Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog
Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Centers - Client Stories

“Castlewood gave me the insight to rescue myself.”

Emily*, a 27-year-old in the medical field, had struggled with an eating disorder for most of her life. She faced some of the darkest days of her eating disorder before deciding to pursue treatment at Castlewood. One year ago, Emily was discharged from Castlewood and is living a full life in recovery. Hear Emily’s story — and learn why Castlewood was where her recovery began.   About her eating disorder: “I have pretty much had an eating disorder my entire life, since I was a young child,” Emily says. She considered it “issues around food,” she says. “I never thought of it as an eating disorder.” She later was diagnosed with both anorexia and anxiety. As an adult working in the medical field, Emily began seeing a therapist. “I’d had intense anxiety my whole life and things just spiraled from there.” How she made her residential treatment decision: As things became more challenging, Emily was losing weight rapidly. “My therapist told me I needed a higher level of care and I didn’t know what that meant. I was living on the East Coast at that time. I said, I can’t leave my job for treatment, this is crazy.” Her therapist gave her an ultimatum — pursue residential treatment, or check herself into the hospital. Why she chose Castlewood: Initially, Emily looked for treatment centers on the East Coast, near where she was living. “But my therapist recommended Castlewood, and she really wanted me to go there,” Emily says. She completed her intake process on a Friday and arrived at Castlewood’s St. Louis location on Monday. Facing her challenges: “I left Castlewood and St. Louis after the first few weeks because I was so ashamed,” Emily recalls, thinking back on one of her lowest moments. “I didn’t want my family to know I was there, I needed to get back to work . . . I left before I should have, with my eating disorder totally in tact. I planned to just keep living that way, but it didn’t work. My eating disorder just got worse and I ended up relapsing even harder. In the moment, it was awful. I was learning the hard way over and over that it wasn’t working. I got to a place where I was the sickest I had ever been and my outpatient team would no longer see me unless I had a higher level of care.” Emily returned to Castlewood in St. Louis, Missouri, for treatment. Emily’s turning point: “My turning point was probably when I began to realize that I couldn't get away with not doing the therapy work,” Emily says. As she progressed through all of Castlewood’s levels of treatment, from residential to IOP, she gained crucial understanding of the role her eating disorder played in her life. The therapeutic difference at Castlewood: “I got a lot of insight into what my eating disorder is about and how it has followed me through life,” she says. “Initially, it was having the insight into how secure attachment related to my eating disorder — realizing how the eating disorder develops to protect you, but how it actually works through disconnection.” She also valued her group therapy experiences. “Seeing reflections of yourself in other people, whether it’s something that you value or that you are ashamed of, is one of the biggest things that was helpful to me in treatment.” Emily’s life today: One year after her time at Castlewood, many things are drastically different her life. “I have insight into what a full life can be, and what I want in life has completely shifted. I feel less hopeless for sure. My lapses don’t turn into relapses, and I’m more able to pick myself up when I am struggling.” Finding joy in recovery: As a result of her time at Castlewood, Emily finds joy in many aspects of her life. Now living in Chicago, she’s back to work in the medical field. “I adore my job, I love being a nurse and I just started graduate school,” she says. “I have people close to me — I’m much better at letting others in and being true.” She also credits her outpatient team for her ongoing growth. Castlewood’s legacy: “I’m very happy that I was able to go to Castlewood and that I had the experience I did. Castlewood gave me the insight to rescue myself.” She is particularly grateful for her Castlewood treatment team. “A handful of really incredible people who worked there really connected with me, and made treatment much more manageable. They gave me an idea of what life could look like outside of an eating disorder and it was motivating.” Her advice for someone facing an eating disorder today: “I was horrified by the entire idea of treatment initially. I felt that it wasn’t for me, I felt I didn’t belong there,” she reflects. “But ultimately, the insight that you will gain from going to treatment is worth going. It’s going to be endlessly hard and it is worth it.”   If Emily’s story sounds like yours, contact Castlewood. If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, reach out for help. Call us today for a confidential assessment: 855-749-8233. * This Castlewood client requested anonymity because of her profession in the medical field.