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For those who haven’t found their way out yet; and for those of us who have, and will always remember.

This is the dedication as it appears in Purge: Rehab Diaries. It’s a big part of why I started writing about my eating disorder and treatment experience. I did not write my book because I thought I had all the answers to recovery. Everyone’s experience with an eating disorder and with recovery is different, and I will be the first to admit there are no easy answers, although I consider myself recovered.

Some of the women I was in treatment with recovered, while others did not. Some women attempt to straddle the border of recovery and sickness, a foot on each side of the proverbial fence. Some women almost died. Whether or not we recovered, we will always remember the time in our lives in which we were eating-disordered, and of course the time we spent in treatment.

Currently, I am trying to make sense of my eating-disordered past, including treatment. It has taken me a long time to figure out how best to tell people I had been to treatment, and how to tell them I wrote a book about it. It’s a big leap of faith, telling people about my past. It’s something many of us struggle with. I have found, though, that most people take it well. They might be caught a bit off guard, but they are usually receptive.

More often than not, they tell me their own stories about eating disorders, alcoholism, addiction or sexual assault, or they tell me about their best friend who almost died of anorexia, or their partner who they suspect has a troubled past.

I wrote Purge in part to help people, to show them they aren’t alone, and that there is hope. I tell my story because it reflects the stories of so many others, and in the end, our stories all affect each other.

No matter where I end up in life, I will always remember the women who I spent the summer of 2004 with, and I will wonder where they are. Some of them are unable to tell their stories because they are enveloped in sickness, and while I don’t intend to speak for anyone but myself, I feel that (parts of) their (general) stories should be shared, because during that summer, our stories were intertwined.

This is a beautiful post, Nicole. I can relate to that feeling, that fear of sharing this past and experience with those around you. But it’s true, that those who care and love you stand by your side no matter what, and now you are able to stand for those that haven’t yet found their way out.

Nicole, Brady pointed me to your blog, and I’m so glad he did. First of all, congratulations on the book–this is BIG. And secondly, thank you for the book. As a fellow ED survivor (ah, yes, the lovely EDNOS…I cringed when I read that), I know where you’re coming from, where you’ve been, and the courage it takes to bare all of that. I can also understand how therapeutic this must be–let it serve YOU now, as well as all of those your story will help.

Again, congratulations. And thank you.