This week I find myself saying goodbye to two more friends. Ashley Bryan and Nicole Ferency both lost their battles with eating disorders and depression this week. Ashley died on October 1st, and Nicole last night (October 4th) in Denver after leaving the ERC for the day.
I am stunned. Even typing this, I feel like I don’t know what to say, but I feel like I need to get it out.
Ashley was 26 years old and I got to know her over my first couple of weeks at the ERC. She was a warrior, she was committed to recovery, and she was everyone’s biggest cheerleader. My heart breaks for her husband and family. At the ERC we all have primary therapists, and the patients who share the same primary therapist form what we call a Process Group. We meet three times a week for an hour and 15 minutes, talk about how we’re feeling, and provide support to each other. My particular Process Group is extremely close, and Ashley was a part of our group until she graduated from treatment. The loss has been almost too much too process. Still can’t believe she is gone.
Nicole was 35 years old and had been battling her eating disorder and severe depression for a very long time. She and I bonded when she found out that I was gay and wanted to open a dialogue and get to know me better in hopes that our friendship would help her connect with her gay father. I am so sad that we won’t be able to have anymore of those conversations. She was so genuine and open when she approached me with that request. Her desire to feel like her family was whole again was of so much importance to her. She spoke of her family often, and I am devastated thinking about all of them. I am planning to find a way to attend her funeral on Monday. What a beautiful person, what a loss.
The mood around the ERC right now feels pretty similar to a funeral home. It’s just too much to take in. The staff are all stunned, but doing an amazing job being available to us. The CEO of the center has been in this field for 33 years and has not lost a patient at this level of treatment. It just isn’t a normal thing. This week is just overwhelming.
I originally intended to blog a little update about my insurance issues, so, I will briefly. I am no longer in the PHP program and am now in Transitional Intensive Outpatient (4 hours a day vs 12) because my insurance company has chosen to disregard the medical advice of my treatment team in favor of their profits. My doctors fought extremely hard for me, but they were unable to get more time for me. My insurance, Magellan Health Services, contracted by my primary provider Aetna, would rather see me relapse, continue with an eating disorder, or even die, before cutting into their profits any further.
I won’t go on a political rant, but this is why healthcare should not be for profit. I’m a negative on a balance sheet to them, and my life is meaningless. Before she died, Nicole’s insurance had just denied her an increased level of care as well. Fuck you health insurance. You’re scum, and we’re idiots to allow and vote for such a system to exist.
I’m a whirlwind of emotions right now. I miss my friends, I wish I had been there to remind them how loved they were before they made the decision, and I just wish I could remove all the pain from all of the people grieving these losses. We will get through this. I will get through this, and I will live a rich and meaningful life. I just wish that Nicole, Ashley, Jesse, and Dustin were all living it with me.
Goodnight sweet friends.