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A Woman Alive

August 1st, 2013

The Journey Home

By Diane

I love this piece written by my friend Katie Lawson.  Katie shares her struggle with disordered eating, depression and anxiety.  Professionals had difficulty with providing a medical diagnosis, as Katie did not fit the profiles for any of these.  Through her own research and questioning she self-diagnosed herself with perfectionism,  manifested in disordered eating.  Here, Katie takes on the journey that lead her home to herself.  Isn’t this a struggle we all fight – to acknowledge all of who we are and accept and love our “imperfect” selves?

March 2007.

I sit in my kitchen hating myself, stuffed to the brim with Doritos, pizza flavored Gold Fish, vanilla ice cream, whatever kind of “forbidden food” I could stuff in my mouth as quickly as possible.  My mind completely shuts off when this happens. I don’t really even know how much I ate, but at least there was silence for a second. A relief from stress, anxiety, suppressed depression; a plunge into the oblivion that I can only achieve here…because at least I’m doing something. Relaxing or letting my mind rest in any other context would be lazy, idiotic, and messy.

The silence is short lived, however, as the mean, self-loathing voices begin to chatter away.

The next day I vow to be good; to eat only a cup of yogurt for breakfast…but that will be at 3 p.m. because there is NO WAY I could be hungry before then. Or ever again.

November 2007.

I am home from my first semester of college for Thanksgiving. Everyone is telling me how skinny I look. Yay! Good. I am so glad nobody can tell I totally binged three months ago on that container of almonds on move-in day. Thank god I have developed such self-control to now be careful and smart with my nutrition.  I was such a crazy emotional eater before college. Thank god that disgusting habit is behind me. I also went shopping with my mom yesterday and the size 0 pants were falling off of me. Okay, I admit it: I really do look amazing.

December 2007.

My doctor says if I keep losing weight I will have to be hospitalized. My parents threaten that I won’t be allowed to return to school. The scale reads 91 lbs. But, there is nothing wrong, I swear! I guess I’ll just gain a little weight back to make them happy.

January 2009.

My weight has been stable and “healthy” (according to my therapist) for almost a year. But now, I know and feel that something is wrong. I keep bursting into tears randomly. I feel sad, lonely, undeserving, desperate. I sob on the phone to my mom, reaching the point of an anxiety attack. And then, at the emotional, depressive bottom, I can see. I have clarity and relief.

My soul needs to heal and feel love again. I matter and deserve joy, play, and pleasure. I deserve these gifts because of the pure fact that I am a human being on earth. Not because of how hard I did or did not push myself; not because of how perfect or UN-perfect I act.

September 2009.

I am blossoming. People tell me that I’m glowing. I begin to accept that “perfect” is not real or attainable.

I watch two dear friends suffer the same disordered eating fate that I experienced. It pains me deeply and I reach out. They won’t hear me. I remember that state of being.

March 2010.

I gain weight. I feel solid.

October 2010.

I lose weight. I recognize that I need to reinstate awareness and self-care.

May 2011.

I gain weight. I recognize that maybe I am still eating, at times, to fill a hole. Old patterns die hard.

September 2012.

My weight stabilizes (after 6 years) and I finally begin to feel peace.

Who would have thought that dropping the struggle would bring me what I truly wanted: A body and a soul in joyous alignment? …Again, most of the time; I am only human.

November 2012.

After enduring years of the disordered eating and self-image roller coaster, I am very well educated on the subject. I can’t read enough about this secret epidemic among adults and teens.

But, why? Why is this hidden, and why are we doing this to ourselves? I have become determined to help other women heal their relationships with food and themselves.


I am increasingly passionate about sharing my story with others as a means to raise awareness and offer a safe forum for conversation. In this mission, I have begun to work with incredible people, coaching them through similar experiences.  While I continue to heal myself, I love helping others rejoice in food and their bodies through the relearning and remembering process.

My journey, of course, still continues. But each day, I can feel myself growing stronger, more self-aware.

The other day I woke up after a day that those old, mean voices would have condemned as an absolute failure.

But instead, my first thought was, “It’s okay. I still love you anyway.”

Katie Lawson is an illuminator. As a NYC based dual entrepreneur with business focuses in wellness coaching and the performing arts, Katie consistently strives to share her passions for healing and enlightenment through both mediums. In 2011, Katie proudly graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance. More recently, Katie starred in the world premiere of PAINTING HIS WINGS by Sinead Daly at the Berkshire Fringe Festival and has joined forces with Alisa Vitti’s FLOliving revolution.

Katie Lawson
The Illumination Impact
(978) 846-5102

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