by Caroline Drummond-Smith
The way of working at Pondtail is like no other I have ever come across - it is caring, it is holistic, it is all-encompassing, yet it is certainly no easy ride.
After suffering from anorexia for 25 years and having been through various forms of therapy, I had the incredible fortune to meet Eileen and be offered the opportunity to spend time at Pondtail. Initially, I was extremely reticent but as the days and weeks went by, I gradually saw how Eileen’s way of working was finally getting to the root of my problems and I could see that there might actually be light at the end of my tunnel – a long, dark tunnel of anorexia, which I had thought there was no end to. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would always carry anorexia with me and my life, and my family’s life, would be ruled by it.
At Pondtail we had to work extremely hard to get better, but each step we took was taken because we truly wanted to take it. We were never forced to do anything we didn’t want to do - although that is not to say we were free to let the anorexia control us. We were very much put in control of our own decisions, with massive support and empathy from the staff. This was exceedingly difficult to do, but it meant that every mouthful we took and every life decision we made was making us stronger people by the day. We felt in control of our lives again – for me this was exhilarating. For the first time in 25 years, my anorexia was no longer controlling me, nor were other people controlling me.
At Pondtail I learnt to accept myself for who I am – and to actually love myself. The emphasis was not on food, although clearly that was a part of the therapy. I learnt about why I used food to hide from other uncomfortable feelings. The approach at Pondtail no doubt takes longer than the more conventional approaches to treating eating disorders, but we learnt to love food again and we learnt the importance food has in nourishing our bodies and souls. We ate food that was made with love and food that was doing our bodies good. Mealtimes were a time to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy food. Our bodies and souls were fed and nurtured.
I know with absolute certainty that, had I not had the opportunity of being at Pondtail, I would still be suffering from anorexia. My life has been transformed and I can now live it to the full without that terrible burden of an eating disorder. I truly never thought I would be able to put my anorexia in the past, and it took 3 years of hard work to get there, but I can now honestly say that I have recovered from my eating disorder.
© Empatico 2009—2012