June Alexander

June Alexander

All Articles by June Alexander

As founder of Life Stories Diary my prime motivation is to connect with people who want to share their story. Why? Because your story is important. My goal with this blog is to provide a platform for you to share your story with others. Building on the accomplishments of The Diary Healer the Life Stories Diary blog will continue to be a voice for people who have experienced an eating disorder, trauma or other mental health challenge, and provide inspiration through the narrative, to live a full and meaningful life.

My nine books about eating disorders focus on learning through story-sharing. Prior to writing books, which include my memoir, I had a long career in print journalism. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing), researching the usefulness of journaling and writing when recovering from an eating disorder or other traumatic experience.
Today I combine my writing expertise with life experience to help others self-heal. Clients receive mentoring in narrative techniques and guidance in memoir-writing. I also share my editing expertise with people who are writing their story and wish to prepare it to publication standard. I encourage everyone to write their story. Your story counts!
Contact me: Email june@junealexander.com and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Slip, slide, but hope got me over the line

I’ve broken yet again. What hope have I got? I wonder, but I must have hope. Must not I, for when I think there is none, I want to die because one cannot live without hope. (Diary excerpt, 1991) I’m 40 years old. The next day I regress further.  I’m out of control. I am...

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A reminder that one day the diary that is my life serial will end

Yesterday was one of those days that did not work out as planned. All went well, initially. I was in the local, heated, 50m outdoor pool by 6.10am, doing a half-hour of prescribed exercises. I love being in the water. Then I came home, showered, and took Maisie for a walk on the clifftops. I..

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My diary today is an open book – for years it was strictly private

Dear Friends, My plans at the start of this year were to work less, play more, stay upright (that is, don’t fall over) and stay well. My diary reveals I have ticked most of these boxes but, as always, there is room for improvement. Here are some of the things noted in my daily diary..

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Family stories expose the reality of Family Based Treatment today

Early responses to the call for family stories about experience with Family Based Treatment (FBT) for treatment of anorexia nervosa have been a revelation. I posted the call on my blog in October to invite first-person stories for the Second Edition of My Kid is Back – Empowering Parents to Treat Anorexia Nervosa. I am..

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Take a self-discovery tour – write your story

So, you want to write your memoir? A memoir is a story about part of your life. What part do you most want to write about? Why? My memoir, A Girl Called Tim, is about my life with an eating disorder from age 11 to age 55. As I entered adulthood, I became known as..

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Write and everything will be all right

… i got your book A Girl Called Tim out of the library and i literally read the whole thing in one day because i just couldnt put it down … it was the first book i have ever read that describes exactly how i feel … i wish that every doctor would read your..

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Share your story and help parents get their kid back

The book My Kid is Back means a lot to me because my parents did not see their kid come back. When I developed anorexia nervosa (AN) at age 11 (shortly after this picture was taken) there was no help for my parents or me. I wish my parents had been able to access Family..

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My Kid is Back: Calling families with experience of an eating disorder and family-based treatment

Exciting news! Professor Daniel Le Grange and I are writing an update to the first edition of My Kid is Back – Empowering Parents to Beat Anorexia Nervosa.  Families who have participated in Family-Based Treatment (FBT) for a child with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) are warmly invited to share their stories in this new edition. This..

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The importance of reframing ‘terminal anorexia nervosa’ as end-of-life care

Whether or not to define ‘terminal anorexia nervosa’ is being vigorously debated in the eating disorders field. In an article published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, August 25, 2023 edition, Andrea Phillipou writes: Although I disagree with the terminology of ‘terminal AN’ and believe that establishing criteria has the potential to cause harm, I..

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Shine a light on memories stored in the attic of your mind

Can you remember when you first thought, “I want to write my story”? What was the motivating factor that led to this thought? Or did a close friend or family member convince you that writing your memoir must go on your list of things to do? A memoir can take many forms, and you can..

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An environment of trust in the private Memoir Hub

Welcome to the Private Memoir Hub. This hub is a gathering place for people like you, who want to write their memoir. Above all else, this hub is a place where you can feel safe and secure, and free to share innermost thoughts and feelings. Writing a memoir requires opening a door to your hitherto..

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Write your story with self-paced memoir mentoring

Postscript: I apologise if you have received a “Demo!”newsletter  – sigh, I’m  still getting used to the new functionality available on this wonderful new website.  Writing a memoir is rather like running a marathon. Success requires time, dedication, preparation, planning, and perseverance. Between us, I think that holding your own printed story in your hands..

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Look, listen and write – there are stories in everyday life

Supermarkets are more than a place to purchase groceries. They are also a place to gather stories. And the extra good news is that these stories, which nourish our soul, are free. The stories won’t be found on shelves. They will be found in the aisles, in many shapes and forms, just like you and..

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Welcome to Life Stories Diary

The Diary Healer has transitioned to this new site with a new aim and a new name. Building on The Diary Healer’s accomplishments, lifestoriesdiary.com is here to encourage story-sharing and help you write your story. Are you one of the many people who say, ‘I will write my story one day,’ but never quite get..

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Sharing our story gives others permission to share their story too

As I ‘came out’ and began to share my story publicly through my memoir, A Girl Called Tim (2011), an amazing thing happened. Shame, stigma, and secrets that had been the bane of my life for decades, were quelled. Rather than remain quiet, my diaries ‘came out’ too. For instance, besides providing the main data source..

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The story behind this website

The story behind this website began when I was 11 years’ old in 1962. Early that year, I developed an eating disorder but a gift of a diary at Christmas seemed to offer a reprieve and give me comfort and hope. Writing helped me to feel better. Words were like good friends – they were..

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Online memoir writing classes provide benefits for all

Writing about one’s life is like walking along a gravelled country road, picking up a dusty stone, and giving it a good rub to reveal the gem within. Often all that’s needed is a bit of a dust-off, a sprinkling of self-belief and encouragement, and away we go. Especially when we have a writing mentor..

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How my diaries led to a memoir and finding Me

When I mentor clients in memoir writing, I explain this can be a three-stage process, depending on their goal. Stage One involves writing the first version of your story for yourself. This is the time to put everything on the table. Don’t hold back. Maybe there are repressed experiences that have shaped and influenced your..

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A decade of eating disorder stories in The Diary Healer archive

An amazing depth of connection, awareness and self-discovery has evolved and blossomed through The Diary Healer blog since 2012. More than 500 first-person stories have been shared on the blog during this time. The archive of Diary Healer blogs has grown into a rich resource for anyone seeking information about eating disorders and body image...

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The Evolution of my Diary Journey

Have you ever felt ready to reset your priorities? I was feeling this way and now I am excited to share details of an upcoming change with you. The Diary Healer has shared personal stories of hope and awareness about eating disorders with many readers around the world since its inception in January 2017. Over..

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From young child with dreams to old man with wisdom

Imagine you are very old, and you are travelling back in time, as a child, as an adult, and as a senior — Frank Upfill, octogenarian and member of June’s Writing Clan, takes us on a ride:  “How did you go at golf today?” Before I can answer, my friend Annette adds, “You are almost 90..

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Exploring identity after an eating disorder – who am I?

Hi Grandma, How’s your Darwin trip so far? This message from granddaughter Olivia, 13, comes when I’m in the Top End, Australia’s Northern Territory, about 4000kms from home in country Victoria. Olivia was born just prior to my memoir being published (see letter to Olivia in A Girl Called Tim) in 2010 and, along with..

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A Bright story of life beyond an eating disorder

I am writing from Bright, a town as beautiful as its name in north-east Victoria, Australia. I am on a three-day getaway with my English Staffordshire Terrier, Maisie. The two of us. We are staying in a delightful studio apartment beside the crystal-clear Ovens River that borders the town. There are bush tracks everywhere. Bliss...

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Voice of experience vital in major update of mental health first aid for eating disorders

Do you want to help someone struggling with eating disorder symptoms, but lack confidence to intervene, in case you say the “wrong” thing? The good news is that with mental health first aid guidance you can be confident that you are doing no harm and highly likely are helping to save a life. The secret..

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Using writing to assist healing from an eating disorder

Imagine writing a self-healing, feel-good book to document your goals and progress this year. What will your chapters comprise? Lotta, who has anorexia nervosa, writes: It is the time of the year when there is space to look on the traces of the last months. It may be the time to let go. To get..

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Public survey invites Australians to contribute to national eating disorder strategy

People from across Australia are being invited to complete a public survey that will help ensure broad input into a National Eating Disorders Strategy 2023-2033. Responses to the public survey, organised by the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC), will help refine key priorities for the National Strategy. As a survey respondent, you will be asked..

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The benefits of exploring identity through diary writing practice

I am like a dinosaur when it comes to diary writing. I have kept a diary since childhood. I’m now 72.  The diary is part of me. Why? Early this week I was conversing with daughter Amanda, 46, about my diary collection, wondering out loud who might take care of it when “I’m gone”. Amanda..

