Category Archives: Questions

Advantage to the DSM-5’s inclusion of Binge Eating Disorder as an actual diagnosis

Okay, having just read an excellent dispute of this….Well put….

Of course, there are subsets and different mindsets of binge eaters.  I have no clue what it’s like to have been overweight since early on, and be fighting a lifelong weight issue and of course, perhaps the worst of it, the bullying and horrible weight bias from I mean like day one that goes along with being the least bit chubby or accused of having even one part of you that’s even imagined as chubby.

This is another world and it’s a world I’ve stepped into very briefly in my adult life.  Let’s say I tested the waters, then quickly yanked my big toe out as if the pool was filled with sharks.  I was fucking terrified.

Oh yeah, I do remember struggling with my weight, begging my doctor to take me off the darned pill that had gotten me to that point.  In other words, this is a trait that never really happened to me except by artificially-induced means, I’m talking true extremes.  Like you had to force me into that mold.

Okay, so if a person is of that mold, then, is it a different disorder than if they are my type that is the restrictive type, that started their disorder because of a diet?

See, so many people I know of with ED started with a diet, maybe schemed to get skinny, then developed further bad habits such as binge eating cuz their bodies were so starved.  Then, say, they panicked, saying, WTF? what’s this? and purged out of terror for what they had done.  Then maybe they looked up “laxatives” online and said, “hmm, maybe this will work,” and decided to go that route. Or whatever.  By then, the whole thing is incredibly unstoppable.

Okay, what of this diet…why go on a diet to begin with?  Low self esteem?  I mean, most of us weren’t even fat to begin with, right?  Most of gained “the freshman 10” maybe, or something very, very negligible and were still within range and could very well have exercised it off during summer break instead of going on that 300 calories a day crash diet we went on.

Agreeably, this is not the same as the pattern of the person who has been overweight since childhood.  I am wondering to what extent the dining commons, the Freshman Ten, or any of this…none of this means the same to the entering freshman who comes in say, already clinically obese and most likely the instant target of bullying.  Or maybe not.  You hear about the stereotypes.  The “fat kid” who is the “life of the party.”  Or, the “fat kid” who is, conversely, the “depressed loner.”  Either may be a secret binge eater.  Or maybe the kid never does have what we now will know, officially, as this painful disorder, Binge Eating Disorder, but the kid overeats at many, many meals, enough to sustain a larger body than he or she should have.

And folks, are we ever, ever going to find out?  For freaking years and years and years?  Sure, the presentation is that this is the fat kid.  Sure, the other young college folk assume maybe the kid “likes” to eat.  They dismiss this.  No one wants to talk about it and it ends up an uncomfortable subject.  Like, forever.  This is a painful path to walk on.   Even doctors don’t tread this ground.

Well, folks, they should.  And now, they will.  Binge eating is real and it’s serious.  Just as serious for someone overweight as it is for me who has anorexia with binge eating and does not and is unable to throw up, or someone with anorexia who does throw up, which is the one written up somewhere, the “binge-purge” type.  Do we have to talk about these stereotypes even?

Binge eating is serious for anyone who does binge eating and should be treated seriously, as seriously as is the behavior.

Binge eating itself causes massive damage in our society and of course to each and every individual sufferer. 

And yes, you can indeed die directly from the act of binge eating alone.

Never mind the suicides, car accidents, financial ruin, wrecked marriages, night after night of lost sleep, shattered sex lives, multitude of health concerns, legal issues, and troubled children.

Yep.  I’d say BED is right up there with severe alcoholism.

I’ll throw homelessness in there, too.

And yes, you CAN smell it on a person.  Not all the time, but some of the time.  Try a whiff of donuts or chocolate or the smell of dangerously high blood sugar on a person’s breath.  Or the scary drop in blood sugar some folks experience afterward.

I’m going to put out a poll and I hope it posts related to binge eating.  I believe these polls are anonymous.  Or I hope so.  I myself that I know of will be unable to track folks who answer.  (Don’t panic yet…no obligation to answer but it will help change the world…well, maybe.  I hope in my own little delusion of grandeur over here that everything I do makes its footprint on the world.  Well, everything we do, sorry, does a carbon footprint thing, they say, right?)

