Testimonial Author, Stacey DeLathouwer
My name is Stacey DeLathouwer, and I am incredibly thankful for my stay at Selah House. I would not be where I am today without that experience.
Feeling Lost, Seeking Control, and Spiraling in the Process
I started struggling with an eating disorder in high school after my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I felt lost, overwhelmed, and was lacking a sense of control. At the same time, I was surrounded by peers constantly making critical comments about their bodies, and I started focusing on the perceived flaws with mine.
I didn’t know much about eating disorders. I just thought maybe I can try controlling my food. It took my mind off of what was going on in my life and also provided a way to “fix” my body. However, it quickly turned into a restrict-binge cycle, and my mental health spiraled. My body image was worse than ever, I completely isolated myself, and I even missed my high school graduation.
A Rough Start to Recovery: Trauma and a Need for Support
I went to treatment for the first time in 2008. It provided structure but also fueled rigidity. My eating disorder grew stronger from learning new behaviors I saw from other people. There was also not a lot of support. My OCD and eating disorder brain took the rigidity to the extreme after I was discharged, and I became even more controlling with food and exercise.
I had already delayed college for a year at that point. I value education, so I worked hard in outpatient to become stable enough to start college. I was still very rigid and controlling and not living a full life, but I was able to manage getting through school. I was sexually assaulted a month after completing my degree and immediately began spiraling again. I was in and out of multiple treatment centers from 2016 to 2018 and withdrew from two different graduate programs during that time.
Finding Safety and Support at Selah House
I admitted to Selah House in the summer of 2018. I asked to leave a few hours after being admitted. I was encouraged to stay and at least give the experience a chance. I thought it would be just like all the other treatment centers. I decided to stay anyway, and it was the best decision I ever made.
I was challenged more than I had been in the past. At the same time, there was also more support. I felt safe being challenged and that enabled me to make significantly more progress with my behaviors and thought patterns than in previous treatment centers.
I learned ways to tolerate distress, that I can hold both (thanks, Todd), and that I am capable of doing hard things. I met so many amazing and caring staff members during my time there. I also re-discovered my love of chocolate and now include dessert every day.
Finding Myself, Continued Growth, and Pursuing Dreams
I have worked hard on my recovery since discharging from Selah and have been able to remain in a healthy place due to what I learned there. I am starting a graduate program in human services this fall, and I am looking forward to being able to help people in the future. Selah House provided hope and healing, which enabled me to find myself again and pursue my dreams without an eating disorder holding me back anymore. Thank you so much to Selah House and all of the incredible staff!