Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

general update

 

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October 15, 2009: exactly three months post-ICD implant

 

This is just a general me update.  I took this picture on October 15, which was the three-month anniversary of my ICD implant.  I saw my electrophysiologist today for my three month (and two weeks) checkup.

Things are looking good.  The scar, thanks to liberal amounts of Mederma, is fading.  He did a rather nice job keeping it small and tidy.

I have done absolutely nothing in these past three months to raise my heartrate or trigger any arrhythmias, so the interrogation of my device was a pretty boring read today.  The doctor did start me on a beta blocker to help with the premature beats that make my head spin.

But I get to exercise again!!!

Well, I don’t get to run or anything intense like I was doing, pre-ARVD diagnosis.  But I can walk faster.  And I can lift light free weights as long as I keep my shoulders stationary to avoid moving the wire.  I can take a ballet class, because of course proper ballerinas do not shrug their shoulders (that would be ugly and ungraceful).  I need to purchase a heart monitor watch to make sure I stay at a certain limit.

But (hopefully) never again will a car passenger yell out to me, “Walk faster!”

While this seems all lighthearted, and I am smiling, it goes much deeper.  I feel like I’ve gotten a piece of my self back.  I can take action to make my body strong again.  I have accepted that it won’t be the Super Athlete Runner Body anymore.  But I have yet to accept the post-surgery body.  Or, I accept it on a cognitive level but am not content with it because it is so foreign to me?  And I thought I was done with significant body changes in a short period of time.  And this one was completely unexpected.

So tomorrow, I will do my first push-up (on my knees first.  yes, the girly kind) in over four months.  I will pick up a set of light five pound weights and do a set of slow curls.  That may be all I do beside walk tomorrow.  But it will feel amazing.

 

 

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Body Image, Eating Disorders, health, heart, identity | , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Discover Yourself

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(I’m considering this as part of my Identity series)

This is an older picture.  One year ago at this time, most of my hair was my normal color, with the undersides in the back dyed a deep purple.  Then around February of this year, I died the tips of my hair blue, as you can see here.  And this is a hat I made, which you really can’t see all that well.  The top is really textured and fuzzy.

I like this picture because it says a lot of things, at least in my head.  First off, I can change my hair any time I want and I am still me.  Right now it’s a really deep brown that borders on black, and it’s longer than before.  I think I’m going to add streaks of purple in a couple of weeks.  I’m not sure.  Or I may just let it fade to my normal color.

And the hat.  I used a pattern, but I think there is skill and creative energy involved in knitting or crocheting–with or without a pattern.

So the point of all of this?  Someone commented on my entry yesterday that for some people who will live with their eating disorders for the rest of their lives, in varying states of illness or recovery, the eating disorder remains a part of their identity and sometimes the humor needs to be there.  I do not argue against humor.  If I didn’t have this black sense of humor about what has happened health wise, I think I would have ended up in the hospital a lot sooner than I did two weeks ago.

But I do challenge the belief that an eating disorder has to remain a part of your identity.  I originally thought, when I got my cardiac diagnosis, “I am now a cardiac patient forever.”  That was pretty depressing for awhile.  But no.  I have to take certain precautions to keep me healthy, but I do not have to succumb to the idea that ARVD is who I am.  I’ve known several people with cancer and they don’t say, “I’m a cancer patient.”  They say, “I have cancer.”  There is a big difference.

So are you anorexic/bulimic/a compulsive overeater or do you have an eating disorder?

And even if you have an eating disorder, you can still be you. I know a lot of us lost sight of who we are in the midst of the illness, but what are you doing to find yourself again?  It’s not a passive process.  I worked my ass off to figure out who I was without the eating disorder.

Part of me is the creative person who loves to knit and crochet.  This is the part of me who is taking up sewing as well and just pre-washed and dried fabric to make a dress.  Although I can’t be Super Athlete anymore because I have ARVD, I can use some of that time and energy doing other things I love.

How do you find those things?  Just start trying different things.  Take an art class.  Or just buy cheap paints and see if you like it.  Go to the library and get a book about knitting and see if you like that.  Take walks with a camera.  Cook different types of foods.  Pick a topic you’re interested in and research it.  Marsha Linehan’s Skills Training Manual for Borderline Personality Disorder has a list of 170-some pleasurable activities for adults.  Find a copy of that list and start checking things off.  You may be surprised at what you discover.

