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View Full Version : Jennifer Kirk's blog: "... skating taught me far more than winning and losing"



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Sparks
05-30-2012, 04:41 PM
Jenny's latest FB post:
Thank you all for your incredibly kind messages, e-mails and comments! I am going to respond to everyone; it just takes me a second :) Thank you even more, though, for reposting and passing along what I wrote, so hopefully, younger skaters won't stumble into those pitfalls and those who have will know they're not alone. Thank you again!! ♥

viennese
05-30-2012, 09:32 PM
Knocked out, once again, by Kirk's blog. It's painful to read of her struggle with bulimia. I was sad to learn of her decision to retire in the 2005/5 season and figured it was something to do with that.

Only because I also struggled with the same issue. One thing that makes this behavior so dangerous is the desire to keep it secret - we get good at it, out of embarrassment.

As one therapist asked me, very pointedly, "how does this illness serve you?" As I got better, I figured out the the body image/food stuff was only part of it - the behavior, the whole ritual requires that you have a whole secret life, you basically live apart from everyone, thinking you're in charge of your body while in fact, the illness rules your life. Great way to isolate yourself from the world. And good excuse for not confronting and living life.

It feels so much better now, living with imperfections.

overedge
05-30-2012, 09:39 PM
As one therapist asked me, very pointedly, "how does this illness serve you?" As I got better, I figured out the the body image/food stuff was only part of it - the behavior, the whole ritual requires that you have a whole secret life, you basically live apart from everyone, thinking you're in charge of your body while in fact, the illness rules your life. Great way to isolate yourself from the world. And good excuse for not confronting and living life.

It feels so much better now, living with imperfections.

I really like the question you were asked, and what it made you think about. Good for you.

skatesindreams
05-30-2012, 11:21 PM
It feels so much better now, living with imperfections.

I'm glad that you found treatment, viennese.

MacMadame
05-31-2012, 01:39 AM
I see your point, but the wording she used was "my dad and coaches found out about my eating disorder, but nothing was done to get me the help I needed". I didn't read that as her not being cooperative with efforts to get help.
Just because she didn't get the help she needed, doesn't mean they didn't try to help her. It just may have been the help they provided wasn't what she needed.



As for her father and her coaches doing nothing, when I was teaching, there were occasionally girls with all the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. Counselors, teachers, and sometimes athletic coaches would approach their parents and the responses would be that it was all under control or that the daughter was just concerned with health and nutrition or that if it were really bad they would do something but it was not bad enough, etc...Parents can see a lot and still choose denial. These are usually high achieving kids and parents assume that their high achiever has it together all the time.

Well it could have been that too.

I am just saying there are two sides to everything and having been on both sides now, I can see where both sides might be honestly trying, but failing vs. no one even trying.

berthesghost
05-31-2012, 03:03 AM
Also, her dad was dealing with the death of his wife... I'm confused. Jenny's parents had been divorced for a long time (like 10 years iirc), her mom had died 2-3 years previously, and Jenny hints that a big part of her stress at the time was due to unwittingly uncovering that her Dad was cheating on her step mom, something he asked her to keep secret, so......

MacMadame
05-31-2012, 04:29 AM
It's not uncommon for divorced people to wig out when their former spouses die though. If you have a kid with someone, you really are connected to them forever.

ballettmaus
05-31-2012, 07:42 AM
Just because she didn't get the help she needed, doesn't mean they didn't try to help her. It just may have been the help they provided wasn't what she needed.


Though she seems very honest in those blogs which makes me wonder if she might have mentioned if they had tried. Really tried, not just told her that what she was doing was wrong (and she needed help).
I guess both is possible - that they tried or ignored it.

Japanfan
05-31-2012, 07:47 AM
She explained that they didn't try to help her because they were so invested in her career. That's fairly easy to understand. She was on the brink of gaining a spot to compete in the Olympic Games. Her parents probably spent a fortune on her skating and her coach put in a ton of time and energy.

