It’s so easy to miss the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. I know, because I had one for over seventeen years, and I was a master at not only hiding it from my family and friends, but deceiving myself into thinking that I didn’t have one.
Thankfully, with the help of God and my support team, I was able to get into a healthy place in my life and learn that it is possible to recover. And just as easy as it is to miss an eating disorder, it’s easy to miss loving yourself in recovery. I am a hard worker, and I love helping others, in fact, it’s one of the things that has helped me to recover. So in this VLOG for the Eating Recovery Roundup, I’ve decided to focus on #DontMiss loving yourself in recovery. Enjoy, and if you have any self love or self care tips you’d like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With love and gratitude,
Child sexual predators often place themselves in areas where they have easy access to children. This is one reason why teachers, babysitters, nannies, mothers, fathers, priests, and summer camp workers make excellent abusers. And while Florida has made great strides to protect children from predators in child-care centers, they are falling behind in one major area: summer camp. (1)
Recently, the Palm Beach Post probed and discovered that camps in Florida have no restrictions, therefore there are no boundaries placed on how the camps operate. (1) Abuse can happen and does happen, and nobody is there to prevent or stop it.
Read the full blog at PsychCentral.
Author Nikki DuBose of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light was recently interviewed on addiction and recovery. Here she offers a recap on everything from when her addiction began to how to help a loved one who may be suffering.
1. Can you pinpoint when your problems with addiction began?
I was wired for addiction – my mother had bipolar and dissociative identity disorder and her mother (she was adopted) died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism.
Read the full article on Addiction Hope.
“Author, speaker, and mental health advocate, Nikki DuBose, epitomizes the word brave. She courageously talks about tough topics that others shy away from. I know, because I am one. For a long time, I wasn’t prepared to talk about my own trauma. (I didn’t even realize I had experienced trauma.) But, with the support of people like Nikki, I have opened up. Thanks, Nikki, for encouraging many of us to share our stories. With this post, I am thrilled to have had the chance to interview Nikki about the release of her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.”
Read the full interview on Jenni Schaefer.
Many years ago I opened up to one of my modeling agents in Miami about my chronic struggle with bulimia. At that point, I had been battling the illness for over fourteen years and I was terrified to lose another contract because of it.
After an unsuccessful stint at rehab, my former agent in New York realized that I just couldn’t make the cut with castings and jobs due to my eating disorder and other mental health issues, and sent me back to South Florida without a ticket back. Ultimately, my disorders prevented me from being able to focus at work, maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.
REDMOND, Ore., Jan. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Eating Disorder Hope is honored to announce the Winter 2017 recipients of its respected Seal of Excellence. These recipients embody Eating Disorder Hope’s message of hope and healing while contributing to the eating disorder community in unique and invaluable ways.
Through the Seal of Excellence initiative, Eating Disorder Hope proudly honors deserving parties from three categories each quarter, including Non-Profit Organizations, Eating Disorder Professionals, and Community Members. This interactive initiative relies on community participation through an anonymous online nomination process.
Read more on Yahoo Finance.
“We have to keep the pressure on,” said former model Nikki DuBose, who was sexually abused as a child. “I think we really have to strategize so we can keep creating a lot of momentum to see that the bill gets passed. Fortunately we have the governor’s support. I think what he is doing is very brave and courageous.”
Read more on: New York Daily News.
We have a huge problem in this country when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse, and that’s denial. As an Executive Board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, a child sexual abuse nonprofit, one of the most common issues I come across when a survivor discloses their abuse is denial – from family members, teachers, friends – the list goes on. Myself, a survivor of incest from my late mother from the ages of 9 to 13, and a male figure at the age of 8, I know what it’s like to finally come to terms with the abuse and entrust others with the information, only to have them deny that it ever could have happened. The psychological effects were beyond damaging; I questioned my own sanity, the trauma, and attempted suicide. After all, if no one believed that such heinous acts had occurred, what reasons did I have to go on living? Child sexual abuse left me scarred with depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation and many other mental illnesses, and without proper support, it was only a matter of time before I permanently checked out.
Read more on PsychCentral.
Among the victims who attended the rally held outside the Senate chambers shortly before the start of the new legislative session was former model Nikki DuBose, who was sexually abused as a kid.
