Alumni Testimonial: Elisabeth Spencer

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Struggling With Depression and An Eating Disorder

Elisabeth developed anorexia at 15, and it completely took over her life as she was constantly anxious about food and exercise. She also struggled with depression, leaving little space to think about other things apart from her disorders. Elisabeth isolated due to her eating disorder and didn’t go anywhere with her friends. She even stopped going to team dinners for sports. All the relationships in her life suffered, and she wasn’t sure how to repair them. According to Elisabeth, “It’s so hard to have a healthy relationship with anyone when the only relationship that tells you it matters is your eating disorder.” Eventually, Elisabeth went to therapy, and during her first session, they concluded that she needed treatment.
Although Elisabeth realized she needed help deep down, she was terrified at the thought of leaving her home, school, routine, and friends. She needed a higher level of care than outpatient treatment, and after an emotional discussion with her parents, she made the difficult decision to admit to Magnolia Creek. Elisabeth’s parents were relieved and just wanted her to get better, and her close friends were extremely supportive of her decision. When a bed opened, Elisabeth was dropped off at Magnolia Creek to begin her eating disorder recovery journey.

Healing and Learning How to Nourish Her Body

For Elisabeth, the admissions process was helpful as she was supported throughout every step with compassion and transparency. She was scared at first, but she was immediately relieved upon meeting the Magnolia Creek staff and the group of women she was in treatment with. The nurses not only addressed her medical concerns, but they also treated her like family. Throughout treatment, the nurses and clinical team let her know she was loved, guiding her through every good day, bad day, and everything in between. According to Elisabeth, her individual therapist “always made me feel safe and taught me so much about myself and the eating disorder, providing me with the insight I needed to understand why I used an eating disorder to cope.”

Not only was Elisabeth’s individual therapist extremely helpful, but her family therapist also helped her heal. During treatment, she felt like her family therapist understood her and made her feel safe from the very first session, encouraging her to do hard things and challenging her. With her family therapist, she learned about family dynamics and how eating disorders can play a role within families.

Another part of Elisabeth’s recovery process involved learning about nutrition and the body. She learned how to properly nourish her body and give it the fuel it needs to function, as well as how to reframe her thoughts and beliefs around food and exercise. And Elisabeth’s peers in treatment became like a family to her. She was able to find joy and connection with others in everyday activities like sitting at the dinner table, cooking, and playing outside without worrying about her eating disorder.

Carrying Her Magnolia Creek Experience With Her As She Continues Recovery

Elisabeth considers being a Magnolia Creek alumnus a true honor. She says, “It means I have a community I can always reach out to, and I know will have my back through success and hardship. It also means that I can share with others that starting the recovery journey is worth it!” She will forever be grateful to the Magnolia Creek staff and her team for their care, compassion, challenges, and commitment, which have enabled her to become the person she is today. In her words, “every day you change lives, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”

If you’re ready to take the next step in the eating disorder recovery process, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 205-509-2571 or complete our contact form.



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