Posts Tagged ‘Guest Bloggers’

How Sobriety Influenced my Eating Disorder Recovery

Rachel Moe

*Please keep in mind this is one person’s story and that everyone’s path to recovery and beyond will be unique.

Rachel Moe is a Registered Nurse, Emily Program client, Aunt, coffee connoisseur, and writer who loves sharing her experience through recovery in hopes of connecting with and helping others. Rachel started and leads an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting in Duluth, MN. She also recently started a blog and plans to dive more into recovery advocacy, as she is passionate about ending the stigma around mental illness. She loves to hike, spend time with her family and friends, write, and practice yoga.

I vividly remember the first time I was told by someone that I may be an alcoholic and I should consider a life of sobriety. It was a hot August day in the Twin Cities, I was 24 years old, and sitting in my therapist’s office in a residential treatment center for my eating disorder. I had already been struggling with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa since the age of 13. My parents were on the couch across from me, tears in both of their eyes, and we were participating in family week at treatment. Now, this was not the first time someone had brought up my drinking and substance abuse to me, this was just the first time that I chose to truly listen to what was being said. I could no longer deny my life was falling apart as a result of alcohol, drugs, and my eating disorder.

The flood of emotions came immediately that day—sadness, shame, anger, grief. I mostly felt sad for my parents. I felt as though I had already inflicted enough pain through my eating disorder, how could I add another diagnosis to the list that has been growing for as long as I can remember? I felt angry that once again, I was different from my peers. In my group of friends, I was always the friend who was too anxious to go out for pizza or ice cream, so how could I also be the sober one as well?

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Dear Eating Disorder…

Kelsa Wirth

*Trigger warning: please keep in mind that some recovery stories may mention eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak to your support system as needed.

*Kelsa Wirth was born and raised in a small town in Wisconsin. She is 24 and just graduated college. She plans to be a teacher and finds joy in the outdoors and spending time with family. Her eating disorder has affected her for over seven years. About two years ago, Kelsa decided to go to treatment at The Emily Program for help with her diagnosis of anorexia. She started residential treatment at the Anna Westin house in Saint Paul, where she received a warm welcome. While terrifying, she says treatment was the best decision of her life. Kelsa transitioned to Intensive Day Programming at The Emily Program following her residential stay. She had a wonderful experience in treatment and believes her team was amazing. Following residential and intensive day programming, Kelsa moved home and resumed her normal life. Unfortunately, after a year, her eating disorder became strong again. She experienced bulimia and shortly after decided to return to treatment at The Emily Program, where she found her true self. Currently, Kelsa is in treatment and back on the road to recovery. She chose to contribute this blog to help those battling an eating disorder and to encourage them to break up with their eating disorders. Kelsa’s advice to anyone struggling is to accept what their eating disorder has done and to be willing to make changes in the future. She believes everyone is worthy of recovery and she hopes that people can remember that.

Dear Eating Disorder,

I have always thought that goodbyes were hard but this one is second to the hardest goodbye I have ever dealt with in my 24 years of living. You have been in my life for over 7 years now and because of that, I have become attached to you; it scares me to even try to imagine living my life without you.

In the past seven years, I have created a new me, someone that isn’t what the typical Kelsa would be. Through these experiences, I have realized that you have truly changed my life in so many ways. I am writing you a letter to simply say goodbye because my healthy authentic Kelsa is becoming more present every day and I want to continue to grow as a person and become free of having you to take over and control me.

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The Road to Living, Not Just Surviving

Caitlin Ward

**Some guest stories may contain eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms. Please use your own discretion and speak with your therapist or support system as needed.

Caitlin Ward is a freshman at Bucknell University. She loves spending time with her family and friends who are there for her during every step of recovery. When she’s not busy with homework, Caitlin enjoys spending time with her dog and watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Perfection. Most people believe that being perfect is not realistic. That’s not me. I always thought I could be perfect. I was supposed to be the shining star of the family or the friend group, of everywhere I went. I tried my hardest at being perfect. I studied endlessly to get perfect grades. I always woke up early to put on makeup, put on a cute outfit, and do my hair even if I was up late doing my homework. It didn’t matter, I had to look like I was okay all the time, even if I cried myself to sleep because of my anxiety. The desire for perfection has always been a part of my life since I can remember. However, nothing I ever did made me “perfect” enough. I was thin. I was pretty. I was smart. I wasn’t thin enough. I wasn’t thin enough. I wasn’t smart enough. I felt like I lost control over my need to be perfect. I needed to regain control to become perfect.

So, I turned to food and exercise. I thought, you know what could make me more perfect, be the healthy one. Be the skinniest. Eat the least. Workout the most. So, I did. Most people would not be able to live this way. But, with everything I do I have such a high level of motivation to complete it with perfection. Restricting my diet really was not that difficult for me. Sure, I was hungry. I was tired. I missed out on a lot of social events. But, was I achieving “perfection?” No. I never achieved perfection. So, everything I did concerning food/weight/exercised needed to be controlled even more to make me more perfect. I would continuously cut down on calories and exercise more.

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My Story

Woman looking at skyline

**This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on the path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptom use. Please use your own discretion and speak with your support system as needed.

Jenny Osland is an advocate for mental health awareness and blog writer. She has taken her battles against anorexia and used them to become a strong bodybuilder. Her passion is to help others realize their worth by showing her strength of overcoming such a powerful illness and how others can too.

In high school, I went to get a physical and found out that I had lost a significant amount of weight. This led my parents to make me go out and “eat a big bowl of pasta” thinking that would help. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and never in a million years did I think I would end up like that. I was the one who could eat a whole pizza and then snacks right after. I was so scared.

It started when I was playing two sports at once. I became extremely cautious about how much I was eating and I was not sure why. I would find myself counting calories and watching serving sizes. There were times I would ask my mom what was for dinner and then sprint to the cupboard to check the nutrition facts, which would lead me to break down in fear. I would start crying and go back to my mom and tell her I didn’t like what she was going to make. “I didn’t like it” was the lie I constantly told. Truth is, I would have loved to eat the pasta but my mind was so strong it led me to say no to everything I once enjoyed.

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