September has always been my favorite time of year: back to school, warm days, cool nights and the smell of fall. I vividly remember my first day of kindergarten. I wore a new dress and shiny new patent leather shoes. At that age, I had no signs of an eating disorder or voices. I was excited to start school, determined to do well and looking forward to new friends. This photo reminds me of the young girl who, with big dreams, believed anything was possible.
Ever since kindergarten, I strove for perfection. I remember my very first report card with two “un-satisfactory marks for not taking naps and poor scissor skills. To this day, these are both weaknesses...yet I continued to strive for perfection.
Starting college in 1973, the perfectionism that once helped me become Watsonville high school valedictorian now turned against me. Getting my first 'B' in fortran (programming) destroyed my confidence, and was a trigger for my lifelong battle with anorexia. Throughout the next 40 years, I had good years and bad years. However, I never gave up hope, and most importantly was fortunate to have expert treatment at the University of Iowa and at Stanford. I thank Dr. Katherine Halmi, Dr. Agras, Dr. Arnow, and Dr. Safer, among the many others, for their expert treatment and never giving up on me. Also I thank my family and friends who “put up” with me during the difficult times.
My battle and search for treatment opened my eyes to the urgent need in our community for coordinated and expanded awareness, education, and treatment.
With the guidance of long-time friends and colleagues, we founded EDRC in 2006. I would especially like to thank our board member Deborah Bingham who researched and completed all the paper work; and continues to guide us through the challenges it takes to start and run a non-profit. Additionally, I am grateful for the many volunteers who so graciously donate their time and expertise to EDRC.
And, lastly, I am grateful for each of you who have supported our work over the past ten years.
Even though we are making strides in awareness and treatment, there is still much to do to fight this illness and prevent the suffering, misunderstandings and stigma still out there. With your continued support, we will be here for those who need our help. I ask that you consider EDRC in your year-end giving. To donate, click here. Thank you, and I wish you and your family many blessings in the upcoming season of gratitude and holidays.
EDRC Raises Awareness Within the Vietnamese Community
Current EDRC volunteer and director of Castlewood Treatment Center, Kira Olson, discusses eating disorder awareness in the Vietnamese community with Vivian Do, AACI (Asian Americans for Community Involvement) staff and host of the VieTV program A Way Out.
EDRC Partners with NAMI and Introduces Karina North
EDRC volunteer Karina North is the first NAMI Peer Pal to work with an eating disorder client. Peer support for eating disorders is scarce and challenging to find. As Karina explains, “There are AA sponsors, NA sponsors, etc., but there are none for eating disorders.” Karina and her peer meet once or twice a week for coffee or a movie and talk over the phone at least twice a week.
NAMI Santa Clara County’s PeerPALS Program matches individuals with a mental health illness who are well established in their recovery with individuals that are newer to recovery. Peer Pals are able to understand and support their peers as they come out of isolation, learn to understand and cope with their illness, and find more meaning and satisfaction in their lives.
As a person well established in her own recovery, Karina is someone her peer can identify with, someone who has gone through it and can offer support and guidance when she doesn’t know what to do. Together, Karina and her peer have created a crisis plan and a list of healthy eating disorder recovery coping tools. Karina helps her peer understand that recovery is a process. In turn, working with her peer reminds Karina of the importance of self-care: “She’s like my mirror; it’s wonderful and I’m loving it!” EDRC thanks NAMI Santa Clara County and looks forward to more successful partnerships.
UCSF Introduces Eating Disorder Researcher, Dr. Stuart Murray
Dr. Murray joins the UCSF Eating Disorder program. He is involved in their new multi-family treatment program for eating disorders, which is now actively recruiting participants. For more details regarding the program, click here.
"I first learned about EDRC while participating in a high school benchmark project, during which I and five other students developed a presentation about anorexia nervosa. The positive experiences I had and the help I received from the organization throughout this project encouraged me to continue volunteering, as part of a passionate team dedicated to their cause."
Michelle brings her innate curiosity, skills and passion for learning to manage our website. While pursuing a Computer Science degree at UCLA, Michelle still makes time for EDRC.
Words of Gratitude
"EDRC was the first place I went to to find help and they have been supporting me ever since. From EDRC, I met my mentor, who has been my closest supporter,and received references for both my nutritionist and therapist. Janice and the rest of the EDRC staff have been incredibly kind to me and supportive in my recovery. There is no way I could repay them for the impact they have made in my life.
"In the summer of 2015 I noticed that my 16 year old daughter was wasting away before my eyes. I thought this was what happened to other families, and I wasn’t equipped to deal with a teenager with an eating disorder. Thank goodness for the EDRC! We walked in and I felt comforted by the warm and energetic staff. I knew they understood my daughter’s struggle better than I could. She was scared, but by the end of that first visit, she was opening up for the first time. It was clear to me from the get go that I, as her mother, would be able to be a support, but I really did not comprehend what she was going through. It is now almost a year later and my daughter is thriving and more confident about her future."
Join EDRC at Binge the Eating Disorder Conference!
October 27th - 29th, 2016
EDRC is excited that this year's Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) Conference will be held locally in San Francisco. Kristen Lohse, EDRC's Program Manager, and Jen Medina, our support group leader, are both serving as BEDA Ambassadors for this year's conference.
EDRC has partnered with BEDA to raise awareness about Binge Eating Disorder, the most common, yet least recognized eating disorder. Come attend the conference and visit the EDRC booth.
Changes for our ED and Body Image Support Group at Mountain View and Los Gatos
A Heartfelt Thanks to our Faithful and Generous Supporters!
"We appreciate the role that EDRC plays in our community and are happy to support its efforts to improve the lives of those that live here." - Joey Vaughan, Manager of Community Benefits for LPCH and Stanford Children's Health.
In Memory of Shilpa
(Photograph by Scott Johnson at AIM for the Cures, August 18 2016 in Pebble Beach)
Paraag Marathe, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive VP of Football Operations for the San Francisco 49ers, speaks about the lessons he learned from his sister Shilpa's struggle and tragic death due to anorexia. EDRC and AIM for Mental Health thank him for sharing his personal story to raise awareness about this deadly and misunderstood mental illness.