Recovery Story – Nicole Siegfried

Nicole Siegfried

Nicole Siegfried

My story isn’t anything glamorous, sensational, or extreme. I didn’t almost die. My family didn’t have to perform an intervention. I didn’t even have to be hospitalized. In fact, like many people with eating disorders, I don’t think anyone would have known I had an eating disorder just by looking at me. I did well in school; I had a lot of friends; I had a boyfriend and a supportive family. On the surface, I didn’t seem to “have a reason” to have an eating disorder, which actually made me feel more guilty for my secret. I was bulimic. I was empty and fragmented. I was concerned more with what people thought about me than who I really was. I was a charlatan I lied to my friends and family, stole money from my roommates, and lost my “self” to the eating disorder. I was miserable.Finally, my parents found out, so I began treatment. I thought that beginning treatment would be the “turn around” – that once I came clean, I wouldn’t want to do it anymore. This didn’t happen. So I began pretending to recover. I worked hard to develop the facade of recovery to overlay my charlatan mask. I kept waiting to feel better, waiting for it to be easier to fight the binge or fight the purge. That time never came. I never “felt” like recovering. I told myself every night that “tomorrow will be another day”- a new day where I would feel like recovering. Instead, every day brought with it another spoke in the wheel of the cycle of the disorder.Finally, I’d had enough- not really “enough of the eating disorder” or even “enough of recovery”- but more like I’d had enough of being fraudulent“ of living an inauthentic life“ of betraying my true self. I remember making a conscious decision to begin recovery“ not a decision to stop my disorder. I realized that trying “not to do something” wasn’t working for me- I had to try TO DO something. I began focusing on the person I wanted to be instead of the person I was trying not to be. I began to get to know myself, which was frightening, because I was afraid I wouldn’t like who she was.The road of recovery was still rocky and I had slips, but I had direction. I went to graduate school; I got married and had children. I still had difficult experiences. I got divorced. My father developed cancer. But I no longer used my eating disorder to cope. Today, I believe I am a woman of substance, not because I have a PhD or even because I recovered from my eating disorder. I’m a woman of substance because I’m finally full- full of life and full of my “self.”Nicole believes strongly in treating the entire person and in her practice has worked closely as a team with psychiatrists, physicians, and dietitians to meet her clients’ needs. Nicole is also a tenured Associate Professor of Psychology at Samford University, where she has received several teaching awards and is a favorite among students.

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.