“New York needs this bill for one reason —to protect children from predators.The predators are the ones currently being protected by the law, not the children,” she said.
Read more at the New York Daily News.
ALBANY — Former model and sexual abuse victim Nikki DuBose is coming to the state Capitol Wednesday with a message for state lawmakers — children need to be protected.
DuBose is the featured speaker at a rally being planned by advocates for legislation that would change New York’s statute of limitations and make it easier for child sex abuse victims to obtain justice in state courts.
“We are talking about kids,” DuBose, 31, told The Daily News.
“Why is it OK for an innocent child to be sexually abused and to have his rights, his soul, his identity, his emotions his life taken away from that very moment and for him to not receive justice?” DuBose continued. “Why is that OK?”
Read more on New York Daily News.
The New York Times Holiday Edition features self-publishing author Nikki DuBose.
Read more on Self Publishing News.
During the month of December, enter to win a FREE copy of my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, with Eating Disorder Hope. Enter to win now!
Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, psychosis, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.
Washed Away serves as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations and that through recovery all things are possible.
The Shaw Mind Foundation, a global non profit based in the UK, announced today that Nikki DuBose is one of their Celebrity Ambassadors. Nikki and The Shaw Mind Foundation are honored to not only work together to reduce the shame and stigma around mental illness, but to help raise awareness of charity and funds for those suffering.
Read more at The Shaw Mind Foundation.
I received the sweetest message from a girl I know in NYC. Amongst the hateful messages, she reached out in love, like so many of you. Thank you, everyone, for all of your support, I have so much to be grateful for this holiday season. Read on:
“Hey Nikki! I’m reaching out because I’m nearly finished with your memoir — I was going to wait to write to you until I finished it (I have less than 100 pages left), but then I saw your FB post this morning and felt the need to reach out now.
I almost don’t know what to say (without sounding trite) about my experience of reading your book. All I can say is that I’m blown away….I’ll probably finish it today, which means that I will have read it in about four days—and seeing as it usually takes me weeks or months to get through a book, that’s saying a lot! All of us here in the ED community know, on some level, that each one of us has gone through difficult things. We wouldn’t have eating disorders if that weren’t true (and an ED is itself difficult enough to go through). But I had no idea just how much pain you’ve walked through in your life. It breaks my heart to think of the depth of suffering you experienced as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult….it’s excruciatingly painful to experience sexual trauma OR mental illness OR an abusive modeling industry OR a parent’s addiction and death OR domestic violence and abuse OR divorce — to say nothing of experiencing *all* of those things. And what you said in your FB post is completely true—trauma changes your psyche and the way you behave. It’s cumulative, and also pervasive—it affects your entire worldview, how you think, what you do. (And btw, about your FB post, whoever said those things—f*ck them. Those sound like the comments of someone who has literally zero clue about any of these issues. I’m glad you have the strength and knowledge now to recognize the lies in what they say, but I still wish you didn’t have to be the recipient of such ignorance and callousness. Please know, at least, that the people who support and love you don’t think or believe those things for a second.)
I keep thinking back to our beautiful breakfast with Don last summer. I remember then being impressed and inspired by your quiet strength, your calm, your assurance that recovery is 100% possible. If only I knew then who I was sitting next to. You are the real deal, Nikki. You’ve traveled through the darkest circles of hell and come back to share your story of light. You are hope personified. I am grateful to be one of many beneficiaries of your wisdom.
Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, and with the world. I can only imagine how many people out there have a lighter burden now just by knowing that they aren’t alone in their personal hell. I hope it was healing for you to write it.
Most of all, thank you for being a light in the dark.”
“Dear Secretary Perez,
More than 27 million women shared their experiences of sexual assault, tweeting in the wake of Donald Trump’s ‘locker room talk.’ The #NotOkay movement, initiated by social media maven Kelly Oxford, has crystallized around women’s stories of sexual violence.”
Read more on Medium.
“Nikki DuBose, a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate, announced today the release of her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. In the book trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fop6kvFZI8), she mentions the sexual abuse she encountered, including having been raped by a photographer, and the pressure she felt to lose weight.”
Read more on Yahoo! Finance.
