Wendi H: I Have My Life Back Thanks to ACUTE
Before I came to the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders and Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health, it was a struggle just to get through the day. I had been struggling with an eating disorder for 10-15 years and my condition had progressively gotten worse. I didn’t have energy – getting up the stairs was difficult, I was cold all the time, everyday tasks were a challenge, simply sitting in a chair was uncomfortable. My hair thinned out, my skin was thin and fragile. I kept thinking I would be able to get better but I got to the point where I couldn’t do it on my own. My eating disorder wanted to protect itself. It was isolating and embarrassing.
Beyond the physical challenges, my mental capacity was so limited that even everyday tasks like going to the grocery store or taking care of my family became a challenge. Even carrying on a conversation with a child took so much time and energy. Constantly thinking about food, what I was or was not going to eat and how much to exercise became exhausting.
Now that I have made it through ACUTE, everything has changed. It’s incredible how much free time I have now – time to enjoy my family, whether it's watching TV together or doing crossword puzzles. I’m more engaged and enjoying life and I wish I would have done this sooner. I feel joy now. I laugh like never before. I’m still working on my body image and it’s an ongoing process – but I have my life back.
Initially, coming to ACUTE was scary. My eating disorder was trying to protect itself in its secretive world. It’s hard going from that to complete exposure but the more I did it, the easier it became. Everyone at ACUTE was understanding and caring. I never felt belittled or like it was my fault. I didn’t feel judged like I did at home. The certified nursing assistants at ACUTE became my best friends. It was evident that everyone cared. ACUTE helped get my medications stabilized and gave my body enough nutrition to get healthy. For the first time in years, I had physical and mental clarity.
Being at ACUTE helped me become receptive to the therapy I received at residential treatment. I want to thank the ACUTE staff for being so patient and understanding and never judging me. They were here to support and understand me and hold my hand as I was going through this drastic life change. I very much appreciate the concern and kindness. I can now eat and listen to my body.
It’s so freeing and so worth it.