“What do YOU think?” That’s the number one phrase I hear in therapy over and over — usually because I’m asking my therapist for her opinion about some shit that is going down. But as those of us in therapy know, a therapist is not there to give advice or to tell you how to live your life. He or she will listen and offer observations about the way you talk about your life. But dishing out advice and tips is a big no-no. After a year-plus of asking my therapist, “What do you think?” and getting the response “What do YOU think?”, I’ve come to realize that what she really means is Stop asking me this because I’m not going to tell you.
Of course, that’s not the only thing my therapist says that actually means something else. Here are just a few things* that your therapist is saying to you and what it really means:
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If you’ve seen the show “Hoarders” then you can easily understand why anything, even a human body, could stay hidden for a very, very long time in the home of a hoarder. So, you know where this story is headed: James Nichols reported his wife, Jo Ann Nichols of Poughkeepsie, New York, missing in December of 1985 after she did not show up for a beauty parlor appointment. He told police that he received a typed note from his wife and then talked to her on the phone three days after he reported her as missing. Nichols also told police that he found his wife’s car parked at a local shopping mall. After searching his house, police determined that Mr. Nichols had not had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance.
Oh, did I mention the amount of stuff they had to wade through in that home? According to neighbors, Mr. Nichols was an intense hoarder. He even had several dumpsters in his backyard for extra storage. The police also probably thought it was safe to assume that this was not an episode of “CSI”and didn’t check (or even know about) his false wall in the basement where he was hiding his wife’s body. Keep reading »
I was a full-blown feminist by the time I started college. I also had a full-blown eating disorder. As a teen I marched on Washington for women’s rights. I put out a zine called Wonder Woman. I played drums (and by “played” I mean I aggressively and skill-lessly beat the shit out of a floor tom, a snare and a cymbal) in a punk band whose songs included “Penis-Shaped Missile” and “Cute Band Alert.” I prepared all varieties of soy-based hippie stews for Food Not Bombs, though I don’t recall ever sampling any of them. And it wasn’t because of the soy. Or the hippie. While my dog-eared copy of Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth was proudly displayed on my bookshelf, my equally well-worn calorie counter book was hidden out of sight in my desk drawer.
I was terrified of gaining weight. I restricted. I binged and purged. I hated my body. Keep reading »
“Oh, the crazy thing is really easy. If anybody could have proven me to be crazy, they certainly would have. And it’s never happened. Technically, in the sense of being bipolar, manic-depressive, or any of that stuff, it’s just not true. I mean, have I gone online and ranted and raved about my finances. Abso-fucking-lutely. Without any filter on. I mean, there’s a part of me that just doesn’t fucking care. And if that’s defined as crazy, then I need to find a psychiatrist who will diagnose that. I mean, maybe I’m more antisocial. I even asked my shrink, ‘Am I bipolar-ish?’ And he’s like, ‘No, you’re not.’ And I said, ‘Not even ish?’ And he said no. It’s just not there. So ‘crazy’ is a word that doesn’t affect me.”
– Courtney Love opened up to Bust magazine the common slur that’s used against her and how she has zero fucks to give. Love has always behaved … colorfully … to put it politely, and she’s absolutely done many things that were inappropriately bonkers, like accusing Dave Grohl of having sexual feelings for her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. To be sure, there are plenty of people with mental illness who are so far in denial that they can’t admit they have a problem. She totally could be in that camp. But it’s also possible, just possible, that a famous woman who acts bonkers gets labeled “crazy” and men who behave the same way are just seen as “fun” or “quirky” … or “winning!” [Bust Magazine] [Photo via Bust Magazine]
Is there a penalty for a woman who breaks through the glass ceiling and, then, from her position of power, admits that she struggled with mental illness in her past?
Yesterday New York City’s Speaker of the City Council and the Democratic candidate for mayor Christine Quinn revealed in the New York Times that she had suffered from bulimia and alcoholism for a good portion of her life. Quinn explained how her mom suffered through breast cancer throughout Quinn’s childhood and after her mom died, binge eating and purging gave her a brief feeling of relief. It was also in college that Quinn binge drank to the point of developing alcoholism. She checked into a rehab center at age 26 and got control of her eating disorder and her problematic drinking; it wasn’t until three years ago that Quinn, who is also the first mayoral candidate to be openly gay, went entirely dry.
Christine Quinn’s admission echoed another powerful woman’s recent decision to go public about a private struggle: “Morning Joe” cohost Mika Brzezinski revealed in MORE magazine that she has suffered from exercise bulimia for many years, meaning that she binges on food and then over-exercises to burn off the calories.
Brzezinski and Quinn aren’t the only two well-known women to admit to mental illness: Carrie Fisher and Catherine Zeta-Jones have both been public about their struggles with bipolar disorder, Lena Dunham talks about her OCD, and plenty of other celebs have been open about their mental health struggles, too. But I suppose that Christine Quinn and Mika Brzezinski fascinate me in particular because they both work in fairly male-dominated fields — the mainstream media and politics — that aren’t known for being warm and fuzzy. Keep reading »
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski has opened up about an eating disorder she has struggled with throughout her life: exercise bulimia — a compulsion to binge eat food and then overexercise to burn off the calories.
People with exercise bulimia will exercise several times a day, multiple days a week even when they’re sick or injured. They’ll blow off other responsibilities to exercise and get panicky or depressed when they can’t work out. Not surprisingly, they’re very focused on their appearance and self-critical, particularly in regards to how much food they have eaten and think they need to burn off. (Unlike with regular bulimia, they don’t make themselves vomit.) As explained by ULifeline.org:
People with exercise bulimia are obsessed with exercise and often binge. Bingeing is when someone eats large quantities of food in a short amount of time. … Exercise bulimia has dangerous complications, including depression, injury, weak bones, reproductive problems and even cardiac arrest. Keep reading »