Our second annual Project HEAL SoCal Gala was a tremendous success. Thanks
to Reasons Eating Disorder Center, Lisa Kantor, JD, Gabriel Hammond at Broad Green Pictures, and everyone who donated and attended, we raised over $34,000.00, a giant leap from last year’s $19,000.00! That money goes towards helping people who need funds for eating disorder treatment, and we can’t do it without people like you; people who have caring hearts and who understand that life is about so much more than the superficial. Right now, there are people dying from eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, more than schizophrenia or substance abuse.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you who not only donated and attended, but who I have had the honor of serving this past year. As the Volunteer Director and Executive Board Member, it has been my sincere pleasure of seeing this chapter grow, and I have learned so much from every volunteer who has walked into our meetings.
It is with a heavy heart that I step down from the chapter now, but I will take with me everything that I have learned as I move on. I will still serve on the board of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, and will educate others how child sexual abuse and eating disorders are linked. And as always, I will be a great supporter of Project HEAL and their wonderful mission.
Remember this: No matter where you are, or who you are, recovery is possible. I believe in you.
Former Volunteer Director & Executive Board Member
Project HEAL SoCal Chapter
Hang Tight! The Book Launch of the Year is coming soon! Date: TBA
We can’t wait to have you as we celebrate the launch of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light (by Nikki DuBose), and the paperback release of Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life (by Shannon Kopp).
What: Appetizers, Refreshments, Book Launch!
Where: Montecatini Outpatient Office – 6183 Paseo Del Norte, Suite 110 – Carlsbad, CA 92011
Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.
Her journey began as a young, introverted child with a florid imagination growing up in Charleston, South Carolina. By the age of eight she had been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and had developed an eating disorder. The abuse warped Nikki’s self-perception and sparked patterns of depression and destructive behavior that stayed with her into adulthood. In her early twenties she began working as a television host and started a career in modeling. Eventually Nikki attained success, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Maxim, shooting for editorials like Vanity Fair, Glamour, and FHM, and appearing in campaigns for Perry Ellis.
Cast into a world of excess, superficiality, and vanity, Nikki traveled the globe and experienced the finest that the material world had to offer, all while feeling empty inside. Her disorders, addictions and mental health issues took her to the brink of mortality and only though a deeply painful inner-battle and her mother’s death was she able to reconnect the lost pieces of her soul and see the person she had so long rejected.
Her recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left Nikki with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering by advocating for mental health and self-acceptance. In America, more than sixty-one million individuals are affected by mental illness. Child sexual abuse affects more than forty-five million people in the United States alone, yet it is still regarded as one of the most shameful issues to date. Eating disorders affect millions and are one of the most destructive and life-threatening mental afflictions today – anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological illness. Despite the extent of the suffering, eating disorders and mental health issues are poorly understood in popular culture and are often stigmatized, mocked, or even glorified because of misconceptions and ignorance over the seriousness of the manner. Although the modeling industry has made strides towards body diversity in the past couple of years, there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues. We believe that through the recent societal trends and improved sharing of information, we are beginning to break this paradigm, therefore another aim of this book will be to educate the public. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light will serve as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations, and that through recovery all things are possible. (nikkidubose.com)
Pound for Pound is an inspirational tale about one woman’s journey back to herself, and a heartfelt homage to the four-legged heroes who unexpectedly saved her life.
For seven years, Shannon Kopp battled the silent, horrific, and all-too-common disease of bulimia. Then, at twenty-four, she got a job working at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, where in caring for shelter dogs, she found the inspiration to heal and the courage to forgive herself. With the help of some extraordinary, homeless animals, Shannon realized that her suffering was the birthplace of something beautiful. Compassion.
Shannon’s poignant memoir is a story of hope, resilience, and the spiritual healing animals bring to our lives. Pound for Pound vividly reminds us that animals are more than just friends and companions-they can teach us how to savor the present moment and reclaim our joy. Rich with emotion and inspiration, Pound for Pound is essential reading for animal lovers and anyone who has struggled to change. (www.shannonkopp.com)
If money is one hell of a drug, then denial is one of the biggest drug dealers in the world. And no group understands that truth better than survivors of child sexual abuse. While survivors, advocates and some lawmakers have fought hard to bring justice, there’s been little progress made; if anything, we’ve been forced to take giant steps backwards. And by forced, I’m referring to the tremendous power of, more than anything, denial.
Read my latest blog post on The Huffington Post.
Models. Rape. Eating disorders. Sexual abuse. Mental health.
