When family and friends first became aware of my eating disorder I felt shame and embarrassment, but it was also a relief to not have to hide it anymore. At the time I was a wife and mother to two young daughters, and I was afraid that they would learn these behaviors from me. I wanted to change but I had no idea how to make that happen, and like all those who start the road to recovery, I was afraid.
I had unconsciously used the behaviors of my eating disorder to cover up dealing with the trauma in my past and I was terrified that recovery would mean I had to face it. But with my family and friends by my side I started to seek out possible roads to recovery.
During that search I found Ophelia's Place and the intensive outpatient treatment they support. I met with one of the administrators who was so supportive, plus she understood. She “got it” in a way no one else in my life did. She told me her story and how full recovery is possible. With her encouragement I began the process of intensive outpatient treatment.
After a week the staff did not feel this was enough treatment for me so they arranged for me to go to an inpatient treatment that was only for people with these issues – a key part of successful treatment. Ten days later my insurance company decided I was well enough to go home, against my doctor's order that I needed more time and treatment. This is far too common a situation, leading many to struggle on their own.
I came home to family and friends who supported me as much as humanly possible, but I still struggled. I was sent home with no follow up care as there was no time to schedule it, it being a weekend when I was released. It took a week or more to find the medical and emotional support I needed, although they all didn't meet my needs.
I began following Ophelia's Place on Facebook and I connected with others stories or the quotations they posted. I was struggling with my eating disorder and PTSD and I was on shaky ground. I was on the Ophelia’s Place Facebook page when I saw the necklace 'I Am Enough' and shared it on my wall saying, “I love this!”
I made it my goal to finally believe this after a lifetime of absolutely believing I was flawed. I read the #recoveryis pictures and captions and I wanted to be those people.
For me, recovery meant I'd have the energy to be able to play with my kids again. I began to become my own catalyst for change in my life. I promised both myself and my girls that I would show them the power of getting back up and fight to change what they no longer wanted in their lives. I began advocating for my own needs.
Members of my family would take turns coming over to have dinner with us when my husband was at work to support healthy eating. I opened up to my circle of support; people that I could call or text when I was having a particularly hard time. I could call and say, “Talk to me” and they knew I needed someone on the line with me to help me keep moving forward. I will never be able to express to them how much their support helped me and how much it meant that I could rely on them.
A few months later my mother-in-law gave me that very necklace. I couldn't believe she remembered and bought it for me. It means a lot to me even now.
As the months went by and I grew stronger in my recovery. I started seeing many body positive articles and quotes. I loved the message from Circles of Change to be a “Warrior for Change.” I started sharing my struggles with eating and body image to those on my friends list on Facebook. I shared the struggle about insurance companies, body image issues created by media and photoshop, and posted body positive sayings and facts.
One of the biggest changes I've made is here at home. I stopped talking about losing weight and how my body looked, especially in front of my kids, instead talking about all the great things are body does for us. I became pregnant for the third time and shared with my girls how amazing our bodies are, they can create life. I have a future, and I know I will be here to raise my daughters and now my son as well.
I'm happy to say my recovery has been successful and I believe that I am enough.
About the author: Laura Bittel is a wife and a mom to three amazing children. She is currently a stay at home mom, homeschooling her two oldest children while chasing her toddler around! She is most passionate about being with family and friends, trying to find something positive in any situation, dogs of all sorts and sizes, and learning something new everyday.