My Story.

My disordered eating habits ran in the background of life from a young age to my late twenties. I would spend days either heavily restricting food or overeating in secret, to give me a (false!) sense of control and release. At University, I became reliant on risk-taking behaviour to try and keep my weight down. My degree provided the chance to move abroad for a year to complete a work placement, and I jumped at the opportunity! Feeling real independence for the first time, my bad habits escalated. Everything eventually caught up with me of course and one fateful day, I experienced a serious and life altering event, requiring immediate urgent medical assistance. My mind was significantly impacted and I had to move back home to recover after this experience. I spent months with doctors receiving treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and whilst the treatment helped manage my physical symptoms, I still had a lot of unresolved and residual trauma which I tried to self-soothe using large amounts of food. This only led to feelings of shame and wanting to punish myself through restricting and I felt stuck in a continuous cycle.    

After graduating from University I moved abroad again, this time to become a flight attendant for a Middle Eastern Airline. This was my absolute dream and I loved the adventure of each flight. I threw myself into learning as much as I could about different cultures and beliefs. I became attuned in Reiki, went away on Yoga Retreats, and started going to church sermons of various denominations all over the world. I was thankful to find ways to feed my spirituality, but was yet to learn how to deal with intense emotions without overfeeding my body.

As a flight attendant I experienced very high highs, and very low lows. An average low day would be fuelled by binge-eating episodes, as a way to comfort myself after particularly long or emotionally demanding flights. However, the lowest of these lows was during a layover in Christchurch, New Zealand. We were advised the city was on lockdown and we must stay locked in our rooms, until an active shooter at large had been caught. One of the targets had been a mosque, just outside the hotel we were staying in. My room was on the ground floor and was continously filled with lights from emergency vehicles and sounds from the police helicopter up ahead. My then boyfriend (now husband!) and family were still asleep due to the time difference, so I could not speak with them and hear their calming and reassuring voices. I felt alone and afraid. The residual trauma from years before was reactivated, and fear started flooding my mind and body once again. I tried applying all that I had learnt up to that point, but the sense of panic was overwhelming. Something changed in me after that trip, and shortly afterwards I moved back to the UK.

After my move to London, all of the tough emotions I had been suppressing and numbing with food came rushing to the surface and I experienced a mental health crisis. I spent the next few years suffering from debilitating flashbacks, forcing me to relive the trauma in very real time. This left me feeling like a shell of myself, separated from my body out of intense fear. The doctor explained how my Post Traumatic Stress had been dormant over the past few years and had been retriggered. There was a 6 month waiting list on the NHS, which soon increased due to the pandemic, and it was over 14 months before I could speak to anyone about it. No amount of food or other harmful “coping mechanisms” worked anymore, forcing me to go on a long and difficult journey of recovery. 

During this dark time, waiting in a period of unknown and with no professional help to rely on yet, I turned myself to books and faith. Through all the pain, terror, confusion and anxiety I was feeling, the words I read gave me literal life. So much light, love and hope entered into my heart and the process helped heal me from the inside out. I gradually fell back in love with the Great Cosmic Mystery and started to find my rhythm again. The books I chose were personal accounts from people who had had their spirits broken and how they had learned to survive and thrive despite adversity, books surrounding God's abundant love, books on radical compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. They gave me the energy to keep going and keep fighting this frightening internal battle. Slowly with time, beauty and goodness started to grow out of the metaphorical pit I had been living in. 

In the years since my recovery, I have spent a lot of time volunteering and speaking hope and encouragement into people from all over the world. When I was accepted onto the Recovery Works Coach Certification Course, I felt such a strong sense of belonging amongst the people I was training with, all of whom had recovered from disordered eating themselves. I discovered the healing power of speaking openly and freely amongst people who had all been silenced by shame surrounding their own binge eating habits, and I finally felt myself fill with self-compassion and understanding after a lifetime of seeking external comforts. I hope to bring all of my clients into that same safe space. A space to feel totally free from judgement and damaging self views. A space where struggles are heard and validated. A space to be empowered to continue pressing on through their own recovery story.