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An epiphany at 72 – it is never too late to be fully you

My birthdays have often been a non-event. However, an epiphany has marked my latest milestone. Yesterday, surrounded by five grandchildren and their parents lustily singing Happy Birthday, I felt overwhelmed by a sudden, deeper freedom to experience the moment. I thought, my goodness, I’m going to burst into tears. Tears of gratitude. Tears of gratitude..

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Researchers call on people with eating disorder experience for answers

A team of Australian researchers believe that listening to stories from people who have eating disorder experience is the best way forward in finding new ways to treat the illness. The Western Sydney University research team, led by Dr Janet Conti and Professor Phillipa Hay in collaboration with Laura Kiely and Yive Yang, wants to..

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Redirecting eating disorder experience into advocacy helps to maintain recovery

For years I said, ‘I won’t know who I am, without my eating disorder.’ I was fearful of recovery because the eating disorder dominated my identity. If you feel this same way, I’ve good news. I recovered from anorexia nervosa 17 years ago, but the illness has been allowed to stay. Rather than pretend it..

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Understanding the healing power and teaching potential of daily diary-writing

Six months after developing anorexia nervosa, at age 11, I received a diary as a Christmas gift. The diary and I  became inseparable. Nobody told me to write or gave guidance in what to write. I just did. More than 60 years later, my diaries fill a bookcase. These books document decades of mental health..

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Here’s to being imperfectly perfect and perfectly imperfect

‘Perfectionism’ is a common trait among people who develop an eating disorder. Karyn and Tanya explore the impact of perfectionism and why imperfection is important to them today. Karyn – to banish imperfection is to destroy expression I was a normal child wanting to be accepted and loved. Acceptance and love were not there from those who..

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Australia’s peak eating disorder body steps up focus on prevention and access to care

Amazing things can happen when one breaks free from an eating disorder (ED) and channels the illness negativity into positive pursuits. For instance, you can find a new ‘family’ in the eating disorder field. In 2007, 44 years after developing anorexia nervosa, I publicly shared my inner story for the first time. My hope was that..

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The healing power of children in adult eating disorder recovery

My five grandchildren are aged 10 to 15. At their age, I was in the grips of anorexia nervosa (AN). Today I am eagle-eyed and constantly alert, ready to pounce on any sign of an eating disorder symptom covertly infiltrating their young lives. I am determined that the illness that stole so much from me, will..

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Using a writing mentor to support recovery from an eating disorder

Writing with the guidance of a writing mentor can assist the healing process by enabling self-discoveries. Tanya Motiani, who has severe anorexia nervosa, shares how writing is helping her to discover ‘potential for contentment’: Since starting to work with a writing mentor two years ago, I have made discoveries about myself, both simple and more complex...

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Rule-defiant poetry cuts to the core of an eating disorder

Depending on where we are on our eating disorder (ED) recovery journey, we will respond differently to the poems or stories that we read. When our ED is loud and raging, we will be drawn to, and love, everything that paints ED as the powerful one. Such is the magnetism of ED, we will read,..

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Poetry writing as a self-help tool when recovering from an eating disorder

If you really want to know me, read my poems, because this is my soul. _ Anne Poetry is an art form that helps many people to express how they feel. It may involve jotting down a poem now and then when feeling inspired, keeping a daily journal specifically for expressing ongoing thoughts and feelings in..

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Getting Better Bite by Bite – in English, German, Korean and now, a Polish translation

I’m excited today to hold a copy of a new translation of Getting Better Bite by Bite — this time, in Polish. Getting Better Bite by Bite is a survival kit/self-help book, written for people experiencing symptoms of binge eating and bulimia eating disorders. It has been an honour to write the new version of this classic book..

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Self-publishing a memoir to industry standard – my story

Regina Meyer When I finished the first draft of my manuscript, I felt chuffed and excited. ‘My book is just around the corner,’ I thought, swept up in my initial euphoria. Of course, I had heard reports of accomplished authors who had submitted their work to countless publishers before succeeding in their quest. I swiftly..

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June Alexander in podcast with Karin Lewis on eating disorder recovery and the diary

A podcast with eating disorder therapist Karin Lewis tells of how a love of writing and family helped me to forge a life of my own, beyond a 44-year battle with anorexia nervosa. As background to the podcast interview, Karin invited me to address the following questions: Recovery questions Do you believe recovery is possible for everyone regardless..

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The secret to overcoming writer’s block

By Karyn Braveheart She saw the advertisement in the local paper. It looked genuine at first, but then she started to have a few doubts. “Best I ring,” she said to herself, so she decided it might be a good idea to jot down a few things she needed to say. She pretended she was..

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Sixty years on, my diary has evolved from a private survival tool to an open family record

In 1962, when undiagnosed anorexia nervosa ravaged my 11-year-old mind and body, a small miracle occurred. A Christmas gift of a diary sparked a lifelong passion. A bond of trust and friendship was forged immediately with that little diary. I began writing in it that very day. Sixty years on, in 2022, I continue to..

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Supporting and involving families will help recovery and cut ED treatment costs

Families do not cause an eating disorder (ED). However, the family’s role in treatment and recovery is crucial. This is because the best place to heal from an ED is in the home. However, for this to happen, we need greater support in the home, to enable carers to practise self-care as well as care..

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What does an eating disorder look like to you?

Do you think you can tell a person has an eating disorder just by their appearance? Do you think a person with an eating disorder looks a certain way? Do you think they are either very fat or very thin, depending on the type of eating disorder? Wrong, wrong, wrong. This Christmas, millions of people..

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50 Diary of a Middle-Aged Woman

By Anonymous As I approached my 50th birthday I found myself thinking more and more about ageing. I would look in the mirror in the morning and increasingly see wrinkles and sagging where before there used to be bright eyes and smooth skin. I saw hollows emerging, skin creasing, blemishes that were permanent features as..

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Encouraging our senior citizens to pick up their pens and reveal their gems

Writing about one’s life is like picking up a stone on a dusty gravel road and giving it a good rub to reveal the gem within. Besides writing books about eating disorders, I enjoy helping people discover their own special gem. My love of the written word began when I was three. An early memory..

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The power of story-telling and why your story counts

Feeling misunderstood is one of the most difficult and emotionally painful aspects when experiencing an eating disorder. My parents and sister, after decades of witnessing behaviours driven by my illness, gave up trying to understand me. Do I blame them? No. I accept that they did not understand my illness. In fact, because I looked..

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Sparrow learns about trust

Tanya Motiani It was a cold, misty morning when Sparrow emerged from his egg. The air twitched with Fog as a diluted sun tried hastily to make its ascent beyond the clouds. For weeks Sparrow had been protected by the shell of his little egg, snug beneath Mother Bird’s feathers. But now it was time..

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Finding a family in eating disorder advocacy

Often, during recovery, I never wanted to hear the term “eating disorder” again. Why then, have I embraced the term and become involved in eating disorder advocacy? Why not shut out the eating disorder experience and pretend the big gap that the illness ate in my life never happened? Maybe this would have been possible..

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Leaving home with a suitcase – anything can happen

Jasmine Evans “I’m coming Allie, sorry I forgot my travel pouch.” Screaming as I race down three flights of stairs, I miss my footing at the bottom step, and stumble into the arms of my “boss” who is laughing at me…. “Well, Jasmine, please wait until we get to France before drinking!” Both giggling, we give..

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Picture this: a creative solution to managing eating disorder recovery and surviving the pandemic

Sam Tench was recovering from a major life challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. She had just hit upon writing and photography as a way of cultivating connection with her healthy self after years in the clutches of a long-term eating disorder. Only a month or two before the pandemic spread, Sam..

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The healing power in writing your memoir

So you want to write your memoir? A memoir is a story about part of your life. Memoir-writing can also be a great self-healer. As a mentor for memoir-writing, I explain the creation of your story can be a three-stage process, depending on your goal. Memoir-writing is about letting your inside story out; it is an..

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The Role of a Support Person in Eating Disorder Treatment

The most important thing you can do when assisting someone with an eating disorder is to prepare by educating yourself as much as possible about eating disorders. You will need to constantly remind yourself that behind this illness is the person you are trying to reach and care for. The eating disorder can be very..

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SBS call-out for Australian stories about eating disorders in adulthood

This is a call-out to Australians who have experienced or are experiencing an eating disorder for the first time in adulthood. Anushri Sood, a producer/journalist for SBS, is working on an article about eating disorders and would like to speak with you. Stories of eating disorder experience help to increase understanding and dispel misconceptions about this..

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How anorexia strikes fear into food and causes life to crumble

When anorexia nervosa (AN) dominated my mind, I behaved in some really crazy and sometimes dangerous ways. I would not dream of behaving like that today, because AN no longer bullies or manipulates my thoughts. But during my most vulnerable moments, I lived life on the edge. Even a cookie could spark a traumatic event. Living..

