In 2002, after thirteen years of bulimia, I started the fight to get well.
But let me back up a bit.
I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning and says, “Today let’s see how painful, complicated and unhealthy I can make my life.” But sometimes things take a turn we don’t expect.
And, as I write in my book, “. . . it’s not a single event or comment that pushes someone over the edge. It is the wearing down of the spirit one small bit at a time, like water wears a hole in a stone.”
My eating disorder, my bulimia (I find people often avoid the word), started when I was 20 and a cadet at West Point. Societal pressure, the drive to make the cadet uniform look good, the feeling that a woman couldn’t be thin enough, and my own challenges – all these factors and more led to an eating disorder that became my constant companion for 13 years.
By 2002, my bulimia was a crisis and I had forgotten what it meant to live a life free from this madness.
My mother and sister intervened and, at the age of 33, I moved in to my mother’s house and began the long process to take back my life. Eight months of treatment at the Renfrew Center in Wilton, Connecticut became my sole focus for a time. It was the hardest thing I have ever overcome – for me it was harder than West Point, harder than jumping out of an airplane. But I did it. And in 2003, my life was recognizable again.
So why write the book?
Bulimia is an uncomfortable topic … the kind of topic that makes people squirm in their chair. The thought of someone making themselves sick to be thin is so … unhealthy … warped … gross.
And yet the National Eating Disorders Association estimates that there are 20 million women in America who suffer from anorexia, bulimia, or both. That’s twenty million. I think this is unacceptable.
I wrote Whatever the Cost to offer a message of hope for those who suffer and for the people who love them and suffer alongside them. For two years after the book came out in 2011, I spoke at different venues around the country, finishing my speaking engagements at the United States Naval Academy in the spring of 2013.
Whatever the Cost: One Woman’s Battle to Find Peace with Her Body is available on amazon.com.
I know the depth of the pain and anguish that an eating disorder causes. I pray for peace and wellness for the human beings on this difficult journey,