Prayer Requests & Praise Reports, April 1st, 2011

Parable of the Pharisee and tax collector, or publican, who went to the temple to pray -- Luke 18: 9-14.

If there is one thing I think the Church needs to learn, it is that God means prayer to have an answer, and that it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what God will do for His child who gives himself to believe that his prayer will be heard.  ~Andrew Murray~


New Prayer Request/Praise Report

Okie Preacher–  The doctor who operated on my back, has taken us on. After some time he believes that I may have a very rare condition. So rare, there are only a handful of doctors in the U.S. that deal with it. I would rather not say what it is at the time, but I am grateful that we may be getting to the end of this journey. And, it is treatable. Thank you for your continued prayer. And Captain Kevin, I’ll keep you posted…

New Prayer Requests

Dorci–  She is still having physical problems related to surgery that removed a cyst from her spine. Please pray for Dorci to experience relief from her pain.

Okie Preacher–  His physical condition is not improving.  Please pray for God to cause things to improve.

Allan– Our nephews wife is hospitalized again due to complications from her Multiple Sclerosis.  Please Pray for her to stabilize and even to improve.

Allan–  My wife’s sister Mary is hospitalized due to gall bladder issues.  She was hospitalized the day after her husband’s funeral. Please pray for her body and her spirit as he has been through so much.

Past Prayer Requests

Allan- My wife’s sister’s husband died unexpectedly yesterday due to complications from a fall. Please keep Mary and her two children in your prayers.

Allan- My brother’s wife LeeAnn is half way through her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. She seems to be tolerating it well and will begin radiation immediately upon completion of her chemo.

Nonnie–  Please pray for a man at my church. He is such a nice and gentle man, but has been on panic disorder meds for years and has now read a book that said it is lack of faith if he takes the meds. He went off of them suddenly and now it is affecting his body and he is a wreck. He was prayed for today by the elders and he reacted violently…I believe he was just panicking but he is afraid now that he is demon possessed. We have tried to assure him that he is not. My heart just breaks for him. I encouraged him to go to his dr. and see about his meds.. Please pray for this kind, gentle man.

Lynette–  Pls free Lynette from depression

Seth L.S.–  Pray for me and my family do good stay healthy for 2011.
And I look forward God’s will special for my startup nonprofit success.

Cyndie- I have been having SEVERE panic attacks. Yesterday, I was out in the parking lot bent over retching. I lost my job, my mentally ill mother (who refuses to take medication or get help) lives with me along with my son who has ADHD. Between my mother and my son, something gets broken in my rented apartment often. Someone is even peeling the paint off of the walls. I’m a Christian and I pray for God to help me EVERYDAY, but now I am starting to have severe panic attacks. Also, I have a slight case of OCD and God took it away years ago, but since I lost my job, it has come back again. I just needed someone to vent to. I really don’t have a comment. Just pray for me.

Terika–  I am seeking prayer for me. I need a job, career, or an idea. I have two sons who’s father passed away and I am finding it extremely difficult to find work. It is one of the toughest valleys I have ever been in. I want to be able to take care of my family.

Captain Kevin–  Been going through a lot of pain and depression lately. So much want to exercise and get rid of these extra 40 pounds I’ve put on in the last 2 years, spend time studying scripture and improving my vocal and keyboard abilities, but I just can’t seem to get started. Sleep is my favorite pastime lately, but I don’t really want it to be.

Shaun Sells- Hi E – Thought I would give you a quick update. The group has slowly shrunk over the summer, last time we met there were only 5 of us. We are trying to regroup and refocus. Looking for good ideas and praying for someone else to lead it so the group can meet more than once a month.

Allan–  A woman e-mailed me tonight asking for prayer. She is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. She will be seeing someone tomorrow to apply for emergency Medicaid. She has been without insurance for two years. Please pray for her.

Set Free–  I appreciate that you still have our request for a building. Some opportunities have been presented to us but nothing yet. We did move out from our previous location but we are trusting and believing God for a place of our own hopefully before the year is out.

Mom–  Thank you for keeping my request on your prayer list. Our son is doing better and is now able to work and is hoping to return to school next semester.

