written by MEDA Undergraduate Intern, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor
Need a break from negativity? Want to jam out to tunes that will make you feel powerful, uplifted, and remind you about how wonderful you are? Listen to the Positivity Playlist!
Recent research out of Durham University and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland revealed that listening to music can impact your mood significantly, both positively and negatively. There is no doubt that music is a powerful force, and can do wonders in changing your mood, energy, and level of confidence.
Thanks to everyone who gave me song recommendations for this playlist!
Click here to listen to the playlist on Spotify, or clink on the links below to listen to each of the songs on YouTube.
I Lived (One Republic)
“I owned every second that this world could give, I saw so many places, the things that I did, with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”
Quit Pulling Me Down (Secret Someones)
“This time, baby, I’m not coming back to you. You won’t break me, it don’t matter what you do. I’d forgotten I was strong since you came around. Quit pulling me down.”
Firework (Katy Perry)
“You don’t have to feel like a waste of space, you’re original, cannot be replaced. If you only knew what the future holds, after a hurricane, comes a rainbow.”
My Skin (Lizzo)
“I woke up in this, I woke up in this, in my skin.”
Brave (Sara Bareilles)
“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in. Show me how big your brave is.”
Fight Song (Rachel Platten)
“My power’s turned on. Starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play my fight song. And I don’t really care if nobody else believes. ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”
Roar (Katy Perry)
“You held me down but I got up. Already brushing off the dust. You hear my voice, you hear that sound, like thunder gunna shake the ground. You held me down, but I got up. Get ready cause I had enough.”
Marchin On (One Republic)
“There ain’t no other step than one foot right in front of the other”
“I’m so powerful I don’t need batteries to play, I’m so confident, I’m unstoppable today.”
Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself (Jess Glynne)
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, no. Learn to forgive, learn to let go. Everyone trips, everyone falls. So don’t be so hard on yourself, no”
Beautiful Day (U2)
“It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away.”
Love Myself (Hailee Steinfeld)
“I’m gunna put my body first and love me so hard ‘til it hurts.”
Beautiful (Christina Aguilera)
“I am beautiful no matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down. I am beautiful in every single way.”
Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & The Waves)
“I’m walking on sunshine, and don’t it feel good?”
Born This Way (Lady Gaga)
“Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you’re all set.”
Soy Yo (Bomba Estéro)
“Y no te preocupes si no te aprueban cuando te critiquen tu solo di soy yo” / “and don’t worry if you are judged, when they criticize just say I am me”
Wings (Little Mix)
“And we don’t let nobody bring us down. No matter what you say—it won’t hurt me. Don’t matter if I fall from the sky. These wings are made to fly.”
The Greatest (Sia, Kendrick Lamar)
“I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive”
Live Your Life (Yuna)
“Find your light, don’t hide from who you are. And rise before you fall in hope for something more.”
Shake It Out (Florence + The Machine)
“Shake it out, shake it out. It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back.”
Be OK (Ingrid Michaelson)
“I just want to be ok. I just want to be ok today.”
Set It All Free (Scarlett Johansson)
“I can finally see, it’s not just a dream when you set it all free.”
Brave Honest Beautiful (Fifth Harmony, Meghan Trainor)
“Don’t criticize yourself no more. You got a smile worth fighting for.”
Express Yourself (Labrinth)
“It’s not what you look like when you’re doing what you’re doing, express yourself.”
written by Shari Rogers, LCSW, Therapist, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
Change is a part of life. As adults, we know that things rarely remain the same.
Conversely, normal transitions can be perceived of quite differently and far more negatively by young people. This is primarily due to the simple fact that they are young; a girl of 12 or 13, even 17 and 18, just hasn’t lived that long.
Unfortunately, two key transitions—entering high school and entering college can prove dangerous, even highly damaging to certain females.
For most girls, life proves fairly predictable through elementary school; even if a junior high offers a change, it is usually not too dramatic. High school is different for a variety of reasons. Typically, several schools feed into a freshman class; therefore there are whole new groups of kids to adapt to. Keep in mind that this is a key maturational time for girls, in that most of them are rapidly moving into puberty. This means their bodies are changing in unexpected ways. Commensurately, their emotions are thrown into a tailspin due to hormone fluctuations. High drama can be the rule, not the exception.
