After Julie Greene read Lee Wolfe Blum’s book, Table in the Darkness: A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder, she says it resonated with her. “I wasn’t expecting it to be as moving and honest and real,” she says. The memoir, which details Blum’s journey as she coped with an eating disorder, was published in November. Blum says it is a story of hope.
Originally from Kansas, Blum made her way to Minnesota with a theater degree in hand, bound for the Guthrie Theater. But life gave her a different opportunity, and she began working at the Eating Disorders Unit at Fairview Hospital. She is now a health educator at the Melrose Center for Eating Disorders in St. Louis Park. Around the time she had her third son, Blum made the decision to tell her story, and it’s a powerful one. Blum writes that her self-consciousness began at an early age when she was deemed the family’s “accident child.” It continued through college with fears of gaining the “freshman 15” and culminated in under-eating and over-exercising. “It happened at a time in my life that I was depressed. I found that if I didn’t eat, I didn’t have to feel,” Blum says. She suffered from the disorder in college and later experienced a drug overdose. She entered a six-week treatment program in Kansas and has been living in recovery for 18 years.
Blum’s book went through six revisions and numerous publisher rejections over eight years until a friend at a publishing house read the manuscript and became determined to publish it. Blum says it’s a way to reach others. “Because I work with these patients every day, I see in their eyes how their lives have been taken from them because of an addiction or an eating disorder. You can still live on the other side of it.”
Heather Gallivan, clinical director at Melrose, appreciates how Blum told her story. It gives readers insight into Blum’s thoughts, yet doesn’t include graphic details. Above all, the story emphasizes hope. Greene agrees. “I think [Table in the Darkness] provides true insight into what it looks like to be on the dark side and to come to the light,” she says.
Blum hopes her story shows it’s possible to live in recovery and will help family members better understand what their loved one is going through. “You don’t hear many success stories with eating disorders; it’s unique in that way,” Greene says. “That alone shows a remarkable woman.”
National Eating Disorders Association
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), at some point, 20 million women and 10 million men in the U. S. will suffer from an eating disorder; 40 to 60 percent of girls in elementary school consider themselves fat. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, contact NEDA at nationaleatingdisorders.org or 800.931.2237 or contact the Melrose Center for Eating Disorders at parknicollet.com/eatingdisorders.
Lee Wolfe Blum and her husband Chris are co-authoring True Companion, a book for spouses and loved ones of people with eating disorders. Table in the Darkness is available at Barnes & Noble and on amazon.com. Visit leewolfeblum.com for more information.