Another Chapter Begins by Karen Donoghue, Hopewell's Program Coordinator
It is with mixed feelings that I write this blog today, as I begin my maternity leave from my position at Hopewell. I am so excited and very happy about the beautiful baby girl I will soon welcome to the world. Yet, I am also sad I will not be waking up every weekday morning to go to Hopewell and interact with the fabulous women and men I have had the pleasure of encountering through my work – clients, volunteers, and professionals.
I have been involved with Hopewell for more than four years, as either a member of the peer support group, a volunteer member; or, for the last one year and three months, as Program Coordinator. One of the characteristics that has impressed me about Hopewell is its ability to perceive changing realities in society, and to, in turn, adapt to these realities. For example, not so long ago, I returned to Canada from Japan to receive treatment from after more than twenty years struggling with bulimia and anorexia. I was thirty-three years old at the time. Then, I was surprised at how few people I could locate in my age group who were struggling with an eating disorder. I desperately wanted to connect with someone my age who knew what it was like to live with either anorexia or bulimia, particularly someone who had recovered. So, it was very rewarding to see an over-30 support group start up at Hopewell this year, as well as to see the mentoring program extend to take mentees of all ages.
I hope that anyone who struggles with an eating disorder – female or male, gay or straight, young or not-so-young, restrictor or binger – never hesitates to pick up the phone, call Hopewell, and talk to a peer or sign up for a support group. All those involved in the care of individuals struggling with eating disorders have to see past the expected face of eating disorders, and embrace all who turn to them. This applies to all mental health care workers, not just those in the field of eating disorders. When this occurs across the board, disparity and stereotypes in mental health treatment will be eradicated – and that type of healthy society is the one I know I want my little girl to grow up in.
I will miss all of you whom I worked with at Hopewell and the wider mental health community. I wish you peace, love, and joy during the Holiday Season and throughout the coming year.