I honestly cannot believe that Saturday was my last day in treatment. It has gone by so quickly! I still remember sitting in the psychiatrist’s office as she told me I had anorexia. That word stung my ears yet felt so peaceful in my head because my “best friend” finally had a name. I let out a little laugh and thought back to a passage that I wrote in October while in France (see next post for passage). In the very last sentence I said, “but I don’t have anorexia, I’m just obsessive” The thing is though, I did, and this lady here was telling me to go live somewhere for treatment, also partially debunking my 2nd automatic thought/theory/idea type thing that “ok, so I have an eating disorder, but I’m not as sick as REAL anorexics” So I left and packed for the next day where I would enter a residential treatment center for the next ten weeks of my life.
When I was in it, it was the most terribly long process I have ever experienced. It turned me upside down, inside out, and ripped my heart out then sewed it back in and then ripped it out again. If that sounds dramatic to you, let me tell you there was a lot of drama there. There was a lot of love too. A lot of love for the amazing girls I met there (KG, JD, JF, IT, CL) and the wonderful chef and fellow Pisces, R, and of course my amazingly intelligent and supportive dietitian, NA. I cried when I left but I wanted to go and it was my time to move on to the next step in my recovery. I wouldn’t miss the rules or having to sing while I was in the bathroom or not being able to watch Scandal, BUT, I would miss the people, the safety and comfort of the place and of course my little sister (you know who you are JF). So, I set off on my next adventure… PHP.
I was excited to return home and be in my own bed with my family in the room next door. I was happy because I finally had an amazing therapist and family therapist and I was back with my love (KG). It was going well and I was working hard. I was in PHP for a while, around 8 weeks or so. Throughout that time, I proudly watched JD and CL graduate. I celebrated two birthdays of two new people I met in treatment that have become some of the most important people in my life (all my love for LV and BC), and I learned probably one of the most important but very difficult “philosophies” of self care and letting myself feel and express my emotions (thank you to the amazing LV for that). I spent my Saturdays sitting and participating in five hours of treatment which actually wasn’t bad because of LV and all of the other girls (coming soon, a blog post on these Saturday sessions). These weeks in PHP were some of the greatest, most difficult yet rewarding days of my life. Before I knew it, I was in IOP which suddenly freed up a lot more time so I started working more and going out less (who am I kidding, I didn’t go out before!) I missed my friends more and found myself never wanting to leave treatment. I didn’t want to leave the learning or the safety, but most importantly, I didn’t want to leave my second family.
It was bittersweet as the days in IOP decreased, moving from six to four to three and then none. I spent a lot of my time in group texts trying to coordinate when my friends would be there so we could see each other. I had some of my hardest times in IOP but I also had all the strength that I built up over the past three months. At the end, I didn’t want it to be over. I wanted to walk into the group room one last time. I wanted to prep my meal and clean the dishes as the laughter of my friends rang through the kitchen and the clomping of the therapist’s high heels echoed through the hallways. I remember when I was told I would be discharged. My immediate reaction was sobbing, you want emotions?… I’ll give you emotion! I thought immediately of my friends, my girls, my family (#2). I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe I was ready but the (sad) truth is, when you want to leave most you can’t leave, but when you are ready to go, you don’t ever want to. My therapist (the phenomenal AD who has cared for and helped me so much!) told me that is how I know I am ready to go. And another truth is, I am ready to go. I am ready to kick some ED ass. I am ready to be able to live my life to the fullest and embrace each moment. I’m ready to cry tears of joy over my accomplishments rather than tears of sadness of the number of calories in a food item. I am ready to sit a dinner table and talk with the people around me instead of the voice inside of my head. I am ready to go out and see what God has planned for me, because I have a feeling that it will be great.
I remember hiking with a good friend of mine a week or two ago and talking about some struggles with my ED. I was explaining how I was scared for discharge and how it is sad that not many people know much about eating disorders. Because of this lack of understanding certain people may make some insensitive c0mments like, “Well, why don’t you just eat?” And then, he hit me with the greatest quote that has stuck with me for so long which is, “It is simple, not easy.” The act of picking up a fork is simple but for me, eating the meal is a very difficult task. It is something I struggle with just like some people struggle with their own demons.
ANYWAYS… relating this to discharge, anyone can just drive into treatment and sit through groups, but the hard part is the listening and participating. It is simple for me to sit in a group and nod my head but it is not so easy to talk about my darkest times or see my best friends cry as they talk about theirs. Treatment, and I mean actually doing the work of treatment is not easy, but it is so worth it. It is so worth the hours of therapy and talking about emotions. It is so worth the tears and having to be vulnerable. It is so worth the pain; the physical, mental, and emotional pain that stings throughout the whole process. It is worth it because YOU are worth it. It is a long road but there is a beautiful, freeing, peaceful ending where you can live the way life was meant to be lived, free from the ED.
This blog post is for LV, somebody who has helped me through some of my most difficult times. Thank you for your compassion, intelligence, passion, and care. I am so thankful to have met you and that you were/are one of the key people in this very hard yet not impossible-to-beat times of my life. All my love <3