What being a youth leader has taught me

Well it has been nearly 6 (!!!) months since I decided to become a youth leader and it’s absolutely on of the best decisions of my life. I am very different than the person I was back then, and I’m proud of who I’m becoming. I wanted to make this post on some of the things I’ve learned since August.

I am trustworthy. The girls have said it. Kim has said it. My friends have said it. This is one of those things that I never believed about myself. I’ve always tried hard to be a good friend and listen, but I never considered me particularly trustworthy. I know I am now, though. All of the things the girls have shared with me wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t have trust in me. I’m so thankful because I wanted that so badly when I first started and i finally feel confident that I can.

I am worthy of love. The girls don’t have to love me and they certainly don’t have to love me. The thing is, they do. My heart swells every single time they say or do something that proves it. If these girls who had no force whatsoever to even like me feel this way, I can’t be as terrible as the negative thoughts say.

I can help others with my story. I was TERRIFIED to share my story with the girls. I remember all of the anxiety leading up to that day and how receptive they were, to my surprise. The small piece I told them about then is nothing compared to all of the other talks we’ve had since. Each time I share more about things I’ve gone through, we grow closer. They’ve even come out and told me that I inspire them because of my strength and that is purely amazing. It may be painful to think about but through my struggles I can help them overcome similar things.

I don’t have to be perfect. I remember my first few small groups. I wrote out everything I was supposed to say and practiced before. I always felt I had to look the part and spent way too long debating over what to wear. I never felt I could share my struggles because I had to be the perfect person to be a good leader. Boy was I wrong about all of it! Our best conversations have been ones where I either use only a few notes or just speak from the heart. I’ve babbled on and messed up words but they couldn’t care less. I don’t have to worry about what I look like anymore because they just want me to be myself, even if that means leading small group after bawling my eyes out at a session at camp. I have no shame in sharing my struggles now. The girls ask about how I’m doing and they want to know the truth, not sugar coated crap. They ask how I got through things in the past that are really messy and hard. They’ve told me that I seem so much more genuine and approachable since they know I’m not a perfect person. Instead of focusing on being perfect I my only goal now is to be the best youth leader I can.

I should have more confidence. C is constantly getting on me for this. Especially in the beginning I was second-guessing myself nearly every time I would do a lesson or share something personal with the girls. I was also focused on being perfect and that coupled with my lack of confidence made me anxious all the time. I would always ask them a thousand times whether they liked an activity or what I said. Each time they said yes, of course, but I wouldn’t buy it. After a lot of convincing from C in particular and Kim, I’ve gotten over this fear for the most part. I do have days when I have to sit and remind myself of all the ways they’ve shown I am doing a good job but it’s less frequent. I am a good youth leader and I can believe it (mostly).

I have a reason to live. Okay, technically four reasons ;). I wasn’t in a good place last summer when I took this on. I was in an even worse place before that. I still spent the first few weeks of being a youth leader wishing I was dead at times. Once I really started making an impact and loving doing it, everything changed. Those girls are the reason I fought and stayed out of FV. I know I would have ended up there again but always knowing I had to be there for the girls made me so much stronger. I couldn’t be there if I was really sick again. The drive to be their leader continues to push me to fight even on the worst days.

Sometimes the best thing is just listening. I’ve had every girl tell me so many different things. At times I have felt before that saying nothing doesn’t help, but listening is just what they need. I think by really honing in on what the girls are saying rather than continually adding comments I am able to better assess the situation and then give advice. The other thing I found is that getting it out rather than getting advice was what they were looking for.

I would do anything or those girls. ANYTHING. Any one of these girls could call me at 4 AM, while I’m struggling to finish a paper and exhausted beyond measure and I would STILL drop everything and find out what’s wrong. I love them something fierce. I hope they all see that and realize that there isn’t a thing they could say or do that would ever stop that.

