Archive for the ‘What do (did) you do to help make your eating disorder treatment successful?’ Category
focus on the things that I want more than my eating disorder.
I had to get rid of all of my thinspo, delete the pro-ana blogs from my subscriptions on Xanga, and try to not focus on calories so much.
Kept addressing the next thing that came up, like sugar being addictive for me, my bad relationships, childhood abuse, my compulsive patterns in other areas of time and money, and bad brain chemistry!
I’ve been seeking treatment for about 30 years. Nothing helped until I picked up – quite by accident – your book. Realizing that I had a true disorder helped me tremendously and I had never actually done that before.
journaling my food intake and calories
The most important thing I did was to stop fighting. I refused to admit I had an eating disorder for so long. I agreed to give specialized treatment a chance. The next thing I did was to continue my outpatient treatment at the same place I did my IOP. This was so important because there are so many misconceptions about what recovery means. I knew if I went back to my previous outpatient therapist I would revert back to old behavior. In fact, my previous therapist told me she couldn’t wait until I was done with treatment so she could hypnotize me to lose weight. That is definitely another thing I had to accept in order to recover; despite what the media tells us about thinness, I knew I could never diet again. It was important for me to follow my therapist’s recommendations completely. We framed it as an “experiment.” What I had always done wasn’t working so let me try something different. If it doesn’t work I knew I could always go back. This funny thing happened though, recovery does work and the desire to go back has decreased little by little.
I be consistant. I have to make sure I stick with changes continually not just for a day. There is no point in increasing your calories one day and then restricting the next. The more consistent you are with changes, the easier it gets, like rewiring your brain with a new routine.
I LISTENED to my therapist. I don’t think that there is one magic thing that makes recovery successful. We are all unique individuals. For example, I wanted to stop my ED behaviors after 2 years but for some reason I was not able to even with therapy. It wasn’t until an additional 12 more years that something clicked for me. For someone else who takes the leap of recovery for the first time, it may be that time that it clicks for them, no one can ever know for certain. I know that the book by Jenni Schaefer, Life without ED really hit home for me and shed ALOT of light on my ED as well as guiding me in my own recovery journey.
Hmmm. Not sure how to answer this. It wasn’t successful until very recently and quite dramatically successful. So different. And not sure this applies to all, but the basic message I think does. And that is: It’s not about food. It’s not about weight. It’s not about any of that. Really. But even a patient with an eating disorder may try to convince you that it is. And I might at times. Depends on the time of day. (and, unfortunately, what medication is on board.)
It does feel like it’s about that. And then you know it’s not. But then you can’t stop obsessing about it and then it is about that.
I hear people say the silliest things. They say that it’s because the person with the ED wants attention. That’s probably the biggest one I hear. It’s not “attention.” It’s not knowing how to say how you feel to the people around you. And “talking” through your body in a way. It’s about needs and feelings and pain and suffering.
I had to s..c…r…a…p…e up hope to get into the hospital this last time because I had had so much failed treatment and worked so hard for years. The last time I was hospitalized, 5 years ago, the medical complications were overwhelming and I gave up for good. But I crashed hard and fast before this last Christmas after my dad had been sick for 2 yrs then finally died in July. The last of the details and settling Mom in had been done end of September. Crash. Happened to see an employee assistance therapist through work, due to the emergent nature of things, that had background in trauma. He recommended an in-patient stint at the Colin Ross Institute for Trauma at Timberlawn Hosptial in Dallas, TX., where they had an ED track. He said the ED was just a symptom, which I agreed with. Took 2 months to get the hope. Some accused me of not being motivated. So wrong. So wrong. Sometimes it’s not about motivation..you just don’t believe things are possible, you have done it before so many times and heard the words that you don’t believe the words anymore. You’d be motivated if you could believe it. I had already made peace with the disease and the likely terminal outcome. I went. Scariest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t consider Texas a “destination” place. Didn’t even know where Dallas was located in the state. Am I central, east, south, west, north????? Who cares? I probably won’t even be outside.
I learned about trauma and how the things that happened to me changed me. I learned strategies. We did art therapy specific to trauma, anger management. The groups started at 8am and ended at 8:30pm and then there was homework…24/7. A world famous Dr. Ross and his team all trained in psychological trauma recovery. And 4 of us in the ED program as well. They do aggressive medication management there as well and that started on day 1. Three studies now have linked EDs to ADD. The attention is distracted to body shape and size. At first I was reluctant to try any ADD meds. In general, not knowing much, just feeling like it’s over diagnosed and the meds are over prescribed. I tried one afternoon dose, not really knowing or being told what to expect at all. I was crying so hard the next day when I saw my doctor. I could read…..and remember. I felt calm. I stopped squirming and feeling my bones in groups. My notes from the morning groups and the afternoon groups were completely different. Whole concepts were clear in the afternoon notes, on the medicine, when I wasn’t restless and looking at everyone else, and concerned about my body. I didn’t binge whole packs of gum. I helped for about 15 minutes with a puzzle. I sat still. I didn’t use the same 5 pieces over and over.
So this is my new life. And this is a life I’ve never known as an adult. I haven’t been this stable with my eating disorder since before 7th grade. It was scary making discharge plans because all of my time every day, except for work and sleep, was consumed with this eating disorder. Suddenly, I had all of this TIME. What do I do? What do I LIKE to do?
What time do I get up in the morning? I’m a nurse. I only work 3 days a week. What am I going to do? I said it felt like I lived in a huge mansion but only actually used and lived in 3 rooms, and now I was going to open up all the rooms in the whole house. But I had 10 empty rooms with no furniture, and nothing to put in them and no ideas. It was daunting at first.
So back to the question, what did I do to make it successful???? Seems like so many other people did so much. That employee assistance therapist was crucial. And he was a “fit.” How did that happen so random?? The Colin Ross Institute was a miracle. How did that happen? They knew the studies and the meds and they hooked the trauma up for me that put the ED in better perspective. They were bold there. How did I say yes after all the defeat? I don’t know. I don’t know how it happened.
I guess I gathered hope. Even like a homeless person looking for change in vending machines. I was that out of it.
And I guess I stayed willing.
And when I do get there, I dig in. I work. I’m intense. I take notes. I do homework. I work. I’m serious about therapy. I don’t do “chit-chat” therapy. Some of it has to be left in the office of the therapist, but it’s important to understand that most of the work will occur outside of the 1-2 hours a week spent in the office. I have a dream journal beside my bed for stuff that comes up during the night. I have a grounding journal I do every morning and evening, which reflects something similar to what we did in the hospital. In the morning I record how I feel physically, emotionally and what my goal for the day is. In the evening I write my high for the day, my low for the day, what I’m thankful for and if I accomplished my goal. I dialog with myself if I’m “stuck”, to catch thoughts.