If you don’t want to answer the poll, and I’ll bet most of you won’t, or if you have never or generally don’t engage in binge eating, then just think about the questions and what your answers are or what someone else’s answers might be.  And think about tomorrow.  Goodnight.

Okay, see ya later, done with polls…I hope, again, I did this right.  Best of luck answering them.


Poll: What do you think about art and “altered states”?

I attempted to embed this poll into my earlier post and screwed up, so here it is live atcha now.  This relates to my post that I posted before I went to walk my dog Puzzle this morning.  We had a nice walk and listened to Talking Heads Remain in Light.  Go look up the history of that album in on Wikipedia in case you are curious…it got me thinking on this subject and was part of the inspiration for the post.  Those of you who have been hanging around me and my blog a long time know I have an ongoing obsession with that particular album, an obsession that has nothing whatsoever to do at all, I think, with art.  Oh, blather on.  I just woke up from a little nap with Puzzle and now we, or rather I, am going to shower or wake up or something spectacular.

Brilliant flash: Artists making beauty while stoned or drunk: is it still legit?

So I’m asking you…

And I may, for the first time, add a “poll.”  WordPress has this capability.  Just for fun.  Folks can vote on the question.  Not sure what I will ask yet or how I will word it or anything or just how weird I will get.

Here goes.  I am telling you, I get upset when I read on Wikipedia about an album or piece of writing and the artist(s) explain, “Oh, we did that while we were stoned.  So we didn’t really know what the heck we were doing.  If any beauty came of it, so be it.  Take it as it is.”

They might as well add,

“We are the World.  And we are filthy rich, too.”

Is there validity to such art?  If the artist has toned hands that have been trained for years and years, and yet does the art with his toes while asleep and drunk, is it still art?  What if it happens to come out decent, by some cruel serendipity?  Does he still have the right to charge the museums a fortune for it?

I am telling you what I truly believe in my heart: What that guy has in his drunk toes I will never, ever have in a million years.  Is it his responsibility to stay sober?

Or are we going to shut up.

Let’s let this dude do his thing and carry on.

Yeah, I get disappointed when I find out a rock group dismisses an album and says, “Well, we didn’t really know what we were doing when we put that one together” and it so happens I’ve been listening to the fucking album for years and in my opinion as former musician, it’s brilliant.

Or maybe the artists should not disappoint listeners by making such statements.  Perhaps they have no clue how much they disappoint us!

Actually, in my intro to my book (might as well put in a plug for my own work here…) This Hunger Is Secret, I discuss the question of what happens when a person gets well.  A lot of “patients,” particularly those that get stuck with this “mania” diagnosis who happen to be the artsy type, are concerned with loss of creativity.

See, I thought I wrote stuff that was sorta brilliant when I was sick and would no longer write brilliant stuff because the craziness was gone and the craziness had driven brilliant writing.

Now, granted, this thinking was way back…we’re talking ages ago this transformation I was referring to in the intro of my book, the time of my 40th birthday.  I am now midway into my 56th year, being now 55 years old.

Patients are afraid that the meds will kill creativity.  That the meds flatten emotion and take away the ability to express oneself.

So the same with getting sober. Alcoholics may be the very same way, not that I would know.  That if they throw the bottle away, then poof!  Out the window goes their ability to do art.  Or socialize or have sex or do whatever specific thing they are fixated on…work, school, math solving, being a doctor or priest, whatever.

Same with an eating disorder I suppose.  Maybe someone with an ED is afraid they can’t do this or that without their ED.  That they can’t face the world or live their life without this partner for life in tow.

Oh honestly…first of all, folks….

This eating disorder that I have lived with for 34 years now is not this Ed. There is no Ed and Ed is not a person, not real, does not have a name, not a partner to me, nor a marriage, does not speak, does not have a voice or persona or personality and I would love to have it gone tomorrow or right now or yesterday or poof never existed at all, like magic, if such a thing were possible.  Can I dream any bigger?

And there is so much I wish I could do but these things are not getting done.  And yet…I will do these things.  Somehow…they have told me this baloney that you must change yourself…but no, the personal being political, the surrounding world is gonna change along with me if I have to drag it with me, wall by wall.

I think that makes a whole lotta sense first thing in the morning, don’t you?