God is using me in ways I never imagined. If someone would have come up to me this time last year and tell me I would be a youth leader, I would have laughed at them. I never thought I was a good enough person to have such an important role in girls’ lives. I was too broken and not a good enough Christian. I was too shy. I would never be liked by them. I couldn’t do it. All of these roadblocks I could make for myself have been proven false these past six months. God is amazing. He knew I was the right person for the girls and that I needed them too. I am beyond thankful and blessed that I am leading them in their faith and lives. I can’t wait to see what these next few years hold with them.

Amazing, wonderful, spiritual weekend at camp

Camp was amazing. I am in awe of how great this weekend was and saddened by how fast it went. We spent so much time laughing, had good conversations, worships, dove deeper into God and faith, played games, and just had fun. Other than one girl getting sick and Ed popping up at times, I’m certain it couldn’t have gone any better.

I finally feel like I am a youth leader. Obviously I have been since September, but our time at camp cemented it and showed me thi is what I need to do. We had some really deep and serious conversations on Saturday. I am so glad I was able to help them through some of these things and really connect. I also shared more of my story (including the ED for the two who didn’t know). The girls told me they appreciated that because they don’t feel so alone in their struggles. I love that and I am thankful to be there for them. After our talk, a few of the girls told me how much they love me, that they want me to be their leader the rest of the time they’re in youth group, that they really trust me to share what they did, and that they love what I am doing for them. My heart swells so much every time I think about all of those things. I love them and I love how closer we grew this weekend. I can’t wait until NTS camp this summer so I get to be a camp leader again. I know God is going to use me and is using me in their lives. Even if they don’t fully realize it, they’re changing mine as well.

God was so present the entire time we were there. He was there in our worship time and sessions and everything we did. I didn’t expect it, but there was one moment in particular where I was moved to tears by what was said. The band lead singer was talking about how we have the option of following Jesus or going down the enemy’s path and so often we choose sin. It hit me that what I’m doing everyday (especially the past week or two) is following Satan/Ed as my Father is looking down at me and reaching out His hand. It overwhelmed me the amount of hurt He feels for me when i do this. In that moment I decided i have to do better. I am going to work harder to be resilient and fight the Ed thoughts. Ed was present this weekend but my goal for NTS is to not follow him one bit. I want to give these troubles to God. I need to trust in Him more and that he will catch me, as our theme verse for camp says: “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.” Psalm 118:13. This was exactly the kind of inspiration and spiritual renewal I need. I hope and pray the others who were there feel the same way.

Overall this was the best way I could have spent the past few days. I never would have seen myself as a youth leader and I never thought I would be the one who impacts other’s live, but it’s happening and I couldn’t be more blessed and thankful. God has so much in store.

Here’s some pictures for you to enjoy! 🙂

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Camp

We’re on our way now and I am equal parts stressed and excited. I hope and pray that when I get there I’ll be so excited that I won’t have time to worry.

Right now the plan is to just try my best with eating and not say anything about the ED. I am not just a camper this time, I have to be their leader as well. I think this will be a huge test of my recovery and faith. I want to prove to these girls and myself I can do it.

I am excited for growth these next few days. I want to grow in my own faith and help the girls in theirs. I also look forward to getting to know these girls better and gross in our relationships.

I know this is going to be an amazing time. I want to enjoy each moment to the fullest.

Amazing youth activity

Tonight, I wanted to do something a little different for small group with my girls. Kim stayed in with us because I knew that she needed to be here for it too.

I started off by handing out marker and a piece of notebook paper. My first instructions were to write down anything negative that you have thought about yourself or anything someone has said to you. We talked a little about how we felt reading it. Then I shared some scripture that talked about how beauty is on the inside, God’s love for us, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Once I was done reading I asked how they felt about that list now and explained that in God’s eyes we are beautiful and just right. Since all of these things we wrote were so against what the bible teaches we crumpled those up and threw them away.

