August 2, 2010

It’s all about relationships

I am a strong and confident woman. I’m independent. My heart is open. I feel balanced. I am calm. I am friendly and outgoing.

When I first went to see Charles at the beginning of 2009, I could not have imagined that I would ever be able to describe myself as anything but broken. But, midway through 2010, a year and a half later, I feel that all of the words above describe how I feel about myself now.

I am quietly and confidently taking care of myself, and most importantly I am looking after myself in a balanced way. I am socialising and making new friends, I am much more active and outgoing. I’ve lost 30 kg’s. I am happy. It’s not all smooth sailing, some weeks are better than others, but that’s life and I now cope with the ups and downs in much more constructive ways.

When I first went to see Charles I really was desperate. I just didn’t know what else to do. I had been having issues with food for as long as I can remember, and although I hadn’t developed a traditional eating disorder (ie. Anorexia or Bulimia) I had a severely dysfunctional and destructive relationship with food. My eating was out of control, my health on a downward spiral, I felt wretched and grotesquely unhappy about myself and my life and I was desperately hoping that he would be able to ‘help me’.

Charles listened to my story, but didn’t let me dwell on it. He challenged me by involving my family and friends in our sessions – forcing me to confront what I was doing and sharing with them the part of my life I had kept to myself, I had alienated everyone from the reality of what I was going through and doing to myself.

My experience with Charles was slightly puzzling to begin with, Charles didn’t seem that interested in talking about food. “It’s not about the food” he would say. “It’s about your relationships”. And what I learned from my time with Charles is – that it really is about your relationships – and it starts with the relationship you have with yourself. This in turn, affects all the relationships you have – family, friends, colleagues. And in the end, he just helped me to help myself by letting my family and friends help me too.

The time and energy I invested in my therapy with Charles was the best thing I could have done for myself. It was the beginning of the rest of my life. A good life.

Clare (not her real name)

Additional note from Charles Fishman:

Clare doesn’t mention it but she worked hard to transform her relationships. When we started, she was isolated: “I have one friend‚Ķmaybe.” At work, she would walk with her head down and eat alone.

In the process of her recovery, she made many friends at work. She related to me at one point her twittering the other woman frequently during the day. At one point, her office threw a surprise party for her.

Clare accomplished this dramatic transformation by focusing on addressing the areas conflict in her life – and one major one was her shyness. One by one, she got allies on her side to support in her in addressing stressful situations and difficult people.

Our new website will focus on aiding sufferers to understand how important it is to address conflicts – and getting supports behind you to help in the task.

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