Allison's Freedom from ED Fund

My name is Allison. I am 26 years old and live in Michigan. I like running, sunshine, sports, and helping others.

For the majority of my young life, I have been in a constant battle with a tenacious eating disorder.  I first began to worry about my weight and food intake when I was 11 1/2 years old. By age 12, anorexia had fully entangled me into its deadly trap.  

I had a very active and pleasant childhood. I was constantly involved in multiple sports at a time. I went to a small school and seemed to have friends. In the late part of my 5th grade year, I began to be bullied. Because my class size was small, this meant I didn’t have a group or friend to go to. I felt very alone. Other changes were going on in my life. My two older sisters were moving out. I began to become more aware of calories and food. The loneliness and changes seemed overwhelming. I sought a way to control something, anything.

In the beginning of 6th grade, I remember my health teacher passing around a model of five pounds of human body fat. That is my first memory of the eating disorder. I felt so threated by this disgusting thing that could ruin my perfect image that I was trying to keep. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be accepted. I wasn’t going to let fat get in the way.

I began to cut back on what I ate. But my competitive, self-critical nature quickly took that idea to the extreme. I was soon cutting out meals and making excuses of why not to eat. My performance in sports suffered, so I thought I needed to work out more and harder.  I quickly lost a great deal of weight from my already naturally thin frame. My health suffered, and my parents took me to a doctor. No one asked me why I wasn’t eating.

From age 12 to 13, I was in and out of a children’s psychiatric ward 3 different times. I did not know what was wrong with me. No one ever explained to me that I had an eating disorder. Honestly, I didn’t even know what an eating disorder was. At age 13, I was sent to a clinic for adolescents with eating disorders. I was in and out of this clinic over a dozen times up to age 18. The treatment approach there was unrealistic for real life. I was not taught how to eat normally. The main goal at that clinic was quick weight gain, done through unhealthy means of high fat and high sugar snacks. The issues that were at the core of my eating disorder, the self-hate, the doubts, the need for control, the obsession, the anxiety, depression, OCD, none of these were addressed. I would be taken out of school for months at a time to be at the clinic, and then when discharged, would relapse, because I was not taught how to manage the eating disorder. No matter what the scale said, my mindset was the same. Being so young made it hard to grasp what recovery meant, why it was necessary, and what it took on my part. I thought if I ate what they told me, I would be better. I basically missed out on a normal adolescence, since I was out of school so often. No prom, no boyfriends, no dances, no going out to lunch with friends. Just me and my eating disorder, in the dark, isolated world of calories, dieting, over-exercising, fear, and lost hope.

At age 19, I went to the adult side of the clinic. This made my eating disorder worse. The clinic coordinator would use me as an example of “what not to do.” He showed my weight chart to a group of patients, comparing it to mountains because of the ups and downs. I felt something break in me. From that point on, I was a failure. I defined myself as someone who could have had a good life, but didn’t have what it took to recover. In my mind, it was too late, I was too inept, and I used my past as evidence of why I wasn’t capable of any life but one with anorexia.

My weight got low enough that my outpatient treatment team in Michigan sent me to a Christian eating disorder residential treatment center in Arizona in 2010. Again, I went there and took the program seriously. I was compliant. I wanted recovery. But the fears of weight gain and the self-doubt could not be extracted in 60 days, and I lost the weight I had gained upon discharge.

At that point, I hit a new all-time low. Most all my relationships had been severed, and the relationships with my family were strained to a degree one cannot fathom.

By some miracle, I was given information about a treatment center in Indiana. It was Christian-based, which was of utmost importance to me. I didn’t know too much about it, but I felt God calling me to seek treatment at Selah House in Indiana. I was tormented in my mind. The only relief I found was in the thought I might be accepted in.

I was accepted into Selah and spent 3 months doing intense work in therapy. I came out of Selah with a hope for life. I had reached a point I never thought I could.

There was something different about Selah House that was immensely more effective than any other place I have been. I wish I could articulate more what that was, but I cannot find sufficient words to describe it. Selah offers a variety of groups that are tailored to eating disorders. Their Christian approach is intertwined throughout the program. The family style dinner and nutrition approach worked better for me than that at any other center. I felt like they aim to teach normal eating, considerably different from the other places I have been through that use individualized meal plans and unrealistic approaches that left me unprepared for everyday life. The small setting created a family atmosphere. To be honest, I had never felt so much love in my entire life. The staff there is elite and their commitment to clients is exceptional. The entire treatment program is second to none in my book.

To prevent relapse, it was suggested I enter a transitional house in Kansas. This ended up being a terrible experience. The house was unsupervised, and the other residents were having eating disorder symptoms. My tenderheartedness was targeted and again I was bullied. I slid right back into the darkness, and the eating disorder, who I refer to as ED, held out his arms.

From that point, I tried to make a life for myself. I continued outpatient treatment, seeing a therapist and dietician weekly. I have had two additional stays at residential treatment centers, neither of which provided lasting healing. I was accepted into nursing school, but was asked to leave because the professors considered me a liability.