Next came the amazing part. We each got big white pieces of paper and wrote our names down and then “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” I then had us pass it one to the right and write down anything/everything we love about that person, with special instructions not to use any comments about outward appearance. We spent a good half hour passing each paper around until everyone had comments from each person. The girls LOVED doing this but reading what other people thought made me cry. I love these girls so much already. I love being a youth leader and everything they had to say about each other and me is just.. wow. That’s honestly all I can say. I feel so loved and so worthy of it too.

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Mine 🙂

I want to do more activities like this one in the future for sure and I know the girls agree.

A prayer for my youth girls

Dear Lord,

Protect them. Keep them safe in this crazy world. When they do have troubles, show them You will always be there. I know that they will feel hurt but please allow them to always see Your plan even through the hardships.

Let them always believe that they are enough. There is so much pressure to find fault in themselves. They will have to battle these thoughts often, maybe even everyday. That is not how You see them though. They were all created in Your image. They are beautiful, inside and out. In the moments of self-doubt or even self loathing may they remember how perfect they already are and how much You love them.

Keep them safe from the terrors of mental illness and eating disorders. One of my hugest fear is that any of them will have to go through the things I have. Allow me to be a support if any of them are on those paths now and show them that there is hope and freedom in You.

If and when they experience heartbreak, remind them that they are already loved by the only man who truly matters, You. You already know who their match will be. Let them overcome any pain that boys may cause. In times where love feels hopeless, let Your love shine on them.

If they ever stray away from You, help guide them back. It can be so hard to have faith, especially in times of hardship. Allow them to seek Your guidance in these times and grow close to You again.

Lastly, help me to let Your light shine as I am with them these next few years. I pray that I will continue to grow as I am a positive role model and influence on them. I know that You have given me this opportunity for a reason. Allow me to be whatever they need.

Amen.

Telling the girls

I was planning on posting about this yesterday and then today and now even though Ed has me in a sour mood I won’t let him ruin my happiness from yesterday.

Moving on, yesterday started out pretty good but I woke up after barely any sleep and with tons of anxiety. I went to church alone but joined a few other “orphans” so I didn’t have to sit by myself. I immediately found Kim after church and flipped out had her reassure me it would be okay and finalized a time for our outing. I helped with Sunday school  then headed home until the outing.

Kim is amazing. I may say this about 27  times this post but seriously, it’s true. She’s very insightful and could tell I was still anxious. Her daughter Jamie*, Amber*, and Claire* were the only girls who showed up (out of 7 total). This actually was a huge blessing and I know God planned it that way. Jamie came up with the idea to go to Starbucks and Amber announced that it was adoption day at Petco so Kim quickly decided we had to do both. This gave me an extra hour or so until we went to the beach and I truly appreciate her for that.

We headed out to Starbucks and got our drinks, then went off to Petco. I think we  probably spent close to 45 minutes there. It was so so fun! There were tons of kittens and we stopped to pet each one of course. Having that extra time to just relax calmed my nerves a ton.

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It was the perfect day for going to the park and beach. We had a nice walk through the woods that took quite a while since Kim stopped us for pictures a ton :). The whole time was lighthearted and all of us were laughing and smiling. Once we reached the beach we spent some time soaking in the sun and scenery. Something about the waves and beachy air calmed my nerves more. After we got a few more pictures, Kim kind of nudged me to say it was time to tell them. Thankfully, a picnic table up on the walkway was free so we took camp up there.

Kim started us off in a lovely prayer and then explained that I would be sharing my story. I was a little shaky and fumbled words, but I got through nearly all of what I wrote. Ed was screaming at me the whole time. That on top of the uncomfortable feeling that being so vulnerable gives you made it tough. I wanted to discredit myself afterwards but Kim wouldn’t let me. She kept gong on about how proud she was of me and how well i did.

After I was done the girls didn’t have too much to ask so we headed back. I chatted with Kim on the walk back while the girls stayed behind and talked together. We all jumped back in the car and went to my house.

Originally they were just dropping me off but it turned into a half hour ordeal because I had to show them Mr. Milo :). It was a great way to end. We needed something a little more lighthearted after all of the negativity an eating disorder involves.