He’s been through different combinations of medications and we are hopeful that the current combinations will work for him in the long term.

He is still discouraged and is beating himself up for disenrolling from school. We try to encourage him, but he doesn’t receive it.. We are praying that God would allow him to live a rewarding life and that he see God’s hand in all this the last 5 months. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Long Term Prayer Requests

Allan–  Please pray for Rachel as she is battling bipolar disorder. Pray also for her parents who are fighting battles of their own.
Allan– Please pray for Natalie Tan as she has had a setback in her battle with her eating disorder.

Angela–  Keep Angela in prayer as she continues on her road of recovery from Anorexia.

Okie Preacher–  Battling unknown physical problems and depression.  “I have a physical problem that the doctors have not been able to identify. It has been characterized by severe muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, fatigue, shortage of breath, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, and coughing fits that almost cause me to pass out.”

White Horses- Prayer for anxious thoughts and worrying.

Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has M.S.

PK Sweet–  please pray for a bipolar son with brain damage also…that he may know and love and follow Christ, be free of all addictions and self destructive behavior, get the help he needs and be @ peace…also that God help us all in the family to be filled with the Spirit and bear luscious fruit, and be filled with joy rather than despair

Praise Reports

Okie Preacher- I can’t begin to tell you all how wonderful Rachel is doing. In a day where people being “touched” by the Lord during church is considered suspect, Rachel has indeed felt the hand of God. She is still struggling; but now with hope. I see the love of God in her eyes; she no longer has the look of desperation; I personally believe that God is on the way to healing her, but that is just a father’s hope.

Thank you all for praying…

Rachel– wow, what a great quote from spurgeon! how i hope the Lord will make that true in my life! my deepest desire is that he would be glorified in my life.

thank you all for your prayers. i am sorry for my long absence. i can’t explain it, other than to say the sicker i am the less i want/can say. and when i do have something to say, it might not always be helpful in that state, so i try not to say it.

as my dad already told you, i have seen a huge change, and it is all so obviously the work of the Lord. i know that he wants to do more with and in me and i am praying now to find all of that and be faithful to do my part in what he has for me.

love to all of you. may God encourage you all today and may you feel his love poured out on you. and if you don’t, may the knowledge of His love comfort you, even if you can’t feel it.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Cases Likely To Increase In Japanese Tsunami Aftermath, Says Stress Expert

Taken from Business Wire which is located   HERE.

The Japanese tsunami took quite a massive toll, injuring and killing thousands and causing billions of dollars in destruction. But looking beyond physical destruction, the tsunami took an emotional toll on many as well. According to Dr. Gregory Jantz, author of “Moving Beyond Depression” and “Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse” and founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, cases of post-traumatic stress disorder are liable to be on the rise following the tsunami, particularly among already vulnerable adults and children.

“Feelings of powerlessness stemming from the tsunami are likely to trigger PTSD in many of these at-risk adults and children.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that often occurs in people who have seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death. PTSD sufferers re-experience the trauma, often through flashbacks and nightmares, which can lead to crippling social and mental results.

“As a result of the stress of the world economy, many adults are on the edge of an anxiety disorder. Children whom have been victims of emotional abuse are susceptible as well,” says Dr. Jantz. “Feelings of powerlessness stemming from the tsunami are likely to trigger PTSD in many of these at-risk adults and children.”

In addition, depression often coincides with PTSD, says Dr. Jantz. Short-term and long-term symptoms of depression include significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns, a loss of interest in formally enjoyable activities, feelings of restlessness and/or fatigue, inability to focus and increase irritability. Dr. Jantz offers a depression survey on The Center website for those who think they might be depressed.

Moreover, Dr. Jantz says a rise in addiction as a means to cope with the aftermath of the tsunami is very likely.

“In response to tragedy such as the Japanese tsunami, many turn to drug, alcohol and/or gambling to soothe feelings of helplessness, fear and anxiety,” says Dr. Jantz.

For those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and addiction following the tsunami, The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, WA specializes in providing whole-person treatment to promote emotional, physical and spiritual healing.

To find more information on post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and addiction, visit The Center for Counseling and Health Resources website at http://aplaceofhope.com.

No Stigma, Lots Of Support: Atlantic Cape Group Helps People With Mental Illness And Their Families

 

NAMI is a national organization helping to equip and educate people on a national scale.  Their website is located   HERE.

Taken from The Press Of Atlantic City which is located   HERE.

Gary Tucker, 55, of Port Republic knows what it’s like to live with a loved one’s serious mental illness. His late father had bipolar disorder, which results in severe swings from depression to mania and back again.

He is one of the volunteer leaders of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Atlantic-Cape Chapter, a support and advocacy group for people dealing with mental illness in friends and family members. It meets monthly in Absecon United Methodist Church in Absecon.

He says the diagnosis is particularly difficult for parents to accept about their children.

“They have plans for their children to be happy and live lives better than their own. Then this comes along,” said the retired union millwright.

Tucker lost a daughter to Hodgkins lymphoma about a decade ago, so he knows how devastating it is to deal with a child’s serious illness, and to live through loss. “With mental illness it’s the same thing,” Tucker said. “They can be severely ill. It’s tough, but you are not alone.”

NAMI gives people support and tools to help their loved ones get legal, medical, housing and financial help. That’s especially important for those whose illnesses prevent them from holding full-time jobs, he said.

Mental illnesses are common, giving NAMI a large pool of people to serve. In a given year in the U.S. approximately one quarter of adults are diagnosable for one or more disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Most of the cases are minor to moderate in severity.

But the most difficult experience falls on the six percent of Americans who grapple with a serious mental illness, the NIMH says. That would include the 1.1 percent of the population that is schizophrenic, characterized by erratic behavior and a break with reality; and another 3.9 percent diagnosed bipolar at some point in their lifetimes, according to the NIMH.

Tucker, who has helped teach the group’s twice-annual Family to Family classes for about 11 years, estimates about 15 families currently come to the group’s monthly meetings from Atlantic and Cape May counties.

JoAnn Elko, of Absecon, the parent of an adult child with bipolar disorder, has been a NAMI volunteer for 15 years. She is also one of NAMI’s community representatives to the board of AtlantiCare Behavioral Health. She said she often speaks to people who call NAMI about a crisis with a loved one who lives here, while the caller sometimes lives out of the area.

“Children call about their parents, and parents call about their children,” she said. So she and other NAMI volunteers have become expert in referring callers to the best place for help.

Stigma still causes many people to hide their family member’s illness, but NAMI helps family members realize others are handling similar problems, and many diseases have become treatable – though not curable – with new medications, said Gail Dembin of Egg Harbor Township, a retired teacher in her hometown’s schools.

“Most psychiatrists now agree it’s a biologically based disorder. More well known people are willing to stand up and say they have mental illness,” she said, citing Howie Mandel talking about his obsessive compulsive disorder and Brooke Shields’ book on her postpartum depression. “Churchill had severe depression and called it his ‘black dog’ that used to follow him around.”

“The new medications are wonderful. They help a fair amount of people live a productive life,” Elko said, “but they need constant therapy.”

Dembin’s daughter is now 40, living independently in public housing and working part-time, thanks to new drugs and her daughter’s cooperation in taking them. Her daughter was diagnosed with depression at age 12 and bipolar disorder at 17, she said.

“I decided when she was diagnosed I had to find out more about it,” said the retired teacher, who has been helping teach NAMI’s 12-week Family-to-Family program about twice a year since 1995. “I went to NAMI and got active.”

Debra Silver of Absecon is president of the Cape Atlantic NAMI chapter. She is another retired teacher who is now a family counselor. She grew up in Haddon Township with a mom with bipolar disorder.

Silver was a special education teacher for 34 years in Galloway Township, retiring in 2010. She says her experience with her mom’s mental illness – she prefers to call it mental health experiences – had its up side.

“I learned a tremendous amount of tolerance towards all sorts of behavior,” she said. “And humor.” Both came in handy in the classroom, she said.

When her mom was on the manic side of the bipolar spectrum, “she was so much fun. She could be a wonderful loving mother. We had tea parties. She was a dramatic, lovely person,” Silver said.

