Hello, my name is Chelsea Stacy. For  three and a half years I  struggled with an eating disorder. It was something that took total control over my life. It all started with just wanting to loose a little bit of weight, but as time went on it spun out of control. Let me start my story from the beginning. When I was twelve my brother left for college. My brother and I were like best friends and it was very hard for me to see him go. When he left, I began to develop OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I would think horrible thoughts of the worst case scenarios of things that could happen. I had to go for counseling for a while and it helped a little, but it did not take care of the problem. As time progressed, I started cutting back on food as a healthy challenge between some of my friends and me. I noticed that as I started controlling my food, the terrible thoughts of things happening to my brother went away because all my thoughts became about food. I often would hear comments about my parents and sisters weight, and it really scared me. I was afraid that people would start talking like that about me behind my back. After I started controlling the food, I started comparing my body with the bodies of my friends. I noticed that my thin friends would get more attention and everybody seemed to love them. What I did not take into account was that it was their outgoing personalities and sense of adventure that drew people. They also flirted a lot with the boys and that drew their attention to them. I was afraid to come in contact with anybody thinking that they would judge me for my size. I was not by any means big, but in my eyes I had some pudge. I thought that I was ugly because it felt like no one wanted to talk to me. I had friends, but I pushed them away by being obsessed by not eating and drawing into myself, hi the midst of all of this I was struggling with my sister and her issues which seemed to draw everyone's attention to her and not to me. She would often make me promises and not keep them because something would come up with her boyfriend and I felt he always came before me. My mom would obsess over my sisters problems and they seemed to take over her conversations and her time. I felt like I was left out and invisible. My dad was in denial that I had a problem and it felt like he did not care that I was in need of help. At that time, everyone was caught up in their own issues and I felt left out. I wasn't, but that was how I felt.      

     Over the next few months I began to loose all interest in everything but controlling my food. It all became about becoming the lowest weight of anyone I knew. I always thought that if I was the smallest, I would be the one that all of the guys would flock to and want to be friends with me. But in reality, they just left me be. The smaller I got the more inward I became and the less they wanted to have to do with me, boys and girls. I went from being out going, loving, friendly and sweet to being lonely, depressed, filled with anxiety, and hateful. It was the opposite of everything I thought I would become. Now I was out of control, but in my mind I thought I had control of everything. In my mind it was everyone elses problem. I developed a hateful attitude and rebelled against my parents and God. I thought it was wrong, but at this point, I really did not care. My parents tried everything they could to get me help, but I did not want it. I did not want to listen to my counselors and I told my parents they were just wasting their money. Eventually I ended up in Remuda because I would not listen to anybody and my health was spiraling down quickly. If my mom and dad had not gotten me there when they did, I may not have been here to write this today! At Remuda, I started to want to get better, but I just did what I had to do to get home. At thirteen I did not like being so far away from .my family. When I came home I was o.k. for about a month, but when I found out what my weight was, I turned back to the old ways. I allowed my mind to take control of what I did and said. I blamed everyone else for my turning back. I said mean and horrible things to my parents and my family. In September of 20071 ended up going to Ridgeview Hospital for four days. Insurance would only let me stay there that long, even though I desperately needed it. I hated every moment there and it felt like I was living in a nightmare! hi October I applied to Mercy Ministries in Nashville, TN. In January 2008 I was accepted to Mercy and was placed on the waiting list to get in. There are many girls and young women who need desperate help, and the list is long. In March I felt like I was never going to get the call to go and my life was falling apart! I went to UNC Chapel Hill Hospital in NC for ten days. I had dropped below the 15% Body Mass Index (BMI) that insurance required me to be below before they would pay for any in-patient care. Unfortunately, because I gained above the 15% BMI so soon, insurance did not feel I needed in-patient help anymore and they stopped paying. At over 1,500 dollars a day, my parents could not afford to keep me there. When I got back home from NC, I thought I would rather die if Mercy did not call soon! At the beginning of April I got the Miracle call. I was accepted to the Mercy House! On April 29th I began my journey to freedom. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

     Once there and being away from my family, I fell apart emotionally. I only got to see my parents once a month, but sometimes it was longer because I was not fulfilling my part. I cried every day for two months! After they told me my pass to see my parents was denied due to my lack of cooperation, I felt like the fighting and the eating disorder was not worth it any more. I worked hard to gain the weight and cooperated in the program to get better. I could not have done it without God, my family, and the Mercy Staff. I thought that it was cool that one of my favorite staff members there was the nutritionist, hi prior treatments, both in-patient and out-patient, the nutritionist was the one I fought the most. She would always tell me the truth and kick me in the rear (figuratively) when I was doing things wrong. I made a lot of friends and they all were a great means of support for me. I am especially thankful to Nancy Alcorn who founded Mercy Ministries. She has devoted her whole life to girls and young women who are hurting, helpless, and are at their wits end. God is and always will be the Head of the Ministry and that is exactly how it should be! On October 6th, 2008 two great things happened. First, I turned 15 and second, I graduated the program at Mercy! It was one of the most exciting days of my life!

     Now I am home and life is still a struggle, but nothing like it was. I am working hard to be the person that God wants me to be. Ed is no longer in the fore front of my life. Thanks to God, my family, and Mercy I am alive and striving to fulfill my purpose here on this planet. If you are reading this story and you need help, please let someone know. Things that are hidden in darkness can only be healed in the light. I will have contact numbers and email addresses that you can use to get help. Please feel free to email me or my mom as well and we will do what we can to help. Ultimately, God is the only one who can heal your heart and your body. If you need a little push, I am here to give that nudge to you!

God Bless,

Chelsea Stacy

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