Ericka’s Story: Ana, Mia and Ed

It’s national eating disorder awareness month, and the theme this year is “I had no idea.”

For a long time, I had no idea that there was anything wrong with the things that I was doing. A really brave friend finally spoke up, and I’m grateful for that.

I had no idea that it was so difficult to find support, resources, and treatment. The first therapist I talked to told me to smoke some weed and try not to be so self-involved. The next THIRTY NINE therapists I contacted all told me “no”. Most of them refused to work with anyone who might perhaps have unusual eating and exercise habits. The ones who were willing, all had waiting lists that were years long.

When lucky number forty finally agreed to see me, I had no idea that astronomical, financial burden would be exclusively mine to carry, because insurance coverage is limited at best, but more often non-existent or specifically excluded by some providers.

I didn’t know what to think when that 40th therapist handed me a printout after our first meeting.

ED

Suddenly, she didn’t seem so lucky though. And I hadn’t even realized yet the amount of work necessary to contend with those words. I had no idea that the mental characteristics of anorexia nervosa would persist long after the physical ones had faded.

I had no idea how valuable the effort I put into treatment would be. I have to work hard every single day. Sometimes days are too big, so I work hard minute by minute or second by second. Along the way, I have learned a lot about myself. I’ve seen myself conquer a terrifying task that seemed impossible at first.

I had no idea I was so brave.

I had no idea I was so capable.

I had no idea I was so tenacious.

I had no idea I could be successful.

I had no idea I am valuable to others.

I had no idea speaking up was worth it.

Today, I am using the strategies I have learned…

ED

…while applying for the internship of my dreams.

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