Sometimes my brain is filled with so many fragmented thoughts, it's hard to know how to sort it all out. With some added stress in my life, the sorting process becomes even more complicated. Rather than fight it, I'm going to accept that this post will probably be a little bit disjointed, just me dumping my thoughts somewhere, so they don't keep clogging my brain.
This morning, I read a free very short book about how to overcome binge eating disorder. I was curious, because it's my feeling that all eating disorders are related, even if the symptoms of each are different. The author offered some good advice, but a lot of the material was poorly documented and contained inaccuracies. With anyone being able to call themselves an author these days, it's important to do your own research. I suppose if there's at least some good advice in the book, it's worth reading, but this isn't one I would recommend. I think Geneene Roth and others do a much better job of offering valid information about binge eating and how to overcome it.
What's more on my mind lately, aside from a lot of personal stuff, is an incident that occurred in one of the eating disorder forums I'm in on Facebook. I don't want to go into too much detail, because it seems like that would be a violation of trust in the group, but I want to bring it up in a vague way in order to point out how difficult it can be to step into the role of a mentor.
Basically, the incident can be broken down into some simple parts.
1. Some people are too sick to see outside their own illness.
2. Those who are suffering intensely often don't realize how hostile they can be to those trying to help.
3. People who aim to help have no way of knowing how another person will interpret what's being said, and a person who is not well may not be in a position to absorb what's being offered.
4. Anything in written form can be difficult to interpret when facial expressions and intonation are lacking.
5. Trying to help someone who isn't ready for a change can be exhausting and frustrating.
6. Just because I'm on the recovered side of my illness, it doesn't mean that I'm immune to getting hurt. When others are mean, I still feel it. I no longer use it as an excuse to hurt myself, though.
7. Sometimes it's better to remove yourself from a situation if you feel it's too unhealthy, and being exposed to someone else's constant struggle and continual complaining can definitely be an unhealthy distraction. Know where to draw your own lines.
8. Taking care of yourself is not being selfish.
9. Try not to take what mean things someone in the throes of any illness or addiction says personally.
10. Make sure you get the support you need if you are dealing with someone in your life who is not well.
With all this said, I am still glad that the group I'm in is tolerant of people struggling, because I left a different group when one of the moderators came off as way too unsympathetic to those posting. I don't think it's helpful for anyone reaching out to be faced with unkind comments from someone who is filled with loads of anger. People with eating disorders can be highly sensitive, so a harsh response to someone really struggling can potentially cause a lot of harm. I don't like to see anyone being attacked or put down for reaching out, so I decided that group wasn't for me. I can offer help in other places, and people can take it or leave it.
On a completely unrelated note, yesterday, I was heading home from a run on the trails. My feet have been more sore than usual, so I have been forced to back off any real running and settle for plodding. Fortunately, after one upsetting dog encounter a few weeks ago, I've had pretty good luck with people being fair about sharing the trails. I'm the type who often jumps out of the way if someone else is determined to be a trail hog, but most people are nice and courteous. Yesterday, I wasn't so lucky.
Since the trail I was on was wide enough to comfortably accommodate four individuals walking shoulder to shoulder, I wasn't worried when I saw a large group of people walking toward me. I assumed the crowd would part, especially since I had moved to the very edge. Pretty much everyone let me by, but nobody really gave me the room they could have. I moved further to the edge. Bringing up the rear of the group were three guys who clearly did not want to let me by. I had eye contact with the one closest to me, and, instead of taking a wee little step to his side of the trail, he stepped further into my path, leaving me no room to pass.
My choices were to stop, to jump off the trail or to keep going come what may. I decided I was sick and tired of always being the one to jump out of the way for other people and continued, still hugging the very edge of the trail. Our shoulders collided, but nothing really came of it. He kept going, as did I. Still, I couldn't help but think what an ass this guy was.
On a more positive note, I watched the online presentation of the World Master's Chocolate competition held in Paris. It has inspired me to eat and enjoy more chocolate, as if I needed an excuse.