Sarah Varley — who was raped when she was 19 years old — developed a debilitating form of post-traumatic stress disorder after the attack. By the time she was 21, Varley was a full-blown “germaphobe” with a fear of vomiting, and she’d only allow herself to eat small bites of food. She dropped an alarming 33 pounds in just five months.
“In the morning I would only eat three raisins and three walnuts. It became this very obsessive thing. I would have a few bites of food and feel like I had already eaten too much and could not swallow it,” Varley, now 28, told Mercury Press.
“It was a day to day thing, it was exhausting. Everything in my life focused on food. I wouldn’t eat after 8 p.m. so if I didn’t get home in time to make food I wouldn’t eat anything that evening,” she added.
Sarah Varley when she was anorexic. Mercury Press Varley says a pack of wolves helped her overcome her fears and gave her the courage to lead a normal life.
“I was scared of everything, but one day I went into the enclosure with a wolf and it was the first time my brain shut up. When you’re with a predator that can hurt you, your brain automatically focuses on that,” Varley told Mercury Press.
Varley first began spending time with wolves and wolf dogs at her cousin’s wolf sanctuary eight years ago. In 2013, she began spending even more time with the wolves. “I had always loved wolves and as soon as I met a wolf dog, I just fell madly in love with them,” said Varley.
Varley later moved to New Hampshire where she and her fiancé, Matthew Withem, 29, ran their own wolf sanctuary that held 50 wolves and wolf dogs.
She recently moved back to California and is in the process of starting her own wolf sanctuary.
“A lot of the animals I work with were traumatized as well, they had been abused and they had been abandoned and they were hurting,” Varley told Mercury Press.
“I think it’s empowering for women to know they can heal in other ways. It’s also kind of badass, no one is going to attack me again – I live with wolves. It’s a huge sense of relief,” she added.
Content Originally Published By: Alexandra Klausner @ New York Post