Hi, I'm Mike.
I suppose it would be helpful to share a little bit about myself. My friends call me Mike, but at the university where I work they call me Michael. It just kinda happened that years back when I first started my director kept calling me Michael and everyone else just followed suit. I let it happen because, after all, it was kind of a fun experiment.
An experiment that is still going on to this day.
I've played sports my whole life. My wife says that if there is a round object (i.e. ball) or frisbee, I will play forever.
Ironically enough, I dislike running apart from a game. I came across ultimate frisbee in graduate school. I never considered it a sport before then, but after playing it, I discovered that I loved it! Don't knock it until you try it, I guess.
Anyways, I'm writing a blog about eating disorder recovery and want to provide individuals suffering from eating disorders with creative, high quality eating disorder recovery resources.
Yes, this seems unrelated to sports.
How did I get into eating disorder work?
I suppose I haven't yet mentioned that I am a psychologist who specializes in treating individuals suffering from eating disorders. I kind of fell backwards into this area actually. I went through four years of my doctoral training in clinical psychology without feeling connected to a particular area of specialization. Then, in my last year of the program I obtained an internship at a hospital that had an eating disorder program. I decided to do a rotation within this program simply to do something different.
I found that I really enjoyed the work.
I had a great supervisor who was committed to helping me gain understanding into how to come alongside and help individuals suffering in this way. She helped me see how complex things can be, but yet how to empower people toward full recovery. I loved hearing her stories about seeing full recovery actually happen. It was intriguing and felt powerful and hope filled!
I've never looked back.
I think what I liked most about it was that I felt I could be authentic in a way that I did not sense as strongly prior to this experience. Maybe it was my supervisor's help and guidance, but something changed for me.
Since then I have worked within two inpatient programs, facilitated outpatient therapy, and started an outpatient meal support program with a close friend and colleague.
And now some friends and I are starting Recovery Spark.
Why start Recovery Spark?
Well, we want to provide high quality, real, genuine, authentic, creative, artistic eating disorder recovery resources to people who are struggling with an eating disorder and want to change.
"Want to change"
That is a term that needs some defining, right?
I am fully aware that struggling with an eating disorder often feels like you are struggling with two parts of your self. The part that wants to change and become well (the "healthy self") and the part of you that wants (or feels driven) to continue in the eating disorder (i.e. the "eating disorder self").
Many times the part that "wants to change" feels a lot smaller and weaker than the other part.
I'm ok with that.
AND, you will never see me or anyone at Recovery Spark attacking the "eating disorder self."
We hope that you will see that we want to encourage and empower the healthy self, the part of you that wants to change and wants to live out your true meaning in this world.
That is the part I am interested in, no matter how small it feels.
So, through our blog, photography, and films (coming soon),
I hope that you will sense our commitment to help you connect positive emotions with the truth about who you truly are as a human being.
I hope that you feel understood and safe reading or viewing our resources.
I hope that you view our work as genuinely caring. In fact, if it does not come across that way, please tell us! The last thing I want to do is have you walk away feeling that we are not authentic.
Anyone who suffers from an eating disorder and is seeking to change is a brave person.
We hope our resources are helpful tools that you can utilize in your pursuit of recovery. And always, always, feel free to reach out to us and share your thoughts. We would love to hear from you.
The purpose of this blog entry is to share eating disorder recovery related ideas and does not represent professional medical of psychological advice from Mike Thomas or Recovery Spark. For professional advice, please connect with the professional eating disorder specialist that you work with.