My guest blogger this week, Laura Susanne Yochelson, couragously shares her personal story about her journey to recovery. Thank you for sharing Laura.
My Resistance to Treatment
My 15-year struggle with mental illness started in middle school. It was triggered by a cross-country family move from Bethesda, Maryland to body conscious Southern California. By high school I became obsessed with food and working out. My parents tried to get me help but I resisted conventional approaches.
The roots of my eating disorder went unrecognized in college. My weight crashed during the first semester even though I was seeing a therapist four times a week. I had to take a leave of absence. One year later, living at home rather than on campus, I resumed studies in health promotion to understand what was going on in my world and with others like me. My undergraduate experience was lopsided. Despite getting high grades, I lived in isolation, anger, and pain.
After college, I published a 260-page memoir about my struggle. This attempt at self-help backfired. I blamed family and friends for my problems, giving book talks at universities, libraries, and businesses. My fantasy of becoming a celebrity didn’t materialize. Self-absorption and lack of friendships fed psychosis!
My family and I experienced three years of crisis including a near-death experience. I bounced from one eating disorder program to another. None of them addressed my haunting voices and painful feelings. In fact, I got angrier as a result of forced feeding that violated my values.
The Path to Recovery
I finally came to grips with my mental illness when my parents hired an interventionist and sent me to a treatment center in South Florida. The path to recovery took a year of consistent treatment. For the first time, I connected with my therapist and psychiatrist. As part of my treatment, I accepted medication, found a support network, and interacted with my peers.
Treatment in South Florida succeeded because the approach was holistic and personalized. I learned to trust because I knew that nobody could flip a switch and that it takes time to get better. Today, I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my story, which supports my recovery.
Laura Susanne Yochelson is a summa cum laude graduate of American University and recently received a Master of Science in health promotion management. She has written about her recovery experience in the blogs of Active Minds, NAMI, The AU Eagle and others. Laura can be reached through LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/laurasusanne) and WordPress (laurauthor.wordpress.com).