BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – With nearly 30 million Americans suffering from eating disorders, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week brings attention to the hope brought by recovery across the country and here in Maine.
"There's help available in communities so to get the word out there that people can access services in their community to treat their eating disorders,” Sara Porter, a License Clinical Social Worker at Acadia Hospital said Tuesday.
Porter works with youth and adults struggling to overcome the illness. She said it is not something that only impacts girls, but men too.
"I have seen many patients recover but it's a long process,” Porter said.
NEWS CENTER checked in with someone who knows what that process is like firsthand.
"I was on my death bed,” Catie Colby said.
Colby was struggling to find insurance to get her the help she so desperately needed when NEWS CENTER spoke to Colby back in 2015.
Today, she says she is out of treatment and is in a better place.
Colby said she now even has a therapy dog name Goblin who has further empowered her.
"I have been unable to go to the grocery store myself until I got him and I've been able to grocery shop,” she said.
Still, she admits the process is ongoing. For her, her eating disorder stemmed from years of abuse.
Not eating was a way for her to find control.
"That's how I coped with the trauma,” Colby said.
Now in a much better place, she continues therapy and hopes that others realize that the challenges she faces are very real.
"We need people to understand that this is a real illness instead of the stigma oh you can control it, you just eat. It’s not that easy,” she said.
If you are worried about someone you care about, Porter said these are some signs to look out for:
-Severe weight loss
-Avoiding meals or lying about eating
-Going to the restroom after meals
If you notice any of these or are struggling yourself, Porter says you should reach out to your doctor.
Both Porter and Colby say that there is hope through treatment.
Colby said it saved her life.