In Canada, if you or a loved one are suffering with an eating disorder, you are probably familiar with the lack of resources and extensive wait times for treatment (see a more detailed report here). It can be frustrating and squash your hope for recovery. Managing your ED symptoms is not easy when support is not there. It is why I launched a unique service to help with the “in the meantime” phase of ED healing and recovery. I will share more program specifics in a moment. But first…
The Story Behind the Launch
I made my way down from the podium, onto the conference room floor, where audience members provided feedback on the presentation myself and colleague Kori Lichtfuss had just completed. The presentation included a brief intro into my eating disorder history and some thoughts on my recovery.
As I finished chatting with folks, a young woman who had been waiting in the background approached me, with tears in her eyes, and softly whispered:
“What did you do to not relapse?”
It was one of the most difficult questions I think I had ever been asked in my life and I was so unsure how to respond. I took a breath. I looked into her eyes. There was so much vulnerability for both of us in that moment and, standing on the other side of recovery, I had so much empathy for this women and all the pain and suffering the eating disorder had caused her.
She proceeded to tell me that she was in the middle of her 3rd relapse. She was trying the best she could, on her own, to manage her symptoms while she anxiously waited for space to open up for an inpatient treatment program. After providing her with some interim resources to search out, I asked permission to give her a hug and offered words of encouragement. But what I didn’t realize in that moment was a seed being planted.
That vulnerable exchange between survivor and fighter was 18 months ago at a National Eating Disorders Conference. Since then, I have found myself reflecting on it often and asking:
- Was there more that I could have done for her? AND
- How might I use my lived experience from ED diagnosis to recovery (and no relapse) to make a difference for those in it now?
Those questions have been at the centre of building a space for the ED community that is now ready to launch…
Welcome to Under The Lilac Tree
The first of its kind, Under the Lilac Tree is an online resource for your road to recovery. You have already taken the first step by acknowledging the problem and seeking treatment. This program’s intent is to fully support you while you wait. We work together to reduce self-harming behaviours, managing the eating disorder before your admission to inpatient/outpatient treatment.
Under the Lilac Tree provides regular opportunities to check-in and explore opportunities for healing through:
- Creating small, yet meaningful goals
- Weekly coaching calls with a peer support worker (that’s me!)
- Weekly virtual sessions with a registered dietician
- Additional sessions and resources on restorative movement, mindfulness and self-care
- Ongoing support via email
Along with waiting for treatment, there might be additional barriers to accessing support on your ED recovery such as your location and financial resources. That is why Under the Lilac Tree coaching and counselling is:
- Offering services virtually via Skype, phone and/or email
- Affordable, with packages starting at $399 (sliding scale available for those who qualify)
- Flexible with options for spreading out sessions (i.e.: bi-weekly instead of weekly, or other suitable frequency)
So there it is! What started as a whisper of an underlying need, became a labour of love that is now available to you and your loved ones. If support in your ED healing journey is something you’re seeking, please reach out. I’m only a phone call or email away if you need me.
More to come in my next post where I’ll introduce you to our team and the core values that guide us in serving you as you move towards recovery.
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