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."


Anonymous said...

it´s a beautiful entry!! there are so many people who suffers alone, in complete silence but it doesn´t mean that they are not ill, being sick without external symptoms whom cry out loud for help must be a living hell, thanks God there are great people like you Peggy!! you are an Angel said...

Solid stuff Peg.
I've always worked at trying to perceive where others are coming from, in order to empathize and make a significant difference to better their condition and the condition of mankind. The real questions to myself are;
1."Can you exemplify kindness, humility and empathy toward others?
2. Have you the courage to stand alone if need be and act with honor?
3. Are you able to stand LOYAL in the face of adversity to a friend or just cause; probably the most noble quality of the human condition?"
Justice requires an open mind and non-corruptible character.
If you want respect, give respect.
If you wish to teach respect, model respect.
Guilt is for the most part a wasted emotion: just do something to resolve or rectify a mistake or wrong done when possible, and learn by your mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peg ;) and readers of this well needed blog (!) 

As I read this post, I particularly felt that this is just what it is all about. Although I do understand that it will take time for people to understand that. It´s human to respond to something that is visually "un normal" as an emaciated body would be for an example, (than it is to what is considered "a normal body or look") with compassion and empathy, a will to help. your instinct is to help and rescue the anorexic person because she/he looks so fragile(and by all means is!) it`s more logical for the brain cause the pain is so clearly right there in front of you, how could you not react with a will to help...?
suffering from anorexia/bulimia, suicide attempts and self cutting etc under a period of 15 years, and negative thoughts about myself for as long as I can remember, though speaking only for myself, it´s not the unbearable sorrow and pain which springs from hunger pains, endless of times making yourself sick, the knife against the skin that is the worst, believe it or not (!)... It´s exactly what you talk about here peg, it´s the non symptoms that is the worst. all the times when I have looked "normal" in contrast to the anorexic episodes, people automatically treated me as I was all well and happy(understandably though)...but it´s during your non symptoms episodes that the mental terror is peaking usually. The voices are louder in your head cause you´re not even doing this right, you’re feeling of loneliness couldn´t be more present and you feel invisible. your soul´s crying out for help is drowning in your own "external normality".
Peg as always, brilliant :)

Lots of hugs

Peggy Claude-Pierre said...

Dear Anon,
Thank you so much for understanding what I am saying. Your comment helps everyone who does not realize the extent of the silent suffering that I have been so aware of for so long. Please feel free to give me any ideas that you think need to be addressed on this blog, and I will do my best to honor them. Have a wonderful day. Thank you for extending yourself to protect others. Big hugs.

Peggy Claude-Pierre said...

Dear T,

Thank you so much for who you are and for being in my life. Love you.

Peggy Claude-Pierre said...

Dear Michaela,

I am so sad that I was not able to be present for you through your 15 years of pain. But, of course, you have always been there for everyone else.

Perhaps the world can become more aware of who the people are under this pain-- the sensitivity and kindness at the core of their being. That gentleness has been compromised and clouded temporarily (in some cases) by that internal negative enemy--the unsolicited guest.

You, Michaela, are another earth angel. Hugs.

Shoshana said...

Peggy you are so right on! It's such a relief that finally someone understands! I've been through the whole spectrum. People out there don't understand. They look and think "Oh ok you're weight seems fine so you must seem fine" NO! Inside we are crying out for help! We are desperate!! It's not about the weight! Especially when we aren't using those so familiar negative behaviors. Those voices get even louder! That mental pain is torcher! Unfortunately the people in my life don't seem to understand that and I so wish they would! And of course that doesn't help my Negative Mind. All we want is for someone to understand, someone to give us a hug, someone to hold us, let us cry, someone to take away all that emotional pain so we don't have to take it out on ourselves anymore.
Peggy I am honored to know you. You are an angel that has come into my life. You understand. Not many do. I thank you for that. You are a blessing to us all! Love you! -Sho