Center for Hope is proud to serve men, women, and adolescents in Nevada struggling with eating disorders as well as other co-occurring disorders. Read some of their stories below.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
When I came to CHS I believed that I was inadequate. I lived in fear that I was not thin enough, not smart enough, not nice enough, never enough. Because of my past, because of the blame I put on myself, I was always left feeling less than adequate. I was left with an internal void and I looked to any number of external and destructive measures to fill this deep void, none of which did so.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is out light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
I questioned myself every day, I wondered why these were characteristics people said I possessed. But slowly, with the love and support of the wonderful staff and fantastic women of the center, I began to have a tiny inkling of hope that this may have some truth.
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
I was given a safe space in which to express my emotions- every single one of them. And in this safe space I was validated, I was told that I was a worthy, even highly significant, individual. And I began to become more confident in expressing my emotions, in letting my true self show, and having the confidence that others would not feel stepped on afterwards.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
Through learning about others I learned, in a highly clichéd way, about myself. As I watched others grow I learned about myself and am deeply grateful to the women who shared with me aspects of themselves from the deepest recesses of their souls.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, CHS, for giving me the safe space and the support I needed to fight the fight of my life. This is a truly remarkable place, and any woman who steps through these doors is truly blessed to be touched by your knowledge and relentless caring. I cannot begin to express how much it has meant to have someone instill such a sense of confidence in me that I never thought I would have. What a true miracle.
A Daughter Saved
Dear Center for Hope,
It is with sincere and profound expression that LM and I write this letter. From our earliest days with SM, we felt that God had sent us a very strong, spirited, smart, and loving daughter. As she matured, we kept wondering when, and if, anything would come her way that could be considered a challenge. Life seemed to be progressing without any incident, and it seemed impossible for that to continue indefinitely. Then… it happened.
Words are unable to reflect how intensely indebted we are to the staff at Center for Hope. In particular; we consider them to be heroes, angels, and literally life guards that preserved the days of our dear SM.
SM first checked into your center exactly one year ago today. Our prayers of gratitude and prayers of sustaining have been directed towards your way each and every single day. It is our solemn belief that God, SM, and your team saved her life. For this, we are eternally grateful and count your staff among our most treasured friends.
Life has a way of staging extremes; from sorrow to joy. On Thursday, January 28th, SM was admitted to West Hills Hospital. My visit with her that evening, remains, the most sobering and sad day of my life. Equally sobering, but one filled with joy, was found on May 13th. SM called me late at night to report on how excited she was about the CHS group she helped run. She expressed, in some detail, how she prepared and delivered words of encouragement to the residents. She expressed joy, happiness, confidence, and genuine healing. I fell to my knees that evening to express my deepest level of appreciation to your team for your professional care, and continued genuine love for our daughter.
We’ve waited many months to send you this very simple gift. There is meaning behind the hand painted mailboxes. During SM’s first several months at the center, she frequently spoke to us about how wonderful it would be to someday get to walk to the mailboxes in front of the Center. It seemed like such a simple goal, but as LM and I began to understand the complexities of the illness, the “mailbox goal” became a bit of a symbol to us. Since then, SM has spoken little about the mailboxes; we’re guessing that other more pressing and progressive goals took its place. But, we thought about it every time we drove up to the Center.
We hope that these mailboxes will remind you of SM. We hope these mailboxes will remind you of the wonderful service you have rendered and the hope you have restored. We are supposing that you’ll remember SM regardless, just as LM and I will forever remember you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. A million times, thank you for preserving the life of our precious daughter.
With gratitude beyond description, and appreciation beyond price,
— JM and LM
Center for Hope of the Sierras saves lives. I spent 7 ½ vital months of my life at CHS and I couldn’t be more grateful that my recovery took place there. With out people like Dr. Leah Leonard, Asnisha, Mary, Lorraine, Anna and the rest of the therapists & RAs I wouldn’t be here today, and today, I’m doing great! They not only saved my life, they helped me get back in touch with the person that I am at my core, the person that exists within, without ED. I learned so much about life and myself thanks to Leah and Mary and I laughed harder than ever before thanks to Mel, Katie and Anishah.
