Olivia’s Battle with ARFID and Trauma: In Her Own Words


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Olivia with long brown hair and brown eyes, in a selfie.

Testimonial Author, Olivia


It’s difficult to find the right words to describe my experience at Selah House other than it truly saved my life.

Struggling With an Unknown Eating Disorder Diagnosis and Multiple Traumas

I’ve been battling an eating disorder for ten years but didn’t know in the beginning that I even had one due to medical complications from autoimmune disorders that resulted in extreme weight loss. I had various gastrointestinal complications, so any “food issues” were brushed aside because of the food sensitivities and pain I experienced. This went on for too long, and because of my complex traumas, I was stuck in a constant battle with my mind and my body. Additionally, I didn’t have body image issues, so I was dismissed when it came to a typical anorexia diagnosis and was never treated properly. I was finally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), but I realized there were limited recourses available for treating my conditions.

Getting Answers and Finding Hope At Selah House

Then I found Selah House. The team at Selah House created a unique treatment plan based on my diagnoses and my specific needs. They taught me how to be vulnerable, and that vulnerability isn’t a weakness; it demonstrates strength and courage. They gave me my faith back, helping me realize that God had good plans for my life and wasn’t punishing me for anything that happened to me. My dietitian and therapists were compassionate, kind, understanding, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and they made me feel comfortable. They were well educated when it came to treating my traumas along with the eating disorder. When I felt like I had the most ridiculous, embarrassing eating disorder because the body image piece wasn’t a big part of it, they educated me on all the different eating disorders and how to finally understand my own.

I’ve never felt like I belonged anywhere, but Selah made me feel a sense of belonging again. I would always say I was a burden to everyone in my life, and I felt like I would be a burden to them, but they made me feel anything but that. They pushed me and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and walked beside me through every part of my journey. Selah taught me that I was not to blame for the traumas that I held such guilt and shame for and that I shouldn’t feel any shame for my eating disorder.

Thriving in Recovery and Making Lifelong Connections

I’m also so blessed for the connections I made with the other clients and staff, who made me feel less alone during my four-month treatment when I was far from home and my loved ones. They gave me the tools I needed and steps to take to continue my recovery journey back home. Additionally, Selah’s Alumni Community has allowed me to stay connected and get continued support after treatment, showing how much they care about each client’s wellbeing.

I love being able to stay in touch with my amazing friends that became family, and I continue to make new friends through the Selah Alumni Community. I will never regret choosing Selah for my recovery treatment. I’m forever grateful to Selah for making me feel alive again and helping me to believe that all my dreams and life goals are attainable. And more importantly, for helping me realize that I’m deserving of a free life full of health, love, peace, and happiness.

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