the U.S.'s National Eating Disorder’s Awareness Week which is a collective effort of primarily volunteers, eating disorder professionals, health care providers, educators, social workers, and individuals committed to raising awareness of the dangers surrounding eating disorders and the need for early intervention and treatment.
Eating disorders are mental illnesses. They are generally defined as a broad range of disorder where preoccupation with food and/or weight takes primary focus in ones life that they can hardly focus on anything else. They become obsessed about food, weight and body shape.
The three primary types are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. There are also a range of sub-categories that you may have heard like anorexia athletica, compulsive exercise, orthorexia, body dysmorphic and compulsive over-eating. There are specific diagnostic criteria for the three eating disorders as defined by the DSM-IV-TR. Please visit the sites below for more information.
Anorexia Nervosa is basically starving yourself, keeping yourself below 15% of your normal weight and they may exercise excessively. Body weight is of thin appearance. Emotional and behavioral symptoms include refusal to eat, denial of hunger, lack of emotion, difficulty concentrating, skipping meals, having “safe” foods, food rituals (cutting into tiny pieces), elaborate cooking for others, repeated weighting, distorted body image, hoarding food, wearing baggy or layered clothing, complaining about being fat and depression or anxiety.

Bulimia Nervosa is eating large quantities of high calorie foods sometimes for hours and then getting rid of it afterwards through laxatives, vomiting or exercise. Body weight can be normal to slightly over weight. Emotional and behavioral symptoms include constant dieting, feeling that you cant control your eating behavior, eating to the point of pain, unhealthy focus on body shape or weight, distorted body image, going to the restroom after or during eating or meals, hoarding food and depression or anxiety.
For both anorexia and bulimia, medical symptoms may include abnormal bowel function, bloating, dehydration, fatigue, dizziness, irregular heart beats or rhythms, dry skin and irregular or loss of menstruation in women and girls. There are many more. Please, see references below for more details.


