Going Kinda, Sorta, Off The Grid

Ok, crappy post forthcoming.

First some history. I’ve scuffled with anorexia the last few years. In 2010 I got better, but when I moved to Columbus in January of this year I relapsed and I relapsed hard. Stress, like the stress of leaving my comfort zone, moving to a new place, and having a new job, can lead to relapses, which is precisely what happened to me. In March I discovered that not only had the anorexia returned with a vengeance, but that I was also having hallucinations with mirrors and other reflective surfaces (will spare the details). That lasted a little under four months and has only flared up for a day or two since.

Yesterday I went to the doctor for a check up and got weighed. I have gained just under five pounds in the last 45 days. Much of it, I’m sure, is muscle – eating 300g of protein a day will do that. I knew when I agreed to heed my trainer’s advice and alter my diet that this was coming. Still, it was a tough pill to swallow. Later in the day that my hallucinations had returned. This is not as bad as it sounds, so don’t freak out. I am aware they’re hallucinations. I know I’m as not-fat as I was at the start of the day and that seeing otherwise is the result of a malfunctioning brain, not of reality. It’s still a minor pain in the ass though and it’s definitely something that should raise some concern.

After chatting it over with my therapist, we agreed that I need to find a way to take more time for myself and reduce stress, since that stress is especially threatening since I’ve been doing so much better. We don’t want another relapse, which is always a reality with this condition. Two steps forward, one step back. Such is the road to recovery.

My life consists of very little personal time right now, and in the interest of protecting myself I’m going to do a few things. The first one, that I really hate, is I’m going to stop being available to chat on facebook or any of the other means by which people can get a hold of me. I am so flattered that people want to speak to me or value my advice on deconstructing religion. I want to give everybody a piece of my time who wants it and have always tried to do that. But right now, it’s to a point where it’s burning me out and taking away from a lot of the things I want to do. I’m so, so sorry. This is only temporary while I recharge my batteries. You can send me emails at wwjtd21[at]gee mail[dot]com. I will not be able to answer all emails during this period, but will get to all that I can.

I will also stop writing out of obligation, and instead will only write when something strikes me. This may mean some days without a post, some days with twelve. Hopefully it will mean the return of regular posts like Saturday Fitness and Monday MTG.

During my entire life as an atheist activist I have endeavored to respond whenever somebody has contacted me, even if it’s just about trivialities. I want to be connected to everybody in this movement who wants to be connected to me. This is the first time I’m going to stop doing that and, honestly, I feel guilty. I know I shouldn’t. I know you guys will understand. But I still do. The readers of my blog and other members of the community have always been so supportive of me, and I wish I could tell you all just how grateful I am. I know hiding away for a bit is a lame way to do it, but I’ll be back.

I need to take care of myself first. I’m no use to the movement or to anybody else if I’m running myself into the ground.

Thanks for understanding.

You guys are wonderful.
PERSONAL: Happy birthday, Hitch.
PERSONAL: Sorry to disappoint you, Julian.
Introducing a new contributor: Gabrielle.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • John Welte

    Will be thinkin’ about you JT. Hang in there. You can’t help others effectively without taking care of yourself first. I understand and I think others will too.

  • John Eberhard

    Nothing is ever so bad that a little well-placed guilt can’t make it delightfully worse, whether we deserve it or not.
    Take care of yourself and hang in there.

  • tehlise

    You’re badass, JT. You can do this, take some JT time and take care of yourself. Loads of people out there care about you and would gladly take a little break if it means seeing you through a tough spot!

  • Ubi Dubium

    You’re doing important work, and you can’t do it well if you are stressed and your health is suffering. We need you, so take care of yourself. Remember:

    “In the event of sudden depressurization the oxygen mask will drop automatically. Put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others with theirs.”

    Wise advice.

  • embertine

    *shakes fist at universe for being perverse and uncaring*

    Take any and all time that you need. I’m sure we’d all rather you were well and rested than that you feel obliged to post all the time.

