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Molly’s Story: My Eating Disorder

In honor of #eatingdisorders awareness week, Miracle Teen Molly shared her eating disorder treatment story at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

“Normally I don’t talk about this stuff because it’s something I struggle with and have since I was ten. I feel like I have been ashamed of it for so long since it consumed my life for so long. But I want to change that. I feel like this topic isn’t talked about enough, and so I felt like I had to be vulnerable and share my story.

In 2015, I got the stomach bug. It passed like it always does. The next month, I wasn’t feeling well again, so I got scared that if I ate I was going to throw up. From that day, that thought was stuck in my head for the next six months. As it got worse and worse, I would always ask ‘is this going to make me sick’ and it took me two hours to eat a meal. I didn’t eat as much because I was so scared. I was losing half a pound a day for six months.

We started going to the doctor and she thought it might be acid reflux. But that wasn’t the problem. During one hospital visit, they did an EKG because my heart rate was so low they were afraid I’d go into cardiac arrest. The doctor said she didn’t know when it would happen. It could be a day or a week or a month, but she knew I was very close to that point.

I spent the night at Penn State Children’s Hospital and was then discharged to the teen and adolescent eating disorder clinic. They diagnosed me with ARFID, which stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. It’s not as well known as other eating disorders. That summer, I spent every day there getting better, and I am so thankful for that. I know I will always have to struggle with it. I still struggle to this day with ARFID and body image. But I always know that my eating disorder doesn’t define me as a person.”

Over the years, gifts to Children’s Miracle Network have funded therapeutic supplies for the eating disorder clinic at Penn State Children’s Hospital. During therapy, patients learn new skills, such as beading, knitting cooking nutritious meals, etc. These skills help improve self-esteem, self-calming/coping skills and focus on talents and inner beauty. They are able to take these skills and projects with them to help them outside of the program.

Thank you for supporting Molly’s journey.

While Molly’s journey started in 2015, eating disorders among youth have spiked since COVID-19.

Learn more about the eating disorder clinic at Penn State Children’s Hospital.