October 29, 2009 Posted by | 1, Eating Disorders, identity, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

the fashion of eating disorders

9222_162316921878_520241878_3272709_7976958_nSo here’s another controversial post.  Because I like to do that.

There’s this group on Facebook called “Body By Ensure,” playing off of the “Body by Milk” campaign.  The group originally was a positive, pro-recovery group.  We agreed that ensure and boost and resource sucked and we were glad we were off it or were going to get to that point.  People posted pictures of throwing empty bottles away.  Now they post pictures of ensure and boost towers–which can only be made with full bottles, not empty ones.

And now, they post pictures of themselves wearing sweatshirts such as the one on the left.  Thanks to sites like CafePress.com you make just about anything.

n195021565268_6351And now there is a new group with some clever name I can’t remember, but the idea is similar to Body by Ensure, except the slogan is “Booty by Boost.”

Yes.  They have the words “booty by boost” written on their asses.

I’ll address that fact first since it’s easier.  Why would a female with an intelligent head on her shoulders want to put words on her ass?  Doing so results in the wearer becoming a sexual object to be looked at rather than a sentient being who is to be appreciated for her thoughts, feelings, and opinions.  If you put words on your ass, then you have no right to complain if someone stares at your ass as you walk by.

What happened to using our voices?  Why are we writing words and putting them on a sexualized location for what–a joke?

A joke that’s not really funny.  I originally thought the Body by Ensure shirt was funny.  But then I realized that part of recovery is distancing yourself from things that are keep your identity chained to the eating disorder.  And that’s what these clothing items do.  This is what they say

I have an eating disorder.  Anorexia kills 20% of its victims.  But aren’t I cool?  Just look at my snazzy sweatshirt.

There’s nothing wrong with humor.  But there’s something wrong with wanting to shout to the world you have an eating disorder.

And what do groups such as these do for the numerous people with eating disorders who do not need to gain weight and may even, from a medical standpoint, need to lose weight?  How are they supposed to feel when one of the discussions in “Body by Ensure” is “How many were you on?” and the discussion turns into a veritable competition to see who was sickest (thinnest) and needed the most supplements.  Many bulimics and people with Compulsive Overeating Disorder already feel as if they don’t merit treatment because they aren’t “thin enough.”  Yet these groups encourage bonding over the fact that they were all malnourished and needed supplementation to gain weight.

Talk about excluding a group that’s already on the fringes.

You should not be proud of having an eating disorder  or needing to drink supplements, and if you wear a shirt that screams “I drink ensure” that is exactly what you’re telling the world.

October 28, 2009 Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, identity, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

relapse? i think not

 

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My jewelry for the previous ten days

 

So these bracelets were my jewelry for the past few days.  The red band had my allergies on it at one point, but it only took two showers to wash off the permanent marker.  The nurses didn’t seem to concerned about that.

Hospital bracelets???? “But I thought you were recovered?” I can hear (some of) you saying.

Yup.  Still recovered.  But I’ve written before that just because you recover from an eating disorder, life isn’t going to be all peaches and roses.  It’s going to be real–which means that sometimes it’s going to be hell.

I am Bipolar, Type 1.  (The Type 1 bit means that one of my manic episodes included a psychotic break.)  And I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  And was recently diagnosed with ARVD.  And even though I was doing all that I was supposed to be doing, the depression kept getting worse.  And although I wasn’t suicidal, the thoughts of self-harm were increasing in number and strength.  My psychiatrist and I decided I needed to do a med change, and that it would be best to do so quickly rather than gradually, which meant that I had to be inpatient so that someone could watch for side effects.  And because of my heart, they needed to do an EKG every morning to see if the medication was more harmful than helpful.

It was a short stay.  10 days.  As my brother said, “You’re getting smarter as you get older.”  I went in before things got ugly.  I went in before I hit rock bottom.  I went in while the primary focus could be on a med change rather than putting me on a 1:1 for physical safety.