The true highlight of yesterday was when Claire commented/texted me about the afternoon. She thanked me again and again for sharing my story, told me she loved getting to know me, that I was part of their little family now, and said that all of the girls would be helping me on Friday when there’s food at the lock in. That made me cry and I still am so happy thinking about it. I know this was the right thing to do.

Overall, I am glad I did this. It needed to come out and the girls reacted so well. I still will have to share with the remaining four girls but I’m not scared fr it. I pray that God can use this struggle as a way for the girls to connect with me or open discussion in our small groups. I am not letting Satan destroy me through this disorder anymore and now I have even more support behind me to fight it.

*I am using pseudonyms for the girls to protect their identities

Three days

In three days I will be sharing my story with my high school girls. It seems like forever since I initially decided to do this. I have spent hours reading through Bible verses, praying, and planning out exactly how I will share in a way that will be beneficial to the girls but myself as well. I have learned more about myself. I can see that the eating disorder is not all bad, even thought it has caused a ton of havoc in my life. Last Sunday I gave my outline to both Kim and Rick. Yesterday I told all of the girls what time to be at the church and how we are having a girls outing. This is really happening and I am so ready.

I messaged Kim today to make sure everything was okay with how I wrote it out and her response made me cry. I love her.

Screenshot_2014-10-09-13-03-12-1Receiving her approval has inspired me to post the outline here. I feel confident in what I have written. I hope and pray that the words I speak and scriptures I share will reach these girls in the most positive way possible.


I have been a Christian since I was very young, but also from a young age I never really loved myself or thought I was worthwhile

  • Bad self esteem/self acceptance
  • Led to self harm off and on for years and mentally beating myself up all the time
  • Didn’t believe the “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” concept

Decided to stop self harm/realize I have a problem and talk about it at NTS 2013

  • Quitting was hard but I have been SH free for nearly a year

Fall 2013 I began developing an eating disorder (anorexia) as I got better with SH

  • Skipping lunch occasionally led to an extreme fear of eating with others, later eating anything other than a few specific foods/amounts
  • Couldn’t focus on anything other than food, weight, exercise, etc
  • Continued to try and deny how bad the problem was as the year went on
  • Went to therapy but it didn’t help much
  • My relationship with God was strained badly
  • Summer 2014 it got so bad that I had to go to PHP treatment at Forest View
    • hardest thing I’ve ever done but it saved my life

Recovery hasn’t been easy at all but now I am learning to live again

  • I am so much closer to God now
  • He is showing me:
    • He will use my struggle
    • I am worthy of love
    • I am not broken
    • I am strong (feel stronger than in the worst part of my sickness)

Recovery is:

  • Learning to be patient with myself
  • Not having to be perfect
  • Learning to see myself as God and others do
  • Seeing how bad the ED truly is. It has made me separate from God, lie, hurt others who love me, close off emotionally, isolate, hate myself the way God designed me
  • Healing spiritually
  • Wanting to fight the thoughts that have hurt me for so long
  • Fully trusting in God
  • Believing I have a purpose and future
  • Beginning to really love myself

In the beginning of my recovery I had times where I asked “Why God?” I didn’t understand why I had to change at first. I didn’t get why God would let me suffer like this. I didn’t think any good could ever come from this disorder.

  • Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
    • Paul saw his own weaknesses as areas where strength through God could come
    • Ephesians 3:13 – I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

Learning that the ED was a bad thing and a way Satan controlled my life was hard.

  • John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life; and have it to the full.
  • Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

I’m still learning that it doesn’t matter what I look like on the outside, but who I am. Satan’s view of beauty is all what’s on the outside, and this is also the ED’s view of beauty. God doesn’t see beauty this way.

  • 1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4 – Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

The eating disorder always caused tons of anxiety – what I would eat, how to get away with skipping meals, would I be forced to eat in front of others, did I gain weight last night. I spent so much of my life the past year or two with thoughts like these. In recovery, I have worked hard to reduce my worrying. God doesn’t want me to be stuck in this worry, especially not about things like this.

