Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny’s Journey

Important post… but my warning is that is real, honest and being written to spread awareness and hope for a better future.

Most of you know, I struggle with an eating disorder, and I have been hospitalized twice at the Foothills good old unit 32..where there are 6 beds for ED patients in Calgary.

Yesterday morning, I had an appointment at the ED clinic with my doctor (it was a three month wait)..and I was told my weight had dropped..and how was I doing?

I broke down, and explained I didn’t know if my weight was low, because I feel fat and ugly.

My suicidal thoughts have been increasing, and I’m concerned about my well being. 

Okay..take a breath.

My doctor was fantastic, and immediately wanted to transport me to Foothill’s..where all of my file is located, and she wrote a very specific letter as to why I was at emergency. My doctor was sure I would be admitted for observation, and safety reasons.

Instead I contacted Steve, who is aware of my situation, and he met me at home..we went together.

Our arrival at Foothill’s Hospital was 11:15am, and the admitting nurse assured me I had come to a safe place…and was I thinking of harming myself there..I said no.

We sat in the waiting room for two hours.

We were then moved to another waiting area with no seats for patients, so Steve and I stood…for another two hours.

Please note, there was no bloodwork or examination done on me during this time.

At four hours, I went to a bed and chatted with the Resident in call..she was very compassionate and kind…and for the third time that day.. I told my story of suicidal thoughts and eating disorder concerns.

She assured us the psychiatric department had my file, and someone would be there to see me.

Three hours later, sitting in this area, having lost my comfy bed..a psychiatrist came to assess me..once again, I explained my mental and physical both Steve and I cried at the entire scenario.

To my surprise….during this assessment, I was basically told that I was a moderate case..I don’t cut myself, I don’t have a plan..I haven’t attempted I can most likely go home.. BUT..the resident doctor on duty would come see me after she talked to the team..omg?

Two hours later the the resident came to see me, and basically said.. he just received my file 30 minutes ago, and if I was not at risk going home..I should.. they would fund outpatient care but it would be about two weeks if I qualify?

The other option was to admit myself…I could sleep in emergency for the night (no bed), in the morning if a bed was available, I might get it..but I had to wait for someone to assess me again..and then, if I met the requirements, they would transfer me to another facility to be assessed?

Wow..ten hours, no medical one checked on me..and we walked out with a brochure for a program at least two weeks out.


I will tell you, I have never repeated myself so many times, cried as many tears.. and had Steve sitting beside doing the same be given a piece of paper.

I feel blessed that I had Steve and family to go home to, when the hospital dismissed me.

I felt not important, not enough of a tragedy and simply overlooked.

If I was alone, and walked out those doors, I would not be writing these words.

I have cried so much today, because I don’t know where to turn…eating disorders are dismissed and apparently suicidal thoughts only matter if you have attempted it..or completed it.

When we look badly at homeless people..have some compassion..not everyone has a place to go when you are turned away, and the options are slim.

I got up today, showered, got dressed and got my shit done.

My family is my priority, and I will fake it until I make it.

But, when I got home, and was done..I cried  another million years and wonder why I am here. 

Something has failed me, and I don’t feel sorry for myself… I am not the only one.

Substance abuse, chronic pain, eating disorders, all falls under the umbrella of mental illness.

I’m here now, but the fact that my

Story didn’t matter..will always be with me.. 

It just wasn’t enough.

Friends…I’m struggling..and I’m not giving up..although it seems like a fantastic time?

Steve and I are reaching out to all of our resources, and I hope someone will listen..someone will care and help me.

I would not hesitate to go back to the hospital if I need a safe place…because in my heart..they are trying..and I am here.

Discouraged and fucking beaten down. Puffy red eyes, and no food in this aching body and mind.

I know…The Only Way Out is Through..but it hurts…and I’m so sad for all the people that struggle with issues and can’t get help..I am thinking about you🖤🖤🖤