I did question whether or not I should have gone in.  My goal was not to be hospitalized for anything again, save when they replace my ICD every few years.  And I couldn’t help but wonder if I could have held up on my own.  But here’s my conclusions:  it would have been much easier to stay curled up on my bed than go into an environment I have come to avoid and rather hate.  It would have been easier to give in to the urges to cut than to say, “I don’t want to do that ever again and I’ve got a good clean streak going and I’m not going to break it but I need help in doing so.”

Simply put, it would have been easier to not ask for help.

Now?  The depression isn’t gone, or even that much better.  I haven’t even been on the new meds a week.  But I’m calmer.  I have plans set in place.  I know what I need to do.  And these last two things have always made a difference in my outlook.

My outlook is pretty damn good right now.  Which it wasn’t before the hospitalization.  And maybe that’s reason enough for me to have gone in.

 

October 27, 2009 Posted by | coping, recovery, self harm, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Controversial Insurance Post

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So this is the mandatory controversial insurance post.  I’ll throw it out there: I support Obama’s health plan.  I don’t think he has any intention of socializing health care, or the country.  No smart president would attempt to do so, and no smart congressman would vote a plan into effect.  But since we do like to jump to black and white conclusions in this country as of late, it’s much easier for people to say, “He’s a socialist” than say, “He’s willing to look at other options.”

Okay.  That’s my political vent for the day.  My main concern today is health insurance and the beef that some people have with Medicare and Medicaid.  And who deserves to be on those plans.  And the injustice of the common citizen paying for the people on Medicare.  People on Medicare who can supposedly work but don’t and take advantage of the system, robbing our country of money that should be spent elsewhere.  On people who need it.  People on Medicare who are lazy and just won’t work.  People on Medicare who should be working.  People on Medicare who spend too much time in treatment and just need to be in the real world and pay for their own treatment.

Let’s break some myths:
A) it’s not easy to get Medicare.  You have to successfully apply for Social Security Disability.  This is not an easy task.  Most people get denied their first or second times applying.  They are told they aren’t sick enough.  (Oh wait, people with eating disorders get told that, too, and we say that’s a bad thing to hear.  Well, it’s a horrible thing to hear in this case, too.)

B) People on Disability have to wait two years to get Medicare.  Generally, they will have Medicaid in the meantime.  Have you tried getting adequate care on Medicaid?  Getting prescriptions covered?  Getting to see a doctor who doesn’t make you wait multiple weeks for an appointment?  And forget about dental and optical coverage.  You don’t need to eat or see.  Mental health coverage is a joke.  In PA at one point, they limited you to 20  thirty-minute sessions a year.

C) Medicare.  Oh the Great and Glorious Medicare that covers everything.  Except a whole list of medications, including psychiatric medications that aren’t “necessary.”  Because unmedicated Bipolar people and Schizophrenics don’t ever end up causing harm to self or others, and they never end up in the hospital needing more intensive (and more expensive) care because they couldn’t get their prescriptions.  Ever try to find a therapist or psychiatrist who accepts Medicare?  Good for you.  But you’ll still have to pay half of the bill.  And there will be a limit as to how many times you can go per year.

D) Who gets to have Disability and Medicare?  People who are Disabled.  I know, that’s an interesting concept.  But here’s where the controversy rears it’s ugly head.  Guess what?  The average joe walking around, paying taxes, doesn’t get to decide who is worthy and who isn’t and whether or not they are using their services in an appropriate fashion.  A team of medical doctors does that.  And they review each individual case, which requires medical documentation, on a regular schedule.

E)  The ease of life people who get disability checks live.  Once a month, money magically appears in their checking accounts.  WOW!  Shopping spree time.  Except the yearly amount is below the poverty level.  And generally, people have to pay rent, utilities, and bills, and med co-pays.  And if you want to have a part time job?  They cap how much you can earn per month.  So if you decide “I need to work full time and get better benefits” then you get a full time job, right?  Except that puts you over the monthly limit, and you don’t get new insurance for another three months (at most employers) and unless Medicare decides to continue coverage in that meantime, you will have a preexisting illness for a year and won’t get any coverage at all from your new employer.  That’s fun.