“But then she was a person with this other side. There was nothing you could do (when the depression hit). There were years of stability, but you never knew when the other shoe would drop.”

Tucker, who grew up in Barnegat, also said his dad sometimes functioned highly.

“He was a father of four, a union carpenter, Korean war veteran and psychiatric patient,” he said. “At times he was fine, at times very ill.”

And it’s difficult for family members to get loved ones into treatment involuntarily. “The way the law is written, they have to be a danger to themselves or others. That can be difficult to prove, until they make threats or behave in ways that are threatening. You can get commitment at that point,” Tucker said.

During times of illness, Silver said she had to function as caregiver, even when she was the child.

“I remember my mother sitting on the steps (at home) – she had cut off all of her hair, and I was holding her. I was five years old, and comforting my mother.

“Children need help understanding (mentally ill) adults in their lives. They are going to be the caregivers to them their whole lives,” she said, adding that her mom took her own life at age 60.

Silver is also dealing with the mental illness of a younger family member, she said. “My family is sandwiched with mental illness. When I realized another generation was affected, I started attending meetings and supporting this person’s parent.”

Last year she got her master’s degree in mental health counseling. She’s also vice chair of the Atlantic County Mental Health Advisory Board.

NAMI can be life-changing for people, Silver said.

“There are times mothers and fathers come who have never said ‘My child is mentally ill.’ It’s so hard for them to say it. They change radically through support.” They finally feel safe, in a place where others understand what they are going through, she said.

“Mental illness carries such a stigma in our country. People become so isolated with those fears. To accept (their child is mentally ill) is huge. They are scared, thinking ‘What did I do wrong?’

“So much of this is biologically based. It’s a disease just like any other, so let’s treat it,” Silver said.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219

Depression Myths

Taken from aol.com

Wondering how to tell the difference between depression and the blues? Worried that drugs taken to treat the condition will turn you into another person entirely?

There are many myths about depression, which will affect an estimated 32 to 35 million Americans at some point in their lives, according to a 2003 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Read on for eight common misconceptions and what’s really true about this disabling condition.

Myth: Depression affects only women.
Fact: Depression can affect anyone.

Depression is nearly twice as common in women as in men, but men still get depressed — especially as they get older — and may feel a loss from career changes or the death of a spouse, says Dr. David Sommers, a scientific review officer at the National Institute of Mental Health.

“It is true that depression is more common in women than in men and that women are more likely to seek help than men, but men have trouble with their vulnerability and are more likely to use counterproductive coping strategies,” such as alcohol, than to ask for help, Duckworth says.

Depression in guys can also look different than it does in women: Men are more likely to feel tired and irritable and lose interest in work or hobbies, while women tend to feel guilty, sad or worthless, according to the NIMH.

Myth: Depression is an adult problem.
Fact: Children can get depressed, too.

“Depression can happen across the lifespan,” Duckworth says.

Some 8 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 suffer a depressive episode, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. But depression can look different in children and teens than it does in adults.

“Teens and children are more likely to show people rather than tell them they’re depressed,” Duckworth says. “Most adults can identify that they feel down, sad, and not every kid is able to articulate that.”

A depressed kid may frequent the school nurse, complaining of bellyaches and headaches, he says, while depressed teens may be irritable and angry.

Myth: Depression isn’t a medical problem; you could get over it if you wanted to.
Fact: Depression is a medical problem that can require help to overcome.

“This is a treatable condition and not a right-wrong fault issue. But that is a common misconception,” Duckworth says. “Being sad, grieving a loss — these are not clinical syndromes, but when you have a collection of symptoms that continue for weeks and are associated with sleep problems, negative thoughts, thoughts of suicide — that’s different from being down in the dumps.”

The key distinction is how long and how severly you feel this way and whether your ability to function at home and work are affected.

Myth: Depression is a normal part of being a teenager.
Fact: Adolescent moodiness is not the same thing as teen depression.

“I don’t consider depression a natural outcome of being a teenager,” Duckworth says. “However, being a teenager can be a risky business.”

Be on the lookout for how long a teen’s symptoms last and how severe they are. Irritability, anger, falling grades, trouble at school, time alone and drug and alcohol use can be signs of more than just the blues.

