Today we broach a very serious topic in our Inquisitive Olive series. One of my dearest friends for 20+ years and Kosterina team member, Sophia Fountoukidis, has struggled with anxiety and a serious eating disorder for 25 years. In her interview here she tells the stories of how she went to extremes with both food and exercise that left her physically and mentally unhealthy. I remember thinking that Sophia had incredible self-control and willpower. When making plans to go out, I always made sure the restaurants I chose were “Sophia friendly” because I only ever saw her eat fish, salad and vegetables. Sauce, dressing, oil and butter was always requested on the side. I remember going to the gym together and after our spin class, she stayed for a full second class. Although I sensed something was wrong, I never said a word for fear of upsetting her or fear that she would look at the way I ate with disgust. When I talk with Sophia now about what I could have done differently to help her throughout the years, she made it clear that comments about her being too thin or encouraging her to eat more would only have led to more secrecy. From Sophia’s perspective, she had to get to a place on her own where she was ready to admit that she wasn’t well and she says the best thing I could have said to her would have been “I sense something is wrong. I am here for you.”
Sophia has gone through some deep work to heal over the past couple of years and tells me that she felt like before, she was seeing life in black and white. Now she is living in technicolor. I strongly commend and am grateful to Sophia for her openness and vulnerability and at Kosterina, we are honored to share her story with love in the event that she can help even just one person on their journey to healing.
Sophia is currently pursuing her masters in social work and is open to speaking with any community members about her experience. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.