Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Strength & Courage: Living ED Free

Dear Friends,

I wanted to take a second and share an amazing note I received from a very courageous and inspiring young lady by the name of Dannielle.  Many people ask me;

"What is I Chose To Live, and what does it mean?"

I try and explain it the best way I can.  In short, it's a movement started about 2 years ago by people in recovery from various eating disorders and the purpose is to support and motivate others through the recovery process.  It's a team approach and we believe that by standing and working together, we can in turn live free and happy from the binds of an eating disorder.  For if I may fall, I know there is somebody at my side to pick me up and carry me forward.  I Chose To Live is about letting your light SHINE, and being there for those in recovery.  Again, "Together We CAN!!"  

That is usually what I say when I talk about I Chose To Live.  However, after reading this amazing email and story from Dannielle-- I am now just going to tell people about her story.  I want to thank Dannielle for her courage and willingness to spread hope.  She is an inspiration to me, and it's a true honor standing beside her in recovery. 

This message brought tears of joy to my eyes, and a smile to my heart!!! I hope it does the same for you!

Hello! So I am relatively new to this page, (I Chose To Live) and I am highly impressed!!! I feel from your site a more down to earth real life response to eating disorder recovery, verses reading statistics from treatment centers. So I thank you for creating this site, and this organization. I have benefited from it immensely and have invited many people as well :) Together recovery is possible!!!

 I also wanted to take a moment to share a HUGE accomplishment that I achieved today in relation to my recovery from bulimia. Today I completed my paper work for my graduation from Massasoit Community College. I am completing my degree there for social work, hoping to one day open my own private practice to treat eating disorders and self injury. Today I turned in my paper work for my diploma, my cap and gown, for my transcripts to continue my education at Bridgewater State College where there I hope to complete my bachelor's and Master's degree in social work, and then going on to get certified in eating disorder treatment. I also turned in my paperwork for licensing for my LSWA degree!!! Today is one of the biggest most meaningful days in my life because my Ed made me believe this day would never come. But it did. :)

An associate's degree takes 2 years to complete usually, but due to being in treatment numerous times, it has taken me longer to complete. But the fact that it took me longer to complete shows me my strength and my courage. That I can achieve things in this world. That I am a good person who does good things. And that I will continue to be a good person and do good things Ed free! Today, submitting all that paper work, and starting my internship, has really provided me with extra motivation to continue working for recovery, and to continue to pursue my dreams, and that I know longer need to fear life, but need to kick it's ass! Thank you again for this movement and for the opportunity  to share this achievement and milestone in my life :)

~ Dannielle

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jasmin's story

I made an awesome realization the other day. I realized that I do not even think about my eating disorder anymore. Somewhere after it not being an option it became not even a thought. I can honestly say I do not think about my eating disorder anymore...theres no more voice in the back of my head telling me I can't do it. The only voice in my head right now is my own and the only direction I take in life is from God. It feels so incredibly amazing and freeing to be able to say that and truly mean it. I remember when I was just starting treatment I wanted proof, proof that you could recover from this disorder. I wanted to see someone with my own eyes who could say "I dont think about my eating disorder anymore" or even better "I don't have an eating disorder anymore" I used to ask my therapists all the time, don't you know anyone?! I finally did see it with my own eyes in October at the NEDA walk in NYC, Jenny Schaefer stood on the stage and said the words I had been waiting to hear, that she did not have an eating disorder anymore.

So my story? I have been dealing with the degrading voice of my eating disorder since I was four years old, when I looked at Kristi Yamaguchi skating on the ice and thought about how badly I wanted to twirl on the ice. I then told myself that I was much bigger than the girls on the ice and because of that I would never be able to figure skate.

I've always been a perfectionist and I've always had big dreams...and behind all that I always had the voice of my ED. When I was in middle school everything I ever knew fell apart; My great grandmother died, I moved an hour away from the city I was raised in and my once tightly knit family unraveled. I am and always will be a very family oriented girl so these events were a major blow to me. That was when the voice manifested itself with symptoms. In high school, even struggling with an ED I was successful; I did theatre, I was a cheerleader, I had a good group of friends and I did great in school. It was almost like the better I did the worse I got. A traumatic event in my junior year of high school only made things worse. Then going away to college was when I really started to fall apart and by october of my sophomore year I was forced to take a medical leave of absence to get treatment for my eating disorder if I still wanted to be considered a student.

