As someone who has personally witnessed the devastating effects that an eating disorder can have on a person close to them, I hold eating disorder clinics in the highest regards. I have seen the magic they work on people who are really struggling in this facet of their lives, and quite frankly, I have seen eating disorder clinics save peoples’ lives.
I had a very dear friend in college who had a severe problem with anorexia. It all started when she was in high school and got teased about her weight. She was very thin, but in her mind, she was still too heavy, even when she reached 90, 80 and 75 pounds. When we finally got her to look into eating disorder clinics, she looked like a Holocaust survivor, and after I got her enrolled and left the facility, I almost cried. I prayed every night that she would develop a more positive body image, and most of all, that she would survive.
I had not heard much about eating disorder clinics at the time, but as much as we had tried to convince her that she needed to gain weight, she would not listen. I distinctly remember going to her apartment one night and asking her what she had eaten that day. After much prodding and pushing, she finally admitted she had eaten a small can of green beans and two saltine crackers. I could not believe my ears when she said it, and that was when I knew she needed help the most.
She was not allowed visitors while she was in treatment, and I was not sure that I even wanted to see her. I finally saw her once she was released and I was amazed at how much better she looked. She was still very slender, but she did not look sickly the way she once had. She was full of energy, she was smiling, which I had not seen in months, and most important of all, her self-image was much improved from what it had been prior to discussing eating disorder clinics with her.
After she was released, I went to the counselors that worked with her and shook their hands. I was almost in tears as I told them how much it meant to me to have my friend back. I asked them how close she was to death, and one of the counselors shook his head and said ominously, “She was in bad shape.” I knew she must have been teetering on the brink of dying by the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes.
My friend has gained even more weight since leaving the facility and is looking better than ever. She swears by the facility she visited, and even goes to talk to young people struggling with eating disorders about the benefits of eating disorder clinics. I am really proud of her and forever in debt to the facility that saved her life.