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In my delusional world, starving was my only vice toward attaining the ultimate accomplishment; death. Bingeing was my only way of embracing indulgence. And purging was my only release from the hell hole I was trapped in.
I thought I’d live the rest of my life stuck on repeat. No one would ever hear me, no one would ever love me, and no one would ever see the value in my life. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without wanting to throw my head into the glass. My life had become meaningless. I didn’t know truth, I didn’t know compassion, and I didn’t know the depths of my own strength. All I knew was that I hated myself. I hated my soul, mind, and body. Nothing was good enough, and I just knew with every fiber in my being that nothing would ever be able to change me. I was doomed to stay tormented for the rest of eternity, whether that be one more day or 60 plus years ahead of me.
I condemned myself to living a life imprisoned by the hurtful words and actions of other people until I stepped onto the property of Rosewood Ranch. It took a lot of angst and tears to get me there, but once checked in and worked beyond the initial shock of entering treatment for the first time in my whole life, I could tell that I had come to the right place. I needed Rosewood, and Rosewood needed me.
The first memory I have from Rosewood was of a strange but oddly warm woman walking into the laundry room and smiling at me while I was sitting on a couch waiting to be evaluated by a nurse. I didn’t know it then, but this woman’s smile meant so much more than hello. She was smiling in a way that only fellow patients could smile at each other. Her smile meant unconditional and requited love. Her smile told me that I would be okay amidst my whirlwind process of drastic change.
I gained so much from every single experience that I had at Rosewood Ranch and Capri. Sure, not all of it was great fun, but between my inpatient and partial hospital stays I found so much love and so much growth that I never could have found anywhere else. I laughed, cried, and struggled. I loved, fought, and speculated. But most importantly, I trusted in the treatment that Rosewood laid out for me. If it hadn’t been for the treatment team telling me to stay and continue with their wise and vital aftercare recommendations, I never would be as alive as I am today.
I met so many women and men who shared stories so similar to mine. We were able to support and love each other through our learning and grieving processes, and we were able to hold each other up high when we felt we were about to break and give in.
I gained the skills and support that I needed to jumpstart my recovery after entering treatment during such a time of crisis in my life. And I finally found a place of serenity within myself that I needed so that I could be grateful for all that I do have and all I have been gifted with.
Thank you, Rosewood. You taught me how to live again.
And thank you, universe. You gave me a second chance at life when I thought I would be gone all too quickly.
Healing definitely did not come easily or naturally to me. I think I fought the process every step of the way until one day, I finally woke up and realized I was completely exhausted fighting against myself.
I struggled with anorexia for over half of my life. I was born into a very chaotic family, every bit of stability I found growing up was taken from me in one way or another. This left me confused, afraid, and searching for comfort. I found that comfort in an eating disorder.
I spent 10 years going through therapy, treatment programs, and support groups. I fought hard against everyone and everything trying to help me. I do not think those were wasted years, they have helped me become the person I am today.
My eating disorder took many things from me; my soccer career, dreams I had about my future, and many relationships. Most importantly, however, was that it threatened to take the core of who I truly am away from me. I can proudly say that I have navigated my way back to that person and I am enjoying finding out more about her as time goes by.
I am moved by nature, colors, and silence. I appreciate all forms of music. I am an adventure seeker at heart and get a thrill out of trying new things. I do not believe in failure or defeat. I think the human spirit is the most remarkable and resilient thing around. I can find beauty in anything, and find the darkest days are the most incredible. I truly believe that life is a journey that we have both absolute, and no control over. I believe that each of us has a path that we will follow and we will all eventually end up exactly where we were supposed to be. I believe that we all have an innate strength that makes us beautiful and worthy just as we are. I believe in and appreciate the journey, and all of its exhilarating twists and turns.
