I work with people who experience intense anger and rage.
I work with people who experience so much shame they cannot look at me. Shame so profound that they would rather disappear than allow anyone to see them.
I work with people who experience periods of extreme distress and anxiety so heavy they feel like they can barely breathe at times.
I work with people who feel so much sadness they feel like they might drown in their own tears.
I work with people who are in a constant state of fear. Fearing what other people think of them, fear for the future, fear for their health, fear of life, being seen and not being seen.
I work with people who have learned to take their emotions out on their body or express them through harming their body.
I work with people who have such a terrible sense of loathing for themselves that they can’t stand to be in their own skin, feel their body or look in the mirror.
I work with people who spend hours and days overthinking and replaying past events on a loop.
I work with people who have so much guilt that they feel not worthy of taking up space in a room.
I work with people who feel like they don’t belong.
I work with people whose thoughts are so dark they feel like they will be swallowed whole.
I work with PEOPLE.
I still haven’t properly explained the title of my role… I’m an Eating Distress Recovery Coach. I work with people who are going through a very challenging time in their lives and use food as a way of expressing that pain. I work with people who are recovering from eating disorders and distress around food. Yet I have very little to say in relation to food and food behaviours because I work with the people beneath the label, beneath the behaviours, beneath the food, beneath the body…I work with people.
I feel so strongly about this as we live in a society that is determined to label everything and everyone. That might be well and good as sometimes that can help people to figure out where to get the appropriate help, support or information. However, sometimes labelling someone with orthorexia, or bulimia, for example means the person gets lost beneath the label. They become a set of behaviours, characteristics and symptoms rather than the beautiful human beings that they are. The real issues often get lost, the real people get lost. Their families get distracted looking up information about their symptoms rather than talking to them… the person. The focus is on the weight, the calories, the food. Of course, all this need attention because we are physical beings with physical needs but it’s important not to lose the person. There’s someone in there and they really want to be heard. They have a story to tell, they have a voice, they have feelings that need to be expressed, they have wants and needs.
Over the last 9 years I have been privileged to work with the most beautiful people who are really struggling and are trying to figure it all out.
I don’t remember their labels, I remember their journey, I remember the people they are.
You can contact Andrea on her website here
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