A Story from one of my clients about her descent into eating disorder
Introduction from Jill
Let me introduce you to Kalina.
Kalina first came to me for private Pilates sessions last year, when I first met her I thought that she was warm, friendly and absolutely beautiful. But I could sense that there was a deep sadness inside of her. When I asked her about her dream or what makes her happy, she couldn’t answer. We started working together but she kept getting niggling injuries, which made me think that something wasn’t right. She finally admitted to me that she had been diagnosed with anorexia, and to be honest, I wasn’t surprised.
I’ve continued to keep in touch with Kalina over lockdown, and she’s kept me updated with her progress. She’s agreed to write down her story, so far, in the hope that it will help others who are also struggling with mental health.
If you can relate to Kalina’s story, please don’t be frightened to ask for help, I’ve included some useful links at the bottom of this article if you feel that you need to talk to someone.
I’ll hand you over to Kalina, so she can tell her story.
Healthy, healthier…..anorexia – Part 1
How Did it Come to This?
One day I woke up and things were not the same anymore.
It felt like a lot changed just overnight. I was tired, half of my hair was gone, my skin was grey, my clothes were too big. I looked in the mirror and could not recognize the person I saw. I knew it was me, but I looked different.
My body was sore and weak. I had this strange pain in my muscles, in my bones. It felt like someone was beating me from inside.
What has actually happened? When did it happen? When did I stop paying attention to myself, to others, to the world? When did I lose it? How did I end up here, exhausted, falling apart?!
I am sure that yesterday everything was just right!?
But….was it really?
Invasion of the Body, Mind & Soul Snatcher
I have not invited anorexia into my life. I have not even noticed its invasion. It silently opened the door and entered my mind, my soul. It became a part of me. It made itself comfortable like in an old, cosy chair.
It started killing me slowly from inside….
I just wanted to be healthy, fit and stronger. Is that not what we all want? I kept looking at these lovely pictures on social media. All showing amazing, ripped bodies or healthy food which you can prepare in just 10 minutes!
No effort, easy!
I thought I can be there as well, I can achieve this perfection from the pictures! I can be like others. Of course I can! I am sure this will feel better. Finally I will accept myself.
I will stop pushing myself. I will be enough. I just need to do some work and be a bit slimmer, a bit healthier, a bit stronger.
It sounded like a good plan!
So… I started my healthy journey – I was reading about food, nutrition, and calorie intake. I started exercising. I was reading more and more, exercising more and more, changing my eating habits, changing my life.
It felt great! Scale showed 2 kg less. Nice! First little achievement. I was 63 kg. Not bad, but maybe I can lose more? Maybe I can do better than that?
I felt energised, I felt powerful. Yes I can!
More reading, more exercising, more changes, more restrictions. 62, 61, 60, 59, 58, 57, 56, 55, 54… Yes! You go girl – I thought.
More regime, more rigidity, strict routine, no flexibility. Just me, food, exercises, planning, reading, right order, researching more!
I was really into that roller coaster journey and if it was not for my family I would never notice that anorexia started taking over. It became my friend and it became my enemy. I felt that I meant something, I had control and power, but the truth was completely opposite – I was hopeless, I was not in control, I was drowning.
Anorexia started to ruin my mind, my body, my relationships, my life.
The most difficult thing was to admit that I have a problem, I cannot cope, I struggle, I need help.
I woke up one day and things were not the same anymore. It felt like a lot changed overnight…. But, what felt like an overnight change was a much longer process.
It took me 2 years to develop the relationship with anorexia.
The Choice to Change
However, I have made my choice. My choice is to challenge it, to take back control. Weak and tired, I am now walking the path to recovery. This time I am doing my best to focus all energy in the right direction.
I do not need a number on the scale to tell me that I am worthy, I am lovable. I just need to find a different way to believe it…
Through my journey I have realised that anorexia is just one of many mental issues, I am not the only one who suffers. In my case anorexia “helps” with coping, dealing with my unbearable emotions. It is just easier to shut down and not to feel, to obsess only about calories, food, and being slim.
The world can be an overwhelming place and there are more and more ways to get out. Eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, sex are some of the shortcuts that are available and can sneak into our lives easily.
They do not really help though, they cannot heal us, they can only bring more harm…They offer a quick relief, but it does not work in the long run.
The funny thing is that I have never thought that something like that could happen to me. To others, yes, but me? Everything seemed to be OK in my life… It was too late when I realised that I was running so fast that I was blind to the intrusion of the illness.
Only hitting the wall stopped me. It caused pain, made me refocus, dig deeper, explore, start feeling.
It also made me realise that I was not truly living. I was smiling, but I was dead inside. I was not honestly connected with myself. I treat anorexia as a chance. I can be reborn, I can learn how to feel, recognize my emotions, my needs and fully live. Scary and difficult process….
I am wondering what you feel when you read my story?
How do you feel about your life?
Do you ever pause and reflect on what it looks like?
Do you ever sit, feel, do nothing?
Do you ever ask yourself questions – Am I satisfied where I am?
Am I happy?
Do I enjoy every day?
If not, maybe now is the right time to just stop for a moment and change things on your terms rather than wake up too late and have a feeling that life just passed by?
If any of the issues discussed above have struck a chord with you, please know that there is help available;
And, you can always talk to your GP about your concerns.
In the next part of Kalina’s story we’re going to hear about how Pilates is helping her become more aware of her body and improve her relationship with herself.