October 30, 2017

Building a Foundation for My Future - Lydia Rhino

eating recovery foundation scholarship lydia rhinoI did not choose this illness, this eating disorder. Didn’t it know that I had plans to be successful? In what way I would be successful, I did not know. But, I did not want my eating disorder to rob me of my future.

I knew I needed help. Eating disorder treatment would be hard; paying for eating disorder treatment was also going to be very difficult.
I never would have been able to face my anorexia without the scholarship I received from the Eating Recovery Foundation. This scholarship helped me get the treatment I so dearly needed.

Leaving school for eating disorder treatment 

At 19 years old, I chose to withdraw from college in order to regain control of my thoughts and behaviors. In the time that I had left school, moved back in with my dad, my mom, her eating disorder, and my sister, I had lost (even more) weight. I had also lost sight of the life I wanted beyond this.
Financial stress had exasperated my illness. When I looked at the monetary side of treatment, I was horrified. I had not been proactive with researching scholarships prior to entering college and I was not about to subject myself to even more debt for an illness that others deemed I could “fix on my own.”
Thankfully, at this time, an intake coordinator at the Eating Recovery Center of Denver suggested that I apply to the Eating Recovery Foundation scholarship.

Even though I knew about the scholarship, I felt so conflicted. One part of me associated anorexia treatment with peace and freedom — freedom from feeling like my thoughts are not my own. Another part of me (the eating disorder) was so cruel. That voice would say things like, “I am not sick, I don’t deserve help, death would be better.” But, thankfully, my logical voice overshadowed these thoughts. I pushed through and completed the calls, paperwork and letters and applied for the scholarship.

Financial help for eating disorder treatment

I had been hoping for a sign that could make me feel like I was making the right decision. I wanted to feel that it was truly OK to reach out for help and to seek professional support. When I found out that I was receiving the eating disorder treatment scholarship from the Eating Recovery Foundation, it really was the sign that I was seeking. It was a relief that I would not have to face this on my own.
I completed six months of treatment, which was followed by a relapse and a hesitation to return. Leaving treatment, I found every excuse to not have a treatment team outside of ERC. Looking back, I see this as a weakness I still held onto. Without professional support, I still nurtured many unhealthy habits.

Relapsing was so shameful for me. I had it in my mind that this was a “one-and-done” treatment and that I would never be back. My loved ones reached out, once again. They begged me to get help and I refused. I finally got sick of seeing death as the best option and I readmitted myself. At this time, I was angrier and emptier than I had ever felt before. 

Ultimately, I completed another six months of treatment in the partial hospitalization program at ERC.

Creating a foundation for life

It is now October 2017 and I have been out of treatment for the longest period that I have ever been — since I was initially diagnosed and admitted. Thanks to the Eating Recovery Foundation, I feel that I was given the extra strength I needed to get help for anorexia, even after a relapse, and to fight feverishly throughout to be where I am now.
To the Eating Recovery Foundation,
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of the Eating Recovery Center of Denver Alumni. In my recovery, I have moved from Breckenridge to Denver, gotten a new job, and am a student at the University of Colorado at Denver! There are waves of good and bad but I no longer rely on my eating disorder to help me cope with the trials of life. Every day is a practice of resurfacing the worthiness I hold within and I am so grateful to be where I am today.
Endless thanks and love,


Lydia Rhino is currently working towards her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Colorado, Denver. With her boyfriend and Pomeranian, she finds enjoyment while balancing school, work, and skiing. Friends, family, and a constant practice of self-love keep her focused on living a life in recovery. Lydia speaks and writes about her experience with her eating disorder to encourage others to speak out or reach out.
"There is nothing more powerful than the voices of the fortunate that continue to fight against their eating disorder each day."
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