On the Road to Recovered: Natalie's Story

When Natalie was in college, the ramifications of her eating disorder reached their pinnacle when she landed in the cardiac intensive care unit. Her heart was in severe distress due to the toll that restriction and over-exercising had taken on her body. Though previously she had minimized, rationalized, and outright denied having an eating disorder, immediate attention became mandatory.

After stabilizing in an inpatient unit, Natalie sought residential care at Monte Nido Vista because she has been exposed to Carolyn Costin’s views on recovery from the book 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder.

Natalie stayed at Vista from July through September 2014. Transitioning back into life in Chicago proved harder than she anticipated. While Monte Nido believes that everyone can become fully recovered and live a life free of an eating disorder, Natalie’s step-down treatment program in Chicago promoted the more limiting model that eating disorder symptoms can only ever be managed, never fully alleviated.

Nearly one year later, Natalie considers the tricky relationship between her depression, anxiety, and eating disorder, and admits that although she is sometimes inclined to isolate, it never serves her recovery. She reflects on what is gained by being vulnerable, and how much better she feels when she speaks her truth, without judgment. She knows she needs to be vigilantly honest with the people in her life, and to nurture the relationships that are healthy and to let go of those that aren’t. Despite the bumps of recovery, Natalie reminds herself: “I am capable” – truly, we all are.

Currently 23-years-old, Natalie lives in Chicago and is completing her last semester at college, pursuing a bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics.