It's fascinating that while I didn't start out with a conscious decision to starve myself and develop an eating disorder, that's exactly what it took to turn back towards life again and begin my slow journey back towards my true self.
I came to Children's Hospital in early May of 2004. Hearing the door of the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit (IPU) shut so resolutely and with such finality was the last sound I wanted to experience. I anticipated a long process of being forced to gain weight and face the problems that were ultimately the root of my anorexia. It certainly was a painful and arduous journey, but with it came blessings. I formed relationships that continue to aid me in my quest for life and taught me the value of a setting so adept at nurturing life.
Time would find me back in Children's twice more - once for a second experience in the IPU and once for a medical stabilization before making the hard but life-changing decision to come to Utah for a residential program. Spending five long months at the Center for Change in Orem, UT provided me that next stepping stone, that next big boost up out of my hole. September of 2005 came and I found myself back at my high school in Kent, WA for my senior year. I went to prom, experienced my first relationship, graduated on time, and perhaps even more important, had the opportunity to give back to a place that had effected my life so very much - Children's.
Having received blankets and other small comforts while staying inpatient, I knew the smiles and appreciations for these gestures were immense. It was at this point that I set myself up to the task of raising $5,000 to bring 250 teddy bears to the kids staying in the hospital over the holiday season. I was fortunate enough to form a partnership with a wonderful woman, Jamie Barney, who worked with a mobile teddy bear extravaganza known as Bear Your Heart. It was on New Years Eve morning that we stepped into the playroom at Children's with large gift bags.