Not One More | Center for Change
These six beautiful souls were my friends, roommates, and confidantes. They were some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. They showed up for me in my darkest moments. They died so young, so quickly. It’s all so unfair.
You see, I met all these women during my time in treatment for an eating disorder. We met in unpredictable circumstances, some of us at our rock bottoms, and because of a glimmer of hope, we clung to that and each other.
Many in our society like to gloss over the fact that nearly 10 percent of the US population will be diagnosed with an eating disorder in their lifetime. That’s 1 in 10 people! Furthermore, eating disorder deaths are the second deadliest mental illness, only recently surpassed by opioid overdoses. We hear so much in the news about the opioid epidemic, but why don’t we hear about how someone with an eating disorder dies every 52 minutes? Why is this? I think there is still so much not understood about this mental illness.
I remember when I started openly talking about having an eating disorder, and I would tell people I had a mental illness. The shocked looks I got. People would try to reassure me and say, “You don’t have a mental illness. You have a food problem.” I wrote a blog post nearly ten years ago titled “I Have Diabetes and a Mental Illness.” I remember a neighbor coming over to me and saying in a hushed voice, “Quinn, I respect your courage, but this is going to be a career killer.” Family members told me what a colossal mistake I had made by being so public.
You see, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 13. In my nearly 25 years of living with that disease, no one has ever told me that if I spoke or wrote about it publicly, “it would be a career killer.” Why the difference, then? I can pretty quickly explain to people that the reason why I got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was that my pancreas shut down on me, no longer producing insulin. How do I explain why I got an eating disorder? Mayo Clinic states the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. As with other mental illnesses, there may be many causes, such as:
• Genetics and biology
• Psychological and emotional health
That’s not as succinct and concrete as my diabetes diagnosis. We don’t have this one thing that causes it.
We need to do better to break the stigma of mental illness. We need to view it the same way as physical illnesses. We desperately need more state and federal funding to combat it. We need workplaces to do better for their employees suffering in silence. We need more funding for our youth so they can have access to the proper treatment. We need better health insurance coverage for mental illness treatment. We need to recognize that there isn’t a “look” for people with eating disorders. We come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages. We must all do better.
Will you help me ensure that NOT ONE MORE life is lost?
NOT ONE MORE child is taken.
NOT ONE MORE precious moment is destroyed by this insidious disease.
Let’s do this together.
Center for Change is a place of hope and healing that is committed to helping those suffering from eating disorders break free and fully recover. The Center offers intensive treatment for eating disorders and co-occurring issues, including a specialty program for co-occurring diabetes (ED-DMT1), and provides a full continuum of care: Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, and Outpatient services. Located in Orem Utah, Cottonwood Heights (Salt Lake City) Utah, and Boise Idaho, serving females/female-identifying/trans feminine in Inpatient and Residential, and all genders in PHP, IOP, and Outpatient. Accredited by The Joint Commission, AdvancED, and TRICARE® certified. For more information, please call 888-224-8250 or visit www.centerforchange.com.