Okay, me and Puzzle, we’re gonna kick ass out there.  Nobody has to know what this crazy skinny lady with the dog is thinking.  I’ll be listening to a headset.

Here’s the poll.  By the way, I’ve never done this before, so forgive me if it comes out goofy. I will make up the question…in a sec.


The poll has supposedly been “embedded” in the post now and I hope I did it properly.  See ya later, alligators!  Puzzle and I are off on our walk finally.

Yet another question for readers…regarding Abilify dosing…what to ask my pesky doctor….and it’s freaking Saturday….

So my Abilify question…might as well ask you folks out there, who’ve actually taken the stuff and felt it in your bodies…..As you folks know, and I have told you, my doctor is leaving her practice soon and I am most likely not staying with her.  It’s Saturday today and my next appointment isn’t for quite a while…to be precise, it’s the14th of this month, and I see her on the 10th of next month.  So it’ll be a while.  That appointment will most likely be our last appointment, and I have no clue what will be my “psychiatric fate” after that.

I am a 55-year-old female in the US on public assistance and very low income.  So you know the deal.  I live in an urban area that supposedly has a lot of doctors and we have more hospitals here…I guess we have one on every block it seems but no care for low income people I guess.  I know folks who have had to move out of state to get care, either temporarily or permanently.  Why? Because like me, they have eating disorders.  For whatever reason, some god decided this was a rich female disorder only, and built all these horse farms for adolescent girls.

Guess what happened?  I grew up and shed my Jewish American Princess image.  Why?  The darned flowery dress and pearl jewelry never fit right.  I’ve always preferred to be butch, all my life.  Do you see what I’m saying?  Do I have to pay for this?  Be hit over the head with it? Drugged?

My doctor insists that I take an antipsychotic.  Now I have stated in this blog that she doesn’t really know the real “me” anymore.  What I hate even more than having gone in there for years and left after those 20 minutes, most of the time feeling like, “Oh, gee, that was a waste,” was, “She keeps saying she knows me, but she knows me less and less these days.” 

Why? I guess I’ve given it a good try.  I feel really sad right now.  It’s been 12 years and it feels like a completely  failed relationship.  It’s as much my fault as it is hers.

And for this reason, I feel that her insistence on my need for this drug may be based on false knowledge. 

I’ve been taking the Abilify since the night of the 5th. Dr. P insisted that I would “feel better” and “feel less depressed” on an antipsychotic.  The only one I will take is Abilify, because the others cause too many bad side effects such as weight gain or movement problems.  Quickly, on the advice of a dear friend who knows Abilify from personal experience, I switched the dose to morning.  I experienced such severe insomnia that I had to halve the dose.  So now I’m taking half of a 5 mg pill.  I am barely sleeping.  It seems to be getting worse.

I know there is a 2 mg size.  I feel like calling Dr. P and asking her to call in this size, so I can take half of this pill.  There seems no point in taking Abilify at all, but if she insists that I take it, I will just take a teensy bit to satisfy her requirement.  Maybe then I can get some sleep. 

What I am not looking forward to is getting yelled at again.  The last appointment was just horrible.  But I know if I continued on the 5 mg size, I’d be in the hospital for mania within a few weeks.  Then you know what’s screwy?  Instead of taking me off the Abilify, they’d just pile on the drugs.  Then I’d crash into a bad depression and it would take months to pull out of it.  What next?   Roll on the side effects, broken friendships, and ruined next few years.  I can see myself missing a few Nanos and wasting my time in “day treatment” going from group to group for years…and years…and years.  Do I want this life?  Would I wish it on anyone?

No, I’m not saying taking that blue pill is gonna do that.  But think about it next time you start on a powerful drug.  Think about your future, cuz it may mean just that.  Looking back, it did for me, as I survey the past 30+ years doing PRESCRIBED psych meds.  These were prescribed by doctors who claimed they knew me. 

Is it any different from thinking twice before putting that heroin needle into your arm?  No!  And you are sitting there on some cozy couch with friends that know you.  Or so you are convinced in that brief moment when you make that decision.

Who really knows you?  How much time do you spend in your psychiatrist’s office?  Think about it!

People who know me, with whom I have spent hours on the phone or carried on lengthy conversations…have stated, “Julie, you are not crazy.”  God bless the truly precious person that stated this.  God bless every soul who is bothering to read this now (even those of you who are reading this out of spite for me).