Compulsive over-eating/Binge eating is impulsive gorging or continuous eating. It is the number one eating disorder. While there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets. Body weight may vary from normal to mild, moderate, or severe obesity. Emotional and behavioral symptoms may be eating to the point of discomfort or pain, eating much more food during a binge episode than a normal meal or snack, eating faster during binging, feeling eating behavior is out of control, frequent eating alone, frequent dieting without weight loss, hoarding food, hiding empty food containers, and depression and/or anxiety.
What causes eating disorders? It is three-pronged. There is a biological component. Studies are finding genetic links and chemical commonalities. Second is the sociocultural component. The media and peer pressure has given the message that thin is successful, popular, perfect, loved, strong, sage and beautiful. As a result self-worth becomes linked to size and weight. Third is the emotional and psychological component. They tend to be perfectionists both physically and academically, have low self-esteem, have high body dissatisfaction, and have periods of depression. Being sexually abused as a child is often a contributing factor to the development of an eating disorder.
Eating disorder are common in individuals in sports or professions where there is a high value on being thin. Athletes, actors and television personalities, dancers, and models are at higher risk of eating disorders. Eating disorders are particularly common among ballerinas, gymnasts, runners and wrestlers. Eating disorders are more common in industrialised societies where there is an abundance of food and where there is a cultural ideal for women to be thin there is an increased risk if a parent or sibling has had an eating disorder, mood disorder or alcohol or drug problem
The earlier treatment is sought the better the chances at full recovery. :-) Please go to the links below for more on treatment and prevention.
What I haven’t covered and why I know so much is that I’ve had an eating disorder for 30 years with varying degrees of recovery. I am diagnosed with Eating Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, which means I don’t meet the criteria for one of the categories, but my internal life with food and eating and my weight effects impacts my physical and mental health significantly. So, I know a bit more from the insiders point of view that what has already been written. :-) Secrecy often keeps an eating disorder going.
However during my recent psychiatric hospitalization my diagnosis became, once again, a point of contention. Although I tend toward anorexia, I am not diagnosable as such, but my therapist really pushed the point. He basically said that he didn't care what the DSM said, but that I have anorexia. I made a feeble attempt at saying that my weight was normal and maybe a little overweight. Then, I just had to laugh because I know that has nothing to do with it because my thought patterns and behavior are the same. Also, if it weren't for the medications, I would be underweight.
Eating disorders are highly addictive mental illnesses. They are an expression of deep self-hatred, lack of self worth, and unknowingly a lack of control. I know that I feel in control when I lose weight, but in reality it has control over me. I know that once I reach my goal, it will be lowered, I’ll reach it and it will lower. There is no end to it until I require hospitalization.
Somewhere, I read, that “it is a desperate attempt at making sense of the world.” Well, in the world of chaos and abuse I grew up in, I really was set up for an eating disorder. It is also my way of handling my anger of not being able to self-nurture or feeling in control of events and intense feels that occur. It is the first thing that I run to when I am under emotional stress. I hate the feeling of being full and love the feeling of being hungry and overcoming it.
It makes me feel in control, but control really is an illusion. It is secretive and mine. No one else can stop me, so I am in control. Recently, I just barely began to speak about my eating disorder rather talk around it which is, in part, why I decided to write this post.
However, it has been painful to write and especially painful to find a video because it triggers me. In looking at the pictures and videos, I feel fat, hate how I look and want to lose weight even more. My sense of reality becomes distorted. What I think I look like is not reality. The scale is my best friend and worst enemy. If the numbers are lower then I feel good for a brief moment and then I wish it were lower. At one point I was weighing myself 4-5 times per day. My self-esteem goes up and down with the numbers on the scale. But, no number would be lower enough.
I absolutely hate people talking behind my back instead of to me or comments that like “I wish I had an eating disorder, so I could be as thin as you.” It is painful and makes me realize how hard it is to give it up. It isn’t a glamorous thing. It is an illness.
It isn’t about self-control, it is about lack of it. It is a tough thing to overcome, but I know that there is hope and healing. But it is tough, painful work. It also requires giving up one of my best friends, “control.” My distorted thinking still thinks that I am in control as does my deep denial. It was quite therapeutic writing this post, so thank you!! :-) This was a good experience. I hope this post helps you or someone that you love.
Eating disorders are extremely complicated and there is much more information available. For more details and for help for yourself or someone else, please visit the following sites:
National Eating Disorders Association
National Institute on Mental Health
National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health
Mayo Clinic.com
The Eating Disorder Foundation

In your comments, I do ask that you do not mention numbers, in terms of weight, as that is a trigger for those who have eating disorders that can set off an episode.

Monday, February 23, 2009

National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week

Within a month's period most well known countries will be having an Eating Disorders Awareness Week or Day. The US begins tomorrow and runs through March 1st. This week is dedicated to educating both those who have eating disorders and those who do not.

I have the flu!!!!


Just to let you know that I have the flu, so am not able to respond to comments even though I had planned to. I could if the room would just stop spinning. However, beginning tomorrow is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, so I already have post schedule this week, so please come and educate yourself or find some compassion for yourself or someone else. It has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Does Anybody Hear Her?" ~ Casting Crowns ~ Worship in Song!

The official video of Casting Crowns, Does Anybody Hear Her (C) 2006 Reunion Records is quite powerful. It brought me to tears. Please click this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbpGl_9rrcA to see the video. It is much better than the live one that I have posted.

Christian or not...do we see and hear others and take time out? Or are we too busy with our own lives that we miss opportunities. True Cristianity accepts, loves and reaches out to those who are different, disenfranchised and in need. Ask yourself, "who am I in the video?"



Does Anybody Hear Her?


