Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time and Healing


In history, there are many individual examples of the human spirit rising above the norm for the betterment of the universal good.

They are my guides.

Currently, there are those of you whose selfless consideration of others, excludes your “self” in the recipe.

You are my inspiration – my work.

Your extraordinary potential needs to be brought to a place of balance, wholeness, understanding, self-respect, serenity, peace and love.

Time, in itself, is irrelevant. It is an allotted space where we conduct life – where our journey continues, resolved or semi-resolved, realized or not, to the end of our days. Each journey is a collection of jours, each day a page for you, the writer, to dictate your own story. It is a blessed opportunity to learn from and appreciate, even though you may not feel or realize it at the time. Be open to change if you wish it. Try not to be fearful. Each moment is a gift to learn more about yourselves, your actions, your reactions and then, to evaluate your further course.

The time it takes to heal is as easy, or as difficult, as it is to learn a new language. This learning depends upon the dedication to your direction, acceptance of yourself – at whatever stage you find yourself on your unique voyage – focus, understanding, and the willingness to step outside of what you know of yourself at that moment. It depends, as well, on the vision, consistency and compassion of your chosen teacher(s).

Time, then, and healing, can be measured only in relation to self-acceptance, not to be compared with others. We are always growing in our capacity for compassion and human understanding. When the pain lessens, as it will, you will still grow, you will become one with your “self”, easily – in this lifetime

Remember, each one of us is a necessary and precious piece of the conundrum and wisdom of the universe.

Peace and love.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The unCivil War

Dear Jennifer – in answer to your question:

The negative mind exists in memory, from what it has gleaned about you, inadvertently, from you, as a result of your perceptions about yourself, initially derived from feelings you have had in your particular circumstance.

Sometimes, sensitive children are negatively affected when families experience personal tragedy, illness or loss. These children have not yet a reference for strength against adversity and become mired in helplessness without available respite or positive resolution. Sometimes, parents themselves have not had the benefit of a positive environment and, as a result, are incapable of managing their own direction or knowing how to show love, or how to be a healthy parent.

Unfortunately, a young child does not have the ability to choose, to regulate, to defend against, to discount or approve – what he is subjected to emotionally by tone, by circumstance, by body language, word or action. The infant or young child looks to his primary caregiver to serve as a guide for direction and comfort – for indication that the world is a safe place to be in. Initially, anxiety states occur when there is a deficit or an inadequacy in reassurance or, in the nurturing of the developing brain. Parental regulation and approval is basic and mandatory for a child’s emotional growth and, ultimately, for the acceptance of his developing self.

If the potentially positive direction of a child’s world has been compromised, the child is at serious risk of assuming a negative self-regard and identity. As the child continues to grow, he can unconsciously seek evidence to support or verify his detrimental self-belief, even while simultaneously hoping desperately for someone to contradict his bleak negative supposition. This thinking becomes the status quo – the way of being.

Fortunately, though it is initially resistant, the brain can change.

The thinking is resistant because its existing way of being has, most likely, taken a lifetime to develop.

It is resistant because the sufferer doesn’t think he deserves better.

It is resistant because the sufferer is convinced that, “if people really knew him”, they would realize how terrible he is deep down.

The thinking is resistant because the sufferer has felt this way for so long, it is all he knows of himself, despite how demeaning it is.

It is resistant – to change because it is a thinking pattern that has become established and familiar. He can’t imagine who he would be without it.

Though it is terrifying to live in this negative place, the unknown is often also terrifying. In order to maintain its status, the negative mind will threaten, insult and demean in its attempt to weaken one’s resolve. When the existing negative mind feels threatened, it doubles its efforts to maintain control. The consequence to the sufferer can be a temporary loss of courage. To stay ahead of the negative mind takes patience, persistence, practice, vision, understanding and resolve. Eventually, with unconditional support and compassion from those in your world, the brain will retrain itself and the negative will simply cease to exist. It is harder than anything you will ever do, but it is possible and the results mean freedom and peace.

Know that you are understood and loved. You are special.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Invitation


Dear Friends:
I was recently contacted by the author of The Invitation, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, who kindly pointed out that the version of her poem that I have had posted here is an alteration of the original. Rather than post the corrected version in its place, as she graciously suggested, I would like to do Oriah the favor of sending you to her site to experience more of her work and vision.

Please visit Oriah Mountain Dreamer at:


Much love and have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Relapse


Sad little voices write to me, or talk to me:

*******

“I have relapsed again.”

“I am now 38 years old and suffering a relapse, after one of the girls I was helping died directly from Anorexia.”

“I feel that hospitals mainly place an emphasis on re-feeding the patient to fatten them up and do not focus so much on deeply attacking the underlying issues of the disorder itself. I think this is why the relapse rate is so high for eating disorders.”

“I just got out of the hospital after a two-month stay, for my sixth time. Unfortunately, I've spiraled into another relapse and am not doing so well and looking at a possible readmission.”

“I don't want people with any diagnosis to be stuck to a lifetime of outpatient therapy. Yet, it seems to me, the way they are taught in this field--plus the restrictions of providing services in this country equates to minimal efficacy and chronic relapse of any symptom.”

“I have struggled, and am still struggling, immensely. I was ashamed to say this. OCD makes some days a living hell. Treatment after treatment, I have come out and relapsed.”

“My daughter was first diagnosed in 2004 and has relapsed during the past 12 months.”

*******

What I sense over and over again is the shame of the sufferer; the embarrassment of the sufferer; the guilt of the sufferer for having ‘failed’ again.

How wrong is this!!!?

How hopeless is this!!!?

In Latin, “relapse” is defined as ‘a gradual slide back to a former state.’