It's possible that she didn't make the extent of her eating disorder clear, but I take her at her word when she says she didn't get the help she needed.

viennese
05-31-2012, 02:55 PM
She explained that they didn't try to help her because they were so invested in her career.....

It's possible that she didn't make the extent of her eating disorder clear, but I take her at her word when she says she didn't get the help she needed.

A couple of factors might have played into this. 1) it's easy to hide just how bad it is, if your weight is remaining pretty much stable

2) you might get some help - talk therapy, once or twice a week - but later on you or your therapist realize that you ought to be, at least for a while at an inpatient / or full time day outpatient program. Which will put school, sports, everything on hold for a month or so but will stabilize your physical health.

however it is very hard, sometimes, for parents, friends, coaches to comprehend that a stint of full time medical/psychiatric help is what's needed to treat this illness.

MacMadame
05-31-2012, 03:42 PM
^^THIS

I think it's perfectly possible for what Jenny said to be true while it also being true that her coach and parents did think they were helping her and weren't just cold-heartedly ignoring her problems.

In particular, being invested in her career could have made them make poor decisions even if they had the best of intentions.

berthesghost
06-01-2012, 02:37 AM
^^THIS

I think it's perfectly possible for what Jenny said to be true while it also being true that her coach and parents did think they were helping her and weren't just cold-heartedly ignoring her problems.

In particular, being invested in her career could have made them make poor decisions even if they had the best of intentions.Shrug.. this seems kinda generalized. Possible: yes. Probable: I'm not so sure.

From what we've been told about these people, Jenny's Mom was way too invested and both could have benefitted had Mrs Kirk reeled it in a bit. Mr Kirk OTOH seemed to have the opposite issue. Perhaps this was due to the failed marriage, but... Jenny was 19 and living on her own for the first time, and her Dad was using her as a cover to cheat on his wife, and then asked his kid to keep his dirty secret for him. IDK, but this doesn't scream "super aware male who puts his kids' needs before his own" to me. And Frank is no Robin. At least not after Linda and Chris. Jenny was new to him and he really didn't have much invested in her. If anything, it sounds like she slipped thru the cracks. She conveintely left all mention of Evan out of the story. Weren't they going all hot and heavy at the time?

At any rate: it's Jenny's story and she had the chance to say things like "They tried to help, but couldn't." etc... What she chose to say was
but nothing was done

Sit_spin
06-01-2012, 05:33 AM
She conveintely left all mention of Evan out of the story. Weren't they going all hot and heavy at the time?

That's what I thought...

agalisgv
06-01-2012, 09:52 AM
2) you might get some help - talk therapy, once or twice a week - but later on you or your therapist realize that you ought to be, at least for a while at an inpatient / or full time day outpatient program. Which will put school, sports, everything on hold for a month or so but will stabilize your physical health.
I thought Kirk was pretty clear that what she "needed" was to stop skating and go into full-time treatment. Anything other than that was not what she needed according to her.

As you described, I'm not sure it was clear to others in her life that what she needed was to stop skating, but rather receive support *while* skating.

Just reading her entries, she says explicitly she lost the drive to compete after leaving Evy. And her eating disorder seemed to function in part to get her out of skating. I don't mean that in a bad way-- only that she seemed to have lost any drive for skating, but didn't feel she could just walk away from it. The eating disorder was a way of forcing the issue in some respects. I don't think that was necessarily all that clear to those around her, though.

MoreIce
06-03-2012, 08:58 AM
During the year or so that Jenny skated in LA, my dd skated at that rink many times. At the time gossip around the rink was that she was having some serious problems, the one I mostly heard about was with alcohol. However her skating always looked fine so it was almost hard to believe. In my opinion, if rink moms knew about these things, then the coaches certainly did and she is accurate in saying nothing was done by them.

Question did I miss this or did she mention if she got any type of inpatient/ outpatient help after she stopped skating?