That's me. Today. Well, minus the nose ring (you probably didn't even notice). All I could think to start this with was, 'I wasn't supposed to be here.' I survived. Over twenty years ago, I survived the ravages of an eating disorder. But, that isn't the only reason why I wasn't supposed to be here. While I did suffer from an eating disorder with such sever medical complications it could have taken my life, I also never planned on being a therapist. I wanted to be a marine biologist, a zoologist, a veterinarian. (I kept upping the pay scale.) Instead I was led here, with an opportunity to sit in front of clients, join in their journey, remembering all the while that I almost wasn't here.
I fought, clawed, and climbed my way out. Part of my finding a way out was committing to help others fight back. We all have a story. Mine isn't unique to eating disorders, but it's unique to me. I believe yours is unique to you and I want to hear it. My eating disorder began with a trauma that I was afraid to share for many years. I, somehow, didn't believe it was bad enough. That it shouldn't have caused me to want to starve myself, or when my body had enough of that, stuff my feelings down until I thought I might burst. But, all of that couldn't remove the pain I felt in my heart. Eventually I came to realize it was pain for me, the me who had been hurt and denied the chance to feel the pain all those years, which preventing me from healing. All I could do was hide in my eating disorder.
Even through some partial recovery I still clung pretty tight to my eating disorder, believing it was keeping me safe. During college I struggled to stay just unhealthy enough to avoid male attention. Eventually gaining weight was scary. Somehow it meant dealing with life again. I never considered, at that time, it also meant having the strength the deal with life again. Until I did. I slowly put the puzzle pieces of my life back together. I found my passions again. Passions that required me to be strong, not weak and insecure. I started living. I started taking really good care of my body and admiring it's strength. Like turning the volume down on the radio, my eating disorder started to fade.
I also knew how strong it was. I knew I had to fight everyday and being a therapist is part of my fight. The gift of helping others learn to find their own strength through pain, fear, loneliness, guilt, and shame. I believe if I can find it... you can find it.