Photography by JKG | jkgphotography.co.uk
Location: Clapham, London
I woke up this morning like FUCCKKKKK YEAAAAH I've finally got therapy woo woo, because I haven't had a session for a few months due to a busy schedule, sickness and a holiday - so I felt like I really needed to just talk and rant and get things off my chest.
Over the last year or so I have been seeing my therapist Emmy 2-3x a month to deal with my past traumas that were manifesting as an eating disorder. I really would like to write an entire book on trauma and the affects it has on people when it goes untreated because as you can imagine, I have a lot to say - way more than what I could ever really write in a blogpost.
Anyway.. therapy has indeed (without sounding like a twat) saved my life. Emmy has saved my life. But this morning during my therapy session Emmy dropped a big ass bombshell on me that I secretly knew was coming. Therapy was ending.
Over the past few months I have turned a huge corner within my recovery and I although I wanted to have therapy, I felt like I didn't need to have it so I knew deep down I was ready to move on. Its taken me just over year (which is extremely quick) to learn how to heal, but I have been so dedicated to getting well that the speed in personal growth isn't that surprising. Recovery is different for everyone but I was so god damn determined that its arrived in my lap sooner than I initially thought. In that time I have learnt so much about myself and changed so much emotionally that I know I am not the person I used to be. I know better and I'm doing better and that makes me prouder than you will ever know. I can't forget whats happened to me and for the first time in my life I don't want to. I'm SO grateful I experienced pain, because I am extremely lucky to now experience true happiness.
So a few hours ago I left my last therapy session (for now because I might need therapy in the future and I'm okay with that) and I feel all kinds of emotions lol. On the one hand I feel proud, empowered and strong. But on the other I feel like 'omfg what if I relapse and need Emmy again and what if I can't cope'. I guess knowledge and power can be quite scary but sometimes you've gotta feel the fear and just do it anyway right?
My Queen and my saving Grace. Where do I even begin to express my love and gratitude to you? I don't actually think there are any words but I'm going to try my very best to articulate what I need to say...
When I first met you I had a funny little feeling you'd end up being in my life, but fucking hell I didn't realise the impact you would also make on it - and in such a short amount of time. Back in June 2016 I walked through the door at The Recover Clinic and instantly felt like it was a safe place which honestly, has never happened to me before and then when I sat and spoke to you about eating disorders for my BBC3 doc, I was elated about how passionate and engaging you were. In just a few hours you had inspired me and given me hope that there was someone out there who genuinely cared about people who were suffering with disordered eating and unwell relationships and behaviours with food. You were this beautiful, ethereal and calm woman who intrigued me to say the least. I don't think I had ever come across someone like you before and I'm not sure if I ever will.
I don't know if you remember haha, but at the beginning of therapy although I was willing to understand my issues, I wasn't that willing to actually turn up lol. There were so many times I'd make excuses about not coming to a session; 'i've got too much work on' or 'I'm just not feeling very well' and although both of those reasons were absolutely true, I used them to cover up how I actually felt.
I felt scared about knowing myself and you knowing me too. I was scared of feeling and then dealing with whatever it was that I felt. I was so used to either fighting or flying that having to face my demons head on was just a little too much for me to bear. (you probably know all of this but I'm telling you anyway lol). I was also so used to dealing with my emotions in an unsafe way that I wasn't entirely ready to unlearn my unwell behaviours. However you gave me the strength to see that I was ready and I had been ready all along, if only someone had taken the time to understand and listen to what I was going through. Thank you for that.
Before meeting you I didn't have the vocabulary to express my emotions, so I would simply call them and myself 'weird'. Weird was my favourite word wasn't it lol? I was so disconnected from my trauma that I didn't realise when I said 'I felt weird' I actually meant I felt sad, lonely, traumatised, scared, grief, upset or in some cases just fucking hungry. As the months went by you were able to teach me words that I would never associate with myself and that was a huge part of my recovery. You made me see that it was okay to be vulnerable and "weak" and that nobody is ever strong all the time. I'd even turn up to our sessions in the best mood but suddenly cry whenever you asked me if I was okay. You are still very much the only person I trust to mentally hold my baggage so I guess you'll always have that ability to allow me, to allow myself to let my guard down. From the very start I knew I could trust you- lets call that instinct. You were the kindest person to me and through you, I learnt how to be kind to myself.
The biggest step throughout my recovery was learning self care and to recognise my negative and unkind thoughts. I can't believe how self-destructive and vile I used to be towards myself. That girl doesn't exist anymore. Again, thank you for that. This time last year I was only just learning what self care was and now it is literally my life. It is the foundation and backbone that gets me through the tough days and instead of taking the pain out on myself, I take care of myself a little more, and I wouldn't know how if it wasn't for your patience and wisdom.
The list is honestly endless with the amount of things you have taught me.
You taught me to love myself because I am wonderful exactly how I was created. You taught me that its ok to be vulnerable because nobody ever grows when they're comfortable. You taught me how to protect myself by putting in boundaries with friends, work colleagues and other relationships. You taught me a safe way to cope when the world was just too much. You showed me another narrative and that I didn't need to live the way I was living anymore. You believed me when nobody else did and hearing those words ignited my child self - she thanks you from the bottom of her heart. You taught me that my inner child is the only person I have to answer to and that she will always be there. You taught me that living is precious and I am worthy of life. You taught me that its okay to cry and that my feelings matter - whatever they are. You taught me what thoughts were irrational and what thoughts were well. You taught me how to live life without an eating disorder and you believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself. You also showed me my abilities when I was blind to see them. You taught me that I have the permission to eat whatever I like at whatever time. You taught me that I can love myself enough to not restrict my food AND MY FUCKING GOD DO I LOVE MYSELF NOW. You made me see that what has happened to me was never my fault and that my past doesn't define my future. You supported me through loss and grief and you taught me how to let go. Most importantly, you taught me that everything I ever needed, I already had inside of myself.
So to my Emmy.
Thank you for everything you are and everything you do. You may no longer be my therapist, but you have become a friend and someone I hope to make many memories with. I thank my lucky stars every single day that you came into my life because without you, I really do not know where I would be right now. (probably still making disgusting slimming world meals lol). You taught me that I'm a victim but I am also a survivor and I am so beyond happy that I'm not just surviving, but I am also thriving. The tools you have given me will stay with me for the rest of my life and I hope to pass them on to others who are in need of them. The gratitude I have towards you is overwhelming and it is truly an honour to know you.
A massive thank you to The Recover Clinic and everyone I have met there who has helped me with my own recovery.