Everyone sees out a window.  I wear glasses and I try to keep them clean so I can see out of them as best as possible.  These are my window, and everyone’s window is a little different.  You gotta respect that.

They used to say, “Don’t hit a person who wears glasses.”  So during my entire childhood, you could say I lucked out, because I was one of the ones who had this pair of glasses that was my armor.  They shielded me from getting beaten up.  In the 1960’s, kids beat each other up a lot.

So I am saying now, let’s bring back this old rule.  Don’t hit anyone with glasses and leave everyone’s window alone.  That is, respect each other’s differences and don’t beat anyone up.

Julie, you are not crazy.  Do you really need this drug that is doing nothing but keeping you awake?

I am not binge eating.  Thank goodness I have managed to stop.  My only fear in making any changes is that the binge eating might return.  That I would “crash” off the mania that I fear may have been induced by this drug and then all kinds of depression hell would break loose.  That would suck worse than what I am going through now.

I only want to be the regular me.  Not the drug-induced high that I feel from this Abilify.  I didn’t like it when I started it and I don’t even like the high from the half dose.  I don’t like not sleeping.  I speak too quickly and it bugs people.  Some people can’t follow my rapid speech, and just give up.  I make excuses and say I’m being “funny,” but the truth is, I’m desperately hiding the slight manic high.  I didn’t like what I was going through before I started Abilify but I don’t like this, either.

There are other changes I have made in my life, positive ones, completely on my own…….

These have helped me, not the Abilify, to pull out of the funk I was in, but the Abilify I feel has pushed me into some sort of manic funk now.

What do I do?  I feel like I can’t even call my own freaking doctor and ask her, because I will be yelled at!  Why do I feel I have to ask my dear blog readers, people out there whom I do not even know, to answer this question, and I have no clue if it will even be answered.


A photo of my newly redecorated bedroom, and a question for all you folks out there in blog-reader land

So, here’s my bedroom.  Recently changed back to blue.  The bedspread looks more like black, but it’s a navy reversible comforter.  I bought it at the mall before Target moved its ass into there.


I’m embarrassed to say that I purchased the ugly tablecloth at Target, though.  It requires ironing.  Now honestly, if you are going to spend money at Target, you’d think they’d have el-cheap-O’s that are wrinkle-free and smell kinda plasticky.  This one looked nice at the store in the wrapper and looks ugly now.  It looked a little nicer once it got washed and had that slightly worn, not-straight-off-the-rack look.  But I still think the one I got for one-quarter the price at a nice thrift shop in Central Square (I can’t recall the name, not the Goodwill, the one across from the current co-op location practically) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  They sell tons of tablecloths, as does the Goodwill, the latter at random times when you are lucky, and it depends on which Goodwill.  I know they have Goodwill stores all over the country.  In other countries, I know Goodwill Industries runs their stores differently and maybe they are expensive.  Here, they aren’t too bad.

The crocheted items are done by yours truly.  All of them.  The round thingy, which is approximately the size and shape of a toilet paper roll, situated on the table, is indeed a toilet paper roll cover.  You can find these elsewhere in my blog.  I have an article I did on them and when I’m done writing this article, I’ll come back (if I remember) and re-do this article to provide a link for you, so you can click on it and go see how I made it, and I’ll do you a favor and have that article open in a separate browser window, how’s that?

Anyway, more about the photo: I have two similar lamps currently in my bedroom, a pink one and a blue one.  Neither has a shade for it.  But I have those funky bulbs.  Our housing authority provided bulbs, and like a dummy, I went and returned them, because they emit mercury.  I think what happens is they emit a teensy teensy bit, not very much.  My thinking is that it really couldn’t possibly be a dangerous amount, but I could be wrong.  I went to the store and bought what I thought were non-mercury bulbs.  They were very expensive, but the whole reason I made the switch to these expensive type were that they are much more long-lasting and I am saving money by buying them, with or without being the one to have to pay the electric bill (I’m not, the Housing Authority picks it up).

Oh, what a dummy I am!  I think all bulbs have mercury in them, am I wrong?  I have broken one of them and found out that these are not like the old kind.  These don’t get all splintery and scary.  They do us the favor of only breaking off a teeny bit.  Yeah, these are ugly as sin, and look like white techno turds, but they are a lot easier to sweep up and cart off to the graveyar, saying the usual swear words I suppose, after you kill them off.

