Below is the speech I gave last week at the Eating Disorders Coalition March Against ED.
Hello Fellow Activists,
Thank you to all the moms (and everyone else of course) for being here….. I am not a mother, but I certainly had one…and I also had an eating disorder. I know firsthand the kind of suffering those of us who have had eating disorders can put our families through.
Thank you mom, my mom, for suffering through my anorexia with such grace. I know you would be proud to see me here now, recovered for all these decades, running Monte Nido, my own treatment center and now speaking out, here on the West Lawn of the Capitol, turning my own adversity to activism…. fighting for others to get the help and the resources they need to become recovered, too.
I am in awe being here today in Washington DC where many others before us have picketed, marched, rallied, lobbied and cried out for change. And that is what it takes. That is what the women suffragettes did and like them that is what we will do, not just for ourselves but for our daughters and our granddaughters, our sons and future sons.
Daily I see the injustices taking place that should not be allowed in this country. Constantly I must make the decision to treat someone for free or let them go because their insurance company decided they just no longer wanted or needed to pay and so they took their chance that the patient or the family would not be able to do anything about it. I have seen insurance companies turn patients into chronic cases by giving bits of treatment here and there but never enough to produce a cure. It is like consistently giving a patient with bronchitis half the dose of necessary antibiotics and when the person never gets better calling him or her chronic.
I have heard insurance companies say,
“just let her go home and have her mother feed her”
“eating disorders are black pit holes of need and never get better “
and, “she is just seeking attention.”
We are demanding that the law makers of the land wake up, pay attention and act to end the injustices being committed daily to individuals suffering from eating disorders.
We beg tour congressional leaders to:
Regulate the insurance companies in how they discriminate against, deny coverage for and deal with eating disorders.
Insist that insurance providers follow the standard accepted APA guidelines in covering treatment for eating disorder cases.
Assign stiff penalties to companies who routinely deny and avoid paying for eating disorder coverage.
I ask you…Investigate the amount and kind of law suits families have filed against their insurance companies over eating disorder coverage and you will soon discover the egregious practices that are allowed to take place with no oversight.
Don’t wait until your daughter, son, or a close relative becomes afflicted with an eating disorder, because at the rate eating disorders are occurring, that is likely. Act now.
And to all of you standing before me, you are agents of change. Our numbers may be small in comparison to other marches or movements but As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”