Surviving Eating Disorder Treatment

This past Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of my admission to Center for Discovery, my last inpatient treatment facility. It still gives me pause sometimes when I realize how long ago that was. It’s a good reminder of how far I’ve come and that although I still struggle and have challenging days, it used to be so much worse.

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Food Deprivation

Hungry. Low energy. Trouble sleeping. Irritable. Anxious. Hair falling out. Changes in mood. Always cold. These describe Julia when she was in the throes of her eating disorder. They also describe the symptoms experienced by kids with chronic hunger due to poverty. I find it curious that I have a daughter recovering from an eating disorder and a volunteer job coordinating a food assistance program for public school students with food insecurity. I didn’t think about this serendipitous connection in my life until it came to writing this post, and now that I am, I’m wondering if it was a subconscious, spiritual intervention or simply a coincidence. It gives me pause.

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How Health Class Triggered My Eating Disorder

It’s that time of the year when kids say goodbye to summer and return to school. While the current state of the world is posing unprecedented challenges to students, that transition—even under more normal circumstances—was always difficult for me. Whether it was in eighth grade when I rapidly spiraled into an eating disorder days after the school year began or my first hospital admission in the fall of ninth grade or having to medically withdraw from college last year after only one month, going back to school consistently caused quite a few problems.

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Eating Disorder Recovery as a Vegetarian

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a vegetarian. Both of my parents are pescatarian, so I grew up eating very little meat. I cut meat out altogether when I was seven, mostly for ethical reasons, then fish at age twelve, and I’ve never gone back. Being a vegetarian is all I’ve ever known, so you can imagine my surprise when my lifestyle was met with skepticism and disapproval by the doctors who treated me for my eating disorder.

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