Photo Credit: Beatriz Jiménez
My struggle with anorexia first started when I found out my husband, and father to our two girls, was having an affair. I was 30 years old. When I confronted him, he didn't appear remorseful. In fact he moved out that day, 450 miles away, and I became a single mum. It's crazy to think how my life changed in one day. I certainly didn't have my rest of my life mapped out but I thought I had a rough idea. But that day it all changed. My future became totally unknown and it was scary.
I was determined to focus on my girls. I didn't want them to feel the pain I was feeling. But this meant I was neglecting my own grief. Who am I kidding? I didn't want to face it. I didn't choose to have an eating disorder but it became my way of coping, of controlling my life at a time when I felt I had no control.
The thought of eating filled me with terror, the need to exercise was overwhelming and the joy I felt when I'd lost weight would be immense but temporary, as the goal would be to lose more, and I'd punish myself every single day to achieve this.
During my darkest days living with anorexia I felt like I was at the bottom of the deepest, darkest well with no chink of light shining through. I was alone and I thought there was no way out. I had planned suicides frequently and considered drastic measures to end the torture. I had tried to get out of that well, by eating, but this always filled me with so much guilt that I'd then binge and purge. I felt totally unsafe and out of control on these occasions so I had decided it was safer not to try, no matter what my fate.
However, there is a stubborn part of me (which I'm sure my family and friends will vouch for) which wasn't going to give up and reached out for help. I was admitted for four months into a residential eating disorder centre and worked hard to recover. When I was discharged though, I still had that voice in my head and my desire to restrict again was still there.
I chose to continue fighting and it was hard. There was part of me that wanted to recover and the other that wanted to go back to the safety of that well. I know, it sounds crazy, but I genuinely thought I was safe and in control when I was restricting. Although now I see that it was my eating disorder that was in control, not me and I was definitely not safe.
Thankfully, I was soon was introduced to EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or tapping as it's otherwise known. It's a simple yet powerful tool which involves tapping on acupressure points on the body, similar to acupuncture but without the needles, which help us release negative emotions so we feel more calm and relaxed. Tapping helped me let go of the grief about the affair and the responsibility of being a single mum but it also helped to completely transform my mindset and the way I viewed myself.
Although I was a healthy weight, I still believed I:
• wasn't special
• didn't belong
• had no purpose in life
• was fat and ugly
• was inferior to others
• wasn't good enough
• wasn't lovable
• was rubbish as a wife, mother and daughter
• needed to be perfect
• had to do everything myself
I'd been told by the voice in my head that all these beliefs didn't matter if I just kept restricting and losing weight.
I chose to use EFT to change all these beliefs and now feel happy, confident, positive and excited about my future. I don't need to use food in order to cope or stay in control. I now feel able to cope with the stresses of life and have a tool that I can always use to help me, a healthier coping strategy.
Eating disorders aren't about food, eating or weight, but this becomes the focus so that the real issue is avoided. To be really free of an eating disorder, the root cause needs to be addressed and the mindset changed, so that the eating disorder becomes redundant.
EFT transformed my life so much when I didn't even think it was possible. I became a qualified EFT Practitioner and now help women with eating disorders, transform their lives, by dealing with the root causes and changing their mindset, rather than working with meal plans and goal weights.
For further information on how EFT can help you to let go of your eating disorder, download my free video series here.