Wait a second?  How do I have knowledge of this Medicare business?  I mean, I’m a well-educated adult who doesn’t have any close relatives on disability or medicare.

But I am. That’s right.  I’m on disability and medicare.  I should be working.  I should be paying my own way through treatment.  The consequences my actions cause should come out of my own pocket and I should be the one suffering for them, not anyone else.  (But really, are you suffering?)

Did I break my back?  Am I in End Stage Renal Failure?  I mean, these are acceptable reasons to be on disability, right?  Depression and anorexia aren’t, though, are they?  That’s the general idea people toss around.  People like me just need to toughen up, stop using up resources, stop going into treatment centers when we could be working, and stop making people like you pay for our treatment.

I tried to.  Believe me.  I gave it my damn best shot.  If you don’t think depression and anorexia can be crippling enough where you can’t work full time, then you haven’t seen them at their worst.  I worked until I couldn’t.  Until my boss noticed.  Until I got fired.  Until I stared at walls for hours on end because moving hurt too much.  My doctor suggested disability. I applied.  Was accepted.  Lived on food stamps and Medicaid for two years and had to rely on county housing for a place to live.  Living on the boundary of the two worst gang districts in your town is not fun.

Yes, I now have Medicare.  Yes, it paid for multiple hospitalizations.  Psychiatric hospitalizations.

I am alive because of it.

I’m sorry if you feel that you’ve been financially burdened because of this.  But it’s the truth.  If I hadn’t had Medicare, I would not have been able to get treatment.  And if you think I wasn’t in debt after treatment you are wrong.  Medicare doesn’t pay for everything.  Medicare barely covers anything at all.  I’ve had to appeal and fight and make phone calls just to get routine medical care.  Medicare initially denied my claim for a Cardiac MRI saying it was “above and beyond average medical expenses.”  This was the same MRI that diagnosed me with ARVD, which led to the ICD implant, which will, hopefully, keep me alive.

Do I always plan to stay on Disability?  Absolutely not.  I want a career.  But I need to make sure I have insurance in line, because if I don’t, I’m pretty much screwed.

You don’t get to decide who is using it appropriately or not.  Because you don’t know what is going on with that person.  It may seem like they are “living the live” in some treatment center, but I’ve been there, and treatment is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do in your life, regardless of whether it’s termed “residential,” “inpatient,” “partial” or “outpatient.”  And the last thing “people like us” need is judgment from “people like you.”

October 15, 2009 Posted by | Eating Disorders, health, heart, recovery, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Alanis Morissette and Her Infamous Marathon

Running the Bizz Johnson Marathon on October 11, 2009

Running the Bizz Johnson Marathon on October 11, 2009

On October 11, 2009, Alanis Morissette ran the Bizz Johnson Marathon in California, donating her fundraising proceeds to the National Eating Disorders Association.  On her website, and as part of her fundraising efforts, Alanis openly admits to having had an eating disorder.

Please note the use of the phrase “had an eating disorder.”

Because her generous fundraising and bravery in coming forward to speak out about eating disorders has given rise to a lot of controversy.  Is running a marathon an appropriate way to raise money for eating disorder awareness when a significant number of eating disorder sufferers have problems with over-exercise?  Are the walks NEDA itself is hosting across the nation as a means of awareness appropriate?

Laura Collins, in her own infamous blog, “Are you ‘Eating with Your Anorexic'”, addresses this issues in an entry, “Hair of the Racedog” Which, in and of itself is interesting, given the use of the term racedog and the negative connotations.  The analogy would be Alanis being the racedog?  I’m not quite sure.  Collins compares walks and runs for awareness to fasts for awareness.  The two types of activities are not comparable.  Fasts, I think we would all agree, are generally not healthy for most individuals.  Even those doing fasts for spiritual reasons (which dates back for centuries by people without eating disorders) do so under controlled environments.  But running and walking?  These are healthy and normal activities.

Yes, even people who used to have an eating disorder can partake of these activities.  And they should. Exercise, when done in a healthy amount, is something that can bring joy to a person’s life.  It improves mood and health and can strengthen your immune system and increase your energy.  Training for a marathon is, in and of itself, not excessive exercise if you are doing it correctly and you are healthy.  Alanis, on her website, states she had someone to check in with to make sure she wasn’t doing too much, and her priorities had sleep and food first–and if she didn’t get those two priorities met, she didn’t run.  That sounds healthy to me.  In fact, her definition of health is something I think, in an ideal society, we should all accept.