If a girl has been taught healthy coping skills, she will weather this temporary storm; if not, she easily becomes fertile ground for an eating disorder. Knowing that at the heart of a food-related disorder is the need to control and cope with turbulent feelings, beginning to restrict or binge and purge can mitigate emotional chaos. Especially with the former approach of reducing food intake, there is the added benefit of weight loss, which seemingly many young girls want these days.
With the exception of puberty no longer being relevant, the transition to college can be even more traumatic. This is often the first time a young woman has lived away from home. Everything is new: friends, dorm life, meals, environment, to say nothing of increased academic pressures. Without parental support, she can easily move into bad habits, especially where food is concerned.
No matter the school or region of the country, female students are keenly aware of the feared “freshmen 15”. No one wants to validate that stereotype. It is no wonder that female college students, particularly in sororities, teach each other how to use eating disorder behaviors.
With a new school year just starting, it is important for parents, school counselors, even primary care physicians to be mindful of how transitions are proceeding with girls and young women. If a girl appears to be highly stressed due to peers or life at a new school, this should be addressed. If parents get the sense that a daughter is not adapting well to college life, a visit might be planned.
Two things are true about eating disorders. The first is that they work. This is difficult for many people to understand; nevertheless, it is true. Whether a girl is starving herself or a young woman is bingeing and/or purging, the behavior is serving a purpose: her stress and anxiety are reduced, she is finding it easier to cope. The second thing is that the early an eating disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of a complete and lasting recovery.
Written by MEDA Undergraduate Intern, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor with fellow Undergraduate Interns, Julia Kassman & Patty Atkinson
It’s been almost three weeks since members the MEDA community came together to watch the Netflix movie To the Bone. Since then, MEDA has been dealing with the aftermath of an office flood, providing us with ample time to reflect, ponder, and reconsider the impact of the movie. Although the intensity of the conversations surrounding the movie’s release may have died down, the movie continues to impact many people’s relationship to and understanding of eating disorders. Some people also may also be viewing the movie for the first time now, and we wanted to ensure that the conversation surrounding the film was continued.
There have been some comparisons between To the Bone to another Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, due to similarities in their problematic depictions of mental illness. We know that many people struggling with depression have been negatively impacted by 13 Reasons Why, and unfortunately, the impact of To the Bone may be similarly negative. Although movies may not be real, movies impact people’s lives in very real ways.
One of the reasons why we decided to host a viewing of To the Bone was because we wanted to ensure that people had a safe space to watch it, where they could reach out for help if they felt like the movie was especially triggering to them. When it finally came time for us to watch, many of us were anxious and held expectations on what the movie would be like based on the trailer or one of the many articles that had been published prior to the film’s release.
It was amazing to see so many faces of the MEDA community come together to support each other during the movie screening. Throughout the movie, there were various audible reactions. Scoffs, giggles, moans, sniffles, and deep breaths rippled through the crowd at various points. Although no one could hear it, there were also many eye rolls during various scenes.
When the movie finally ended, those of us sitting in the room were left with many emotions: anger, annoyance, anxiety, sadness, confusion, surprise, and for some, not many feelings at all. In fact, if I were to sum up the feeling in the room after the closing credits began, it would be underwhelmed.
The build-up to the viewing of this movie was so big, that when we actually came together to watch it, many of us were left feeling disappointed and confused. The end of the movie felt so unsatisfying, so ambiguous, and so romanticized. It almost felt as though the movie was cut short, and we were left wondering “Is that it? Is that really the end?”
After watching, we came together to debrief as a group. We were led by one of MEDA’s fantastic clinicians, who asked us how we were feeling and what we liked and did not like about the film.
