Help me be half the woman I am today...

I draw stick figures:I'm not one in real life.

I never will be. And, I'm ok with that. My value doesn't lie in a number on a scale, or a size on a tag in the collar of my shirt. What I'm not ok with is the toll my size has taken, and will continue to take, on my health. I need to make changes. BIG changes (pun fully intended). These changes are more than just changing what or how much I eat, more than dealing with the compulsive eating diagnosis that at least puts a name on part of my struggle. These changes are a complete re-wiring of how I think, feel and act:habits developed over 30+ years. These changes will be difficult, and I can't make them without professional help.

That's where you come in.

My name is Mary. I am an artist and designer, and I live in a small town in south-central PA. Let me tell you a couple things about myself, to help you understand where I am coming from. The first thing is that I use humor as a coping mechanism. So, if I seem flippant, or joke around about my size and situation, it's not that I don't take it seriously. I do. But, laughter helps me cope with the day-to-day issues. So, just for the time you're reading this, you have my full permission to laugh at any and all fat jokes I might crack.

I wasn't always big.

In fact, I was a pretty normal looking kid, until I hit kindergarten.

I was quiet and not terribly active, but I wasn't really fat:come to think of it, I wasn't even chubby, really. But, just when I should have been losing any baby fat, I started to gain. I don't know why, precisely.

As the years went by, I got bigger. I had my ups and downs, when I would try different diets and things like that, but generally, as I grew in age, I grew in size.

I won't bore you with all of the stuff I dealt with as a kid/teenager/young adult, except to say that I faced a lot of challenges (as did many).

My goal is to get into a short-term inpatient treatment program (preferably the Renfew Program in Philadelphia), and make the most of that opportunity to kick-start my 'recovery.' I know that it is a long journey that I have ahead of me, and that it is going to take lots of hard work and changes on my part. Thankfully, I have a great support system in place. So, now I have the people in place, the motivation and desire to change...the only thing I lack is the resources.

It's kind of obvious that I can't really work at this stage. (Not just due to my size, but that is a large factor). I mean, I had to sit down to play Wii. That's not good. Eventually, I want to get back in to the workforce and be a "productive member of society" but I have a lot of work to do before that can happen. 

I have a really hard time asking for help, so if this seems fragmented, rambling or any of the above, it's because I needed to hit "Post" before I talked myself out of it. Any help is hugely appreciated. 

Some people ask what my goal is in all of this. I don't have a specific number goal, as far as weight loss, but I want to get to a point where I can walk more than just a little without being out of breath, and I want to be able to go to the thrift store and buy clothes (sounds silly if you've never had to worry about stores having clothing in your size). I want to be able to go to a friends' house, and not worry if their furniture is strong enough to support me, or whether it will hold me. 

A really rough breakdown of how (at least some) of the money would be used is as follows:

$3600 - will cover one year of health insurance; this insurance will enable me to go to the 3-month rehab/treatment program I want to go into. (Otherwise, I would be looking at $800 per day at the lowest end of the sliding scale for self-pay). Also, this will allow for after-care following treatment.

 - holding my apartment/housing until I complete the program and can return home; 

$300(?) - incidental expenses related to getting into my desired rehab/treatment program (traveling for assessment and again for intake, etc.); I'm not sure exactly how much to allow for this, to be honest, so I'm hopefully over estimating. 

$???Co-pays/Doctor fees - expenses not covered by the insurance.

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Mary Ann Parks 
Carlisle, PA
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