Drug Rehab 2022 Round 1 – Finding My Passion

Name: Julia Scirecalabrisotto

Finding My Passion

The saying “You can run, but you can’t hide” held true for a long time until this past year. Quarantine made it possible for people to hide from everything. For three straight months, people were forced to stay home. After that, there was another year in which isolation was a continued option. This resulted in many life changes, some good and some not. Quarantine helped me decide what I wanted to do as a career. Unfortunately, this was at the expense of one of my closest friends’ health.

The 21st of May was the first time I had seen some of my friends in months. However, among all of my friends, one stood out to me. Something just seemed off; her face was thin and drawn, her legs were sticks, and her skin looked bruised and scarred. It took me a moment to understand what I was seeing because I had never witnessed it before. I had learned about eating disorders in school, but only the very basics. We were taught some of the common signs and ways to get help. But the emotional impact of actually seeing someone wasting away to nothing had not been covered in health class. Nor had they discussed the contributing causes of this disease. At that moment, all I could think to myself was how long had she been hurting herself, and how on earth could it get to this point without her friends or family intervening? I could not possibly be the first person to see that something was terribly wrong.

What makes someone get to that point where they force themselves not to eat and try to harm themselves? Is it because we are bombarded by pictures on social media displaying unrealistic standards of body weight and shape? Regrettably, too many people adopt this as their norm and often go to extremes to attain it. “Perfect” looking models whom teenage girls look up to can also cause them to feel insecure. In an effort to help my friend, I researched anorexia. I found that eating disorders often stem from trauma, stress, and feeling a loss of control. The pandemic exacerbated these negative emotions, which is probably why my friend’s issues manifested during quarantine.

This experience hit close to home and has made me see my life in a different light. I am grateful that I have a positive relationship with food and have never believed my weight defined me. I’ve never had the desire to starve or harm myself. What I did have was an overwhelming sense of wanting to help my friend. Eventually, I reached out to her and we spoke about her issues. Although I didn’t share her struggles, I understood and empathized with her. Even more, I wanted to find a way to help her. That initial shock I felt upon seeing the damage she had done to her body had a substantial impact on me. It would be tremendously rewarding to one day help patients overcome this disorder. I have the type of personality that would allow me to deeply engage with clients and develop the trust and collaboration it would take to be a part of their healing journey. Slowly, I can see my friend return to healthy eating and a more positive body image, and I would like to support others in doing the same. My goal would be to not only diminish their symptoms but to find out what is causing the problem in the first place. I would love to create a lasting positive impact on patients. I want to help people feel like themselves again and learn to love themselves for who they are. It would be gratifying to help patients recover from eating disorders and watch them emerge with a renewed sense of self and their life’s purpose.