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Archive for the ‘What has helped you the most with slips and relapses? Did anything useful come out of these experiences?’ Category
the hardest thing for me is when i make excuses to use symptoms, so a really huge part of starting the recovery path is taking ownerships and responsibility of your eating disorder and your actions.
using them as new opprotunities for recovery by exploring them deeply and compassionately, having a “power” list. Just 3 things that get me back, mine are 1. sleep, 2. contact with likeminded companions, 3. Routine
I have learned to take slips in stride. That was very hard.
accepting that this is a permanent part of my life and that i can’t go on a diet(as you mentioned in your book).
accepting that tomorrow is a new day and trying not to beat myself up everyday over food
I went 8 months without any symptoms from the day I entered specialized treatment. I have had a few slips over the last 2 1/2 years and what has helped the most is going right back into a partial hospital program for a few days. A small slip was much easier to recover from than if it was allowed to continue. Most of my slips were due to emotion dysregulation or interpersonal issues. I learned just how quickly I decline both physically and mentally when I don\’t get enough calories. I also learned how to ask for help directly and tolerate distress so I wouldn’t rely on the old patterns of the eating disorder.
A major relapse which I am just currently working my way out of has been very useful in a way. It has shown me that I came off my meal plan way too early and that I need to give myself more time to recover. Before this relapse I simply thought I was better now I was at a healthier weight.
When I first got to treatment they had me write down why I wanted to recover. I put this piece of paper in my dayplanner which I take everywhere. If I’m having a difficult time/moment i read it. When you write these thoughts down when your actively involved with your ED behaviors it’s real. When you have made some ground in recovery it’s difficult to remember exactly why you wanted to recover so badly. It’s a very powerful tool. I still have it.
Once again, the best “slip up” tool, I’ll call it, came from the hospital in TX. It’s a trauma program and because Dr. Ross is so well known and sought after for treatment, people from all over the country are there with very severe trauma. Many, like me, have been unresponsive to prior treatment. And these are the cases he specializes in. High functioning individuals with careers, co-morbidities, unresponsive to previous treatment, severe symptoms, in crisis, trauma…..
So I was in the hospital with people from Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, another person from California like me, and of coarse people from Texas, some of which had moved to Texas during the acute part of their illness because of the large base of trauma therapists and treatment available right there.
The rules for the unit were very strict.
The guidelines for what was considered self-harm were strict. Nail biting was considered self harm.
And there had to be safety.
Trauma patients have to feel safe in-patient. Mandatory.
So you get 2 chances, but really one. First time you self harm, you get what’s called a “Connect and Re-focus”. You are out of groups to complete the assignment and 1-6 are read before the entire group and the remaining questions of the assignment are gone over with your therapist. It’s long. Like a book, 15 or 16 essay questions exploring the behavior and feelings and circumstances around it, what you could have done differently, if you are confusing past with present…..long. But it’s really exactly what it says. Connect and Re-Focus. The reason I said you really only get one is that you get kicked off the trauma unit on the second. You cannot be admitted back to the unit for 6 months and then cleared to re-admit.
So….during the “chaos” that followed in the first few days after discharge and start of the partial program, I purged dinner on Friday evening. While I sat there afterwards in my hotel room, I thought, I’ll just go through that connect and re-focus exercise. I still had the questions from the one I got as in-patient. So I modified it where I needed to so that it would fit my outpatient status. And it helped me figure out the triggers, what went wrong, what I needed to do differently. And I took charge of things. I got ahold of the things that were what I call “sloppy”. I had a great weekend, saw my therapist early the next week, and discussed it.
And found out that I was the first patient that ever did that.
But it’s really a tool. Although, in the hospital, it IS a scary thing.
My therapist and I use it to this day.
Connect and re-focus.
I am in the thick of slips and relapses right now so it is challenging to see what is useful about slipping. It is pushing me to reach out for more help.