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There’s Help. There’s Hope! The Emily Program is a warm and welcoming place where individuals and their families can find comprehensive treatment for eating disorders and related issues. This blog is a place for us to share the latest happenings at The Emily Program, as well as helpful tidbits from the broader eating disorder community. Subscribe via RSS to receive automatic updates. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@emilyprogram.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

Episode 25: Eating Disorders and the Family with Chrissy Cahill

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Episode description:

In this episode, author Chrissy Cahill recounts her daughter Alexandra’s battle with anorexia. Alex struggled with the eating disorder for 18 years and ultimately died from it at the age of 33. Following Alex’s death, Chrissy gained entry into her daughter’s private, painful world through Alex’s writings. Chrissy published these writings to educate others about life with an eating disorder, weaving them into a book called Fatal Reflection. Chrissy chronicles her experience of writing the book, describes the loving, strong person Alex was, and shares how the eating disorder affected the different members of her family.

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How to Separate Yourself from Your Eating Disorder

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Written in partnership with Thom Rutledge

Thom Rutledge, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, and workshop facilitator based in Nashville, TN. He wrote Life without Ed (with co-author Jenni Schaefer), as well as Embracing Fear, The Self-Forgiveness Handbook, The Greater Possibilities, and others. Learn more about Thom and his work at thomrutledge.com, and find him on Facebook and Instagram.

If there were an eating disorder canon, Jenni Schaefer and Thom Rutledge’s Life Without Ed would surely be in it. We see the bestseller often and with praise in reading lists and recovery stories, its lessons evoked whenever we refer to the eating disorder’s “voice.” The book demonstrates how to view your eating disorder, “Ed,” as an entity with its own values, interests, and beliefs. There is Ed, and then there is you.

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Carrie’s Story

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**Content warning: Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

By Carrie Hammer 

For most of my life, I felt like I was drowning. Suffocating under the weight of every bad thing that had ever happened. Sometimes, still, I feel like someone else is leading my life.

The most profound relationship I’ve had is the one with my eating disorder. This relationship has made me feel guilty for putting any kind of food in my body. It has tried to draw me in every time something stressful happens. There is some comfort in the pain of it, a comfort in thinking I had control over something in my life. The somber truth is that you do not have control when you have an eating disorder.

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Advice for those struggling with an eating disorder during COVID-19

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Give voice to your feelings

“I’m struggling.”

If you’re struggling with your eating disorder right now, say that out loud. Say it so others can hear it and so you can hear it. Say, “Maybe I’m not okay. Maybe this situation is affecting me more than I care to admit. It’s hard—really hard—and I’m terrified it will always be.”

If your eating disorder feels silly, insignificant, or selfish in the wake of the coronavirus, you can say that. If you’re afraid the crisis will ruin the progress you’ve made in recovery, say that. If you’re hurt or annoyed by jokes about quarantine binges. . . or convinced you should “save” food for the uncertain future. . . or, frankly, more worried about weight gain than about contracting the virus itself. . . say these things.

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Introducing Telehealth for Intensive Outpatient and IDP/PHP Programs

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We’re pleased to share that The Emily Program now offers intensive eating disorder treatment (IOP and IDP/PHP) via telehealth. Telehealth services will allow you to access eating disorder care from your own home so that you can stay on the path to recovery.

Telehealth uses technology to deliver care virtually. It allows you to connect to your treatment team by video in order to receive the structured support you would typically receive in person.

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“Finally I Am Able to Breathe”

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**Content warning: Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Scarlet Freese struggled with anorexia from a young age. She wrote this poem to illustrate the contrast between the darkness of an eating disorder and the light of recovery. She wants others to know “it is so possible to recover.”

There is no light in this forest,
No candle or shining star
No map to guide me through this dark night

I am alone,
Completely alone

The wolves move in, surrounding me
I get pulled apart, piece by piece
Until all I am left with is a spark of hope

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