The Time Is Now

Tonight, my heart is heavy. I received yet another call. Another call to confirm another death. I take a deep breath as a tear drops down my cheek. “Why?” I wonder as I bow my head. I sit here and run my fingers over the names of the 28 people who have lost their lives to their eating disorder in the past few years. These are people who I knew by name. Many that I have laughed with, embraced, wiped their tears and offered encouragement to when times were hard. I can’t help but to feel angry and hurt. I ponder the thought of “Why?” What happened? What went wrong? Why couldn’t I reach you? When I checked in on you, did you lie? Did you wear a mask and act like everything was okay? Did you think I didn’t know? I knew that you were exhausted and at times you felt like you didn’t have any fight left. But why? Did you stop fighting? Did you give up? Was there no other way? Did you ask for help? Didn’t you know how valuable and loved you were? Did you know that you didn’t fail? Did you know that it wasn’t your fault? Some of you fought to the very end and you fought hard. I watched you and listened to you as you fought for your life. I witnessed the tears and the struggle. Perhaps your insurance failed you or maybe your doctor wasn’t educated on Eating Disorders. Then I wonder, “Were you honest with your doctor?” Did your doctor know that you were fighting a war in your head? The voices? That you were imprisoned in your body? Did they know what you saw in the mirror? Did they know what you did when you were alone? Did you share a fake smile, a firm handshake and keep it a secret? Secrets keep us sick, remember? Were you following your aftercare plan? I wonder where it all fell apart. So many questions run through my mind as I look at your pictures. Pictures of you smiling, posing at your graduation, hugging your parents, families and children. Cuddling with your pets. Laughing with your friends. As I look at your selfies I am reminded of your beautiful smile and spirit. I remember your goals and dreams. I remember the fight that you once had. You are missed dearly. You are not forgotten. Many of you still struggle with this very thing. Some of you are strong in your recovery and some are caught back in the web of ED. Some of you are keeping your Eating Disorder in your back pocket, fearful of losing that identity. Others continue to lie and are not doing well today. Are you in denial? I’m here to remind you, Eating Disorders do not discriminate and you are not invincible! The struggle is real. Aren’t you exhausted? Do you need to open your binder and get back to the basics? Is it time for you to have a heart to heart with your family or perhaps make an appointment with your doctor? You don’t have to live like this. It is time to tell the truth. Now. The time is now! How many more deaths before you realize that you could be next? Shannon Hershkowitz Alumni Recovery Coach Rosewood Centers For Eating Disorders