April 2nd, 2016
Yesterday, I officially discharged from treatment at St. Vincent’s Eating Disorder Clinic. I am now in complete outpatient care! It feels so, so good to write those words. I can remember a time just a couple months ago (maybe even as recent as a month ago) when I was convinced I’d never be able to do this in outpatient care. “This” being recovery. How could I do something on my own, that I didn’t want? Where was my motivation going to come from? Over the past four months, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Significantly more than I did the last time I was in treatment, I think largely because of being an adult this time around. The focus last time, being in the adolescent program, was on how to rely on your support people. It was easier then, since we all lived with them. The thought of living on my own hadn’t even come into consideration at that point. I was only fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school. I had three years left living “at home”, and that was my life. In the adult program, that’s not the case. We’re taught how to overcome this illness largely on our own, while yes, of course, still using support people as a significant part in our recovery, but knowing that there’s no longer an eye watching over our every move. We have to want it, if this “recovery thing” is going to be sustained.
I’ve struggled a lot recently with feeling very behind my peers. So much of my life has been spent consumed by this disorder, whether it be in treatment or out, that a large part of me feels like I don’t really know what I want out of my life, in a number of different aspects. While many of my friends are embarking on exciting study abroad opportunities, leading Young Life, making life decisions regarding their education, and pursuing their future careers, I’m…well, not. I’ve come to realize though, what a blessing it is to have been able to learn so much about myself during this critical period in my life. I have, and still am, learning a lot of things about myself that will likely help me in the future, as a result of this experience, and the intense amount of therapy I’ve received over the past six years. In that light, I’m trying to look at this “Gap Term” I’ve taken as a self-growth opportunity, as opposed to just, “Treatment”. It’s a positive, not a negative. It was (is) hard, but I’m learning, and I’m growing. I’m getting stronger with each meal!
I had a weird feeling yesterday. It was like I had butterflies in my stomach all day, but I wasn’t nervous about anything. I couldn’t place what was going on. Then, as 3:30 pm arrived, and friends and family came to gather for my (and my friend at treatment who was also discharging with me!) synopsis, I realized what it was. I was excited. It’s been so long since I’ve felt that excited, in conjunction with feeling a sense of accomplishment, about anything. It’s a tradition at treatment to leave a painted handprint on the wall when you discharge. I’d already left a handprint when I discharged from the adolescent program, so I decided to do a footprint this time. Right above it, it says “B.T. 04/01/16, ‘You’re only as sick as your secrets’.”
We left around 4 pm, and Mama and I headed downtown. We shopped around a bit, got some gelato (which was the first time I’ve had dessert in nine months, may I add), and enjoyed each other. The sun was shining, and it was still 75 degrees as we drove back home, with the top down. It was wonderful.
Before I close this, I know that my amazing therapist, psychiatrist, and dietician, may well read this entry, so I just want to take a minute to publicly (if you call this publicly…) to thank them for everything they’ve done for me. I don’t want to say that I could not have done this without them, but it certainly would not have been the same experience that it was. I thought my mom said it perfectly at my synopsis yesterday-We thought the answer was residential. We thought that THAT was my best chance at getting healthy again. I flew across the whole country, to receive eating disorder treatment, and the reality was, residential wasn’t the answer for me. The answer was three miles from home. I am so, so thankful to the St. Vincent’s Eating Disorder program.
Thank you, Jesus.