I would like to tell you why I became a therapist and am mainly active in the field of eating disorders. I love my work and I do not want to do anything else in the world … ..
My youth and the following years, a total of 20 years of my life, I was sick. During puberty, I sensed that I had gradually lost myself. I felt worse and worse, feeling that everyone else was better, prettier, more successful, more popular and much more positive. I was nothing in my eyes … ..
Slowly, I developed an eating disorder. For many months I would not have confessed to myself and certainly not to others that I was ill. I felt bad, isolated, lonely and sad. But why would that be a disease?
Whenever my parents, friends, or teachers approached me, I was angry and could not understand them. The deeper I “slipped” into the eating disorder, the more I realized that I could feel myself through her again. I have built my own little world where I was strong and proud. Here I could determine, here I was perfect. The lower the number on the scale, the better I felt. Unconsciously, I thought that here I found the confirmation that I could not get in the outside, because I felt too bad.
This confirmation was purely subjective. I have always had many friends and was really loved by my very emphatic and loving nature. However, I could not see this through my illness ….
And so it went downhill with me.
After graduating from high school, I could not stand the agony and mental pain of being “different from the others” anymore and thought that if I only drive far enough away or fly, then I will feel better. Then I would have a different life and would be healthy and satisfied.
I could have also flown to the moon, the disease would always have come with. I wasn’t aware of this at the time, of course, and I flew to San Francisco on my own as an au pair. I was looking for a family and trying to find myself in the distance.
My parents (thankfully) visited me over Christmas and almost broke down crying while greeting at the airport. I was so thin it was a miracle that my thin stork legs could still carry me and my organs were still working.
My parents tried to fly back with me to Germany immediately to have me admitted to a clinic there so I had a chance to survive this condition. I felt even worse than before, as I had now (subjectively) also been confirmed that I can do nothing, that I had failed again. Back in Germany, my odyssey started on doctor visits, therapists and hospital stays. Again and again, I sought out therapeutic help, always in the hope that someone understands me and there would be a way out of these terribly self-injurious thoughts. The symptom of eating was being worked on, not on my thinking about myself! It’s like putting a plaster on a festering wound.
In the clinics there were eating protocols, supervision over eating, weekly weighing and related punishments even if you did not gain “nice”. A patient, suffering from eating disorders, is very ambitious, wants to please and adapts very quickly to his environment. So I quickly realized that the best way to “play” in the clinics was to fulfill what was required. In all hospital stays, I quickly got my weight high and the doctors were always extremely satisfied with me. Very praiseworthy how great I always played!
In layoffs, I was always dismissed as “cured.” No one but me knew that every time I walked out of the clinic, I thought how terrible it is to disappoint my beloved parents and fellow human beings again, when they realize that I was just as ill as before the treatment. I felt so terrible! My parents were happy about their “healthy” daughter, telling everyone that I made it and now I am healthy. Only I knew that this disease was still present in me and immediately forced me to respond again to the symptoms of the eating disorder. First I secretly began to starve again, then again quite obviously. In my mind were only the thoughts, what a bad person I was! Everyone was happy that I was supposed to be healthy and I am disappointing them again!
For many years it went on, a constant up and down. But there was no escape, the thoughts were always present in my head. Nobody could understand these thoughts and certainly couldn’t understand my way of thinking. Even the therapists were only able to apply their knowledge from the books but did not enter this bizarre world of eating disorders.
Sometimes I thought that maybe it would be better not to be alive anymore. Then I would not have to endure these thoughts ….
But I wanted to live! Why could nobody help me! Was I so “disturbed” that I had to stay alone in my world?
After nearly 20 years in Anorexia, I knew almost all the reading about my illness by heart. There was no internet and so the only hope for help was in books. But I have never found a report on a healed sufferer.
After a move, I found a book by chance or fateful that actually changed my life!
In this book, a Canadian mother of a strongly anorectic daughter has written about this “secret language of eating disorder.” Every written word spoke to me from the soul. I felt like I could have written the book. Never before has anyone understood what I thought. Here my thoughts were reflected on every page.
After the first contact, I flew to this woman since a therapy center opened in Canada after her daughter’s recovery. Already in the first conversation I felt that I was recognized, my thoughts were not completely “crazy” but corresponded to an extremely subjective, directed against me perception. I am a highly sensitive person who always wanted to be there for everyone else and tried hard to give everything. I knew no boundaries and thus became smaller and smaller in myself until I gave myself up.
Here in Canada, I received daily therapy. We set ourselves apart more intensively than ever before with these thoughts that I had constantly and everywhere in my head. I have found myself after 1,5 years of therapy through learning about my thinking and getting to know me and loving to what I found insinde. I flew back to Germany as a healthy, young woman. I was still the same person with the same sensitive and sympathetic character. However, I was healthy and am still proud to be the woman that I am allowed to be!
Sandra Kettner in diseased condition at the beginning of therapy in Canada
Back in Germany
I could hardly believe that I was healthy. These thoughts, which always and permanently had their home in my head, did not exist anymore. I was free!
I lived and experienced my new self intensively for the next two years. However, there was a growing desire to share what I had experienced. For a long time I wanted to be a therapist. Now my time is comming to implement this actively. In 2006, after intensive studies, I completed and passed the examination as a non-medical practitioner for psychotherapy. After extensive training and further education, I then opened my practice and therapy in exactly the area that is close to my heart. To this day, I still have friendly contact with my therapists from Canada and now work with the woman (Peggy Claude-Pierre), who has helped me find my way back to life.