In 2004 the book Life Without Ed, boosted my efforts in gaining reconnection with ‘me’. I had been ‘lost’ for 44 years with an eating disorder and, within 12 months of reading this book, I was ‘found’. Author Jenni Schaefer has released a 10th Anniversary update, and I am thrilled.
Of course, more than one book was required to help me recover. I owe my life to a network of support that includes my children’s dad, my children and grandchildren, friends, psychiatrist, therapists, doctors, neurosurgeon, minister of religion and faith in God. While my long illness led to alienation from my family of origin, and loss of my marriage, I gained another family through ongoing healing and self-discovery … a family comprising people from across the eating disorder field. This ‘family of choice’ continues to nurture self-belief and fuels my passion for writing books and advocacy, in raising awareness of eating disorders around the globe.
Through the years, however, the patient-led voice of Jenni Schaefer, and the wisdom of her experience expressed in Life Without Ed has stayed beside and within me. Back in 2004, with the help of my treatment team, I had dug through almost all of the layers of the eating disorder in my determined to reconnect with self. Just a few more yards or metres to go.
This was the point when my dietician, who had been helping me to learn mindfulness techniques, and skills in externalising the illness thoughts, recommended a new book: Life Without Ed. I bought it immediately, and devoured it in a day. I felt the author, Jenni, was speaking directly to me, understanding me perfectly. She helped me ‘over the line’. She was in the USA and I was in Australia. We didn’t even talk. But Life Without Ed helped me to reconnect with True June, helped me to work out who I was, and refuse to allow the eating disorder to boss and rule my life any more.
Pivotal Role in Healing Journey
Many exciting events have occurred in the interceding years from 2004 to today. I met Jenni, one of my ‘recovery heroes’, at a NEDA conference in the USA. We each have both written more books and are excited to be working on a presentation for the 2016 Academy for Eating Disorders Conference to be held in San Francisco.
The opportunity to partner with Jenni in creating this presentation has led to me sharing with her, the pivotal role that her first edition of Life Without Ed, played in my healing journey.
A Book for Today and All Tomorrows
This past week, I felt overwhelmed with every joyous emotion when I opened a parcel to find a signed copy of Jenni’s 10th Anniversary edition, with the most beautiful message inside. I cried.
Jenni inspires me afresh in learning to manage latest health challenges, to enable writing and advocacy passions to continue. Her gift, and its serendipitous timing, is the best tonic!
I love her writing style — candid, free-flowing, engaging, reflective, encouraging, all with a magical humorous touch, that produces a global message packed full of hard won wisdom. This latest book will stand proudly on my book shelf, and will be referred to, recommended to others, and re-read often as I continue my PhD studies and engage in life.
In Words and Voice
The purchase options for Life Without Ed are listed on this page. This includes reference to the Life Without Ed audiobook. Jenni recorded this audiobook herself in a studio in Austin. It took weeks to record the entire book! So, no matter where you live in the world, you can now not only read Jenni’s book, but also hear her voice. People can even listen to excerpts for free here. Oh, and here is a link to an excerpt from the new Life Without Ed Afterword.
Countering Ongoing Ripple Effects of Ed
Jenni’s 10th Anniversary book, as with the first edition, has arrived at a deeply meaningful time for me. I am an inpatient in a Melbourne hospital due to a fresh issue with a spinal injury that occurred many moons ago, when my eating disorder was running amok (see memoir, A Girl Called Tim, and ebook).* The ripples continue but no longer deter! To open Jenni’s book and read her message inside has injected a super dose of soul medicine.
I’ll never know if I am the person I would have been if I had not developed anorexia nervosa at age 11. It does not matter.
I have a rich life that continues to blossom, and to be enriched through being inspired by the wisdom of people like Jenni Schaefer, and want you to be free to stand up, own your space and blossom, too.
* For more of my books, click here.