Journey to Recovery from Eating Disorders
By Kylie van der Veer
In 2015, after more than twenty years of struggling mentally and physically, I began a quest to recover from my eating disorder, once and for all.
I was facing the prospect of long-term health issues caused by two decades of anorexia and binge eating. I had sabotaged many relationships with friends and family and was becoming more and more isolated.
I had previously sought treatment but had never been able to let go of what had become a life-threatening coping mechanism.
During my darkest days, I would often look online to try to find practical advice and hope.
Unable to find anything suitable, and with my illness starting to take its toll, I finally felt compelled to find answers. I asked my partner Annie if we could document my recovery journey on film so that we might be able to provide other sufferers and carers with vital information we might find along the way.
Without any real knowledge of the enormity of the battle that lay ahead, I expected my recovery – and the documentary filming – to take one year. In hindsight, I now realise that recovery cannot be scheduled. It has taken nearly four years of therapy, treatments, psychology, expert advice and self-compassion to get well.
Recovery is a very individual pathway for everyone and it takes a lot of strength, courage and determination. And it’s not about just one answer or one step, it’s definitely about the collective steps, finding self- compassion, practising forgiveness and building the healthy side of yourself into the strongest version you can be.
For four years I interviewed the world leaders in Western Medicine talking about genetics, brain science and what they are hoping to improve with eating disorder research. I had brain scans, I saw a doctor, a dietician and a psychiatrist. I travelled to a conference in New Zealand where I met people who had actually made a full recovery.
Having access to the world’s leading voices in recovery gave me enormous strength and hope.
However, I knew that I needed something different to complement my treatment plan.
In 2017 I made the decision to enter a 21 day Panchakarma at Oneworld Ayurveda in Ubud, Bali.
It was and to this day is still the best decision I have ever made in my life. I still remember the day of arrival sitting down with Doctor Ninnu and him putting his fingers on my wrist and closing his eyes. Two minutes later he named off a host of physical and mental symptoms that are prevalent within me.
He told me he would devise a treatment plan for the 21 days that would include ayurvedic food, medicines and therapy treatments that would be adjusted as I progressed with treatment.
I remember panicking and crying about the food – I was terrified to have it out of my control. However Dr Ninnu asked me to put my trust in him – and I truly did.
The next three weeks were different to anything I had ever experienced. Every day was filled with yoga, meditation, nurturing treatments and complete nourishment. By the third day in I was already experiencing a calmness that I had never before experienced without the use of medication or food to quell my anxiety.
It let me know that that feeling of peace was possible…..the moment my anxiety eased, so too did my eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.
I returned again to Oneworld Ayurveda in 2018 and will shortly be returning again in 2019. It has become my yearly check in. A place where I know that my heart and mind will be restored and my motivation to continue caring for myself and others will be replenished. It has kept me grounded and inspired me to live a better life, and appreciate the many blessings I have.
I will never be able to thank the team at Oneworld Ayurveda enough. They are now not just friends – they are family.
I feel so privileged to share my journey in the documentary “A Peace of Nourishment”. After enduring the hardest experience of my life, I now feel a peace and joy I never thought was possible.
Kylie van der Veer has been featured on Channel Seven’s Weekend Sunrise, and ABC’s You Can’t Ask That (Eating Disorders Episode) and Compass (A Peace of Nourishment).