Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reasons to Recover

I haven't written for a while, and frankly, I've just been so completely exhausted at the end of the day to even process what happened and very emotionally disregulated.  Things have changed rapidly for me in the past few days--my insurance company decided that since I have behaviorally stabilized (meaning, since I followed my meal plan for an entire week) and that since I'm mostly medically stable, that I needed to be stepped down to IOP (intensive outpatient), which is essentially the same thing as DTP, except it is only three and a half hours and not six. But initially, I was overcome with a lot of fear and anxiety that this is making me rush treatment, which will just put me back at CCED in another year or so. The other thing that this drop did was to completely invalidate how I felt about recovering from my eating disorder. Insurance companies are really good at doing that. They see a person simply as money, especially when it comes to mental health problems (but seriously, if I had cancer, this would not be how they would be treating me), and don't go by the guidelines for real healing. They just want to have to pay for as little treatment as possible and if the results are just barely in their checklist, then you are magically better and they will not pay for treatment any more.

Luckily for me, instead of dropping me completely, they allowed me to just step down into IOP, but even still, I don't feel okay with it. I feel fake because my actions and medical charts are improving, but my mental state is actually getting worse. Which is normal in eating disorder recovery world. But it makes me feel crazy because to normal people, I am getting better externally while internally I am feeling worse. It's a very frustrating process.

On the bright side, dropping to IOP, it means no more rush hour traffic, no more waking up at 6am, no more driving in the dark. It means no more exposure to one girl's defiance and protest to being in programming and no more exposure to another's hopelessness and desire to be the most pitied girl in the room. So I'm just trying to breathe through it and see how I feel at the end of the week.

One thing that has been the most helpful in getting me to this point where externally things are looking better is to remind myself continually why I am recovering. Why I want to get better. Why I need to get better. And at the beginning, I could not discern any of it for myself. So my favorite professor gave me a little help with why I need to get better, which got me following my meal plan all the time. And now in this time of change when I feel like my illness is being trivialized by my insurance company and I feel invalidated and like I need to get sicker to "prove" that I need the help, reminding myself of my reasons to recover helps me turn my mind from the distorted eating disorder thoughts to wise mind thoughts that allow me to continue following my meal plan. Here are the original 20 reasons to recover that my professor sent to me, which I keep coming back to as my base:

Reasons why you need to get better (which  means following your meal plan): so you can...

1. be HAPPY!

2. live normal again (whatever normal is) =)
3. come back to school and attend awesome classes
4. hang out with your Gettysburg friends
5. chat during my office hours
6. let your body recover
7. finish school and get a great job
8. get that job to help others
9. NOT let the disorder win

10. be that awesome success story that motivates others to get better

11. play with Eric and other little ones (because that is fun)
12. have your own kiddos someday (if that is of interest to you)
13. enjoy meeting up with friends
14. eat out in social situations and actually enjoy delicious food
15. go to church without anxiety
16. truly enjoy family gatherings
17. take back control of your emotional state
18. continue to help all of those friends that need you
19. use all of the potential that is waiting inside of you
20. simply live!

And as treatment has progressed, I've been able to add some more reasons to this list. I need to recover so I can... 

21. enjoy the holidays and not fear or dread them
22. travel and visit new places and far away friends 
23. have an identity outside of my disorder
24. go grocery shopping on my own 
25. fully experience everything around me
26. not have my life ruled by food, calories, and weight

27. stop hurting myself 
28. care for myself in ways that are not self-destructive
29. live freely and be able to have spontaneously with food
30. tell others that recovery from an eating disorder IS possible and actually mean it

Last night, I was asked, "What are the things you DO want? The healthy things? To come back to school, right?" And I responded with, 

"Yes. And to play with kids and smile and laugh and not be self conscious while I'm doing it. I want to be fully alive and able to experience EVERYTHING--to travel. To not be afraid of the unknown. I want to have kids and a rewarding career where I get to help others. I want to love and be loved. I want to live."