Shell, a Memoir. One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia
“She was ambitious, she was funny, and she was a very high functioning person…she had a very, very big job with the Ministry of Health…”
Kirk Mason is describing his partner, Michelle Stewart.
“She was very contientious about her job…really considered it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
And her work ethic was especially remarkable, because Stewart kept a huge secret from her employer, and from all who knew her.
“That’s the thing about eating disorders” explains Mason. “It’s very secretive.
“Michelle kept her secret for 3 decades. I knew, and of course her sister Karen and her family knew, but that’s got to be so difficult…”
Stewart never conquered her eating disorders, and at age fourty-eight, her kidneys shut down.
Learning she had less than a year to live, Stewart decided it was time to be honest, and explain what was killing her.
And so, she began to blog about her lifelong struggle with anorexia and bulimia.
Her words resonated with readers around the world.
“The responses were…they were global” says Mason. “People all over the world, which really blew her away.”
Stewart’s sister Karen states that “shame is such a huge part of this illness, and not just for the person who’s suffering…
“Families feel responsible – we should have done something, we should have seen it…
“There’s a lot of guilt that goes into it, and a lot of shame, and people just believing they’re alone…
“We just believe so strongly that a conversation needs to open up, and people need to know they’re not alone…and that’s the only hope for a cure.
“You can’t, absolutely can’t, do this alone” says Karen, with a voice filled with love for the sister she has lost.
Michelle Stewart’s powerful, honest blogs over her last year of life have now been put into a book, Shell, A Memoir – One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia.
All proceeds from Shell, A Memoir will be donated to NIED, the National Initiative for Eating Disorders.
Watch Veronica Cooper’s story about Michelle Stewart here.