I was cleaning out my storage closet recently and found a few coffee-table books, collecting dust. They were bought on a whim years ago and I never really read them.
I decided to actually read/look at one of them!
This post will be discussing the book, Thin by Lauren Greenfield and giving my review on it.
About Lauren Greenfield and her Thin project
Lauren is a critically acclaimed photographer and filmmaker. She has created a few different photo books and documentaries. They all highlight, discuss and critique certain aspects of society.
Thin is one of her projects from 2006 and it focuses on eating disorders. The book and documentary take us inside an eating disorder treatment center called, Renfrew. From there, we get to see a glimpse of what goes on at these centers and the people they serve.
A little about the Renfrew centers
The very first Renfrew center started in 1985 and was located in Philadelphia, PA. It has since expanded its program reach with centers in Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida and New York.
These centers treat adolescent girls, women and non-binary people with eating disorders. The treatment is emotion-focused and is catered to each person.
There is outpatient, inpatient and day program options available. The daily services include art therapy, family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, nutritional therapy, exposure therapy and movement/drama therapy.
Each center is staffed with administrative personnel, psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses, nutritionists and psychiatrists.
My thoughts on Thin
Wow! Everything about this book was haunting.
The pictures of the patients that were at the particular center, had such sad eyes. Their inner pain and strife were picked up so well by the camera. Although I am not sure if they could be hidden.
The stories and diary pages only added to the sadness. These people went through and were going through some really rough times. A couple of them claimed that they did not have much to go back to after leaving the program. Heart wrenching.
Lots of weights are thrown around in the book which could be a trigger for someone with an eating disorder past if they decided to read it. These numbers are scary to see in my opinion because I can not imagine how people must feel going through life weighing so little.
Some of the bodies of the patients at the facility were alarming to me. They look so incredibly frail and it is shocking. As tough as it is to look at, that is the reality of the disorder. It ravages a person mentally and physically.
Ages of the patients pictured, varies. The oldest person in the book is a 63 year old woman. It is upsetting to think that she was suffering for so long. This is a good reminder that it is not just a disorder that can affect young people-it can affect anyone.
Another thing I noticed relating to the age of the patients was that some of them had things like stuffed animals and other items that you would see little kids with. I got the sense that they were stuck at the young age that they were at when their eating disorder manifested.
I found it extremely interesting seeing the daily activities at the center. When a lot of people think of an eating disorder center, they may get an image of someone going in skinny and coming out healthy. This book shows that there is so much in between and that it is not magically over for them afterwards.
One thing that I thought about a lot when looking through the book was the cost of going there. I could not imagine it being affordable and from doing some research-it is not. To read about the patient’s families going bankrupt or losing insurance coverage is another terrible reality of the illness.
I (and many others) know that a lot of people go back to their eating disorder after discharge or recovery. It was still hard to see though that the four main patients profiled in the book lost a bunch of weight shortly after leaving the center.
A great look at mental health
Thin provides a powerful glimpse at a disorder with a high mortality rate. If you are into books about mental health, this may be a great one to get. A word of caution is for those that may be triggered by the images of people in the throes of eating disorders.
Have any of you read this book or seen the documentary? What are your thoughts on it?
I always love a good documentary. Fortunately, there are many available to view.
When I came across the (Un)well documentary on Netflix, I was immediately intrigued and had to watch it right away. While all of the episodes were interesting, it was the breast milk one that caught my attention the most.
Watching the aforementioned episode brought back negative feelings from almost six years ago when I gave birth and was unable to breastfeed. I hope talking about my experience will help others like me feel not so alone.
About the show and episode
Nextflix’s (Un)well is a recently released documentary discussing wellness fads. Each episode is dedicated to a different fad. They include breast milk, tantric sex, fasting, essential oils, ayahuasca and bee sting therapy.
Information and opinions on the topics discussed in each episode is given from various people with various backgrounds. You get to hear from consumers, medical professionals and scientists.
The breastmilk episode talks about some people’s belief that it is good for adults. It centers on a man who swears that breastmilk helps him with muscle growth, a man who claims it is helping him beat cancer and two women who sell their breast milk. There are also experts that pop in and out with information that debunks the health claims.
My breasts failed my son
Watching the breast milk episode, left me a little upset.
When I was pregnant with my son, I had every intention of breastfeeding my son because of all the alleged benefits it could bring. The following is a list of some of the positive things that can come from feeding your child this way (according to some studies):
Provide the baby with a lot of antioxidants.
Develop their immune system better than formula feeding does.
