for now: i am curious about how the online eating disorder community affects your eating disorder. specifically 'support' sites, not the pro-ana/mia garbage.
i want to explore this in respect to a few different things. i recently started therapy, and one of the first things i was asked was, does anyone know about your eating disorder? at the time, the only people who knew were those that i had told in communities like these. two of my friends now know, but i would still say that i get the vast majority of my support from my livejournal friends list. how do you account for that? i think the rise of "pro" environment makes it more difficult to try to express the idea of positive (versus "go fast you fatass") support that you receive in these communities, to someone like a therapist who may not understand it. i just said that no, no one knew, for the sake of simplicity.
do you ever feel like this sort of support, albeit helpful, can be a hindrance? it was discussed in this post very articulately... the catch22 that communities like this can make us feel less alone in this scary disease yet maybe they hold us back from reaching out to the people around us for support because we are receiving it in other mediums. before i told my best friend about my bulimia, i was so hesitant to because i knew she wouldn't 'GET' it like so many people i've met through livejournal do. but not until after i told her did i realize how irreplaceable that live, real-life support is. there is also the idea of competition-- regardless of how much you care about a friend that you've met through this and you want them to be healthy, there is always some sort of competition, isn't there? to be the sickest, thinnest or maybe even most recovered.
how does all of this affect your own views of your eating disorder and your treatment? for example, i am bulimic- i purge approx 1-2 times a day, everyday, for the past 2yrs. that includes bingeing several times a week. this is obviously no joke. but i can't help but feel "fine" when i read posts about girls who throw up six, seven, eight, times a day and have been, for years. 'they are still alive', i think or 'i don't have a problem!'. it sort of lessens the severity of how i view my own disorder, compared to if i had not encountered other bulimics. maybe i use it as a crutch to prevent me from dealing w/ my own illness. does that make sense? but then again, there is something to be said for the fact that we never, ever feel "sick enough", regardless.
i also find it interesting to see how this depth of knowledge about my own disorder comes into play in therapy. i would say that i know a lot of the reasoning behind why i do things, the triggers, why i feel the way i do. i know all of the health risks (from the interne in general, not necessarily this community). i feel very "ed_cated". i obviously know them, but i don't care. and i sat in my first therapy session today, with the specialist, and everything she told me- i knew. the trite diagrams, the specific effects of laxatives, the emotional aspect, the impact of having a mom who was always dieting, the dsm criteria for bulimia nervosa, the famous study with those men, ALL OF IT. do you think there is a drawback to being so well-versed? perhaps my session would have been felt with more impact had i not done "my homework." knowledge is definitely power and education is necessary, don't get me wrong, i LOVE this community. but sometimes after learning these things, and living these side effects i read about, i feel almost- invincible- or immune. i use my own awareness as license, or a weapon, to inflict more damage, you could say.
thoughts? i know i went off on several tangents, but any feeback is appreciated.