by Vikki Harris
I have suffered from an eating disorder for 18 years. I have been hospitalized many times on Eating Disorder Units with some dark times under section of the Mental Health Act and fed by nasal-gastric tube. I reached a point where I knew I needed help when I was unable to even swallow a piece of carrot and accept the food inside me.
Although the hospital treatment saved my life I lacked the support and skills to maintain recovery at home. My motivation for choosing recovery was based on deciding to live. I’d had enough of just existing for which if I am honest with myself may not have happened if I remained ill. Recovery is worth more than living in hell for the rest of your life. I’m grateful today that I can see this and had the opportunity of receiving specialist help.
What is life like with Anorexia? Eating is torture - a huge sense of disgust, greed and guilt overwhelms you and in order to numb the pain - food becomes the enemy. As you loose a dangerous amount of weight the body goes into starvation affecting the mind so you can no longer see reality. Sizes become distorted like looking in a fair ground mirror. The power of Anorexia consumes you.
The therapeutic approach of Pondtail House provided me with a wealth of information in how to deal with my Anorexia. All in a spiritual, healing and trusting environment with an approach provided with love and care. The therapy not only included nutritional education, food planning and cooking skills of a wide range of healthy enjoyable food but also relaxation techniques, anxiety management, creative writing, socializing skills. None of which I had whilst being hospitalized.
The knowledge may not be used until the sufferer is ready to accept recovery but a seed has been sewn for the future. Carers must not feel that there support goes on to deaf ears. Personally I heard every word but just wasn’t ready to use it until the time was right. Please don’t give up on us.
Eileen’s approach was unique- trusting in me that I could achieve my dream of recovery. Someone to just hold your hand to face your irrational fears of accepting the help you so desperately need. She is compassionate, caring and totally dedicated. She nurtured my spirit and warmed my soul with her wisdom, understanding and sympathetic nature thus creating a positive environment for me to take steps into recovery.
With guidance I was making the choices therefore accepting the responsibility of my own health.
Recovery is not easy, at times so disturbing as the Anorexia battles to survive. It is not just about eating and weight gain. I felt totally overwhelmed with the complexity, diversity and depth of my suppressed feelings with so much to challenge that I felt quite lost in a raging storm.
Anorexia still shouts in my ear to stay safe and yet in the other I now hear the whisper of recovery and life. Recovery is a daily constant battle. Returning to a healthy weight is not a cure. It’s the first step in recovery and where the long standing recovery begins.
Recovery is about awareness, education and understanding. It is so hard to change 18 years of well established habits and it takes take time to re educate thought patterns and behaviours. It is like having a full time job. It is an extremely frightening and scary process to change with each day a journey of discovery and insight. Focus is on one day at a time with realistic short term attainable goals.
© Empatico 2009—2012