ONE WOMAN’S FINAL YEAR AFTER A LIFELONG STRUGGLE WITH ANOREXIA AND BULIMIA
Michelle Stewart always knew in her heart that her dual eating disorders would kill her. By the time she was forty-eight years old, more than thirty years of self-imposed starvation, binging, and purging had ravaged her organs. In May 2013 she was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and given only a few months to live. Determined to share her story while she still had the chance, Michelle began writing a very personal and revealing blog in which she wrote about her lifelong struggle and chronicled her palliative year. Shell is a collection of pieces of writing from that blog, along with her previously unpublished original poetry.
Published by LifeTree Media, an imprint of Wonderwell
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Available in paperback and ebook
$24.99 CAD / $16.99 USD
An excerpt from Shell
“In the early stages of my eating disorder, I must admit I was not focused on its health consequences. But after dipping my toe in the treatment pool and exposing myself to other patients, it didn’t take long before I was sure it would kill me, a feeling that would become increasingly deeply buried over time.
I also didn’t expect for a moment that I might continue to function—albeit not optimally, of course—for 32 more years before the full consequences would reveal themselves. I never imagined that I might live out a life that was constantly clouded by the image I had in my mind of what I would have been, the risks I would have taken, the mistakes I wouldn’t have made, the professional mountains I would have conquered, and the relationships I would have embraced more fully had I been well. In so many ways it has felt as though when I was 16 the life that I should have led died, while my body somehow soldiered on. I have had a 32-year dress rehearsal for the fate I now face.”
Michelle Stewart dedicated her working life to raising awareness around issues of public concern. After a decade as a news reporter in radio that ended with her hosting an open-line show in Prince George, British Columbia, she built a longtime career in public-sector communications. Michelle served for seven years as director of communications for the British Columbia Ministry of Health before launching her own communications company in 2012. Michelle died at the age of forty-nine in 2014.
Praise for Shell
“Michelle Stewart’s perfectly composed journal is tragic but telling, offering readers deep and astonishing insights into the tortuous mental illness responsible for eating disorders. There are fundamental truths in this book; it should be seen as essential reading for patients, parents and health professionals.”
Pamela Fayerman, Medical/Health Issues reporter, Vancouver Sun
“Shell is a poignant chronicle of eating disorders consuming and distorting the body and the mind. Intimate and rich prose coupled with intense and elegant poetry allows us to accompany its author Michelle Stewart in the final painful stages of life with and death from an eating disorder.”
Cynthia Bulik, PhD, author of Midlife Eating Disorders
“Stewart writes with candour, vulnerability and grace. She faces her demons with little self-pity, offering an intimate glimpse into life and death with an eating disorder.”
Amy Smart, Victoria Times-Colonist
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