Day 1: Why do you write? I started this blog as an outlet and actually intended it to be a family-oriented, positive parenting and pre-school activity type blog (hence the name "The Sapling Stories). As I met other bloggers and become more aware of the blogging community, my content shifted. With out realizing it, my blog became centered around awareness. Awareness for things I feel very strongly about. I just naturally started writing about them. The main one that I feel grabs my attention the most is eating disorder advocacy. I am a survivor (I feel like I should say "surviving" because recovery is a continuous thing that never really ends, or at least it hasn't completely ended for me) Actually, I had a support blog years ago on Xanga (I said it was years ago), but stopped for some reason when everyone was switching over to MySpace (my husband was also deploying for the first time and everything was kind of topsy-turvy). I battled stereotypes, stigmas, myths, and death. Now that I have children it scares me sh*tless that they might battle the same demons. My other two are Autism (special needs in general, really), and chronic illness. Special needs because of my sister and chronic illness because, well hell, that's what I've been dealing with for most of my life (that is also a huge factor into my battle with anorexia/bulimia/orthorexia - seriously, eating disorders are much more complex than society thinks!). I have found a support network in the online community that I was desperately lacking before And it has been amazing.
Day 2: Tell a bit about your conditions, 5 things you want people to know about them, and a few links to other articles you've written. Note: My links will be highlighted throughout, not listed separate ;) I kind of just covered the "what", so here's the 5 things:
- Eating Disorders do not discriminate! It is not a teenage white-girl affliction. Every age group, of every ethnicity, of every walk of life is affected.
- You can't tell anything by a person's size. Just because someone isn't rail-thin doesn't mean that they're not suffering.
- It's not about food - not completely. ED's are complex, very complex.
- You can't just "snap out of it" or "get over it". It takes time and will be the hardest thing you've ever done. For me it took a year of grueling, intense hospitalizations (including NG Tubes, IV TPN through a PICC, oxygen therapy, and missing my entire senior year of high school) and several years of outpatient treatment.
- It starts way earlier than you think. I can remember being preoccupied by the need to be "perfect" as far back as I can remember. I'm talking age 5-ish. And let me make it clear - No one ever implied that I needed to be "perfect". It's not all a societal thing, genetics and brain chemistry contributes greatly.
- Just because someone has special needs (may it be cerebral palsy, autism, Down's syndrome, or anything else) doesn't mean they can't hear you (to all the smug trolls: if they actually cant hear, they still know) They know when you're being mocking and judgmental, and they feel the pain as much as anyone else.
- The R-word is not okay. Ever.
- Even though my sister functions at an 18month old level and is non-verbal, we still have sibling rivalry. We get into fights and argue just like any other siblings.
- Everything has to be adapted. That bed you just bought? Yeah, that's gonna have to be modified so it's safe.
- Everyone has to be flexible. Just because you planned a day trip to the beach that you have been looking forward to for weeks doesn't mean it's going to happen. You may get half way there and need to turn around because its not a good day for them - and you'll completely understand and go with it. Even when you are 7 years old.
- Everyone needs to read The Spoon Theory
- Just because someone's in a wheelchair doesn't mean they are paralyzed.
- Believe me, I do not want to be in bed all day! Don't give me that "must be nice" bull. It's not and it isn't funny.
- Dear doctors: When I come in to see you and I explain what's been going on, do not look at me like I'm insane. Even if my vitals are fine, just take the damn time to check it out.
- Just because a had a good day (or week or whatever) yesterday doesn't mean that I'm going to have a good one today. No, I don't know what's wrong or why I'm worse today when I was "fine" yesterday. I wish I did.