“Many teens have conflict with their parents and struggle with their identity, but normal adolescents don’t talk about killing themselves or losing interest in their friends,” Duckworth says.

Myth: Depression is all in your genes.
Fact: Depression runs in families, but genes are not determining factors.

Family history does influence the likelihood of developing depression. Children whose parents experienced depression are three times as likely to suffer depression, anxiety and addiction as those whose parents have never been depressed, according to a 2006 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. And research on identical twins (who share the same DNA) raised in separate families has shown that if one develops depression, the other is likely to, which points to a significant hereditary role, Sommers says.

“I wouldn’t be fatalistic, but if you have an increased risk, be mindful of that,” Duckworth says.

If depression runs in your family, find out what treatment benefited your loved ones. It may help you, too, he says.

Myth: Antidepressants will change my personality.
Fact: Antidepressants won’t change one’s personality.

Modern antidepressants are used to increase the circulation of serotonin and norephinephrine in the brain. The drugs can make you feel better, but they don’t alter the traits that make you you, Sommers says.

“There’s some concern about emotional numbing — that by diminishing the bad feelings, [the drugs will] diminish the good ones; there’s no real good evidence of it,” he says.

Adds Duckworth: “Medicines don’t help with persistent negative thoughts, but they may help with sleep, appetite, energy — the biological pieces to the puzzle.”

Myth: Antidepressants help everyone.
Fact: At best, 60 percent of people get better with antidepressants.

Psychiatric meds might improve certain symptoms of depression, but they’re not going to affect life circumstances or counterproductive thinking. The STAR*D trial, a large federally funded study, found that just 40 percent of people improve with the first antidepressant they try, a number that goes up to 60 percent once you count the people who try more than one. More recently, a January report in JAMA found that people with mild depression weren’t helped any more with an antidepressant than they were with a placebo, so if your depression isn’t severe, you may want to consider exercise and psychotherapy first.

“There’s some evidence that the combination of medication and psychotherapy is better than either one alone,” Sommers says. And, he adds, the effects of psychotherapy seem to be more durable than drugs.

Myth: Women with postpartum depression are bad mothers who kill their children.
Fact: Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw, and psychosis is rare.

An estimated 9 to 16 percent of American women suffer from postpartum depression, or depression following childbirth, according to NAMI. Signs include feelings of guilt, anxiety and fear that make it difficult to function. It’s rare — between one to four in every 1,000 births — that a mom suffers postpartum psychosis, the condition Andrea Yates’ lawyers argued caused her to drown her five children. In those cases, women may have delusions, confusion, rapid mood swings and thoughts of hurting themselves or their child, according to NAMI.

“It’s a reversible condition,” Duckworth says.

But how quickly a woman is treated and the effects on her baby depend on her support net. Babies of postpartum moms can be at extra risk of language and behavior problems, as well as experience difficulty bonding with their mothers, the association says.

Blogging About My Anorexia Helped Save My Life

Blogging about her anorexia allowed Jemima Owen to 'articulate my struggles away from the fractious environment of the dinner table'. Photograph: Eric Savage/Getty Images

Taken from The Guardian UK which is located    HERE.

After struggling with anorexia nervosa for four years, Jemima Owen started to blog about her condition. The 20-year-old tells how, far from being a bad influence, the community she found online proved to be a ‘bridge to recovery’

Jemina Owen

This month the editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani, announced that the magazine would run a petition to try to rid the internet of pro- anorexia websites. Overlooking the fact that Vogue glamorises waif-like figures to the extent that many of its models are held up as “thinspiration” on the same sites, this can be seen as a positive step against the promotion of a life-threatening disorder.

“Pro-ana” websites encourage their readers to pursue dangerously low weights, claiming that starvation diets are a lifestyle choice. Many contain “thinspo” galleries featuring heavily edited photographs of emaciated girls above captions such as “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”, or “Fat is dirty and hangs off your bones like a parasite”. More disturbing are the personal blogs of girls who subscribe to the pro-ana movement, which detail their restricted diets and militant exercise regimes and dismiss the concerns of family and friends: “This week I am eating 438 calories a day. There is no harder age to starve at. Everyone is constantly watching.”

