My vision for Living Proof MN is to create a community space for anyone affected by eating disorders to use and come for: support, learning, groups, resources, hope, activities, inspiration, and meeting others out in the world without judgement.
Five and half years ago was the last time I sat alone in a hospital room. For years I was depressed, hurting, suffering, sick, and entrenched in a 23 yearlong battle with an eating disorder. For several years I was in and out of inpatient treatment centers, hospitals, therapist offices, and outpatient programs; but for the majority of those 20+ years I grew fond of my eating disorder, I learned to depend on it, I was enmeshed with it, and in turn it caused me to lose sight of who I really was. I lost my desire to live in this world.
I met a lot of people over the years who have battled an eating disorder. Some have won and overcome the disease, while others have lost and died because of it. Even today, after 5 1/2 years of being out of treatment and living in recovery, when I stand up and tell my story I look out and see many of the same people I knew from back when I was sick, still sitting in the chairs, in treatment, fighting to survive, while being taken down by the eating disorder. Every hour 1 person with an eating disorder loses their life to an eating disorders. Do you know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate among any mental health disease?
Luckily my story is one of triumph and beating the disease, instead of it beating me. I am able to tell my story to others, I am able to give hope to people suffering each day, and share my experience with parents who want more than anything to see their child again, and hear their child's voice, and not the eating disorders' face or voice.
I have dreamt of a place where anyone affected by an eating disorder (the person with an eating disorder, their parents, siblings, significant others, spouses, children, and friends) can come to a space to find community, to learn, to feel supported, and do things other than be in treatment. Where they could come and not feel judged or insignificant. Where every person mattered and everyone got to experience more of who they are aside from the eating disorder.
My plan is to find a space, set it up as a community space, and hold events, classes, groups, project days, music events, writing events, speakers, recovery focused sessions, support for family and friends, and a place to unveil the real you. I would also like to provide in-home transitional support from inpatient treatment to home, residential treatment to home, or helping families transition and be better prepared when the person with an eating disorder returns home. As well as off-site activities, adventures, and trips.
I know this "place" is needed. I know that there are many people living with eating disorders who are suffering, their families are scared, and their friends feel helpless. I was there, my family and friends have been there, and I know recovery is possible for everyone, it’s just a matter of how. And it starts with a community that understands and allows others to be vulnerable so they can re-integrate into society, without the eating disorder defining them.
Please join me in this effort. We are all worth it! I look forward to hearing from you,
*All are welcome. Please share this website with those who would benefit from getting involved: people living with eating disorders, family members, spouses, or friends affected by someone with an eating disorder.