National Eating Disorders Association
Blog

The acknowledgement of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnic background and cross-cultural differences is necessary and vital to building the therapeutic relationship. All of these things contribute towards one’s identity and, in my experiences as a clinician, are always present in the room with clients.

At the NEDA Annual Gala on May 16th, 2018 at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, Becca McCharen Tran of CHROMAT accepted the NEDA Inspires Seal of Approval Award. Her remarks that evening were powerful and we'd like to share them with you here...

Thank you so much Emme for your kind words. I’m so honored to be here with the other honorees Bruce and Mike.

I feel extremely lucky to have a mother that is also my best friend. She has and always will be a source of comfort for me. When I was in elementary school and would come home from ballet class in tears because the teacher made me feel badly about my body my mom would hug me, hold me, and make sure that I felt loved and appreciated for exactly the way that I was. As I got older, coming home from school or ballet in tears because of body-shaming comments became a more regular occurrence, and every time my mom was there for me.

Imagine you take one of those vibrating back-massagers (the kind that look like little plastic squid creatures you might find at a CVS) and place it on the back of your head. Then, use duct tape to secure the massager to your head by wrapping the tape around your jaw - kind of like a birthday party hat. Go ahead and turn the device on.

“I’m tired of trying so hard to be what everybody else wants me to be, so now I’m fighting for the girl…little girl in the mirror.”  Penning these lyrics was one of the most freeing and rewarding feelings in the world.  If someone had told me when I was a teenager that struggling with and recovering from an eating disorder was going to help me realize my biggest passion in life, I would have rolled my eyes and laughed.

I can vividly recall my first day at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital clinic. I had already been sick for 3 years, in which time I had seen more treatment providers than I can count on two hands. I was beginning to lose hope that I would ever get better. My EKG showed my heart beating at a measly pace, just 1 beat above the cardiac hospitalization threshold.

When I began my recovery from my Eating Disorder (ED), Anorexia Nervosa (AN), I had a lot of momentum. I was sprinting towards a “recovery finish line” that I had imagined for myself within a self-imposed timeframe of a few months. This was in stark contrast to my 23 years of living with AN. At the 6 month recovery mark, I hit what I thought was a huge roadblock. For the first time in years, my weight had been restored to a point where my periods returned. I had a lot of mixed emotions surrounding this; happiness and excitement, but also distress and fear.

Most of us have heard this before: recovery is not a linear process.

As I graduated from treatment in November 2017, I kept that message in mind. My outpatient team and my family continue to remind me that I don’t have to seek perfection in my recovery; ups and downs are to be expected. In my early months of recovery, as I adjusted back to the “real world” with less structure and less clinical support, I typically took two steps forward and one step—sometimes three steps—back.

This one’s to you, anorexia – 

For changing my life. 

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I want to open this with a personal share – 

The other day, I went to post a picture on my recovery Instagram account. I was by the pool – one of the first warm Spring days here in Denver, and I posed with my new swimsuit perfectly positioned – the light-infused filter chosen – and I had my caption ready to go.

“Soaking up rays – living my best recovery life." I planned to write to followers. 

In honor of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAM), as a result of the dedicated efforts of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), I wanted to share my personal experience of the connection between sexual assault, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anorexia Nervosa (AN), and recovery. 

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