It is not necessary to reiterate the fact that eating disorders kill, or highlight the countless ways in which such websites have the potential to plant dangerous seeds in the minds of young women who may already be insecure or unhappy. Like the removal of critically underweight models from the catwalk, if Sozzani’s campaign is successful it can only be a good thing.

Personally, I do not blame the internet for the six years I spent immersed in my own struggle with anorexia nervosa. In fact, it was in my recovery rather than my decline that the online world played a fundamental role.

Between the ages of 15 and 18, I spent nearly two years in a specialist unit for the treatment of adolescent eating disorders. I cannot fault the care I received there; I was a stubborn, unhappy teenager and spent most of my time trying to undermine and manipulate the doctors and nurses who worked so hard to help me.

Part of the problem was that I became far too comfortable in the hospital environment. The unit was less than three miles from home, so I saw my family frequently. I had no desire to return to school, having fallen behind in my studies and isolated myself from my friends and, though the patient group was constantly changing, I formed strong bonds with the majority of my fellow “inmates”.

We were not encouraged to keep in touch with one another upon leaving the ward, as friendships forged on an eating disorders unit tend to rely on the disorder to keep them going after discharge. If one party relapsed, we were told, it was all too easy for the other to be dragged down, too.

Regardless of whether or not my relationships with the other patients were helpful, I missed them terribly when I left. In the real world of sixth form, A-levels, parties and pubs I felt at a loss. I could not relate to “normal” people my own age, and as my weight started to drop again I barely had enough energy to get through a day at school, let alone socialise afterwards. The close relationship I had always enjoyed with my family was also deteriorating; my brother was too embarrassed by his “mental” sister to have friends back to the house, and my parents and I rowed constantly over food as they desperately tried to prevent another relapse.

I was hungry, cold, sad and lonely, but the only thing more terrifying than the prospect of a life with anorexia was the concept of life without it. I desperately clung on to my eating disorder, keeping my weight just above a hospitalisation level for nearly two years.

At some point I must have decided enough was enough. I do not remember what triggered my sudden desire to “give recovery a go”, but shortly after my 18th birthday I found myself searching the internet for “anorexia recovery meal plans”. I had seen dieticians in the past, but hated the idea of recreating a hospital menu at home. I decided I would recover on my own terms, which meant choosing my own foods, picking my own (minimally healthy) target weight and monitoring the scales myself.

The internet provided me with resources for all of these things in the form of “recovery blogs”, personal websites set up by other eating disorder sufferers, charting their progress as they battled to normalise their weight and their eating habits. Some were written from inside eating disorder units, while others, like mine, were by people attempting recovery at home.

The idea of starting my own recovery blog was appealing, primarily, because of the supportive comments authors would receive at the end of each post. I called my page “How I Mash Potato”, a reference to a habit I had picked up in hospital of crushing potatoes on my plate until they resembled a revolting mush which could be spread around in the hope of leaving some when the nurses collected our trays (it never worked).

My introduction to the recovery community, which outlined the history of my illness and my plans for the future, received five replies almost instantly, congratulating me on my decision to “gain not just weight, but health and happiness too!” The low target I had prescribed myself, however, was criticised: “Why be minimally healthy and scrape by when you can be your best? Would you take that attitude with school work?” At first, the no-nonsense attitude of the other girls irritated me; I had started my blog in the hope of receiving support from people who understood what it was like to hate your body, to hate the feeling of weight on your thighs and relish the “special” status and exemptions granted to me by anorexia. But after a few weeks of posting daily, I began to appreciate my readers’ tough-love stance; after all, they were going through the same thing.

I emailed the link to my blog to my parents, who would remind me of the replies I had received and the promises I made to my online friends when I stalled over a snack or meal, or cried after a difficult weigh-in. Occasionally, I would receive a comment on a post telling me “how proud I am of my beautiful daughter”. Blogging allowed me to articulate my struggles and triumphs away from the fractious environment of the dinner table.

