Fighting the Good Fight
Posted on August 05, 2019
Eating disorders are really dark and really scary. Moreover, they can be riddled with shame that is extremely isolating. This can make reaching out for help a daunting task. So, when I found myself trapped in the throes of bulimia and suffocated by my own fear and insecurity, contacting Renfrew felt like the scariest thing I'd ever done. What would my family think? Would I have to give up my path to a successful career? Would my peers gossip and judge? Surely, everyone would think I was weak. I stepped forward nonetheless, knowing that I wanted my life back.
The intake interview was uncomfortable, of course. I had to talk about my history and some of the details of my disorder that felt the most shameful; but my interviewer met me where I was. She was kind, gentle, and educated. I could tell she knew that I was scared, but she congratulated me and reassured me that this was the right thing to do for my own health. We worked together to pick out a level of treatment that I was ready for— it never felt like decisions were being made for me and I was grateful for that.
I spent the next 20 weeks starting in a day program at The Renfrew Center of New York, stepping up to Renfrew's residential program in Philadelphia, back down to the day program, and then an intensive outpatient program. Looking back, that time sounds like a lot, but it was always what I was ready for. Renfrew eased me back into the real world at a rate that was tailored to exactly what I needed. My therapists, nutritionists, and psychiatrists all had my best interests at heart and they all truly cared about my well-being. I still cherish the safety and warmth that I felt while working with my team.
In addition, what truly impacted me the most were the friendships that I made. At no point ever did I feel alone or different. I met women who were going through the exact same thing as me and women who were going through something very different. What we all had in common, however, was we were fighting the good fight together; and boy, was it a fight. With this in mind, we all supported each other passionately. I slowly learned to wipe away the shame and talk about my pain. With a variety of group sessions, individual sessions, meal support, and more, I found myself getting stronger. I found myself letting go of a past that had caused deep anguish for so long. Renfrew gave me everything I needed to realize that not only is recovery possible, but it is very, very beautiful.