The Emily Program and my support circle
Archive for the ‘What has helped (did help) you most in your eating disorder treatment?’ Category
my time in residential treatment center.
I just started treatment, but I think that Art Therapy is helping me to realize my emotions more and tolerate them better.
12 step food addiction information a diverse team of support people.
Getting over my fear of telling others about it, and – honestly – your book and website.
There has been several things that have helped me in my journey into recovery from my eating disorder. The most important is finding a specialized treatment center. I feel very fortunate that a world-renouned expert in the field created a model of recovery and opened a treatment center within one mile of my Ohio home. I took 20 years of an eating disorder and 10 years of therapy to get me there. All the staff were not only very experienced in eating disorders, they also specialized in other co-occuring problems that many people with eating disorders also have like anxiety, grief and trauma, depression, and perfectionism.
Another major element to my recovery was the individualized treatment that each patient received. I was so used to using crisis to get my needs met I didn’t know how to ask for what I needed directly. It was made clear to me when I entered this treatment center that certain behaviors were absolutely not tolerated like self-harm and suicide attempts which had become a normal part of my life. The other side to that is my therapist would only see me when I was following the program. If I missed calories or was being dramatic he wouldn’t meet with me. This may seem extreme or odd to an outsider but it is exactly what I needed. It definately wouldn’t work for others but that is why things were so individualized.
Another aspect to the program was daily weigh-ins (backwards of course) on a scale that was accurate down to the ounce so changes could be closely monitored. There was also 2 meals and a snack that were supervised. It was difficult at work but the staff made meal time fun and would help you through your meals.
The program was mostly group therapy. You also had individual therapy twice a week with a counselor. There is no place else that you can find a bunch of other people from around the world in one place that understood what you were going through. When friends and family didn’t understand you knew that those other patients did.
The format was intensive out–patient program (IOP) which met Monday through Thursday from 11:30 AM to 6:30 PM. I lived close so I commuted. Having this free time in the evening helped me practice skills I learned during the day.
It was also extremely important that my treatment center had IOP and outpatient counseling. It made for a smooth transition and if and when I had a little “hiccup” or slip I quickly and easily went back into partial for a few days reducing the cost and wear on my body that a full relapse would lead to.
Lastly, it was vitally important that there was no specific treatment length. You were in it as long as you needed to. Research shows that most people fail in their recovery because they stop treatment too soon. I know everyone doesn’t have access to this type of treatment but I know this is what I needed to be successful.
My meal plan. Coming up with a managable meal plan with a dietition removed most guilt about eating and stopped all of the confusion and descisions over when and what I should eat. Also having the support of my family has been invaluble.
Realizing that it’s not about being strong in order to recover from my ED, it’s about having, understanding and utilizing the necessary tools needed in order to facilitate and support recovery. In addition, to being honest with myself
I’d have to divide that up. As far as me, myself, I think over time I finally learned to be pro-active in my treatment. I learned more about what I needed, what worked and didn’t, and I fought for it when I had the strength. But this took years and years of ups and downs and disappointments to figure those things out. And even while fighting for what I know I need and I’m up against a therapist who is contradicting me, it’s hard to trust my inner voice. I have to be careful, but there ARE some things I feel and know strongly and I have learned to be proactive and be an advocate for myself. And ultimately I am right about those few things. Even though I am “sick”, I have learned I CAN trust and have an inner voice that knows my needs, and I can fight for them. And I have learned that there is truth there. The wisdom isn’t just in the therapists and hospitals and doctors. WOW! It’s really in me!
As far as therapists: The thing that has helped the most….I could go on and on and on…
The therapists that have been the most helpful are genuine and real. And, quite honestly, they are hard to find. Although, I also have a Dissociative Disorder which makes the therapist search a bit more narrow. I’d say 100% of those suffering from EDs have suffered some sort of trauma and have co-existing psychiatric problems that are related. And it was helpful when I met a therapist, nurse, psychiatrist, ANYONE in the treatment arena that didn’t treat me like I was “fragile!” Good grief!! Don’t tip-toe out to the waiting room with the clipboard, hand it to me gently and whisper like I’m a thin piece of glass ready to break any second!! I didn’t break the first time when the trauma ACTUALLY happened! I’m not going to break here in your office! Total turn-off. Interview over. You are covered in syrup and I can’t see who you are. I could go to a Hallmark store for 50 minutes once a week and read cards and get this, go home, call it therapy. DON’T treat me like I’m fragile.
The most helpful therapists treated me like the survivor I am from the moment they met me with a balance of warmth, compassion, confrontation and boundaries.
As far as friends and the community: Taking me as I am. My eating disorder is so long-standing that it’s no secret. When I crash my friends are concerned and rally around and are very supportive but they never push me, “preach” at me, or in any way tell me what to do or attempt to force food or prevent me from throwing up. They just love and accept me. I remain in their circle of friends. We continue to do the same things we always do. They let me hibernate if I feel like it. They are always there when I come out and are never resentful. I’m always okay with them. It’s a wonderful, wonderful gift they give me.