Feature Story:

 I developed an eating disorder at the age of 15. 

It started as anorexia but soon morphed into builimia and binge eating disorder. One day in the middle of winter I had a bad binge and felt so out of control and desperate that I overdosed not intending to kilI myself but just as a cry for help. I was sent to the hospital, had my stomache pumped and put on the adolescent unit of a psych ward for 2 weeks which did nothing for me. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, put on medication and was not properly treated for my eating disorder until I turned 30 years old and decided to go to a residential treatment facility. I went for 2 months and it really helped me but I did not have a solid outpoatient team and quickly relapsed.

I became underweight and malnourished, extremely depressed and extremely anxious. I snapped. Once again, after 15 years, I overdosed and ended up in the psych ward. At my wits end, I decided to try ECT. I had over 30 treatments. I lost a lot of my memory and had nothing positive from the treatments. Still depressed, anxious and anorexic, I went back to work as a teaching assistant but not for long before the exact same thing happened AGAIN. I went through the whole thing over again in the hospital, minus the ECT treatments. With the help of my husband and parents I entered a study for treatment refractory depression where I got a spinal tap and was diagnosed with a specific metabolic deficiency.

I am now being treated for this and I think the new medication is working. I am getting another spinal tap this week to see if my levels are better. I also went to residential treatment once again just 4 months ago for the eating disorder which helped and I now have a solid outpatient team. I have been through hell and beyond but I refuse to give up because I know better days lie ahead. I REFUSE TO GIVE UP. Thank you for speaking about mental health. I hope people continue to share their struggles and triumphs so we can stand together and realize that we are so much more than our illness.



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