She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

If judgment looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we've never even met her

If judgment looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we've never even met her

If Judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we've never even met her

Never even met her
(Never Even Met her)

(OHHHHH)Does anybody hear her? Does anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me

Does anybody hear her? (Does anybody hear her?) Does anybody see? (Does anybody See?)
Does anybody even know she's going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeple (shadow of her steeple)
With all the lost and lonely people (Lost and Lonely people)
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Does anybody see?

He is running a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pig?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hospitalization ~ Positive outcomes & summary

After 24 days in a psychiatric hospital, there have better been some tangible outcomes. One with the changes in my medications specifically, the addition of Lamictal and the increase of Risperdal, I am now sleeping 7-8 hours of solid, good quality sleep without feeling drugged or having nightmares.

I was able to eat in the cafeteria with all the noise and people without much problem. However, the every day noise got to me one evening and at the top of my lungs I screamed, “Shut up.” Then, I burst into tears. The charge nurse calmed me down and was okay with what I did. So was my psychiatrist who basically told me that I was being assertive, but maybe I could try to direct it in a different way. My therapist clapped.

I socialized more and have some real viable people in which to remain in contact. I began to exercise and am continuing walking on the treadmill at home. I really enjoyed are and am, for now, interested in beading. I actually had the attention span to watch and enjoy television.

All in all, a very good experience although painful and hard work. Hence, my sleeping a great deal. But, it got me to the place that I needed to be in therapy. Well, worth the time and expense.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hospitalization ~ "A-ha" moments

This hospitalization was a bit different from the others as I was not really sure what was the underlying purpose. I know that I needed hospitalization due to my suicidality and self-harm. Beyond that I thought that it was trying to get through my anger about my mother. But, that didn’t seem to fit.

I did talk about some of that and my abuse. I actually made friends with the ping-pong table, which was a place that most of the sadistic sexual abuse took place. The first time, I went through some major unexpected flashback and panic. I spoke with the Social Service person who accompanied us on the outing. I played ping-pong on two more occasions with less intense flashbacks and a bit of compassion and reality of how young and horrendous things were.

I was able to tell my psychiatrist and psychologist about some of the abuse and received unexpected validation that my abuse was outside of what most people experience. My psychologist, who also teaches, kept encouraging me to go back to school. Which is something that I plan to do when I’m feeling better and able to manage the stress. Both of them basically told me that the academic part would be easy. Without prompting, my psychologist, offered to write me a letter of recommendation. Wow! I really am motivated to return to school maybe in a year and a half or two. The validation from not only them, but from other staff and patients was encouraging.

I know that I’ve written about having an eating disorder for 30 years with varying degrees of recovery. I am diagnosed with Eating Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, which means I don’t meet the criteria for one of the categories, but my internal life with food and eating and my weight effects impacts my physical and mental health significantly.

However, during my hospitalization my diagnosis became, once again, a point of contention with Geoffrey. Although I tend toward anorexia, I am not diagnosable as such, but my therapist really pushed the point. He basically said that he didn't care what the DSM said, but that I have anorexia. I made a feeble attempt at saying that my weight was normal and maybe a little overweight. Then, I just had to laugh because I know that has nothing to do with it because my thought patterns and behavior are the same. Also, if it weren't for the medications, I would be underweight. He really pushed the issue.

In the end, what I discovered and it doesn’t follow what I’ve written, is that this hospitalization was about my depression, suicidality and self-harm. However, the underlying reason for all of this is really the issue that I don’t want to talk about and that is my self-hatred. The “all roads lead to bad” is really, “all road are rooted in self-hatred.” Since I’ve returned, I haven’t fragmented in session. Hooray for me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hospitalization ~ A Typical Day!!

