Anna left her home in Burlington, Vermont to begin treatment at Monte Nido Vista on April 28, 2014. When I arrived there six weeks later, she welcomed me with tremendous kindness, compassion, and support – which I greatly appreciated as I took those first raw steps towards healing. Now more than one year into recovery, 25-year-old Anna is living in Denver, Colorado and pursuing a nursing degree.
I admire how unabashedly candid Anna is about the challenges of recovery. Six years into her eating disorder – which involved cycles of purging, binging, over-exercising, and restricting – it became clear that she needed more intensive support than just an outpatient team in order to break the patterns. The four months Anna spent in residential treatment and then a transitional living house in California were transformative, but life back in the real world proved surprisingly difficult.
In the interview, Anna admits her eating disorder still tempts her and occasionally catches her off guard with unexpected triggers. In addition to support from her boyfriend Thomas, her parents, and the recovered therapist she works with, Anna possesses impressive self-awareness and a “Healthy Self” mentality that she honed in treatment. She discusses how she challenges cultural misnomers about what “healthy” means, and the benefits of life in recovery: deeper intimacy and presence in relationships, a burgeoning sense of spirituality, and growing motivation to heal in order to help others. Though it has been rocky at times, Anna is proud of and committed to her recovery.
Listen to the interview here:
More about Annie Robinson
I have experienced the powerful effects stories have in healing as both a patient and a caregiver, which has inspired my driving mission in life: to elicit, honor, and attend to stories.
I hold a Master of Science in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University, and designed a major entitled "Stories of Self: Realization, Empowerment, and Wellbeing" as an undergraduate at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
My clinical role as a full-spectrum doula entails supporting women through abortion, miscarriage, and fetal loss. I am also the Assistant Director of the Center for Narrative Practice, which provides people with deep critical training in how stories work and trains them to apply this knowledge in everyday life. In addition to the On the Road to Recovered series, I curate an oral narrative project called Inside Stories: Medical Student Experiences. As a yoga teacher and co-founder of NYC-based wellness community Pause, Breathe, and Connect, I guides individuals to explore the interweaving of stories, spirituality, and somatic experience.
If you or someone you know might be interested in sharing their story, please contact me at: arobinson@healthstorycollaborative.