    *virtual hug*

  • http://www.facebook.com/gkhenderson greghenderson

    Definitely take care of yourself 1st. All that other stuff can wait.

    Hang in there buddy.

  • Blenster

    You know how to reach me if you need me; I’m ready to listen and talk if you like. I’ve some experience with this, as we’ve discussed. Take care, man, and stay strong…

  • SabsDkPrncs

    Do what’s best for you. If you’re as engaged as I am, you’ll probably read all these posts, and possibly feel like you should answer. I only speak for myself here, but don’t do it just because you feel obligated. Screw this jerk (me!), and go do something fun. For me, when I’m battling the crippling depression it’s baking things or burning things in huge campfires (also good ways to get company, people seem to love cookies and blowing things up).

    Take care.

  • Cwayne

    Wish there was a way to flip a switch and make your brain see the reality that there is nothing wrong with your body, i.e. you are not fat/overweight or anything remotely like that.
    Hang in there man. Don’t know what else to say… only that your writing on atheism is occasionally superb which is not something I can even say about professional writers.

  • Carol Eberhard

    Take care of you, you’re the only you I’ve got.
    Love and hugs!

    • Cwayne

      He is great. Love that line too.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

    Get better my friend. It’s very honorable to deal with mental / behavioral health issues so publicly. You’re a great asset to the skeptic universe, we need you in top form! Do what you gotta do, brother.

  • http://the-heretics-haven.blogspot.com/ Ben Crockett

    No worries, JT. Just do whatever you need to in order to be healthy.

  • Richard

    We’re all rooting for ya, and I don’t mean messing around on a linux box… and frankly I have no idea what you’d be doing hiding in an open source OS.

  • http://terahertzatheist.ca Ian

    No one should feel obligated to apologize for looking after themselves, its just a sign you care so much. Keep up the good fights JT.

    Also, here’s a thought: I imagine you get a lot of overlap in your emails, so if you still want to respond you can perhaps bundle a few and post a generalized respons here. That way you (hopefully) have a bit more time and still get to answer most of your questions.

  • sphex

    Delurking to echo what others have said: You rock, we will wait, and taking care of yourself is the first crucial step in helping others. Plus, guilt sucks. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way…

  • ajb47

    I’m going to repeat what others have said. You have to take care of yourself first. I would suggest that music can help, but you probably know that. Paraphrasing Triumph, it’s the only magic power worth believing in.


  • Glodson

    Taking care of yourself should be a priority. So a few fewer posts and such is a small price to pay to see you get better. So take care of yourself.

  • greglammers

    Stay strong JT and remember that you have a lot of friends who will be there for you.

  • Lana C

    You are a great person, inside AND out. You just take care of yourself, and realize that your supporters want nothing more than for you to be there in future times, healthy and happy. No guilt, you are the most important person in your life, the rest of us are lucky to have your insight, and will wait for it.

    • Jeannie in PA

      YES! YES! Take care of yourself first! We are lucky to have you, and we want you to go the distance. So treat yourself right.

  • Melanie

    Take all the time you need to take care of yourself. You’ve recognized the need to take a break and are being proactive about your health. Don’t worry or feel guilty about that. We’ll still be here rooting for you and awaiting your full return to ass kicking. :)

  • Katie Tims

    Pshaw. You relax, ok? Take care of yourself!

  • Karin

    You rock, JT, no matter what! Take good care of yourself.

  • http://ummwhat.tumblr.com Carly

    JT! You are SO important, to the atheist movement of course, but also to yourself. I’m happy that you’re taking extra time to care for yourself. With a dangerous mental illness like yours, I think you’re making the best decision.

    I look forward to your return and I hope you are able to de-stress.

  • Ze Madmax

    Take care of yourself JT!

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty


    Go do what you need to do to stay healthy — we’ll still be here.

  • geocatherder

    Get Well!!!!!!!!!

  • LadyBlack

    I feel saddened that there won’t be so many posts, but that’s only because I love your writing, and you are like an oasis in a desert. You’re more important though, take care, look after yourself.