Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Revolving Door

A lot of us get labelled as a “revolving door patient”: someone who goes in and out of treatment multiple times, often in a short period of time.  Sometimes we give ourselves this label; sometimes other people give it to us.  I am not proud of the number of times I was in treatment, and I’m certainly not proud of the beginning of my treatment days, when I was a revolving door patient.  Some of those times I  needed to be there.  Some of those times, I think I could have remained outpatient, but I wanted to go inpatient.  I didn’t want to go IP because it was fun or because it gave me status as “sick enough;” I went in because it was an easy escape.  I thought going inpatient and ignoring the world would make the problems stop.  My views on that eventually changed.  

In the end of my treatment (IP wise) journey, I needed to be convinced to go. I was afraid they would see me as a revolving door patient and not take me seriously.  I was also afraid I wasn’t sick enough or thin enough.  I wasn’t at my lowest weight; my body could not tolerate the disease as much as it used to and started giving out on me at a much earlier point than it had when I was first anorexic.  Someone always had to reassure me that I deserved to go, that I needed to go.  

I know that some people don’t seek help because they feel that they’ve gone through enough programs and “nothing works.”  Or that “I’m just not meant to get better.”  Or, “I’ve already been here and it didn’t work, so what’s the point?”  Or, “It didn’t work for s0-and-so, so what’s the point?”

The point is that every single time you go into treatment, you have the opportunity to learn something new.  To get one little nugget of knowledge about yourself and your eating disorder and hopefully one more coping skills.  Who cares if it didn’t work for so-and-so.  Not all patients benefit from the same treatment center.  Some people need a more open environment; some need a more strict environment.  And some people just aren’t ready to change while they are there.  This is not an illness that you can make someone recover from.  It doesn’t work that way.  You can force feed her, watch her after meals, use a tube, but unless she wants to get better, she’s not going to.  But if you want to get better, there is nothing stopping you.  So what if your insurance only covers one place and you’ve been there before and they know you.  Maybe during your prior visits you weren’t quite ready to give up the eating disorder.  

Once you make the decision to fully let go and you are willing to use whatever tools are given you and accept whatever help is offered, nothing can stand in your way unless you let it.  A friend of mine who is going into treatment at a facility she’s been at before and has been facing down some of these fears recently wrote that “If I want it to work, it CAN and WILL work.”  She’s right.  The power to change is in your hands.  Not your doctor’s, not your therapist’s, or your nutritionist’s, but yours.  

That’s a lot of power and control you hold in your hands.


August 9, 2009 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. To keep going I try to keep telling myself that as long as I’m still alive, anything is potentially possible.

    I liekd that you added in the part of sometimes wanting to be in treatment even if it wasn’t 100% necessary at that exact moment because it made you feel sick enough. Most people just say they don’t wanna go inpatient because they don’t feel sick enough, but you showed the other side of it that I’m sure all of us have felt at one point or another.

    Once again, very well said.

    Comment by Lizz | August 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. Good post. Should be studying so I am going to make this short. So, my first thought when I saw the title of the blog was…..oh, well that isn’t me. Not in a conceited…” I am better than you tone” but a, “yet again, another reminder I was never sick enough, I was never a REAL anorexic…” I’ve only been inpatient ONCE. From a rational mind, I can see that the “best” anorexic is the dead one, but I don’t know why it still continues to be so hard for me to grasp. I always thought after I went inpatient THAN I would get better and I AM doing well, and I learned a lot. But I have not been able to completely let go. Of course, you go inpatient and meet a whole new group of people that have been to more programs than you, been in the ER and the ICU……and then my brain started to go again….”well this place just isn’t for me.” I’m sick of comparing. I tired of waiting of wanting everyone else to get better WITH ME. I know if I wait for everyone else to get well than I will be the one left behind. I’ve seen people get well that I thought definitely would not get well before me because they were “so sick” but those memories are outnumbered by everyone else still living in their drama filled ED life. I don’t want to be jealous. I’m less jealous than before. I compare less, but I don’t want to compare at all. How do I stop! How do I confidently declare that I want my health and don’t think that I could go back if I wanted too….I’m ranting. I’m tired and brain dead at the moment from studying yet in a bizarre contemplative, blah, feeling invalidated mood.

    Comment by Jessica | August 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the feedback

    Comment by Nichole Kilby | August 28, 2009 | Reply

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