Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email:


Friday, October 31, 2014

How i think a therapist would have helped me

Hi Izzy, 
I'm actually in the middle of pursuing my goal as a psychologist. I just wanted to ask you what do you actually think about the therapist and what did you actually want from them when you were still sick? Do you want them to be strict or to be supportive? Things like that. I'm thinking of furthering my studies as ED specialist, and your answers will be a great help for me!! I wonder if you can write a post about how an ED specialist should do from your point of view? Thanks!

Therapy has never really been anything i have been interested in... or i have, but i have been to numerous therapists and they have never helped me. They have just deemed me too sick because i havent been able to talk. This is something i am aware of, i struggle to talk about my problems so therapy has never been something that has helped me. 
   Even though i know therapy is about talking about your problems, but i do believe there are other ways therapists could have helped me.
  Whenever someone - or a therapist asked me questions such as why arent you eating? Why are you so scared of being fat? why are you doing this/not doing this? etc all i wanted to do was shout F**k you and storm out of the room. I couldnt answer those types of questions because i didnt know the answer myself. I didnt know why i couldnt eat or why i was so scared of becoming fat. I didnt know the reason, it was just something i did... 

For some people it helps when coaxing and thinking questions such as those are asked. They get the patient to think. But for me, that never worked i just got angry if someone tried to pry into my thoughts or feelings. I am someone who is independant and doesnt like to ask others for help or to put my problems on someone else, i keep them to myself.
Expressing myself in spoken words is not easy for me either however i can express myself in written words or drawings. I am not good at drawing but when i was sick i found myself scribbling and doodling on paper - a way of expressing myself. If a therapist had given me a piece of paper and just asked me to draw whatever or just doodle i can imagine that would have helped me. I could have sat silently the whole hour and just drawn or written things... it would have helped me. Whether i would have shown the drawing or not i dont know... but i can imagine if the therapist had seen my drawings and than maybe gotten me to speak about it... or asked me why i drew a crying sun or why i wrote fat 150 times on a piece of paper maybe it would have gotten me to say something.
Sometimes speaking isnt the only way to express yourself and i think its important to be able to help those who dont feel comfortable talking.

Sometimes silence also helps... if you use the silent method where you just let the patient say something when they feel like it... sometimes the silence builds up and the person just bursts. They dont like the silence, they want to say something but feel they cant but eventually when its gone 45 minuts and nothing has been said they might say something small which can then lead to conversation.
   I am someone who only really speaks about my problems if i burst due to stress/anxiety or because i end up metnioning something about it and then everything comes flowing out like a shaken cola bottle.

I think its important for a therapist to come with some good advice and coping mechanisms aswell... to not just say i understand all the time. Because that can get frustrating. But to give advice such as hwo to cope before meal times, during meal times and after meal times. Tips on how to stay positive etc
Asking the patient how you can help them is also good... because everyone is different. Of course some people dont know how they can be helped, for example if you had asked me when i was sick i would have told you leaving me alone would help me. But you cant give up on a person.
  I do believe therapy is very helpful, but you just need to find what suits you and the therapist needs to help with that. To find a method that will help the patient.

Sometimes just sitting and talking about the weather or other things can be helpful. To get the patients mind off of everything else in their head. Though of course the silent method and just talking about random things can seem silly when a patient has to pay a high fee every session and all you do is talk about random things or silt in silence.

I think a therapist should be a mix of strict and supportive... sometimes you need to be strict but other times more supportive. But talking positively, listening, understanding and coming with useful tips and advice is the best according to me :)

Hopefully this helps you.

And to my readers if you have any suggestions on what would have helped you please comment!


  1. I've also been to many psychologists this year and switched around a lot because no didn't really feel it was helping me. To me therapy felt more like I was just talking in circles about everything I felt and the only goal of my psychologist was to let me talk and let that be a space for expressing emotions I couldn't express anywhere else or admit my fears that I couldn't talk to my family about, which helped at first but it got to a point where I needed to get out of it and talking wasn't enough. I really would've liked advice on how to change my thoughts and how to deal with feelings. Giving me homework tasks would've been nice to help me overcome certain thoughts or habits. I think I needed my thinking to be challenged more and not just have to talk about it.

