2017 was athe most difficult year of my life. I had a health crisis, had to go away to Arizona and leave my 10 year old son for 45 days, had to surrender my 20 year pharmaceutical career and income, lost my mother and lost my mind for a while. Ironically or maybe not, it all began with a heartfelt prayer. I recognized I was unhappy, angry, depleted and questioning whether life had more than what I was experiencing. My chase after money as God supreme and the answer to all my woes was never-ending. No matter how much money was in the bank, I never felt fulfilled, joyful or grateful. Thankfully, after years of doing recovery work and going to meetings and meditating and seeking, I did realize I was off course. I went to see an energy healer and everything changed-quickly. I set an intention with her to remove any negativity or fear that was standing in the way of my connecting with my inner joy.
It all began with a crazy rash and a crazy GI effect. I went to the OB/GYN seeking answers and thinking it might be a hormonal imbalance. I was 48. I was perimenopausal. The GYN sent me to a nutritionist. The nutritionist too quickly labeled me "Leaky Gut", put me on a drastic elimination diet (no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no caffeine, no processed foods). I was already thin at 5'7" and weighed 125. I couldn't afford to lose more weight. My work addicted mind which now had no work to focus on turned from studying Pharma world to studying leaky gut world. The internet is a miraculous and awful tool depending on how you utilize it. It is filled with any and all stories-pro and con. You can find what you are looking for, even if it is wrong. In my case, I was looking for the solution to Leaky Gut and all I found were tales of horror about how I would never eat normally again, special diets, autoimmune issues, etc. After months of researching this diagnosis and despite all the medical professionals telling me my physical exams showed me in perfect health, I lost my ability to reason and fell into deep despair.
After being on the diet for a few months, I now weighed 109 pounds. My doctor told me my condition was psychological. That angered me. I was not a mental case. I was someone who was given a diagnosis who had symptoms similar to what was reported for leaky gut online and I was following the nutritionists guidance on what foods to avoid. He said he thought my former eating disorder had been triggered. I was never anorexic. I wanted to eat. I loved food. I had no urge to throw up. What was he talking about. I couldn't see how my addiction was triggered, yet it was. I was insane. I was convinced I was sick when I was not. I could not tell the true from the false. Apparently, just being on the diet and going back to the idea that some foods are good and others are bad was enough to trigger my disease. My brain recalled the pattern of my old eating disorder and ignited panic in me.
I was baker acted because I told the doctor I was having dark thoughts that I couldn't go on living in this state of despair, frightening low weight, and loss of control. I couldn't properly parent my child, I couldn't eat out at restaurants, I thought I had to eat special Gluten Free foods, I thought I had to have fresh chicken or meat and never left overs, in following her elimination diet, plus an IBS diet from my Gastroenterologist and a low histamine diet from online, I was left with 20 foods to eat over and over and I was a mess. I thought God had abandoned me. I prayed hard and constantly and thought my prayers were unheard. Until finally, the doctor in the hospital where I was Baker Acted told me I needed to go to treatment for my eating disorder. I couldn't believe my ears. I had never been to treatment. I didn't have an eating disorder. What the heck was going on.
A voice within me said this is for you. Follow this path. You need to go. Don't question anything anymore. Look at you. You are stuck in a hospital bed because you started to think life wasn't worth living. You have made your family scared. You need to go.
I agreed to pack my bags and get on a plane two days later and go to treatment in Arizona. I had no idea what treatment was like or what was in store for me. I was about to embark on the most difficult 45 days of my life. The lessons I would learn and the experiences I would have the people I would meet would impact me forever. Sometimes the greatest gifts in life come in the most awful wrapping paper. This gift was such a gift. It would never be my first choice and yet I am so grateful today for the experience. It taught me I am not in control, the importance of accepting and feeling all my feelings, the power of excellent therapeutic help, the gift of self care, the horror of ED in girls and women of all ages, the amazing gift of horses and much more. I highly recommend Remuda Ranch in Arizona if anyone is in need of therapeutic help. Tell them Cate Stevens, author of Addictionland, sent you!
More to come,