Articles

The Challenges of Change

I’ve been working on change lately. I thought I’d been giving it a pretty good go for years – I’ve been through so many, countless programs and therapists. But real change, in the real world, I’m learning, is a lot harder, and involves some very different strengths, tools, and tactics, than I realized. I think the two hardest things …

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Mass Shootings’ Most Invisible Victims: The Severely Mentally Ill. We are not the Villains.

Mass shootings’ most invisible victims: the severely mentally ill. We are not the villains. Three…. Two… One…. BOOM. That’s about how long it takes for the airwaves to explode with language – from TV reporters, political pundits, victim families, and our elected leaders – which slander the mentally ill following mass shootings such as the …

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The Anna Westin Act vs. the Recovery Model, and why eating disorder clinicians need to take off their blinders and catch up to strengths-based, peer-support approaches used with all other severe mental illnesses

Dear Readers, I am writing to let you know that, to my deep regret, I must indefinitely suspend the investigative reporting and writing on eating disorder treatment and other, mental health issues I’ve been publishing on A Disordered World. Since winter, I’ve poured hundreds of hours of unpaid work into the research and writing of …

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From self-harm to self-empowerment: Using words & activism, not body, to be seen and heard

In this first piece for the online publication, Mad in America, I reflect – through feminist and constructivist, social psychology lens – on how using my body in efforts to be heard, seen, and fight against prejudice, I become an unwitting collaborator in my oppression. I look to re-storying (also known as “narrative therapy”) and …

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Buyer Beware – Behind the Smoke-And-Mirrors: How Residential Treatment Is Being Sold as “First-Line” Treatment For Severe Eating Disorders Despite Research Backing; The Problematic Variation In State Licensing Standards and Oversight Across States; and Whether Accreditation is Really a Remedy to the Lack of Quality Control

Part 2 of an Investigative Series The first thing anyone sees when they walk through the doors of a residential treatment center for eating disorders is a sub-circle of women who – like me – have already been through several other programs. And who, like me, have been told by the admissions coordinator that this …

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The Eating Disorders “Residential Treatment Industrial Complex”: Harm or Help? Part 1 of an Investigative Series

How An Industry Which Claims to be the Solution for Women Suffering from Severe, Long-Term Anorexia May Be Doing More Harm Than Good, and Destroying Lives in the Process When I first entered the residential treatment system, for anorexia, in 2004, I thought it would clothe me: with nourishment – mental, spiritual, and physical – …

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Dear Mr. Parker: Please stop referring to us as “crazy,” and conflating “mental illness” with violence; Dear Media: Please stop letting everyone you interview get away with this

Did you know that the mentally ill are no more likely to commit acts of violence than the general public? (3-5 percent of violent acts are associated with people with severe mental illness, to be exact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1. Did you know that, on the contrary, people with …

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The Media’s Sensational Monster: What’s So Wrong About the Coverage of Rachael Farrokh

Many of you have probably already seen the video that is now going viral of Rachael Farrokh, a 5”7’, “40-something-pound” woman seeking donations to enter a treatment facility for severe anorexia. I am very purposely not linking to that video here. Farrokh’s story, first covered this week by NBC4 Los Angeles, represents the epitome of journalistic, …

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