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Contributor: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC President at Eating Disorder Hope
Jacquelyn Ekern, What Do You Think Led to the Development of Your Eating Disorder?
My eating disorder, like most, originated from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. I was born with a fairly anxious, people pleasing nature and a tendency toward depression that manifested in my teen years.
I also experienced some trauma in my childhood that left me with deep feelings of abandonment, rejection and deepened my already somewhat anxious nature. Also, the pressures I felt from society, to be thin and attractive (at all costs) led me to develop a deep dissatisfaction with my body.
What Was the Lowest Point of Your Eating Disorder?
Probably, the period of time before I entered inpatient treatment was the lowest point of my eating disorder. I felt such deep despair and was hopeless that I could ever overcome my eating disorder.
I was sick of living the way I had and yet had no idea what a life without the eating disorder would look like.
What Did You Do to Recover from the Eating Disorder?
My recovery started with an inpatient treatment program. I was in this program for 30 days and it helped me to break the disordered eating and bulimic patterns of behavior that had become so routine in my life.
The support groups, nutritional counseling, individual and group therapy all helped me to begin to build a new way of life with healthier coping skills. After treatment, I worked with an excellent therapist who specialized in treating eating disorders. This work was life changing and helped me to develop far healthier coping, communication and relational skills than I had before.
Do You Consider Yourself Fully Recovered Now? Or Is It an Ongoing Process?
Recovery is ongoing process for me. I am always trying to gain further emotional, spiritual and physical health and imagine that will continue until I die.
I am happy to say I no longer practice eating disordered behaviors. I exercise moderately, maintain a healthy body weight and eat well.
What Advice Would You Offer Someone Struggling with an Eating Disorder Now?
I would recommend reaching out to a loved one, friend or trusted colleague and sharing what is going on with you. Ask that individual to help you find the help you need to live a life in recovery and good health.
What Is Life like Now That You Are in Recovery?
Life is good! I am healthy and enjoy a life of substance and meaning. I am very healthy and strong. My relationships are long-standing and authentic. Founding and running Eating Disorder Hope for the last decade has been challenging and interesting work. Enjoying being a wife and mother is a dream come true. So, it is a good life!
However, life still is tough at times. It still can be tough to cope with stressful situations and I continue to rely on my “toolbox” of coping skills which include:
- Faith and trust in God
- Gentleness with myself
- Communicating my feelings authentically
- Living a life true to my values
- Eating a moderate and balanced diet
- Staying well hydrated
- Exercising for health and enjoyment
- Plenty of rest
I have determined that I can take my past eating disorder suffering and use this experience to help others. This “turning lemons into lemonade” has provided meaning to all I went through, and lost, due to the many years of my eating disorder. It is my hope that Eating Disorder Hope is a light of hope and encouragement to all who struggle with disordered eating.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 26, 2017
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com