I am going to share about my hospital experience a little at a time. After today, they will be more about what I did, learned and those “A-ha” moments. The following is a typical day Monday through Friday:

7:30-8:30 Breakfast
8:00-9:00 Exercise/GYM
Medications
9:15-9:30 Goals Group
10:00-11:15 Process Group
11:30-12:30 Exercise/Gym or Pool
12:00-12:45 Lunch
Medications
2:00-2:45 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
3:00-3:45 Art
4:00-4:45 Social Recreation
5:00-6:00 Dinner
6:00-7:00 Organized social recreation/Art
6:00-8:00 Visiting Hours
Medications
9:00-9:45 Goals Group Wrap Up

Busy day, but you don’t have to participate in everything; however the process and CBT groups are important. I also began to workout again on the treadmill and weights. I plan to keep the momentum going.

I enjoyed art and made a beaded anklet, finger painted, and painted a frame then glued an assortment of tiles on it. I also participated in the walks and goals groups. Hmmm…I basically did everything, but not everyday.

There were interruptions during the routine. My therapist, Geoffrey came Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I saw my psychiatrist every day and three times a week I saw a staff psychologist. I had lots of support and it felt good to have opportunities to talk privately.

There was some tweaking of my medications which seemed to have helped. I also saw a neurologist for my migraines and a physician for a routine physical and labs.

Saturday was mostly the same except for there was not CBT group, so everything was moved up. My husband visit with me on Saturday from 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm during which time I mostly slept in his lap. He said that he didn’t mind that he just felt good to be with me and liked that I was comfortable enough to sleep. I spoke with him I the morning and every evening before we went to bed. That helped tremendously.

Sunday was mostly the same, but everything was a bit earlier. That was the most difficult day as I didn’t have any visitors. I socialized more on Sunday. And, hooray, the women had control of the television sometimes!!! The schedule was a bit different on the day of Inauguration as we watched history take place. I was planning to watch it by myself at home, but it felt really good to share it the experience with other people.

I also watched part of the Grammy Awards. So, it was a good sign that I began to watch and enjoy television a bit. Lots of other good news to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hospitalization ~ The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly!!

I was released from a psychiatric hospital today, on Wednesday (2/11/09), just in time for a Valentine's Day with my husband. I was treated for Severe Major Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. Wow, I was there for 24 days! It was worth it! I am worth it.

What do a perfectionist, care-taker, an attorney, an attorney turned Chaplin, a woman who lost her husband recently, a writer, an artist/singer/actor, an actor, a college student, a single mother, the woman who recently almost succeeded an attempted suicide, a man who self-injured and thought of suicide all the time, a construction worker, a man who by no fault of his own is homeless, a nurse, an elementary school teacher, a Desert Storm Veteran and 86 year old man, a man with constant pain due to his back have in common?

All were fellow patients. All with some type of mental illness such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress and more. Some with a dual diagnosis meaning alcohol or substance abuse with a mental illness diagnosis.

I am doing better and am trying to get my bearings back regarding being at home. The accomodations were a cross of dorm life and motel living. I am enjoying using my own shower, eating my own food, sleeping in my own bed and just being with my husband. I love having coffee. The coffee was horrendous and this Peet’s woman was used to having it available by 5 am and not 7:30 am. Major withdrawals!!!!

I will not miss the food, the 1/2 check around the clock, the shower, the food, the sleazy guy, the guy with no sense of boundaries, the guy who thought he was the center of the universe, the loud woman, the strange woman, the angry woman, the overhead announcements, the constant noise, constant talking or the constant cigarette smoke.

However, I do miss the staff and some of the people in which I connected. Some I will try and stay in contact. I miss being able to talk at any hour of the day or night. I also miss the "safety" of being in the hospital. I am very glad that I decided to go into the hospital as I feel better and I am ready to tackle the next level of my journey in healing...I am beginning to see the light, ever so faintly. At least that is what I hope it is and not an on coming train!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Everyone, thank you for your overwhelming support. I'm still adjusting and sleeping most of the day, so it is taking some time to reacclimate to the real world. Tomorrow I should have a post about some of my hospitalization experience.

Hospitalization
Hospitalization - by ClinicallyClueless on Polyvore.com

Sunday, February 15, 2009

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