Although I'm a recent MSW grad and work as a psychotherapist in a mental health and substance abuse agency, I still work in a restaurant on the weekends--after all, I am living in NYC. I work the brunch shift at a popular designer burger joint on the Upper West Side (the irony!), which can have its challenges for a ED in recovery. Hey, a girl's gotta make a living. So, last weekend I see a crowd forming outside, completely normal for brunch. Men, women, and children everywhere are wearing the same t-shirts. Great, another group of tourists, I think to myself. As they enter, I notice that the t-shirts have a picture of a beautiful young girl, with the words, In Loving Memory of Emily, written below. Then I see it, the NEDA Walk logo on the back of the t-shirt.
Weeks earlier, I had planned to go to my first NEDA Walk. As a professional who wants to work with this population, I was hoping to get involved. But, instead of serving the greater good for eating disorders, I had to serve artery-clogging burgers and fries, contributing to the high cholesterol-hypertention-heart disease-obesity epidemic that plagues millions in this country--for the individuals as well as tax payers. But that's another discussion. Well, if I couldn't go to NEDA, at least they came to me.
I had the fortunate experience of waiting on four ED professionals, enabling me to share my thoughts in between Diet Coke and Iced Tea refills. I felt a little envy for being unable to walk for NEDA, but grateful that I was able to make a connection. Next year I will for sure be walking, and not kissing asses to high-maintenance Upper West Siders, in hopes of a 20% tip. Ahem.