From Surviving to Thriving on the Journey to Wholeness

Darlene Ouimet CTACC

I am so excited to have been invited to be a contributor to this amazing network.  As a result of sexual abuse, I developed dissociated identity disorder and started to have serious depressions by the age of ten. I was struggling with an eating disorder, drug addiction and alcohol dependency by the age of 16.  I found some help for addictions when I was 23 and managed to get married and have 3 children but the dissociative identity and depressions got worse as the kids started to grow.

Feeling worthless and giving up all hope I started to make plans to leave my husband and 3 young children. I confided in my friend who convinced me to try therapy one more time.  I had nothing to lose this time and I didn’t hold back anything in my sessions. My therapist used a model of causal therapy; looking at the roots of the trauma and how my belief system was full of false things I believed were truth. The details of my life came out and through the process of recovery I realized that many things in my life had contributed to the serious problems I was having. I believed hundreds of lies that were fed to me and the therapy process became one of realizing what those lies were, where they were born and then replacing them with the truth.  I got stronger and began to see light at the end of the tunnel. In the end it was the truth that set me free and I got my life and my identity back.

I made a complete recovery from dissociated identity (including multiple personality disorder) and chronic depressions. I went back to school and got my certification in life coaching with a specialty in relationships. I developed a passion to share my process.  I was invited to be a regular inspirational speaker at mental health seminars accepted an invitation to join that counseling firm as the Director of Client Relations.

Today as a mental health advocate, what I bring to the community of survivors of any kind of abuse or mental health struggle is a message of hope and a new way of looking at the past in order to move forward. Realizing the impact I was having on clients at the seminars that I was speaking at, I decided to increase my reach, and start sharing my story and recovery on the internet. My blog “Emerging from Broken” has quickly become popular in the survivor community.  My co-author Carla Dippel and I offer unique insights and have a way of cutting through the false beliefs that victims of abuse hold deeply in their hearts inspiring healing and hope for wholeness.

I look forward to meeting you and to sharing recovery on the journey to wholeness.

Darlene Ouimet

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Yesterday, Columbia College sophomore Ruthy Sher, penned an informative article about NEDA Week, Disordered thinking on eating disorders. Sher clearly articulated one of the three goals of the week:

“reduc[e] the stigma surrounding eating disorders” by properly informing people that “eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses—not choices—and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.”

Photo by Rebekah Kim

Sher continues, “What it means to live with an eating disorder is definitely not what people assume it to be. Aside from the mental strain eating disorders have on a person, there can be physical consequences as well. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, anorexia has one of the highest death rates of any mental disorder…For a person suffering from bulimia, electrolyte imbalances can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death.”

In addition to staying informed in regard to the complexities and seriousness of eating disorders, it is also important not to alienate those who may have an eating disorder that is not the more commonly known anorexia, or bulimia. There are a number of eating disorders that are less understood and/or mainstream, and are therefore often misrepresented.

You or someone you love might also struggle with purging disorder, binge eating disorderdiabulimia, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).  Please, work to stay informed and understanding. It’s often that an eating disorder is the result of myriad past trauma(s)/abuse/neglect/assault(s); and when that’s not the case, any number of causes might be the driving force behind these disorders.

The more we share, engage and work together, the faster we’ll be on our way to leading joyful lives!

Eating Disorder Resources

(Per the Eating Disorder Center of Denver.)

EDC-D Professional Resources – More on consulting, paper presentations, dual diagnoses and events.
Mirror-Mirror.org – Web site dedicated to raising awareness and providing information on eating disorders. It includes definitions, signs and symptoms, getting help, relapse warning signs, approaching a loved one and more.
The Center for Healthy Living’s Eating Disorder Resource Guide – A complete source for learning about anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating and the many treatment centers available for help.
Healthygenius.com – A mental health disorders portal that addresses a variety of disorders, including eating disorders, depressive disorders, impulse control disorders, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, bipolar disorders and many more.
BeyondtheMirror.org – A counseling center for women and youth. It is dedicated to empowering individuals to see beyond their reflections through counseling, outreach and education, and connection to services.
Eating Disorder Recovery – An information source that provides eating disorder recovery articles, a discussion forum, DSM-V-TR descriptions, support group information, access to in-patient/residential treatment centers, a self-help workbook and more.
Eating Disorder Answers – A Web site developed by a woman in recovery from an eating disorder. When she was first diagnosed, she couldn’t find one single Web site that had all of the answers. Viewers of the site are encouraged to share their stories.
Eating Disorder Hope – A Web site that offers hope, information and resources to those suffering from eating disorders, treatment providers and loved ones. Services include information, support groups, articles, a virtual library, books, treatment providers and events for individuals struggling with bulimia, anorexia and binge eating disorders.