There is no place on Earth that has a better psychologist than Leah who also teaches DBT sessions, or a chef like Anishah who can do it all, or a dietician like Lorraine who has a Ph.D. or therapists like Mary, Kelly and Judith who are so insightful and caring. You can’t find better anywhere else, it’s a powerful team to fight ED. There are so many wonderful people at CHS that it’s a blessing just to be surrounded by them, let alone to learn from, interact with and to be taken care of by them. I put my faith, my trust and my life in their hands and it was the best decision I ever made.
I loved everything about CHS. It was a life changing experience and I loved it. The women here really helped me with everything and I will never forget them. I would recommend CHS to anyone.
I came to the Center for Hope as somebody who was not living life. My sense of my Self was buried and trapped in my eating disorder. A day without restricting or purging was not a life I had known. As I began treatment, I had to unpack my thoughts and feelings of the past as well as the present. Although being extremely difficult, processing my life and my whole being helped me mourn the passed traumas and struggles and move forward in my life. The staff at CHS was my family when I needed it the most; they were always caring and supportive every moment of my recovery. At CHS, I have found my Self, my true core self, which has let me console and heal myself. Saying good bye to my eating disorder was not easy, for it has been my closest friend for so many years. Yet, CHS taught me that my eating disorder did not really love me, and I needed to learn how to love myself and be at peace with my body. CHS has been the most life-changing and rewarding experience of my entire life. I don’t think I could be living my life the way I want with my own voice without the help and support of CHS. I’m looking forward to going back to school as a strong, whole individual.
“I battled ED for 9 destructive years. I made the choice to get help because I knew that if I didn’t I would loose everything I love in this world and could possibly lose my life. I chose love, freedom from a sickness that controlled me, and above all life! CHS and my hard work brought me strength , confidence in my true form, the ability to see reality through my own eyes, the meaning of happiness, and the skills to continue my daily battle. Through exploration, honesty, tough love, repetition, and faith I not only strengthened my relationships, but found the person that I was created to be in the process of freeing myself from ED. For once in my life I am truly proud of myself and my accomplishments. My life is forever changed because of the women at CHS, both residents and staff. I still to this day am amazed that so many incredible women ended up in one place. I consider CHS my family and a family that I will forever be grateful for. My life is not a “Cinderella” story, but simply a choice to daily fight for my recovery and discover my happily un-perfect perfection. Thank you CHS!”
After going to over five different treatment centers and hospitals all over the country, I finally found true recovery at the Center for Hope of the Sierras (CHS). I came to CHS broken and empty, wary that I was ever going to find true help to overcome my eating disorder. I felt like I was simply a number at other treatment centers, and I soon realized that it would be just the opposite at CHS. From the way Anishah the Chef made sure each of us had our own birthday cake on our special day, to Lorraine the Registered Dietitian inviting her parents to our Thanksgiving dinner, the Center was more devoted than anything I had ever experienced. It was a family, and it quickly became clear that they were going to do everything and anything possible to ensure I truly found recovery. CHS’s approach of intuitive eating, our weekly visits out to restaurants and coffee shops, and countless experiences in the actual community helped me gain the tools I needed to successfully re-enter the real world.
Four years after my admission date, I’m happy to say that I haven’t been back in treatment since leaving the Center and that I am well on my way in recovery. I find myself using the tools I learned in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and other groups daily, and I have finally found my passion for life once again. I’m pursuing my dreams and have discovered who I was prior to my eating disorder and who I want to be. Leah the Clinical Director told me that she would hold hope for me when I felt that I couldn’t hold hope in myself, and she more than fulfilled her promise. For that, and for my forever family at CHS, I am forever grateful.
I came to the Center for Hope intending to only stay for about two months. Five months later, I can’t believe I am leaving, for good. I have truly finished the program. I never thought I would get here, honestly. I am in such a different place in my life. I am happy, I have friends, I can eat what I want when I want, and I have worked through a lot of the lingering events that took place in my life. I have accomplished so much. At times, five months seems like eternity, but to be quite honest, it really isn’t that long at all. As my therapist said, the treatment team and I worked through 15 years of my life in only five months. Now obviously, my work is not done. I still have a lot of work to do, but I never would be where I am today if I didn’t come to the Center for Hope.
