Over the next several months, I will be sharing excerpts from my memoir that I'm writing, titled Digesting Life. The story of my struggle and recovery from an eating disorder is the basis for what led me to create the KARMA Method, the signature coaching and therapeutic method used by Bespoke Wellness Partners. These excerpts are glimpses into my past that I have identified as pivotal steps in my recovery story and, therefore, are strongly linked with the steps outlined in KARMA. My hope is that maybe some of these stories will resonate with you or make you more aware of where you are on your specific journey with whatever struggles you may be facing.
America, for me, was a dream come true. Walking around the streets of New York, I felt as if I was the luckiest woman in the world. The sound of the loud cars, the people bustling all around, the smells, and the sight of tall buildings and flashing lights created an overwhelming feeling of joy mixed with anxiety. I was away from my problems and I hoped that the physical distance would help me leave behind my miserable past in Israel and start a new life with Peter.
I was an extremely excited 20- year-old young woman and Peter was 50. After spending a week exploring NYC, we embarked on a cross country drive to San Francisco. I was excited to see the United States and Peter was happy to show me around. He knew people all over the country and I always loved meeting new people. About a week later, we arrived in San Francisco. As we approached the city while driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, I almost stopped breathing. The view was just spectacular and the bridge and the city were some of the most amazing sights I had ever seen. I was happy and nervous at the same time. I was happy to start a new life with my boyfriend in a strange country, but worried about the unknown.
We rented an apartment at a beautiful complex along the Embarcadero where we had a pool and a gym. It was a great place to start my new life in the city. Once we settled in, I made some friends through Peter, and through the complex where we resided. Peter encouraged me to eat healthily and exercise, and I was quite grateful for that. I thought I was very happy. ”It is more important to be fit than skinny…” He would say. “If you want to become a model, you will have to be super fit…” I had always experienced a sense of anxiety when Peter spoke to me. I was never enough and there was always room to grow—but I had yet to understand how his words contributed to my problems.
A week after we arrived, I felt the urge to binge and purge. When Peter was out of the house, I went to the store and purchased cookies, fast food, and soda and ate as much as I could in the shortest time possible. I ate and ate until I couldn’t take in any more and then I purged it all. Or at least that was what I thought. I sat on the bathroom floor and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop myself from binging and purging. I thought this was all behind me. I was in America, the dream, living in a beautiful complex with a decent man. What was wrong with me? I squeezed my belly and my legs and I was revolted by what I felt. I made myself purge one more time to make sure that all of what I had consumed came out and I stood up. I looked in the mirror again, my enemy. I was so far away from my family and from all the people I loved. I felt isolated. I thought, would I ever be happy?
It was on this spring day in late April of 1998 that I first became fully aware that the struggle that I had been dealing with for seven years, a struggle that controlled my mind and my body since I was 15, was still life threatening. Unfortunately, this was only the very beginning of my recovery from my eating disorder, a process that would last another four years. However, it sticks out in my mind because of the significance awareness plays in anyone’s journey to recovery—whether that be from an eating disorder, an addiction, anxiety, or some other issue you are struggling with.
Knowledge is the foundation of any change. After all, how can one make a change if they aren’t aware there is a change to be made? How can they change what they don’t understand? Knowledge is a major part of my KARMA Coaching Method and this step is twofold: There is Knowledge as Awareness and Knowledge as Education. In my story above, which is just a small excerpt from the memoir that I’m working on called Digesting Life, I had just begun my journey with knowledge as awareness. I used my own process of recovery, along with extensive research, to develop my coaching method so I know these steps firsthand and have been using them with clients for years.
When I use the KARMA Coaching Method with my clients, we spend multiple sessions on Knowledge, going through several exercises, activities, and reflections. The goals of this step are threefold:
Develop a better awareness of the challenges you are facing.
Identify past events that might have contributed to your challenges.
Recognize what might be blocking you from overcoming these challenges.
This may sound simple but I encourage you to think about what you might be struggling with. Write those challenges down. Maybe you are already acutely aware of them or maybe you’ve never spoken or written them down in a concrete way. However, you can’t begin to understand how your thoughts and feelings are connected to your struggles until you identify those struggles.
I hope you enjoy this series that I will be adding to over the next several weeks and hope that you can find ways it relates to the challenges in your life. As always, if you need help on your journey, contact Bespoke Wellness Partners. We offer a full set of therapeutic services to fit your lifestyle.