I was young and wasn't really sure what to do in treatment...I also wasn't sure if I wanted to be there. I decided to do what I liked to do in life, yes everybody to death and say "I know" when yes wasn't appropriate. Anything to get me out in the fastest amount of time, because of this I found myself back at home six weeks later and when asked what I learned all I could deliver was a blank stare. As a result, I ended up going through treatment all over again a few months later, and still after returning from that program I wasn't able to return to school. So, I started to work, I got a little job at the mall at a pet store working with puppies. This job made me so happy, animals are a big part of my life and I loved being able to be around them everyday. I eventually advanced to a key holder, and then a manager in training and in April of 2008 I was promoted to manager of the store and I hadn't even worked there a year. I was ecstatic, I felt like good things were finally starting to happen again. However, I was still wrestling with my eating disorder and a week after my promotion I had a meltdown outside of my house that nearly ended up with me in the hospital. My nutritionist said my brain was starved and that I needed to seek treatment. Again. I was furious, I needed to put my life on hold again to go into treatment. First I had to leave mid semester in college and now I had to tell my boss who had just promoted me that I needed to leave. That anger ignited something in me.

How many times am I going to have to put my life on hold for my eating disorder? How many more people in my life do I have to lose? How many more things that I love will I have to give up? How many more times do I need to look around and realize I've lost control of myself? Its time to take this seriously. With that I started the search, I needed to find the right place for me. My insurance would only cover a place in Florida I had never heard of. I walked into Canopy Cove with blind faith that they would help me help myself, this was going to be the last time. It was the hardest nine weeks of my life but I always say I found my heart there. I did so much hard work and learned so much about myself and what I'm capable of. They also taught me how to live, really LIVE. How to laugh and be silly and have fun. I learned that I love to swing on the swings, that I could get lost laying in the grass looking at the sky for hours at a time, that playing and doing cartwheels in the rain is A LOT of fun. Most importantly I learned that I am not my eating disorder and that I exist without it, that when people get to know the real me they won't run screaming...and that the real me can be a pretty cool girl.

I left Canopy Cove with a renewed zest for life and hope unlike anything I'd ever felt. I went back to school and the pet store, then eventually left the pet store and am now working at an animal hospital and working towards a degree to become a veterinary technician. I have always had a passion for writing and I'm so glad to have the opportunity to write again and to also be able to share my experiences to help others.

I am so glad that the I Chose to live movement was created, it is so powerful and so inspiring and I am so happy that I can be involved. Recovery is possible. We just have to rock the swagger ;)

"But when the night is falling and you cannot find the light, If you feel your dream is dying hold tight, You've got the music in you. Don't let go, You've got the music in you. Don't give up, You've got a reason to live"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recovery Wall-- Express Yourself

Dear I Chose To Live Friends--

We are creating a new page on the ICTL website ( entitled “The Recovery Wall.”

The purpose of this is to post positive messages for recovery, strength and hope. You can share your favorite songs, quotes, thoughts and events that have occurred in your recovery journey. Maybe you have a favorite saying or something that has helped push you through recovery. We will take all post from this page on facebook and will be adding them to the website and we will use only your initials for privacy issues. (unless you would like your name posted)

Please post your inspiration and wisdom to the I Chose To Live Facebook page at

The goal is to make this movement more about your experiences and what has helped motivate your through recovery. We believe that being a part of something and carrying on the message of hope is what recovery is all about. If you have art work, photos or anything you can think of that you would like to share, please email Patrick at  Also, if you have suggestions on how to better the website, please post them as well.

Finally, we are seeking inspiration pieces of writing for the website as well. You can visit this link to see the various things I have shared in my journey to recover.

Thank you for being a part of The I Chose To Live Recovery Movement and we look forward to your thoughts and inspiration words.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Introduction <3

Hey all! I'm Jasmin and I just wanted to quickly introduce myself to you! I'm 22 years old and from New York. I have been in recovery from my eating disorder for almost two years now. Like Patrick I was also at Canopy Cove, we only missed each other by a few days. I work full time at an animal hospital and am currently taking classes to become a licensed veterinary technician. I am so incredibly grateful for the I Chose to Live movement and for everything that Patrick has done to spread eating disorder awareness. Its so refreshing to see someone so passionate about recovery and helping others.

I will be posting my story soon but for now I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself and let you know that I believe in you (yes you!) and that somebody loves you.

God Bless,

" Life has no Limitations, only Possibilities."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recovery Revolution-- We Need You!!

You can either change the world or let the world change you.  Be You, and make this world BEAUTIFUL!!

We Are A Recovery Revolution-- and we need your HELP!! We support every person, friend, family member and organization who supports Eating Disorder Recovery. Please feel free to invite all your friends in recovery and those who support you to join us...More than 11 million still suffer and we can make a difference!! Will you join us & invite others to join?

We are also looking for those who want to take a more active roll in the ICTL Movement, website, fan page etc..We need you...You could be an admin, captain, and whatever role you would like to take...The goal is to turn this movement over to you...

  • you can share you story, poems, recovery statements, etc
  • become a speaker in your community
  • help with web design, recovery content
  • be a voice in your community
  • be a facebook admin
  • share recovery art, etc
  • or whatever ideas you have???

Thank You from the bottom of my heart,

Patrick Bergstrom
Email me at