  • Matthew 6:25-27 – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
    • 34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As I leaned more on God in recovery I felt better. He was there for me through it all. I didn’t have to be perfect. God will help me even in my imperfection.

  • Psalm 34:17-18 – The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
  • Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
  • 1 Corinthians talks about our bodies being temples and this has helped thinking of it that way versus the ED thoughts.

I am not perfect but I am getting better. I am not recovered but in recovery still and this is OKAY. God is showing me new things each day and He is making me stronger and more full of life. Even though I have gained weight it doesn’t make me weak or a bad person. I am healthier now. I am happier. I am able to do all these wonderful things I couldn’t be doing if I was really sick.

I don’t believe I would be where I am today if I had never gotten sick. This disorder has had all kinds of negative consequences but it also is a part of my story and who I have become. I won’t let it define me but I am letting it make me stronger, closer to God, and a better person overall.


So in approximately 72 hours I will be reading this to the girls. I’m not really nervous anymore. I am still continually praying and practicing until then, but I know that God will take care of my fears and it will go fine.

HAPPY

I am happy, oh so happy.

I seriously have not felt this good in a really long time.

I think a lot of my happiness comes from spending 40ish hours at the church this week between youth group, Awana, preparing for the rummage sale, and actually working the rummage sale. I love my people there and it always turns a bad day good. It is wonderful to love and be loved.

I have also spent hours and hours in prayer and reading God’s word in preparation for my talk with the HS girls. I thought it would be hard to do this but it felt so freeing! It’s real about my struggle but it also has a positive spin on all the things God has blessed me with from this disorder. Anorexia sucks, it really does. I am already seeing the many ways that my life is for the better after having this illness, however. I know I wouldn’t be a youth leader now. I wouldn’t be as close to God as I am again. I don’t know what my life would be like without having suffered. I wholeheartedly believe that He is using me and my story for His glory. It was not easy to go through at all but I am glad I did. It’s weird and wonderful all at the same time. Overall I am super excited to tell my story next week. I feel so good about it and I know these girls will be receptive as well.

Another reason for happiness today is I reconnected with miss Dani! She commented on my instagram post about telling the girls, so I decided to reach out to her via text. I am so glad I did. We talked for a long time and shared wisdom of God’s love and plan for both of our lives. It was just like old times again. I want to continue talking with her. I have no doubt that we can become closer again.

I was slightly disappointed today because youth group was cancelled (although I was exhausted and mentally wiped from the abuse seminar) but then Rick texted and said our HS lock in will be this Friday. I am super excited for this because I think it’ll be a great time to grow closer and get to know the girls before I have the serious talk with them. It will be a night of fun of course too!

I am not letting anything get in the way of my happiness this week. I have class all day tomorrow which will be tiring but manageable. Tuesday is therapy with Jenny and I am feeling much more positive about it than last week. I also will show her my outline for the talk with my girls and go over that. My chem lecture after it will be boring but not too bad. Wednesday is another long day, but it will be great because A) Christian fellowship club (Rick is coming this week!) and B) Wednesday night Awana at the church. Thursday is nothing other than resting probably and Friday is the lock in. Then Saturday I’ll sleep and Sunday is church and the girl’s outing/telling them. Also hoping to meet with Rick/Kim before then to chat about it. Overall it’s a busy week but in a good way. Busy helps me stay away from Ed and being with church kids/people is never a bad thing.

I am feeling good about this week, good about recovery, and good about myself. Overflowing with positivity is a new thing but oh so welcomed.

I love what I do

A month ago, I never could have imagined my life would change so much from being a youth leader. I have only done a handful of youth events, but every time I get closer to these kids and feel better about myself in the process.

Take yesterday’s overnight event, for example. It was a pretty emotional message and as the only female leader it was my job to talk with any girls who needed guidance. I was able to heavily impact one girl who has so much going on in her life. She spoke of tragedies and situations that make it hard to have faith in anything. She was angry at God. I connected with her on that and spoke briefly of my own experiences. I’ve always been nervous of praying for others but I was able to find the words she needed. Her outlook on life and God was different after because of me.

