A FEW years ago 42-year-old Pershore mum Kim Marshall thought should would be dead by now. Instead she is running a successful business as a therapist helping clients with eating disorders, is about to publish her first book on the subject and has received praise from leading lights in the field.

She said: “If you had said to me back then this was going to happen, I would have just laughed at you. I thought I would have been dead by now. Being a published author and having someone validate my work is incredible.”

For years, Kim was plagued by eating disorders - anorexia nervosa and bulimia – and their associated mental health problems. She used to have suicidal thoughts every half an hour.

She says the break-up of her marriage and divorce about 11 years ago triggered the pattern of behaviour and thoughts that eventually saw her weight drop to under five stones. She was able to get into her seven-year-old daughter’s clothes.

She went to see her doctor and was put on anti-depressants and eventually went on a waiting list for an appointment with the eating disorders service. She see-sawed between anorexia and bulimia because the underlying cause of the problem was not being addressed.

She says she felt like she was in the deepest darkest well with no chink of light shining through. She felt alone and desperate and considered suicide several times a day.

Eventually she was admitted as an inpatient to an eating disorders centre in Aylesbury and although during the four months there she learned to eat and restored weight, the voice in her head never ceased and when she was discharged she still felt the urge to return to her previous behaviour.

Kim, who has a degree in marketing and business, decided not to return to work yet but concentrate on her recovery. Eventually she chose not to go back to her old job but set up her own business helping people to work from home.

One of her first clients was a trainer in EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and Kim decided to go along to a workshop to find out more. She was so impressed by what she heard and learned, she decided to become an EFT practitioner because it worked so well for her.

She set up her own business called Kiss Goodbye To Ana and has clients with anxiety, phobias and depression as well as people with anorexia.

She said EFT is brilliant when working with clients and amazing as a self-help tool because it acts so quickly.

Kim said: “Living with an eating disorder is a torturous place to be, but contemplating doing anything different feels terrifying. Unfortunately support is scarce and you can often be made to feel that you need to lose weight in order to get help.

“Anorexia was more about the voice in my head but you don’t have to be underweight to experience this. If you don’t get the help you need, keep looking. People often ask me if true recovery is really achievable. I believe it is, but it requires dealing with the root cause. Recovery is hard work but is possible and is so worth it.”

During her ups and downs with eating disorders Kim wrote a diary and when she started to feel better wondered whether her experiences could help other people.

From there she began developing the basis of a book, which she hoped could be shared to help others going through similar personal struggles.

“I had written a diary when I was struggling and particularly just before I went into residential. It started off as my diary entries.

“A couple of years later when I was starting to feel better and in recovery, I thought maybe it could help other people. At first, it was more about my personal story, then I learned EFT and that had really helped me and I though people needed to know about this so I added a second part about what had helped me in my recovery.

“When I started working with people with eating disorders, I added a third part of it to show them what needs to be done in order to recover from this,” she said.

“I wanted to write the book to help create awareness of EFT as it helped me so much in my own recovery but also because I remember reading people's personal books of their eating disorder experience. For someone who isn't ready to recover these books can be used to get tips i.e. behaviours that you haven't thought about yet.”

The book, called “How To Kiss Goodbye To Ana – Using EFT in Anorexia Recovery”, is being published on Wednesday February 21 in time for Eating Disorders Awareness Week from Monday February 26 to Sunday March 4. Pre-orders can be placed on Amazon.

Kim said: “Writing the book is something I wanted to do last year and I put as a goal for me. I already had the diary and the bit about what helped me to recover. The third part is my work with people with disorders, the process and what they go through.

“It looks at denial, the fear of recovery and the root causes. Some people know what that is for them and some people don’t have a clue. It teaches how to do EFT and how to use it.

“I have tried to give some practical advice and information on how people can truly recover.

“I have put in other therapies that I have not used but suggest that people can try these things. I am giving as much information as I can for people to try. I am pleased with the way it has turned out.”

Kim asked a few friends to read it and one proof-read it for her. That person had been working with a publisher – Jessica Kingsley Publishers - and suggested she contacted them. They got back to Kim and accepted her book.

“I did not expect it to be approved the first time of asking. It feels so surreal. I was gobsmacked. I just could not believe it. They have been really helpful. I am so excited about it coming out,” she said.

“If you had said to me back then this was going to happen, I would have just laughed at you. I thought I would have been dead by now. Being a published author and having someone validate my work is incredible.”

EFT Master Karl Dawson has endorsed the book and invited Kim to give a talk at an EFT event in Stratford-upon-Avon. Kim said she had amazing feedback.