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Fighting Back: A Story of Courage and Determination

Editor's Note: With this entry, we are pleased to introduce new Not Fake News contributor Lauren Kligman, who writes about health-related issues as well as other topics. To learn more about Lauren, please visit the Writer's tab.

Eating disorders, depression -- a vicious cycle

We are slow to adapt. It wasn’t that long ago that men and especially women were locked up in insane asylums for having depression. We did not know what to do or how to treat mental disorders. While in today’s Western World we are a little better, it still isn’t enough.

There is a large bubble that clouds the mental disorder community. Every day we try to brush away the smuck that people, who don’t -- or refuse -- to understand, give to us. I have experienced this first-hand. As long as I can remember I have been struggling and battling with anxiety and depression.

For the past decade or so I've been fighting an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. In my senior year of college many of my friends who were concerned about my appearance confronted me, but I was reluctant to get any sort of help. I thought I could do it all on my own. I thought that I was fine, and therapy was a waste.

But people around me forced my hand and I finally went to a Partial Hospitalization Program at the University of North Carolina for two months. I pushed myself and worked hard so I could come back to my job and be with my friends. I realized once I got home and back to work that I was not doing the treatment for me, I was doing it for others. I wanted to be back at work and just “be normal.”

I had many setbacks and soon relapsed.

Soon I was at an all- time low weight of around 70 pounds and miserable. I couldn’t face myself and mirrors constantly haunted me. Walking up the stairs was like going up Mount Everest. Many days I remember just not eating really anything.

My family was concerned and worried, and during Christmas time I agreed to move to New York to live with my mom and stepdad to receive help. I did not know what to expect. I thought I was going there to be with mom and stepdad, but that was not the case at all.

I was at such a low point that I was hospitalized for three weeks. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life. I was stripped from so many things and felt like I was locked away in a prison. Finally, when I was discharged, not even 24 hours later I went to a magical place, the Sol Stone eating disorder and nutrition center in Elmira, NY.

In another partial hospitalization program at Sol Stone, I received treatment and care unlike anything I’ve felt before. I met people and learned their stories. I grew and felt stronger. I spent 10 weeks there; it was one long journey. Tthen, I did an intensive outpatient program for a little over a year.

I wanted to keep moving forward, so I decided to move back to Myrtle Beach, SC, where I work full-time as a Manager at my family business, Klig’s Kites. Everyday is a struggle, but I learned that with one step at a time, we have to keep moving forward. Don’t get me wrong there are times that I wish it was all over. But I know I need to keep marching, and that I have support all around me.

The reason I wanted to write this was because I was tired of hiding behind my eating disorder. We have such a bad stigma on eating disorders in our society, that it is difficult for people to cope and deal with them.

So please know that it is a constant battle for many people, men and women. And if you think someone is battling one, be there for him or her, love on them, and care for them. But most of all do not judge them; we do that enough on ourselves.

Thank you for your support and love. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.

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