“My life is totally different now. I am at a loss for words, and it amazes me how quickly I was able to get better once I put my mind to it. It took a lot for me to commit, and then once I began to get into the treatment, I realized how much I needed it and how helpful it was. I am grateful and blessed to have such good people helping me.”

Just a few months ago, I was very far from where I am today. I had been a binge eater for the better part of my life. I had always struggled with my weight and was someone labeled ‘overweight.’ I had gastric bypass surgery in March 2018, and around October 2019, I began binging again. I knew I didn’t want the binge cycle to consume my life again but wasn’t quite sure where to turn. I knew I needed a specific type of help, but had trouble finding the right person or program near me.

And then someone suggested I try Walden’s eating disorder program.

The first time I went to make the call, I hesitated, with my finger hovering over the call button, but was not able to make myself press it to make the call. It took me nearly a month to try again, but that time, I didn’t let my fears stop me. It took everything in me, but I made the call. And that call was the beginning of my journey to recovery from binge eating.

This all happened right before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stay-at-home orders began… I started an intensive outpatient program (IOP) in-person at Walden’s Amherst clinic, but suddenly, the COVID-19 restrictions kicked in, and we couldn’t meet at the clinic in person anymore. It would have been easy for me to have stopped treatment at that point. It would have been easy to think that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be this time around. But then I was furloughed from my job, which I took as a sign to keep going. I joined Walden’s new virtual online IOP, not quite sure what to expect.

The virtual eating disorder program was different. It did take me some time to get involved and feel like part of the group, but once I did, it all seemed to come together. It was kind of neat to see people in their environment. We almost had to be a bit more vulnerable because suddenly everyone was “in” our home with us. We were all experiencing something new together, and that helped connect us. It was nice to be able to chill at my own house and not have to worry about driving to the clinic, but I’m not going to lie, I did miss being face-to-face some days.

Here I am now. I feel the roller coaster of emotions, proud and excited to have “graduated” and a pang of sadness to be leaving everyone in my group. I was able to bond with others who really understood what I was going through. These are definitely unique and special types of relationships. And we were able to build these bonds on screen, a reminder that what connects us, whether in-person or virtually, are the emotions we feel related to our eating disorders.

I know I have what it takes inside now to move forward and appreciate me and my life in new ways I couldn’t before. I needed to be ready for eating disorder treatment to work.

My advice to you, sitting there contemplating if you can do it?

Knowing now how good I feel now having gone through it, I would tell anyone to commit. Press that button and make the call. Do it for yourself. You won’t regret it.