In the most common language offered to sufferers of the symptomatology of ‘Confirmed Negativity Condition’, relapse suggests wellness existed before the slide back into illness.

Every intuitive sense in my body, every logical conclusion based on evidence that I have seen, tells me the opposite. In my experience, to do with these conditions, there is no such thing as ‘relapse’. Wellness can only be attainted if the condition (and its symptoms) is properly addressed—and then only if it is properly understood. Wellness—meaning positivity, objectivity in emotional maturity—can only exist if there is total and complete reversal of negative thinking about oneself. We can use the metaphor of the course of antibiotics stopped before its completion—or expecting a proper birth of a child after only two months in the womb—or the incorrect setting of a broken bone by taking the cast of prematurely.

Should we not be looking at treatment that extends itself to when the patient is well, or strong enough to continue with the loving support of a kind circumstance, rather than when insurance runs out—when the program is completed?

Perhaps, then, the onus will not rest on the shoulders of those emotionally incapable of serving themselves, but rather, will be shared by encouraging, visionary therapists who, themselves, are sometimes frustrated with their administrative limitations.


Thank you for your time.

Peace and Love.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Accolades


Often times I hear said,

“What is wrong with me?”

“What is wrong with her? What is wrong with him?”

“She has everything going for her—good background, excellent marks, awards, money, talents—she is the most amazing artist, he is a gifted musician, she is the top player on her volleyball team, he is the fastest runner, skater, we’ve ever seen—she is the best at anything she does. She could have a brilliant future. We have given him everything. What more can we do? We just don’t understand what has happened to our son—our daughter.”

“She never fails at anything--except the programs she has been in and THOSE she fails at EVERYTIME.”

“She was the nicest kid; he was the most considerate of all of our children—BEFORE these OCD and eating problems arose. We just don’t get it. We don’t know our child anymore.”

I hear these remarks so often with overwhelming sadness at the misunderstanding involved, both for the parents and therapists—also for the disapproval I know the people suffering from ‘CNC’ will undoubtedly sense and feel—again confirming their negative condition.

The reality is, that accolades are acutrements to the external world of a person’s being. People assay to attain their perceived expectations of themselves and their assumed expectation from others.

“You are wonderful!”

“Bravo for what you have done.”

“Imagine what you could do if you really tried.”

‘Congratulations,’ so well intended by the giver, to these sensitive minds can sometimes have the opposite effect of what is meant. In their efforts to be unselfishly, forever pleasing, they strive beyond the norm—beyond, sometimes, what is humanly possible. Therein, begins the downward spiral of self-disapproval and the seeds of ‘Confirmed Negativity Condition.’

Remember, accolades are external. Finally, what the rest of the world sees as ‘attributes’ or ‘characteristics’ of a person, become relatively meaningless to the sufferer of ‘CNC’. What is important to understand, is that, the ‘Emotional Mind’ has unwittingly suffered insufficiency of love and unintentional neglect from its host person in the unchecked, insatiable quest to feel whole—ultimately, to please others, to right the world of all its malaise. “The world is on my shoulders.” The inadvertent message to the ‘Emotional Mind’—you are less than successful—finally,—you are a loser—has finally, become a self-fulfilling prophecy in their minds. Also, parents, and other people, in the particular circumstance of the growing child, have innocently participated in its dissolution by taking the child at its word:

“I can do it!”

“I can fix it!”

“I will look after her.”

“Here, let me.”

“No, I don’t mind babysitting.”

“Doesn’t matter if it is not my turn, I’ll do it anyway.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll make the lunches. You sleep in.”

“No, no, it’s ok. You can be later than one. I am not tired. There is nothing important happening at school tomorrow anyway.”

The child, in many cases, becomes involved in co-parenting.

The parents, in many cases, in their own moments of emotional insecurity, come to lean on the kindness extended by their sensitive child—and come to expect it (“You can count on me”).

In reality, the child—then, as years go on—remains the ‘Emotional Child’—unnurtured, expected to cope in an adult body—so capable externally, while withering internally.

You are all so special and so cherished—and so understood.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why The Emotional Mind Is Arrested


I was astounded, in my ignorance, that my children became ill with anorexia because they defied what was then explained about that patient population. Only retrospectively, did I realize that they had had previous symptoms: OCD related, anxiety manifestations. They had always been the best children—the most polite—the most fun—the most obliging—the most intelligent—the most caring—the best company—the most sensitive to other people’s needs. Over the years, since they have become well, these attributes have been confirmed in other sufferers of ‘CNC’.

It appears that, in their attempts to provide comfort to anyone in pain—to mediate, to console, to take responsibility, to parent those around them, basically, to ‘make everything better for EVERYONE’, they, sadly, left themselves out of the equation. It became apparent to me that always putting themselves last, in other words, always putting anyone and everyone else first, played nasty retribution in their own minds. The fact of actually diminishing themselves mentally over time, left the mind washed of their emotional, and ultimately, their physical, importance. At their inadvertent suggestion, strengthened and confirmed by the unawareness of people in the sufferer’s circumstance, the ‘Emotional Mind’ took them at their word, and declared them (in not so gentle terms) “worthless” etc.

Perhaps, and hopefully, the following quotes, taken from letters to me, will serve to enlighten you, as readers, with the ultimate purpose of creating more understanding.

***************

After twenty years of fighting against the ‘Negative Mind’: “I am so tired of taking care of everyone.”

“It’s alright, Daddy. Don’t worry, I can fix everything—just go rest.”

“I watched myself from outside of my body, trying SO hard keep anyone from discovering the truth about how horrible I was. I blamed myself. I should have done something, I should have figured out a way to make everything okay... but I couldn't.”

“I had a meeting yesterday with my psychologist. I can't stand up for myself, and let him know how I really feel. I can't do anything else but smile and say “ok”. I feel so much lonelier now than I did before the meeting.”