Every day still has its struggles, but I am no longer ruled by my eating disorder. I am in the drivers seat of my life and I am making the decisions. The thoughts are often in my head, but I no longer need to act on them. I have found my path to healing and I am on my way to reclaiming and redefining my life. I credit the faith of many people, places, and things for the healing that I am finding, but most of all, I credit myself and my own inner strength.
I am currently employed full time, returning to school, and developing many new relationships build off of trust and communication; two things that I lacked when in the depths of my eating disorder. I am also volunteering with several organizations as part of my journey. For the first time, I am also involved in a very healthy relationship that has its own special way of being very healing for me. One of my goals going into treatment was to be able to have a relationship with a man, and I am happy to say, I have met that goal. Things do happen when you work for them.
I would not change the past and I live with no regrets. Each event has brought me to the place I am today, and I do not know that I would be this version of Nikki without my past. I do not look back with regret, but rather with love and compassion for the person I was and immense respect for the strength it took to move on from that place. I am excited about where I am taking my life and am excited about the opportunity to share it with others. Healing is not easy, but it is absolutely, without a doubt, worth it.
"Rosewood changed my life. I learned so many life lessons there. I never thought I would love myself but Rosewood taught me how. It was like doing a year’s worth of outpatient therapy in 30 days. The thing I like best about Rosewood is that they address all aspect of the eating disorder. You receive therapy for the underlying issues, nutritional treatment and education, and medical care. Addressing all of these issues helped me overcome and move on from the darkest time in my life. Overall Rosewood helped me understand why I had my eating disorder and move past it. The insight I gained helped me grow so much. The best advice I can give to anyone coming into the program is to listen to the advice of the Doctors, nurses, therapists, and Dietitian. They know what they are doing. You get back what you put into the program. Rosewood is a great program and I would recommend it to anyone."
"Rosewood was the final help I received after months of relapsing. After 5 years of being bulimic and anorexic, I put my life into the hands for Rosewoods professionals. When I first arrived, I had never been so petrified in my life. I walked through the double doors and saw women and men of all ages with eating disorder addictions similar to mine. My first day was a lot to take in at once but my buddy came to my aid and showed me the ropes of the facility. During my 30 days at Rosewood the other residents and I all became great friends, even to this day. The program is life changing. My anniversary date is October 5th and every year I celebrate on how hard I have worked to remain in my recovery. Thank you to the Rosewood staff for the help and support. Roses to you all and God Bless."
"I have been in recovery for just over 3 years and am so thankful for it. I was so stuck in my Eating Disorder that I couldn't imagine life without it. Wow what a difference! I have developed a passion for speaking to those struggling and have spoken at my old high school and elementary school. I welcome the opportunity to return and share my experience and life without ED to others."
Other Eating Disorder Stories
"I was at Rosewood's Capri Center for two weeks after a full inpatient treatment at another facility. My recovery is strong, steady and has become a focusing anchor as I make my way beyond the day the day and into greater scope of long term goals. Telling my story always provides me with a deepening understanding of which I am and what recovering from my Anorexia has given me. I have been the featured speaker at AA meetings, and reconciliation benefits and have been truly touched by the responses I have received. It lets me know that my recovery is strong, that my story is universal and that all healing is one. I believe that it is possible to recover from eating disorders but by no means is it common. Rosewood and Capri offer an opportunity not a solution."
There I was, huddled up and pushed up in the corner of the wall. If I could of pushed my way through I would of. I was a mess, a big blubbering mess, with tears streaming down my cheeks, knees touching my chin and heart aching to be cured.
Everyone’s rock bottom is different. This was mine. I was done, done trying to figure out how to fix myself and my lack of self control. My hands were up and if a white flag were available it would have been raised in the air.
My name is Addie, I have an eating disorder. This is my story.
