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Seeing Colours

One of the craziest things that happened to me during recovery was when I was walking along the street one day, and I suddenly realized that I could see colours. I realized that I hadn’t been noticing colours, or that they appeared duller. While my thoughts were preoccupied with thoughts about food and body and shame, I hadn’t had the capacity in my brain to notice colour. That was an incredible moment for me, to realize that I was actually able to notice what was happening around me and to focus on it. This was two years after I began seeing Christina. Christina helped me change my life in ways that I didn’t even realize weren’t working, but that were imperative to change.”

“The first time I went to see Christina, it was purely for my mother’s sake. I had recently come back home and the minute I crossed the threshold to my house I felt more in control of myself. I thought that what was happening to me wasn’t a big deal, and that I could handle it just fine with some time, and that what I was experiencing wasn’t severe enough to warrant any treatment- that if I went I would be robbing time from people with more serious eating disorders. Christina made that first visit so comfortable. It was nothing like I was expecting. It didn’t feel clinical. And yet, for all her warmth and compassion and understanding, Christina was clearly also sharp and informed and frighteningly intuitive about what I was going though- including the guilt that I was there even though I “wasn’t that bad”. I am so grateful that I went to see Christina, because I think she could have saved my life.”

“One of the most helpful things about seeing Christina is the obvious regard she has for herself. She treats herself so well, in such a casual and unassuming way- in a way that’s so alien to someone in the middle of experiencing an eating disorder. I couldn’t help but pay attention to different things about her, like the way that she wore clothes that fit her and the snacks that she sometimes had during sessions, or even the way that she held herself with gentle confidence. She was a fantastic role model in that the way that she treated herself was so kind. I was seeing a way of treating oneself that was very different than the way I knew how to treat myself at the time, and she made it look easy and natural.”

“Sometimes, I forget what it was like to have an eating disorder. I remember certain specific moments and remember how I described what I felt like when I was very ill, but I don’t have it anymore- and it’s difficult to describe because I can’t really remember it- but that constant fixation on food and body related thoughts. That oppressive feeling that made me shut other people out. The shame and guilt. The excruciatingly cruel and painful self-talk. Feeling too overwhelmed to cope with anything else and any social situation. It’s magical to have forgotten, because I’ll never be back there again. A big thank you to me. A big thank you to Christina.”

“I used to put myself down every second of every day in my head. I used to make self-deprecating jokes about myself almost constantly. I thought they were clever, but at the same time I didn’t realize I was making these jokes. Christina pointed this pattern out to me during one session, and asked me to pay attention to how often I was making these sorts of jokes. I was floored, absolutely shocked that I was doing this. Christina used to do that sort of thing- point out a pattern I hadn’t identified myself- all the time. I tell you, these patterns were not obvious to me.

Christina’s vast amount of experience with eating disorders and their associated mental health issues, allowed her to see things in a way that I, with only one available intimate experience of an eating disorder, could not. Christina was just so talented in the way that she identified these patterns, drew my attention to these patterns and then worked with me to develop new strategies and new patterns to replace the old ones. It wasn’t as simple as I just made it sound, of course- it was very, very hard and took a long time with seemingly little progress for most of it- but Christina was there with me through it all.”

“Right now, I am living my dreams. I’ve graduated university, lived in Australia, and I’m going backpacking overseas next month. I can hardly believe it myself. The biggest achievement over the last several years, though, that I can credit in a large way to Christina’s influence, is having developed a healthy, nurturing, loving and compassionate relationship with myself. I like myself, and I don’t put myself down. I feel like I will always be okay now, because I will always be okay with myself.”

“Christina doesn’t take credit for your recovery. She never would. I’ve left her feeling like I am responsible for my recovery, and I’m so proud and grateful to myself for what I’ve done for myself. But I also know that I could never have done it without her.”

Thank you. thank you. thank you for getting me here.

Music by Kailee Duggan, Contact Email: Kaileed@live.ca