Medicaid approved a single case agreement for residential treatment for at least 2 weeks and I will be admitted on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to receive the help I need to recover from anorexia nervosa, depression, anxiety and PTSD. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you so very much for your support.
I am so very grateful for the generous donations, kind words, and thoughtful actions I have received since I asked for help and entered treatment for anorexia nervosa, depression, anxiety and PTSD. The support from people who truly care has sustained me and offered me hope when I felt hopeless and worthless.
It is difficult to admit that I am still struggling mentally, emotionally and physically - especially with anorexia nervosa. I am so sorry for the pain this insidious illness continues to cause my friends and family - especially my identical twin, Leah.
Leah offered me a couch to crash on in her basement when I lost my apartment, my job and my health insurance. Thank you, Leah, for your support when I needed it the most.
Posted by Leah on 6/21/21:
“I wrote this poem in 1985 after having struggled with anorexia nervosa beginning at 11 years old. My twin is still actively battling this deadly disease. I love you, Malinda Ann Hill. ❤️”
Reality by Leah Ann Hill
"Why do you do this? Do this to our family? to yourself? Why don't you just eat? Just one bite. Please. Please, just one bite. I love you honey. Just eat. Please!"
There's no response,
The body stiffens
No feelings show through the gaunt,
Having none means superiority.
But that's a lie,
You're scared, alone,
This urge, this obsession has taken over your life; has cut all ties from friends, family; has destroyed your life.
You are hungry, but not just for food,
You cry for attention, yearn for their approval,
They can't see it though, why can't they tell?
"If you eat this I'll get you anything, anything you want."
But you don't want anything (anything but your freedom, their love),
You've worked too hard for this,
You can't give it up, you won't.
They can't see it though, why can't they tell?
Why can't you?
Published in the National Anorexic Aid Society, Inc. Newsletter (April - June 1985)
Today is our 51st birthday and I am grateful I had the opportunity to attend Eating Disorders Coalition (@EDCoalition) Virtual Advocacy Day (#EDCHillDay) on Tuesday, May 17. I joined advocates from across the country who shared our experiences with eating disorders and asked Congress to support important legislation. Here is my story that I shared on Capitol Hill yesterday. For more information on how you can help, visit: http://eatingdisorderscoalition.org.
My name is Malinda Ann Hill and I recently moved to Charlottesville, VA after living in Philadelphia for over 20 years.
My identical twin was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when we were only 11 years old. Tomorrow, we turn 51. Forty years ago, eating disorders in children were extremely rare and education of health care providers was nonexistent. Our pediatrician ordered every test imaginable because he had no training on eating disorders and did not recognize that my twin’s drastic weight loss was intentional. Fortunately, my twin recovered.
Unfortunately, my battle with anorexia nervosa began when we were 15 and my struggle continues today. Over the past 35 years, there were times when I was severely ill and unable to function. There were also times when I was able to manage my symptoms, allowing me to earn my masters’ degree in marital and family therapy with a specialization in art therapy, pursue a meaningful career as bereavement coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, raise my daughter on my own, and run marathons with my twin to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
Since I was unable to access the treatment I needed in my late teens and early twenties, I suffered the devastating mental and physical consequences as a result of surviving decades with an eating disorder. Shortly after the pandemic began in 2020, my eating disorder spiraled out of control. My mental and physical health rapidly declined to the point that I was unable to work and care for my daughter. I knew that I desperately needed help and I had to seek treatment as soon as possible. I feared the pandemic would trigger a mental health crisis and I was correct.
After taking 3 months of medical leave of absence from work to participate in a virtual partial hospitalization program, I had to return to work too soon because I could not afford to continue treatment even with health insurance. I did my best to manage my debilitating symptoms on my own but after several months my mental and physical health rapidly deteriorated again so I was forced to take another medical leave of absence from work. Several months after returning to treatment, I was notified that the hospital could no longer hold my position while I was on medical leave so I lost my job of nearly 20 years. Subsequently, I lost my health insurance and access to the in-person partial hospitalization program I was attending because it wouldn’t accept Medicaid.