Lower their risk of allergies later on in life.
Lower their risk of ear infections.
Lower their risk of obesity later on in life.
Lower their risk of SUIDS (sudden unexpected infant death syndrome).
Better bonding with baby than formula feeding provides.
Weight loss due to breastfeeding burning a good number of calories.
All of these sounded great to me! I wanted nothing but the best for my son.
After I gave birth, my milk did not come in. That meant that I needed to formula feed him. The nurses said that it would come in after a while and that I just needed to wait.
It did indeed come in, but barely. Despite pumping around the clock and putting my son to my breasts, the MOST I could ever get out was .75 ounces.
I was completely devastated.
I did not know why this was happening. I thought all mothers could produce enough milk for their babies. Shame and anger overcame me.
The idea that I had to exclusively formula feed him made me feel like a horrible mother. I wanted to give him the best, but I could not do so.
It was only until a couple years ago that I found out the problem- I have tuberous breasts. This is a deformity that is caused by the breasts not developing normally during puberty. Not only does it affect the way the breasts look but it often affects the ability to breastfeed.
I always knew my breasts were strange looking but never in a million years did I think that they would not produce milk as well. This was another blow to my already shot self-esteem. Not only are they ugly, they also are completely worthless and defective.
These feelings of shame and disgust dissipated with time, but (Un)well made them resurface.
A woman that was profiled in the episode, had hyperlactation syndrome which meant that she produced more milk than a baby would need. WAY more milk. This made me feel envious. It was so easy for her and impossible for me.
I must remember
I do not know why I cannot get completely over this. It was a long time ago. Plus, my son is only sick once a year with a cough and has never had a stomach virus in his almost six years of life. He has also never had an ear infection.
He is healthy.
Yeah, he has some special needs but that does not mean it is due to having to be formula fed. It could be from some fucked up genes he inherited from my husband and I.
We have a bond beyond this world that started the day he was born despite not being able to breastfeed. So why should I care anymore? I need to stop.
Fed really is best
I know that not being able to exclusively breastfeed like you were planning to, is rough. If you are reading this and have gone or are currently going through this, you are not alone.
Switching from breastfeeding to formula feeding (exclusively or part time) due to supply issues is doing the best you can for your baby. Just being fed is important!
If you are able to afford buying someone else’s breastmilk and you really want to do that, go for it. Just remember that as per the experts, other’s breastmilk may contain harmful bacteria. People may also put formula in it or water to sell a certain number of ounces so that they can make a certain amount of money.
If you have tuberous breasts
Having this type of breasts sucks in my opinion. If you are reading this and have these, you are not alone on this either! Thank goodness my husband is an ass man. Although that part of me is not that great either, haha.
I often think about getting a breast correction/augmentation but I am not sure. I plan on doing a post on this in the near future so stayed tuned if you are interested in that!
Watching Netflix’s (Un)well episode about breast milk left me feeling crappy. I am going to get over it though because there is nothing I can do about my failure to breast feed now.
My son is happy and healthy. I am in no way a failure of a mother. Neither is any other woman who decided that formula feeding was the right choice.
As I stated in another post, I am 100% sure that I had COVID-19 back in early March. Since then I have been a “long-hauler” where I have suffered from many symptoms that pop up here and there.
The feeling of chills or shivers (with no fever) coming over my body has been pretty constant up until late July. Is it the vitamin B12 I began taking or has time been kind to me in that regard?
A little about vitamin B12
This is a vitamin that gets talked about a lot. Supplementing with it is touted as helping with the following health issues:
B12 Deficiency- They say that many people are deficient in this vitamin. It may cause symptoms such as weakness, numbness/tingling, problems walking, fatigue, memory problems, shortness of breath, GI issues, moodiness, anemia and tinnitus. A whole host of things!
Homocysteine levels: High levels in the blood may cause issues such as heart disease and strokes.
Low cardiovascular endurance
Chronic fatigue syndrome
The dosages range from 1-10,000 mcg depending on age and what one is trying to treat. Supplementing with the vitamin is said to be well tolerated in general but there have been some reports of nausea when high doses are taken.
B12 is sold by various brands in the forms of tablets, softgels, skin patches, powders, liquid drops and gummies. One may also be able to get B12 through injections and IV infusions.
Having chills with no fever always seemed weird to me. Not only that but was incredibly annoying. I kept asking myself, “what are you doing, body?”
People on the long-hauler support groups would talk about having a fizzy and vibration-type feeling in their body. Vitamin B12 was something they claimed helped them. I have no idea if the chills/shivers I used to get a lot of are the same thing that they were/are talking about, but I decided to start taking B12 anyways.
