Erin's Story

Terrified, but desperate to live, Erin found the help she needed to recover.

Erin Stuart

Erin Stuart


My 15 year battle with anorexia began my Sophmore year in college.  The pounds I’d gained since starting school had to go.  My solution: exercise, eat less, and Slim-Fast.

As I fluctuated, Junior year came and went.  I starved my way into isolation.  I had no idea that this “will power” would grow into an uncontrollable disease.

People started to notice.

“You look dead.  There’s no life in your eyes.  You look sick, and need help”.

I didn’t care.  I would rather eat less.



Anorexia was my friend, and would keep me company as I died.

After school, I graduated to Weight Watchers – my life changed forever.  I scoured the store for the 80 calorie granola bar because the one with 110 calories was unacceptable.  Dinner: a bag of lettuce and a tablespoon of mayo – I hated myself for every bite.  

100 lbs: Infections and fractures were frequent; my hair was thinning and greasy; my hips ached whenever I moved.  I was alone, but it didn’t matter.  

Anorexia was my friend, and would keep me company as I died.

Panic attacks started.  I cried hysterically at the sight of someone with milk in their coffee.  I longed for milk in my coffee, but when I tried, I threw it away in terror.  Something was wrong.  

When I was 26, I started seeing a therapist.  She suggested I keep almonds in my desk.  

“I can’t eat almonds.  I’m not allowed to”.  

I was a slave.

Therapy ended when she told me she couldn’t help me, so I went to a sports nutritionist who based my recovery solely on the scale.  Gaining, then losing, and eating just enough to seem “healthy”, but continued to overexercise and obsess in silence over every calorie.  No one would take away the control that controlled me.  I was in and out of relapse for a decade.



Anorexia was my secret.  I needed it close by.  I didn’t want to lose it forever.

My body weakened even more; I was dizzy walking up a flight of stairs.  Eventually, I went to a doctor for testing.

“You’re close to kidney failure.  The inflammation in your body is equal to that of someone dying from cancer.  

“Your body is literally eating itself”.

The grey area I had lived in for so long turned to black and white.  I didn’t want to die this way.  I finally wanted to recover for good.

With the support of friends, I made the hardest decision of my life: I went to an outpatient program for eating disorders.  I was terrified, but I was desperate to live.

Without my treatment team working aggressively to help me climb out of hell, I would have never cared enough to develop the skills I needed to heal before the damage became irreversible.  

I thought anorexia was my best friend, but I know now it was my worst enemy.

Recovery hasn’t been easy for me, by any means, but it is the single best thing I’ve ever done.  I am not as stressed, I can think more clearly, and when I look in the mirror, I see a more realistic picture.  I don’t have the type of “rules” for myself that I used to, I reach out, and I don’t suffer in silence anymore.  

I work hard every day to become healthier, be present, and enjoy my life.  As I continue treatment on a weekly basis, I can finally see the possibility of complete freedom from anorexia.