Over the past 6 months, it has been impossible to access the level of eating disorder treatment I need through Medicaid. I have been able to seek help through multiple medical providers because I have been suffering severe physical consequences as a result of my eating disorder. I am grateful to have a team of medical providers who are compassionate, knowledgeable and aware of the complex mental and physical consequences of eating disorders.
Last year, I shared my story for the first time during EDC Virtual Advocacy Day. Although it was difficult for me to admit how much I was struggling, I felt empowered and hopeful after joining other advocates. With all the obstacles I have encountered over the past year, there have been far too many days when I have lost all hope and fear that I will be one of too many who will continue to suffer or die as a result of an eating disorder. Even on my darkest days, I want to do all I can to help others who are at risk or suffering like me. I am grateful for every opportunity to share my story to raise awareness and support.
I believe legislation to support education, research, prevention and early intervention is crucial so children, teens and adults will not have to suffer for decades like I have or die as a result of their eating disorders like far too many have. Please co-sponsor and support the Anna Westin Legacy Act and the Kids Online Safety Act so all children and adults suffering or those at-risk for eating disorders have access to the care and understanding they deserve.
I'm very proud of my volunteer work promoting the C-VILLE-athon from 2015-2020. I created logos for the finisher shirts as well as managed all registrations, checklists, website, digital marketing, and social media. Learn more about my nonprofit work at twinsrun.com and agoodgroup.com. THANK YOU!
My favorite race in the C-VILLE-athon is the Montalto Challenge. It's the only race that I've completed every year since it started! My second favorite event is the All-Comers Summer Track Meets. Not only is it the oldest running event in Charlottesville (started in 1975), it's also the cheapest! You can run two events that count in the C-VILLE-athon (The Mile and the 5K or 2 Miler) for just $2 (only $1 if you're a CTC member).
Supporting local non-profit organizations in the community is one of the main reasons I love racing. When Mark Lorenzoni approached me with the idea for the C-VILLE-athon I was excited to help promote the challenge because I knew it would help encourage runners to register for races they might never have participated in before.
I've always been obsessed with racing because it's the fun way to get in some speed work! Having a checklist to monitor my progress throughout the year has been fun and motivating. I might not be setting any PRs anymore, but I like to challenge myself to get out there and compete. In 2015, I ran 98 miles in C-VILLE-athon races, in 2016 I completed 82 miles. In 2017 I was injured and couldn't run or race for 2 months, but I still managed to log 62 miles. Phew! :) I ran 21 different events in 2018, but I still have a few races I've never entered that I need to add to my checklist in 2019. My goal is to run every race in the C-VILLE-athon at least once! I wish my identical twin sister could make it from Philly to Cville to complete the C-VILLE-athon too, but I always bring my "flat twin" with me to the races!
I felt like there was a lot of symbolism in my experience running The Haven 8K Run for Home on Saturday, March 19. I experienced compliments and rejection, recognition and invisibility, joy and sorrow, hope and despair. Pretty intense stuff for a fun run and my first “race” of 2022.
I was fortunate to receive a ride to the race with my friend and frequent trivia teammate, Hernan. He was a few minutes early (which I love), but it put me in a panicked scramble to get myself out the door so I forgot my race bib. #RookieMistake
I realized I didn’t have my bib as soon as I got out of his car. I didn’t want to be "that person" who has to admit they messed up and then beg for a new number at the registration table, but there I was in that exact situation.
I expected this race was going to be challenging because my running pace has slowed significantly and I anticipated seeing people in the running community for the first time in 6 months. Having to start the day by asking for a new bib was not exactly what I had planned in terms of just "laying low."
Luckily, Audrey Lorenzoni Sackson was at the registration table and was more than willing to help me with a new bib. When I saw her husband, Stewart, I asked them how married life was going. I remembered the best recommendation I ever got from a couples therapist was to read How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. I recently gave that book as a wedding present to a close friend because I found it to be so useful and insightful. I ran a couple miles before the race and smiled every time I saw a Ten Miler or other race shirt that I designed. It's the little things that lift my spirits and I felt pure joy when I saw the designs I created being worn by my fellow runners. I greatly appreciate this continued connection with our local running community.
