Denise Folcik is a person who immediately comes across as confident, happy and lighthearted. She is an outspoken advocate for eating disorder treatment, speaking to many community groups and the Wisconsin State Legislature. Recently, Denise was profiled in “Women of Substance,” a feature of Eating Disorder Hope’s website.
Nearly seven years ago, Denise came to Rogers Memorial Hospital for treatment for anorexia, bulimia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like many of the patients who come to Rogers, she is amazed at the differences in her life before treatment and today. She smiles and says, “I tell people that it says “Rogers” on my birth certificate, because that’s where my life began.”
With the support of her family and her therapist, she was admitted to the Eating Disorder Center at Rogers. There, she began another journey of self-discovery and found the courage to take control of her life in many positive ways. “I give myself a lot of credit. I did a lot of hard work in treatment!” She added, “But I give Rogers a lot of credit, too. I can’t say enough good things about the staff at Rogers.”
Denise is quick to point out that there was no quick fix. She had to be admitted for inpatient treatment four times and frequently resisted making changes. But each time she came closer to understanding that she needed to stop viewing her eating disorder as something that was helping her. “You have to commit to getting better,” she said. “It isn’t until you get to that place that treatment will make a difference.” Denise also notes that she avoids the term “recovery” and, instead, views her continuous journey as “being in discovery.”
Journaling is one of Denise’s coping strategies and she frequently writes about her experiences in treatment. She recently published her book “In ED’s Path” which she hopes will help others with eating disorders. In her book, Denise chronicles the beginnings of her eating disorder, her struggles with OCD and the new challenges she had to face as she began her new life.
“At Rogers I learned a lot about how ED was affecting my life. Today, I can really, truly say ‘I’m happy,” she said. Denise recently remarried and says her husband is very supportive of her and her fight against her disorders. “Sometimes when I find myself drifting toward those old patterns, I’ll ‘tell’ on myself so he knows what’s going on,” she said. “There is no shame in having an eating disorder or asking for help when you need it.”