I've been in treatment for 6 days now. It has been quite the....adventure? I'm not sure how to accurately describe it. I think I have felt every single emotion possible in the span of less than a week. The most prominent ones have been homesickness (I miss my babies with every fiber of my being) and hope (I actually think that this process may do the trick.) My lovely husband has been so awesome throughout this entire thing. He has held down the fort marvelously. (He even bathed the baby without me having to remind him!) The kids are happy and healthy and I am confident they will remain that way until I can come home and be happy and healthy with them.
So many people have sent me words of encouragement.
After posting my last blog and announcing to the entire world that I had this issue and that I was going into treatment, I got mixed responses. About 99.9% were SO wonderful and positive. I heard from a bunch of people who have been struggling with or had previously struggled with eating disorders in the past, which was something totally new for me. I had people thank me for being so open and honest about a subject that is usually kept secret or hidden behind closed doors. (Unfortunately this is one of the reasons these things can drag on for years and years....it's easier to avoid something if you're ashamed to talk about it.) Before this month, I had never discussed my ED with anybody else who has struggled with one. Now that I am here, it is like I am in a village where we all speak the same language. When I am explaining something that has to do with ED, everyone else knows exactly what I mean before I even finish my sentence. The other girls here are so extraordinary. As a group, we all reach out to one another and try to offer words of encouragement and advice when one of the others is struggling. We don't judge if one of us isn't able to completely follow the program for the day. We give hugs for victories and hugs for failures. We understand that recovery is a long, windy road - not just a straight line with a beginning clearly labeled with a "go" sign and an ending signified with discharge paperwork. It's not like "BAM! You finished your 30 days! You're cured! Go be normal and we'll act like none of this ever happened!...." It is something we will have to be dealing with for the rest of our lives. (By the way, that revelation SUCKS to find out.) The ED voice won't ever go away - you just hope that one day it will become background noise instead of some asshole screaming in your ear about everything that happens throughout your day.
There are so many different directions of treatment.
This is a very structured program. We have every minute of every day planned out. We have groups galore! (I am going to be a pro at running them when I finally get back to work...you're welcome in advance to all of my coworkers! Also, I miss you guys.) We have things like Mindfulness and Yoga and CBT and DBT and everything in between. They really cover their bases here.
Oh, hey! Speaking of CBT.....
Here is a metaphor for those of you who don't suffer from an ED and/or don't understand why recovering from eating disorders is so difficult.
Now, I know you have all been 100% sure this is a dog for your entire life, but from now on, you have to remember this is a COW.
No matter how successful you are, every time you see this:
Did you get it right? Good job!
It takes a little bit of time and effort, right?
That is one. single. thing.
Now try applying that process to every single thought, feeling, situation, process, and action throughout every day for the rest of your life.
Do you understand why recovery isn't a 30 day easy-fix now?
And now a quick metaphor for those of you either currently in recovery (YOU GOT THIS!) or dealing with their ED symptoms (STAY STRONG!):
Going through recovery for an eating disorder is like playing the longest, hardest level of Mario Bros (old-school Nintendo, tyvm!) EVER. For those of you who are elderly like myself, do you remember how you would sit in front of your huge, boxy tv on Saturdays trying to get through level after level just to get to Bowser at the end? Your ED will constantly come up with new strategies. You knock down one goomba only to encounter 2 more. You finally make it through the hallway with the windmills of fire that you have to time so you don't die, only to fall in the lava and have to start all over. EVENTUALLY, you will make it to Bowser, kick his ASS, and save the Princess. Well, hopefully.
Don't stop. Push harder. Keep going.