Michelle Morand, M.A., RCC
I was raised in a very stressful home with an abusive father. From early childhood I turned to food as both a coping strategy and an act of silent rebellion. I hope my story will help you realize that you aren’t alone with your issues with using to food to cope.
I left home at the age of 15 and thought I knew it all. I was emotionally and psychologically bruised and felt rejected by my family. I now realize that, with the exception of my father, it was I who turned my back on them. I continued to eat when I felt anything – and I felt a lot – lots of stress, lots of uncertainty, lots of fear. I hated my body. I despised its form and size and I berated myself constantly for its composition. Compassion for myself was unknown and I imagined that this was the best life had to offer. Life felt out of control in every way and continued to escalate, especially around food – I was completely unable to stop eating – 24/7. As soon as I was alone I would binge. If someone was around I would probably still eat but I felt so conspicuous. I believed everyone saw how fat I was and was judging me for eating and not starving myself into thinness as suggested by the hundred’s of diets I had tried.
The Turning Point
It wasn’t until my early 20’s after a particularly large binge that, as I was attempting once more to exercise the binge away, I happened to spy a brochure that asked me some very significant questions such as: “Do you feel controlled by food?” In that moment I felt both, embarrassed to have been “discovered” and so very relieved that I had perhaps found a real solution. I kept the brochure for 2 weeks before I had the courage to call, but I remember that life-changing telephone conversation as if it happened yesterday. I was certain she was going to say there was something wrong with me and she couldn’t help me – and she was my last resort – I was terrified. I was fearful that she was just going to be another diet center – different language but the same restrictive and judgmental message. Thankfully, my fears were not realized. The counselling that I received from the author of the brochure was the turning point in my life. Now instead of hacking at the leaves on the tree of misery in my life, I was striking at the roots and felt empowered to knock it down.
My Continuing Journey
I’m still growing every day. Learning new things about myself and about what makes me tick. I’m building ever more solid relationships with the special people in my life and demanding only one thing of myself, something I can truly control, integrity. For me, integrity means, saying only what I mean and supporting my words with actions. It means doing my very best at every moment and having the capacity to forgive myself for, and learn from, any mistakes I might make. That is the one thing that allows me to have peace, and peace is something that I dearly sought after the many years of incessant judgmental chatter in my head.
The CEDRIC Centre
Now that I am not focused on food and weight issues all day , I have a lot more time for the things that truly matter. I have the energy and the emotional strength to fulfill my dreams – which brings me to The CEDRIC Centre. After having experienced an eating disorder firsthand, I knew that I had to make the support of others’ recovery my life’s work. It changed my life and I wanted others to know there was hope and they were not alone in their struggle. I also realized there were many people just like me who needed the same type of support and so few people who truly understood the problem and were qualified to help.
With that goal in mind I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and later an M.A.in Counselling. I have worked since 1993 in the field of disordered eating and related concerns while creating specialized programs for all areas addressed at The CEDRIC Centre. I am especially proud of our unique specialization in Compulsive Eating/overeating and it is extremely rewarding to see women realizing their dreams through the use of the skills provided through our individual and group work at The CEDRIC Centre.
The Blessings in My Life
I have been blessed to find staff with a similar vision and passion. I believe that to be effective in this field there must be a true reverence for the experience of our clients. Respecting where people are in their process and honoring their desire to change are prerequisites for the job and, as far as I am concerned, are equally as important as any formal training. We have the best of both worlds in our staff – women who ‘have been there’ and have the professional training to enhance their life experience and make them the most effective counsellors possible.
As for me, my passion is now split between my young son (born in 2000) and my work. Striking a healthy balance is a challenge but so very rewarding. I feel truly blessed. My ultimate goal is to see CEDRIC Centres in every major city but until then, I am thoroughly satisfied to offer our support over the phone and through e-mail to reach anyone who is seeking help.
Contact me for an assessment – or just to reach out.