Manda’s story

Endured 20 years between her first symptoms & receiving treatment for an eating disorder, TEXAS


Manda, 33, Texas, is currently unemployed due to COVID-19, but is using this time to foster abandoned kittens and spend time with her family and friends, having learned how fragile life can be.

At six years of age, Manda recalls first starting to eliminate foods from her diet. By age 11, weight gain and weight loss were already topics that she discussed regularly with her doctor. It wasn’t until age 27 that Manda received professional help, and was referred to an eating disorder specialist service.

Manda’s eating disorder affected every aspect of her life. When she was in school, it affected her friendships, grades, and her athletics. The eating disorder contributed to her dropping out of college and being introduced to heroin, which led to the double challenge of dealing with an eating disorder and drug abuse.

Manda is honored to be supporting the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) research study,
to help identify the
genes that influence a person’s risk of developing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, to improve treatment, and ultimately, save lives.

 This is Manda’s story.

 “Living with an eating disorder is miserable, so very lonely, always being in a constant state of high anxiety, always feeling guilty and like your best was never enough,” said Manda.

“It was hanging out with friends, but not being present and feeling numb while obsessively thinking about food, weight, calories, running, and adding to a never ending to-do list.”

The eating disorder was life-interrupting, Manda explains, “I dropped out of college and was introduced to heroin, which I immediately fell in love with, because it quieted that nagging, mean, and demanding eating disorders voice that never shut up.”

“I pushed everyone who mattered to me away, so I could focus solely on pleasing my eating disorder,” Manda said.

Manda believes genetics, childhood trauma, being a perfectionist, and just never feeling “good” enough all contributed to her development of an eating disorder.

Manda underwent several eating disorders treatments as well as drug rehabilitation, and is now giving back.

“I’m now three months shy of three years of continuous sobriety and recovery from my eating disorder. I continue to sponsor girls (through AA and NA) who are also struggling with an eating disorder. Being a support for them, gives me support too!”                                                              

Manda maintains genes play a significant role in the development of an eating disorder, especially given her family history.

“I do have a family history of mental illness and eating disorders. Depression, anxiety, and OCD run in my family,” said Manda.

Manda has an excellent suggestion for physicians.

“I think when you’re asked about family history at a doctor’s office, eating disorders should be listed right alongside diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, under the section ‘does anyone in your family suffer from…’”

To learn more about one’s genetic predisposition to the development of an eating disorder, Manda has chosen to support the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) – the world’s largest genetic research study of eating disorders ever performed.  She is encouraging Americans aged 18 and over, with first-hand experience of an eating disorder, to join her.

“It’s essential that we identify the underlying genetic causes of eating disorders, to save lives and improve treatment options available to those living with eating disorders,” Manda said.

Manda shares her view about the importance of being open about one’s personal struggle with an eating disorder.

“It is so important to be open and transparent about my experience living with, and recovering from an eating disorder. It’s so important that someone caught in the grips of this awful disorder, is able to relate to another human. That is why I’ve been so open about all the messy stuff I’ve dealt with in the trenches of my own eating disorder.

“I value connection. Being able to connect with somebody while you’re at your worst, gives you hope. It gives a flicker at the end of the dark tunnel you’re in, that yes, it’s awful and miserable now, but there is hope, and light, and freedom, if you keep trudging forward,” said Manda

“I feel like when I’m open and authentic about my struggle and journey, I’m helping someone not feel so alone.”

“To anyone struggling, there is hope. You are not broken beyond repair. Second (and third and fourth) chances exist. You matter. You are most definitely not alone. There are people like me, who will help you in any way we can, to get help and treatment, to be supportive and loving, and to be a hand to grab as you fight to come out of your trench. Your struggle and feelings are valid. You are sick enough to deserve help. You are loved,” Manda said.