I bought a bottle of 1000 mcg B12 tablets on Amazon in July. Since then I have been taking one a day. A lot of people have said that they felt an energy boost after taking the vitamin, but I really have not noticed that.
It was late July that my chills started to wear off which was shortly after starting the vitamin B12 tablets. At that point I was really close to five months since my initial illness. That seems like a point in recovery where a lot of COVID-19 long haulers start to have big improvements.
Since vitamin B12 is said to help with nerve issues, I wonder if that had something to do with the chills/shivers that would come over my body. If so, supplementing with the vitamin could be the cause of them lessening.
I am still not sure which one helped. Or has it been both?
In short, being a long hauler sucks
Yes, it really does.
It is shrouded in mystery. We really do not have a clue what is going on with our bodies-we just know we do not feel like ourselves anymore.
These obnoxious symptoms come and go for reasons that are not totally clear to us.
I am so glad that these chills have lessened considerably. Will they come back with a vengeance? I hope not, but time will tell.
Are you or someone you know a COVID-19 long hauler? What have your/their experiences been?
If you have read my other blog posts you would know that I am definitely not opposed to taking supplements. The unfortunate thing is that they are not always good for me.
A couple years ago, I tried taking evening primrose oil and I found out the hard way that it was not the right thing for my body. I wanted to share what happened to me.
About evening primrose oil
The evening primrose plants are native to North America. Needing full sun, the plants grow quickly and easily. They can produce yellow, pink, lavender and white colored flowers which may have a lemon scent to them depending on the variety
These plants are edible. The roots have even been used like vegetables in cooking.
The evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds. It contains fatty acids that includes gamma linolenic acid, linoleic and omega-3. This oil is said to help certain health ailments which are as follows:
PMS- Taking the oil by mouth may help with some symptoms women get before their periods.
Evening primrose oil is sold in softgels to be taken by mouth and in the oil form. The dosage by mouth is between 1-8 grams.
It is important to note that ingesting this oil may cause the following side effects:
Seizures in people with epilepsy or a general seizure disorder
Adverse interactions with anticoagulant medications, anesthesia and anti-psychotics
Making PMS symptoms even worse.
Why I wanted to start taking evening primrose oil
My physical PMS symptoms have been pretty severe for the past 5 years. The dread that I feel each month for certain parts of my cycle, is horrific. I hate it.
A couple of years ago, I had been on one of my many searches to find something that could help make my PMS easier to handle. I came across evening primrose oil on a forum and was really interested due to the positive experiences people were posting.
When I looked up evening primrose oil on Amazon, the reviews I read sounded great too. I became sold on it. I ended up buying a bottle of softgels from Sports Research and was excited for it to come in the mail!
First and last time taking it
I was in the midst of horrible PMS when my order arrived. Knowing that it would need time to build up in my system if it was going to work at all, did not deter me from taking it a few hours after I got it out of the box.
The dosage on the bottle has three softgels as a serving size. Since I am sensitive to things, I decided to take just one the first time and then work my way up. I made sure to take the softgel with a snack as it said to do on the bottle.
About thirty minutes after taking it, I noticed a warm feeling come over me. The warmth quickly changed to hot. It was like my skin was burning. I then got really dizzy and had severe nausea. Those feelings together were all too familiar to me.
I was feeling like I was going to have a seizure.
Seizures were something that I used to experience in the evenings. They went away once I started on medication thankfully. The fact that I felt I was going to have one again terrified me.
My husband was around to help me that night and tried to call me down. I woke up the next day with no memory of what happened after my husband came into our bedroom and sat with me.
I did not know at the time if I definitively had a seizure or not. After reading recently that it is not good for someone with a history of seizures to take, I am leaning towards the idea that it did cause me to have a seizure.
Evening primrose oil was not good for me at all. It was a scary experience that I never want to have happen again.
Make sure to do research the supplements you want to take
If you read a blurb about a supplement and it says it may help with a health issue that you have, look into it as much as you can. This is important so you know whether or not you should take it.
I really should have looked at the adverse effects of evening primrose oil instead of just focusing on the positive things that people were saying about it. Things just do not work for everyone. I am really glad that it works for others though.
Still searching for something that will help me
My hormones are completely out of whack. They may be even worse than they were back when I tried the evening primrose oil.
I am currently on the hunt for a supplement and or dietary changes that will help me have better menstrual cycles. Living like this is tough.
Have any of you tried evening primrose oil before? If so, what was your experience with it?