According to a National Eating Disorder Non-profit Organization, as many as 1 in 10 young women in this country suffer from eating disorders. The two most common are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. We talked to a Sioux Falls woman who has not only come out on the other side of anorexia and bulimia, she's become a therapist to help others do the same.
Sara Bennetts looks forward to sitting down for lunch with her co-workers at Avera Behavioral Health Outpatient Services. When she was in high school there was no lunch or dinner time. She was teased in middle school and when she became a freshman she made the decision to start losing weight. In a matter of months she dropped 20 pounds. Her parents knew something wasn't right. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. The eating disorder would keep a stronghold on her psyche for the next three years. At the age of 17 she weighed only 80 pounds.
Sara tells us, "I went through treatment at 17 for anorexia. After treatment, I started eating again and my clothes stopped fitting and that made be uncomfortable so I did what I knew how to do and that was to switch eating disorders. That's pretty common with a lot of people who suffer from eating disorders."
When Sara was a senior in high school, she went from eating a 1/2 cup of cheerios and a few slices of oranges throughout the day to binging and purging. Now bulimic, Sara went through counseling and inpatient treatment again to get to the root of the problem which was a low self worth.
Sara says, "I consider myself recovered. I'm okay with food now. I don't hate myself enough to do those things again because I'm comfortable in my body and with myself."
Sara Bennetts is someone who knows the personal, controlling and self loathing side of eating disorders and depression. She says that's why she became a therapist and that's why many consider her a great therapist.
Sara says, "It's very rewarding because I do understand where they are coming from, but it's frustrating too because not everyone is ready to get healthy and I respect that but I'm here when they are ready."
And when you are can call 877-AT-AVERA. Someone is always available 24-7.
In August, Avera McKennan Behavioral Health Outpatient Services is starting a support group for people with eating disorders.