What My Eating Disorder Taught Me….Decades Later! | A Better You Naturally

What My Eating Disorder Taught Me….Decades Later!

By Leanne Stockwell

Mar 18
I’ve been on a journey over the past 12 months of self -discovery, with a little self-healing sprinkled in along the way……..

In the true spirit of an over-achiever, I’ve done a Relationships course, I’ve been a part of a business coaching group that also works on mindset, and I’ve done a series of emotional clearing/chakra healing sessions which help to clear negative beliefs and traumas and establish new patterns. Then, three weeks ago, I did a 3-day intensive Inner-Child Workshop…….OMG, there were some very confronting moments and also some wonderful learnings!

Anyhow, all of this has led me on a journey back through my past and taught me some interesting lessons.

One of the more challenging times of my life was when I had an eating disorder. This started when I was 16 years old. It goes like this:-

I was in Year 10 at school. I lived in a smallish town in NSW. I had great friends and did well at school. My twin sis, my little brother and I lived with my Mum and my Step Dad.

I had my eye on a boy who was 2 years above me at my school. And we actually started going out before the year was out and before he left Year 12.

I looked up to him. I thought his life was so much more interesting than mine! He was tall, funny, VERY sure of himself, and there was an EASE about everything that he did.

He seemed to have no anxiety, no fear, life was just fun, and it was about to get even more fun when he went off to Uni.

His parents were reasonably “well-off” and had a great house. Basically, I wanted to be around him, and his friends…….I definitely had him up there on a pretty high pedestal.

I was never quite myself when we were together.

I was always trying to be the person that I thought he would want me to be (and God only knows who THAT was!).

Then there was a day at the beach when I remember him telling me that I had “big thighs”.

I have no recollection of what preceded this, or what came after it, but I will never forget those words.

What I really heard was:-

– You are far from perfect
– You don’t look the way I want you to look
– There is something wrong with you
– You are not good enough
AND
– I do not approve of you

I do believe that this was my trigger.

Had I been more confident, happier in my own skin, had I possessed at least a little more self-love, had I been less desperate to please a male who I wanted love and approval from (pretty sure this one goes back to my Dad leaving us when my twin sis and I were 5 years old), then what happened may not have happened.

But it did happen.

As I progressed into Yr11 and 12, the work got tougher, and I felt out of control of my immediate environment. I started to become more and more of a Perfectionist.

My boyfriend (THE boyfriend) had moved away to Uni (about 1.5 hours away), and I really think that I felt out of control, constantly stressed and worried, not only about school work and the future but also about whether I still HAD my boyfriend………and there were buckets and buckets of self-doubt.

Then came the beginnings of refusing to allow myself to eat when I was hungry, welcoming that gnawing feeling of hunger, and equating that with a feeling of power and control.
In my mind, I would be skinnier, therefore more attractive. When I abstained from food, regardless of my hunger, I was in control of my life. I was “Miss Perfect”. But really, I was stuck in a spiral of self-punishment and self-loathing.

And ever so slowly, I lost my grip on reality. I lost the ability to actually SEE myself clearly, physically and emotionally.

This went on until the end of Year 12 and into my first year of Uni. I was approximately 40-something kilos and had put my Mum through at least 2 years of massive stress (sorry Mum, love you xx).

Once I left home and went to Uni and had more distance from my boyfriend and my family, I did become more settled, self-assured and in control of my own life. I developed some self-responsibility and got some great friends, and even though I didn’t know it then, I did some healing and started to accept myself for who I was.

Don’t get me wrong……I’m NOT blaming my family, or my boyfriend for this….it just was what it was. Anyhow, luckily I blossomed, with some space and more independence.

Now that I look back, I realise that when things were at their worst, I had:-

– A fractured relationship with my Mum (we were lacking a connection that I wanted but couldn’t seem to reach out for)
– Massive self-criticism – the negative self-talk was rife!
– Some level of emotional trauma left over from a serious car accident that happened when I was 16.
– No connection with myself.
– A belief that I was not worthy of love or joy.
– A belief that I had to be “perfect” to be loved.

And……I carried much of this for years! I’m sure we all carry some similar things…..

What has it taught me? Lots, but here are the important bits:-
  • I MUST be MYSELF, regardless of anything or anyone. 
  • I must embrace the person that I am. There is no greater act of self-acceptance, self-love or self-trust.
  • We are born who we are for a reason. We all have a purpose and a gift. To try to be someone else stops that purpose in its tracks.
  • Perfectionism is all about trying to earn approval and acceptance from others, and the sad part is that we’ll never truly get it, because there is no such thing as perfect.

When we embrace who we are, miracles start to happen…….
– We can be kinder to ourselves.
– We can be sad and upset, and it will actually be OK!
– We can be more JOYFUL.
– We have a deeper connection with others.
– We can more easily practice self-love and self-acceptance.
– We can love others MORE!
– We are more in touch with our instincts.
– We are in alignment.
– We get self-healing!

And Self-healing just happens to be what I need in order to spread wisdom and healing to others!

I hope this helps you or someone you love.

Leanne xx

 

About the Author

Leanne Stockwell is a Naturopath and a Life Coach and has been in practice since 1999. She has a passion for helping her clients heal themselves physically and mentally. She is a speaker and runs women's wellness workshops in Brisbane and online.

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