“I’m really interested in what you do because I have been fighting the ‘Negative Mind’ and anorexia for 10 years. It is really hell, but I hope to learn something good from all the suffering because I want to help young people avoid getting to this place—but I don’t know how.”

“I first became anorexic when I was twelve and had it until I was 19, but at that time, my father died whom I was very close to. So, I gained weight because people were worried about me. However, I was unable to tolerate the weight gain and bulimia then set in.”

“I feel so much worse that I've been "faking" recovery to please everyone.”

And another, similarly, said:

“I don’t deserve to even exist. I just want to disappear forever. I feel like one huge mistake I've been "faking" recovery to please everyone…but I’m dying inside.”

*****************

Thank you for listening. Thank you for caring. Love you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chronological Age vs Emotional Age


Often times I hear, “I should know better. I am 37 years old--I am 47 years old. I can’t seem to get my life together. I am hurting everybody. What is wrong with me? I would love to have someone take me in their arms like a child and just hold me.”

These statements illustrate the distress, the quandary, in the minds of sufferers of ‘CNC’ . In some circumstances, chronological age can have very little to do with emotional age. Physical aging happens to us inevitably, whatever else is going on in our lives. We have little control about that process. Emotional age can be deterred, interrupted, or arrested, depending on sensitivity, perception, circumstance, and our ability to allow ourselves to be nurtured.

Early on, I realized that an emotional child could be any age. The problem with this reality is that it is not always (or hardly ever) recognized as such. Therefore, the expectation—the norm—is to treat the sufferer according to his/her chronological presentation rather than to nurture that person according to his/her emotional need.

It is my experience, that understanding a person from his/her emotional need—presentation, is an essential starting point to beginning the healing process.

Have a wonderful day. Peace and Love.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Counterproductive Crossroads


One of the things I have always felt incredibly sad about for the sufferers of the ‘Negative Mind’—and also for those who lack awareness of ‘CNC’—is hearing the terms “treatment resistant”, “noncompliant” or “You will not want to take me because I have failed every program that I have been in”.

I feel, from my understanding of this disorder, that though the behavior of the sufferer may make one assume that there is resistance to treatment or noncompliance, this inability to be in accordance with therapy is consistent with the insistence of the ‘Negative Mind’, rather than be the wish of the ‘Actual Mind’—the real, the potential person. Because of this seemingly uncooperative attitude, patients are frequently ‘kicked out’ of treatment. Remember, at the point of symptomatology, the ‘Negative Mind’ is the stronger part of the mind—it is the ‘boss’. If this were otherwise, the ‘Actual Mind’ would not be in the position of having to endure insults, all day, internally. If these insults, or, even if faint indications of disapproval are apparent to the patient, the ‘Negative Mind’ is confirmed, yet, again. So, to ‘fail a program’ merely reiterates the negative non-sense the sufferer already supposes about himself/herself. So, with this ignorance, we have arrived at a counterproductive crossroads. We are making the sufferer responsible because of chronological age, rather than emotional ability (this topic I will discuss in its own blog post next time).

Remember, you are not guilty. You are terrified and terrorized. You are a hostage in your own mind.

We understand this.

Peace and love.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Illusion of No Choice

When my daughter suffered from anorexia, I was startled one evening to realize the existence of two minds. It became very apparent that who was my daughter, was trying, unobtrusively, to let me in on a secret without the other part of her mind realizing she was doing so. Quietly, covertly, she was attempting to teach me how to help her—how to fight the ‘Negative Mind’. So, she whispered; she wrote so small that I could hardly read it; she hid these messages in containers that she knew I would dust; she would never allow a normal-sized plate to be put in front of her, instead, she ate small bits from mine. In this way, the ‘Negative Mind’ could never accuse her of having had a meal. For instance, she could not make even simple choices because she was not allowed to—such as if she would like to go for a walk, to a coffee shop, to a movie, what clothes to wear—it would always have to be my choice. Yes, she is a kind, sensitive person who always wanted to please other people, but this was more intense. She was so small mentally—so fragile in her mind, she needed someone who understood, to guide her, to help her develop to a place of strength. She was not allowed to expose what her mind was telling her. I understand now that she was not even permitted to participate in normal events for fear of recrimination from her internal, mental enemy. It became obvious that she had to inform me, instruct me, without actually saying the words.

In order to be onside, to be a team player with the sufferer of ‘CNC’, I had to be aware of every nuance she or he was trying to deliver to me. An example of this is of a twelve-year old boy who did not have the courage to eat until he called me. Though he was with someone twenty-four hours a day, he needed extra permission from me to eat so that he could not be accused by his mind of deciding this for himself.

This is what he said, “Peggy, will I have to go back into the state psychiatric ward if I do not eat?” My answer was always the same, “Well--so they tell me, honey.” Being with us was, to him, the preferable option. He then said, “Thank you! Thank you, Peggy! Alright then, I will have my lunch.” The relief in his voice was unmistakable.

He was creating the ‘illusion of no choice’ for himself as a means of fooling the ‘Negative Mind’. In this way, he was able to enlist me to help him help himself. This is a very good indication and example of people wanting to be well, but not thinking they deserve it. If what they are going through is appropriately understood, a sufferer is very willing to form a liason with therapy for their betterment. Understand that this is a exceptionally brave move on the part of the host person because it does not go completely unpunished by the ‘Negative Mind.’


Big hugs to everyone--peace and love.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

What the Secret Language is All About


I was going to name my first book The Language of Eating Disorders, because it is a separate language, one that is obscure to normal logic. But to those who understand what is going on in the mind and the motivation of the behavior, the illogical logic makes so much sense. Shortly before publication, I received a fax from a sufferer asking me, “How do you know the secret that we are not allowed to tell?” So, I immediately changed the title to The Secret Language of Eating Disorders, which was definitely more apt—more appropriate.