I’ll begin with the good. MEDA Executive Director, Beth Mayer, noted that she was happy that the film included the message that there are a million reasons why people get eating disorders. A few MEDA community members stated that they really loved the character of Eli’s sister, Kelly, who displayed a glimmer of realness in disclosing how her sister’s eating disorder impacted her own life. Beth also noted that we have to applaud the fact that someone took the risk to make this film, and that in the end, we want people to be talking about the issues surrounding eating disorders.
However, this film struggled at times to portray these issues properly. One member of the community beautifully articulated the movie’s main fault— the fact that many of the messages in this film may not make sense to people who have not had or been closely impacted by an eating disorder, thus perpetuating many misunderstandings surrounding eating disorders.
For example, the depiction of eating disorder treatment was described by another community member as “romanticized and inappropriate.” Although the movie’s goal was to educate the public on what eating disorders are really like, the movie failed to depict the difficult reality of eating disorder treatment. Many viewers also felt uncomfortable with the inclusion of romance in the story, noting that Eli’s romantic relationship with Luke was distracting, uncomfortable, and never would have been allowed in a residential treatment facility.
The fact that there was no depiction of the re-feeding process was also especially problematic. For many, re-learning how to eat is a huge part of treatment, and it was never shown in the film. The residents in Eli’s treatment home were given autonomy over what they ate, essentially allowing them to engage in unhealthy behaviors around food without the necessary professional supervision and guidance.
This sense of autonomy made it seem like individuals in treatment for eating disorders have the ability to take control over their own disease, when in actuality, it is not that easy. Although it was communicated that the treatment depicted in this film was referred to as a radical last resort for Eli, the treatment was also referred to as having “great outcomes,” insinuating that it was not only appropriate, but effective.
The other MEDA interns and I all have different histories and backgrounds when it comes to eating disorders. In order to comprehensively assess the film and its impact, we wanted to highlight each of our individual voices. As someone who has never gone to treatment, I can’t speak to what it is like to go through recovery in a residential treatment center. To speak about that, I will hand it over to my fellow undergraduate intern, Julia:
“I spent years of my adolescence fighting to overcome many of the struggles depicted in this film. Today, I can confidently say I am fully recovered and a healthy young adult. Due to my own experiences, I attended MEDA’s viewing of the film so that I could be in a safe place surrounded by clinicians available to offer support. As I watched the film, various images of an emaciated Lily Collins were triggering, but not nearly as much as I expected them to be. However, explicit eating disorder behaviors were depicted, which may have inspired some viewers to engage in specific eating disorder behaviors, instead of educating about the disease itself.
More than anything I was angered and frustrated by the film. To the Bone gave an inaccurate portrayal of recovery, and an even more inaccurate portrayal of recovery in a residential treatment center. For many, recovery is an ongoing and tumultuous process. The film portrays Ellen as having control over her disease while her family voices their lack of understanding as to why she is choosing to do this. Having an eating disorder is not a choice, and is far more complex than simply making a decision to eat.
Modeling current eating disorder treatment practices may have been less ‘entertaining,’ but at least audiences would have gained a real understanding and awareness. The film neglects basic tenants of recovery such as weight restoration, and developing a healthy relationship with food and eating. There are multiple scenes in the film that are centered around meal time, where patients in the residential treatment center have the freedom to choose what and how they eat. Although treatment centers may vary in their techniques and practices, the inclusion of structured, monitored and nutritious meals within treatment is an essential part of the recovery process.
The film fails to give audiences an accurate insight into the loneliness, denial and shame that often come with recovery. Exposing audiences to some of these raw emotions would have been more insightful. In the end we were left with no real representation of successful recovery, only a mere suggestion of it. What message did this send to those possibly battling an eating disorder? That a healthy, stable lifestyle was unattainable? For those watching the film for entertainment or educational purposes (ha) what message were they left with? It would have been empowering for at least one character in the film to serve as a role model and to successfully recover. Recovery is attainable with hard work, determination and support. That, most of all, is something I wish audiences could have been exposed to through the viewing of this film.”
