Saturday, May 23, 2009

Recovery Treatment Secrets

The book I'm reading, Purge, is awesome. It brings back memories of when I was in treatment, and all the small things that I had forgotten, or put in the back of my mind. It also really shows just how much I tried to be perfect at recovery, how I suppressed some real issues with myself.

I was able to adjust the meal plan to incorporate no gluten/dairy, which was a relief. Lets just say I got sick of peanut butter real fast since I didn't have milk, yogurt or butter as a choice for fat. I ate everything always in a timely manner at meals and snacks. I didn't try to hide uneaten food, play with my food, or spark an attitude. (This doesn't mean I didn't want to, I almost spoke up when I noticed my cranberry juice had high fructose corn syrup in it, and wanted to switch to the OJ since it did not). I gave up caffeine and alcohol completely as advised. The third day there my head hurt so bad from the caffeine withdrawal I couldn't think straight. I didn't weigh myself at home. (Program ran from 7am to 7pm, and I had a 1 1/2 hour drive to get there, then drive 1 1/2 hours home) I didn't eat outside of program, and I wouldn't have wanted to since I secretly was hoping for my weight to go down. Before entering I started binging without purging, hoping the cravings would go away, and then I could 'start eating perfectly again.' Those cravings obvious wouldn't stop, because they were just stuffed feelings. With me not purging them I was a loose cannon ready to explode.

I thought of the best answers I could come up with to dumb metaphoric questions (what would be 'right' for recovery, please the counselors, not necessarily my own answers) I fantasized about being thinner again, paying close detail to girls there I thought had ideal bodies. I wanted to call bluffs on what the therapists said at times, how they paid way too much attention to media being the conveyor of an eating disorder. I felt urges to correct the dietitian (being obsessed with healthy food you know ingredients of almost everything, and knowing how your body feels eating certain foods), I wanted to roll my eyes at some of the stupid 'therapy' activities we had to do. I felt at times like a kid who couldn't be trusted or taken seriously. I didn't realize until now how much real emotion, especially anger and sadness I held back. I had my eye on the prize, focus on doing everything 'right' in recovery, leave and be all better. That doesn't happen.

Don't get me wrong, it changed my life. It helped, opened my eyes, but the real work on my eating disorder development was not addressed or dealt with, and I don't think it all has been yet. I simply now could not even tell you the flow of events, the switchover from being a healthy, vibrate, outgoing, driven 19 year old to one that was afraid of any failure, food, and becoming fat. I am good at holding emotions at bay, and to the unknown eye look content with life and myself. Letting emotions out feels like a lost cause to me almost. I was so emotional as a child, sensitive, talked back at my mom, and this didn't give me exactly what I wanted: love and attention.

Something is holding me back from moving forward mentally, I don't know quite what it is, and I have a hunch I won't want to ever let it go.


  1. Don't hold on too tightly to that hunch.

    And letting go happens every day. A little at a time. I was so disappointed to realize going to therapy wouldn't cure me with the Golden Key of Recovery.

    It takes work, and it sucks. Alot. Every day. I may never completely want to recover, but the little bit that makes me want to is like the drop of dye in a bowl full of Easter Egg ready-water.

    Keep doing it, Sarah :)

  2. i just picked up "purge". thanks for the recommendation.

    i think recovery has it's high and low points, where we go up and down and sometimes stagnate.

    and there are definetely points where i've gotten stuck and thought i'd NEVER, NEVER, EVER give up what i clung to keep me in the same place.

    but i see i'm changing. very surprisingly. almost quickly. i've been working so hard for so long. and suddenly -- i care a lot less. it's different thinking. i don't trust it to last, but, maybe.

    hang in there, sarah. it does get better. and i think maybe we cling tightest when we're getting ready to give something up, even if just a bit.

  3. also, i can't seem to open "purge". it's like i'm afraid of it. weird.

  4. Mel-I honestly can say it did not trigger me, but I know of course everyone is different and has had different experiences. I soo loved this book (and plan on reading it a second time) because it reminded me of that time when I brought myself to the hospital, how I felt completely lost with what I was even doing, meeting new people, and exploring my eating disorder. I relate to her very much in her experiences of her recovery in IP, and she dipicts them well. Its a very hopeful heart touching book.

    If you do end up reading it, let me know what you think!!

  5. First of all, LOVED that book. I read it in a few hours. Couldn't put it down. Second of all, it was interesting to hear your take on your treatment and how you "obeyed" all the rules.