Jenny’s Journey - How I Overcame What Seemed Impossible!

Written by Jonathan Kattenberg on September 4, 2020
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

I have learnt and accepted that my old thoughts, actions and feelings are no longer part of me and my personality, I don’t have to “put up with them”. For the first time in over 2 decades (yikes) I can honestly say I love my life, its fun, I am happy and I am grateful of my past ( I use to think that phrase “I love my life” was a load of rubbish) and accept it.

Following my work with Jonathan, I want to share my journey of life so far. So I can hopefully help and inspire anyone else that no matter how challenging things may seem, you can make change.

My struggles

This is just a brief introduction to my struggles and my journey of recovery. And heck, it’s been an arduous journey. 20 years (on and off) of eating disorders (which I’ll abbreviate to ED, because, why make it hard), alcohol misuse and dependency, anxiety, depression, 2 overdose attempts, various services and private treatment, twice sectioned and 6 inpatient treatments. A majority of which has only happened in the last 3-4 years.

Previously I have always thought...

“I’m always going to have mental health issues but I’ll just manage them”.

But why should I?

Since working with Jonathan and a whole variety of techniques he applies in our sessions, I have learnt and accepted that they are no longer part of me and my personality, I don’t have to “put up with them”. For the first time in over 2 decades (yikes) I can honestly say I love my life; it’s fun, I am happy and I am grateful of my past (I used to think that phrase “I love my life” was a load of rubbish) and accept it.

Hitting rock bottom

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been hard, very hard. Hitting rock bottom several times, each time reaching a lower point than the previous. Which I now also accept as part of the recovery process. See it as your starting point, it’s ok to feel horrendous and even when you feel there is no way out of the deep dark hole you’re in, I can honestly say it’s definitely not forever. Especially if you have the right support around you.

I unfortunately feel I have been let down by various services in quite a massive way. I understand we are ultimately responsible for our actions, and the NHS are struggling with their caseloads and budgets etc. But, for example, to be told that your BMI is too high for them to accept your case when you are massively underweight, and, when you have an ED it is a bit of a kick in the teeth. Or, to be discharged from hospital after the start of a detox, to be told to keep drinking as its too dangerous to stop, when your mindset isn’t strong, you and your mind automatically opt for the easy option, and revert to old ways. Things were tough.

My hopes and positive beliefs for a normal life vanished and honestly – I gave up. If it wasn’t for Jonathan, the techniques and support he provides, as well as a loving family, I would not be here writing this blog.

This time last year I was dying (I’m not going to sugar coat it), people were preparing to say goodbye to me. I was bedridden, force fed and unable to even brush my own teeth. What Jonathan has acknowledged and helped with is that alcohol and ED can be linked and my experience is that the NHS are reluctant to treat both together. When my eating was stable, my drinking got out of hand and vice versa. There was a reason for this which I’ll share in later blogs on how we identified the causes, and how we changed my mindset to move away from my old ways.

This is just an introduction of what I call “my car crash life”.

A ray of light

Thank you for reading this blog. The fact that you are reading this means you want to change and considering help/treatment, which is a massive step and one of the hardest. You should be proud of yourself. The rest will come in time, be patient (I can hear Jonathan saying “A bit rich coming from you, be patient!”). There’s no hiding behind excuses with Jonathan! I really struggled and still do at times, but I now have the mindset to continue striving forward. With good things take time, but it’s worth it.

You are not alone, these illnesses can happen to anyone and they are illnesses not a life choice. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to stop eating, or misuse alcohol. Unfortunately, my past experiences of life lead me to believe and feel the unhelpful ways to cope with life was to limit my eating, or drink to subdue and oppress my thoughts and feelings. So, it’s taken me a long time to practice new, positive and effective ways to move away from just coping, which enables me to build a strong solid mindset to achieve whatever I desire in life.

Please believe me when I say recovery is possible but it is a work in progress, and I’ve had to accept I’ll be in recovery for a while going forward. To achieve long lasting effects and change, therapy is not a quick fix and I suppose that’s what I expected. I wasn’t “fixed” overnight. The more I did the more it helped, it fuelled the strength in me.

I will go into more detail about my trek of life over the next few weeks/months and share insights, hints and tips of how we created an amazing shift in my life. Thanks again for reading and please don’t give up. You Can and Will recover if you choose.

Keep track of your progress, no matter how small. This helped me, it still helps me now to look back, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. At first it was almost physically impossible to put my own socks on, but now I’m back looking after my son, horse riding, running, weight training and being social with friends and family.

Keep going.

With love

Jenny’s Journey