Letter from the Founder

ProfileDear Friends,
I can hardly believe that this year has already come to an end! For many of us who are recovered, the holidays can be a time of joy and celebration. It's a time when we can be with family and dear friends. We share laughter, memories, sometimes tears — and finally, the pleasure of eating with our loved ones.

For people who are still struggling with eating disorders and depression, the holidays bring up many different kinds of stressors. Most holiday events future huge quantities of food. There may be a great deal of pressure from well-meaning friends and family to eat and drink more than is comfortable for us. Dysfunctional family interactions are another sources of stress. For some of us, holidays may bring up unpleasant memories of previous occasions. For others, holidays never quite live up to expectations. If we use eating disorder behaviors as a way of coping with stress in our lives, it's almost guaranteed that the holidays will be a time when we're most active in our behaviors, experiencing consequent increases in depression, guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Therapists can help their clients through these difficulties by inviting them to role-play potentially stressful scenarios, and developing structured plans for navigating the holidays, as well as practicing assertiveness techniques to deal with family and social pressures. Your therapist may advise you to limit your exposure to particularly "toxic" people and destructive interactions.

But what if your therapist isn't available during the holidays? If you're struggling and have no one to call, you can Ask the Doctor for support. Mirasol's web site also offers links page to other eating disorder resources. I also highly recommend myselfhelp.com, which offers online, self-help programs which are available 24-hours a day. And finally, experiment with Seventy Ways to Survive the Holidays (see below).

Be kind to yourself and those you love, and give yourself the gift of a warm and joyful holiday season!

Jeanne Rust, PhD

Half-Day Workshop Teaches Skills to Support Your Path to Recovery

Survival Skills for Health and Recovery in College

intensive eating disorder recovery Join us for this exciting new workshop on staying healthy while you stay in school. Learn new skills for managing the conflicts that come with body insecurity, low self-esteem, building a support system, and managing an eating disorder. This four-hour workshop includes education, discussion, experiential activities and coping skills that you can take with you into your next semester. Open to college students 18 years of age and older.

· Ann Twilley, MA, LAC, EFT certified
· Diane Ryan, MA, CPT
· Lynne MacNeil, MATS, LMSW.

Saturday, January 3, 2009, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm at the Radisson Suites, Tucson, 6555 East Speedway. $75 covers the workshop, snacks, beverages and all supplies. RSVP by December 31 to atwilley@mirasol.net.

Seventy Ways to Survive the Holidays

If and when you're having a tough time during the holidays, begin by reading through this list. Check off the things that sound interesting to you. There are so many suggestions that you'll feel better by the time you reach the end! From something-fishy.org