Written by: Ryan K
Originally posted: 7/23/2015
When I voluntarily made the decision to go into residential care all on my own without any help from family, friends or a frightening ER visit (sike), I cried. I did not want to go. Who wants to go LIVE somewhere foreign with a bunch of strangers including patients possibly with stronger eating disorders than mine, and counselors who will strip me of my freedom and take away my best friend? Trick question. Nobody. So yeah, I cried. I was terrified.
This week, I stepped down to partial hospitalization (“partial”) here at the center** and moved into the Transitional Living House**. I did partial before**, but my mind was not quite there with my body. Sure, physically I was sitting in the program five days a week and following my meal plan, but because we were able to bring our own food, I worked quite hard to make sure I was playing it safe and keeping Ed happy. Also, I was still using behaviors daily. Nay, multiple times a day. I can’t blame this on the treatment center; I was experiencing the whole “it gets worse before it gets better” thing. Yup, that’s a thing!
Not only is the partial program here different, but I am different too. I am finally starting to accept my body. I have been able to conquer countless “challenge” foods in a safe and highly monitored environment, and surprise surprise! The world didn’t end. I didn’t detonate. Whoa, I can do this.
Although I did feel ready to step down to partial, it wasn’t fully my decision. Last week, I met with my case manager who dropped a few bombs. First, my outpatient therapist I had been seeing between treatment centers** dumped me. Bitch! Just kidding. She doesn’t specialize in eating disorders and given my situation, she feels I would be better off with a therapist with more experience. OK, fair. Now the next bomb … Based on my current criteria (healthier weight, successful second pass home, complete honesty in the program after Hidethefoodgate), my insurance company is no longer willing to foot the bill. One day in residential care will run you a nice $1,250, and after six weeks, they were dumping me too. Fuckers! I was panicked because even though I have made a lot of progress here, I wasn’t feeling truly good about everything until a few days prior to this meeting. I wasn’t ready to go home and go to partial at Walden, which is only five days a week and ends at 2:30 PM. Er, I’ve felt good for a few days after 12 years of being sick, so pardon me if I didn’t feel ready.
My case manager spoke to me about the Transitional Living House, an option that I never previously considered due to the high out-of-pocket cost. It’s a few blocks away from the center, and I would go to partial there. Instead of residential counselors, there are life skills counselors (LSC) who are staffed from 7 AM to 11:30 PM. I would be transitioning to being out in the wild again, but still have the support of program seven hours of the day and at the house. With a clear mind, I quickly agreed to this option, but later on my eating disorder would ask, “Do you REALLY need to pay a bunch of money and go live there? Just go home! We will have tons of free time** …” Fuck off, fucker.
And so I was moving on to the next phase. But wanna hear something funny? I cried when I left resi. What?? How am I gonna cry because I have to go, but then cry because I have to leave? Despite feeling confident and ready, I truly miss everyone on the fourth floor. My sisters in recovery whom I really can’t love enough, and the staff whose chosen profession helped save my life. I miss playing games and having meals, I miss putting on a romantic comedy every night during visiting hours, I miss our short outings to Lush or Urban Outfitters, and our long ones to the Garment District or Made By Me. I can’t say I miss it all, but I do feel nostalgic.
On my first night of freedom, I asked my mom, brother, his girlfriend and our dog to come up and have dinner with me (in partial we have AM snack, lunch, PM snack, but are on our own for the rest). When we walked by the center en route to the restaurant, I looked up at the fourth floor balcony where I have shared many post-meal cigarettes with the community, while looking down and yelling “porcupine!” at passersby (I’ll explain later). We would sit out there in the sun discussing successes, not so successes (we’re not allowed to say failures), triggering situations in program, plans for the week, etc. I gazed up at the balcony and wondered what everyone was up to, and hoping that they are all doing well. I am happy to move on, but I can’t help feeling like I left a piece of my heart up there.
In the end, my therapist and insurance company may have dumped me, but I initiated the greatest breakup of all: the relationship with my eating disorder. All the while, I gained health, happiness, a great community of support. My mom can sleep again. Rejection never felt so good.
Original post can be found at www.ryandoesresi.com.