My Story: The Quick-n-Dirty Version
My first love was anorexia, which quickly morphed into compulsive/binge eating, and segued into compulsive exercising, all of which were accompanied by shame and disgust and self-loathing. They hi-jacked my adolescence, all of my 20s, and overstayed their welcome into my early 30s. They consumed me and changed my personality. Gone was my playful, curious, resilient self. In her place was a secretive, rigid, self-absorbed tyrant. I hated her, yet thought I needed her to be special.
The real work began after being hospitalized for anorexia and gaining enough weight so that my brain was nourished enough to string together thoughts and speech for therapy. While looking at me no longer caused others anxiety, I was left with an ocean of it, for this is when the obsessive thoughts grew deafening and the compulsive eating began (as I learned later, the two are intimately related). No one seemed willing to help me with the jumbled cacophony of thoughts or the chaotic eating, but maybe they were simply unable. In fact, my family didn’t think these were issues compared to the threat of losing me to starvation.
But the distorted thoughts were the issue and bled into every area of my life, not simply my body image or my frenzied eating. I grew up being recognized for being “smart,” so I trusted my thoughts implicitly. My analytical and discriminating mind was always a haven of safety for me. I could think my way through anything…until my mind became part of the problem. I thought I had to change my external circumstances to change my thoughts, but that didn’t work. No one told me I had it backwards.
The more I tried to fix my life by fixing my weight and eating, the worse the whole mess got. The more I tried to follow all my rules, the more weight I gained, far beyond the minimum threshold my doctors had set for me. I was ashamed that I wasn’t disciplined or smart enough to figure out how to do something as basic as feeding myself.
I bumbled around haphazardly for years, trying dozens of things to shift my relationship to food and my body, all while receiving psychotherapy. I still thought I could beat this thing, without truly giving it up. As unlikely as it seemed, it was here at my shabbiest, at my most despairing, where the magic happened, where I started to get my power back. Quite unexpectedly, it started with quitting. I gave up on controlling my body, gave up on my dream of being skinny to be special, gave up on myself (or so I thought). I decided I was going to trust my body to tell me what it needed, instead of bossing it around with my mind. However, my healing did not take the shape of an epiphany, a distinct point which separated my “before” from my “after;” rather, it was an inchoate mess of a process, punctuated by steep backslides and stuttering do-overs, yet characterized by an overall uptrend that I could only see in hindsight.
Funny thing, dot connecting. You can only connect the dots when you look backward upon your life and I couldn’t do this for a long time because of the shame and revulsion I felt toward myself; understandably, I wanted to distance myself from this painful period. I used to refer to the eating disorder as “the dark, wasted years,” time I would never get back and experiences that served no purpose but to eddy me in despair, hollow me out and render me powerless. I now realize they were necessary fodder for all that has followed. The longing for a deeper purpose, a larger meaning to my “hell-and-back” experience was answered and you, dear client, are part of that answer. By integrating my experience, I can help you live your life beyond the stretch of the food, weight, eating, and body image shadow, so it no longer consumes your brain space, time and energy, leaving you a husk of yourself. Somehow, my life came full circle while I was looking the other way.
The food/body labyrinth shrinks your desires into the size and shape of your body, the list of “good” and “bad” foods which you put into your mouth, the number of crunches you did or miles you ran. As a coach, I want more for you. I help you find your own solutions to this desperate, tortured, clipped existence. People don’t hire coaches because they want validation or someone to whisper inane platitudes in their ear. People hire coaches because they are stuck and frustrated and don’t know what to do next. They want solutions and are willing to do whatever it takes, valuing themselves enough to get the support they need. I would be honored to provide this support.
I would love to help you discover the freedom which is your birthright; and rediscover your own brand of loveliness. Contact me today for your complimentary session.