The idea of that book was to translate, to all that could not understand at first contact, what eating disorders are all about—their source and what was necessary, from my perception and experience with my own two children, to reverse ‘Confirmed Negativity Condition’.

The sufferers of CNC—eating disorders and other anxiety manifestations—are not allowed to seek help. The ‘Negative Mind’ forbids them the right to bother people because they are not worthy, because in their minds it is ‘their fault’ that they are ‘crazy’, ‘worthless’, ‘selfish’, ‘needy’, reliant, ugly, fat, useless, etc. When they do, somehow, reach out, they are immediately punished, often unmercifully. Everything they do has to be with some compromise to the ‘Negative Mind’. If he or she does not comply with the order of the ‘internal enemy’, it can (in the mind of the sufferer) even threaten the well-being family members. Because the victims of CNC are so caring about everyone else, the threats, depending on the individual, relate to that individual’s biggest anxieties. In reality, at least from the sufferer’s point of view, they are held emotional hostage by the ‘internal enemy’. In my experience, the only way to relieve them of that responsibility is for the therapist (or other carers), with the patient’s agreement, to become the negotiator and the mediator, to assume responsibility for the interim, until the individual begins to regain his or her strength.

If this mind-state is not recognized by the therapist, I cannot imagine how he or she can experience success.

I hope your day is better than the last one. Always look for and find the positive, even if it is elusive. We are there with you. With hugs and so much love.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Who Will I Be Without 'The Negative Mind?'


Oftentimes I hear said, “But if I give up anorexia, who will I be? I won’t know myself, I won’t know HOW to be.”

When emotional development is arrested, an individual has little direction in that area. The ‘self’ is lost. Therefore, during this time, it is difficult and almost impossible to make positive choices about anything. Most things become a panic of indecision. The sufferer feels she can never do anything right, and everybody else’s opinions are more valid. The negative way she feels about herself is subjectively encouraged and, over time, compounded, so that ‘anorexia’, despite its detrimental consequences, becomes an interim identity.

“I haven’t got rid of my demons yet...but its kind of hard...it feels like half of me doesn’t want to...I feel protected as this anorexic woman now, it feels like its me and its my illness/excuse/protector, it hides everything that’s wrong with me. I just don’t know where to go and what to do now...”

She has been like this for ten years.

When I read these words and hear these questions, I am reminded of when I talked to battered women in a shelter, ‘a safe house’, who for a long time kept going back to their abusive situations because it was ‘the known’. The difference between this and ‘Confirmed Negativity Condition’ is only, that, their abusers are external rather than internal. Either way, with compassion, consistency, love, trust, and presenting possibility, the victims can be gently persuaded to see a more positive side for their future—and, to then, begin to work to repair the damage that has been done.

Most people are afraid of change—‘the unknown factor’. Despite the repercussions of remaining static, they cling to familiarity, even at the risk of their lives, and certainly, with the possibility or probability of living unnecessarily, painfully compromised existences.

With CNC, the ‘Negative Mind’ attempts to convince the sufferer that it is its friend, its protector. “In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims” (wikipedia.com). With CNC, and hence, its manifestations, e.g. eating disorders, one part of the mind, the then diminished, logical part, watches helplessly as the emotional mind is taken hostage.

Here are quotes from a poem written by one of my past patients (from my first book).

I hear cries from the shrinking self:


“No one can see me or

Watch me watching myself walking

Into walls.”

I hear the despair:

“Scuffed faces stained with defeat observe

The still existence of themselves and others.”

I love you all so much. Take care of yourself in a positive way each day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Rivers of Feeling"


I am introducing a story today that will touch your hearts. I wish the world could run faster to stem the flow, the pain that exists in humanity. I go to bed every night feeling that if I could, I would trade places with those suffering—to give them solace—even for a day. Here is an example of acute sensitivity. Fortunately, there are those of us who are solid in recognition of ourselves and we are able help from a strong, secure place. Then it becomes ok to feel this much. We do not need a shell to protect us because having feelings is human. Emotional health is balanced and tempered with logic and objectivity.

