National Eating Disorders Association

NEDA Helped Me Realize That I Am Not Alone

Mike and Mary Polan

The journey through my daughter’s ten-year battle with anorexia was long and difficult. There were many twists and turns, detours and crashes along the way - almost to the point that we thought it would end in her death.

We went to multiple day, evening, and in-patient programs, and endured three hospital stays, and too many appointments with therapists, nutritionists, psychiatrists, and doctors to count. She suffered through two stress fractures due to the osteoporosis she developed because of the lack of nutrition. The sadness and sense of hopelessness and helplessness was overwhelming for me.

My journey to recovery was an extremely long and painful process. I didn't know what it really meant to live but I finally began to see how amazing life could be and that I can be loved for exactly who I am.

In those early days, the NEDA community helped me realize that I am not alone, and that there are many families going through the same heartache. We went to NEDA Walks, I became a NEDA Navigator, I joined the Parent, Family & Friends Network steering committee, I wrote articles for newsletters, and I even presented at the 2013 NEDA Conference.

My daughter is now in a healthy place in her life. She is in her twenties, lives in her own apartment in California, and just recently traveled through Europe.

Recovery is possible. Even in the darkest times, never lose hope. There is a fighter within all of us.

The NEDA community has become like family – we wouldn’t be where we are today without the hope and support we found in them.

As NEDA celebrates 15 years of saving lives, I hope you’ll give generously to ensure that families like ours can continue to receive the help they deserve.

NEDA is here to support you during the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. The health of our community, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus' serious complications, remains paramount. To access resources that can provide free and low-cost support, please click here.