Throwing discretion to the wind, Hungry for Life reveals the horrifying but ultimately inspirational story of my discovery, friendship, battle, and near-death experience with Anorexia Nervosa―a fatal illness from which millions suffer but few understand. “Oh, you just want to be skinny, “or “Why don’t you just eat?” are among the admonishments I’ve heard from those unaware of the complexity of anorexia. Hungry for Life is new and necessary reading for anyone trying to comprehend this sadly growing epidemic.
My book begins with a flash forward: “’Rachel Eve Moses.’ Applause! I walk proudly up to the podium to receive my college diploma. I’ve graduated Summa Cum Laude and I’ve earned a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts. It’s time for me to fly. To go out there into the real world and pursue my acting career. Here I am, world! I’m 21 years old, 5’4” tall, and weigh 69 pounds. So, what now?”
I then take the reader back with me to kindergarten, when the first signs of my illness began to manifest. Right from the start, I knew I was different. I didn’t know how to interact with other children, and I couldn’t seem to communicate my feelings to adults. From such an early age, I harbored a tremendous amount of anger, resentment, and desperation. From there, I describe the surprising path that led me, ultimately, to death’s door―twice. Lastly, I describe my painful, arduous, and courageous journey through recovery. Although a painful story, I also offer much of my twisted sense of humor.
One of the most important lessons I hope readers take away from Hungry for Life is that recovery from Anorexia Nervosa is NOT synonymous with just gaining weight. After I was put on a disturbing weight-gain diet of nearly 4,000 calories a day during my first hospitalization, people saw my new, slightly healthier body and assumed this meant I was all better. They couldn’t see beyond the physical, to where the real illness lay―deeply rooted in my brain, raging war in my mind and eating away at my sanity. After I relapsed and became sicker than ever before, I was hospitalized a second time, this time at a treatment program dedicated to treating the whole person, not just the starving body. Once my weight was finally stabilized, I had to not only adjust to my new body, but to the world around me. My eating disorder removed me from the “real world,” interfering with my personal, social, and educational development from early childhood through my early twenties. At 22 years old, I needed to learn how to grow up and live life.
To help my readers gain a broader perspective, my memoir weaves in the latest relevant research on anorexia as it relates to gender, family relations, society, religion, obsessive compulsive disorder, sex and intimacy, and other topics.
A major revelation of my story is how my illness was mistreated by the medical community. From third grade, when the school nurse noticed my weight was dropping, to my junior year of college, when I was re-fed on hospital food until I barely made it to 87 pounds and sent back home, nobody seemed to recognize the severity of my situation. I hope my book will be an eye-opener for parents, teachers, and health-care practitioners dealing with an eating-disordered child or adolescent, and support for those who need help but don’t know where to find it.
Is Anorexia Nervosa the result of an oppressive upbringing, or is it genetic? Is it social pressure, or the result of a diet-crazed society? Maybe it’s just a lack of self-esteem? What’s intriguing about anorexia is the confusing concoction of all these causes. My story examines each contributing factor in turn.
You’ll discover behavioral traits and circumstances shared by many who suffer from anorexia, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, self-punishment, depression, severe anxiety, perfectionism, isolation, suicidal thoughts, animosity towards my parents and doctors, bizarre eating habits, control issues, and distorted body-image. But in other ways, I was an atypical case. My eating disorder began at unusually early age. In addition, I was strikingly honest. Most eating-disordered patients will lie about their weight, what they did or didn’t eat, and whether they threw it up or not. Many also have a habit of hiding food. But I told it straight. Mom: “Rachel, did you eat lunch today?” Rachel: “No, Mom. I just had an apple.” Unlike most anorexics, I never binged, purged, took laxatives, or exercised to excess. I simply refused to eat. Why did I refuse to eat? Well, the answer spans a 200-page roller coaster ride of love and hate, fight and flight, life and death.
Links to download free book – Always double check the price before you download – sometimes there are price glitches or unexpected price changes.
This book is free from 06/30/2017 until 07/02/2017.
About the Author
After years of struggling with an eating disorder, author Rachel Richards turned her life around and now helps others in pain.
Returning to school after earning her BFA in theater from Hofstra University, she graduated from the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences and started her own private practice in Manhattan as a licensed and board-certified massage therapist. She hosts a popular YouTube channel and has written many articles on health and self-care, which can be found at Rachel-Richards.com.
Is this book no longer free? Let us know in the comments so we can remove it from our site. Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought about it in the comments!