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The role of hope in recovery and wellbeing

Whatever mess we find ourselves in, hope is our most powerful get-well tool. When we experience illness or trauma, our recovery becomes a journey and a destination. Along the way, hope provides a lantern when shadows surround us. Our wellbeing aligns with recovery and this has many parts – our spirit and soul; friends and..

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This Girl Rising: online self-help eating disorder program fills gap

By Michelle Southern and Jennifer Hamer Two Australian-based women, Michelle and Jennifer, have created an online self-help eating disorder program to help address gaps in accessible and adequate treatment and care. Michelle and Jennifer bring first-hand understanding to the fore — their lives, studies and careers have been shaped through their experience with an eating..

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Interview: Mamamia’s podcast ‘The Quicky’

We thank Mamamia and The Quicky for helping to raise awareness about eating disorders (ED) and in particular, EDs impacting adult women. June was delighted to share her story and the message that recovery is possible at every age. Click here to listen or search ‘The Quicky’ in your podcast app.

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What not to say to someone with an eating disorder

“You are looking well today.” My aunt’s words became frozen in time. As a 13-year-old with anorexia nervosa, my brain sprang to high alert. Thoughts raged: “I’m fat. I look horrible. I must eat less.” Recovery roared in reverse. That incident happened decades ago, and I have forgiven my ignorant aunt, but the same well-meaning..

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Diary writing reveals eating disorder stigma and ignorance

Too often, our words and behaviours become lost in translation and the eating disorder (ED) wins every time. Our diary provides a place to record our truth when no-one will listen. The Hidden Face of Anorexia  … This illness has cost me so much, for so long And I still don’t understand Why am I..

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Hospitals must treat people with eating disorders with respect

Flaws in our public health system* are creating havoc in the lives of people with eating disorders (EDs). I am a mentor for Shelley**, who is in her 40s, and lives in a country town in Australia. Shelley has diagnoses of severe depression and severe and enduring anorexia nervosa (SEAN). She has a husband and..

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Writing our way through 2021

I hope you have a new diary ready for 2021. I have three. I chose one, and two are gifts. 2021 is shaping up to be my most prolific diary-writing year yet! I look forward to becoming acquainted with these diaries. I know they will each develop into a loyal, inspirational, ever-present confidante and friend..

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June speaks with Dr. Cynthia M. Bulik – Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative

June was delighted to join Dr. Cynthia M. Bulik, principal investigator for the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI), for a Facebook Live recently. June speaks about her story and experience of anorexia nervosa, and how diary writing can help people on their journey to peace and wellbeing.  EDGI Australia: https://edgi.org.au EDGI US: https://edgi.org EDGI..

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Mistakes are valuable lessons in eating disorder recovery

I became a champion mistake-maker when healing from my eating disorder (ED). This trial and error period occurred during a complete, internal makeover. I was exploring a new frontier, a whole new set of challenges that would lead me to me. Forty-four years as ED’s prisoner had left me devoid of self. With no idea..

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June interviewed by bay 939 Geelong

June was interviewed on 22 September by Daryl Reader on bay 939 Geelong regarding the launch of the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI). Listen to the interview here.

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Routledge ‘Experts on Mental Health’ hub

June was thrilled to be invited to contribute to the Routledge Experts on Mental Health hub. You can access the hub via this link – look for June’s video at the top of the list: How can diary writing help as a survival tool in eating disorders?

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Benefits and risks in writing and publicly sharing your eating disorder story

Choosing when to write your eating disorder story with a view to sharing it with the world, requires careful consideration. Writing about your experience, with or without a diary, requires threads and themes to be picked up and woven into an account that will appeal to and connect with readers. Many re-writes may take place..

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Adult experts by experience stories call for improved care for chronic eating disorders

Living with an eating disorder for 20 or more years can severely impact life quality. Some people with a long-term eating disorder can be high functioning on a tiny partial self, while others are trapped in a perpetual revolving door scenario, going from home to hospital, and hospital to home.  Always, the struggle not to..

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How research into eating disorders has changed my life

One thing that springs to mind when I think of researchers and scientists is their love of a good acronym. As a woman in her thirties, two acronyms in particular hold a deep meaning for me: the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) and the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI). Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) DNA..

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Interview with June Alexander – OCR FM (Geelong)

June was interviewed recently by Edwina and Greg McHenry on Community Connect. Listen via iTunes or OCR FM podcasts.

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Sharing your story – is now a good time?

Sometimes, sharing a secret with others we have never met, online, can seem easier to do than in a room with someone we have known all of our life. Stories can be shared in many ways: face-to-face, by letter or email, in mainstream media or on the Internet. Some online options allow anonymity while sharing..

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The evolution of a diary into a self-healer

My first diary was a Christmas gift in 1962, the same year I developed anorexia nervosa. I was 11 years old. The diary and I bonded immediately and diary-writing has been part of my life every day since. The entry for January 1, 1963, is crammed with details of food consumed, exercise taken, the time..

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How Crises Can Re-Ignite Eating Disorder Thoughts

Dr Richard Kreipe and a former patient Audry Mattle collaborate in this article to give hope to others who may have experienced a resurfacing or amplification of eating disorder thinking patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, Dr Kreipe and Audry for sharing your wisdom for the benefit of people with eating disorder experience, caregivers..

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Using ED recovery skills to cope with COVID-19 isolation

How are you coping with your eating disorder (ED) during the COVID-19 pandemic? Even if, like me, you have been in recovery or recovered from the illness for some years, the social and physical isolation restrictions enforced by our health providers and governments to fight the virus spread, have probably triggered memories of the loneliness..

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‘What can I do?’ the COVID-19 pandemic

Our world is facing a health challenge unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. COVID-19, which developed late last year in China, is now reaching all corners of the world with far reaching impact, and scientists and researchers are scrambling to understand this new form of coronavirus and create a vaccine to guard against it. For..

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Recovery IS Possible Across the Lifespan

Eating disorders don’t only affect children and teenagers. They affect people across their lifespan. If you are an adult experiencing eating disorder symptoms, the good news is that recovery is possible. For 44 years, from age 11 to 55, an eating disorder locked me in a cell in my mind. Finding the key to escape..

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When disaster re-ignites past trauma, reach out

Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the cause is visible and sometimes it is not. The bushfires blazing over much of eastern Australia, including my beloved childhood region of East Gippsland, are sparking trauma for many people. The losses mount. Lives lost. Possessions lost. Livelihoods lost. Essential services and infrastructure lost. Small rural..

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Being true to yourself and others through writing

I think it’s time my past was made public. I’ve always felt ashamed of it, I suppose, though I realize now I shouldn’t feel this way. I haven’t done anything wrong; I’ve just had an illness. From my memoir A Girl Called Tim Whether you are seven or 70, writing a diary is a great..

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Christmas message from The Diary Healer

Dear Friends, As we ‘mature’ the years seem to go faster, and time becomes more precious. Not knowing how much time we have we want to use it in the most meaningful way possible. I hope 2019 has been all you have wanted it to be. Goodness, I will be 70 next year and am..

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Research calls for Australian parents and adolescents with eating disorder experience

Recognition is growing that answers for successful treatments for eating disorders are found through listening to patients and their families. Therefore, I hasten to provide details of two research projects at Flinders University, Australia, which offer fresh opportunity for people with experience to share their stories.   If you have eating disorder experience, either as..

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Stepping out with stories to educate eating disorder clinicians

Today, I pushed another hole in the prison wall that an eating disorder erected in my brain at age 11. That wall effectively disconnected my healthy self from my body until I was 55. Thirteen years on, eating three meals and three snacks a day without guilt, shame and self-loathing is a daily joy. But..

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Transforming lived-experience into peer support – an innovation in eating disorder recovery

People who recover from an eating disorder represent a great repository of untapped potential in helping others to heal from this complex illness. This Friday, August 23, together with Olivia Soho and Carly Harris, I will present a workshop that explores peer support and mentoring as an innovative approach in eating disorder treatment and recovery...

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Focus eating disorder recovery on regaining identity, not the scale

The first article in a “patient and doctor” series on understanding eating disorders  Audry Mattle, diagnosed with an eating disorder at age 13, was told that she was The Problem. She was manipulative, a hopeless case. Being a “good Audry” or “bad Audry” became defined by weight. Audry felt reduced to nothing but a number..

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Call for compassionate care in treating eating disorders

By Juliana Winik When I was 14, I was admitted to the paediatric ward at our local hospital with the eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa. My body had begun shutting down. My physical decline from well to severely ill happened rapidly. The morning I was admitted to the hospital was the first time I had heard..

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Astronauts, ice cream and eating disorders

Fifty years ago, Man landed on the Moon. As an 18-year-old exchange student studying in the United States at the time, my memory is vivid of this historic moment. My memory is not so much of the grey, grainy, ghostlike outline of men in white spacesuits stepping gingerly out to a lunar landing, but of..