After talking with her, I also spoke with a few girls about friendships and other issues middle school girls tend to have. They all view me as a huge positive influence in their life. They don’t care if I’m not perfect. I have knowledge and love and compassion for them and I am always there to talk. When I told them these things they looked so grateful and it made me cry.

Struggling with an eating disorder makes it almost impossible to believe any part of you is good. I can’t remember a time when I thought positively about myself. In the few short weeks I’ve been helping with these groups, I feel useful. They need someone in their lives like me. I have a positive impact on them. I can help them. I am doing something so good. I have a purpose. I have a reason to recover.

In order for them to learn from me as much as I can, I want to share my story. Not the one that you see from the outside. But the truth that includes struggle and heartache as well as strength. I haven’t decided about telling the middle school about my eating disorder but I am absolutely certain I am sharing it with the high school girls. I talked with Kim (youth pastor’s wife) and she agrees. It’s a way for me to connect with them and help prevent even a few girls from having some of these issues I’ve dealt with. I also want to make them feel safe talking to me about any subject similar to that. I don’t want them to be alone like I was.

I really can’t stop smiling. I think this is going to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. I am lucky and blessed to be a youth leader. God is so good. He is going to use these things I’ve gone through to help others, I see it already.

I am a youth leader and I have an eating disorder.

I *should* be doing my “homework” from my early college dean – rating transfer schools – but instead I feel compelled to write this post, as I’ve had tons of jumbled thoughts since yesterday.

Yesterday was my first day being a youth leader for our church. I am helping Sunday nights with high school and leading the girl’s small group, then Wednesday’s I’m part-time photographer and also being helper for the middle schoolers. I am beyond excited to see how I can change their lives and just how God will work through me. 

An unfortunate part of having the eating disorder is that my eating and body image and thoughts are not exactly healthy all the time. There will no doubt be countless times where food will be around during youth group. I never want to be a bad example in any way to those girls, especially when it comes to body image or eating habits. Knowing that this won’t always be easy to do, it became clear to me I would have to let the youth pastor Rick know about my anorexia.

I put it off for weeks because it’s so hard to tell people. Last night before youth group was time. I told him all of my worries for negatively affecting the girls. We talked tons about how this has been for me and he truly cared about what I’ve gone through. I knew he would be a good person to tell, but his response blew me away. He was extremely receptive and supportive and nonjudgmental. I teared up in his office. He wants to be there for me however he can, both in prayer and in person. He will be that person to pull me aside if I look like I’m struggling. He even brought up one day telling my story to the girls in high school as a testimony, and I actually love that idea. If I can help even one girl to not develop an eating disorder I consider that a huge success.

Towards the end of our talk he said something that I haven’t stopped thinking about since. I had explained body image/self acceptance issues that go along with the ED and his response was, “I know you aren’t able to believe this right now and maybe you never fully will, but God does not make mistakes. You may feel broken and terrible, but He sees you as perfection. This disease or anything else will never change His love for you.”

It’s so hard to even consider that statement as truth. Liking myself or anyone, even God, loving me is such a radical belief compared to what Ed tells me. To him, I can never be good enough and perfection is impossible. In God’s eyes, however, I already am perfectly imperfect. Even as I type this now it’s astonishing. I really needed to hear that so badly because I get so caught up in Ed that I don’t take the time to even consider it.

Something I’ve noticed since telling first my college dean and then Rick about the ED is how it almost feels good. This terrible, shameful, embarrassing part of me I’ve hidden for so long is being exposed and while I do feel vulnerable and scared at first, soon after comes such relief. Rick and Erin love me and are there to help in any way they can. No one is forcing them to be supportive of me, they just are on their own doing. That is simply amazing. 

To anyone struggling with reaching out about your eating disorder or even other mental health issues, it is so freeing. Find that trusted adult or friend. I promise you it’s worth it.