Photography by JKG | jkgphotography.co.uk
This post is sponsored by nike via rewardstyle
This time last summer I had just been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) and an eating disorder - both of which had manifested from my childhood. Although I knew my entire life that things weren't quite right, my diagnosis still came as quite a shock, and I was very much in denial for sometime. It was hard y'know.. having to unlearn behaviours and coping mechanisms that weren't healthy yet I thought they were normal. Plus on top of all that, I had become so obsessed with my weight but equally very disconnected to my body, so the journey in being my own definition of 'well', was confusing and full of frustration.
Not a lot of people realise, but eating disorders aren't just about food and for a lot of sufferers, it has nothing to do with food at all. Its simply about using what you eat or don't eat, to manage emotions and feelings that stem from past trauma.
Growing up, moving my body was like second nature. I danced every single day and I adored feeling the way my body would shift and turn and jump and manoeuvre. However, I didn't love my body back then and I took being attached to it for granted. As I entered my late teens and early 20s, the pressure to conform, to be thin, to look a certain way became so heavy that I completely disconnected from all the wonderful things my body could do. I became unattached from the home that had allowed me to experience so much joy through dance. From the splits, to the crab, from backflips to a shuffle ball change, it was suddenly now more important to me to fit into a size 12 pair of Topshop jeans than it was to step on a stage and feel free.
Being disconnected to my body was the only way I could handle my pain. Abusing it, neglecting it and damaging it was how I managed the trauma I had internalised. Why would I move my body and look after it, when it wasn't good enough or thin enough? I had pinned my entire self worth on what my body looked like, not what it could do. I'm now nearly 28 (I DON'T KNOW HOW THAT HAS HAPPENED LOL), but its happened nonetheless and the self love I have now knows no bounds. With the love I have developed for my whole self, I am now in a position where I feel emotionally safe enough to move.
With 13 months of therapy behind me and continuous work on me, my mind and my illness, I am now ready to rediscover my body again. I love Zumba to release anger lol, because its quick, fast paced and sometimes aggressive, but for those moments where I need to quieten my mind and I can't afford an £80 reflexology appointment (expensive huh), yoga and meditation is the next big thing. Now if I'm honest, yoga for me can be somewhat unenjoyable. I often find the classes where I live full of snooty people who judge you as soon as you walk through the door - I hate that and that can trigger my anxiety. Instead, I just go outside on my own, be at one with nature and use the Nike+ Training Club App which takes you through, step by step yoga moves and positions. Its just like being in a yoga class but without the grunts and sweat of other people, this way you just have your own haha.
Thank you to Nike Women for sponsoring this post and allowing me to create the conversation around exercise & mental health.