    1. I agree with you :) I feel the same ... and even with the thoughts that i was expressing, i needed someone to help me question what i was saying, like "why was it helping me that day to not eat/binge??", and give me small goals rather than just talking about them (e.g. once this week, when you really want to binge, draw a picture or write it down, and don't binge, and then the next week, try it twice, etc...) because the problem is very often, once you have acknowledged your ED, that in theory everything seems to work out and make sense, but in practice, it almost never comes out the way you want it to.

  2. Those questions above, asked by your therapists, I don't personally find them very tactful. The psychologist that I've seen has let me talk about whatever has happened to be on my mind, and to be honest, I had been missing such person in my life for years, that meaning times before sickness as well. So, SO many things from my past have been cleared out almost by accident during those sessions. She has shared her points of view (as a healthy person) but also given empathy towards me whenever I've felt drastically stomped down. I think that is a sign of an excellent professionality, and it gives me shivers to imagine meeting a therapist who just wants some answers - I'm sorry for your experiences, Izzy.

    Of course I've been lucky, too: my psychologist has a sweet, laid-back and yet confident personality that I have felt comfortable with. Still, the best thing that any therapist can be is to make the sessions like the patient wants. It has to be a conversation that is led by the insights of the sufferer. The therapist's part is to correct if the patient appears to have surreal beliefs about the other people's thoughts. Main thing is to be the one that listens, never yells like family or friends might; is the one to whom the patient is allowed to speak about anything and who pays attention to the person beneath those twisted, ill ideas.

    - Katriina

  3. I already commented this in the previous post where you asked the question but here it is again with some extra to help :) :
    hi!! :) i think that in recovery, what i needed and still need most, is support and wise words from other people who have recovered and gone through similar problems; knowing that I am not the only one, that i can get through it, and solutions/ideas on how to cope are really really helpful... one of the reasons why izzy's blog is so wonderful!! :)
    Also, maybe go through the situation with the patient. Have them talk about it step by step, everything included. For example, if somebody is struggling with over-exercising, and just can't find a way to stop doing obsessive exercises before bed let's say, then go through it with them and find the moments where it can be stopped. Ask them about their thoughts at each point in time, give them advice on how to cope when it gets very very difficult. This can be hard, as society pushes us so much to exercise, "just do it", be strong, etc... But sometimes, it touches the wrong people, and i know that for me, i took it very personally and pushed myself too much because i thought that that was good for my body, and i was just doing what we were supposed to do. Just like with sitting down, not eating carbs after 6,etc... all of these, with eating disorders, are very often taken too the extreme, despite the fact that they are just guidelines so that people realize what they should and shouldn't be doing on a daily basis(although many of them are wrong of course, like eating carbs after 6 being unhealthy). You need to, as a therapist, show the patient that these do not have to be 100 % respected, all the time!!
    Also, help the sufferer find things they really enjoy(other than eating/restricting, and exercising) and get them to do it once a day at least... If they love reading, but find it difficult because it is a time of rest and they feel they need to be in constant motion/cannot let themselves be relaxed, then help them think realistically, "what will happen if you sit down for a few moments and enjoy the book", show them that other people sit as well and nothing happens to them(even though with EDs , sometimes the patient believes that everything is only applicable to them/that they are an exception). For me, I used to sit up with my legs in the air, and therefore, i never really had a time where i could just rest(except for sleeping, which even then, i considered finding a way to work my muscles in a position in which i could sleep). Help the patient with the idea that "do they want to live their life this way" , "is this what will make you happy/what you are looking for in life??"...
    And lastly (sorry this is sooo long, there are just a lot of things to say!!) my therapist one day asked me a question "For what, for who??" And i often think about that. What and who i am doing this for (starving myself, overexercising, bingeing,etc...). The answer i came up with many times was : me. And that makes you realize that all this suffering is to make yourself be satisfied, when, in fact, you are making yourself suffer more... So that's something good to think about.
    Anyways, i am not sure if you read this all so i think i will stop with the suggestions now!! :p
    good luck to you and to your patients!! :) and you can always ask more in the future if you need :)