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Researchers identify first genes linked to anorexia nervosa

I feel deeply emotional about this week’s announcement on genetic discovery. For a start, contributing a DNA sample to this ground-breaking research led by Professor Cynthia Bulik has helped me and thousands of others to feel that our lives and illness experience count. We want to ease suffering of others. Participating in this research helps..

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Euthanasia and Eating Disorders   

Euthanasia, or voluntary assisted dying laws, must not be considered a solution for a person with an eating disorder. I will proceed to explain my position on this life and death issue. Instead of death as a solution for people with eating disorders, I urge us all to focus on hope, faith, trust, life quality,..

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IBS is not BS – recovery really can be a pain in the guts

“I don’t want to live like this anymore.”  This sentence has surfaced during almost every phase of my eating disorder journey. When sitting on the floor in my bedroom, holding my head in my hands in desperation, with the carpet burning against my skin, feeling the fear that comes with seeing that scale creep higher..

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Family and a village of care are vital for eating disorder recovery

“Life is not fair,” my psychiatrist said rather bluntly some years ago, when I was bemoaning relationship losses. The losses – my parents, sister and extended family members – were ongoing casualties of my eating disorder and I was feeling sad. I felt very indignant and offended at first, at my psychiatrist’s dismissive phrase and..

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Starving for Eating Disorder answers: Why We Can’t Afford to Wait

Nobody can afford to wait for treatment for an Eating Disorder. On World Eating Disorders Action Day 2019, Amy Cunningham and June Alexander, together with Kathy and Michael Cortese, explain why, and what we can all do about it. Today. A parent accessing a reputable online eating disorders support site for families and caregivers will..

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How animals help us to heal and find meaning and purpose in life

by June Alexander I don’t need to read research papers to know that pets are good for me. For me and many others, animals contribute to feelings of well-being. They teach about love and living in the moment. They are a best buddy in coping with illness, relationship breakups, grief, employment disappointments, and much, much..

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Recognition that ‘experience’ experts can help ED recovery

Eating disorder conferences — what purpose do they serve? Increasingly, they are becoming a sounding board for stories of recovery and ongoing healing. Right now I am returning home from the 26th international conference on eating disorders, convened by the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED). This year, more than 1400 registrations set a new attendance..

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A story of love and acceptance, and a foreign exchange

A pamphlet attached to the noticeboard outside the school principal’s office caught my eye. The year was 1967 and I was 16. The words “essay,” “scholarship,” “USA,” drew me in. The American Field Service was offering scholarships to students to study the senior year of school in the United States. To have a chance, I..

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Using diary-writing as a self-help tool to connect and heal

Twenty minutes a day is all it takes. Writing in your diary for 20 minutes each day can help you to feel in control of your life. You can write in your diary anywhere, at any time of the day. You can use pen or paper, a tablet or even a cell phone. Regular diary-writing..

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Eating disorder recovery involves eating properly: Add a dash of feelings, faith, family and friends to meal time

“FOOD. I HATE IT. I would like to start being kind to myself. And not punish myself with food anymore. To me food is like a cancer, its tentacles reaching into and clawing at my emotions, my feelings, my thoughts, never giving a moment’s respite. I HATE IT. Every decision I make in my personal..

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Sharing stories from inside out gives ED nowhere to hide

I was a grandmother when I “came out.” The event, in 2007, was a private girls’ school information night. Until then I had lived a part-life, struggling to appear “normal” to the outside world, while battling a private, inner hell as a captive of an eating disorder. Coming out and revealing my story publicly marked..

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Podcast: A Girl Called Tim: Escape from an Eating Disorder Hell

Hello – I’m June Alexander, and I’m going to speak to you today about my memoir, A Girl Called Tim: Escape from an Eating Disorder Hell. I’m going to read from my memoir, and first of all I’m going to read the introduction. Click here to access the podcast.

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Peeling the onion: Losing the layers of my eating disorder

by Sarah Cannata It’s our secrets that keep us sick. This line has lingered with me uncomfortably for a long time. Every now and again, it forces its way to the top of my mind until I manage to mentally beat it down, usually by focusing on completing a meaningless task. The cost of silence..

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How diary writing helps in moving on

By June Alexander … I am the master of my ship. I am in control. Yet, all too soon, it feels so wrong … … Yet, I can still choose. I grab a hold. [Anne] Even when you know that clinging, however ferociously or desperately, to thoughts or behaviors that do not reflect “true you”,..

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Moving on from an eating disorder with help from diary writing

by June Alexander Be the Master of your Ship: Journeying through an Eating Disorder … I am the master of my ship. I am in control. Yet, all too soon, it feels so wrong … … Yet, I can still choose.                            ..

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Binge-writing: The role of narrative in my eating disorder recovery

‘Your life is your story. Make it amazing.’  by Ari Snaevarsson Whenever I think of the tools that were instrumental to my recovery, a few always come to mind: accountability through a support system, exercise that emphasized strength and not punishment, and meditation.  But there was one tool that consistently took my hand and walked..

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Writing your way to self-care and self-freedom in 2019

by June Alexander Each New Year’s Day for many years I created a list of resolutions. The lead resolution always was: “Eat three meals and three snacks daily.” Sounds good and easy, but I always shattered this resolution within hours. Making an annual resolution about food when you have an eating disorder, is not a..

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A holiday message of hope for those with eating disorders

by June Alexander My Christmas at age 11 was not happy. If you are dreading this Christmas, hold on to hope for things will get better. My wish for you is that you will seek and follow the well-lit path that provides healing and happiness, self-belief and self-compassion. I searched a long time to find..

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Australians celebrate: Eating disorders become a Medicare item

Validation that eating disorders are a SERIOUS illness by June Alexander Christmas has arrived early for the estimated one million Australians living with an eating disorder. For the first time access is being provided to a comprehensive treatment plan under Medicare. Patients with severe eating disorders will be able to access up to 40 psychological..

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The value of diary writing goes far beyond personal use

by June Alexander Little did I know at age 11 that a small Christmas gift of a diary would shape my life. This diary immediately became a firm friend. A private relationship evolved between the pages and me. We bonded and faced life together. The process of letting thoughts and feelings tumble onto each new..

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Why self-care is my number one job

 by June Alexander I’m in a coffee shop with a friend. We’re enjoying our usual cake and extra hot large cappuccino.  We belong in the “senior citizens” age bracket. Folks passing by will never guess, looking at us, a bespectacled pair with hair more whitish-grey than fair, that for decades we each were a prisoner of..

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Turning letter-writing into a self-calming conversation

by June Alexander The unconditional love and informed support of family members can speed the pace of self-renewal when recovering from an eating disorder or traumatic experience, but if you are alone or not receiving care from your family in the way you need, persevere, for healing is possible for you, too. When verbal communication..

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Healing goes on and on with ‘Life Without Ed’

In 2004 the book Life Without Ed boosted my efforts in gaining reconnection with ‘me’. I had been ‘lost’ for 44 years with an eating disorder and, within 12 months of reading this book, I was ‘found’. In 2014, author Jenni Schaefer released a 10th Anniversary update, and I was thrilled because this Life Without Ed is an evergreen. I love..

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Using journaling to recognize self-harming behaviors and reclaim your own voice

by June Alexander Knowledge is power in healing from an eating disorder. But when you do not understand that you are sick, the illness may thrive, isolating instead of connecting you with helpful others. At some innate level, you may know your real ‘healthy-self’ is ‘there’, or you may think this is how life is:..

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Factors to consider when you feel ready to write your story 

by June Alexander The writing of a life story or memoir requires preparation and planning, and benefits will come in the process as well as delivery. Choosing the time to write is the first of many factors, for your impression today may differ tomorrow. This post is especially for people with lived experience of an..

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Beware of the challenges of the Internet for adults with eating disorders

by June Alexander Forty years ago I told a GP that I feared something was taking over my mind. “You have a flat battery, that’s all,” declared the doctor. “We’ll pop you on medication and you will soon be as good as new.” If only breaking free from an eating disorder was that easy. We..

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“I’m sorry you’re going through that, but you know you’re not alone?”

Regaining healthy relationships from an eating disorder by June Alexander An eating disorder is about more than our relationship with food. When food increasingly dominates our thinking, our relationship with self and with others can disconnect and disintegrate at an alarming rate. Confidence and belonging give way to shame, stigma, fear and rejection. Openness gives..

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“Aunt June, you are the problem in our family:” Using the journal to dispel stigma, inside and out

by June Alexander Engaging in the world beyond an eating disorder (ED) means facing up to things like stigma. The perception or inference by others that ED, or any other mental health challenge, is a personal weakness can be demoralizing and destructive. In this post, drawn from my book, The Diary Healer, diarists discuss how..

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How diary excerpts became the voice in a book about eating disorders

By June Alexander Excerpts shared by 70 diarists for my book, Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders—The Diary Healer, told compelling stories of struggle and courage. Each of the diarists, like myself, had experienced an eating disorder. My challenge was to locate leads within the stories, and combine them, through paraphrasing and selected..

