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Part Two: Spreading Awareness

Monte Nido & Affiliates Education Training Manager Jacquie Rangel recently spoke at a high school to help educate the students about eating disorders and self love. Jacquie shares a two part series on her experience and time spent with the high school students. Keep reading for part two…

To read part one of Jacquie’s series, click HERE.

Beyond the lesson of holding space for a person who is struggling to help themselves, I went in to present with the intention of driving home the importance of self-love. As our conversation around denial elucidated, a person who is incapable of hearing that they need help is really just struggling to believe that they deserve it. I got personal and shared with the students that I remember feeling this when I was first coming to terms with the reality of my own experience with an eating disorder many years ago now. I had moments of clarity when I felt and observed the danger of what I was doing to myself, but still I fought tooth and nail when family and friends would bring it to my attention. I had every excuse in the book for my behavior, my actions, my physical decay because at that point the persona of my eating disorder was in the driver’s seat and it kept telling me that I was not really “that sick”.

There is no such thing as “not sick enough” to get help, and the relentless practice of putting ourselves first makes that truth evident. If we were speaking of a friend, we would try to our best to cast away a negative self-thought as soon as we observed it. If we were speaking of someone we loved who started showing signs of illness we would encourage them to seek medical guidance and evaluate what stressors are affecting their physiology. If we were speaking of a family member, we wouldn’t let them hurt themselves for “just a little bit” because it’s unfathomable that this person we care about deserves to be in pain. For some reason however, we get into the mindset that the reel of self-criticism and even some degree of self-harm is tolerable. Simply put, just NO! The truth is we won’t be able to show up for a friend, someone we love or a family member in those scenarios if we don’t hold ourselves in the same regard. We, just as much as anyone, deserve the same amount of compassion that we so willingly give out.

I cannot emphasize how impressed I was with the student body at Miami Beach Senior High not only for their hospitality, but for the thought-provoking questions and engagement while I shared my story and provided education around a sensitive topic. I am so thankful for this opportunity to have shared time with this group. With each passing year that puts distance between me and my experience with an eating disorder, I hear myself speaking more confidently and compassionately. Though I consider myself fully recovered from my eating disorder, I see healing as a lifelong endeavor and every opportunity to share as a way to strengthen my practice of self-healing and self-love.


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Melissa Orshan Spann, PhD, LMHC, RTY 200, is Chief Clinical Officer at Monte Nido & Affiliates, overseeing the clinical operations and programming for over 50 programs across the U.S. Dr. Spann is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and clinical supervisor as well as an accomplished presenter and passionate clinician who has spent her career working in the eating disorder field in higher levels of care. She is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals where she serves on the national certification committee, supervision faculty, and is on the board of her local chapter. She received her doctoral degree from Drexel University, master’s degree from the University of Miami, and bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.