When I was fifteen years old, food and exercise started to control my life. At first in small ways, like choosing the “healthier” option at a restaurant or going to the gym a little more often. Soon, food and exercise controlled me completely.
Every decision I made was dependent on food or exercise. I didn’t know why I was doing this, so I suffered in silence. It quickly became apparent to those around me that I was struggling with something serious- atypical anorexia nervosa.
Because of my eating disorder, I wasn’t able to manage my emotions. I either felt nothing at all or everything all at once. I would argue with my family constantly, especially about food. It felt like something had taken over me. As a result, my relationships suffered greatly. I pushed away anyone trying to help me and isolated myself completely. Eating disorders thrive in secrecy, and I knew it.
My social life wasn’t the only thing impacted by anorexia. I started to really struggle in school. I didn’t have the energy to stay awake in class, let alone learn new information. The girl who was once a 4.0 student quickly became okay with Cs, and even Ds. The only thing that mattered to me was my eating disorder.
Entering a New Chapter
After living deep in my eating disorder for years, I knew I needed help. I worked with an outpatient team for a long time, but not much improvement was made. I tried different levels of care at different treatment centers, but in January of 2023, it became clear that I needed to go to residential treatment. After many emotional conversations with my parents and my therapist, we made the collective decision to admit me to Magnolia Creek.
I was scared to put my life on pause. No nineteen-year-old wants to pack up, leave her friends and college town behind, and go to residential treatment. I didn’t know it at the time, but I wasn’t putting my life on pause. I was getting my life back.
A Safe Haven
The admissions process with Magnolia Creek was incredibly easy, which is a godsend for someone struggling with an eating disorder—the last thing I needed was more stress. I made the eight-hour drive to Magnolia Creek with my mom. In the beginning, my parents were hesitant to send me to residential treatment. There was a lot of pushback and questions on their end.
However, after talking with Magnolia Creek, they knew I would be in good hands. During my drive to Magnolia Creek, I had someone on the admissions team calling me to check in every few hours. The level of dedication and amount of support they give to each client is remarkable.
Once I settled into the house at Magnolia Creek, so many of my fears and anxieties subsided. I was met with countless smiling faces upon arrival. The staff was so welcoming and understanding of my hesitancy. The group of women I was in treatment with made me feel right at home, too. I quickly learned that the next few weeks would be filled with constant support. For the first time in a long time, I felt safe.
Supportive Clinical Team
My clinical team at Magnolia Creek was phenomenal. Though all of my team was incredibly helpful, I especially clicked with my dietitian. She helped me with more than just nutrition.
Together, we were able to explore body image, core beliefs, eating disorder behaviors, and so much more. I knew that no matter what kind of day I was having, she would always be there to support me.
At Magnolia Creek, I didn’t feel like I had to pretend to be okay all of the time. For the first time in my life, my struggles were fully seen and valued, not pushed away. I truly believe that Magnolia Creek was the missing piece of my recovery.
Slowly but surely through my time at Magnolia Creek, I began to find my love for life again. I no longer wanted to hide every part of me. I started to wear clothes I actually liked, make music again, enjoy food, and smile. Magnolia Creek allowed me the space to find my authentic self.
The Beginning, Not the End
Though Magnolia Creek was an amazing catalyst for my recovery, I know my journey is far from over. Many times, treatment is just the beginning on the road to recovery. I still have a long way to go, but I know that I have the support to do it.
The Magnolia Creek Alumni community has offered me so much support since I left treatment. Whether it be another alumni member, or our alumni coordinator, Courtney, there is always someone there when I need help.
The resources and aftercare Magnolia Creek has provided are unlike any other treatment center I have seen. Unfortunately, many treatment centers stop viewing you as a client once you discharge. That has never been the case at Magnolia Creek.
I know I will always have somewhere to turn if I’m struggling, which is so special. I am forever grateful for my time at Magnolia Creek. They truly gave me my life back.