I started the race off slowly and tried not to pressure myself or worry about my performance. Lately, I’ve been running 12-14 minute miles so my only goal was to run faster than that. It felt good to see familiar faces along the course, to hear personal shout outs (“Go Leah!”) and to receive compliments on my sparkly running skirt (a version of the asexual flag in honor of my daughter). My playlist (RUN FOR HOME PLAYLIST) kept me going and I even passed 5 or so people in the second half of the race which is always great for a boost of confidence. As I approached the finish line, I saw my twin cheering and it made me smile.
I was lucky to see my friend, Marti, after the race and I got a great photo of her standing beside my twin, the T-Rex. I’ve always appreciated Marti's warmth, compassion, and willingness to lend a hand, especially with the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon. I thanked her for all she’s done and for being the light when I’ve seen a lot of darkness. I gave her a huge hug and went to get a mocha with extra chocolate and whipped cream at Mudhouse.
After the race, I checked the results and saw that I wasn’t listed. At first, I thought it was a blessing in disguise because my time was so much slower than my performance two years ago, the last time the race was in-person. However, I did use the online form to report the issue because I am not ashamed of my time. I’m actually proud of myself for still getting out there when I know I’m not in my best shape and nowhere near my PRs from 2012. Although I’m no longer competitive, I’m still showing up because running has been and continues to be such an important part of my life. I can find happiness and connection in being a part of the communal race experience even when I know I won’t take home an award. I always want to appreciate the joy of running and to support important causes in my community.
The Ten Miler is next week. It’ll most certainly be my slowest time ever on the course and I’m looking forward to enjoying every minute I have on the streets of Charlottesville with other runners and community members.
Over the years, we’ve continued to run together (Boston Marathon, runDisney, Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, Charlottesville Women's Four Miler) and solo (Twins Run 50K, Philadelphia Marathon, Blue Cross Broad Street Run, Charlottesville Track Club, Charlottesville Speedsters, Charlottesville Ten Miler, Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon, The San Francisco Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon) to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research.
As of today, we’ve raised over $7,000 in memory of Michael and our Irish grandmother, Aileen, affectionately known as GG.
We’re extremely grateful for your ongoing support and generous donations over the years.
Over the past two years, it has been difficult for me to share my experience when I feel unwell and hopeless. I continue to share my experience to raise awareness and encourage compassion for those suffering with mental illness.
On March 23, 2020, I entered treatment for an eating disorder, depression, anxiety and PTSD exacerbated by the pandemic and the stalking I experienced for over 11 years.
On June 30, 2020, I left treatment too soon because I couldn’t afford to continue.
On March 15, 2021, I re-entered treatment for an eating disorder, depression, anxiety and PTSD exacerbated by another stalking incident.
On October 1, 2021, I lost my job of nearly 20 years because the organization could no longer hold my position while I was on medical leave.
On March 15, 2022, I remain heartbroken that I can't return to the position that was meaningful to me.
While this has been a challenging year of treatment and transitions, I am grateful for the support I've received and continue to receive from family, friends, and people who care.
Thank you to Ani DiFranco for "Revolutionary Love" - a song I listen to whenever I need inspiration to continue on my road of recovery.
Our 50th year doesn’t end until May 18 and we’d love even more photos to share in our #TwinsRun50 montage. Take a selfie or, if you're camera shy, set up a photo in a place that's special to you or with your pet!
A lot has changed in the past year and you can read about most of it on my blog.
* Ann (aka Malinda/Mindy) has been living with me for the past 6 months as she struggles with her eating disorder.
* I’ve interviewed with 50 companies since I’ve turned 50 and am still trying to figure out what I want to be in my second act.
* My volunteer work with the Charlottesville Track Club ends with the Ten Miler on March 26.
Two years ago I had my last normal day before COVID-19 changed everything. It hasn’t been easy for anyone. Please know that you have been in my thoughts and I’d love to hear from you about how you’re doing. If there’s anything I can do to support you, please ask.