Hey NEDA Fam!
I’m Jenny (she/her/hers)! I am a NEDA Walk Coordinator, a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, a Recovery Coach, a Case Manager, a Behavioral Health Technician, and a mental health advocate. I am a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a granddaughter, a friend, and a peer.
I am also in recovery from anorexia, mental illnesses, and trauma. I am an eating disorder, a chronic illness, and a suicide attempt survivor. I am a future trauma therapist and a future social worker. I am not just a survivor, I am a thriver.
With all of these things that I am, there are also things that I am not – I am not my eating disorder. I am not my mental illnesses nor my chronic illness. I am not my trauma. I am not my pain. I am not my struggles, past & present. I am not the challenges I have faced. And I am not defined by these trials and tribulations.
I have overcome adversity, however I am not strong because of this in particular. I am not strong because of my eating disorder. I am not strong because of my mental illnesses. I am not strong because of my chonic illness. I am not strong because of my trauma, my pain, the struggles, the challenges.
I am strong because I am me. I am strong because I defined my own values, separate from my illnesses. I am strong because of not only what I have experienced, however because of what I have overcome and how I overcame it.
I came to the NEDA community nine years ago looking for strength when I felt so incredibly weak. I came looking for the hope I didn’t have (yet). I came because I kept hearing the words “recovery is possible,” yet I didn’t know how to connect to that said recovery.
NEDA gave me the strength to move through my darkest of days, the hope for a possibility of a better tomorrow, and showed me an example of the recovery that I so very deserved – and that we all deserve. And I found this all through the NEDA Walks Program.
Looking back on these last 9 years, I see how my strength has developed through my experiences, through my struggle. And I see how each step I have taken on this recovery journey of mine has taught me and given me the knowledge of understanding that although it is not linear and that of course it is full of ups and downs, it is still possible. It is always possible.
NEDA Walks showed me what strength, what hope, and what recovery looks like. NEDA Walks inspired the courage within me to realize that it’s time for change; that I couldn’t keep living the way I was – that it was time to truly fight this fight, and that I was WORTHY of that change. And that we are ALL worthy of this change, of this recovery and of feeling and connecting with our strength and our ability to recover through the endless hope that this community exudes.
And yet, even with all of the amazing examples of strength, hope, and recovery that surrounded me within the NEDA community, I still felt scared to begin to walk this journey, to take those first steps towards the recovery I so very deserved. And the NEDA Walk and recovery community showed me that I didn’t have to walk this path alone; that I was supported each and every step of the way (literally!!). At NEDA Walks, we join together in our collective hope, we share our experiences, we learn from each other’s experiences, we connect with our inherent worthiness, and with our bravery, with our strength – which is always there, even when we don’t see it or feel it! And our recovery community helps us to shine a light on these facts that we know to be true: that we are brave, we are strong, we are worthy.
We band together. We fight this fight never alone, however hand in hand always. And we walk this path in unity and solidarity. It is time for change – it is time for us to flip the script and to not only tell ourselves, however truly believe we are worthy of hope. That we are worthy of recovery. That the possibility for a better tomorrow does exist. We recognize and commend ourselves for being so brave. For staying strong. For acting in accordance with the truth that we are worthy. And together we will fight the good fight.
NEDA Walks provide us with reinforcement of the tools, the resources and the support that is so vital to recovery. My hope for everyone reading this is that they can all find the same type of healing that I found in this amazing community.
NEDA Walks raise awareness and education for eating disorders within the community as well as provide funds to NEDA’s vital programs, such as our NEDAcon, Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Body Acceptance Week, NEDA Campus Warriors Program, and our legislative and advocacy efforts. I strongly encourage anyone and everyone, especially so the people who are reading this to check out local NEDA Walks in your areas, and to even consider getting involved in any way – as a Walk Coordinator, a committee member, a volunteer, a speaker – any and all of what speaks to you and feels right to you! Every single one of us is worthy, important, and inspirational – and every single one of us can make a difference. You make a difference and you are important because you are you! Please keep the faith and please keep up the fight; you are brave, you are strong, you are worthy. I will always hold out hope for you. I see your strength. And I so acknowledge your recovery and this courageous journey you are on. Stay strong <3 Love, Jenny
Jenny (she/her/hers) is a proud and grateful NEDA Walk Coordinator, a mental health advocate, a peer, a survivor, a mental health professional, and a thriver. She has been in recovery for 11 years and has been honored to be a part of the NEDA community for 9 years, and can understand how painful and challenging it is to live with an eating disorder and mental illness in all aspects of one’s life. She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to use her own lived experience and recovery as a way of helping others through theirs, and she believes that recovery is possible for everyone! She hopes to be a role model for others pursuing recovery and provide encouragement in knowing that none of us are alone in this journey; we can, and we will get through this together – and that we all have the power and the right to both find and use our voices! Jenny knows how difficult navigating not just recovery, however life with an eating disorder can be, the challenges that can arise, and the importance of support, safety, non-judgement, and compassion throughout this process. She wants to be there for her recovery community in any way that she can be and instill in them the shared belief that with support, community, and even just a little bit of hope, recovery IS possible. She is incredibly grateful and humbled to be living her recovery dream come true, and wants others to know that with recovery, they too can achieve their biggest dreams and not only survive, however thrive!