i want to share what i remember from you being here, while doing your book tour. you won't remember me, because there were so many people, but there is beauty in here somewhere and i just want you to know what i remember. you are so much braver than me, that much is obvious.

~~~velvet black casualish dress, a zipper up the middle bugging me slightly. i'm overdressed, typical, there are others here in tanks and jeans. sit up front, good students sit there. her eyes, my gosh, her eyes. so much more she speaks with her eyes than with her words. i've read the book so i'm paying far more attention to what her face says because i'm enthralled. i clutch my book tightly, making notes on a bit of paper, to not sully the pages within.

weird little world here. i wonder why there are so many of us. [My town] is relatively small but the ED units are always busy. my friend works there so i know. my own little rural town full of competition consciousness churned out many patients. i hope i don't see anyone i know.

so many people, the pain is so real, so big, and suddenly i am very, very small. though up front, i wait for the middle of the line, to not stand out and i succeed i think. people usually stare at me but not as much tonight. i hurt for those that are being stared at, i know that discomfort. the table is wide, and she sits in the center. i turn over my book and wonder why i didn't leave before now.

i must have asked something, she says something loving and sweet to me. do not cry, do not cry, hurry up. my face must be purple even in contrast to the dim room and black dress. there is more there in her eyes because she sees the pain, she feels it, she must get exhausted with it all, and i break that contact. she scans the line, the room, the ones waiting behind and to my right, the ones who need her most. i can feel what she's feeling. it hurts so much. it makes such little sense. it was never supposed to be like this.


it will be another six years before i can make some sense of it,

even if it doesn't make sense to the world.

i slip silently away, back to my car in the garage.

To [Me] with much Love and Hugs, Peggy Claude Pierre

the Love and Hugs capital, interesting. a fax number in the binding. she writes a lot bigger than me. her P's much different than mine. the tears slip down my face, rivers of feeling that nobody has succeeded in understanding. isn't pain just pain? what's wrong with me? why doesn't anybody understand?

i pray for the others in that room. i pray that things will wrap up soon, it's already late. i pray for Peggy to be okay, to not feel so intently, to be able to sleep. i shove back my tears because i have to drive now, to go back to my life, not telling where i've been, smiling on the outside.~~~

i've never forgotten that night, Peggy. you may have been more comfortable that night than anyone. it was hard to sit there and not want to slip into a pocket in your shirt and go away to some soft place. i cried while i listened to you, silent tears quickly caught with tissue. i had other people counting on me. i always do. the soft place wasn't for me. being in that room it was so obvious. there's a lot of internal conflict in my brain and heart. i'm tired a lot lately so it makes it a lot worse. i'll try really hard to not judge my feelings so much. when you say nice things to me it's like a trip wire that sends a barrage of negativity back to me because, well, i don't know why exactly, it just happens.* it was easier to hope back then. twelve years is a long time for an erosion of hope. even one drop per hour on a large rock over that time would cause a deep fissure.

i will remain watchful of your blog and i am always grateful for you telling the truth.

*At this point, in this stage, if anybody is kind to the sufferer, the ‘Negative Mind will fight back with a vengeance to retain its status. As well the sufferer is always the last to deserve anything. In his or her mind, every other person is more worthy than she is. Because of this way of thinking, it is VERY difficult for the CNC sufferer to ask for help.


With love, understanding, and persistence in caring for each individual sufferer from her community of support, strides can be made to alter negative thinking.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Responsible for the World


Dear Friends,

I remember a very little girl telling me years ago, just as we started the clinic, that the pain in her head was so frightening that sometimes she did not know what to do, but to let me hold her. I said, “Darling, I wish I could take that nasty voice out of your head right now and put it in mine, because I am not at all afraid of it, and I would scare him away forever.”

She started to cry inconsolably and scream, holding on to me so tightly, “No! No! No! Don’t ever let him into your head! No, I can’t ever let him hurt you—you are too nice! Don’t ever say that, don’t ever invite him in, he says he will never go away. He will hurt you too much.”

I remember being shocked at the intensity of her fear and pain. It made me realize, yet again, how so very terrifying this inner, controlling voice of the ‘Negative Mind’ was (and is—in others), and how responsible for the world these sufferers feel.

Here are some recent examples of the power of the ‘Negative Mind’ and of how kind and caring about other people these sensitive individuals are--and why it is impossible not to love them or ignore their cause.

“I don't think I'm a martyr at all. It's just that the world hurts and I have to help shift it. Maybe that's naive or even inept. I've tried my whole life to figure this out and nothing changes, except the world seems to hurt more. I know some people just feel this, because I can sense that when I meet them, it's just that it's very uncommon. It seems some of us were created to absorb the pain for others so they will hurt less.

“But it makes me sad that you do know [the secret language] - in some ways because I feel like for you to know you had to experience this pain on some level. I worry that if I opened up to anyone that for them to understand the depths of this...they would have to feel it on some level. I would not willingly allow anyone anywhere near this. Never.”

These sentiments keep me humble. I am honored that I have the opportunity and the mandate to make their ‘actual’ voices heard.

Please help me to positively profile these people who are silently suffering.

Thank you and have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'Your Brother's Keeper'


Today I would like to write specifically to a group of sufferers who daily condone, and therefore confirm, the negative mind. In my new interaction on facebook, and for some years past, I have sadly come across many Pro-Ana sites. A Pro-Ana site makes a shrine to anorexia—and all eating disorders. Though I have the deepest respect for people’s right to express themselves, I have also some serious concerns that I would like to share with all of you.

In my understanding, an eating disorder is one symptom, of many possible symptoms, that come from a devastating, seriously devalued sense of self. This lack of, or diminished, self has taken time to develop to the point of its manifestation. I call it ‘Confirmed Negativity Condition’. CNC is the incorporation—the end result—the culmination of negative thoughts about one’s self over time. The then ‘Negative Mind’ repeats daily—hourly—in every moment—its conclusion about you—to you. It is never nice. It is an internal, incessant enemy of one’s potential self. It is a LIAR—An ABUSER of the worst kind. It attempts to deflate any dream, any possibility. It grabs the innocent.

IT IS REVERSIBLE.