While all of the above are quick to grab attention, they are also quick to receive criticism because most people do not understand them. In my episode of Real Women Real Stories, and my upcoming memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I talk about all of the above, because I was a successful model who experienced all of the dark issues you can imagine.
Read more on The Huffington Post.
“The world of showbiz attracts almost everyone. Come to think of it, what’s not to like? It has glamour, luxury and the best of all money! But do you ever wonder what lies behind this stunning scenario? Don’t we read a lot of cases of models, actors and fashion designers not being able to cope with failures and committing suicide or declaring bankruptcy? Many resort to dependency on drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressure. The picture doesn’t seem as rosy now, does it?
I became acquainted with one such case when I read about Nikki DuBose. A former model-turned-mental-health-activist, DuBose reached out to India times with her life story – one that can make even the toughest person shudder.”
Read more on India Times.
Denial and Profit
A part of me can’t believe that I am writing about clothing retailers and that fact that they are still selling “super skinny” and “toothpick” jeans – how long must we go around and around this issue and still see no change? Yet another part of me is not surprised at all; after all, the majority of people are not properly educated about mental health issues, especially eating disorders, and the goal of businesses, especially clothing retailers – is simply, profit.
This was a recent conversation I had with Christopher Willson, the Clinical Director from Dine Monte Nido, a unique outpatient program designed to help those suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Chris was furious one day when he went to buy jeans for his eight-year-old daughter and found that many of them read “super skinny!” Oh dear. Now, most businesses grasp that in order to keep their profits high they must act as good corporate citizens. Therefore, clothing retailers should listen to the cries of consumers, such as Chris, and incorporate changes that will in turn, make their customers happy. Let’s look at the bigger picture – for example, all the parents who buy jeans from clothing brands that advertise them as “super skinny”- you can expect that there are going to be some downright angry moms and dads writing letters, calling and blasting their opinions all over social media. After all, these labels place unrealistic expectations on already impressionable minds. Let’s review some statistics:
“42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.
81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.”
You would think that clothing companies would do their research on mental health and listen to the consumers who are unhappy about how these labels are affecting their kids and teens. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder; certainly the higher ups and employees within the clothing companies must know someone who is or has been affected.
Or perhaps, they turn a blind eye, like this country has done for so long. Why? There are many reasons, but I would say that in the case of retailers a lack of education and focus on profit are the biggest culprits. To actually think about the well-being of others means to stop thinking about themselves, and to do that would (gasp!) would mean to potentially lose money, at least for the short-term.
I am relentless in advocating for change because eating disorders are an issue that affect over 30,000,000 people in America alone, and those are just the reported amounts. And, as a former fashion model who was always trying to fit into the fashion industry’s unrealistic sizes and portray an unhealthy image for impressionable minds, I am adamant about helping to restructure the business and stop the selling of products that are damaging to consumers. At the very least, we can start with mental health education – everyone needs it, especially the advertising and fashion industries.
Even if someone has not suffered from an eating disorder, almost everyone has been affected by low self-esteem and poor body image, however children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable; they don’t need added pressure from retailers telling them that they need to look a certain way in order to be accepted and valued.
Finding the Solution
Lately I have been working with California Assemblymember Marc Levine, the National Eating Disorders Association, Sara Ziff from the Model Alliance and Dr. Bryn Austin, the director of Harvard STRIPED, on AB 2539, which will create healthier standards and promote the labor rights of models in the fashion industry. One thing that has stuck out to me in reading Dr. Austin’s research is how crucial prevention is. As she puts it, there is not a whole lot of literature and research dedicated to preventing eating disorders. Tying into Dr. Austin’s research lies my main interest: mental health education in the workplace, particularly the modeling industry. When we educate, we can help to prevent. I think that back during Karen Carpenter’s unfortunate and highly publicized case, eating disorders became known and glamorized because of the media – it’s what they do, they sensationalize – but they have yet to educate the public properly about eating disorders and mental health in general.
The National Eating Disorders Association has been introducing literature on eating disorders into various workplaces. Education is power because when we educate we have the knowledge to understand the what, why, when, how and who. If clothing retailers are uneducated when it comes to eating disorders and the impact their marketing schemes are having on young people, and if they are only thinking about profit, then they will continue to contribute to the mental decline and fatalities of our youth. Focusing on prevention and education in the workplace are crucial steps towards changing the way retailers and advertisers approach consumers – especially our youth.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Drop me a line – email@example.com
“I for one believe that women are equal to men. At home in Israel, that makes me a rare breed. My friends consider women an object of pleasure.
