Be the change you wish to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi
Yoga, dogs, and inspirational ideas to ponder.
Topics I tend to write about with some frequency. There is no doubt that I am passionate about those subjects, and like to express my passions and share them with others through my writing. The articles in my blog are intended to provide hope, motivation, and bring light and hope into a world that can be so dark at times. However, another issue that is extremely close to my heart, doesn't find its way into my blog posts as often as I would like it to. Because it is a sensitive subject, sometimes I feel like it is better off confined to the private pages of my personal journal. That topic is: Eating Disorder Recovery.
In this post I am allowing myself to be open, honest and vulnerable in order to make a point. If you are close to me, there is a good chance you know my story… or at least parts of it.
I have struggled on and off with disordered eating since I was seventeen years old (junior in high school). The key words there are "ON AND OFF"- I have had long periods of positive progress and recovery, and also periods of unfortunate relapse.
A few general statistics about Eating Disorders:
- Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
- Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.
- Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.
- Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.
- 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8.
- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Those statistics make me so sad.
This past summer, I finally sought treatment for my ongoing battle. When I finally made the decision to go it blew my mind at how difficult it was to:
- Find a treatment center in Michigan (I didn’t)
- Find a treatment center that took my insurance (no Michigan centers meant no in-network insurance coverage)
- The actual cost of going away to get the treatment I needed (2 months of treatment is close to $100,000)
The fact that it was so difficult to find and afford, adequate care made me SO angry. The whole process was a pain in the ass. I am blessed that I have insurance, and was able to go get the help I needed, but most people are not so lucky. Way too many men and women go untreated, or improperly treated because of the astronomical costs. Therefore they are stuck trying to "fix themselves". Sure this may work in the short-run, but in my experience and my research, the likelihood of relapse is a lot higher.
So yes- I went away to treatment for two months last year. It was the scariest, hardest thing I had to do in my life, but I am glad I went. Although I still had some difficulties upon returning home, it taught me a lot about how strong of a person I am. The support I got from my family, Joe, my friends and coworkers made my time away a little easier as well.
Although I know I still have some work to do…. (But who doesn’t?!) I am writing today from a place where I can honestly say I am feeling the best I have in the past (almost) 10 years.
So why the heck am I going on and on writing about this?
I like to think that I was faced with these challenges to not only test my strength, but prove that I can overcome anything. As I continue to make progress on my personal journey, I have a deep desire to help others and use this battle for good. I want to get more focused on my desire to make an impact on treatment options, yoga therapy, and making these resources not only more available, but also more affordable for people who may be struggling.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a "Yoga and Body Image Intensive" put on by an organization called "Eat Breathe Thrive". This is a non-profit organization which prevents and helps individuals recover from disordered eating and negative body image through yoga and community (I highly recommend you check out their website)!
Over a three-day period, I met an amazing group of people who all share a common interest in Recovery, Community, and making some sort of impact (even if it is just in their own lives). I left the intensive feeling inspired, hopeful and optimistic that I can use my battles for good and to benefit the lives of others. My goal upon completing the separate trainings is to start and run a program in Michigan, and eventually start my own work with helping others overcome their own unique challenges. Since there are currently no programs running in my area, I see this an a perfect opportunity to start something wonderful !
Stay Tuned <3