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Securing trust when writing a non-fiction story – feeling safe enough to share innermost thoughts and feelings

By June Alexander Securing of trust is essential when recovering from an eating disorder, and likewise it is essential when we are writing stories about the illness. Today I will describe the ways in which trust was integral to the writing of my book Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders – The Diary..

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Mapping the tides of our life through story-telling

By June Alexander Life-writing is simply telling a story from our life. Sounds simple, but depending on how deep we dare to plunge into our past, the process can spark a ripple effect that turn into tidal waves of emotion. When we write even a brief account of something we have experienced, for instance a..

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How caring for a sick child inspired a mother to write her first book

By June Alexander If your life balance is out of kilter due to the time you are spending caring for a loved one, Bharati’s workbook is for you. This heartfelt book provides practical and welcome guidance to help you reclaim your balance by staying in the now. When Bharati Lall attended a parent workshop at..

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So you intend to write your life story “One day”?

By June Alexander Procrastination is a perennial pop-up when conversation swings to writing our life story. How hard is it to pick up a pen and paper and start writing? I’ve created a new website to help you on your way. Like me, you are likely to know dear family members, friends, and colleagues, who have..

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As a health professional, I felt ashamed and thought I was not sick enough to have an eating disorder

By Masae Yasuda (Japan) “Every day, mature-age people around the world suffer silently with an eating disorder – like Masae, who shares her story here, these people may be working in the very health profession established to treat this illness. Stigma and myths are a big problem. Much research focus is on young people. Of..

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Obliterating parent stigma in eating disorders

by Judy Krasna There are many damaging stigmas surrounding eating disorders, but the one that I am most passionate about removing is parent stigma, aka “blame the mother.” Sadly, some clinicians still subscribe to the outdated and disproven theories of Hilde Bruch (The Golden Cage, 1978) and Salvador Minuchin (Psychosomatic families: Anorexia nervosa in context,..

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Five key actions to curb eating disorders in Italy

A special event in Rome at the Italian Ministry of Health has led to development of counter-actions to stem the proliferation of eating disorders.  by Sandra Zodiaco To mark the 3rd Italian Women’s Health Day, on April 21, the Italian Ministry of Health organized an event in Rome to celebrate the protection and promotion of..

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Dealing with an eating disorder’s double dose of stigma – from public and self

by June Alexander Engaging in the world beyond an eating disorder is scary because it means facing up to a double whammy of stigma driven a.) by the public and b.) from within. This post, drawn from Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders—The Diary Healer, digs through the layers to expose this serious..

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The cost of hiding an eating disorder and pretending you are okay

by June Alexander Many people who have an eating disorder are terrified of others close to them knowing about it. I refer to people who are able to function – that is, go through the motions of attending school or college, going to work, being a parent. Many of us who have an eating disorder pretend, to..

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How writing a fictional story is helping Matt kick goals in real life

By Matt Dunn I have always loved writing. Though, it goes beyond that. I need writing. The truth is, I have only recently worked out why. I had assumed the reason was about having that end product. In the case of fiction, it’s a world pulled from thin air. On that final page you can..

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Making your diary your personal advocate

By June Alexander Your diary can be your friend when you are struggling with an eating disorder or other life crisis. Confusion, pain, anger and sadness may be offloaded into this private refuge.  However, what can you do if this process of private writing perpetuates bad feelings, instead of helping you feel good? One way..

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Is your diary your friend or foe?

by June Alexander The basic elements of writing as a tool for record keeping, nurturing, healing, reflection, creativity and spiritual discipline have been the essence of diary keeping for centuries. However, special considerations apply for the diarist who has an eating disorder. Historically, diaries have been regarded as a deeply personal, private and confidential document...

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The dark, dark secret that makes an eating disorder so hard to beat, and treat

By June Alexander To heal from my eating disorder I had to clear my inner self of a minefield of secrets. Facing and fighting an invisible enemy that since childhood had kept my focus “out there” (on food, temptations, diet, exercise) was terrifying. Jennifer was terrified, too. She did not want to worry her family..

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Why write a diary?

by June Alexander “I wish I had written a diary in my youth.” “I wish Mom or Dad (or Grandpa or Grandma had kept a diary.”  I often hear these sentiments. Pictures can tell us a lot, but words add the flesh and bring those pictures to life. If you have not started a diary..

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A grandson’s letter: Breaking the inter-generational power of an eating disorder

A one-page hand-written letter from a grandson this festive season has a special place in my diary and heart forever. Lachlan, 11, is yet to fully understand the illness that wreaked havoc on my life, that of his great grandparents, grandparents and mother, and extended families, but his insightful letter adds to the evidence on..

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My Christmas wish: Freedom from eating disorders

Prof. Nick Martin Queensland Institute Medical Research, Prof. Cindy Bulik University North-Carolina and chief investigator and me, June, the survivor advocate. May 2013 ANGI gives hope in understanding genetic links in Anorexia Nervosa By June Alexander “Grandma, you are not growing old, you are maturing.” My eldest grandson, 11, is a kind and insightful lad...

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From inside the farm gate: Rural women’s stories of thriving and surviving

Living on a farm, and developing anorexia nervosa at age 11, an illness neither correctly diagnosed nor treated until I moved to the city 20 years later, has had great impact on my life. The invisible taunts of shame and stigma followed me everywhere, and alienation from family of origin is an ongoing loss. The..

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Can journaling help you heal from your eating disorder?

by June Alexander On December 11, when I receive my PhD (Philosophy) at a graduation ceremony, I will walk proudly. Above all, I want my award to signify hope for everyone who has lived with a long-term eating disorder. Hope for everyone, at every age. We can live a full life, and our diary or..

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Listening to the patient’s narrative can turn “hopeless” into “hope”

by June Alexander Eating disorders, particularly Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa, can sound like a life sentence. Too often, it is. The Diary Healer (Alexander, 2016) illustrates it is time to listen to the patient and replace “hopeless” attitudes with “hope.” A recovery model of patient-centered care offers hope, respect, and possibilities for people with..

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My friend the diary (part 3): Using your diary as a “get to know me” power tool

Using a diary as an agent for recovery and change by June Alexander When I began recovery from a long-term eating disorder, my diary became an agent for change – supporting “me” rather than my illness. For example, it became a place to explore and reflect on painful experiences from long ago, that the eating..

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My friend the diary (part 2)

Using diary writing as a self-help and therapeutic power tool by June Alexander Strengthening true self through diary-writing My diary has always been a confidante, but it was not always the friend I thought it was. Sometimes it was a confidante for my eating disorder, recording the illness thoughts instead of my “true thoughts.”  At..

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My friend the diary (part 1)

by June Alexander “…for years I have been searching, seeking my identity, my purpose, my meaning, in life. Years. I’ve concluded that I am a prisoner to myself… I have had some hard lessons. I know I can live with myself only if I accept that my mistakes, my bad experiences, can be the catalyst,..

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Seven tips to help you navigate family gatherings this holiday season

by Emily Murray, sharing recovery experience Eating disorder recovery can be daunting around the holiday season. Halloween is centered around mini-chocolate candies and pumpkin-spice everything.  Thanksgiving is centered around food – and way too much of it for most of us.  Christmas is centered around cookies, cookies, and more cookies.  I enjoy all of these..

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The story behind the lilac ribbon: How a father’s courage has inspired a national campaign for better eating disorder care

“It can’t, it cannot happen again to anyone else. My daughter’s death must be a reminder to all those people and families who are living such a tragedy.”  – Mr. Stefano Tavilla, President of Mi Nutro Di Vita (I feed on life) An Italian story of eating disorder activism (Italian translation also below) by Sandra..

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Listening: The next step in understanding Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa

A research call by Cate Broomfield, PhD candidate How does an individual experience Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SE-AN)? Since beginning my PhD in early 2016, this is a question that has continuously struck me while pouring through the literature. What I have found missing in the collection of research on this topic is a..

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Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa – should we ever give up?

by June Alexander ‘Should we ever give up on someone who has severe and enduring anorexia nervosa?’ Treatment teams vex over this life and death question, but I believe we must never give up. We must do better. Much better. We must provide better care for people who have SEAN, and we must improve early..

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Treating the trifecta – trauma, eating disorders and substance use disorder

By Terry Fassihi WARNING: This post is about three things none of us really like to think about _ the trifecta of trauma, eating disorders and substance use disorder. Why refer to this as a trifecta?  Because they so commonly occur together. Trauma, addiction and eating disorders are interrelated and can’t be compartmentalized as separate..

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Love knows no boundaries in recovery

by June Alexander and Holly Curtis Love in all its forms is a vital element in healing. When illness and trauma enter our lives, negative emotions and behaviors can overtake and immobilize us, but love can help us find a way through. Reconnecting with people, places, pets, things and activities, and remembering anyone and anything..

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It’s my party and I’ll be who I want to

Since early childhood, an eating disorder had prevented Karyn from having fun on her birthday. But, with her 60th approaching, fear gave way to freedom. Read on. By Karyn Braveheart  This is my party. This is my day. This is my chance to say what l want to say in person to people who have..

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Silencing the voice of an eating disorder: Listening to my true self

From the age of 11, the demands of “ED,” the eating disorder “voice” dominated my diary pages. Until I asked for help, my true self was trapped, a prisoner of the illness.* – June Alexander I am thrilled that today therapists are recognizing the importance of listening to their patients, to help unravel the power..

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To The Bone – What are you really looking for?

My guess is that whatever you are looking for in the Netflix movie about eating disorders, To The Bone, you will find. If you are looking for eating disorder triggers in this story about a young woman who has anorexia nervosa, you will find them; if you are looking for hope, you will find this,..

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Do you feel ready to share your eating disorder story with others?

Sometimes, sharing a secret with others we have never met, online, can seem easier to do than in a room with someone we have known all of our life. Stories can be shared in many ways: face-to-face, by letter or email, in mainstream media or on the Internet. Some online options allow anonymity while sharing..

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Climbing the mountain to freedom of self: I had to believe I deserved better

Developing a healthy, happy and intimate relationship with myself, let alone someone else, was a challenge when healing from my eating disorder. For many years my pattern was to avoid self-love and to push away people who wanted to love and care for me. Such attention was foreign and made me feel uneasy and suffocated...

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No matter how I look, inside I am still Annie, a beautiful orange butterfly!

Eulogy June Alexander for Anne Edwards I love being part of an eating disorder family, comprising people around the world who have experience of eating disorders and who understand and support each other. Anne Edwards is a member of this family. After a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis, Anne died this past week. In October..

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Breaking the engagement with ED, the secretive, obsessive lover

by June Alexander and Emily Murray What happens when you become engaged and marry while experiencing an eating disorder? To illustrate what can happen, here are two love stories. The first story is mine, which began when I was 16 and fell in love with George, and the second belongs to Emily Murray, who fell..

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Victory over Ed: All eating disorder patients deserve treatment, support and hope

by June Alexander and Lisa Burns Right now I am on vacation, on a riverboat cruising along the Danube and beautiful waterways, from Budapest to Amsterdam. Until recently, due to an eating disorder, a holiday like this was an impossible dream. Today I am the same person. Authentic, true me. The difference is that I..

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Tried And True, Old Yet New

By Carolyn Costin MA Med, MFT, FAED, CEDS I have been in the eating disorder field since before it was really a field. I have seen the origin of IAEDP, ANAD, AED, and the EDC, as well as the many other organizations that are devoted to eating disorders. During my 38 years of treating eating..

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When a parent accepts that their child has an eating disorder

By Bharati Lall One of the most challenging times in my life was when I had to accept the fact that my daughter had an eating disorder. Despite my instinct telling me something was wrong for weeks before the diagnosis and confirmation by the medical team that she was indeed struggling with an eating disorder,..

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Workshop presentation at AED ICED in Prague, Czech Republic June 8-10, 2017

Hashtag Diversity: Dialogue in the Eating Disorders Field Through Social Media Engagement Workshop Session 2: Co-presentation with Andrea LaMarre (Canada), Ashley Solomon (USA) and Judy K (Israel). June 9, 2017: 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. For more information: #Hashtage Diversity_Prague 2017  

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Eating disorder recovery: Finding happiness in relationships

By Dannielle “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder” – Henry David Thoreau I feel this quote encapsulates my eating disorder as I was forever striving for that..

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Leaning into yourself: Abandoning fear and embracing your soul’s calling

By Angie Viets We went around the room, one by one answering the question proposed by our graduate school professor in the Counseling Psychology program I’d recently been accepted into: “Once you complete your master’s and doctoral degrees, what do you intend to do?” Perpetually anxious, I hyperventilated as each member of my cohort detailed..

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Why this Mom is championing World Eating Disorder Healthcare Rights

By Judy Krasna The first time I took my daughter to a dietitian in 2008 after she was diagnosed with an eating disorder at age 15, we walked into the office together. The dietitian looked up from behind her desk and said, “mothers wait outside.” My daughter begged for me to remain in the room, but..

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When trust is shattered in childhood: A message about the healing power of friendship

  The following story by Karyn Rose Braveheart is the third in a series of Dear Diary posts focusing on relationships and partnerships to commemorate World Eating Disorder Day, June 2, 2017 #WeDoActTogether. Relationships can either tear you apart or turn you into something awesome. They are all based around trust. Healthy relationship trust is a “must,” but..

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Entering mainstream: Building a relationship with self and others after ‘Ed’

Relationships can raise fresh challenges for people re-entering mainstream after a long-term eating disorder. Social and interpersonal skills may be lacking, and stigma and shame may be experienced in both community and workplace.  Today, Jenni G, who participated in an ED recovery program in 2016, reflects on adapting to mainstream upon recovering from bulimia nervosa...

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When an eating disorder makes three in a relationship: the impact

  “ED had swept me into a meaningless void. I lost touch with ‘me’ completely, and also with my husband George…. In my mid-30s, ED convinced me that my husband was the cause of my inability to feel at peace. Once this thought took hold, our marriage was destroyed in a matter of weeks. I..

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The power of advocacy

How Kitty channeled grief into creating the Anna Westin Act Guest diarist: Kitty Westin Did it really happen? Was I in the United States Senate Chamber when they overwhelmingly passed the 21st Century Cures Act with the Anna Westin Act included? Was I in the room when President Obama signed the bill into law on..

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Finding strength in sharing feelings in verse

Do you find poetry a helpful way to express your feelings? Are you one of the many people who find writing verse to be a comforting coping and healing tool? Our first competition on www.lifestoriesdiary.com invites original poems or prose, exploring this theme. Hurry and submit your entry – four lines or forty, length does..

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Look for Me in poetry

I live in this state of grief, fear and anxiety from the moment I awake to falling mercifully asleep. But what do you do when terror paralyses your ability to write of these emotions, be it poetry or diary? When all your energy is focused on suppressing and containing the silent, anguished scream strangling your..

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Poetry Competition: Win a Book!

Poetry helps many people express how they feel. It may involve jotting down a poem now and then when feeling inspired, keeping a daily journal specifically for expressing ongoing thoughts and feelings in the form of poetry, or interspersing poetry into your regular diary. The benefits start with every word that you put on the..

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What do you do when feeling deeply anxious? Jennifer writes verse

Security remains elusive, it’s entirely out of reach. My state of being now classified, as a definite safety breach. ‘Security’, Jennifer Marsh 2017 When I met Jennifer Marsh in 2009, we bonded instantly over our long histories with anorexia nervosa and anxiety disorders. Since then, Jennifer’s hard work in healing and reconnecting with her true..

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How diary writing helped me to survive and heal from an eating disorder

“When I was 11 years old, I developed anorexia nervosa. The same year, I received a diary as a Christmas gift.”     A gift of a diary, in the same year I developed anorexia nervosa at age 11, became an instant friend. The first entry, on January 1, 1963, is crammed with minute details..

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It’s time to talk about — why I love my diary

Dear Diary welcomes entries from diarists everywhere. This week, guest diarist Yasemin Merwende shares her love of journal writing in relation to National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  “Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”  ― Christina Baldwin My first diary was small; it was black with gold trimmed paper and a musical note on the..

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Never under-estimate the story-telling power of a French fry

Sharing our stories can assist self-validation in surprising and enriching ways. The unlikely hero in this story is a French fry. Diarist friend Karyn was out shopping, browsing in various stores, when a little bird on a small, white wooden plaque caught her eye. It came with a message: Today I will be happier than..

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Discovering liberation and healing through story-sharing and advocacy

My heart is singing as I write this diary entry to share with you. Today, I will describe my transition from being someone who ‘felt different’ from others and for decades lived much of my life in secrecy and shame, to becoming an advocate in raising awareness of eating disorders. Ten years ago, I publicly..

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Creating a New Home in lifestoriesdiary.com

By June Alexander. Recovering and healing from an eating disorder is an ongoing journey. Like life itself, the process can be as fulfilling and rewarding as we choose to make it. Accordingly, I am delighted to announce the time has come for www.junealexander.com, my website ‘home’ for the past six years, to transition to a..

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Getting You Back

When our true self is suppressed – for whatever reason – diary-writing skills can assist in reintegrating our mind and body as one. Such a process supports the transitioning of self-harming thoughts and behaviors to self-loving thoughts and behaviors, and hence peace and contentment. Write Your Way with a Mentor A diary can help you..

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Therapeutic Writing for Eating Disorders: A Workshop for Professional Care Givers

Based on (and extend upon) June’s most recent book, Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders – The Diary Healer, released this July, this event is a workshop for professionals who currently work with, or wish to learn more about working with, individuals with eating disorders. During the workshop, June will present examples of the..

