Michale Cerswell flowed into my office weekly: startling perfume, jangling bracelets, long blond hair, bohemian scarves… Her food logs were detailed and neat: so long and yet so devoid of calories and nutrients to feed her body. I felt her pain and guilt of writing every word of every food on each page. It was so difficult to eat. Her loving, dedicated Dad, Jim Cerswell accompanied her at each and every visit. I remember the hope in every morsel of food that she was willing to add to her current meal plan. There was a celebration when Michale was willing to have truffles. Jim went to the nearby truffle store and must have spent a fortune. Anything to feed Michale.
While I knew that Michale was very, very ill, I didn’t anticipate that I would be at her funeral, or ‘Celebration of Life’ a few months later. She was adored and cherished by so many people. An eating disorder is NOT A CHOICE. February 1-7, 2017 is EDAW (Eating Disorders Awareness Week).
If you or someone you love (or know) has signs and symptoms of an eating disorders, don’t be silent. It felt surreal going to Michale’s ‘Celebration of Life’ in 2009. There was posters of a happy little girl and teen: riding a horse, swimming, laughing, playing. A consistent theme in the family’s eulogies was that a bright light had been extinguished.
It’s painful to watch the Cerswell’s family’s story. I imagine it was even harder for them to record. They did it so that more people get support and treatment. Sheena’s Place is a phenomenal resource in our community. Eating disorders has the highest mortality of all mental illness. 1 in 10 people with anorexia nervosa will die within 10 years of diagnosis.
9 Truths About Eating Disorders
Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.
Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.
Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.
Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.
Truth #6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
Truth #7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
Truth #8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.
Truth #9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.
Produced in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED, who serves as distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Professor of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “Nine Truths” is based on Dr. Bulik’s 2014 “9 Eating Disorders Myths Busted” talk at the National Institute of Mental Health Alliance for Research Progress meeting.
#EDAW2017 #eatingdisorders #treatmenteatingdisorders #sheenasplace