Through ignorance and unawareness of this mind-state, all of us in the world, at one time or another, have been guilty of irresponsibility; of not understanding; of bystander apathy--for all the apparently best reasons—such as: to not interfere in somebody else’s life, not knowing what to do, mixed messages from the experts, contradictory messages from the media, not understanding the motivation behind the behavior, fear of the drain, the time, and the commitment of such emotional involvement, etc.

Most people with an eating disorder have a negative dialogue, a ‘voice’ or negative pressure, internally. Pro-Ana sites, hopefully unwittingly, continue to confirm this dialogue externally. Perhaps this happens from a feeling, initially, of helplessness, which over time becomes a hopelessness. I hear from so many people who have suffered terribly for years, and then--years again. Can’t reach out without being blamed. The other sufferers are the only ones who can relate. What to do? A sub-culture? No way out? Can’t beat it, so join it? So, therefore, be together in order to not feel alone—to validate your compromised existence in some distorted, destructive way? Is this really, in your minds, the only option we have left you? “Misery loves company”? Have we failed you so? Because…………………….

I cannot imagine that what can appear to me as unconscionable under the guise of camaraderie is actually intended by you:

Comparison of weight-- “I ate only this many calories today, sweetie, how about you? Did you stay under that number? Did you meet your goal? Let’s set a lower one for tomorrow.”—therefore, lessening the chances of survival of your fellow sufferer, and sometimes, your best friend.

Comparison of strategies—“How many laxatives did you use? How many times did you purge today? How many miles did you run?”—therefore, lessening the chances of survival of your fellow sufferer, and sometimes, your best friend.

EATING DISORDERS, again, ARE REVERSIBLE.

I can only hope that the Pro-Ana sites exist out of desperation—because of the inability to reach out to loved ones for help. I just wish you to know that you are feeding the ‘Negative Mind’ which, in turn, increases its power over you. Would you not like it stopped? Would you not like to know who you really are?

Most people in life are followers. You have the ability to be a leader in a constructive way. You are beautiful, thinking, precious, individuals who have not had a chance to know or believe in yourselves. There is another way, albeit much harder. Re-train your brain—in a positive way. Spend every day thinking in contrast to the messages you have in your head. Do this for your friends as well. Encourage them every day, and they will do it for you. Compare notes to wellness. Use your imagination to your own and your friends’ positive benefit. You ARE your brother’s keeper, and they are yours. Start a new trend. Use your energy in a way that will extend life, not shorten it. You are not the ‘Negative Mind’. Then, see how you feel—being well. At least, give yourself the choice—do not sell yourself short. Do not accept defeat.

We love you, and we need you in our world as who you really can be—as who you really are.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The 'Negative Mind' is a Manipulator


The ‘Negative Mind’ is a MANIPULATOR.

A curious and heartbreaking example of the manipulation and strength of persuasion of the ‘Negative Mind’ became clear when my daughter was deadly anorexic. I used to drive her around our city to distract her from her emotional pain, usually from one to four o’clock in the morning. Of course, she could not sleep, her body was hunting for nourishment.

One night, much to my dismay, we passed a man who was in a wheelchair. I hoped that my daughter would not notice him because she worried about everyone, as most sensitive people are. I glanced at him, but then looked quickly away—hoping my daughter would not see the direction of my gaze. After a moment, I looked sideways slightly to see if she had seen him. Silent tears were streaming down her face. I choked, and said, “Honey, look at him. He is so well dressed. His white shirt is cleaned and ironed. His black pants are immaculate. Somebody loves him and is taking care of him.”

She answered with a sob, “I see that mom. But his time, I am not crying about him. I am crying about myself—his pain is evident—nobody will ever know about mine.”

This is one testimony only, to the fact that anorexics oftentimes cannot realize how physically compromised they appear to the rest of the world, but not to themselves. As we all know, the ‘Negative Mind’ convinces its victims that they are selfish in order for it to stay in control. To keep them in a starving, diminished mode, it is necessary for the ‘Negative Mind’ to make them think they look normal, or even bigger than normal.

‘Confirmed Negativity Condition’ initiates an overbalanced negative tape that berates incessantly inside its victim’s head. It is a culmination of negative thinking about one’s self over time that must be reversed over time.

DO NOT believe anything negative that your head tells you about yourself. Cling to those people who you have always trusted. Listen to what they say, and talk to them. Tell them what is going on. Surround yourself with people who are optimistic and positive. You are not guilty. You are not crazy. You are not undeserving. You have a kindness towards others that needs to include yourself. The world cannot do without your sensitivity, in its proper place. You are loved and needed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

No Symptoms


After a lecture I had just given, some years ago, I was speaking with a woman who had been waiting in line to meet me. Her eyes were filled with tears. She was forty-two years old and she had been suffering from CNC—hating herself since she was a child—since “before the age of ten.” She said, “You are talking about me. What you described tonight is inside my head—is me--but look, I appear normal. I am not an anorexic. I feel so ashamed, and I loathe myself as much as anybody possibly could. So, does this mean that you do not treat people like me—that I am undeserving of that kind of caring?”

Subsequently, I became more aware, that though I had primarily been dealing with people with eating disorders, the subject was really much bigger and broader than I had ever supposed. I was a little perturbed at myself that I had focused so markedly on the symptoms of eating disorders rather than placing more emphasis on 'Confirmed Negativity Condition' and that hosts such manifestations using the 'Negative Mind'.

Many more people came forward in the next few years discussing themselves, or their child, describing a similarly, powerful, negative mindset without an obvious symptom. One example particularly, stands out in my memory. I met parents who had an exceptionally artistic son who had a history of ivy-league schooling. He had compiled pictures that painted his internal agony. Though he seemed never able to explain their meaning when asked, he kept making these black and white depictions evident to them. His parents were distraught with their child’s obvious anguish and had no idea what it meant, and therefore, no idea of how to help. He was not able to ask for their support in any other way than to make them aware of his pain through his drawings. He was not anorexic--rather, his drawings illustrated his inner turmoil.

I have recently received several other similar letters—stories. It brings me to the realization that I have to make one point very clear: There are many manifestations of CNC.

‘Confirmed Negative Condition’ can exist as wickedly or as profoundly with the ‘Negative Mind’ as its tool, without obvious symptoms. Many incredibly sensitive people around you live in quiet agony. Many write to me. I hear you.

