Katrina had always been involved in contemporary dance and was in her second year of a social work program at Ryerson when she found her eating disorder was becoming a serious issue. This is her story.
Katrina lived in Vancouver until she relocated to Toronto at 17. She was researching accessible resources online that she could attend without a referral. Sheena’s Place was the first place she tried.
“Walking in the door the first time, I felt extremely nervous”, she said. Once inside though, she found the house homey and comforting. “It felt like a safe space.” The facilitators were welcoming and kind and she always left the group feeling safe.
She ended up meeting some of her best friends at Sheena’s Place. She felt it was sincerely a place of care and love, where she could find advocacy to validate her feelings and was able to receive hands on support.
She feels the Young Adult Group to be particularly supportive, along with workshops on specific skills and experiences she hadn’t had a chance to have in the past. Katrina said if it were possible she’d like to see more specific programs focused on athletes as she feels her dance has contributed in a large way to her recovery, as well as new workshops on maintaining recovery.
Katrina shared some tips that have helped her on her road to recovery. First of all, she recommends finding a trusted friend or family member you can talk to openly about your feelings. The next thing that has been instrumental for her are the groups and workshops she’s attended at Sheena’s Place. She feels these have given her a platform of support to develop basic coping skills, resilience and empowerment.
Another thing she isn’t shying away from is telling her to story to contribute to breaking down the stigmas associated with eating disorders. Her goal is to take the skills she’s learned to empower others and assist them in getting access to the support they so desperately need.
As a society in general, she has some suggestions for helping to break down the stigmas. “We have to realize and take seriously that we all come in different sizes. Spread awareness based on fact. Don’t listen to or spread fat phobic jokes.”
Most importantly, she wants to let people know that Sheena’s Place is a safe place. One where you learn to accept yourself and give yourself access to the resources you need to engage in your recovery.
In conclusion, she wants others to know:“Sheena’s Place has my full gratitude. They probably saved my life by giving me the support I needed. And for that I will always be grateful.”