Finding Faith and Recovery: Karen’s Journey to Healing at Selah House


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Karen is wearing glasses and smiling at the camera while in a convertible.


Today, Karen is gratefully in recovery from orthorexia, OCD, anxiety, depression, codependency, and hoarding. However, it was not always that way. Karen was born in 1974 and now realizes that she struggled with many of her difficulties from the time she was little. It was not until the last few years that she realized her complex trauma resulted from verbal, emotional, and physical abuse during her early years. 

The Start of Karen’s Downfall

Karen’s eating disorder started as comfort eating due to emotional dysregulation in her family and herself. She was bullied at school and home. She always felt she needed to manage her family’s emotions. Once she realized how to make the people in her family happy, she became a straight-A student, an overachiever, and a scholar-athlete who played basketball, softball, and soccer. 

Sports kept her sane, yet little did she know she was struggling with overeating as a kid and exercise purging to maintain a particular body type. After being called names at home about her weight, it was another way to win the approval of her family and the way to “love” herself. Throughout college, she ate and exercised but never was satisfied with her body. She entered into codependent relationships all her life for stability.

First Attempts at Treatment

Karen got married in 2007 and had two children in the following years. Postpartum depression drained her energy and left her desperate to lose weight. She thought eating less would solve her problem, but it spiraled out of control to the point that she realized she truly had an eating disorder. 

Karen reached out to a week-long IOP program and was back on track to gain weight. It was a blessing she was saved from her eating disorder and began to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, she stopped seeing her nutritionist and counselor five years later once she reached her goal weight. She tried different diets and remained “functional” in her eating disorder for a few years afterward. She even tried Weigh Down to honor the Lord, but it turned out to be a cult.

Fast forward to the 2020s. Karen started to find another way to eat where she restricted “unhealthy” foods. She believed that overeating was sinful gluttony. She believed her struggles with food stemmed from struggles with her faith, but it was so much more. 

After a meeting with her therapist, she broke down and got honest about her eating. She wanted her to seek intensive help, and she even felt God telling her to go, but she remained in denial for another six months. Her continued denial left her barely functional to the point that her life was falling apart, she slept only three hours a night, and she lost her job. 

Karen’s Experience at Selah House

Karen briefly tried another PHP program, but she knew she eventually had to find a residential treatment place. She prayed on it and, after a series of baby steps orchestrated by the Lord, she found Selah House. Karen hoped to attend a faith-based program but Selah House was four hours away and this distance terrified her. However, she finally agreed to attend and in April of 2022, Karen stepped into Selah House. She knew this was where God wanted her to be from the moment she walked through the door. 

Karen hit the ground running and challenged her orthorexia every day. “You get out of it what you put into it,” she told us, “The clinicians were very clear about that and I fully embraced that understanding.” Her dietician, therapists, nurses, doctors, and RCs were all sweet, kind, and understanding. She loved the comfort of a big, beautiful house, horses, games, art, and even cats on the back porch! The patients she met were loving and caring as well. 

The Chaplain helped her wrestle through tough faith issues which she later learned was scrupulosity-religious OCD. Her weight stabilized in 2 weeks and weight restored in 2.5 weeks. Her key verse, Jeremiah 20:11 “The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior,” helped her persevere. The smiles kept her moving, the encouragement kept her growing, and the love of Jesus kept her persevering. 

Life After Selah House

Today, Karen enjoys eating without fear and experiences life with energy and strength. She is a member of the Selah House Alumni Volunteer community and Celebrate Recovery. She works a part-time job and enjoys the balance of life and family as a functional human being again. She is blessed to be a wife and a mom.

Karen thanks God and Selah House for helping her get her life back. She has been spreading the word about Selah House in Illinois. She would go back there in a heartbeat if she had to. “Hugs to all of you at Selah for my health and success!” Karen expressed, “I miss you all!”


To anyone struggling with similar challenges, remember that recovery is possible. Seek help, embrace the journey, and never lose hope. Reach out to Selah House at (765) 442-3551 for support on your path to healing. You deserve a life free from the grip of mental illness. Take the first step towards a brighter future today.

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