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 »
This piece was cross-posted with permission from the Ms. Magazine Blog.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaking with members of his reelection staff. Much of the conversation focused on actor Ashley Judd, who, until recently, was rumored to be mulling a run against the current Senate GOP leader. For the most part, the recording is typical opposition research. An aide rehearses Judd’s public politics: She loves Obamacare, is pro-gay marriage and self-identifies as a feminist.
None of this, of course, is much of a surprise — Judd campaigned for President Obama and has spoken publicly on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America. More disconcerting than the rehashing of Judd’s political ideology, however, is when the discussion veers from policy to Judd’s reproductive choices and then quickly to her mental health. Keep reading »
Living one’s values are difficult for any human. Living one’s values when those values are idealistic, compassionate, and come from a deep and open heart can be extremely difficult. Life throws “life” at you and you seek to respond in the way that would make you feel proud of yourself.
That doesn’t always work.
This morning, an editor from Feministing.com Chloe Angyal published an essay confessing that she’s been starving herself. You can read the whole essay here. The tl;dr is that Chloe (I’m calling her Chloe because I’ve known her socially for years and it feels weird to refer to her in the formal “Angyal”) became interested in eating disorders awareness after she became artistic director of her all-girls dance company in college. She made a mandate within the company to stop with negative body-talk and then became involved in a campus eating disorders awareness and prevention group. (Through that group, she met the lovely Courtney E. Martin, who brought her to Feministing.) She’s been reading, blogging and editing Feministing for several years.
And for the past two years, she’s also been starving herself. Keep reading »
“I have a shopping fetish!”
“I have a total fetish for caramel-covered popcorn — it’s my favorite snack!”
“She watches the Kardashians’ shows because she has a weird Kim fetish. She’s wants to dress like her so badly.”
You’ve probably heard a comment like this at least once a week your entire life. These sorts of comments drive me bonkers, because those people are not really referring to fetishes.
Instead, they’re misusing the word “fetish” to describe anything they really like, instead of something that sexually turns them on. I imagine it might be the same way gay folks would feel when a straight-person says to their same-sex friend “I’m gay for you,” when really they just mean their friend is a good buddy.
This is a subject we could all stand to know more about. Obviously I am not a psychologist or a medical expert of any kind; I’m just a woman with a spanking fetish who is researching official information on the subject on Google and including my own experiences and tips. I highly recommend visiting a sex-positive therapist, specifically a sex therapist, for a professional consult and to sort this stuff out if you or a loved one have a fetish or paraphilia.
But for a basic 101 on fetishes and paraphilia, here are some commonly asked questions and answers:
Keep reading »
The irony about people who cope with depression is that some of us are actually quite happy people. We are not, contrary to stereotype, slogging through life with the weight of one thousand sorrows dragging behind us. I may feel things intensely, sure. But I’m not someone whose blue-colored glasses see everyone screwed up and the world a terrible place.
That is, until the holidays come around. Keep reading »
Liza Long, the blogger behind the post “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” which went viral following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Friday, appeared on CNN last night to discuss her motivations behind writing the piece, respond to critics who questioned whether she violated her son’s privacy, and to update everyone on how “Michael” (not his real name) is doing. Long said her post was a cry for help; though Michael is a happy, sweet child 97 percent of the time, he is prone to out-of-nowhere violent rages that doctors have yet to find an official cause for. Keep reading »
Dieting is probably my foremost hobby. It might even take precedence over my two other main interests, which are 1) lying on the sofa complaining of feeling faint like a Victorian anemic and 2) staring at myself in the mirror. Of course, dieting for me just means eating healthily, because my idea of eating whatever I want includes sandwiches composed of whole baguettes with an entire pig’s worth of prosciutto, several slices of pepperoni pizza, and entire pints of ice cream in one sitting. The world in which I can eat as I please is a world in which raw kale does not exist. (Baked kale chips can stay.)
So it only makes sense that, however unpleasant it may be, I force myself to eat in a reasonable, controlled manner, which means cutting out some of my favorite foods altogether. Once I get them in front of me, I cannot resist, and then I’m eating all of it, because food is my drug. Which leads me to this: much like the gravitational pull of your favorite flavors can put you induce a drug-like euphoria, being forced (by a self-imposed or otherwise mandatory diet) to stop eating high-fat and high-sugar foods can cause withdrawal symptoms and depression. It’s science! Keep reading »
Every reality show competition has its oddball and Victoria on “America’s Next Top Model” fits it to a ‘T.’ She was homeschooled, attends online schooling at uber-religious Liberty University, and when she “gets in character” she over-acts during all her photoshoots … like in the most recent episode when she spat at the photographer. Victoria also just so happens to be the girl I want to win; she takes some of the best pictures, and easily has the best work ethic (which is half the battle).
Over the past several episodes of “ANTM,” the other girls have been closing in on Victoria. It started with snotty comments about Victoria being weird — which, sure, she is. Then it exacerbated in the episode before last when, at judging, the girls told Tyra Banks that they think Victoria isn’t eating enough — which, if we can go off the way producers have edited the show, is probably also true. Victoria defended herself and said she doesn’t have an eating disorder, she’s just extremely anxious about the competition and being away from her mom for the first time — which, again, is probably true. Tyra then pronounced she deeply cares about the health and well-being of the girls on her show, threatened that if Victoria restricts her eating she’s out of the competition, and vowed to keep an eye on her.
Then, on Friday night’s episode, all of this hoopla went even further: the remaining girls in the house confronted Victoria, telling her they don’t think she’s stable enough to continue with the competition. Keep reading »