As a child I’d been known as the fussy eater and as a teenager I had body image issues due to comments I’d received about how I looked. But it wasn’t until I was 30 years old, and I found out my husband was having an affair and within 24 hours I became a single mum, that anorexia came knocking at my door.
At first ‘she’ was like my best friend. She was there for me when I felt no one else was. You see, I had to remain strong after the split, I was determined I was going to limit the effect on my girls. Anorexia helped me avoid the hurt, anger and upset that threatened to tear me apart if I let it. I didn’t feel in control of my life so I controlled food and my weight.
I was in denial, thought I was doing fine until the day I realised that it wasn’t just that my appetite was low, but that I was terrified of eating and putting on weight. Until I was hungry and tempted to eat, and then anorexia became an abusive bully telling me I was pathetic, worthless, weak and a failure.
My ‘anorexia’ story continued over the years with lots of denial (I don’t look anorexic and I still eat), waiting lists for help, shifting to bulimia, thinking I was recovered, more denial, then damn anorexia’s got me again. When I finally reached out for help again from my GP I was met with “I’m not going to refer you. You beat this before, you can do it again”. Although I said nothing, inside I was screaming “I beat it?! How do you know this? Because I managed to eat and gained some weight before?”
An eating disorder is a mental health illness and the voice in my head had never gone away, whether I managed to eat or not.
The anorexia worsened as I lost hope. I ate less and my list of safe foods reduced. I lost weight every day. On the days I tried to fight, and eat, I’d be so overcome with hunger, guilt, shame and fear that I’d end up bingeing and purging. I’d feel so disgusted and so out of control that I figured it was safer not to try.
I visited another GP who referred me to my local eating disorder service, but there was a long wait. Desperate, I contacted a private eating disorder counsellor who told me I was too ill for her to help me. I felt like I was at the bottom of a deep dark well, alone and trapped. A part of me was desperate to get out, but another felt safe in there too. It was pure torture and I contemplated suicide regularly.
Now I know this must seem like such a selfish decision. I’d got two girls, how could I possibly do this to them? But my mind was so distorted, I was full of such self loathing that I genuinely thought I was a burden to them and they’d be better off without me.
Eventually my appointment with the eating disorder service arrived and within a few days I was in a residential treatment centre. I stayed for four months and although I was terrified, it felt like someone was giving me permission to eat, someone else was fighting that voice in my head when I was too weak and exhausted to do it myself.
Although I’d been able to eat and restore weight, when I was discharged the voice in my head was still there urging me to restrict and lose weight.
Luckily I was soon introduced to EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or tapping as it’s otherwise known. EFT is a complementary therapy and 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.
EFT helped me deal with the affair and becoming a single mum plus all my negative beliefs I had about myself. For example, I’m not good enough, I’m unworthy, I’m unlovable, I’m fat and ugly, I don’t belong, I’m second best.
EFT transformed my life and helped me feel confident and relaxed about myself, my body and eating. The voice in my head finally was quiet.
Because I’ve dealt with the root cause(s) I feel truly recovered now, and don’t just manage the eating disorder. Because I feel good about myself I don’t need to use any anorexic behaviours in order to stay in control or to feel safe, and because I am confident in myself, I am confident in my body too.
Recovery is not easy and the fears of what you perceive recovery to be are immense, but I want to tell you that true recovery is definitely possible and it is SO worth it!
Although I’d never heard of EFT and to be honest I thought my EFT practitioner was crazy because it just sounded so strange. But it is so simple to use and the results are powerful. EFT has changed my life in so many ways, all positive! I was so impressed by how simple yet effective it is that I trained to be an EFT Practitioner myself and now work with women with eating disorders.
Last May, a university study scientifically demonstrated that EFT can rewire the brain’s neural pathways. Patients’ brains were monitored using a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) scanner to show the physical changes in the brain over the course of EFT treatment. In December, Boots cited EFT as the top way to get your sparkle back. Celebrities such as Duchess of Cornwall, Michael Ball, Naomi Harris, Fernando Alonso, Devon Allen, Bralon Taplin have all been reported to use EFT for fear of flying and improving performance.
If you’d like to read more about my story, my recovery and how EFT can help with an eating disorder, take a look at my book published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in February, called “How To Kiss Goodbye To Ana – Using EFT in Recovery From Anorexia” – available from Amazon.
Hi I’m Kim Marshall. I founded Kiss Goodbye To Ana following my own recovery from anorexia and bulimia and I now help women with eating disorders and particularly anorexia, to unleash the confident woman in them so they can feel loved, safe and beautiful. Because most are trapped in the eating disorder, they want to feel better but fear recovery. So I help them feel confident and good about themselves, their bodies and eating and free of that voice in their head.
My first book, “How To Kiss Goodbye To Ana – Using EFT in Recovery From Anorexia” was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in February. I am a Thrive Global, The Mighty, Huffington Post and Recovery Warrior blogger. I’ve had blogs published by Beat and National Eating Disorders Association (Eating Disorders Charities), been interviewed on local radio, by local press and been featured in Bella and Woman Magazine, Daily Mail, Metro and Marie Claire.