I sat at the round table in the guidance counselor’s office–a table meant for a group to sit around and chat. But instead of a friendly group chat, there was a war. My perfect posture added to the intensity of the situation– and by situation, I mean the complex act of me trying to eat a sandwich through a fiery death glare aimed directly at the food in front of me. I was in the pit of my eating disorder, and I had convinced myself there was no way out. That’s when I was given a book to read: Life Without Ed, by Jenni Schaefer.
I’m not kidding when I say my life changed in that moment. No, I did not eat the sandwich, nor did I reach full recovery for a few more years. However, I realized for the first time in that moment that I had a say in my recovery. My parents could keep driving me to therapy, but it was up to me to make the decision to recover. It took years of debating with my treatment team and my loved ones, but sure enough, I ultimately chose recovery. I have Jenni to thank for a large part of my life-changing decision.
Around 1 year ago, I wrote Jenni a letter by hand and mailed it to her (I know, crazy concept!). I told her how much I admired her, thanked her for inspiring me, and asked if she was taking any interns for the summer. Shortly after, I received an email from none other than Jenni herself. I freaked out. I would be interning with my recovery role model the summer before my senior year of college!
Now, I am a second semester senior, and I had the absolute honor of presenting with the incredibly talented and amazing human being, Jenni Schaefer, for my university’s Love Your Body Week. Talk about full circle!
I’m sharing my story about my special relationship with Jenni because everybody needs a Jenni in their recovery. We all need that one person or thing that gives us the hope and empowerment to reclaim our health and fight for the life we deserve. I have Jenni to thank for the hugely positive impact recovery has had on my life, and for the many blessings that will continue to come from a friendship and mentorship with Jenni Schaefer.
Who’s your Jenni? How can you find your voice and make the choice to recover? I’m living proof that even the “impossible” is possible if you make the decision to fight for your life.
For more about Jenni’s incredible mission (and to see a blog I wrote for her) check out her website!