A belated introduction...

It is time for a belated introduction. Of me... to me

Laura, meet Laura:

Laura Collins is my pseudonym, which I used to write my book in 2004. Laura Lyster-Mensh is the name I use in my daily life and the rest of my writing career. Collins is a family name of my dear grandmother. The reason for the pseudonym was to preserve my daughter's privacy as she grew up (she was 16 when I wrote the book).

As a very wise physician told me back then: "Don't make your daughter into a professional anorexic."

And as it turned out, this worked well. She got to grow up without a whole lot of scrutiny from strangers, and I was very healed by the ability to get out and fight in a very public way for better treatment and against the legacy of blaming families for eating disorders. She has always supported my work, even comes to ED events and has spoken publicly, but had little interest in getting more involved herself - her job has been being healthy, growing up and leading a life not held in place by a book and on TV.

But there have been unintended consequences. LC has become a one-note Sally without a real life. And LLM's real life has a peculiarly empty resume the past few years.

So, in concert with the theme of the recent NEDA conference, "Break the Silence," I begin the process of becoming one person again personally and professionally. Hello, me. Hello, you.


  1. Laura,

    What a clever way to introduce yourself to the internet world!, plus keeping with this years NEDA theme "ingenious" as always..
    Let me just say again, It was so great to meet you in person in Austin, the suspense an experience, is still so overwhelming.
    As "Laura Collins" you will always be my Hero.. As Laura Lyster-Mensh,you will always be a Great Friend. your kindered spirit,Denise

  2. Very nice to meet you ... and what a healthy thing to do in modeling identity, which is often such an issue for people with eating disorders.

    As it was wise to not make your daughter a professional anorexic, it is evolutionary for you to grow from a role where you could live one-dimensionally as a pseudonym for a professional anorexic-mother. It is also symbolic for families and sufferers that they needn't/shouldn't "hide" in the shadows of shame and stigma.

    I think it is a strength to embrace your power as a parent-advocate ... so often in activism (and journalism), the strongest agent of change (and the most compelling story) is when we can "put a face" on an issue/illness/cause.

    Congratulations on your evolution, your accomplishments, and your endeavor to effect change for the better in this emerging and difficult area.

  3. Oh, wow. You look much younger than I pictured you :) It's nice to finally put a face with a name. I'm applying for a travel grant to attend next year's NEDA conference and now I'll be able to spot you in the crowd.

  4. Absolutely beautiful. Inside and out.

    So wonderful to meet the other you.


  5. Hello Laura - from ummmmmmm, who am I again?

  6. Rachel, I can't believe your feminist-self left an appearance-based comment!

  7. Lovely to meet you Laura and very nice to 'see' you. It's not important, as I have come to realise, to know what someone looks like in order to make a connection or to feel you 'know' them in some small way but it is nice to have a fuller picture. Laura, thank you for all you have done and are doing; you have my gratitude and my admiration. I wish you all the best with becoming 'one' again.

  8. Rachel - I'll buy you lunch!

    Thank you for the welcome, everyone. It feels good to be, well, me today.

  9. Oh Laura- wonderful to finally place a face to EWYA! XO- Tracey


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