Overcoming obstacles is something we all feel a sense of accomplishment from. One of our incredible members, Elizabeth Kern, did just that. Recently, Elizabeth overcame an eating disorder and clinical depression. We’re honored Elizabeth shared her courageous and touching story with us. Now, we’re sharing her story with you: in her own words.
I have a disability. Not many people know about my disability. However, I have reached a point where I think sharing it with others might be more beneficial than keeping it to myself. With the help of my therapist and strong support system, made up of family and friends, I have made progress in the biggest battle of my life. I have and will continue to fight an eating disorder. Just like any mental disorder we need to learn to control our thoughts because our inner voice can take over at any time.
My therapist and I like to call my inner voice, ED. He is loud, rude, controlling, and downright nasty. He puts thoughts in my head that aren’t true and makes me feel guilty if I disobey his orders. ED made me run and lift weights more than I would like to admit. Soon running became an unhealthy, even deadly habit. Eventually, I only had time for work and the gym so I lost the majority of my friends. I soon became a person that only went out to get groceries, exercise, occasionally see my family and go to work. In no time at all, ED was my only friend. His cruel personality soon became my personality (imagine “angry” times 10) and I also became clinically depressed.
I moved back in with my family who began noticing my frightful eating and obsessive exercising habits and decided to intervene and get me help. Yes, you read that right. I was so ill that I could ’t even comprehend what I was doing to myself. On top of living with an eating disorder and clinical depression, I was also suffering from body dysmorphia. When I looked in the mirror, I saw an overweight woman who had large hips, belly fat, and thunder thighs. However, the reality was I weighed 98 pounds with bones poking out of my body and a sickly complexion.
When I first started going to therapy I was unable to exercise for fear that any elevated heart rate would kill me. That sent ED through the roof. My first few months of sessions were unbearable until I started being able to think for myself again. The hardest part of therapy was putting my trust in someone besides ED. Others had hurt me by breaking my trust and I was very skeptical of people, even friends. Once I established trust with my therapist, I began to accept simple concepts about eating and food and I was able to exercise again. Instead of resorting back to old fitness apps I used to obsess over. I searched for an app that wouldn’t count how many calories I had burned while out on a run or bike ride.
That’s where Charity Miles came to the rescue.
Charity Miles does not track calories just time, distance, and how much money I raise for the charity of my choice. It meets my needs of staying healthy without picking up old habits such as counting calories and over-exercising. Charity Miles has helped keep my focus on how running is meant to be positive. I use exercise to keep my body in shape and to give back to others in need. It reminds me of how my therapist never gave up on me in my time of need. He gave his time and energy to help re-train my brain and now I want to do the same for others who are struggling with similar disorders.
I want to publish a book about overcoming an eating disorder to inspire others to accept treatment. If you have an eating disorder or your story sounds similar to mine, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. I am a better, stronger person because I accepted help. I am going to keep tracking miles for the ASPCA and Feeding America!
If you were touched or inspired by Elizabeth’s story, let us know! In honor of Elizabeth’s paramount accomplishment, make sure to log some Charity Miles for the ASPCA and Feeding America (her favorite charities!).