Episode 61: The Intersection of Faith and Mental Health with Kelsey

Kelsey

Episode description: 

Kelsey is a pediatric registered nurse working on her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder and recovery story, including the impact of her faith and her college environment on her experiences of illness and recovery. 

Though Kelsey had seen many medical providers growing up, she says her relationship with food long went unquestioned. She had concerns about her eating but struggled in silence for years. She didn’t yet have the language to name her disordered eating, often describing her anxiety and stress more generally instead. She faced barriers getting help in college—a stressful environment already—but only found lasting support after an interaction at church. A person of faith, Kelsey turned to her pastor, who told her that her illness required professional support. Prayers alone would not heal her. After being connected with new resources, she says she became honest with her secrets with her family and made a “no more lying” rule with her parents. Her sister and niece were also strong motivations to help her recover and to model and practice body positivity. Kelsey leaves us with insight and hope for college students, people of faith, or anyone struggling with an eating disorder. 

We cover:

  • How warning signs of eating disorders can go unnoticed by professionals
  • How faith and religion can play a part in recovery
  • The benefits of family support to the recovery process 
  • The experience of recovering during the pandemic
  • Advice for college students who struggle with body image

In Kelsey’s words:

  • On the importance of professional help: “Prayer wasn’t going to do it alone. We needed professionals. We needed a team of people.”
  • On the missed opportunities to find support earlier: “Beyond my primary care, there were so many people who disregarded and just didn’t recognize my underlying issues. From doctors to dentists to physical therapists, there are like a hundred instances.”
  • On life in recovery: “I think you might expect it to be not messy, but it still is… It’s messy without an eating disorder, [but] it’s better! Life in recovery is beautiful.”

Learn more about The Emily Program online or by calling 1-888-364-5977.

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About the podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast that explores topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

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