I didn’t know what it was. I searched high and low trying to figure if it was a medical issue, a mental issue, or simply a lack of will power. I was young in between the fifth and sixth grade of my schooling and things started to change. I was becoming dissatisfied with my body and looks. I hated the way I looked and felt and I couldn’t control it. Why wasn’t I shaped like her, eat less like her, be as beautiful as her? I was miserable. By my seventh grade year I was stealing diet pills from my parents medicine cabinet. I continued this destructive path through out high school. Taking diet pills, losing weight, stopping the diet pills and gaining the weight back. Finally by my junior year I had a light bulb go off. I figured out that if I exercised like crazy and didn’t eat I was going get thin. I was going to be in control and become beautiful, because back then all I thought was that thin is beautiful. I managed to somehow stay on this destructive path for about three years. During this time I had married my husband and moved from my home for the first time in my life. This should have been the happiest time of my life but it became one of the hardest. I had grown up in a home with lots of family. I was lonely and didn’t know what to do and that’s when my second light bulb went off. I learned that if I ate whatever I wanted and a lot of it my emotions would become numb, only to learn that later I would have to deal with the guilt of binging. This cycle took over my life. I would starve myself thin, get hit with a bump in the road/a struggle then eat and eat and eat. I was up and down. My weight never stayed the same. When I wasn’t eating I was on prescription diet pills, daily weight loss shots, cleanses, liquid diets, or starving. But then suddenly it would switch to the uncontrollable binges that grew stronger and harder to stop. I tried multiple times to get myself to purge. You name it I tried it but fortunately I see now what a blessing that was and I was unable too as hard as I tried. At the time I hated myself even worse not being able to remove that horrible feeling I felt from the binge.
I had two children during these years, the sweetest blessings to ever come into my life.
I should have been happy. But I was miserable. I was depressed, hopeless, helpless, and even suicidal. I was so upset that I had no self control and that I was unable to take control of my life. My life had become wrapped around food, binging or restricting. What size I was, how much I weighed, if I was skinny or prettier than anyone else.
I hated it. I hated every fiber of my being because I was so weak.
All this leads me to the beginning of my story. I was done. I had tried every thing under the sun to figure this out. My mom happened to call during my episode and I opened up. Something came over me and I finally told her every thing. How I was such a waste of space, so helpless, and had nothing to live for if my life had to continue this way.
That’s where Rosewood comes in. My family did some research, their eyes could see more clearly then mine and knew that I needed help and fast. They found Rosewood. I was so scared, I was going to have to leave my boys and tell everyone my darkest secrets???
I had no idea what a saving place I was going too. From day one I learned that my deepest darkest secrets where shared by every other person there. They understood and could relate.
Rosewood taught me so many amazing things, but the most important thing they taught me was how to live again. Do you know what it feels like to go from hating your self and life, to loving life and accepting yourself as you really are?? To know that you are someone so special and so strong??? Or knowing that the number on the scale or the size of your jeans doesn’t distinguish if your a good or bad person? That it is ok to eat food?? That you don’t have to starve or binge or diet ever again??? To have the freedom (with the tools) to life without my eating disorder???? It feels like I was born again and given a second chance.
I am two months shy of being a year in recovery. I have moments that I find my old eating disorders thoughts trying to work there way back into my life but I fight them. I battle those demons and will continue to battle because I can’t even begin to describe what life is like with out them. I wish I could it scream it to the rooftops and let everyone know that life is beautiful and doesn’t not have to be so dark and dreary and that Rosewood will show you the way if you will surrender yourself and follow there program. It works if you work it, it really does.
May any and all of you out there that struggle with this disease find the strength to let Rosewood into your life. If you let them show you the way you will see a light of hope that has been missing from your life for so long.
By Maia Szalavitz Tuesday, October 5, 2010
While the stereo-typical eating disorder sufferer is a female,a recent Harvard University study revealed that more men suffer from eating disorders than had previously been thought. Out of 3,000 people diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia, 25 percent were male. The research also indicated that binge eating is the most prevalent eating disorder and that up to 40% of binge eaters are male.
Rosewood provides treatment for men and women at all their locations.