Thank you for your help. Thank you for caring about humanity and for trying to do something about it. Thank you for your positivity and your inspiration. I love you all.

As a darling girl told me today, "You never know how strong you are - until being strong is the only choice you have."


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Inside


Last week we were discussing the subject of Ethics. I have just remembered a good example of the courage to stand firm despite consequences which might not always be pleasant. For me, sometimes, movies are a good way of teaching concisely what I might be long-winded in saying.

Russell Crowe played in the movie Insider. His personal ethic would not allow him to cover up a crime, a white-collar crime against humanity. His character was a good example of what I mean of being true to one's self--one's internal ethic. The reality is that to ultimately be at peace with one's self, it is necessary to have a self, to have developed a self--and then to honor it. This is a journey we begin when we are born, and hopefully realize in time to enjoy our lives. To deny what you know is right for you in the way you are in the world, means to live externally, bowing to other people's opinions, any given societies' mores, pressure of convenience--therefore compromising your own potential--your own individual possibility. Follow your own good sense--your emotional intelligence--the only stipulation being to respect and not harm yourself and others.

Have patience with your journey. Know that I love you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.

Happy Easter Everyone.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Introduction to the 'Negative Mind'


Confirmed Negativity Condition (CNC) is the culmination of negative thoughts against oneself inadvertently established in the brain. From this is derived the ‘negative mind’ which is the action arm of CNC (as is a verb to a noun).

With the resulting relentless, unforgiving attack against the 'Actual Mind,' the potential host person becomes progressively diminished into submission and ultimately, emotional ‘slavery’.

The sufferer becomes extremely subjective, as is a child naturally. Hand in hand with this is the recognition that subjectivity engenders limited logic, irrationality, to some of the most brilliant people on our planet. In the misguided perceptions of their minds, they feel both guilty and responsible for the plight of mankind: global warming, world hunger, crimes against humanity, the economic crisis, and people’s addictions etc. The ‘Negative Mind’ pretends friendship—it becomes the known—the status quo—as it tightens its grip and wages its civil war.

The 'Actual Mind' realizes the existence of the two minds even in its seeming inability to struggle free. Despite the apparent hopelessness of this condition, given that it is generated from a psychological construct, it must then be reversible. The 'Actual Mind,' with kind persuasion, positivity, constant reassurance, and as much monitoring as the individual is able to allow, will, in most cases, lend itself to anyone sincerely wishing to unite in its support. That it was reversible was my thinking years ago when faced with the situation of my daughters’ illnesses. Now, I know it to be true.

Please keep hope and possibility in your minds--either as sufferers or loved ones of sufferers.


We are all angels with but one wing,

And only by embracing each other can we fly.

~ Luciano de Crescenzo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Dearest Hope

(excerpt from The Secret Language of Eating Disorders)

It is my dearest hope that the wider public can come to understand the true nature of Confirmed Negativity Condition (CNC) and the manifesting eating disorders that arise from it. Sadly, the perils caused by CNC extend beyond its sufferers. All too often, families and other loved ones are tortured by the mistaken belief that they are somehow the cause of the sufferer's condition. They feel guilty, devastated. Families are destroyed, unnecessarily.

Once the public understands the true nature of eating disorders, then the crushing onus of blame will be lifted from sufferers and their loved ones, freeing them to focus on recovery.

Although sufferers of CNC (and resulting eating disorders) have been subject to negative caricatures of selfishness and victimhood, they are in reality purveyors of the most positive virtues available to humankind. These are lives to be cherished. Sensitivity and caring are not new in man. Poets and artists throughout the ages have described and ached for humanity. What is disturbing is the frequency and intensity with which this caring manifests itself in eating disorders in our contemporary global reality.

Each CNC sufferer I have met has been uniquely loving and has possessed uncommon courage. I have been pained by the thought that their lives have been so readily discounted. My hope is that we will build bridges among all of us united in this endeavor. I have the greatest belief in the commonality of our cause, the human conundrum.

The poet A.E. Houseman said it thus:

If truth in hearts that perish
Could move the powers on high,
I think the love I bear you
Should make you not to die.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Secret Language of Eating Disorders

(some words from my first book)

For most people, eating disorders are a great mystery of our time: an enigma to the medical and psychological professionals as well as to those who have had to live with the bizarre and often tragic behavior of its victims and the sufferers themselves to cannot explain their actions. Paradoxically, much of the mystery has arisen less because we lack the knowledge or wisdom to understand what drives people to destroy themselves, but because we are all too ready to explain their behavior in some of the most authoritative and misleading clich├ęs of our culture.

In a world so fixated on images, so prone to reward selfishness, so ready to equate success with self-promotion, it is hardly surprising that eating disorders are often construed as simple vanity taken to an extreme.

I believe that these conditions and the behaviors they engender can be fully understood, provided one takes the necessary steps to look beyond the obvious. There can be an understanding of how the interplay of social situations and psychological dispositions lead people to this particular “rational irrationality.”

My hope is that we can continue to enable, by therapeutic process, these victims to create a new interpretation of their world so that they see that self-destruction—the unconscious impulse toward suicide that lies beneath the symptoms of eating disorders—is no longer a necessary response to their misperceived role in society.

To all of my dear friends who have faced these behaviors and succeeded, I applaud you. To all of my dear friends who are still struggling today, I share with you the hope that you can and will be well.

Much love,

Peggy Claude-Pierre

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reality is Moderation


Guilt need not be a burden if it is understood in the context of its reality--its positivity. How could that possibly be--say you! It is only when it is served up in self-condemnation and held on to pointlessly long that it loses its meaning--its direction--its usefulness.

Follow me on a little journey.

