Thank you to the Founder of The Foundation for Continued Treatment Nora Eddings for sharing her story and for creating such an inspiring and helpful non-profit organization committed to raising funds for inpatient eating disorder treatment. The foundation works with select treatment centers to identify individuals who are motivated and currently persevering through treatment, but cannot afford to complete it. To learn more about the Foundation please read on below and visit the website here.
This summer I’ve been reflecting on the past, the present, and the sense of gratitude that has become an important part of my life. Just over two years ago I entered inpatient treatment at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. When I began my treatment I thought “I’ll be out of here in 6 weeks, flat!” I had no idea that I would spend almost five months at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, or that my life would change so much. It has not been an easy process and has proven to be more difficult than I ever imagined. However, with the therapeutic tools and new coping skills I learned at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, I am able to stay afloat and continue to take care of myself daily.
I experience much more freedom in my current life. I’m now able to let myself fully experience and manage my feelings without restricting my food intake to cope with them. I enjoy going out to brunch or dinner with friends and I’m able to be fully present in the moment. Being free from focusing on food has enabled me to connect deeper with friends, family, and have more meaningful relationships. My sense of self-confidence is also stronger; I can use my voice to ask for help when I need it, and share my opinions with others. I have also reestablished hobbies that were part of my life before my eating disorder. I oil paint on a regular basis and find great joy in making art. These examples are just a few of the many ways in which my life looks different today.
I reflect on each person who has helped during my journey to good health. I’ve had friends and family write letters and send thoughtful gift packages. They have listened to me talk about my struggles for hours. Even though they had no solutions, they sat with me and shared my burdens. People reached out to my husband while I was away at treatment, and that helped relieve the sadness and guilt I felt from leaving him at home while I was away. I’ve had therapists and treatment team members come up with the most creative and thoughtful tactics possible to help when I was feeling like I could not move forward. Friends and family have prayed for and wept with me. They’ve sacrificed their time, energy, and love. I am forever grateful for each of them, and would not be in a strong recovery without their continual support. The unconditional love they gave has led me to cultivate a heart full of gratitude and the deep desire to help others in need.
While at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, I focused mostly on myself: healing my body and mind, and discovering new things about my personality outside of the eating disorder. I worked to reshape my identity, and learned how to live again. This time was focused on taking care of myself because I needed it! It was often messy and difficult, but it was necessary. I am so thankful that I had the time and space to do this work.
While in inpatient treatment, I saw several peers and friends who had to leave early because the cost of treatment became too difficult to bear. I also saw the treatment professionals at Oliver-Pyatt Centers do everything in their power to work with insurance companies and families in order to allow the patients to stay as long as they needed. Despite their great efforts, at times a patient would have to leave. It was heartbreaking for the patient, the treatment team, and the families. Seeing these experiences gave me the desire and determination to help others acquire the finances needed to complete the treatment they deserve.
This spring, I decided to create The Foundation for Continued Treatment. Through financial donations, The Foundation for Continued Treatment funds individuals in this specific area of need so they can build their own foundation for lasting recovery. With help from some loving family members, we’ve started a non-profit organization whose primary mission is to directly pay for inpatient treatment for those who are already persevering through it, when they need to stay in a comprehensive program longer than their insurance and personal funds allow. The foundation will provide a chance for motivated individuals to get the help they otherwise would not be able to afford.
I’ve learned from my own experience how important it is not to rush the treatment process. The work done at the inpatient level is often a long grueling battle, but I firmly believe good treatment is worth it. I’m delighted to finally be at a place in my own recovery where I am able to give back to others. It is both a privilege and a joy!