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April 19th, 2006


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anemonely
02:16 am - A few more questions...
Hi all,

I posted a few weeks ago asking some questions about your participation in eating disorder-related communities. I'm a Wesleyan University student conducting research on these sites for my seminar on Eating Disorders. I'm looking at the ways in which these communities alternately provide supportive environments for recovery or provide a way to maintain or exacerabate these disorders. Your participation is very much appreciated, and I'd like to thank everyone who responded last time. If you'd rather e-mail me your responses, or have any questions/further comments for me, my e-mail address is jaryan@wesleyan.edu.

1. In what ways do you feel that your membership in online communities devoted to eating disorders shapes your identity?

2. Do you feel that you take on a specific identity in this community that is not necessarily the one you exhibit outside of this realm?

3. Would you say that your online identity is more or less your “true self”?

4. If in recovery, do you feel that online support is more or less effective than group or individual therapy? Why?

5. If not in recovery, what is your opinion on how these communities affect your eating disorder? Is it possible to voice your true feelings in situations outside of this community?

Again, thanks so much to everyone who replied last time. If you would like to see the presentation, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Cheers,
Jenny

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[User Picture]
From:lilbabynobody
Date:April 19th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
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1. In what ways do you feel that your membership in online communities devoted to eating disorders shapes your identity?

I think it's a self-identification mechanism. It makes you feel like you're part of something bigger than yourself, and cuts down on the isolation many people have often felt when they've been faced with the reality of a situation.

However, at the same time, it often becomes a "pissing contest" in which people who aren't really ready to recover often see the way other people respond to the illnesses and try to "out sick" them.

2. Do you feel that you take on a specific identity in this community that is not necessarily the one you exhibit outside of this realm?

I tend to take on a kind of "cheerleader" role, encouraging people I've met through the hard times in real recovery, giving them the positive feedback they seem to need in their little victories, and generally trying to help them rediscover who they are outside the disease.

3. Would you say that your online identity is more or less your “true self”?

I hope it's more. Online, I can be more honest with other people, and I have time to truely think out my responses. I can really tell people what I want to say, even if my comments are deleted after a quick glance.

4. If in recovery, do you feel that online support is more or less effective than group or individual therapy? Why?

It's far and away less effective than any other method I've seen. With the anonymity of the online community comes a sense of power among the members. They don't have to be there, so they get to define what they think is "support." I was once in a mental illness community where many people questioned the validity of someone's complaint that their bipolar had cost them something like thirty jobs in three years. The responses were all from other people with BPD, but the community mod jumped our cases for our "lack of support" for someone who wanted to use her diagnosis as a means to an income. I've also seen communities who stated that they were not pro-ED, but encouraged "thinspiration" and technique advice.

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