the date on a wall calendar with a big circle around it, Jamie’s Bat Mitzvah
came — with much preparation and fanfare — and went. But the anxiety that had
been building alongside the anticipation persisted.
kept waiting to see how she would respond after the Bat Mitzvah, we couldn’t
tell if that was a part of this nervousness in affecting her socially, in
affecting her behaviors,” her dad Lee recalled.
had experienced anxiety her whole life and coped such that few would have
suspected it, let alone suggested treatment. But in the summer prior to 8th
grade, at an age when her symptoms were hardest to untangle from her
surroundings, Jamie started to spiral.
mom Robin thought, “She grew up, she seemed a little more mature. She was real
conscious of what she was eating and wanting to exercise. But very quickly we
realized that Jamie was sort of obsessing.”
confluence of Jamie’s anxiety and anorexia made them difficult to diagnose. But
her problem wasn’t unique. Or even unusual: Anorexia is the third most common
chronic disease among young people and two-thirds of people with an eating
disorder also suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Jewish tradition, Jamie had become an adult. Yet even with caring “adult
adults” all around her, the journey to treatment and wellness took all of her
resilience and all their support.
there was a sprint toward some kind of solution, recognizing that Jamie had a
problem and reaching out in every direction to gain actionable insight and
they encountered friction and fatigue. As Robin recalls, “During a lot of that
time, Jamie really felt like she didn’t have a problem, we were the problem,
these doctors were the problem. We questioned all the time if we were doing the
right thing, and often thought we weren’t.”
the best course of action was not the course of least resistance – not the
dietician and eating plan, not the weekly visit to the local therapist. “She
just needed more help,” and it was a plane ride away at a comprehensive in-patient program.
scramble and slog have turned into a steady stride. Now in her senior year,
Jamie is thriving – she is “rockstar” in Robin’s unbiased assessment. As Lee
describes it, “Strength in life is addressing and responding and we’re very
proud of how our daughter has done both.”
has some advice to share, even if she can’t make the calendar go in reverse
back to her Bat Mitzvah: “I definitely wish that my younger self knew that I
wasn’t alone and that there were people I could reach out to.”