When treatment (and ED) multiplied

Two months ago, I only had therapy every other week.

Just over one month ago, I saw a dietitian weekly and therapy biweekly.

One month ago, I added a doctor to the mix. Around that same time, I switched therapists and began attending one group per week.

Two weeks ago, I attended a couple more groups.

Last week, I had activity therapy, R’s group with snack, art therapy, nutrition and yoga, and another therapy group with R over Monday and Tuesday.

This week, I was placed on medical leave, attended my first two days of IOP, and had to switch dietitians without any prior knowledge or choice.


It has been an absolute whirlwind. I remember thinking at so many points that I didn’t need this next step, I wasn’t sick enough. I argued, deflected, begged, hid the truth, ignored, and did everything to fight hard against any extra treatment.

I can’t fight this anymore. In fact, if I do fight it will end with me being forced to leave school and in residential or inpatient. This is serious. If I continue to follow my eating disorder it’s going to do a lot more than send me to a higher level of care.

Where I’m at now is a crossroad. I know what will happen if I continue with the eating disorder. It’s safe and familiar and easier. I’ll have the control I crave, watch my body shrink down to an “acceptable” size, and be able to cope with everything in a my life (albeit in a rather unhealthy way). On the other hand, recovery is the unknown. I’ve had some glimpses, but going full in is scary. It could mean a full life where I can become the best me: a nurse, wife, friend, mother, and person, all without Ed. The question now is this: do I stay in the familiarity of my eating disorder and fight all forms of treatment or trust in recovery by fighting my eating disorder? I think I need to at least try option #2, because I can always go back to the ED (as I have now) while recovery will only become less attainable as time goes on.

All the treatment last week.

I am just now writing about all 3 appointments and group therapy that happened last week. I’ll touch on each separately as I’ve made notes for each one.

Tuesday – Group Therapy

I only decided to call and attend group around 2 hours before. I had just finished with my bone scan. My new therapist hadn’t called about me joining group as I hoped/assumed, so I called them back. Having only a small amount of time to worry beforehand definitely made things better.

Going in, all I knew is that the other women would be from IOP and it was likely going to be a small group. I walked in and felt uncomfortable. I didn’t say a word before group and barely even looked up. Thankfully I was able to relax once we started talking and had introductions.

My new therapist, R, leads the group. I’m thankful I was able to meet her before our first session. We talked about values and how Ed’s values and ours differs. It reminded me of our groups with T at CFD, and he was amazing. Our first step was making our own lists of values. For me, I had authenticity, helping others, hard work, compassion, and faith. Ed was perfection, thinness, weight loss, secrecy and self-hatred. Next I made a pie chart of what I out my time in now v. what I hope for in recovery. Mine was drastic. ED thoughts and values took up over 2/3 of my time now and in my ideal recovery <2/3. That gap is scary but also shows me that I need to change. I came out feeling more motivated because my dreams are so much better than this.

Wednesday – Dietitian

It was a hard one with L. Each week has been getting progressively worse in my eating. I’m slipping and I honestly don’t fight back too much. It was time for a reality check and she helped with that. I was  so angry with her (more so Ed was) and argued back and forth on different points. She didn’t let these thoughts get by. I appreciate that.

I found a scale at home and told her about this. I said it was okay to weigh myself since I won’t have too much access. Of course this didn’t fly with her. Part of my goals for the week was not stepping onto it. She asked about my goal weight which I said will make me happier. I had some time assessing the situation and part of me does believe her. A positive that came from our meeting was her feelings about group. She was incredibly proud of me for taking initiative in my recovery.

L’s no BS policy both annoys me and supports my recovery. I need to be pushed. I don’t think I’m able to do this on my own currently. I think realizing this is better than attempting to tackle it myself. One last conversation that killed me was learning L is leaving in January. I HATE change to the nth degree. It

s extremely difficult to find a dietitian in the first place so that’s just another stressor. Overall, the appointment was helpful but scary.

Wednesday – Dr. C

This was only my second meeting with her but I already know she’s going to be a valuable part of my treatment team. She was able to encourage me in many ways. I see her as a cheerleader for my health.

Something I appreciated was her going through all of my blood work. I love to hear it explained since I’d such a health nerd. I’m glad everything was okay. I was worried I would have another thing to worry about but it isn’t. I am okay, for now.

I was comparing last fall to this one when Dr. C stopped me mid explanation. She told me that I’m not as deep into the pit. I can see the light and i am asking for help. I thought differently from that point on. She also encouraged me that I can get through the semester. I had around 2.5 weeks from the time. In reality, that really isn’t a terrible amount of time. I need to believe that I can and I  will. I mentioned taking our J term off and as of now I believe that will happen. I really think I should try to take time for myself. I don’t meed all the interim classes so this year could be the time I put my health first.