Over time each one of us forms a set of personal ethics that are not necessarily determined by, or consistent with, the mores of the times--our social context. Hopefully, our ‘characteristic spirit,’ our ‘personal disposition,’ therefore, our ETHIC is such that honesty, kindness, empathy, courage, and positivity--even if it isn't the norm, can stand firm. So--guilt is useful only to reflect the honor of our personal ethic momentarily--to remind us of who we really are. Then, we can act accordingly. In normal self-development, guilt is not meant to paralyze and overwhelm us with confusion, inaction, or despair. Ultimately, it should move us to positive action, to gently correct that which does not comply with our internal core--our understanding of our SELF. The intention of guilt should be to remind us, to bring us back to the moderate, ethical expectation we have of ourselves. So…guilt is only a minor, corrective tool of our conscience—which is the necessary, steadier, companion-friend to our ethic.

Here is an example: a six year old child in grade school comes home with the flu. Her three year old sister subsequently, three days later, gets the flu badly. The six year old child can hardly sleep, tells stories to the three year old, stays with her to make her feel better and to assuage the guilt of having brought home the flu. This is typical of CNC-distorted thinking (Confirmed Negativity Condition) .

The balance is disrupted when guilt becomes a way of life. CNC sufferers often feel extreme guilt around circumstances that they can't control. Apologizing for someone else's anger, always trying to mediate, always trying to take the blame, being sorry for everything, all the time, becomes a way of life.

As is necessary in everything we do, it is important to learn and practice moderation. Reality is moderation. Moderation is reality. Extremes are dangerous, damaging, and dysfunctional. Lend a thought to what you do today. Does it make common sense?


I send sunshine energy your way today.


Love you,


Peggy Claude-Pierre



Monday, March 15, 2010

Kind Interpretation


One of the helpful ways not to blame others is to consider their motivation as individuals. We can then realize the SO many variables behind each interaction. This could be our first thought instead of reacting to a questionable or abnormal behavior.

One's behavior usually describes himself--his understanding of "self" at the moment. Negative behavior can be a shallow description of what is really happening within the emotional mind of the individual. What he needs from the interaction is usually much deeper and takes, hopefully, kind interpretation. When comprehension is not immediately available to us, it will serve us well to give the individual the "benefit of the doubt." The need for attention, the need for solace, a panic or anxiety reaction--be it aggressive, introverted, condescending, hurtful, shameful, or manipulative--all indicate an understanding (or lack thereof) of one's level of peace within one's self and that of their harmony with humanity--emotional maturity. Others can still be on the road to that possibility and with compassion and empathy from us, that possibility becomes a probability. Hopefully, with enough stability and encouragement, this can become a surety.

Most anti-social, unsuitable behaviors indicate a lack of self knowledge (self love). Negatively reacting to a negative reaction leaves a mess of consequences which ultimately require a positive response to make those involved feel balanced with their day and each other. Consider that a young child is hungry, has not had ample sleep, misses his parents because one or the other is away, a parent was impatient or angry, one of them has become ill, parents are focusing on the new baby, he cannot handle the sleepover after all and he left his teddy bear at home.....So.....reacts in fear. Emotional maturity allows us to immediately assess and respond with kindness and empathy with the consequence of a return to feelings of security for the child. Emotional immaturity in us, can result in a reaction to a reaction, which will build on the interim of insecurity and will have the affect of destablizing the child for future interactions--thus creating the beginnings of the anxiety of negative expectations for the next time.

With children, it is easier for us to respond, to evaluate the motive behind the behavior. With adults, we have more expectation, less tolerance, less willingness to understand, forgive or empathize, more scorn if behavior is odd or out of place. Oftentimes, we expect chronological age--adulthood--to be on par emotionally. The reality is, that many adults have been emotionally blocked at a young age and are valiantly trying to live despite this blockage. They are attempting to contend with and to understand and control their environment from a absolutely terrifying internal place, a maze, that no amount of societal-friendly accolades--(example, scholastic honors) can console.

If we can accept that life is a struggle to gain and maintain a foundation to allow progress on each our own path; that there is no competition except to attain our own peace, first, within ourselves and then, to spread outwards to others, we can allow each interaction to reflect our love and hope to find and inspire the good in everyone.

Love and Peace. Enjoy your day,

Peggy Claude-Pierre

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Responding vs Reacting


Hey People; big hugs.

A question repeats itself in the emails you have sent me so I will write you on the subject of blame over the next few days. Blame is often tied to guilt. Guilt deserves its own emphasis, so I will concentrate on that some days later.

Come from a place of love and realize that no one who is at peace with himself wants anything but good to come from any interaction. Each of us has the gift of many opportunities every day to create a bit of happiness and good will in the world.

Understand life as a journey of emotional intelligence-tempered by logic-leading to emotional maturity. We can evaluate our level of emotional maturity by our ability to respond rather than to react. To not react does not mean to not validate one's emotions. There are healthy ways of doing so in a manner that usually becomes a shortcut to a successful outcome.

The way a person reacts or responds generally reflects their own sense of self (or lack thereof), not yours. If you are unhappy with yourself for reacting, in action or word against yourself or others, then it is helpful to look at what state of mind you are beginning from. If you let go of fear of being hurt, no one can hurt you. If you come from no ego, empathy and compassion will allow you to respond rather than to react. In the end, you have done yourself a service. You will feel better. Happiness will course through you in a positive mind-body experience. Build on it.

By the same token, when someone reacts in anger, offensiveness, blame, disrespect in interaction with you, they are showing you, not necessarily who they are but where they are at on the journey to emotional awareness-emotional maturity. Again, it is not up to us to judge anyone unkindly, but rather, for our own growth, to evaluate their abilities to interact positively. Certainly, if there is a way we can turn a reaction from another to a positive response--we are all winners. Body and mind chemicals are healthier, we are happier all around.

We have no control over the universe, only the possibility of positive response from our inner core-our 'actual self'. Life is full of the unexpected, where spontaneity and flexibility will be better friends to us than our plans have ever been.

You might have fun evaluating your own ability to respond (rather than to react) in interactions. Like you, I face this challenge everyday and still have much to learn.

Please feel free to share your experiences, they are always welcome.

love,

Peggy