There are many, many instances in which Kelly has made a truly meaningful difference in my current treatment here. Day in and day out, she makes herself available, despite her scheduled duties, to listen to concerns, difficulties, emotional meltdowns, etc. and to encourage me to work through and guide me through whatever struggles I may be experiencing. She is the first to acknowledge and praise the work I am doing while here. She is empathic and compassionate, and her knowledge regarding the nature of eating disorders and the best approach in working with those struggling with eating disorders is top-notch, commendable, and so rare in today's medical community. I, for one, am overwhelmed with gratitude for her choice to work with those suffering on this unit.
In April I had just finished a group (edo track) that brought up a lot of extremely negative and self-defeating emotions that quickly escalated and could have potentially ended very badly. By nature, I try to hold in my emotions, as to do otherwise makes me feel too vulnerable and overwhelmed. Although Kelly was not the facilitator for the group that had raised these feelings, she was present on the unit at the time. I am unclear as to whether she saw me in the hallway or if another patient or staff member alerted her as to how I was feeling, but she found me in my room (along with another staff member) and took the time to sit with me (on the floor at that) and talk me through what I was feeling/experiencing.
Kelly took the time to listen to me, to genuinely listen and guide me through the feelings while also helping me to regulate my breathing to prevent what I was experiencing from becoming a full-blown panic attack. Her concern and compassion that afternoon (and so many since then) are qualities that I hope will be recognized and applauded. It was evident that afternoon, and indeed every day that she is on the unit, that she genuinely cares about the patients here at UIHC. She puts thought and effort into the groups she runs and truly strives to make a difference in the lives of those she touches on this unit.
I truly felt blessed to have had her by my side that challenging afternoon and I know that without her assistance, my recovery would have suffered a considerable, if not insurmountable, setback. The patients on this unit and the hospital are fortunate to have her here, and I am thankful beyond words for the work she does and the grace and compassion with which she does it.