Written by: Ryan K
Originally posted: 6/20/2015
There are two ways to end up in resi -- willingly and unwillingly. I think it's pretty clear which group has a better chance of success.
I have to credit my supports (mentioned in previous post) for the final push into residential care, but ultimately I'm the one who chose to take the necessary steps to regain control of my life. Throughout treatment, I learned that patients are all over the place on the recovery spectrum. Some women go because their husbands threaten divorce. Some go because their jobs are at risk. Some go because their families are desperate and don't know what else to do. Some want to be here, and some genuinely don't know if they want to get better.
Today's second group was "Motivation for Recovery." One of the patients is stepping down to PHP tomorrow and is naturally apprehensive and nervous, but also a lot stronger than she thinks. She cited me as her motivation role model, and I was flattered. I put in a lot of effort to see the positive side of any situation, and have gained a reputation as being extremely ambitious in my recovery.
The funny thing about motivation in beating a mental illness is it can wax and wane in a matter of minutes. I remember in PHP at my previous treatment center, I spoke of much optimism and positivity, and the other women called me uplifting. I wasn't bullshitting either; I truly felt confident and driven. I can do it! We can all do it! We got this!
That night, I would go home and use behaviors. I felt extra shitty because not only have I let myself down, but I felt like I let my fellow sisters in recovery down as well.
I've learned that the process of recovery is similar to trying to break up with a boyfriend but still seeing him once in a while. It just doesn't work. In PHP, I had a set meal plan, but I could bring my own food that fits my exchanges. I would research nutrition facts and only bring what I thought was a "safe" food. In this way, I had one foot in and one foot out. The eating disorder voice was still present, telling me, "FINE, if you HAVE to eat, just eat this 45-calorie slice of bread as your grain, and lie about not using fat free greek yogurt."
I can't invalidate everything I took from PHP and IOP because I definitely made significant process, but the residential level completely eliminates the guessing game and obsession over how to prepare the least caloric meal. You pick from a few options and you eat it. What a simple but highly controlled way to beat the disorder, right? Wrong.
Apparently, there are many ways to cheat in resi. There are a handful of us who smoke here, and they allow us one cigarette after each meal or snack. One of the fellow smokers is a girl who's been here for three months now, and has been in other residential programs before this long stretch. I liken her to Angelina Jolie from Girl, Interrupted and ironically, she looks like her too. She often speaks of hiding food and using behaviors and is generally a bit of a troublemaker, although I do find her amusing. I won't lie; I definitely pocketed almonds in PHP, but I have a much different attitude this time around.
If you know me, you know how important my career is to me. I work my ass off, and I'm good at what I do. It took a LOT of convincing to get me to go on medical leave (the ER trip didn't hurt), and I'm not here to half ass recovery. Being sneaky and cutting corners makes the eating disorder happy. SO YOU'RE TELLING ME THERE'S A CHANCE? No. There's not. Cheating my way through may bring temporary relief in the moment, but I would still be lying to myself and others, and that's the reason why I'm here in the first place.
I listen to her stories about discovering loopholes in the program. Instead of feeling triggered, I feel happy that I've made so much progress over these months so that I don't feel triggered. No two people are in the same place in treatment, and I work hard to keep my eye on the prize.
My ED still tries but I just say thanks, but really, no thanks.
Original post can be found at www.ryandoesresi.com.