By Jemma Wolfe
As a follow-up to last week's post by Sophie Wolfe--a young woman who suffered for six years through an eating disorder--we feature her sister, Jemma Wolfe. Jemma candidly shares the raw and real emotions of what it took to get her sister back.
When I started college as a freshman, living 3,000 miles away from my hometown seemed exciting, new, and maybe even a bit adventurous. Little did I know that the new friendships I formed during those first few months of school would be my pillar and my strength when I found out at Thanksgiving that my 16-year-old sister was, and had been, suffering deeply from depression, anorexia, and bulimia.
My baby sister, my best friend, my confidant, was fighting a fight that I didn’t know how to fight for her, and it left me lost and extremely homesick.
I learned so much from my sister’s strength. From Day 1, she asked for help. She went straight to my parents and sought help from healthcare providers, and ultimately started her long, bumpy road to recovery on her own terms. We all knew it would be a process, a journey, and that relapses would be likely.
While the eating disorder took over my sister’s bubbly personality and caused her to withdraw, I decided to find ways to become closer to my sister, even though she couldn’t be her normal self. So I attended my first yoga class, and vowed to continue my yoga practice until one day, I could join my sister in an activity and practice she loves so dearly. An experience we could share together again.
As she continued to fight her fight, the disease clouded our relationship, but we could still do yoga together. Even if we couldn’t talk about boys, or eating, or partying, the way normal young women might, we could join each other on our mats through our yoga practice.
Fast-forward a long six years full of extreme highs and extreme lows, and today I could not be more proud to see my sister fully recovered, happy, confident, realizing how beautiful she has been all along. This summer she completed her 200-hour teacher training, and she is now my favorite yoga instructor.
Earlier this month, we participated in Dare To Bare along with hundreds of women of all shapes and sizes, cycling in the middle of Union Square NYC wearing our sports bras and celebrating positive body image and self acceptance for young women everywhere. When the music started and I looked over at my gorgeous sister on the bike next to me, I saw the tears in her eyes. Every minute, every day, every month, and every year that the eating disorder took from us and from our friendship, we got them all back that day.
S - I love you and I am so proud of you.