You Deserve to Feel Great. I’m Here to Help.
I survived an eating disorder and I want you to know that you can too. I hope you find hope in my story.
Coming from a line of family from Los Angeles area.. My Grandparents and Dad were raised in Ventura country California. My Mom moved there as a third grader and met my Dad when she was older working as a waitress at Sambos in Ventura. He would come in and sit at the same spot to see my mom after work, doing camera work for a local television company. They married and had my older sister and moved to Oregon, after kindergarten, with my older Sister. They moved along side my grandparents when they made the move to Oregon after purchasing some large property in Banks, Or. and they built a house on lots of beautiful property. The plan was to build a house for my parents next to them but zoning issues stopped that from happening. Nine years later, after my older sister, I came along in 1983 and a couple years later my younger brother. My parents ended up getting a divorce and we lived the life of divorced parents. (Which is what my song “Upgraded 2.0” was written about) Still seeing my Dad a lot, we went back to California a lot to see my family that still lived in California and that became one of the main trips of my childhood going back to California. A special time of my childhood because it was time with my Dad and it was time with my Dad’s special family that was unlike any other. A huge family bond that we grew up with and always around my Dad’s family. He had 7 sisters and he was the only boy. I grew up with 32 cousins and very close with my Dad’s parents, my Grandpa and Grandma, that have instilled a lot into me today that I now understand as a grown adult with three children of my own.
I always have had an attachment to California as it’s my family’s roots for generations and I will always feel the attachment and it will always feel like home to me for that reason. It’s way more than Los Angeles being the Capitol of the music world and that I’m into music and that’s my calling, it’s my family’s roots that make it the most special place to me. I feel something I only feel there when I’m in California. The best way to explain is when I hear the lyrics “Ventura blvd” of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'”. Those lyrics are some of the most emotional tugs I ever have felt when hearing music, especially when sung by John Mayer, the best musician of all time according to me and my husband.
My dad is a musician, a very good one, a private one. He always had me around music, him and my step mom always were working on music, always listening to the greats, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, the Beatles, Boyz 2 Men, everything! I would love to dress up and sing, especially to Mariah Carey, Amy Grant, etc.. I love it but It was annoying to me though ’cause my dad loved it too much and I didn’t get to see my dad enough already. So besides singing to Mariah Carey I didn’t want anything to do with it.. but it was instilling the love the music in me at the time even if I didn’t realize it… because music ended up being what I always ran to, alone in my room, crying for whatever reason over a boy or through my hard times with my disorder or for reason I don’t even know why but it was always my comfort away from everyone. Lyrics always had a way of pulling me in and touching me so deep. The lyrics are always what I remembered or pulled my heart strings.
When I was going into high school I almost died from an eating disorder. One morning my mom told me we were going somewhere other than where we were really going. I will never forget that morning drive. The next moment I’m in an eating disorder clinic, thinking at that moment we were going to be doing some counseling which I was familiar with, but I was getting hooked up to an EKG, wires in many different places over my stomach/chest area. Then they told me my heart rate was too low. If I didn’t go to the hospital NOW I was going to die. Now meant NOW. I was so confused, so scared trying to ask If I could please at least go home to get my stuff, please. I needed to digest this, but the answer was no and we walked straight next door to the hospital. The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) area of the hospital.
While I laid in my hospital bed I would see the curtain closed and hear Dr’s nearby with a little whisper in their voices, So scared what they were talking about, because it was those Dr’s that would tell me I’m going to die. So I feared those white coats coming in through those curtains, but a very special girl came in trough those curtains I had never met though, just a girl that was planting a seed for the rest of my life. She came in and just talked to me and was so loving and provided encouragement and hope that I could be okay and I could beat this eating disorder. Saving her Anne Green Gables card she wrote in for years to come. She was one of the most important people I would ever meet, little did I know!
Eventually I was discharged and sent home but under super supervision and very late into the new school year which was starting a new high school on top of it all! I had to be on a specific eating plan and had to drink ensure for so long to get back to a normal weight. That was the beginning to recovery for a year and a half until I relapsed again senior year after all that, It happened again. Hanging pictures on my wall that said “Stop throwing up!”, I couldn’t, I would just lock myself in my room listening to music, thats how I got though trying to maintain a social life, school, work, and I couldn’t do it all. My life consisted of a controlling eating disorder. I had to answer to that.
I knew there was a God but that was the only degree of that I understood, I understood nothing but that. Did not know who He was or what He was but I knew my grandparents loved him, and my mom would throw nuggets about how she was raised, and my dad took us to Mass sometimes, but thats all I knew. When I was little I would stay at my grandparent’s house and fall asleep looking at a picture of Jesus on the wall, just looking at him in awe thinking, “He must be someone special”, but the very little I knew I cried out screaming “I need help”.
Eventually Josh and I met and I started to be in a different place, I was happier and I eventually got pregnant and I was responsible for someone else now, it was not about me anymore. I could not hurt my baby I could not throw up anymore. It helped me stop, It transitioned my thoughts to a different place. I had no choice anymore. I could not go back to the toilet. Something that would be looked at as bad in one area, getting pregnant before marriage helped save my life and turn my life around. God can use anything for good. He know what I needed, He knew how to take this problem away. Something I could not do on my own trying many times before. I was killing myself, that was what was going to eventually happen. I had just been screaming for help and in desperate state to be better. Madi, our daughter, was the blessing that changed everything. I have been free from struggling with bulimia nervosa and anorexia for almost 20 years now. God heals and He healed me of an eating disorder, whatever truly causes eating disorders/mental illness is still there but he took that disorder away. God answered my prayers, even before fully understanding Jesus and being saved, I just believed in Him enough to be heard and eventually truly became saved after becoming a mom. Treatment is different for everyone, and treatment works, its just is not my story that put an end to my suffering with an eating disorder, it’s Jesus. My whole life is pointing people to Jesus, with my life and in my songwriting and I think about the teenager I used to be mostly throughout my writing and my songs tell the stories and I hope and pray it will be a help to anyone hurting. Through experience I can say it seems like these kind of disorders change and mold into other things, some things worse that others. I don’t have an eating disorder anymore but I seemed it transitioned to bad OCD phobias I dealt with and was back in a different form of treatment with since 10 years ago and got back onto medicine, I have always had anxiety disorder and I still take medicine. I’m not ashamed to say that as it has greatly helped me over the years, but nothing have been like the eating disorder and what that did to my life. It’s almost like how could you not have trauma after something like that, and that takes time to heal from and understand why.
It’s my life mission to also fight all the stigma surrounding the words mental illness and what it really is, and I stand up and protect those who struggle with mental illness regardless if If it’s one I’ve had or not we all suffer from the stigma that surrounds it and it’s got to change! So I’m always working on something about that, or writing songs and will continue always doing something. That is helping all these problems and that’s my heart. Be love to the sick. I’ve been loved and I’ve been treated misunderstood through these disorders and even my Christianity has been questioned for having fears and phobias in the past and its something that needs to be better understood, cause mental illness happens even in the church and they are not sinning because of it. Sin is serious, but there’s a difference here and works needs to be done! Jesus was my only true help through anything I’ve gone thru that made a difference in my life, the kind of strength needed to pull through things that are not understood, He was always there, and I hope to point people to Jesus through their problems.