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A Word About Eating Disorders Advocacy

F.E.A.S.T., as you may  know, is an international, non profit, volunteer run organization governed by a Board of Directors. In addition, however, to the informed guidance of our Board of Directors, F.E.A.S.T. benefits greatly from the consultative expertise of a group of international professionals and allies who sit on our Advisory Panel.  We will, over the..

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A Conversation with June, Podcast by Gurze-Salucore Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue

This week we’re joined by June Alexander, in what we are calling a conversation with June. If you don’t know June, be prepared to hear a story of recovery from someone who battled an eating disorder for decades in Australia, as well as the role writing has played in June’s recovery. Learn more about June..

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Writing a memoir through drawing on personal diaries and other keepsakes

Fashioning a memoir out of a diary requires threads and themes to be picked up and woven into a story that the writer and publisher believes will appeal to and connect with readers. Many re-writes may occur in selecting raw material, structure and content. Much of the daily repetition and drudgery is deleted during this..

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Exploring the narrative: poetry

Expressing these things in poetry has brought out the self I really am, apart from ED. My poetry has grown and changed as I have. It has helped me to realize I am not useless and that realization has assisted my healing. Through the process of writing I stopped hating myself. Now my poetry has..

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Opinion Articles – Sharing Stories of Hope

Stop Press: Here’s how to get your copy of My Kid is Back – Empowering Parents to Beat Anorexia Nervosa as an E-Book: Amazon Kindle Apple iBooks Kobo Ebooks.com A Tale of a Kangaroo, a Rhinoceros and a Daughter with Anorexia Animal metaphors help define effective responses Eating disorder symptoms and their consequences may lead family members..

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Media

Work Together to get more Mental Health care for kids See my letter ‘Work Together’ Melbourne’s Sunday Age today  – we need united voice to increase mental health budget: Work together I PRESCRIBE a strong dose of collaboration for the psychiatrists, psychologists and patients who accuse Patrick McGorry of self-interest and criticise the federal government’s mental..

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News Items

STOP PRESS: A Girl Called Tim has left the valley of her childhood. She is airborne, travelling the world in an ebook: Amazon ebooks.com  My Kid is Back – Empowering Parents to Beat Anorexia Nervosa is also selling as an ebook: Amazon Kindle Apple iBooks Kobo Ebooks.com SWAN puts ED on trial Free outpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa: the..

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Reviews for A Girl Named Tim

A Girl Called Tim is a treasure from the heart to the hearts and minds of others as it invites a compassionate understanding of these painful illnesses. June Alexander’s ability and willingness to create such a memoir is a gift. Lynn GrefePresident and C.E.O. National Eating Disorders Association http://www.NationalEatingDisorders.org March 2012, from “A”, South Australia:..

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About A Girl Called Tim

I waited until I was almost 60 (a grandmother!) before I wrote my memoir, A Girl Called Tim. I had wanted to write my story for more than 30 years and suddenly the time was right. The answer as to why I waited so long is found in my childhood. I developed anorexia nervosa shortly..

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Life writing and social history

2001: In 1931, The Weekly Times newspaper launched a new section dedicated to women’s issues. This became an immediate hit, and the column’s editor, Miranda, became an instant friend to thousands of women struggling to cope with the Depression. This book follows 70 years of the column that became a social institution. I was the seventh..

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The right time to write

The right time to write is now. Holding on to the thought ‘I will write a book about this’, can help sustain hope in the down moments of fighting a challenging illness or trauma. Some people want to start writing immediately. Thinking about this, and preparing for it by keeping a journal, can work wonders..

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Did my recovery experience have to be so tortuous? Could the diary help?

Did my recovery experience have to be so tortuous? Could the diary have provided a more pro-active role in healing? I wanted to find out. Above all, the catalyst for my book The Diary Healer was a desire to explore and reveal the potential of diary writing as a therapeutic tool in self-renewal and healing. The story behind..

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An Enduring Relationship: the Patient and the Therapist Who Does Not Give Up

 I was thirty-two, suicidal, and trapped in a self-destruction spiral when I met the psychiatrist who would save my life. I had developed anorexia nervosa at age eleven and the illness was embedded in my brain. ‘Prof’, as I called him, won my trust, saved my life. My therapy had no name. What mattered was..

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Diaries, grief and healing – through the eyes of a new book

A vital element in healing from a mental health challenge is to know we are not alone. This is particularly so when experiencing an eating disorder, an illness which by its very nature encourages secrecy and promotes isolation. In seeking to heal from an eating disorder, it helps to know that others have felt like we..

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Announcing: the birth of The Diary Healer

I am delighted and excited to announce the birth of my book affectionately known as The Diary Healer… I am deeply grateful for the many generous contributions, together with ongoing assistance, guidance and encouragement in the creation of this book, a three-year journey which has led to many friendships being formed, and in the process, the..

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Wanted: 100 research participants to compare anorexia nervosa types

Young UK researcher, Katie Linden, needs your help, fast! She wants to gather 100 participants before the end of July to assist her investigation on whether people who have experienced anorexia without body dysmorphia show the same local processing bias as people with more ‘typical’ anorexia. Here is the link. To help interest you in taking part, Katie answers..

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Give blood to help crack genetic code of anorexia – researchers’ call to United States and Australia

‘Grandma, when you were in hospital last year, were you really sick?’ My eldest grandson, aged nine, and I are walking home from the local shops, enjoying a little ‘us’ time, when he pops this question, out of the blue. I pause in my step. Almost drop my bundle. This little scenario is one big reason..

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Getting Better Bite by Bite _ German translation

Getting Better Bite by Bite around the world – I’m totally excited today to hold a copy of the new German translation of Getting Better Bite by Bite.   This survival kit/self-help book is written for people experiencing symptoms of binge eating and bulimia eating disorders. It has been an honour to write the new version..

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Poetry and song help healing and keep advocacy wheels turning

Often we might wonder if what we do, really matters. Working on World Eating Disorders Action Day has mattered, and will continue to matter…because we, and others who come on board for however long on this journey, will make it matter. Being a member of the steering committee for this amazing, first-ever, World Eating Disorders Day..

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Join Keanu Reeves in supporting World Eating Disorders Action Day_June 2

Keanu Reeves and other stars in To the Bone support World Eating Disorders Action Day. See their powerful message. Reeves, and other actors in the upcoming feature film based on one survivor’s true story are joining more than 200 organizations around the globe to unite for the cause on June 2, 2016. This inaugural grassroots campaign is shining a..

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Achieving global change starts at home – so sign the pledge on Ed

From around the world to home town, eating disorder activists and advocates are chirping and tweeting like a massive flock of beautiful birds. We are flexing our wings, beginning to venture forth from our nests. We are preparing to fly around our homes and around the world with the message that eating disorders are treatable illnesses..

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In sharing stories we can help others and our self

Learning I was not the only one in the world with my difficult, painful, bossy thoughts, was a revelation in realising I had a mental illness and could heal from it. This revelation came about through reading the stories of others. Sharing our stories provides a vital function in letting others know they are not..

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Help researchers understand ED recovery process – share your story in survey

Through collaboration, solutions will be found to the eating disorder mystery. We can all help. Including you. Your experience counts! In many, many important ways. For instance, Kelly Romano, a student in Florida State University’s Mental Health Counseling M.S./Ed.S program, is completing a masters-level thesis on the eating disorder recovery process and seeks your help. By participating in..

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Olivia Rose, why I am glad I did not give up

Today, I sat in class with Olivia Rose at grandparents’ day at her school. My story could have been so, so different. Olivia Rose, I am glad I did not give up, that I reached out and found help to beat my illness, because I am here to enjoy you and our beautiful family… Letter to..

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Join the cicadas chorusing loudly to advocate about eating disorders around the world

  I liken my life to that of a cicada, an insect that lives underground in the dark for many years, before emerging into the light for a brief and noisy appearance. Upon receiving the Meehan/Hartley Award for Public Service and Advocacy, at the Academy of Eating Disorders ICED,  I was allowed two minutes in..

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My Life is My Message (Mohandas Gandhi) sets scene for ED conference and beyond

“My Life is My Message” — Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948). Five words say it all. To come across Mr Gandhi’s statue on my first walkabout upon arriving in San Francisco today, for the 2016 AED ICED, was ever so meaningful (together with the gorgeous sunshine, fresh sea breeze, that dealt with jet lag fast). Together with..

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Caring starts young; let’s act like Amelia and care for our young

Carers come in all shapes and sizes, my youngest being four-year-old grand-daughter Amelia. Amelia provides light relief and perfect balance to my writing passion for raising awareness of eating disorders. This week on a grandma visit, Amelia got busy looking through my kitchen drawers to find a plastic shopping bag. She then asked for a pair..

