I have suffered from an eating disorder for approximately 15 years. Until this year, I was largely unable to access treatment for my condition due to factors beyond my control. After relapsing in the winter of 2010, I have been fortunate to find long-overdue and much-needed help in recent months through a local treatment center, where I have participated in both the residential and partial hospitalization programs. Unfortunately, I continue to struggle with my eating disorder despite this treatment, but I am optimistic that with additional support I will be able to overcome my immediate struggles and reclaim my life. Just one year ago, I was only months away from receiving my master's degree from Harvard and embarking on my dream career in science communication. I want desperately to continue on this path, rather than the path of destruction, sickness and sadness inevitably forged by a severe eating disorder. This quest has taken on a renewed sense of urgency over the past several weeks, as I have begun to develop medical complications associated with my condition which are likely to progress if I do not receive additional - likely residential - treatment in a timely manner.
Unfortunately, I have encountered several seemingly insurmountable roadblocks on my path to recovery, relating primarily to the fact that in the past, my primary insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, has terminated my treatment abruptly and prematurely, preventing me from achieving the goals set for me by my treatment providers. And as of 09 February, 2012, Blue Cross Blue Shield has stated that it will no longer authorize coverage for any specialized treatment of my eating disorder, aside from medical intervention. In short, my insurer will cover the costs of the medical complications of my biologically-based, potentially fatal illness, but will not cover the costs of those empirically-validated treatments which are most likely to prevent these complications from occurring in the first place. In a recent conversation with my insurance company, an explicit reference was made to my past "failed treatment attempts" in support of this decision.
I want to live. I want to recover. I want to finish the $60k graduate degree for which I am financially beholden. I want to have a super-awesome, slightly nerdy, not-necessarily-lucrative but totally fulfilling career helping everyday people love science more. I want to own a bungalow house someday, and string twinkling white lights from the porch eaves. I want to be well enough to become one spitfire of a body-image activist. I want to fall in love. I want a life that DOESN'T revolve around emergency rooms, therapy sessions, and numbers on the scale. None of these things can be achieved without access to proper and sufficient treatment.
Show some love. Show some support. Sign this thing if you have a second or two. This is, on the one hand, a fundamentally selfish endeavor, I will admit. But on the other hand, thousands of men and women have died for lack of access to proper treatment for their eating disorders - conditions which have the highest mortality rates of any mental illnesses. So sign this thing, if you have a second, to show your support and respect for all of those who haven't been as lucky as I have, thus far.
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