Other tips I believe would actually work: get 7 or more hours of sleep, using all  of the knowledge I already possess, set emotions aside and make school and this semester a priority, believing in the real Emily and knowing she’s there. I have to work on separating Ed from myself. My bad enough means medical issues or emaciation. I don’t deserve treatment or want it if I am still so huge. One of the scariest thing she told me is that I need to consider other options. I cannot fathom doing it all over again. I don’t have the time o money to do so. It makes me terrified. I have to break out of the rigidity of the ED or risk more consequences.

Thursday – Therapy with R

I really enjoy R so far. I think she’ll be a great fit for me. Grateful doesn’t begin to describe that considering how little hope I once had. In all honesty, she’s going to help me more than S could. Amain point is that I need to put more into my recovery. I cannot do the same and assume it will be okay. She was yet another member of my team to say no the scale. One of the best things I came out with is all the groups the center offers. They have IOP MTR and you can walk in to any group during the time. I would love to do art therapy or any group with K, and amazing OT from FV. She’s seriously the best. I need to do more. Going to groups, therapy, and a dietitian each week means many more opportunities to dig into my recovery. I will do my very best to fight against Ed.

And that’ all for this week! I think I may end up writing each time I had an appointment or group. I find it therapeutic and a way to keep track of what I’ve learned and felt over time. 

Planning for success at college.

I thought I would take some time to explain all of the resources/plans I have at college to keep me on track in recovery. By no means do I feel it will easily, but I feel very confident that I have the most care and best care available. My opinion on that may change after meeting my new therapist and dietitian. Even if they aren’t the right fit I will work to find someone who is. Anyways, here’s my list:

Therapy 1x per week. This is so essential for me. I honestly wouldn’t have gotten through last year without talking with J each week. Individual therapy is important and allows me to talk through whatever thoughts I have, whether it be ED, depression, anxiety, or even a random SH urge. I also get to check in and if my therapist sees a downward trend she can help me get out of it. I’m also a huge fan of therapy homework. S is my new therapist here on campus and she seems wonderful. I’m hoping she will be a great fit and I love that I get the perks of academic assistance (ie taking a test in a room with less people because 90 kids in a class makes me anxious or even if I need a break from class one day)

Dietitian with weight tracking. Yes, I am seeing a dietitian. I was the girl a year ago who claimed I was above having a meal plan, hated the dietitian I met with, made excuses to never go again, etc. Forest View this time around convinced me to change my thinking. That was actually a big part of why VH let me go so soon. He wanted me on a meal plan and being weighed often so that a relapse could be detected early. It makes sense. I’m open to it and glad to be going. I think since she’s also at the school I’ll have more help with meal planning. Plus I can hopefully resolve my lactose issue or confirm that I am intolerant and plan accordingly. I hope to see her weekly or at the very least be weighed weekly. I’m not sure how that will go but I see her this week.

Following my meal plan (yes for real this time!). I could technically say I folowed my meal plan for about a week last time, but even that’s a streth. Obviously, that needs to change this time around. I’ve had success for the most part so ar. I know it’s not going to be easy, espeically with my lactose resttriction, but I am willing to make it work. I’m hoping that with my dietitian I will hit 90% each week. That’s the goal for now because I know I will screw up sometimes or the dining hall might not have something. I’m going to try my best regardless.

Daily recovery devotional/work in recovery books. Faith and ED recovery go hand in hand. I really can’t tell you all the ways being in God’s word fights the ED thoughts and puts me in better spirits period. It’s wonderful. My goal is to start each mornign in the ED devo book J gave me and work in my recovery workbook daily as well. If I focus on that it will give less time for the ED to take over.

Coping skills. I have so many coping skills this time around. I bought lots of markers and pens and coloring books. I find that to be so helpful. I love listening to oworship music while doing so. Yoga will be a regular part of my day as soon as I pick up my mat from home. Crosswords and other logic puzzles are always engaging. Anything on my computer from netflix to playing sims to just browsing. I have made sure there never will be a time I don’t have something to distract me. This means distraction when I have meals alone as well.

Accountability. I will fill out my meal plan record every week and show my mom, therapist, dietitian. My mom texts me a few times daily to see if I’m on track/having a  hard time, which is wonderful. I’ll have my dietitian and therapist to be honest with. I would love to have someone at Calvin know what’s going on. I’m waiting on that for now but hope to tell someone part of this soon.

Outside support. For now, at least, I’m going to be relying the most on outside support in my mom, Livvy, Lily. It’s hard, but I want to do my best to stay on track and reach out if need be, even though they can’t be physically here.

I have infinitely more resources and options for treatment her. My hope for this year is tgat I get unto a good, healthy groove and use all the help I’m given. As J said at our last session, God put me here at Calvin for a reason. He knew I needed more help and the fact that everything is so close and there are therapists and a dietitian here is amazing. I don’t want to follow the ED’s plan of slipping below the radar into relapse anymore. I have hope that however hard, recovery is still worth it. Here’s to a fresh start and an amazing, healthy, reviving year!