After gaining and losing 50 to 75 pounds every two years or so since my teens, I decided I needed professional help. In 2005, at the age of 38, I started working with a therapist that specialized in eating disorders, trauma and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation which activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are “trapped” in the nervous system. While I went to the therapist to get a handle on my weight, she thought my issues with food and weight were merely a symptom of a much deeper issue: my childhood sexual abuse.
I was sexually abused by family members. I don’t know when it began but it continued until I was 10. For much of my life I would have chosen death before revealing that, so deep was my shame. But I was desperate to find love and believed resolving my weight was key. So began the next 12 years of my life working with my therapist using EMDR, a chiropractor to release trapped fight or flight responses, a sex therapist and group therapy for sexual abuse.
I accomplished what I desperately hoped was possible but feared was not. I made it to the other side. Getting there required tremendous effort, the suspension of doubt, and a steadfast belief that it was possible. I’m rooting for you.