I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 5 years old. Throughout my childhood, diabetes was simply a way of life. In fact, diabetes never created an obstacle in my life until I was old enough to understand I couldn’t completely control my weight and body size.
By age 17, I was a dancer, actress and a fitness instructor, living for movement and my body’s ability to feel good in its own skin. After reading articles and books about weight gain associated with insulin resistance and diabetes, I felt the first resentment towards my disease. I felt it was keeping me from the physical strength and shape I deserved.
I started to omit insulin to control my weight. I also started to rely on the numbing effect of omission to drown out daily anxieties. For years I struggled with the cycles of omitting insulin, binging, restricting and swearing never to do it again. I wrestled with symptoms of diabulimia beginning my sophomore year of high school. By freshman year of college, it dramatically affected every choice I made in life, my relationships and my daily routines.
My eating disorder had taken everything from me – joy, friendships and respect. I knew I had to surrender to the fact that after almost 10 years of lying, trying to get better on my own and failing miserably at it, I needed help. I needed it immediately.
Melrose Institute offered the ideal methods and schedule for inpatient and outpatient treatment. I needed to detox from all of my behaviors associated with my eating disorder. I loved the structure Melrose provided. I learned how to eat regular meals again; how to sit and relax instead of running myself ragged; how to address my feelings and face my fears in daily group therapy as well as multiple individual therapy sessions each week.
The most important thing Melrose provided was a place I never thought existed − a place where my issues with my lifetime chronic illness and my eating disorder could be addressed and treated. I thought I was beyond hope and would never feel joy again. I thought I would never feel anything other than hate, guilt, shame and despair. Melrose Institute gave me the tools to learn how to forgive myself, and the tools to build the life I had always dreamed of living.
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