I posted every day for just over a year. My posts ranged from anorexic rants triggered by mum throwing away my “thin jeans”, to rambling reflections on the nature of my illness. I was applauded for eating at a restaurant and commiserated with when rejected by Oxford University. I wondered at the time whether relying so much on a collection of strangers was healthy, if my blog was incredibly narcissistic. By the summer of 2009, I was receiving more than 1,500 visitors a day.

My decision to stop blogging was triggered by the start of university. I had always planned on keeping my past a secret once granted the chance to start afresh. I was still moderately underweight, but explained away my lack of interest in pizza and chocolate with “stomach issues”. My flatmates were amazed when one vodka and Diet Coke left me a giggling wreck. For the second time, my desire to fit in outweighed my desire to be the thinnest, but this time the group that I aspired to comprised normal young adults who viewed food as pleasure and fuel rather than the enemy or a challenge.

Recently, I asked some of my ex-blogger friends how they felt the online community had helped or hindered their recoveries. They all agreed that having “contact with people who were just like myself, that would encourage and give positive feedback, was great”, but that devoting so much time to the internet often came at the expense of practising recovery in the “real world”.

Inevitably, some unhealthy trends emerged: bloggers often detailed or even photographed the meals they ate, fuelling the “food obsession”, and the emphasis was often placed on gaining weight with a meticulously “clean” and “healthy” diets rather than mimicking the eating habits of normal teenagers. However, while it was university that persuaded me to embrace a more normal lifestyle, the online community was a bridge between the worlds of illness and recovery.

Friends made on the internet should not serve as a replacement for real-life relationships. As one ex-blogger stated, “to truly recover, you need to live a normal life like others your age… my non-disordered friends would never think of blogging about food; they eat when they’re hungry and don’t recount their daily intake to a bunch of strangers.”

Yet it is important to acknowledge that not every anorexic who uses the internet is encouraging others to starve. As long as you remain vigilant and positive, there are genuinely kind, helpful and understanding individuals forming online communities. On a personal level, I owe them a lot.

ANOREXIA FACTS

An estimated 60,000 people in the UK suffer from anorexia nervosa.

The illness is characterised by body weight at least 15% below normal.

Eating disorders affect seven girls and one boy in 1,000.

Anorexia is the leading cause of mental-health related deaths.

Only one in 600 anorexics felt free to talk about it to parents, a survey found.

Sarah Jacobs, 12, is the first recognised case of anorexia. She died in 1869.

Streams In The Desert Classics, March 27th, 2011

 

“Look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it” (Gen. 13:14-15).

No instinct can be put in you by the Holy Ghost but He purposes to fulfill. Let your faith then rise and soar away and claim all the land you can discover. –S. A. Keen

All you can apprehend in the vision of faith is your own. Look as far as you can, for it is all yours. All that you long to be as a Christian, all that you long to do for God, are within the possibilities of faith. Then come, still closer, and with your Bible before you, and your soul open to all the influences of the Spirit, let your whole being receive the baptism of His presence; and as He opens your understanding to see all His fulness, believe He has it all for you. Accept for yourself all the promises of His word, all the desires He awakens within you, all the possibilities of what you may be as a follower of Jesus. All the land you see is given to you.

The actual provisions of His grace come from the inner vision. He who puts the instinct in the bosom of yonder bird to cross the continent in search of summer sunshine in the Southern clime is too good to deceive it, and just as surely as He has put the instinct in its breast, so has He also put the balmy breezes and the vernal sunshine yonder to meet it when it arrives.

He who breathes into our hearts the heavenly hope, will not deceive or fail us when we press forward to its realization. –Selected

“And they found as he had said unto them” (Luke 22:13).

Praise & Worship, March 26th, 2011

Song List

1.  Pioneer-  Honeytree

2.  Clean Before My Lord-  Honeytree

3.  Blessings-  Laura Story

4.  Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)-  Chris Tomlin

5.  My Hope Is You-  Third Day

6.  Hallelujah-  Krystal Meyers

7.  Rooftops-  Kim Walker

8.  Everything-  Tim Hughes

9.  Oh Happiness-  David Crowder Band

10.  Glorify-  Crystal Lewis

11.  You Raise Me Up-  Selah