The greatest gift I gave myself
I knew I had an unhealthy relationship with food from the age of 14. The thoughts of food controlled me. For eight years I dipped in and out of bulimia – when it got really bad I kept a private calendar so I could record how often it occurred. Periods high stress at work or family is when I would be bulimic.
It was my secret. Self shame and judgement kept it secret until, at the age of 26 (Nov 2019), I participated in the Self Expression and Leadership Program (SELP) at Landmark. My coach inspired me to start sharing about bulimia with my co-hort, family and friends. I thought I was going to fall off a cliff and fall into a firey pit of judgement. Instead soon after the words “I have an eating disorder…” slipped from my lips – the fiery pit didn’t materialise (thank goodness!) and I stepped into a warm cloudy cuddle of love and support from my family and friends.
Friends within in the SELP offered for me to call them at anytime. It was scary at first but I did reach out to them mid-binge, beforehand and afterwards. They assisted me to not make myself wrong and bad and to remember who I was committed to – myself being free and healthy.
The initial months after sharing I discovered that I wanted to eat to numb out and escape from sensations that were happening in my body. I started to tune into these sensations. At first they were really hard to be with, I made them bad and wrong and wish they didn’t exist. At times I would consciously give in and eat so that I could be distracted from them. Over time I discovered the feelings occurred when I experienced joy, sadness, confusion and anger.
By continuing Landmark’s programs, seeing a somatic experiencing therapist and psychologist I discovered that my ability to identify emotions within myself was limited. After learning about emotions I knew that eating was my way out of expressing and being with my emotions. I am now at the stage of identifying when joy, sadness and anger are present, and practicing being with these emotions until they leave without reacting to them, being a victim of them and judging myself. I have found this to be a very powerful and authentic experience.
My journey continues and currently I am the freest I have ever been. The last time I was bulimic was January 2020. Now when I feel the urge, I STOP, breathe, identify and be with my feeling and emotions. I have let go of tracking calories, caring intensely about what I eat, started drinking alcohol socially (instead of not at all), started eating seafood, reduced the number of workouts per week and the workouts I do do are in tune with what I feel like my body needs.
I live my life inside of the possibility that I can be for myself a loving, compassionate and self-expressed woman.