Jenny’s Journey

Written by Jonathan Kattenberg on December 5, 2021
Est. Reading: 5 minutes

Challenging times

My background

I have been working with Jonathan with very intense therapy for a while now. If you haven’t read my previous blogs I will briefly outline my previous struggles. 

Alcohol dependency and eating disorders. I had an eating disorder for over 2 decades and became alcohol dependent for about 3 years up until 2 years ago. 

Both of these addictions almost took my life. Sadly I had got to the point where I wasn’t bothered if it did.

At the time, my addiction chose alcohol and lack of eating over my own son, family and friends. 

That’s addiction, it doesn’t discriminate. Situations in the past get interpreted by each individual differently and people react differently. By this, I mean that while one person wouldn’t be bothered about an event in the past, another could be quite affected by it or affected by words. 

So there has been a lot of therapy around my past to overcome this. Other services had briefly brushed over and not challenged my mindset which is why it has been going on so long until Jonathan stepped in.

I’ll be honest, with all the intensive treatment I was receiving there were moments where I thought, “is this working? What’s the point? Am I ever going to be ‘fixed’? How long does this take”? 

Reflecting and taking the decision for change

The challenge with instant gratification and being in the height of addiction is what I feel is craved as an instant fix. That “fix” is only short term and I had to accept recovering would take time. 

I had “practiced” my heavy drinking for long enough, it was time to accept what’s happened, take ownership and practice the tools I had learnt to get better. I didn’t get it right straight away, I messed up but I learnt from it and sometimes had to try a different approach. 

There’s a good old cliché “practice makes perfect”, I even say it to my 7 year old son, and getting your life under your control and actually having a life is totally worth it. Life can be scary, unpredictable, chaotic, highs and lows but with the right mindset and use of effective mindset tools YOU CAN get through anything. 

I have, and since being sober/eating well, recently had the most challenging experience to date. In fact, it’s still not over and for the first time in my life I'm using effective skills instead of turning to drink or restricted eating. 

Why it’s so important to Secure Your Tectonic Plates of Your Mind (as Jonathan would put it!)

Here’s the recent situation….

Saturday 16th October. Wedding dress shopping with my bridesmaids and my mum. Had a great day out, meal etc, oh…found the dress. However in the back of my mind I couldn’t help worrying about my son, Bob (still not actually called Bob), he’d been off school for 2 days being sick and laid up on the sofa. 

Normally this kid never stops, we do loads of active things together. On my return from the exciting day out, a rash had appeared on Bob. Without giving it 2 thoughts (of my past reservations about going to hospital and being stuck there) I rang an ambulance and packed a bag at the same time. I knew something wasn’t right.  

Let’s just say in the height of my addiction and eating disorder, my own hospital experience was not a very good one and I probably wasn’t the ideal patient, which led me to getting sectioned. 

Why I Know My Tectonic Plates have been Secured!

Bearing in mind 2 years ago, my addiction would have chosen alcohol over my son!

On this occasion my whole world stopped, nothing mattered other than getting Bob sorted. My usual routine of exercise and set meal times which helps me stay sober and eating well, went out the window but I knew I would be OK. 

I fought to get him sorted. I experienced feelings (which I would have previously tried to numb in very unhelpful ways), emotions, anxiety, sadness, guilt, hopelessness, nervous energy and very lonely and there was nowhere to go to “switch off”. 

We were in and out of hospital for over a month then we contracted Covid, which was a kick in the teeth. I can honestly now tell you what got me through this. 

Jonathan and myself have done so much work together. One aspect was to strengthen my mind using certain techniques attaching emotional drivers to what I wanted to achieve. My emotional drivers were trained to kick the ass out of alcohol and food issues, and all of a sudden I was now in hospital with a rare auto-immune disease impacting on my son. My emotional driver used was Bob. 

Another technique used was to train my mind to take the batton as if I was in a relay race against my past self.

Jonathan would get me to imagine I was on an athletic race track. I would imagine Jonathan racing against my old dark self to start with. Jonathan would do a lap and I would take the Baton and begin racing. At first my old self would catch me up. 

Over time after practice and attachment of emotional drivers, I became so mentally strong, I did not need Jonathan on the race track with me. I would just look at the old self on the other race track lane and make it clear it no longer threatened my life, nor could it beat me. I would and still smash it into the ground if my metaphorical old self even thought it could take me on!

The anger and emotions I felt towards my issues getting between me and Bob became so strong (after practice) I am now over 2 years sober. This vision and attached feelings empowered my mind and enabled me to stay strong, focused be there for Bob, and get through it with whatever cards are dealt!

Reflecting

I realise the situation with Bob could have gone one of two ways, but I have practiced to achieve a strong mindset and I got through it. There would have been a time previously when that situation would have brought back a lots of feelings around being in hospital but I took control of the situation, didn’t panic. Even when the word “meningitis” got thrown around. I stayed strong for him. 

I’ve found it’s the build up to something that creates the anxiety, the not knowing, the things I tell myself in my head, it’s all made up nonsense.

Even though it is still ongoing it is rewarding to be writing this, and I can look back at my previous unhelpful behavior and know, that’s not me anymore. Writing this has also reminded me how useful the tools are, not only to get you through addiction (for example) but to have the ability to be strong for unexpected life situations. 

Looking back, I would have found the above information quite vital the people helping you don’t have grey hairs for nothing. If I could sum up this article in one word it would be- Believe.

If you want to learn more about overcoming Anxiety, Alcoholism and eating disorders, please get in touch.

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