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Issue 2. February 11, 2016

Letter from our CEO

This year started with a barrage of "new year, new you" articles coming from all sides of the media, telling me that all it would take is a change of date and I could change all the aspects of my self that I was unhappy with. Unfortunately, what I was most unhappy with were the articles themselves, claiming a smaller waist line, or even lower A1c would somehow make me a happier person. That's when my inbox was graced with a perfectly timed January newsletter from DiabetesSisters, one of our favorite fellow non-profits. Their article "What to Do After the Ball Drops: Caring for Yourself in 2016" reminded me that, sometimes even a small act of self care goes a long way towards restorative sanity. I went and got a manicure filled, took a deep breath, and continued sifting through my emails to look for resources for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW.) Diabulimia Helpline, or DBH, also decided to throw our hat into the fundraising ring for the first time this year as well. So please take a look at our booster fundraising page, and check out the Diabulimia Helpline sweatshirt. The Diabulimia Helpline phoenix represents Hope, it represents rising from the ashes and the wreckage of our eating disorders, and the destruction it caused, to a brighter tomorrow. A tomorrow where we are free to Dream, Believe, and Hope that a life without an eating disorder is possible. The DBH mantra of "Dream, Believe, Hope" is one I touch on once more in my article, "Once You've Been Diagnosed." As for NEDAW, we decided to break down resources into three categories: diabetes resources, mental health resources, and ED-DMT1 (Eating Disorder-Diabetes Mellitus Type 1) resources. 

Erin M. Akers
CEO, Diabulimia Helpline

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to put the spotlight on eating disorders and improve public understanding of their causes, dangers and treatments. This year, with the theme 3 Minutes Can Save a Life: Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy., the focus is on the importance of early intervention by encouraging the public to take just 3 minutes to complete the confidential online eating disorders screening. With eating disorders, early intervention can make a huge difference in successful recovery. Too many people are struggling with disordered eating but not nearly enough are getting the help they deserve.

Let's make a difference for the millions affected by eating disorders. Share the message that 3 Minutes Can Save a Life and participate in NEDAwareness Week February 21-27!

Once You're Diagnosed
                                            by Erin M. Akers

            So, you’ve been diagnosed with diabulimia/ed-dmt1? Or you’re a diabetic with a different eating disorder? And now your head is spinning, you’re not sure which direction to go, nor how your story ends. The truth is no one can tell you that yet. Nowadays, the majority of my time is spent being the pillar of recovery, but I spent nearly a decade living a warning tale of what a life of killing oneself does to the body. Though I took on the storm of diabulimia, && came out the other side a seasoned sailor, I'm also a human being born in a mortal body cursed with two chronic illnesses (type 1 diabetes and epilepsy). And thanks to the decade of damage I did to my body, I am now also the proud recipient of peripheral neuropathy, vasovagal syncope, and gastroparesis – which caused three ulcers and cyclical vomiting syndrome. So, sometimes, when the eating disorder community tells me to just embrace my body and I will be whole once more, it is all I can do to keep myself from laughing out loud. The truth is, on the other side of the recovery process for a diabulimic is not a more harmonious body; it’s a chronic ailment, as well as complications for some. However, you’ll also find a life you’re not sleeping through, where carbohydrates aren’t the enemy, and where you’re allowed to actually live, not just survive. It’s a life of joy, of happiness, and of love.
          You don’t need to make the decision to change the rest of your life right now. Recovery is all about micro-decisions - an infinite list of small choices you make every day that rededicate your willpower to the courage it takes to resist that tiny voice inside your brain. You know, the one that asks, ‘is this really worth it?’ or ‘what’s skipping just one shot going to do…?’ In case you’re feeling weak right now, YES, recovery is worth it! And skipping any amount of insulin is NEVER worth it!

                                          continued at DiabulimiaHelpline/Once You're Diagnosed 

Help Support Diabulimia Helpline

Whether it's through patient advocacy, speaking at National conferences (both diabetes, and eating disorders), or leading the charge with our own Healthcare Education Series on ED-DMT1, DBH has been the first one out there since 2009. Now, you've got a chance to help support us too! Check out our new sweatshirt highlighting the Diabulimia Helpline Phoenix!

Assessment && Intervention of Eating Disorders in Diabetics 
Just as the theme for this year's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week says - Early Screening and Intervention Can Save Lives. This is especially true for those with comorbid type one diabetes and eating disorders, and it can prevent serious medical complications. Unfortunately, we know that having type 1 diabetes influences responses on conventional eating disorder questionnaires resulting in misinterpretation of scores. For example, 18 of the questions on the EAT-40 when answered positively indicating risk or presence of an eating disorder, also indicate good diabetes management. Therefore, we offer this article which reviews three screening tools specifically designed to detect disturbed eating behavior and insulin omission in those with type 1 diabetes.

Choosing A Screening Tool to Assess Disordered Eating in Adolescents w/ T1DM
by Helen d'Emden, Brett McDermott, Kristen Gibbons, Mark Harris, Andrew Cotterill
  Disturbed eating behaviours and insulin omission in adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus have concerned diabetes clinicians for decades, yet screening and management protocols using validated tools for this high risk group are lacking. Clinical eating disorders and milder forms of disordered eating can impact negatively on glycaemic control and are associated with serious health consequences (Rydall et al., 1997). Early detection and treatment of disturbed eating thoughts and behaviours is important (Goebel-Fabbri, 2009).

continued at... Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications
For complete list of academic articles on ED-DMT1, go to DiabulimiaHelpline: Case Studies

Art in Recovery

7 am. Or near enough anyway, I crawl out of the bed, I cannot stand, my legs will not carry me. The poisonous acid is building up, blood burning. My throat is dry, all the way down. My lips are sealed together. Not enough water exists that could quench the thirst I feel. I let the tap run and place my mouth under it, a brief moment of inadequate satisfaction overcomes me.

Later, I can not hold the sensation (that is the water), down. All of the acid pushes up. I retch and vomit. And at last a little well-deserved relief.

I am not a stranger to this feeling. I know what must precede it. But I have nursed myself back from death many a time before, it has become routine to spend a day in bed to compensate. Today is strange though, I feel weaker than usual, and the pain is becoming unbearable! My chest is tightening. Little air is present for me to breathe. If only my room’s window was open. It would do much good to breathe fresh air in this moment.

I have vomited a second time now. My mum comes up with a sick bowl. It will save me going on that agonising journey to the bathroom.
‘How are you feeling? Are you okay?’ She trembles. I know she fears this dreaded sight. Another day of despair, seeing her daughter fading before her eyes. What is this illness? That no Doctor can diagnose? Her daughter, beautiful and full of character on good days and in bitter suffering for the remainder. How she must be hurting.

continued at... DKA Perspective: A Story of Lived Death 

ED-DMT1/Diabulimia Resources 

DiabetesSisters: Educational Library, Eating Disorders & Diabetes
Diabetes Spectrum: Eating Disorders & Diabetes, Screening & Detection
Insulin Nation: Not All T1D Eating Disorders are Diabulimia
MedScape: Diabulimia Signals Trouble in Type 1 Diabetics

Mental Health Resources 

Proud2BeMe: Myth-busters, Binge Eating Disorder Edition
NEDIC:Having Compassion During Eating Disorder Awareness Week
Self Compassion Project: What Self Compassion is Not
Renfrew Center: Eating Disorder Webinar Events Calendar 

Diabetes Resources

The Diabetes UnConference: Register Now
The College Diabetes Network: Life On Campus
Behavioral Diabetes Institute: Diabetes Distress Scales and Surveys
LifeHack: 22 Things to Remember if Your Loved One is A Diabetic