Mom knows best. When Shenika’s mom noticed that her eating patterns weren’t normal, she took a stand to help her daughter recover. The tricky thing about eating disorders is people usually don’t know they have one (or don’t think they have one) but someone on the outside looking in a can that something isn’t right.
From there, Shenika was able to continue her healing process through writing and daily journaling. She even creates journals for those who are currently going through recovery! You can learn more about Shenika and shop her journals on Etsy here:
When did you first start experiencing disordered eating patterns?
I started to experience disordered eating patterns when I started to get really obsessed with healthy eating – I would check to see the ingredients and eat things if I knew what was in them, then the time rules came in which took over really quickly.
My mum noticed that I wasn’t eating like myself so she was very concerned and sought help – although I wasn’t very grateful then – I cannot tell you the love I have for my mum for supporting me through the highs and lows during this process.
What were the biggest challenges you had to face during your healing journey?
Trusting myself, my parents and the process of recovery, recovery is a journey that requires so much mental as well as physical strength so I had to believe that I was doing the right thing every time I felt full and ate more than I felt was ‘correct’.
Going against the ED thoughts, they become so intrusive as you start recovery which is why at the beginning it can be so hard for people to continue, however, I can say these thoughts do eventually go away and quiet down.
When did you decide to seek help?
My parents said that I needed to get help and I was very reluctant however, I was forced to see the doctors, it was so sad because I still didn’t see how bad things were getting, however, the realization hit me when I was sent to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and I remember saying to my dad, “I need help and I want to get better” after that recovery seemed to be a little easier because I accepted the fact I had a problem and now ready to recover
Did you reach out to anyone to aid you in your healing journey?
I didn’t reach out to anyone in particular for my recovery, but I do have my brothers who have really been the most supportive people in my journey, I don’t think I would have been able to recover without them.
What was the main source of your holistic healing?
I LOVE reading books – what I found the most helpful during this time for me was “the secret” by Rhonda Byrne – I have read ‘the secret’ since 2018 and it is a book that I cherish – I now have the whole collection of the books! it gave me hope that no matter the circumstances you are facing right now you can always turn them around, you just need to have faith and believe – and trusting that I would get better no matter how hard things get, really helped me keep the faith.
It may be different to most, but I would always try and make food times, before/after food times fun, for example watching a funny movie while I ate to distract me or play a game, having a family member to sit with etc.
What is your favourite modality for healing, and why?
I found writing in my journal something that always felt relaxing and lifted some weight off my shoulders – I could write what I feeling and what I was proud of achieving that day, and what I could do next time to either challenge or do differently the next day – as journaling helped me so much – I have my own business now where I make personalized recovery journals to help those in recovery stay motivated!
What would you say to someone who is skeptical of journaling and its effectiveness? How do you approach that?
Trust yourself, you are your biggest support but you can also be your biggest cage – until you decide yourself that you want to heal and be fully free – it can never happen to the fullest as you will always have that small barrier that you’re scared to go across but if you believe and trust yourself and the ones around you, you can fully heal and live a happy free life again!
Do you face any challenges now, and if so, how do you handle them?
If I am being completely honest, I don’t really face any challenges anymore, I challenged all the things that scared me during the early stages in my recovery which I find really helpful! – However, if I were to fear something now, I can acknowledge that thought, realize it is irrational and do the opposite to it.
What have you found to be the most beneficial in your healing journey?
Challenging the things that scare me in order to show that I will be okay – talking to my family (or anyone you feel close to) and explain what is going on in your head (like the ED thoughts) and how they can help you. – I know it’s hard when you are deep in your ED, but trust your family, let them in, they are there to help and support you because they love you x
How do you advise people on overcoming that challenge?
I am not someone to say, go straight in and do it, because it never worked like that for me (however it may work for others, which is completely fine), I had to do it more slowly, for example, if I were to challenge a specific food, I would one day at least take a bite, if I feel I could have more then I would but if not that’s fine, but the next day or so I would go and have 2+ bites and go back in a couple of days and have even more – and after completing the food I wouldn’t just say I have conquered it – I would make sure to continuously challenge that food daily / weekly until I feel 0 anxiety around it.
Why have you chosen a more holistic path in healing?
I feel at ease – I don’t feel so overwhelmed when it comes to recovery, although I was scared the majority of the timekeeping calm and doing self-care tasks helped keep the pressure lower than it could have been.
Doing it this way I have now also built a healthy relationship with food and exercise where it does not control me and I am in control.
Also finding love for activities like Yoga, Pilates, Journaling, my business, and meditation.
What resources would you recommend? (books, podcasts, websites that you’ve found helpful)
DEFINITELY – The secret book by Rhonda Byrne + the movie (on Netflix)
Bob Proctor! He has helped me a lot! Listening to his lessons and classes
Journaling – You can find personalised journals on my Etsy!
YouTube – Master Sri Akarshana (very calming meditation) / yoga by Adriene
Although it may not be helpful for all – since a very young age I loved to cook – thanks to my dad! So in recovery, I would try to create new dishes and explore new ingredients that I wouldn’t eat before in order to get me out of my comfort zone and because this was something I enjoyed and found really fun. It helped me eat foods I feared and new things myself or my parents didn’t even think I would have!
Food is meant to be enjoyed and Shenika found that passion and love of enjoying and cooking food by repairing her relationship with it. She was able to do this by reaching within herself and expressing herself through writing.
Learn more about Shenika and shop her journals here:
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