A is for Award. And this one was given to me by the lovely Paula Rodriguez at paulawannacracker. Hurray!!! (And I finally learnt how to link! )
Paula is looking great after losing 30lbs so far and working hard on improving her eating at the moment. Her's is an honest blog - trying to be careful with what you eat is not easy, especially with a large family to entertain. I think Paula is often too hard on herself because she's actually doing an amazing job. Cheer her on if you're not already.
A is for Appreciation. If you appreciate great writing then you will love Green Stone Woman's new Writing Blog. Her writing is quite exceptional. Check out "Rituals" posted on Oct 28th. Paragraphs 3 and 4 particularly put me in mind of Ted Hughes' "Lovesong". See what you think. She has also set up a new Art Blog where you seriously want to check out those sculptures. My favourite is Bog Woman, but The Frog is pretty amazing too. Of course Nora continues to write her daily journaling blog too. In her post this morning, her wish was that people would follow her new writing blog, so let's wave the magic wand and make her wish come true.
A is also for Anger and Appropriate. As in, Is anger an appropriate response to someone else's pain? I have read several bloggers writing about the anger they feel when someone else is depressed. Especially if the pain is so severe the person actually feels suicidal. Apparently a suicidal person is particularly deserving of these people's anger and disgust. Yes, the word disgust has been used in this context. One blogger actually wrote that she was "offended" by other people's pain. Offended???? WTF??? And these people call themselves Christians?
Can anger and disgust ever be appropriate responses to other people's pain?
For example, if you are very overweight you have possibly at some time been on the receiving end of someone else's anger over this issue. It may have been your parents, your partner, even a complete stranger in the street. Did you find this remotely appropriate? Remotely helpful? Chances are you found someone else's anger directed at you a crushing experience. At the very least it's highly unpleasant that someone else seeks to increase your pain over this issue. Why would they do that? Does it make sense? Does it achieve anything?
Why do some people feel intense anger when someone says openly that they are depressed? Or suicidal? What does that anger signify? There could be various factors at play here, but the most obvious candidate is denial. Denial of their own pain. To some people, admitting that they have such negative emotions is too frightening for them. They want to stuff those feelings down. Pretend they don't exist. Those feelings are linked with feelings of their own inadequacy and lack of self esteem. Some people prefer to block this stuff out of their mind. It gives them a feeling of superiority, after all, that they have been able to "overcome" (supposedly) the causes of their pain, and not "give in" to those feelings.
Why do overweight people in particular often bear the brunt of other people's inappropriate anger? Well, as we know, excess weight is often pain made highly visible. Unlike alcoholism, or drug taking for example, which are not immediately apparent when the person walks down the street, the compulsive eater's pain is there for all the world to see at all times.
So people are trying to distance themselves from their own pain when they look down on someone else who is obviously in pain. And an inadequate ego will always get a boost from feeling superior to other people of course.
I remember when I did a creative therapy class some years ago, and before the first session when we were all in the reception area waiting to go in, a woman in the group proclaimed very loudly that "People think that to come here there must be something wrong with you". And she went on to explain (to her highly embarrassed listener) that there was nothing wrong with her. Of course not. Like she was just there for the craic.
Fact is that everyone attending that group had been diagnosed with depression.
She told me in no uncertain terms that she was not depressed. And evidently felt that because of this she was rather superior to the rest of us. She was not mentally ill. She was not one of us. She then proceeded to paint a very large piece of paper entirely in very dark grey and black. Yeah, I thought, you're so not depressed.
Being British, no-one in the group mentioned it. Every time this poor deluded woman dropped another clanger (supposedly demonstrating her own psychological superiority to the rest of us) there was much raising of eye brows, shaking of heads and knowing smiles exchanged.
Thing is, this woman was the most depressed person in the group by a very long chalk. Her desperate attempts to bolster her own flagging ego only signalled the enormous hole she was in emotionally.
For the other members of the group, treating this woman as a figure of fun (in their own heads) served to stop them (to some extent) being hurt from the message that this woman was transmitting ie you are worth less as a human being if you are depressed, if you suffer from mental illness, if you are in psychological pain. We tried to insulate ourselves from her opinion that we were unacceptable and weak; less than "normal" people. We tried not to allow her to increase our pain.
This woman's feelings of disgust towards herself could have had a very destructive effect on other people. And possibly did in other situations.
Her unfortunate, hurtful behaviour towards us was really to do with her feelings about herself. Ie feeling that she was worthless, unacceptable and "less than" other people.
Appropriate responses to other people's pain are things like empathy, offering comfort, understanding, making suggestions to ease the situation, telling a story from your own experience of how you dealt with something similar, or simply listening (or reading).
Inappropriate responses are anger, disgust, feelings of superiority. These responses say a lot about the person feeling them and zip all about the person they are aimed at.
OK. I finished ranting now. Me, angry??!! That would be so inappropriate ....
In other news, The Bear has been suddenly demanding my attention after virtually no contact for quite a while. I have seen him every day the last three days. And we have had a lovely walk each evening. I also went on a walk on Monday evening on my own.
I was surprised that he was in quite good shape psychologically despite a bit of a crisis - which required my help and support. I really have loved spending a bit of time with him. Spending time with him helps me be more accepting of myself, because he accepts me totally and unconditionally. He is the only person in the real world I trust (I say in the real world because obviously I trust you lot).
My eating - rubbish. All rubbish. Massive eating every day. But at least my exercise levels have improved. And that is really necessary considering I will be walking a very large steep hill to see my healer on Monday.
I am feeling a little better in myself. Your comments have been very supportive and helpful. Between you lot and The Bear and my healer, I hope to crawl out into the light any time soon ...
I am a 38 yr old woman who over the last 22 years has been through every eating disorder known to humankind. Since Dec 2007 I have been binge eating and just massively overeating, interspersed with 4 short bursts of dieting and exercise. I am struggling every day with this problem. I am also agoraphobic and trying to recover from a breakdown.
Why am I called Friend of the Bear? Well, The Bear is my ex-boyfriend who I am still great friends with. He's a cuddly older gentleman who is generally somewhat vague and disorganised, but can come out with strangely prescient comments when required. The *bears* who sometimes put in their two penn'orth in these pages are a large collection of teddy bears owned by the Bear.