I don’t self-disclose much, so here goes…. I have battled with food the majority of my life. I have a pretty dismal trauma history. Food became an escape. It became a way to numb and then, when I discovered purging and compulsive exercise, it took on a life of its own. Now, it doesn’t have the power it did. This is my journey….
I was a latchkey kid from a broken home. I had a lot of trauma coming into my elementary school years and then a bully who lived in my home starting at age 7. I can remember coming home from school to eat and watch tv for hours. I can remember using food as an escape as early as 7. I loved the numbness they both provided. I remember obsessing about what I would eat and when all through my school years. I started making bizarre food rules and the obsessions would get worse.
In my twenties, my eating really went off the rails. I started purging and exercising compulsively for three or more hours per day when I began gaining weight. I remember having emotional breakdowns when I could not go to the gym. My body started breaking down. My mental health started breaking down more. I don’t know if it was divine intervention, but after a few years of this, I contracted Mono. I had no choice, but to slow down because I couldn’t get out of bed. It took me a couple of years to finally feel normal again.
So, the compulsive exercise and purging stopped, but the food obsession remained. I had been in and out of therapy for as long as I could remember. It would temporarily help my depression and anxiety, but it never healed my relationship with food. I struggled for several more years. It wasn’t until I found EMDR Therapy that my life started changing.
When you get trained in therapies like EMDR, the participants practice on each other. I was in the middle of the EMDR Therapy training when we entered the practice portion of the weekend. Oh boy. I was not prepared for the journey that would come from that! You choose a relatively innocuous event to process for practice. As soon as my partner started working with me, I became flooded with things I thought I had “dealt” with years earlier. Nope. Not even close! During the break, I called and made an appointment for therapy. That was the beginning of my journey to heal my pain, and ultimately, my relationship with food.
Over the years, since that training, I have done countless hours of my own EMDR work, in addition to healing my inner child through other methods. There were many pieces that needed more work than talk therapy ever provided and a whole lot of things I didn’t realize where there. Over the course of this time, I have found so much healing and peace that I didn’t know were possible. By doing that work, my relationship with food has changed.