A Journey from Victim to Survivor…to Living Freely

A Letter to the CEO and Founder

on July 8, 2016

I’m sharing an email I sent to the Founder of the eating disorder center I have been a client of…I’ve taken out the names (of individuals and the center name) and am going to keep my photos to myself…however, I hope you gain insight as to where I was and am…healing is possible ❤


Dr. H,


You and I walked out of the center a month ago…me, undone by the numbers on a scale, you, offering strength and encouragement…promising me that if I kept fighting, so would you.  Your words, hugs and reminders of my strength have carried me through this last month…a memory and mantra that have allowed me to face the eating disorder head on and choose recovery…even when, especially when, I work through my day meal by meal, snack by snack, skill by skill by skill.  I reach out for support…from J, from S from fellow friends who battle this same beast…and, it comes in the eyes of my children, their words, their hugs, snuggles and love.

I told you on that day we spoke that being at this center had saved my life…and it’s true.  I’m attaching a photo from a neighborhood gathering in July 2012…bearing a smile that doesn’t quite meet the weariness in my eyes, hair cut shorter because it was falling out in clumps and breaking as I ran my hands through it, light lanugo on my grayish-toned face…my body temperature was around 97 degrees and my heart rate was off at times.  It took a step on the scale, one of 40 plus weights a day, a smile over the latest loss–and then this thought “Those last 2lbs were easy…let’s see how the next 5 go” that had me stepping back…and realizing, it would never end…there would always be more weight to lose…I could never lose enough to be invisible…and maybe, just maybe, I should see about getting help.  I’d been looking at website for months…terrified at the prospect of recording food, of sharing my secrets I’d spent over 20 years perfecting, having no idea how I could separate out “Me” for “this”.  Yet, in late July, with shaking hands and tears in my eyes, I called.  After a phone interview and an appointment scheduled for Level of Care, those tears fell and fell…I was so scared.  I was ashamed to tell a close friend what I’d done…what I was doing…yet, she came with me to meet with A…and it was the tears in her eyes and saying “This is the gift you need…” that had me agreeing I needed treatment…more than “Maybe I’ll meet with a Psychologist once a month” (my thoughts going in), I would start IOP (finding out later that PHP was what I’d need if I didn’t begin to show improvement in the first couple of weeks).  I met J…and S…and M…and K…and A…and so many more…my fellow warriors against this disorder…my family at the center…my home away from home.  The first place I felt safe in a very long time.

The photo beside the “sick” photo is a year after starting treatment…And, the last photo, my children and I hiking in the Smokies a few days after I spoke with you.  Healing has come in leaps and bounds, but most often in quiet whispers…in choosing to take that next right step…in realizing that the “comfy coat of ED” is actually scratchy and makes me sick…in learning that I am so many wonderful characteristics, made up of so much more than ED behaviors…I have told you that your center saved my life–It’s also taught me how to live freely…and, I cannot thank you enough for creating this place that is so much more than a place…thank you, again and again.

With much love and gratefulness,


Celebrating Nearly Four Years in Recovery


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