I HATE seeking new treatment members. Absolutely hate it. Why? I feel judged. I feel scared they won't agree to treatment for the all too common reason that "I'm too complicated of a case." This can be determined by my weight, the length of time I have had my ED, or whatever other criteria they like to judge me on. Then, if I make it past the pre-judgement and meet them, there is the all too familar situation where my insurance says they work with ED and they clearly don't. But I stick with them because I don't want to go through the fear of judgement and rejection again. Then, for some reason or another (usually because my ED takes over) I stop seeing them because I have to go to treatment or something.
Well...this time I decided to go back through this scary process and risk rejection of treatment and risk finding another therapist that isn't an ED specialist..but I knew it was what I had to do. So I prayed with my amazing pastoral therapist about it, I contacted my insurance, and I got a (very short) list of ED specialized therapist. And I did what I always do and looked up ratings on the and pre-judged them. Of course...with a list of only 3 therapist and none of them having ratings....well that didn't turn out quite so well. So I just dove in and called one....one that I had never heard of (thus relinquishing all pre-conceived notions). I had smartly (or so I thought) planned this for a Sat...that way I could talk to a voice-mail....well fate would have it another way.
You see, the voice-mail switched over to cell phone of the therapist herself. I literally was so caught off guard when she said "Hello" that I had word stumbling issues. Poor lady probably thinks I stutter now but anyway I finally got out the words that I was calling about therapy. I then found out this was the therapist herself and right away she jumped into questions. I was expecting a "call back Monday please," but no...right there in the middle of her Saturday she took my call and the time to talk with me. Score one for new therapist.
Now, I am used to the typical questions. You know...what's your diagnosis, how long have you had ED, which symptoms do you have, co-occurring conditions...blah, blah, blah. And I got those questions but then I got "Do you think you have relapsed?" This seems like a simple yes or no question till you get asked it. I stumbled through the words to explain how I was in between. Trying to justify somehow the fact that I wasn't fully relapsed...but I wasn't really in recovery. I kind of had gotten where I was through "slips." I had just not followed a meal plan, but really...I wasn't that bad. When I heard myself say these things I automatically thought: typical ED patient response. Justification and rationalization of behaviors. So I stopped talking and was like....yes....maybe I have...I am starting to see maybe I relapsed. I swear I could hear the therapist smile on the other line.
Then the next lovely question came after she apologized for all the questions. Oh, and I really liked her apology...because it was that she just wanted to make sure she had the time for me as a client. With that statement, I knew she knew about ED patients and how we do take more time and energy. And then she asked me how much I weigh. This is when it hit me that I knew I was underweight, because I was scared to tell her, but I finally spit it out. Her next words are what inspired this post.
You see this was the end of her questioning and she said she would take me as a client, but that we were going to have to set up a "safe weight" with my N. This isn't the weight she wants me at...this is a new concept...a weight I can't drop below. WOAH! Lady, hold up. You are limiting me.....woah. It's like I was falling and then all the sudden hit solid ground...and it hurt. Here I was starting to like this lady. And honestly...at first...this got me excited. As did her following by her specialized training in ED. I mean I knew this lady knew what she was doing and would be the firmness and concreteness I need to feel guided in recovery and to maybe, actually recover. But this was short lived.
When Recovery Gets Real
You see...once our first session was set and I hung up the phone....panic ensued This lady knew what the heck she was doing. She was gonna set limits. She was gonna push me. I was going to be put in a situation where I had the team I needed to recover. And there was going to be a stop to the freedom and semi-control I have had over my recovery.
You see, up to this point. I have been weighing myself. I have seen the numbers not move in the right direction and have kept on. I have met my meal plan but with safe foods till N pushes me. I have begun to push myself, but have resisted it the whole time. And the fact that it has taken me almost two years to start complying is sad. And now here is this lady. And I mean we haven't had a session yet, but she told me she is really firm. So I have a feeling all of the things I still want to hold onto that are ED are going to be not just pointed out to be, but taken away.