This past fall, I was discharged from the most recent residential program in Ohio. I thought I was on the road to recovery. But the deep emotional and spiritual issues are still in crucial need treatment. I have since lost about 10 pounds, and I feel like I am on a downward spiral. I began to think that maybe this was my destiny. Maybe I am not made to recover. Maybe my brain is too rooted in ED, and freedom from this disease is impossible. But that is not God’s plan for me.

God has put it on my heart to reenter Selah House.   I have made a decision to fight as hard as I can for freedom. For the first time in my life, I can honestly and with certainty avow that I am ready to surrender the eating disorder to God. I will no longer allow fear, habits, and doubts to keep me inside of the cage that ED has enclosed me in. I have been struggling for over 14 years. My body will not hold up much longer from the constant weight loss/weight gain cycle. My organs are damaged. My body is tired. My mind is desperate. There is emptiness inside of me crying out for help. I need a second chance at the only treatment center where I found hope and healing and got my first taste of sweet and entire freedom.

However, there are several monumental roadblocks to my readmission.  For starters, I am 26 years old, which means I am no longer on my father’s insurance. This treatment is not covered by Medicaid. I need to raise money to buy insurance, which has very high monthly payments. Most insurances won't cover out of state care, so the insurance I need is specific. On top of that, there is a large deductible that would be paid out immediately. Selah requires that specific medical tests, such as an EKG and blood work, be done prior to admission to Selah to ensure the applicant is medically stable. These tests would make up a great sum of the deductible.

The next obstacle is convincing the Selah House medical team to allow me a second admission. Because of Selah’s small patient status of 8 beds and their exceptional treatment services, a second admission for former residents is extremely uncommon. The team is reluctant to readmit me because they wonder what would make this treatment course different from the first. I believe their questions are numerous, such as: “Am I seriously ready to surrender? Did I not take the first treatment seriously? How would I ensure that this treatment stay would be different than the previous? “

I can tell them all truthfully that I would utilize every second in their facility to the utmost of my ability if given a second opportunity. But what I truly need is a chance to show them. I can honestly say that I would be compliant and not hold back. I let fear do that to me too many times before, and 14 years later, I am still in the chains of this disease. I need prayers that Selah House medical and admission staff have open hearts and minds and grant me a second admission. I may have the same name, but I have a newfound hunger for life and complete freedom from an eating disorder. I no longer want to merely survive, I want to thrive. I desire a husband, to graduate from nursing school and help other victims of eating disorders, to be a mother, to eat pizza and not feel guilty, to run for enjoyment, to be able to be happy again. I want to eat the ice-cream at my nephew’s birthday party and live to see my newborn niece grow into a young woman. I want to help other people suffering from ED to find total and lasting freedom.

I have been to enough different residential programs and been through enough therapy that I am at a point now that I know what I need. Selah showed me that, and has been the only thing proven to help. In my heart, I feel a second admission at Selah House is the one factor that would make it possible for me to get better. Not just a temporary fix, but forever healthy and free.

I am working my hardest to get back into Selah, and will work my hardest once I am there to use each moment to recover. My desire to be healthy and without ED is stronger than ever before.

If accepted into Selah, I cannot let money be the factor that keeps me from going to get help in saving my life. A donation of any amount would be immensely appreciated to help me find eternal freedom from this life-threatening disease. Few realize that anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness. The money would be used to help me pay insurance payments and deductibles, as well as other medical tests and supplements that are needed. My body is in need of healing and nutrition, so vitamins and medications for the coexisting disorders of severe anxiety and depression are vital to my recovery.

If Selah denies my request, the money would be used to obtain treatment from eating disorder professionals. This specific area of expertise is uncommon, so Medicaid covers few and far between providers that are experienced in ED treatment. I cannot get the treatment and help I need to save my life without the money to have insurance, treatment, therapy, nutrition, and other areas that are vital to eating disorder recovery.

My ultimate goal of $25,000 would cover the initial insurance payment and deductible, as well as the monthly payments for insurance of one year. I am hoping to raise the first $2000 quickly to at least get me admitted into Selah. The goal seems lofty, but I believe God often goes beyond our expectations, so I am having faith that He will provide.

The funds are needed quickly. The space is limited in Selah House, so once a bed is taken, it could be months before another opens. I do not have much time before this spiral takes me to a level from which I may not come back from. That is a scary thought, but very real and very vital nonetheless.

Please help me not only get into treatment, but get my life back. I have not gone one day without anorexia since I was twelve. I know there is a better life out there for me. Please help me find it.

I cannot express how grateful I would be to be given a chance at life. I have never stopped fighting, and I finally feel I know what I need to do to recover!

Thank you and God Bless.

Abundant prayers are also always greatly needed! I believe that prayers can move mountains. "With God all things are possible" Matthew 19:26

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Organizer

Allison Rademacher 
Organizer
Grand Ledge, MI

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