Many guys think they can’t marry a really educated woman because it will be like having two men in the house. It’s a fear for them. They just want someone they can control. I find it very disturbing and even primitive, and I wanted to tackle this by elevating women’s voices. I was thinking how could I put a spotlight on a rare, untold glimpse into real hardships women are facing.”
Read more, and watch the trailer on The Huffington Post.
Support my team, the LA Artist Initiative, for the 2016 NEDA walk, and help save lives for those struggling with deadly eating disorders!
Now through the first week of April purchase any Conscious Apparel Piece from Lucid Designs, and they will donate 40% to our team, the LA Artist Initiative, which all goes towards the National Eating Disorders Association. To find out more about the LA Artist Initiative, please visit our team page on the walk site!
Prices are as follows:
40% of proceeds for Conscious Apparel goes to the LA Artist Initiative
Hoodies – 85.00
Sweat tops – 70.00
Jogging Pants – 70.00
Tshirts – 60.00
Long Sleeve T- 65.00
Denim long sleeve – 60.00
Apron – 50.00
Baseball caps – 45.00
Tank tops – 50.00
Baseball caps and tanks will be available in March!
“Disordered behaviors and addictions might start out as seemingly insignificant attempts to reach out for comfort, but they eventually can take over our lives. When I was eight years old I began to binge eat as a way to cope with being physically, sexually and emotionally abused — that led to a more than seventeen-year battle with all sorts of addictions.
I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings and I also didn’t know who I was – I grabbed onto to destructive behaviors during the most influential period of my development.”
Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.
“Fashion models who want to work in California would need a doctor to attest that they are of healthy weight and not suffering from an eating disorder under a proposal announced by a state lawmaker on Monday.
The bill proposed by California state Assembly member Marc Levine follows efforts in several countries to fight anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders among models, who are relentlessly pressured to lose weight or lose work.”
Read more on Business Insider.
It’s not all the times
when I hear children laughing,
watch families embracing
across a wintry park
or see lovers holding hands
in a busy cafe
that makes me miss you most.
It’s not all the times
when I hear a sad song,
that makes me miss you most.
It’s every time
that I want to
reach out and tell you
how much I love you
or simply that
you’re my angel
that’s when I miss you most.
©2015 Nikki DuBose
In honor of our late mother, Sandy Cargile.
We love and miss you mom.
Nikki and Anthony.
“Charleston native Nikki Dubose, 30, grew up immersed in chaos. She had an alcoholic mother with dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder. She was physically abused at age 4 and sexually abused at age 8, which is the same year she started binge eating. Overeating turned into purging by age 10, which eventually morphed into anorexia nervosa.”
Read more on South Magazine.
Hi everyone! So I’ve decided to convert the Speak2Heal episodes to a podcast format. I just feel that it’s easier and more effective that way! I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I do.
In this Episode I talk to health coach Birdie McNeal about her recovery from anorexia nervosa and how she uses self-love to help others eat intuitively and love themselves mind, body and spirit. You can find out more about Birdie on her website, on Facebook & her Facebook Coaching Page, and on Twitter @TheEatingCoach.
On another note, look for my new book, Washed Away, coming out next year! I recently wrote a blog about it on the National Eating Disorders Association.
“I grew up in charming Charleston, South Carolina in the eighties and nineties. Its beautiful cobblestone streets were lined with gorgeous gardens and mansions that dated back well before the Civil War. At first glance, one would have not suspected that anything bad could have happened behind the wrought-iron gates and pastel-colored walls of the grand estates. But like all homes, each one holds a story, and ours was no different.
After the divorce, Momma and I moved into a modest, one-story home on a quiet street shaded by Spanish Moss trees. It was no mansion, but it was our dream, an escape into another world. I was only two, and Momma was nineteen, and more than she desired love, she wanted security. She soon found it in the arms of an older man who promised to love and protect us. Our home quickly expanded, and the idea of a ‘family’ was no longer a fantasy, it was real.”
Read more on Peaceful Hearts Foundation.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, please visit Peaceful Hearts Foundation.