Yes, I know this is good, but it scares me. I mean it scares ED shitless and since ED is still a part of me...well it scares me to. And then there's the fact I am at the place I want to get better....and having an ED specialized therapist for the first time EVER outpatient...it makes that become a possibility. A very real possibility. And honestly...that reality of recovery scares me.
ED has shot off tonight. He wants me to lose as much as I can by Friday (my appt with her). To go crazy with my behaviors...even the ones I haven't used in forever. He wants me almost....binge...on my behaviors if that makes sense. This is gonna be a bad example, but one I know many of you will understand. It's like when you vow to go on a diet....and you choose the day...let's say Friday for example. And you let yourself have whatever you want leading up to Friday. Thursday night is a huge meal of all your favorites you will vow to never have again, just so you can have one last bite. Well that's how I am feeling. I feel like after Friday I will be sealed into real recovery, not the semi-recovery I have been living. The recovery where my team has total control and there are concrete consequences. And so in my mind, I need to use all my behaviors for the last time to get a final taste. And that scared me too....the fact that my brain jumped here.
You see I have been telling myself I haven't really relapsed...but this mindset...well it's the same one I had right before I checked into residential treatment after what I have deemed a real relapse. I've begun to realize that just because my cal intake wasn't concrete, just because I didn't have a goal weight or goal intake..it doesn't mean I haven't relapsed. I still restricted, I still overexercised, I still drove my weight lower.....and that is relapse. But you know...I am also happy this is how I feel. Why?
Because it means I really think I can recover. If I didn't I would feel the same I felt with other therapist...that it was just another doctor. I wouldn't feel this fear. The "checking into treatment" fear, the "oh shit I may actually have to eat and gain weight," the "this is gonna be freaking hard and scary" fear. I wouldn't feel that and haven't felt that, because I haven't thought real recovery was possible. I have known I can get away with not following meal plan completely...like still meeting exchanges, but knowing I am doing it with safe foods. Not doing more challenges because no one is making me. Not finishing that last bite because no one will see. And knowing if I lose, no one will stop me. But now, I feel there is a threat associated with losing. Like it has become something bad. Something to fight against. I mean...it always has been and people say I will die or whatever if I keep losing, but that isn't something I can grasp. But a contract is. Especially since I really want to see this therapist.
So I am happy that I am scared. I know, it's weird. But I am happy that maybe recovery is a reality. That maybe this therapist can help me. That maybe she can shut ED up enough or at least give the healthy part of me enough to grab onto...that I can move forward. Honestly, I don't know how to recover. I never have. I broke the rules in treatment, and have never had true recovery in the real world of outpatient.....so I need someone who knows what they are doing. Who knows how to work with ED patients. Who knows how to get me to a place of moving forward. So I am scared, because this is the complete unknown. I'm scared because I've realized how far into relapse I have fallen. I'm scared because as much as my mind says to binge on my behaviors till Friday...I don't want to. I don't want to lie to my N and have a bad session on Wed. I don't want to be so worn down for my exam Thursday. So....I am going to have to keep fighting like I want to...and that scares me.
But again...I'm happy I'm scared. Maybe it's a sign that not only do I know this therapist is what I need...but I am actually ready to commit. That's why I always felt it going into treatment centers. I knew even if I wasn't ready to commit I had to. And now...feeling it outpatient...now I think it means I am ready to make myself commit. Because I really am sick and tired of feeling so sick and tired. Sure I do my triumph treats...but I should do them more often. Sure I meet my meal plan, but again it's with safe foods and it is because I know I can weigh myself. And es...I am scared because I know those comforts of weighing myself and not pushing my fears...they may have to go with this new therapist. But you know what....it also means I am saying I am putting keeping this therapist before my ED....and that's a big thing. This fear shows that I am at the place where recovery can be my reality. That this Friday is the start of my first ever true outpatient treatment. And you know what....I'm scared....and I am damn proud of it. I'm scared and I'm not running away...I'm running towards my recovery reality....maybe it is a slow run....and maybe I will get turned around...but I'm ready to go.