Food and body image ruled my life for over ten years. My eating disorder was a source of heartbreak, comfort, and control. I stuffed, starved, and obsessed as a way of coping with life. It became such a part of me I couldn’t imagine what freedom looked like. I never thought one day I would walk around not thinking “what will I eat, how many calories are in this, do I look as big as I feel, or what would people think if they saw the real me?”
In 2015 I hit an all-time low, crying to God as I tried to pick myself up off of the cold wooden floor after a binge. I barely recognized myself. I was disgusted and ashamed. I couldn’t do this anymore. I wasn’t living at all. I felt like I was slowly dying. I started looking up treatment facilities and programs that might be able to help me. I was overwhelmed; I didn’t even know what I was searching for. I wasn’t in a place financially to afford somewhere full time and I desperately needed something between residential and individual therapy. I found Rock online that night and emailed them right away. I believe it was God answering my cry for help. I entered Rock in a desperate state, longing for freedom, but skeptical if that was even possible. After my first meeting I was overwhelmed. I had never been in any type of treatment facility or therapy group. It was in our Sunday night groups that I finally felt safe and free to share my secrets and pain.
During my time at Rock I was able to not only find freedom from my eating disorder but also freedom from a life of bondage. I was surrounded by people who understood what it was like to feel isolated and trapped in your own mind and body. The volunteers at Rock both encouraged and challenged me. I walked away each Sunday a little bit stronger. Rock was where I found my voice. It was where God met me. It was where I found peace and acceptance that, despite my eating disorder, I was loved and cherished. I live now not defined by my past, my hurts or an eating disorder. I live knowing that my heavenly father calls me valuable, set free, accepted, holy, and loved. I know freedom is possible. My prayer is for all those suffering to find freedom and be able to live the life God has for them.
Today, you will find me driving through all quadrants of The District as I fulfill my duties as a case manager. I work at a non-profit where I assist those experiencing homelessness find homes and regain stability. I’ve enjoyed the field of social work so much that I am pursuing my Masters of Social Work at Catholic University part-time. Without the tools I learned at Rock, I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of my field and school. During my off hours, I enjoy time with friends, refinishing old furniture, and spending time with my fiance and his pup. Without food ruling my life, I am able to breathe. I take the ups and downs as they come rather than stuff them. I have blissful days and awful ones but I am no longer controlled by food or body image.
To those who support Rock, thank you for helping me find freedom.
And to all those still suffering, freedom is possible. You are stronger than you think. Hang in there!
Since graduating from Rock Recovery’s Bridge to Life program, Jessie’s life has drastically changed. Her life is no longer about food, but rather enjoying the gifts that come with each day. You can help more people like Jessie find healing and freedom in the new year by donating to Rock Recovery today!