My Adventure Quest - La Quête d'une Aventurière - Part 2
Oct 29, 2018
Don't worry. I won't speak at length about me and my childhood. And I'm not telling you all this for you to feel sorry for me or to sound like a poor little victim. Not at all. It only brings a deeper meaning and understanding to the whole story.
So let's start from the start...
I clearly wasn't born an outdoor explorer and life adventure coach
I grew up in the French part of Switzerland, in a tiny village in the countryside. Honestly I had a very privileged childhood. Both my parents were working in the main city when I was little but as animal lovers, we always had dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, even goats and geese in our big garden. I had a real talent for dancing, I loved spending time outdoors with my horse and pets, inventing worlds and stories, acting and playing with my sister and brother and the kids of the neighbourhood, and reading tons of superhero stories and books on magic, science-fiction and other worlds.
School was another story.
Not school itself but the social aspect of it. Since I started school, I've always felt different from the other kids. I've never been the cool kid, I was shy, wore glasses since aged 2, had an awkward boyish look, doing well in school but never head of class, active but not smashing good in sport, trendy but in my unconventional way (= not trendy at all to others J)... Since I became aware that some people actually were fitting in and others not, I have suffered from being in the losers group for years. Some were considered as cool trendy, fun and fashion. I wasn't. I became so self-conscious that it was a nightmare to go to school! And it got worse and worse in my teenage years. My looks and bodily image became a source of concern, worry, obsession. And the sports I enjoyed most didn't help in this respect: dressage and modern-jazz dance. Poise and looks.
To keep a long story short, as it's not the purpose of this post, by age 14 I started worrying seriously about food and my weight (even though I was perfectly thin and healthy). By age 18 food management and weight control had become a daily obsession. Then, I had my dark hours, a "breakdown" period where I totally lost control over everything, put on a lot of weight, was on and off studies and small jobs. By far my worst years. By age 23, I started with bulimia. And believe it or not, it was the beginning of a very long healing process.
Wake-up calls and Turning points
Looking back, I've realised that my hero quest has actually been punctuated by specific events, like magical milestones that I had the choice to follow or not. So I've decided to use these six major wake-up calls and turning points of this first chapter of my life adventure as a structure for this article.
Wake-up call #1 - Spleen Split
The very first one happened when I was 14. During a horse-riding summer camp by a renowned rider, I got kick in the abdomen by one the horses. A totally stupid accident, as it's often the case. 3-Mars was one of the nicer horse in the stable. I was too tired, too stressed out and didn't react fast enough when this big boy kicked that horse fly away - and me with it... I ended up in hospital, intensive care with a smashed spleen. Despite it all, I had been really lucky and actually recovered pretty quickly - with a beautiful long scar across my abdomen as a trophy! It didn't put me off at all and I was soon enough back in school (part-time for a while), back on my horse and back to the dancing class.
However I had lost a lot of weight. I mean really a lot. And grown 10 centimeters!! My body was doing an amazing job with recovery and needed fuel to heal, built up new muscles and tissues. And to study and catch up in school in the final year before college. But I didn't understand it then.
I wasn't ready to hear that wake-up call: be yourself. Don't pretend to be somebody else. Be proud of who you are, of your body, of your gifts and talents. Be grateful for all you have and all you are.
Instead of helping my body out by eating normally, I started controlling it, over-obsessing about the (natural) weight I was putting on. At 16, I think I had already tried 6 different diets and heard thousand of tips and advice from considered qualified nutritionists. The road to anorexia-bulimia was wide open.
Turning Point #1 - When Harry meets Sally
After a first failed attempt at University, I had decided to get serious about it and was now studying Law, as well as I could. It wasn't the complex matter that was causing me trouble, but my eating disorder issue. During the second year of my Master, out of the blue, like magic I met the amazing man who would become my hubby. For the first time, I was loved and appreciated for who I was, not only for my (no) looks. And oh boy, that changed everything!
Let's be fair: I wasn't healed overnight. Absolutely not. But it acted as a cold and fresh shower and I chose to act on my eating issues: food wasn't going to ruin my social life anymore. So as I still couldn't stop overeating...I started being bulimic = purging. It might sound crazy, disgusting and sad, but actually it was the very first step to regaining power over my own life. I was so happy with Marc, getting better and better everyday, I lost all that overweight pretty quickly and even though, behind the scene I was shamefully dealing with my daily binges/purges, at least my life has tremendously improved.
Wake-up call #2 - A Bear Encounter
One summer, my best friend and I went to Canada for a touring trip, a real girls on the road trip! One day, as we were doing a famous hike in the Rockies, we decided to go off the typical and boring touristic trail to take another route back to town. After less than 15 minutes, we realised that absolutely no one was hiking that track and that we were totally alone. Aware of the potential presence of bears in the area, we started making noise and singing out loud to alert any bear or wild animal nearby. I can tell you we were really scared!! And the road was loooong! Close enough to town, we started relaxing when my friend suddenly grabbed me by the arm. A young Grizzly bear was standing on his back legs, staring at us! Oh God, I can't even tell you how freaking terrified we were!! We backed off to put enough distance between the bear and us and waited. Waited. Waited. Scared. Panicked. No one would ever find us there. We couldn't turn back, too dangerous and the night was coming quickly. We both truly believed we were going to die there.
Eventually, after what seemed hours we decided to try and pass by the bear. We had no choice. Maybe he had moved*? Well, he hadn't. He was still there, staring at us from the side of the track. I remember us shouting, screaming, yielding at him, making as much noise as possible to scare him and... we passed him by. He didn't move. We kept on shouting and screaming as we walked away, facing him, to make sure he wouldn't come running after us. And then we ran. Ran. Ran. Until we reached town and rushed to the Rangers. who very practically and stoically locked the area to tourists. For the next three days, we were totally drained and sore from our adventure, but also feeling so proud and ALIVE.
