March Against ED

I've been seeing #MarchAgainstED floating around on le Twitter the past bit, but only just today clicked on a link to read about it further.

I'm glad I did.

I have been recovered from anorexia for 7 years. Prior to that, I bounced around to various therapists (many of which were complete idiots, I have to say) over the course of 3 - 4 years. And hey, guess what? Therapy isn't cheap. Thankfully, I eventually found my God-sent (for sooooooooo many reasons) therapist, Carolyn, who worked with me on a sliding scale. But the bills still added up to at least $400 a month.

Guys, I'm a teacher and writer... I may have plenty of children's boogers and crippling self-doubt, but I do not have $400 just lying around.

Oh, and this is before I went to an intensive outpatient program. Which, for the record, was not covered by my insurance. The deadliest mental health issue and they (like they do to so many others) just told me, over the phone, with no intonation whatsoever, "We do not cover that."

So, wait a tic, I finally built up the courage and fight and desire to do the most difficult thing I will ever have to do and I will have to pay for it on my own? That's super awesome, thanks.

According to this article in the New York Times, it costs around $30,000 a month to attend a residential treatment program. And individuals typically need treatment for 3 to 6 months in order for it to be effective. So $90,000 - $180,000. OH, and did I mention this was the quote in 2010? Who knows how many thousands of dollars to which it has increased in 2014.

When I was in my recovery, I was lucky enough to have a family and a husband that not only supported it, but also did not bat an eye at the price of treatment. And, luckily again, I was able to get the majority of help I needed through appointments with Carolyn, rather than an extended stay at the outpatient program, which would've cost God knows how much.

But not everyone is as lucky as I am.

In fact, most people -- people who have found the absolute, unbelievable courage to finally seek treatment -- are turned away at the door.

THAT IS SO MESSED UP.

What's even more messed up is that http://eatingdisorderscoalition.org quotes that 1 in 10 people receive treatment, whereas 11 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. This means 9,900,000 people are not receiving treatment.

Just in America.

So what can I do? I've wondered that a lot. I can talk about my personal story, what I went through, my recovery, my struggles, anything. But, what can I do to help change the fact that, when someone has finally decided he/she is worth recovery, he/she does not hear, "Oh my gosh YES. We will help you. We will support you. You are strong. You are brave. You can beat this." But "You aren't covered."?

This is why I am so thrilled I stumbled across #MarchAgainstED (their website is here, btw). Because, as a single voice -- a voice my eating disorder tried so hard to take away from me -- I have learned I can do a great deal.

But many people bringing their voices together? To DC of all places?

What can't we do.

- S


(By the way, I still see Carolyn to this day. Sometimes I go without seeing her for years, other times issues crop up that I need to learn how to deal with and understand, so I see her every couple months again. I think, with any addiction like eating disorders, you can be recovered but you still need to be proactive.

My appointments are still not covered by insurance).