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February 21 to February 27 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
I’m pleased to welcome Samantha Hope to the blog today to share her experience and why she is involved with Project HEAL
Eating Disorders don’t just affect young girls. There is such a lack of understanding when it comes to eating disorders. Eating Disorders come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and ages. There is no “cookie cutter” eating disorder as I am sure some have heard the saying before. This is where my story comes in. I was 33 years old, married with 4 kids when this dreaded illness took me over. Yes…an eating disorder is an illness. Another thing that is misunderstood. Someone does not wake up one day and say I think I am going to have an eating disorder. Eating disorders aren’t just about weight either.
I grew up as an only child and was raised by my Mom as my Dad passed away from cancer when I was just 10 months old. I had a good upbringing, no trauma. I was loved and cared for. Growing up, I was happy with myself for the most part. I was shy and did have a low self-esteem, but nothing that was out of the 0rdinary. In July of 2008, I had a hysterectomy. Shortly after my recovery came to an end I ended up getting sick. It took months to finally figure out what was going on and to realize that what started with an
illness quickly turned into an eating disorder. After searching and searching, I came across the Center for Change. I was able to see a therapist and a dietitian as I tried to work on things outpatient, as I did not think there was a way for me to do a higher level of care. Well after a year of that and not much progress I entered the day program. I spent 6 months visiting the Center daily Monday – Friday’s. When I discharged was I recovered??? No. Was I on my way to recovery??? Yes.
Being a Mother and a Wife that has suffered from an eating disorder I want to reach out to other women and help them. I want them to know they are not alone in the battle. There is help no matter how old you are, how long or short you have struggled. I want them to know that recovery is possible. That is why when I heard about Project HEAL I knew I wanted to be involved. I saw that a Project HEAL – Utah Chapter was just created and I became the Co-Founder. I love speaking out on this issue and my heart breaks for all those that have been affected by an eating disorder. I have also returned to school so I can get my degree and help those suffering more in depth than what I can, working with Project HEAL.
I do want parents that are suffering to understand how their actions are affecting their children. Children are smart and they pick up on what we do and don’t do, what we say and don’t say. You may think you are being secretive but in reality, you are causing damage to yourself as well as to your children. Please again know that you are not alone, please reach out for help. Eating disorders have such a stigma and are so misunderstood. I have
chosen to speak out to help people to understand more about them and I hope to be a positive influence to even just that one person. If I can be an example and help one person it will make everything I do worth it.
struggling in Sanpete County as there is nothing here to help those struggling. As well as being the Co-Founder of the Project HEAL – Utah Chapter. I am also a Pink Zebra Independent Consultant. I lead a busy full life and I love every minute of it.