I walked through the front door asking myself what I had done to get here. How did I get here? What did I do wrong? This wasn’t the place for me. There were too many rules. What I learned was these rules were in place for a reason. They may have been a pain in the rear, but as much as I didn’t approve, the treatment team created the rules for our safety. This was so different for me because I was used to being on my own for 3 yrs at college. Not to mention when I was hospitalized before, I had so much freedom, and when I came here, they took it all away. I know I struggle with transitions, and this was a huge transition I was making, and it was going to be hard. Thankfully, the treatment team took me under their wings, as well as the other residents and RA’s helped me adjust to the new atmosphere.
I am now ready to go back to my life. My REAL life! I am so excited to swim for my college and finish my senior year. I am ready to conquer what is ahead. You guys gave me my life back and I want to thank you for everything you have done for me. I will miss you all so much and will never ever forget the time I was here. I love you.
The Center for Hope made the difference in my continual presence on this earth. When outpatient treatment was failing my mother frantically searched for a place to continue battling the anorexia that had control of my life. She instantly knew the Center was the place for me and as I spent my first week there, I realized this as well. The moment I arrived the warmth and knowledge of the staff was evident. Throughout my time at the Center, the positive atmosphere, life, support, and love provided a foundation for my recovery. The Center taught me many ways of dealing with anorexia and other issues in my life in a positive, safe, and healthy manner. As I continue to walk to path of recovery, I look back and am thankful that the Center was able to help me put myself back on the road of life. Today, I am currently finishing up my bachelor’s degree in nutrition at the University of Nevada, Reno and will graduate in May 2009. I will then return to Seattle to pursue graduate school. I will never forget the staff and residents that have touched and saved my life. THANK YOU!
Renewed Sense of Self
The Center of Hope helped me find the person I lost because of my eating disorder. It saved me from myself and brought me back to life.
A Journey of Hope
I will never forget the day October 3, 2003, the first time in many years I felt a glimpse of hope. This was the day that I arrived at what I fondly call CHS. I guess you would say the odds of recovery were very slim. I had checked out of life and into the world of an eating disorder (Anorexia) at the age of 13. One might say that doesn’t sound so bad. The problem was that I was 42 and the mother of three. Anorexia, or ED for short, was really the only way I knew. ED was my best friend and had always been there for me. Heck he was there even when I wasn’t. I had been in treatment so many times it was hard to keep track of all of the different places.
Surviving the Storm
The doctor and therapist I had been seeing pulled the rug out from under me. They said they would no longer be treating me because I was choosing not to get better. They said they were not going to watch me die. I was at rock bottom, like I had seen in so many others. Four friends died that year. I was next if I didn’t do something. I searched the Internet during the following weeks. It kept leading me back to the CENTER FOR HOPE OF THE SIERRAS. Unlike other places, they worked really hard to help me with insurance. They called and checked on me to make sure I was hanging in. Everyone was so understanding!
The moment I walked through the door at CHS I felt safe. The staff was amazing, not at all like many of the places I had been before. I wasn’t just a number, but a person that needed help. CHS doesn’t perform magic or miracles. I chose to get better and worked the hardest I had ever worked in my life. The difference was that CHS (The Perfect Storm) provided me with every possible tool to recover. Nothing was overlooked: groups, outings, learning to take care of myself, a team that only wanted to help me and nourish me with skills to overcome the many roadblocks ahead. I could go on and on, but I think you get it.
I will tell you about my life without ED. I am extremely close with my children. I have picked up my head, looked up, and joined the real world. These past years have been truly amazing. I have friends! I have been to Costa Rica and Cabo San Lucas. I have been kayaking, whitewater rafting, skiing, riding and jumping horses, and much, much, more! I know who I am. Most of the time I approve. I thank CHS for this.
Today I’m 47 and still dealing with challenges. But thanks to the Center for Hope of the Sierras I AM dealing. I know to this day that I can call any of the staff and hear a kind word if I need help, and that they will lead me in the right direction.
I made it through the STORM. Thank you so much for believing in me!