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Providing clinical excellence within a nurturing environment—empowering women to change their lives.

Stories of Recovery

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Casey Swann

When I drove up to the Renfrew Center in Radnor on my first day of IOP, I immediately pulled out of the parking lot, drove around for another 15 minutes, and sobbed. I think somewhere inside I knew that this would be the final nail in the coffin of my eating disorder. I also had a bizarre and unfounded stigma against "facilities." I was worried I would forever be labeled by my treatment; that going to Renfrew would be akin to entering a facility like Radley in Pretty Little Liars.

The only fear that proved correct was that Renfrew would be the end of ED. I had been to outpatient therapy for a year, but recovery isn't linear: about 9 months after I began therapy, I ended up in the ER for suicide, and so began the most enlightening part of my recovery. My therapist pushed me into Renfrew, despite my misgivings, and I forever am grateful to her.

As many others who enter Renfrew, I didn't understand that so much of what I do - body checking, putting myself last, hating my body - is not normal, is a part of my eating disorder, and can be changed. My time at Renfrew gave me this awareness, and I realized that recovery is actually possible. Instead of pushing people away, I grew and fostered relationships with beautiful people who understood my feelings, who listened, and who loved me unconditionally just for existing.

I fought hard and was in Renfrew for 5 weeks before I headed off to my senior year in college. Renfrew spurred my desire to give back and fight against misunderstandings of eating disorders. I have continued to travel through the ups and downs of recovery for the past 4 years since I left Renfrew. The advanced stages are scary but I stay mindful through journaling and keeling my support system close. I know I can count on my support system to help me remember self-love and to help me find that balance when I lose myself for a moment. I've also learned to rely on and trust in myself: when I fall, I can pull myself back up.

Bio: Casey Swann is a 2011 alumna of the Renfrew Center of Radnor, PA. Since then, she has graduated from The College of William and Mary with Bachelors degrees in Italian Studies and Music and The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education with a Masters Degree in Urban Education. She is currently an elementary teacher in the Greater Philadelphia Area.