Hearing from recovered individuals such as Julia allows us to better understand how the film impacted individuals who have experienced an eating disorder, and feel unhappy that their experiences were not represented. Patty, another undergraduate intern here at MEDA, who is also recovered from an eating disorder, offers her own reactions on the film:
“Both Lily Collins and director Marti Noxon suffered from an eating disorder. I was initially horrified that Collins had to lose weight for the movie. However, I have yet to think of a better way to go about portraying the character. Losing such a dramatic amount of weight is unhealthy and dangerous both psychologically and physically for anyone. Yet, it may have been inaccurate and less impactful to portray a severe case of anorexia with a person of healthy weight. The reality is that almost anyone who played Collins’ character would have received criticism and concern.
I appreciate that the movie depicts realistic family dynamics and how difficult it can be to maintain close, strong and healthy relationships with parents and family throughout one’s battle with an eating disorder. The movie does well in its portrayal of how difficult it can be for loved ones to support someone with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are hard, complicated and confusing for everyone involved. Many people, including a majority of those who are going to watch To the Bone, don’t understand what it’s really like for those struggling and wonder why the person won’t ‘just eat’. Often times Ellen’s family does not know what to do or say to make things better, making them feel overcome with guilt, anger, sadness, and confusion.
Eating disorders, just as many other mental illnesses, are hard for people on the outside to understand. This movie does not answer all questions about eating disorders, but it does promote awareness and conversation about the illness that affects so many people today. It will hopefully keep people questioning and encourage advocacy and research. I think that it is important to note that although the movie has its flaws it provides us with the opportunity to bring attention to a still severely stigmatized mental illness.”
It’s safe to say that this film does not serve to offer any sort of new perspective on the experience of eating disorders. Because when it comes to eating disorders, white, thin, cis-gendered female bodies have always been the default, and obviously continue to be. The movie is centered around the experience of a well-off white woman, but tries to sprinkle in the stories a of a few people of color, who serve as background characters.
We must critique how these characters were represented in this film. The only Latina woman shown in the film is the heavily-accented housekeeper. When we are first introduced to Kendra, the only black person in the treatment house, she doesn’t even speak for herself. “That’s Kendra,” says house-mate Anna, who identifies herself as having “Bulimia Nervosa, but more just Nervosa now.” In the end we don’t learn anything about Kendra besides the fact that she is a binge eater, and is sassy. Could the writers have gotten just a bit more creative, instead of relying upon the stereotype of a sassy black girl with binge eating disorder?
To be fair, we didn’t learn a ton more about the other supporting characters, such as Tracy and Pearl, but they were featured more prominently in the film. I would have loved to learn more about Kendra, and of course for the movie to have featured more marginalized voices. But that would just be too good to be true.
If you are interested in hearing from more people of color about their experiences with eating disorders, check out Gloria Lucas’ Nalgona Positivity Pride or The Body is not an Apology, which both work to center marginalized bodies. Pick up a copy of Stephanie Covington Armstrong’s book, “Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat,” or watch the trailer for Solace, a short film written and directed by Tchaiko Omalwale about her own struggles with an eating disorder and self-harm. Those are just a few of the marginalized voices out there, ready to challenge the stereotypes about eating disorders perpetuated by this movie.
There’s a lot of work to be done if we hope to really start an inclusive conversation about eating disorders which does not revolve around the stories of white woman with access to expensive eating disorder treatment. Because more often than not, eating disorders do not always look like Lily Collin’s character in To the Bone. Isn’t it time for a fresh and more inclusive perspective?
By Shiri Macri, MA, LCMHC, Clinical Director, Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating
To understand why mindfulness can help treat Binge Eating Disorder (BED), let’s first revisit some of the DSM 5 criteria for diagnosing the disorder. They include:
If we look more deeply behind some of these criteria, it becomes clear why using mindfulness-based approaches to treating and healing symptoms of BED can be particularly helpful.
Behind each of these criteria are the emotions of a person who is struggling to manage their eating behavior. These behaviors tend to have a sense of mind-LESS-ness to them, again for understandable reasons.
This is why applying mindfulness-based approaches can gradually begin to counteract many of the symptoms of BED, and support the person who is struggling with the emotions.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness means bringing awareness to the present moment, without judgment.
