OJ, “Other Jamie,” that is, is a super dorky, pun seeking, bibliophile who could absolutely spend her entire day wrapped in a blanket next to a fireplace – book and tea in hand. This perfectly fits her profile of a comparative literature major during undergrad. After working in publishing for four years, OJ decided to pursue her passion for language and literature in a slightly different, yet serendipitous path, and received her master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology. Mental illness though ain’t predictable (who wudda thought?!) and she has taken a hiatus from completing her clinical fellowship to heal her mind and her body.
OJ has been struggling with an eating disorder on and off for 13 years, since she was 15. Truthfully, though, she can’t really remember a time when she had a healthy relationship with food. For the first time, OJ feels like she is truly in recovery and working towards the not-so-elusive-anymore recovered state of being. Over the past year, OJ has confronted many of her demons (e.g. eating disorder, PTSD, anxiety, and depression) with the help of the full spectrum of leveled care (inpatient, residential, partial, and intensive outpatient). The work has been challenging but she is incredibly grateful that she was given the opportunity to heal, as finding available mental health treatment is not easy or financially accessible to everyone. Every day brings its own set of challenges, and she is still in a partial program and seeking outpatient therapy.
Throughout her journey, writing has saved OJ (oh, and CJ, below, may have been a part of that saving too!). In treatment, OJ filled numerous journals as a way to not only document her progress, but as a way to help her process what she was experiencing and learning. Writing in a journal was a way for OJ to encourage herself to listen to herself. OJ understands that getting words on paper is a very private, personal endeavor, but doing so proved to be the very beginning of the process of re-finding her voice that the eating disorder oppressively silenced. Writing enables OJ to figure out what she’s thinking, what she feels, and what she wants to articulate to herself and to others. OJ hopes that by using her voice and sharing her story, others will feel empowered to do the same. OJ herself has become more empowered through the strength evident in various recovery communities of which she is a part. Or at the very least, she hopes that through the telling of her story, other people will feel that their stories are worthy of being told.
My posts have also appeared on the following sites (some new, some cross-posted):
How Current Eating Disorder Discourse is Failing the LGBTQ Community (Huffington Post Queer Voices)
Creating essential dialogue through story telling in ed recovery (World Eating Disorders Action Day Blog)
Today, I am right where I’m supposed to be (Beating Eating Disorders Blog)
The power we give to food (Something’s Gotta Give Campaign by the Looking Glass Foundation)
The Role of Writing and Art in my Eating Disorder Recovery (Recovery Spark Blog)
The Power of Hair Can Be Deeply Rooted (cross-posted with Adios Barbie)
thirdwheelED: ED Partners in love and recovery (post in preparation for NEDA Conference 2016)
MUSINGS ON CLOTHING IN EATING DISORDER RECOVERY AND GENDER EXPLORATION (guest post for alreadypretty.com
Staying Present In Your Battle (article written for and published via Libero Magazine, November 28, 2016)
The Neda Conference, Pop-tarts, and Oreos (cross-posted by Beating Eating Disorders, December 11, 16)