The process of recovery, from any kind of traumatic ailment, can occur in many ways. For one San Diego woman, it was the comfort and non-judgmental nature of animals that helped her overcome a crippling ailment—one that affects millions of people every year: bulimia. Through her writing, San Diegan Shannon Gusy shares her poignant story of how animals, particularly Pit Bulls, played a key role in her self-discovery and healing from an eating disorder and inspired her to ultimately regain control. Through her writing, Gusy hopes she can inspire others struggling with bulimia to seek help, or simply to find comfort in the presence of animals.
While some articles circling the Internet today may serve to oversimplify or even glorify eating disorders, Gusy’s article is a raw and honest look at the complexity of the disease and the power of compassion learned through shelter dogs. “My goal in releasing this article, and with my memoir, is to speak to the fact that animals can have a profound healing effect on sufferers of addiction. Despite years of therapy, a trip to rehab and an embarrassing amount of time spent in the self-help section of my local bookstore, I did nothing but continue to grow sicker until shelter dogs came into my life. Then, everything began to change,” said Gusy. “I hope, in some small way, my experiences can help others find the courage not to give up, that there’s help sometimes in the least likely of places. For me, it was the love of animals that helped me be a stronger, better person.”
According to the National Association of Anorexia and Eating Disorders, 24 million people of all ages suffer from some kind of eating disorder and only 1 in 10 seek treatment. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, underscoring the widespread nature of this often silent condition. (Source: www.anadorg)