Writing about eating disorders feels like an exercise in vulnerability, not because I am ashamed to share my story, but due to the extremely emotional nature of the topic for countless women. In an era of Kate Moss, skinny jeans, and “she’s too skinny!” tabloid fodder, eating disorders run rampant like a cultural epidemic, continuing to fester alongside a never-ending preoccupation with body image. Although the majority of the media narrows the scope of the issue to models and celebrities, eating disorders are actually most prevalent amongst us everyday girls. Simultaneously, the reality of EDs extends beyond the teenage anecdotes of starving ourselves to be popular; these serious diseases have lifetime physical and psychological ramifications and are far more multifarious than extreme dieting. Weight is a sensitive subject to say the least, one I am going to handle diplomatically. The objective of sharing my story is not to be controversial, blame Hollywood, or spark debate on how to confront eating disorders, but to reflect on the complexities of a ghost that has haunted me and so many others for over a decade.
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“People are embarrassed to talk about [depression]. I would never put anyone down [who] was in that kind of space … I think most human beings go through some sort of depression in their life … And if they don’t, I think that’s weird.”
– Kirsten Dunst opens up about her depressive episode in Flare Magazine. And I have to agree with her. Who hasn’t been depressed at some point? I want to meet those people. I think there are different degrees to which people suffer. For some, it’s a mild sadness in stressful times, for others it is lifelong and debilitating. I remember when I sought professional treatment for depression, my therapist told me, “A person who has never been depressed is a person in denial. Your depression is a sign that you are processing some of the sadness you feel.” Thinking about it that way made it feel like less of a stigma. [People]
It didn’t take long for me to figure out something about Nick* was different. Everything about him was outsized, super-charming and a bit impulsive. For our second date, he seriously considered whisking me away to Atlantic City for the weekend to go gambling. After only two weeks of dating, he told me he thought I was “the one.” He chatted a mile a minute, exhausting one topic and moving right on to the next without missing a beat. On our earliest dates, I literally felt as though I was his audience — though I didn’t exactly mind, because he was charismatic and bright and his life story fascinated me. I’m not the life of the party at all, so to be with someone who is the life of the party was extremely fun. When he finally told me after several dates that he had bipolar disorder and ADD, I nearly smacked myself in the forehead. Of course he does! I realized. He’s textbook!
My older brother Eliot* also has bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). Eliot’s behavior when he has not been taking his medication is almost exactly like Nick’s. He’s just as impulsive, if not more so; a few Christmases ago, he tried to persuade me to ditch our family and drive to Foxwoods to go gambling. Eliot is also very charming, charismatic, bright and the dictionary definition of “the life of the party.” Our personalities are so different that our friends can hardly believe he and I are related.
So when Nick mentioned that he is not taking medication for his bipolar and ADD, I nearly smacked myself in the forehead a second time. Of course, of course, I thought. And then: F**k. Keep reading »
“The year after ‘Avatar’ was just emotionally overwhelming. I was traveling all over the world, waking up in different time zones. Your body gets exhausted, and by the end of the year I just collapsed … I was sitting in my hotel room, and I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t stay awake. I must have slept for an entire month.It took me the rest of the year, even as I was working and shooting ‘Colombiana,’ to pick myself up.”
—Zoe Saldana tells Latina magazine that the mega success of “Avatar” didn’t bring her happiness, and in fact she suffered from serious depression in the year after its release. But don’t worry, she feels much better now. Her new movie comes out soon and she’s engaged to actor Keith Britton. Just goes to show that getting your dream is more emotionally complex than you ever realized. [NY Daily News] Keep reading »
Let me preface this depressing news by saying that I’ve never felt anything but supreme joy when eating a doughnut. However, according to the British Dietetic Association, doughnuts are dangerous to our mental health:
“We tend to crave sugary and fatty foods [like doughnuts] for a quick mood fix, but the sugar crash that follows could make you feel worse … Information is carried between the cells by chemicals such as dopamine. Rising levels of dopamine can boost mood; falling levels are linked to sadness.”
I refuse to accept it. Sorry. Other alleged depression triggers are hot weather, the Internet, vegetarian food, and coffee. So basically, most of the things that bring me joy in life. [Daily Mail UK] Keep reading »
Kleenex ready? Because it sure looks like Sad Keanu has inspired a book. In April, Keanu Reeves released the book, Ode To Happiness, along with artist Alexandra Grant. Made up of grayscale images and lettering that looks it might have been smeared by tears, each page contains an uplifting thought like, “I draw a hot sorrow bath. In my despair room.” The words on the final page of the tome? “It can always be worse.”
So what’s with Keanu’s glumness? Keep reading »
In a few years, the following scenario could actually happen. If you’ve been feeling down, sleepy, and just generally like the color has been zapped out of the world, you can make an appointment with your doctor and say, “Hey doc, can I get a depression test?” Apparently, researchers in Japan on working on a test that would measure the concentration of phosphoric acid in the blood. It’s different from existing tests because (a) it’s fast and (b) it doesn’t require DNA testing, so could even become a part of regular checkups. Meaning, it could detect it when you’re feeling symptoms or when you’re not sure what’s going on. [Telegraph UK]
Oh, but there are so many fascinating tests like this in the works. After the jump, find out about more things you’ll be able to easily diagnose in just a few years. I feel like I’m in an episode of “The Jetsons.” Keep reading »
I lost my virginity at age 15, in a double wide trailer. I remember his abs glowing under the black-light and the mood music–a Ginuwine album on repeat. I had snuck out on a snowy school night, holding my shoes in my hand. I felt sort of frozen and surreal, somehow knowing this was the night, and barely noticing the fact that I was just wearing wet socks in his car.
There isn’t much to describing first time sex. I felt more like I was watching myself from above than experiencing it, thinking Oh my god, this is sex! or Just move your hips with Ginuwine. Afterward, naked and side by side, I stared into his eyes, my heart feeling huge. My virginity had become a burden that past year and this was, surely, a turning point in my life. He suddenly locked eyes with mine and opened his mouth. I wanted to remember every second of this moment.
“Want a Capri Sun?” he asked. Keep reading »
It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Depressed and Unsure,” who, much to her boyfriend’s chagrin, had befriended her BFF’s ex (and boyfriend’s friend) after the broke up. “We both share long-time struggles with chronic depression, and the outlet we’ve found in each other has helped us both immensely. Unfortunately, my boyfriend has taken issue with this new-found friendship.” Keep reading »