Mindfulness practice comes in many forms, both formal and informal, movement-based, and meditation-based (though these are often one and the same). A person can become more mindful (aka aware of the present, without judgment by engaging in any number of mindfulness practices. They may include meditations, yoga, tai-chi, or simply being aware of your body making contact with the seat beneath you, or being aware of the warmth of the water on the dishes that you’re washing.
By regularly engaging in any of these practices of mindfulness, we can become mindful.
How Mindfulness & BED Treatment Go Together
When people become more mindful, they become more adept at being aware of the present moment, without judgment. Consider this in the context of some of the criteria for BED.
Each of these examples address how mindfulness can begin to unearth the roots of symptoms of BED.
There are many third wave therapies that specifically focus on using mindfulness in psychotherapy and by no coincidence are also considered some of the more effective interventions for BED. Third wave therapies are an extension of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which is primarily focused on supporting people in reframing internal events such as thinking patterns and emotional reactivity in an effort to manage behaviors.
Third wave psychotherapies add the component of mindfulness to skill development aimed at improving overall functioning. Examples of such psychotherapies that are effectively used in treating BED include:
These psychotherapeutic interventions provide excellent resources for treatment when dealing with BED. Often programs will provide an eclectic use of facets of these therapies to ensure a holistic approach to the treatment of BED. Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating, our introductory Intensive outpatient group, entitled Pathway, offers just that model of treatment, where women in small groups can engage in facets of DBT, ACT, MBCT, as well as other interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and CBT.
These interventions are all aimed at providing a holistic form of treatment that can be very effective in healing symptoms of BED. When combined with a stay at Green Mountain at Fox Run’s pioneering non-diet psychoeducational retreat, women who suffer with BED can immerse themselves in and practice a way of eating, moving and living that fosters lasting recovery.
For more information on our program at Green Mountain at Fox Run, visit our website: https://www.fitwoman.com/therapy-services-eating-disorder/ or contact our specialists at 800.448.8106. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Written by Dr. Melissa Coffin, PhD, CEDS, Senior Director of East Coast Clinical Programming at Clementine
Dr. Coffin discusses some of the difficulties facing adolescents when it comes to technology use in this week’s blog post. Dr. Coffin offers how these outlets can be utilized for positive benefits as opposed to negative results.
For some, technology is the first thing they check when they wake up, and the last thing they do before bed. Over the last few years, we have become a society attached to our devices. Recent data on this topic shows that some people are checking their technology, most notably their social media pages, more than 10 times a day while some are spending hours in this pursuit.
When it comes to social media, we are all still trying to keep up, including the field of eating disorders. Unfortunately, some research is showing that use of social media is increasingly correlated with depressive symptoms as a result of the inherent issues of acceptance, competition, and attention that present themselves in this domain (Chicago Tribune, 2013). Women working on recovery from body and food issues frequently mention comparing themselves to others, feeling inferior and having increased body image concerns as a result of their social media usage.
However, at Clementine adolescent treatment programs we are invested in helping our adolescents develop a healthy and mindful relationship with their technology, just as they are working on a relationship with food and their bodies. If time is spent on social media comparing to others, it can result in feelings of inferiority and dissatisfaction. Instead, if time is spent connecting with others, it can result in new and improved relationships and increased positive feelings. Monet Eliastam’s quote below captures this idea beautifully.
“Imagine if social media became a place where we shared our dreams instead of hiding our faults, where we collaborated in conversation instead of trolling anonymously, where we felt included instead of excluded. We need to reinvent the online community to cultivate a safer, more diverse, more welcoming environment where we value people for generating thoughts, not likes… We have an incredible tool in our hands, we need to use it to change the world.”
So, let’s embrace the world of technology and the interfaces that social provides us. The fact that you are reading this blog right now suggests you are looking for positive ways to spend your time and energy online. Thanks for doing so and share your positive experiences both on and offline with those you love.
To learn more about our newest location, Clementine Briarcliff Manor, please reach out to a Clementine Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.
Content originally posted on 6/27/17 at http://clementineprograms.com/2017/06/27/impact-social-media/