Because it was really about survival. It sounds just like a story now. But for me and my friend it had been about facing danger and staying alive. And that event remains in my mind as one of these milestones. Live or Die. I was a survivor and I chose to live.
Poor bear, I'm sure he still didn't understand what happened to him and who were these two weird and noisy animals!
*I'm using "he" to speak about that grizzly because #1 it was a male, #2 he's kind of part of my life 😉
Turning point #2 - The Alptrekking Adventure
I kept on with my studies and career in Law, we moved to England for a while and back in Switzerland, after more studies, I started working as a criminal police officer. I was promised to a nice and interesting career in law enforcement, was doing extremely well, a high achiever, ambitious and successful. I was training hard, became a self-defense instructor and accomplished athlete. Yet behind the scene I was living a nightmare. My bulimia was getting worse and worse and I was to the point of finding tricks to deal with it even during working hours. I was depressed and feeling hopeless but kept it totally secret and nobody noticed anything. I kept everything from my opinions on matters to my feelings for myself. From the outside, I was the perfect "element". But I couldn't stand it much longer. By then I had told Marc about my eating disorder and he was incredibly supportive. He supported me when I chose to quit my safe and solid career path.
I had been offered several interesting job opportunities and as I didn't know what I wanted to do, I decided to take some time off to do a crazy project: I set off on the Alptrekking, a long-distance trail in the Alps, on my own, doing more than 35'000m climbing up and down and more than 530km over 14.5 days.
Such a revelation. That's what I wanted to do. Being outdoor, being active, feeling alive and whole and authentic!
Despite all these years of eating disorders, my body was amazingly resilient and supportive, doing great, so strong and made for incredible adventures, never letting me down. How good it felt!
The next step of my recovery had begun. My new life too.
Turning point #3 - Walking the Energy Road
After the Alptrekking expedition, I started my own coaching business helping people prepare for extreme endurance events and assisting them with logistics. I became a qualified coach and got more and more interested in the psychology of sports and mental training. It's been a turning point in my personal healing journey. I was far from cured. I kept falling back, with periods being easier and others being an absolute nightmare. Being always so energetic and dynamic, very very few people noticed anything. I was training clients, dealing with daily activities, transformation works on the house, and hidden from everyone, managing my eating issues and the constant stress that goes with it daily: last minute stop by the shops to buy all the food shamefully eaten during the day, panicking when one of the items couldn't be found anymore, being constantly scared to be caught or being invited last minute to a party, fighting the post binge/purge extreme fatigue... I tried all the "classical" techniques and methods to cure eating disorders. Every time I failed. Every time I felt worse and worse, more miserable and hopeless. I felt like a helpless and hopeless failure and a total fraud..
Things started to change when I trained as a qualified coach in sophrology and NLP. My first 6 months of being totally cleared from bulimia happened at the end of the training! I relapsed but knew it was possible. Then I discovered energy healing and the more trained I was, the more I practice, the more I read about the whole topic, the better I start feeling. I was doing all this for me at first, to help me find a way out, a miraculous remedy.It turned out I could help others too...
At one point along the way, I remember making the following decision: if I couldn't get rid of bulimia, at least it would have no impact on me, my life and my health. I would stop feeling ashamed about it and make it a "mere technical action" in my day. It wasn't a perfect solution, I knew it. But the simple fact of stopping critising me for it felt so much better!
Wake-up call #3 - Milwyn
Photo by Rachel FB
This 3rd wake-up call is a brutal one. But it did the trick if I dare say.
To be honest, after years of bulimia, I became a master in nutrition and micro-nutrition, a living encyclopedia on diets, and had read all the self-help books on the matter. I had done so much inner work I was now approaching things, life, events in a bright new way. I was starting to consider my eating issue from a totally new stand point and I knew it was probably the key to it:
It had nothing to do anymore with me being flawed and having a serious mental problem. I wasn't broken, a weirdo, a hopeless and lost for good soul. I knew deep inside that it was purely technical now. A life long training or conditioning that my body and my brain kept repeating.
Yet, I couldn't get over it.
And then Milwyn had her terrible accident. I talk about it at length in related posts. That night, while I was holding her on the drive down to the pet emergency unit, I made a promise to her and the Universe: if she survived I would do all it takes to get rid of bulimia and any eating related issues for good. If she were to live, I had to show her I was as strong and resilient as her.
And she survived.
And so despite the pain, the absurdity, the lack of understanding how such a thing could have happened to her, it gave me such a fierce and powerful lush for life! After years and years of suffering and misery, it all clicked. I finally found the way out of the nightmare. Two months after that dreadful night, I was cleared once and for all from any eating issues. For good. Forever. Yes!!!
...who turned out to be a Snow Queen Adventurer
Photo by Rachel FB
My cat saved my life. She's a survivor, a true hero, and she showed me the way. Yet all along I had the solution under my eyes and simply couldn't see it...
I did some amazing things while being seriously bulimic. Nobody out of my very close circle could have ever imagined what was going on behind the scene and what it meant for me to be the first woman to finish the Rovaniemi 300 that year. It's not to show off or to convince you to put up with whatever addiction or chronic issue you might have. Absolutely not. It's about showing you that you can choose not to let any conditions dictate your life or prevent your dreams to come true. Yes, YOU CAN.
Coming soon - Part 3 - The Secret Tools