How Horses Saved My Life
Treena Hall shares her story of recovery from anorexia, and how equine therapy provided her with a new passion for life. Now, she works to help others struggling with eating disorders find similar hope.
Imagine a world full of darkness. Imagine a world full of pain. Imagine a struggle so powerful that it takes over one’s life. This world is a life bound by the chains of an eating disorder.
Anorexia is a life threatening disease, and one that I struggled with for many years. It was a hell on earth kind of existence. Well, actually, it wasn’t even an existence at all! I functioned daily in a zombie-like state, only caring about how much I ate, how much I weighed, and how I could get out of eating my next meal. Every thought and movement I made in my life was encompassed by anorexia. It had become my world, and one that almost took my life. I had fallen so far down that my family, my doctors and everyone else around me started believing that I would lose the fight.
What saved my life was my love and lifelong passion for horses. I’ve always felt an extraordinary, safe connection to them... never expecting anything from me, my love and kindness was always enough. I felt that they understood me when no one else did. I would look into their eyes and feel that I was alright... simply loved for who I was. They never judged that I was starving myself to death, that my life was slowly slipping away from me. Feeling their strength, love and warmth became the foundation for my recovery.
The unconditional acceptance of equines provides what most people with eating disorders long for; If you are kind, loving and respectful to the horse, they give the same in return. Horses don’t not judge you based physical attribute, size, weight, socioeconomic status or any other esoteric trait. This unconditional acceptance is a very powerful piece in the recovery process that was life-giving for me.
Horses are master teachers of unconditional love and acceptance. They’re very sensitive, intuitive animals, and thus they mirror the emotions we display with our body language. This can be a very helpful tool for people with eating disorders, making them aware of the energetics they’re putting out and how they’re thus perceived by others.
My journey into recovery was a slow one; I’d spent years identifying myself as anorexic but now needed to re-identify as an intelligent, capable, kind and loving woman. It took time to discover “who” I really was, rather than who I thought I was. My negative self image was false, self-imposed... and I discovered that it was actually NOT what others saw in me at all!
A New Purpose
Because of the monumental affect horses have had on my recovery, I believe that there IS a purpose for me, that I DO deserve love, happiness and a new life. I just know that if I hadn’t had that horse connection, I probably would not be here today.
I now want to share the same opportunity that I was given - the chance to bond with a horse. That is why I’ve created Raise Your Wings Inc, to create that experience for others in need. Raise Your Wings is a nonprofit, volunteer based organization. There’s no charge for our services; the only requirement is that participants must be under the care of a licensed professional (therapist, physician etc). We’re located at Lakewood Equestrian Center in Lakewood, California. We welcome volunteers who believe in our mission.
Raise Your Wings
This article was exclusively provided to EatingDisordersOnline.com by Raise Your Wings. Raise Your Wings can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website (currently pending 5013c status).