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When Grandma Found her Voice: It’s Never Too Late to Recover from an Eating Disorder

To go from suffering silently, feeling alienated and misunderstood as a child, to be helping to organise the first World Eating Disorders Action Day on June 2, is a pinnacle moment in my life. This is my story. To be working with others, around the world, who share a passion to do what it takes for eating..

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Carers of eating disorder patients face dual challenge _ they need care too

Caring for somebody who has a mental illness is challenging, exhausting, worrying and life changing in equal measures; but when you care for a loved one suffering an eating disorder you must rise to the dual challenges of meeting the physical and emotional needs of a sick loved one. Louise Sezgin of Plymouth Eating Disorders Support Group,..

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Korean people get eating disorders too

The buildup to World Eating Disorder Action Day on June 2 is gathering pace like a beautiful breeze heralding goodwill to all. From a ground force swell, support for this historic event is reaching into all corners of the globe. Including Korea. For eating disorders do not discriminate. They affect people all ages and all races...

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Call for co-scientists in multi family therapy group research for adults

Starting treatment for Anorexia Nervosa in my 30s, after developing the illness as a child, made for a tough recovery path. Illness effects linger, especially with  interpersonal relationships. I understand why Professor Mary Tantillo calls eating disorders the ‘diseases of disconnection’. Some relationships can be saved and even enriched but others, especially when the eating disorder has had..

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Professional woman in her forties, starving – what can her best friend do? Act

Watching a dear friend descend into the hell of an eating disorder can cause feelings of utter helplessness – what to do, how to help? When her friend developed anorexia nervosa more than 12 months ago, Judy Baulch was feeling ‘absolutely powerless’. “Helplessness was accompanied by frustration and disbelief as the cracks my friend had fallen through in the..

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Finding room for food and feelings

Food and feelings: making room for both of these life essentials can be a challenge when you have an eating disorder, and when you are recovering from this very serious illness. In the second of a series on eating disorders, I chat with Lynda Cheldelin Fell, founder of the Grief Diaries Series. Grief Diaries: Through..

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Global eating disorder day a catalyst for hope and action

I can see that, for many years, since I fell prey to anorexia nervosa, much of my creative energy has been wasted in a negative way, for I have turned it on myself; my own private obsession with food has robbed me of my true self…            Diary excerpt, age 38, in 1989..

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Get on board with World Eating Disorders Action Day

Eating Disorders can’t hide any more. Organizations and individuals are uniting across the globe to advocate for change and take action against eating disorders. The focus is our first-ever World Eating Disorders Action Day,to be held on June 2 this year. This inaugural day provides a platform for diverse global populations to share accurate information..

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Early intervention for adults with disordered eating – CEED seeks your help in developing a resource

Many adults with disordered eating and body dissatisfaction lack knowledge that they are at risk of a serious mental health condition. Even if they start to realise something is amiss, they often don’t know where to find help and what to do to resolve these problems. The team at the Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating..

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Hear our Voice on World Eating Disorders Action Day, June 2

Arising sleepy-eyed at 5.am. for an international teleconference with wide-awake women in the northern hemisphere is part of the fun of helping to arrange our world’s first ever Eating Disorders Action Day. I love it. The first World Eating Disorders Action Day will take place on June 2, 2016 and generate information virtually around the globe...

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Women, let’s love our imperfections and celebrate being woman

‘Zoe’ is a music video promoting women’s self love and acceptance. Taking part in this project was fun, watching it makes me feel more happy with who I am; more connected with others, more in love with life. Thank you, Lilac Sheer, for commemorating International Women’s Day, on March 8, in this creative and meaningful way...

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Teeth literally crumbled out of my mouth: how ED can cause a dental debacle

If you have an eating disorder, feel no shame and tell your dentist. This is the message from Holly, who is sharing her story to emphasise the importance of dental care when suffering an eating disorder.  For many years, Holly had nothing to smile about. This is Holly’s story: I was parentless and lost everything by age..

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Your chance to direct eating disorder research

What are the top unanswered questions or “uncertainties” in the eating disorders field that are not being addressed by current research? To find out, the Patient/Carer Committee (PCC)  of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) invites your help. The PCC has organised a project to locate the most pressing needs, or gaps, in the research. It only..

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What do you like or dislike about you?

Would you like to contribute to the creation of an inspirational video for International Women’s Day on March 8? If so, Lilac Sheer, who has Ana on the run, has a message via me for you. Lilac writes: I’m creating a really cool women’s empowerment video for women’s day. The song talks about the days we..

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Holistic, person-centred approach to mental health a focus in Western Australia – conference

Richmond Wellbeing, a not for profit organisation, has been developing the mental health industry and supporting the community in Western Australia for the past 40 years. The WA Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) Conference is coming up on 10-11 March and four of the conference speakers will hail from Richmond Wellbeing, and present on prevalent mental..

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Music video puts Ana on the run

... And I refuse to run & hide Yes I know you from inside, And I won’t live this lonely life anymore These are the closing lines in ‘Ana‘, a music video created to promote awareness for eating disorders. I wish this video had been around when I was a kid. It would have helped me..

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No front teeth, so hard to smile — getting the drill on ED

Eating disorders rob us of many precious things – including our smile. It’s hard to smile without front teeth – I know. Anorexia affected my teeth, especially my two top front teeth, as an eleven-year-old. I felt self-conscious and tried not to smile. And we need to smile, for smiling allows light and warmth into..

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The patient’s story holds a lesson for all

When I tentatively ‘came out’, after 40-plus years confined to a prison in the mind, I discovered many benefits in sharing my story in supportive and safe environments. The biggest reward was self-belief…a life essential that had been quashed by my eating disorder, and by the stigma and shame that goes with it. It has led to seven books, candidature in..

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Research call for clinicians, clients and carers with experience of inpatient care eating disorder services

Do you work in an Inpatient Paediatric Eating Disorder Program? or Have you previously spent time as an inpatient in a Paediatric Eating Disorder unit? or Are you the carer of a young person who has been admitted into an inpatient program for Paediatric Eating Disorders? If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of these..

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Binge eat? A self-help guide for sufferers and carers

If you binge eat or have bulimia, this new book will help you map your way to freedom: AED Forum Newsletter, Book Review Corner Peter Doyle, AED Book Reviewer Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders (Second Edition) by Ulrike Schmidt, Janet Treasure, and June Alexander (Routledge,..

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Join World Eating Disorder Action Day: June 2

I am proud to be a member of the Steering Committee for the 1st ANNUAL WORLD EATING DISORDERS ACTION DAY ANNUAL WORLD EATING DISORDERS ACTION DAY JUNE 2, 2016 Members of the eating disorder community, including affected individuals and their families, professionals, researchers and policy makers, have united virtually to increase access to accurate information,..

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Tribute to my bestest friend who stuck by me…when others walked away

This story is about friendship, a bond that knows no bounds. Helen created the word ‘bestest’. It sums up our friendship perfectly. We met at the Lindenow district primary school sports day in 1962. Two shy sixth grade girls, from separate one-room schools, Fernbank and Woodglen. We exchanged names and found we would both attend..

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Survival kit for Getting Better Bite by Bite – a book for sufferers of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders

Getting better from an eating disorder, and re-connecting with your true self, can involve a bite by bite struggle. With bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, you may find yourself eating too much one minute and too little the next. Without understanding why. The good news is that recovery is possible…. this is especially so when you..

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ANGI is giving hope this Christmas

Christmas was a particularly awful time when Anorexia Nervosa ruled my life. Another year was drawing to a close, and I remained a prisoner of the illness. The surrounding bright and bubbly festive gaiety clashed horribly with inner anguish and self-loathing. Not any more. Today ANGI gives me great cause to be hopeful and in a celebratory mood. To..

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The surprising prevalence of eating disorders among older people

Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are often thought of as diseases that affect young people. However there’s growing evidence that thousands of older Australians are also suffering silently. Older women are particularly susceptible, especially when their bodies are going changes like menopause or after pregnancy. Aired on 7.30 Report, click here to watch.

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June Alexander’s videos

Three-part series June filmed as part of a CQU course: Part 1: Part 2: Part 3: An interview with June for the Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED), featured on the website reachoutandrecover.com.au: An introductory video for lifestoriesdiary.com: An anecdote about a workshop conducted by June: A look at writing your story and what..

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Making waves on radio

Listen to Paula Konetjl and Hayden Miller, The Morning Crew on Geelong BayFM 93.9, interview June about eating disorders and the important messages in My Kid Is Back and A Girl Called Tim. Geelong 93.9BayFM — Making waves in the fight against eating disorders Your browser does not support the audio element. Genevieve Jacobs on 666 ABC Canberra in..

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What does real RECOVERY look like?

The National Eating Disorders Association and the PBS program This Emotional Life have co-produced a webinar on eating disorder recovery.  The webinar, which runs for 60 minutes, is hosted by NEDA CEO Lynn Grefe and features helpful discussion with both males and females with eating disorder experience, together with professionals, on the definition of RECOVERY. ..

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