Nicole is a Looking Glass Summer Camp Alumna, Foundation scholarship recipient, and inspiration to those around her. We're grateful for her courage to share her story so others will know that recovery to a full and healthy life is within reach for everyone struggling with eating disorders. Let's walk this journey together - you don't have to do it alone.
My journey with my eating disorder began over 11 years ago. High school was a very scary time of life for me - I was anxious, depressed, confused and ultimately felt like I had no control over my life or my body. In my desperate need to find some control, my eating disorder entered my life. For me, my eating disorder felt like the only thing that I could control and provided me with a sense of comfort in all the chaos that was going on around and within me. Of course, my health and my life went downhill quickly. My eating disorder soon consumed every aspect of me; I was tired, weak, unmotivated and ultimately not participating in my own life.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Shortly after beginning my recovery, I attended The Looking Glass Foundation’s Summer Camp. When I showed up at camp, I was no longer having the physical symptoms of an eating disorder and I felt like I was well on my way to recovery. But the truth is that I was still in denial. The summer camp provided me with a safe and comfortable place to look my eating disorder in the eyes and make the decision that I am bigger and stronger than it was. This was probably one of the scariest moments for me and on day two of camp I got completely overwhelmed and had a meltdown. I am so thankful for the safe space the summer camp provided me with, as this moment was a major turning point in my recovery. I realized that I had an eating disorder and that I was the only person in control of my recovery. It was finally time for me to give up my pride, accept help and take responsibility for my actions. I left the camp with the realization that I was not alone in this journey, that I am not a failure for relapsing and that I am strong enough to beat this.
A major goal for me through my recovery and throughout high school was to become an X-ray Technologist. In 2007 my hard work at school paid off and I was accepted to the medical radiography program at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). This was something that I had wanted for years but I soon realized that there was no room in my life for both my eating disorder and this program - I had to choose one or the other. And I chose school.
With this choice brought up many new challenges and struggles. My biggest trigger is, and always will be, stress. I have found through the years that it is during the most stressful moments of life that my eating disorder rears its ugly head. As a result, it’s incredibly important for me to keep myself if check. The majority of my classmates were able to balance our heavy course load with a part time job to pay for tuition. This, however, was not realistic for me as the stress of managing both was too overwhelming. In 2008 I was awarded a Looking Glass Scholarship and it gave me the freedom to focus on school without having to take on the dangerous stress of making money as well. It was such a blessing and made a huge difference in supporting me in opening a new chapter in my life.
The Looking Glass Foundation has supported me mentally, physically and financially. The organization has also provided my family with the comfort and the services that they have needed to be able to support me on my journey. I will forever have so much gratitude for this organization. Every day I spend in recovery is a day that I have my life back. The beautiful people who work and support the Looking Glass Foundation have indirectly helped me to turn my recovery from days into months, and months into years and they can help you too.