My Recovery Story
At the age of 5 I had quite a bad accident that required 5 nurses to hold me still to help me. I had permanently damaged my teeth, and for a while, a fear of eating. Roll on 36 years, and I have finally realized that I had anxiety, I can only assume from being too young to process what happened to me. I have lived with that fear in my gut and noisy, noisy head ever since, I learned to use food to quiet that feeling, and it became my go to for everything. I spent my adolescence and twenties focused on food, constantly 'dieting'. I gained a substantial amount of weight in a short time.
“I had boyfriends over this time too, and on the surface lead a successful life, but internally I was tortured, I thought because of the food. I understand now that this numbing stopped me from being aware of my feelings in general.”
At the age of 26 I found myself living in a different city, in a new job. There I met a woman, whom I became good friends with and one night became so much more. We spent a year together as a couple, with that decision I lost a school friend, she said she 'couldn't follow me down the path I was now going': until this point I had no idea people in my life were homophobic. It created a huge fear around telling others, and so I hid in the bisexual closet for a while before finally telling my parents - who were shocked but supportive of me and my choice. After our relationship ended I was confused - was I gay, was it a phase? I dated, both men and women, finding women to be incredibly judgmental - that I had previously had relationships with men wasn’t acceptable to so many woman, so I was left feeling very alone, I was neither gay or straight 'enough', I discovered being a woman who found both men and women attractive didn’t suit either group - so was left feeling isolated, and that i didn’t belong anywhere.
Once I hit my 30s I was still single, but back in my home town, finding my way in the world again I spent more time in the LBGT+ community than the 'straight' world, building friendships there, but still continued to be discriminated against by the LBGT+ community for not being 'gay enough' - at least that is how it felt for me. Age 34 I met a woman called Michelle, who is now my wife, interestingly she has a similar story to me - realized she also fancied women, but not until her 20s, and suffered the same rejection from the lesbian community. Just before our wedding I found out the reason why Mum thought I was going to be a boy (before I was born), she went to see a psychic who told her she would have a daughter-in-law!! The psychic was correct, it was just my mum's assumption of how that she got wrong, I am very grateful to have parents that love and support me, regardless of my life choices, and sad that not everyone can say that yet. I am now 41 years of age, still happily married, still coming out to everyone I meet as people always assume I'm married to a man, and still fighting my anxiety and resulting eating disorder.
“Realising that my relationship with food is NOT ABOUT FOOD, but about my coping strategies, a very recent realisation, has shifted my mindset so much, I no longer feel tortured, guilty and shamed by that relationship with food, and that is helping me to become a more thoughtful, carefree eater, which is also freeing me in all sorts of other ways.”
My life has been full of twists, turns, joy, grief & anger and I have been brave enough to ask for help, and to research and seek solutions to my problems, which have lead me down a path, gaining degrees in both Psychology and Acupuncture, so I am able to help others on their life's journey.
Learn to love yourself and forgive yourself by remembering that who you are and what you do isn't set in stone, its just what you did at the time to survive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: PAULA WILSON-YOUNG
My name is Paula Wilson-Young, I am 41 years of age, I was born in Glasgow Scotland, and am working there now full time as an acupuncturist, running my own clinic, sharing what I have learned to aid people in their own recovery. I am married to a woman, and we have two adorable little Pomeranian dogs. You can follow Paula on www.healthrediscovered.co.uk.