I Am Worth It!

I Am Worth It!

by Jami Schadler

I want to share something personal that is near and dear to my heart. At the age of 15, I developed an eating disorder and have struggled with it for 25 years. This past year I found my strength to finally beat this disease. During the last 25 years, I suffered in silence because the resources were just not out there.

Through counseling, I was able to get to the root cause of it and currently working through that. 9% of the population suffers from an eating disorder. This includes binge eating, anorexia, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, rumination disorder and bulimia nervosa.

Eating disorders are life consuming and people who suffer cannot just “get over it.” This disorder consumes your every thought. With my disorder, it began when my life felt “out of control.” THIS was something I could control and it quickly spiraled. I have never felt more alone in my life. I hid it so well that even my close relatives and friends had no idea.

I spent hours and hours each day consumed by my disorder. I attempted many times to stop my behavior but it always crept up on me. I could not understand why I just couldn’t stop and I prayed every day that I could and for this to just “go away”.

The depression and anxiety with my disorder was awful. I had panic attacks on a daily basis and there were days I couldn't get out of bed. A year and a half ago, I finally surrendered my Eating Disorder. I wanted to know what it was like to live life and not be consumed by it.

With a lot of counseling and relearning my relationship with food, I beat this horrible disease! I feel like a huge weight has lifted off my shoulders and I can breathe again. This disease no longer has control over me and my life. I am finally free!

Unfortunately, many who suffer from this disease are not free. I have heard story after story that many who have an Eating Disorder who try so hard to advocate for themselves do not get the treatment that they so desperately need because they do not “meet” the criteria for an Eating Disorder. They are not thin enough, their vitals come back normal, they are eating, and the list goes on and on. Many have exhausted all resources only to be denied the crucial treatment they deserve! Their insurance doesn’t cover treatment because they are not “sick” enough and they do not “look” like they have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders have absolutely nothing to do with eating but have everything to do with brain health. Those who have an eating disorder do not “choose” to have this. They do not “choose” to live in this daily hell! We live in this daily hell because we are not heard! Because resources are limited. Because we are misunderstood! Because there is a Stigma when it comes to Eating Disorders! I write to you today because we are sick and tired! Our illness is just as important as any other illness.

Those with eating disorders suffer in silence and complete isolation! We fight daily with doctors, insurance companies and dietitians. Treatment should never be this difficult. We deserve proper treatment, to be heard, to not have to consistently fight for help! There needs to be a change! I speak on behalf of so many suffering around the world from this difficult illness. They deserve proper diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. They deserve to be heard! 

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