Who We Are

Shalini Wickramatilake, Founder and Editor29749627_1870552226311972_4805906289751424898_o

My name is Shalini Wickramatilake. I’m 30 years old. I’m Sri Lankan. I’m 6’1″ (and no, I don’t play basketball). I studied public health in college and grad school. I live in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I work in public policy. I’m married to my incredibly supportive hubby, Scott. I’m super close to my family. I have a German Shepherd named Madelina (Maddie) vom Schaumbergerland Wickramatilake Templeman. I love autumn and oreos and bows.

I am also in recovery from an eating disorder (ED) that lasted most of my life. Because I didn’t fit the misguided stereotype of what someone with an ED “looks like,” I didn’t get the specialized, intensive treatment that I needed until 2017.

Too many misconceptions about eating disorders persist, despite the progress that has been made in ED advocacy and the body positivity movement. As part of my recovery journey, I want to help others better understand that:

  • A variety of biopsychosocial factors can lead to the development of an ED.
  • Anyone can be affected by an eating disorder.
  • Eating disorders don’t look any particular way.
  • Recovery doesn’t look any particular way either.
  • Eating disorders are preventable and treatable.
  • And most importantly, that recovery (is scary and hard and exhausting and) really is possible. 

Alissa Bowers, Contributor (and many other things)

Alissa Bowers

Alissa Bowers is many things. She is currently attempting to figure out what she’s doing with her life… off to a slow start but she’s optimistic. She loves all animals, but especially cats, to swim and sing, a good red lip, and Bo Burnham. Her Twitter is @alissafunke and Instagram is @b_e_d_recovery.

 

Caroline Holder, Contributor and…

Caroline HolderMother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Meditator. Achiever. Student. Athlete. Wanderer. Wellness Advocate.

Survivor.

Yes, survivor. Hi, I am Caroline. A mother of two beautiful teenage daughters who I love deeply. I am petite but powerful. Small but strong. I grew up in Costa Rica, attended William and Mary and then moved to California to pursue an MBA at UC Berkeley. I spent several years working in Silicon Valley before moving to Paris soon after my first daughter was born. Currently, I reside in NY. I love to travel, be active, learn, explore. To breathe and be present.

Throughout my recovery, I have learned the importance of self-care. It used to feel so selfish. Now, it is a way to live life to the fullest. To embrace vulnerability, to connect with others on a deeper level, to be open and honest. To be true to myself. Part of this journey is to help others along the way. Challenges are a part of life but they don’t define us. We are all human after all. My goal is to be of service; to increase awareness around eating disorders and the impact they have. To help make the world a more empathetic and compassionate place. I invite you to come on this journey with me.

Kayla O’Brien, Contributor & Creative GuruKayla-EDR Blog

Hey there, I’m Kayla. I’m 24 years old and live in Annapolis, MD. Like Shalini, I am recovering from an eating disorder and in March 2018, I “graduated” from The Renfrew Center in Bethesda, MD. I also live with major depressive disorder, acute anxiety, OCD tendencies, and I am also in recovery for narcotic dependence. A story for another day.  I am what you could call… the creme de la creme. Unlike Shalini, I am not 6’1”; however, I am 5’2”-ish…and a half. I have four lively brothers and sisters, two family dogs, two family cats, and soon-to-be two family goats…yes, you read that correctly. Two goats.

I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and currently hold a B.S. in Elementary Education with minor in Literature. Right now, I am between jobs, and in the midst of a career change, but that is yet another story for another day.

I enjoy painting things, murder mystery podcasts, hashtags, reading all of the books, hiking up tall things, and singing loudly, off-key, in my car, to fight off my debilitating anxiety. You will usually find me with some sort of caffeinated beverage in one hand, and chapstick in the other. I also always lose my keys.

On a more serious, less sarcastic note, I do value living a life of purpose, and, in conjunction, honoring the lessons I have learned pre-treatment and post-treatment. When I left treatment, a very important person (my therapist, C) told me the best gift I could give was showing up, authentically–as I was, using my–~skills~, and practicing what I preach. So, I intend to do just that. My goals, as a writer and someone in recovery, are to do the following:

  • Support. Because Rome wasn’t built in one day OR alone.
  • Empathize. Human connection is a critical part of recovery from anything, and I can empathize with A LOT. Eating disorders, addictions, abusive relationships, loss of identity, etc etc.
  • Educate. We are far from where we came from, but we also have a long way to go.
  • Validate. There is probably nothing I HAVEN’T seen or heard. What you, and what I go through is important and worthy of recognition.
  • Humor. Because sometimes laughing is the very best medicine, especially when you’ve already cried enough to fill your in-ground pool.