Posts Tagged ‘psychiatric stereo-typing’

The Science

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

For someone who is quick to argue that eating disorders are complex conditions and responds, scathingly, to over-simplification and assumptions; I have left a great, gaping hole in my consideration.

It is otherwise known as science.

Whether it started as a defence mechanism (Doctors, what do they know?); or was jumbled up with the health – social – emotional – personal – cultural contexts that eating disorders fall into; or, is just down to the fact that my science education stopped 14 years ago… I seem to have neglected a key area of sense making, and forgotten to factor an understanding of genetics or biology in.

They have proved unexpectedly relevant.

No such thing as a stereo type?

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

As a stroppy teenager, I was above psychiatric boxing. I was, most definitely, not a stereo type.

As a grown up, I appreciate that definitions (not ‘labels’) make things a lot easier. That a checklist diagnostic is a SMART way of doing psychiatry. That even doctors need some guidelines.

Somewhere between these two points, I realised that I might not be as unique as I liked to think that I was. That I possibly shared some interesting similarities with the people that I met in eating disorder units. That there were, perhaps, some common traits that might – just might – have made me more susceptible to an eating disorder.



Friday, May 1st, 2009

It’s impossible to view self induced vomiting or a diet of apples and salad as examples of particularly intelligent behaviour.

This is not reflective of the mental prowess typically present in people with anorexia.

If my experiences of eating disorder treatment are anything to go by, intelligence is high up on the list of common traits in anorexia sufferers: they’re the straight A high achieving talented bunch.

A paradox? Not really, but it’s got me confused and curious.


Running in the wrong race

Friday, May 1st, 2009

“A perfectionist” -

I liked to think that this was another lazy assumption. Another medical tick box. Like the fear of growing up tick box or the high achieving academically tick box.

As I’ve said, nobody likes a label.

As I’ve also said, they’re quite helpful.

And, in my case, this one would get a big tick.

With the slightly more mature insight of a 29 year old, I can whole-heartedly agree that I am a perfectionist. I can also, albeit somewhat begrudgingly, confirm that it contributed to parts of my illness. At the very least, it was kept busy by it.

It’s hard to accept a label without de-coding it satisfactorily. It took me a while to translate ‘perfectionist’ from theory to reality. To really get what it looks like.



Attention Seeking

Friday, May 1st, 2009

This was one of the more painful charges.

I felt ashamed. The anorexia felt belittled. Nobody was happy.

For something to evoke that strong a reaction, there’s got to be a grain of truth in there somewhere. It’s got to tap in to something.


Self Esteem

Friday, May 1st, 2009

This one’s quite simple.

If you’re prepared to sentence yourself to the violence of an eating disorder, it’s pretty obvious that you’re not your greatest fan. If you don’t think that you’re worth looking after, you clearly don’t rate yourself that highly.

It sounds flippant – and given that it took me over 10 years to recognise that I had low self esteem and to actually get what this meant, I can’t really over simplify the issue – but the link to eating disorders is hard to miss.

And hard to break.