Updated: Apr 23
How Vulnerability Led to my Recovery
Tomorrow is my birthday. Five years ago on my birthday, I was sitting in a behavioral health hospital starting treatment for life-threatening anorexia, a condition that had resulted after I developed PTSD from a traumatic event that year.
My orientation to the treatment program began at the registration office. The person said, “Next, you will go to the dining hall to meet a therapist. Just look for the table that has a sign, ‘Eating Disorder Program’ and wait there.”
As I waited at the table, that conspicuous sign felt like a flashing neon light. I felt alone, embarrassed, shameful… and feared that the people in the other non-eating disorder treatment programs were staring at me and judging. Thinking of my recent accomplishments made me feel a little better. I was just weeks away from finishing several multi-year projects at work, and just a month earlier, I had defended my dissertation and was officially a doctor. However, even those reminders didn’t take away the shame… because only 5 weeks after finishing my PhD, I found myself in my 40s, at the peak of my professional life, staring at that sign.
Healing from anorexia was a gradual process of coming out of hiding, and sitting at that table was a significant step. Before that time, I had been slowly decompensating, but working hard to keep anyone from noticing. I was continuing to perform well at work, take care of my children, and I generally looked okay to someone from the outside. But inside I was crumbling. When I finally had the courage to say, "I am not okay, I need help," it opened the door to the possibility of healing.
Brené Brown said, “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” For me, practicing that kind of courage was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but led me to the place of recovery where I am today.
To anyone who has been in hiding with an eating disorder: talk to someone who can help… a professional, a trusted friend, or family member. Recovery and healing are possible. You don’t have to be alone or hide any longer.
To learn more of my story or to talk about how to get started in recovery, let's schedule a time to talk: