The Lady who Unlocked the Door
Back in 2010 I was living in virtual slavery under the psychological bondage of a cult-like therapist. I hadn’t seen my family in 22 years and was living in a squalid flat, subjected daily to verbal abuse, ritual punishments and sleep deprivation. I was forced to hand over three-quarters of everything I earned or received. But no lock and key was necessary to keep me from running away. My therapist had spent years brainwashing me into believing that he was the reason I was still alive and that should I leave I would be dead within a matter of days.
Rewind 22 years from that point and I was on the brink of suicide from bulimia nervosa. I had tried orthodox counselling and therapists, eating disorder ‘specialists’, a hypnotherapist and even a medium. Nothing had helped and no one had the answer. But in May 1987, I spotted an advert in a job magazine for a psychotherapist claiming to help compulsive food addicts. Through him, though I had found the way out of the nightmare of my eating disorder I had stepped through the doorway to a different kind of hell.
The punishments and sleep deprivation had become so extreme over the years that by February in 2010 I decided to break my therapist’s rules and used the internet to Google food addiction. Kay Sheppard’s name came up as the world renowned food addiction recovery pioneer and, thinking nothing would come of it, I sent her an email. I couldn’t believe it when she replied within a matter of minutes. She said she would help me and suggested I got away as soon as I could. That email gave me the courage to contact my dear parents and escape (see my book if you’d like to read the full story). Following a few sessions with her and getting an understanding of the biogenetic basis for my disease and I’m now living a life beyond my wildest dreams.
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting Kay for the second time. She got to meet my husband, twin daughters and my mum and it was very emotional for both my mum and I to see and hug the lady who had reunited us. Without her courage and common sense, I doubt I would have had the strength to leave my second hell.
June 9, 2016
Kay Sheppard LMHC, CEDS, CET, M.A. is the best-selling author of Food Addiction: The Body Knows, From the First Bite and Food Addiction: Healing Day by Day. A licensed mental health counsellor and a certified eating disorders specialist, she conducts workshops for food addicts worldwide.