Anyway, that wasn’t my question.  I’ll get to the question.  I want to say more about the photo.  You can see my space heater, that funky old one on my desk.  Yes, still.  I am freezing still.  Here in New England we do not have summer yet this year in June.  Don’t worry, come July or August it will hit us and I am not going to hear the end of Boston on the MBTA complaining about the heat and how it will never end, this for about two weeks, then it will end.  Then, I’ll be running the space heater again, most likely.

That isn’t the desk I usually sit at when I write these blog entries.  I have another one in the living room that’s my “throne.”  The “throne” is one I bought from Staples and put together myself from 46 (yes, a number wicked big, big enough to earn numeral status by far) pieces.  It’s taken me I think 10 years, probably more, cuz I think I’ve owned the “throne” longer, to figure out that the “throne” is what is causing all the giant patch of strange-looking dead skin to form on my elbows and around that area…hmm.   Maybe I need to put rubber pads on the sharp wood desk edge to protect my elbows.  I had thought (and so did my doc) that the dead skin was from my ED.

Guess what, doc.  I sat here at this desk and did my BFA and finished it summa cum laude at Emerson College.  I was widowed at and bawled this desk.  I did my whole six years of MFA work at this desk.  I did finished three National Novel Writing Months at this desk.  I have written over 1,600 blog entries at this desk since 2005 (original blog was for Microsoft Hotmail whatever, forget what it was,  and I doubt is still there, everything is copied out of there into here…some photos are still missing…I’m lazy, sorry).  Of course I have written e-mails from this desk.  And all kinds of little pieces just for fun.   I think I have fucked up at everything at this desk.  I have lost friends at this desk.  I have Skyped at this desk and eaten dinner at this desk and had coffee at this desk and just plain sat here and I’ve made You-Tubes from here and I’ve thought up the most brilliant ideas just sitting here while my elbows have been, um, taking a killing I guess.  Oops.

So I won’t talk about that anymore, and I’ll get back to the photo.  By the way, if you click (or double-click, forget which, maybe it depends on who or what you are) on the photo, it will open in a separate browser window, so you can switch back and forth while we are speaking.  So you won’t have to do the work of scrolling way, way up on account of my getting so darned far off topic.  See that brown ugly thingy on my desk?  That’s the teensy coil pot I talk about in my chapter, “Hunger” in my book, This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness.  Now those of you who have been reading my blog for any bit of time know that this is a memoir and also know that this memoir was my master’s thesis.  In the book, I mention this coil pot very briefly and I’m not giving away a huge plot secret by telling you that the coil pot is a metaphor…and it never did work out as a coffee cup…because it is leaky and therefore nonfunctional.  Coil pots tend to do that, or at least all my coil pots leaked.

It’s not my favorite scene in the book and not one that I look back on in real life with any fondness, I guess, due to the discomfort I felt over the cup.  I don’t know what led Joe to liking it so much, or pretty much convincing me to keep it and not toss it out.  I was quite tempted to deceive him and quietly bury it in the trash anyway, but I didn’t have the heart to lie to him.  He said he didn’t want me to throw out something I’d created.


But that wasn’t in the book.  I’m just cluing you in on that tidbit now.  Bulls-eye.

The scene is one with the art person and I guess I’m in some group, at some hospital, and I’m sick and frustrated.  I can’t remember the line he tells me but I stuck that in the middle of the chapter.  This all took place at the same place and time as the chapter “Walking the Line” did, by the way.  It was actually a crappy program at a very fancy hospital.  Looking back, the irony kills me, but there is irony all over our American “insurance” system, and always will be I suppose.  I’ll bet you folks in other countries REALLY see it that way, and maybe you folks can better see our system than we can see our system (if you look into it) for the total nonsense that it is, not that I would know how it feels to live in another country.  Then again, I know in other places there is no access to certain advantages we have.  There are certain things you just can’t even hold of in other places and there are certain liberties you don’t get in other places.

Maybe it’s what you see out that window, eh?

Life.  Eyes.

My life, your life.  Hey, we’re all here in the same room right now, just talking, right?

