Updated: Feb 28
by Julie Gauthier.
Daring to Share Your Voice.
February 2020 Edition
Welcome to the Perceptions of Julie Gauthier
Editor: Diana Reyers
Originally from Montreal, Julie found the beautiful practice of Yoga in 2009 when she first moved to Vancouver. Seven years later, she took Yoga Teacher Training to deepen her personal practice. A new world opened to her as she found so much comfort, healing, and peace when immersed in the culture and values of Yoga. As a result, she decided to share the gift of the practice with others. She now specializes in Restorative Yoga combing the art of healing touch (Reiki) and pranayama (breathing). As a teacher and healer, Julie’s deep desire is to have students feel safe, welcomed, seen and heard, in order to express and experience their true self. She inspires others with the freedom to rise and shine - something she feels she never had. She is a strong believer that Yoga, both on and off the mat, is a beautiful platform for learning, transformation, and healing. She is passionate about building community and being in a place of service for others. Julie hopes her story will inspire others to have the courage to show up as they are and illuminate the world with their unique beauty.
Two summers ago, I wished to go forever asleep during a yoga class while in savasana. If I could just leave this plane, I wouldn't have to feel the hate I have for myself. That image in the mirror would be forever sent to the heavens; that inaccessible sense of joy would be forgotten. And it was fine with me.
For a long time, I wanted to share my story to find connection, authentic relationships and break free from the guilt and shame of suffering in silence for so many years. But who wanted to hear my story anyway? Did I really have anything to bring to the table besides sharing the fact I have been struggling with an eating disorder for thirty-two years?
My Eating Disorder began in 1987 after I had brain surgery. My recovery was painful, both physically and emotionally. I felt alone, misunderstood, and depressed. My eating patterns changed drastically and I found myself slowly fading into the shadow of the eating disorder called Anorexia Nervosa (AN).
I felt in control.
Defiant to my mother.
I was winning.
Ninety pounds on the scale, yet, I wasn't disappearing fast enough.
After I confided in my sister that I wanted to commit suicide, I landed at the doctor's office.
I lied about my food intake.
I denied the pain.
While attempting to heal my illness with the help of my family, AN slowly evolved into Binge Eating Disorders (BED) behaviors. My symptoms alternated between bingeing and restricting and then over-exercising. That transition was really hard. As much as I loved the high of restricting, I couldn't starve myself anymore and it was painful. The inability to restrict made me feel weak- I wasn't succeeding at my own eating disorder, and I felt like a failure because I still had my periods, my bones were not showing anymore, and I couldn’t make myself sick after I ate.
I lived through thirty-two years in a cycle of shame, guilt, self-hate, self-sabotage with feelings of unworthiness feeling too fat and not good enough, avoiding parties, dinners with friends, celebrations, drinks, social gatherings, dating, vacations, wearing a swimsuit in public, having my picture taken and always comparing myself. I didn't allow myself to celebrate life.
I used or restricted food to fill a void, hide pain and suffering, and create a way to punish myself. The cycle of my thoughts was unbearable; Restrict. Binge. Culpability. Hate. Disgust. Feeling broken. Ugly. Fat. Old. Inadequate - pinching the skin under my arms, around my waist, my chin, and my thighs to remind myself I wasn't perfect. I wasn’t perfect. I wasn't perfect. I was obsessed with food; what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, when to starve, what others thought of what I ate, what others would think if I didn't. Body image expectations were high, yet the moving target would never be reached.
Two summers ago, I wished to go forever asleep during a yoga class while in savasana. If I could leave this plane, I wouldn’t have to feel the hate I have for myself. That image in the mirror would be forever sent to the heavens. And I cried. Somehow, I ended up at the doctor's office. I'm exhausted, I said. I think I am depressed. I have anxiety attacks. And by the way, I don't know how to say this, but I have an eating disorder. I need help. I am dying from the inside.
I felt so relieved to finally spit it out. I was ready to make things better for myself and step into my healing journey.
It has been one month since my seven-week hospitalization and I am now transitioning to a twelve-week program to build on the foundations I acquired during the first steps of my recovery. I know the battle of recovery is ongoing, but I know that I have a support system I never realized existed.
I want to be free. I have a huge desire to share the beauty of life with my beloved family, friends, my teachers, and students. I want to help others feel alive, worthy, loved, light and welcomed.
I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. I want to embrace life. I want to help others embrace life.
I know my road trip to authenticity doesn’t end here but I am sharing my journey of courage and hope because I don`t want anyone to feel about themselves the way I did about myself. I want to honor the humanity in each and every one of us.
Who is Julie, when she is not self-sabotaging herself? I don’t know.
Who is Julie when truly accepting and loving herself as she is? I don’t know.
Will I relapse? I don’t know.
What I do know is on my way from there to here, I learned that my vulnerability and courage to speak up and live my truth allows me to be fully seen and understood. It destroys the shame, guilt, and hate I used to hold against myself and replaces it with the gifts of self-compassion, curiosity, and self-acceptance.
Yes, I am curious about the mysterious unfolding of my new perspectives on life, and I am now not only able to see the humanity and the beauty in you, but I can see the humanity and the beauty in me.
Connect with Julie on Instagram @juliegauthier_yoga and through www.juliegauthier.co