DaVita® Stories

DaVita Teammate Finds Strength During a Personal Battle

I have struggled with eating disorders since 2015, right when I was about to start graduate school for social work. I have always been a heavier person, and one day I just decided I was sick of it, so I stopped eating for as many hours a day as I could. The compliments came rolling in, and I felt invincible. But then, the inevitable happened, and my body rebounded.

I started binge eating every day in secret to make up for what calories I had so desperately been missing, racking up credit card debt, hiding food wrappers, avoiding my friends and classes. The kind words about my body stopped, and I was humiliated. I lived in this pattern of starvation, binge, starvation, binge for almost a year. Finally, I decided enough was enough.

I shared my shame with my family, and I entered residential eating disorder treatment. I came out with a new, healthy perspective on weight and food, even though that nagging voice about my body remained loudly in the back of my mind. I graduated with my MSW, got my first real social work job with DaVita, which I loved, and got married, all within a year. I was deliriously happy. But then, after things quieted down, I was left with a lot of quiet free time at home.

And that time began to be filled with eating disorder thoughts, getting louder and louder. This time, I had everything to lose–a family, a job, and an old and cranky dog. I could feel myself becoming less invested in what was important to me and more obsessed with meals and clothing sizes. I decided again to enter residential eating disorder treatment.

Without my insurance, I would never have been able to afford the roughly $1,000/day residential treatment costs. And without DaVita’s short-term disability benefit, I never would have even thought about going–I can’t afford to quit my job for my health, and I am so thankful that I never had to make a choice between the two.

My job was waiting for me when I got back, and I was in a better head space than ever. Today, I have been back to work for about four months, and I am performing better than I could have known. My patients are getting my full attention, not my eating disorder. I am focusing on the ways that I can best help them, not on my size or what I ate the day before.

Of course, that sick voice is always in the back of my mind. I think it will be a long time until it is quieted completely. But this time, I am actively participating in my recovery, and I am focused on succeeding, despite the ups and downs. I am focused on health and wellness, not a number on a scale or an arbitrary dress size. I am always telling my patients that they need to put themselves first and that their health is the priority.

Before, that always felt stale—but today, I am living that example myself, and I couldn’t be happier on the road to recovery that I walk today.

Kelsey Stancliffe

Kelsey Stancliffe

Kelsey is a DaVita social worker in Kenner, LA.