What about that forest and that tree that fell?  Or am I not supposed to think about that beyond maybe a few years past high school?  Or have they dropped that age a few notches down since the advent of “electronics”?

Anyway, back to the photo. Are you ready for the question? First of all, it took me a devil of a time to find the right cord for my steam iron.  It’s a travel iron I bought years ago, back when Joe was alive (1958-2003).  Yeah, I miss him like crazy but for godsakes don’t let me get off on yet another tangent.  I found the cord after trying the wrong one and waiting like a half hour, wondering why I was getting this puny little heat from the little iron and no steam.  Then I went into my box that used to be a box that boots came in (I no longer have the boots) where I now store old electrical cords, and found the right cord.   Bravo.

The question is as follows:  You folks who are in high school are going to be jumping up and down ready with the answer, and the rest of you who aren’t into physics or chemistry have forgotten.  For godsakes, if you are a doctor, or even a shrink, you had better know the answer.  I’ll bet a pharmacist knows even after ten drinks, and I’ll bet a pharmacist can make the grow corn in his/her bathroom and make the gin for ten drinks in a test tube, but let’s not get into the details of what pharmacists have in their homes.  Whatever they have, it doesn’t look like my bedroom in the photo, it’s fancier cuz they make more money, right?   And there’s no coil pot with a “1/2” on it, if there’s a coil pot, I’m sure it brimmeth over.  So here’s the question:

Why do I have to add salt to my steam iron to get it to work?  If I don’t put a teensy bit of salt in it (per instructions written on the iron and salt measure provided) it does not steam properly and isn’t at all effective as an iron.  It’s a gray plastic iron I got for cheap.  You just put a quarter cup of water in it.  It’s not meant to do a whole load of laundry.  Just a shirt or two while you are traveling.  I bought it figuring I’m not big on ironing and rarely iron anything at all.  Some folks are obsessive about it.  It doesn’t get very hot and to really do a good job, I have to use a mini spray bottle, the kind you get for cheap at CVS in the travel aisle for 99 cents, filled with plain water, and spray the item just a little.  The iron doesn’t get hot enough to singe my hair, but will boil the water like mad.  But what frustrates the heck out of me is that I can”t recall why salt water boils at a lower temp than plain water.  I guess this iron doesn’t get hot enough to boil plain water.   Maybe that’s some kind of safety feature, or you high school folks can answer this, or those of you that had better know or have reason to remember this type of interesting fact.

I had no reason to remember.  I was a musician.  I guess while I was still a very under undergrad and had one semester left to graduate, I still quite well knew why salt water boiled at a lower temp.  I sure was very much math-minded back then.  I was so darned brainy.  I guess all us composers were that brainy type.  You had to be, or you ended up that way, sitting alone in those little piano rooms with composition paper and a pencil for so long, often well into the night.

Do they still have those little rooms at music schools?   (Question #2.)  And are student composers still considered geeky (a word we didn’t have back then, at any of my schools)?  (Question #3.)  Do student compositions still never get heard and get tucked away forever?  (Question #4.)  I have all these music pieces in pencil and paper (actually I had beautiful music penmanship) and they are sitting in a box, mostly never played and never heard, even by me, except in my little crazy head.  Even at Bennington College between 1978 and 1981, where they told me that yes, student pieces, even if we were experimenting with stuff, got played, yes, played, but this in fact didn’t pan out the way they told me most of the time.  Practicalities and red tape, you know, would get in the way.  I guess they didn’t call it “red tape” back then, but that’s what it was.  That and my eating disorder, which wasn’t what I called it cuz I didn’t know there was such thing and had never even heard of them.  I simply didn’t know it was named that.  But all this was only a work in progress.

So now it’s late here on the East Coast of the US.  It’s not late on the West Coast, where some readers are I guess, and it’s much later in other places, where some readers have I guess already gone to bed and many places it’s already creeping into Friday.  You’ll get up and read this much later I’ll bet.  Maybe you work over there in your other country, and you’ll read it after you get home.  Or maybe, just maybe, it’s like 2014, or 2015, and you are reading this article years after it’s been posted.  Hey, decades from now-land, why do some irons require salt?

In that case, I already know.  Or I’m wrinkle-free.  Nyah nyah.

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