If we ban walks and runs as awareness events (and Alanis is not the first to run a marathon and donate her fundraising money to an eating disorder organization, but she is the first celebrity), should we also do away with the dinners at eating disorder conferences?  What about those elaborate desserts at these dinners? Let’s celebrate someone’s contribution to the eating disorder field by eating?

I honestly think both–the runs and walks and the dinners–are excellent tools for awareness.  And they reinforce what is healthy and normal in society.   They are also ways that recovered individuals can say, “Yes.  You can enjoy these things in recovery. You can live a balanced life and life in freedom.”

I’m not sure why we want to keep that message underground.  We should be shouting it out loud so that every person still suffering from an eating disorder has hope that full recovery is possible, that freedom is possible.

October 12, 2009 Posted by | Eating Disorders, health, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gender Identity and Eating Disorders

Someone left me a comment on my Topics page about sexual identity:

Sexual orientation. I’d like to know if you think it and eating disorders are linked. I’ve come across a few people struggling with both – and I have yet to find decent information about it.

To put it out there, I am bisexual.  I think I knew this from the time I was in Junior High/High School, but where I grew up, people rarely used the words gay, lesbian, or homosexual, so of course trans or bisexual were never talked about.

As for me, I’d say that my eating disorder definitely affected my sexual orientation or, should I say, affected the degree to which I let myself experience that orientation.  Because of the childhood trauma, there was a significant period of time where I would not allow myself to look at men in any type of sexual way or even say whether or not a certain man was attractive.  That threatened my own feeling of safety.  As I recovered, I did more work in this area, and explored my feelings for the opposite sex more.  Healed them more.  I still think I lean more towards the female in terms of attraction, and I know I feel less threatened if a female is attracted to me than if a male is attracted to me.

I do believe that eating disorders can affect how an individual views his or her sexuality or comes to terms with it.  Especially for females, a significant reason some females maintain the asexual frame is to avoid attracting sexual attention and to avoid sexual interaction or intimacy.  I don’t really think of this in term of the stereotypical “eating disorder patients are just afraid to grow up” belief, but I do think that sexuality-which tends to be more of an “adult thing”-scares of a lot of us with eating disorders.  It’s a phase of maturing that we can’t control, except by denying it completely.

As for gender identity, people struggling with gender identity issues have to approach this from so many different angles–body image and sexual attraction being only two of them.  I think eating disorders complicate this process of self-discovery, as eating disorders complicate everything in an individual’s life.

The old belief was that eating disorders affected white, middle-to-upper class females, generally in their teens and early twenties.  I’ve been hospitalized with patients as young as 12 and as old as 60.  Men and Women.  Gay and straight and bi.  I can’t say all ethnicities, but Christians (both Catholic and Protestant), Muslims, Jewish men and women, Palestinians, African Americans, Indians, and a whole bunch of others.  And I know that the eating disorder affected the way we identified ourselves within these groups, so I have no doubt that having an eating disorder affects how you identify yourself if you are also struggling with gender identity issues.

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Body Image, Eating Disorders, identity, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Can faith help me heal?

I’ve been looking at the terms people put into search engines that lead them to my blog.  One was “Can my faith help me stop purging.”

The title of this picture is “Deadly Prayer.”  Not much of a title for an entry that will be about faith (Faith I and Faith II entries).  But when you think of it, how many people with an eating disorder prayed for all the wrong things?  I know I did?  The “strength” to get through another day without eating.  The “strength” to run yet another mile.  The “courage” to lie and smile and say, “Thanks, but I ate before I got here.”

Can prayer help you stop bingeing or purging or restricting?  Absolutely.  I don’t think it’s the only thing that can help.  I don’t think it’s the only thing you can rely on to help you.  But your faith is an integral part of who you are, and drawing on that faith, that strength, can help you overcome all aspects of the eating disorder.

It still won’t be easy.  But I don’t think God ever told us life would be easy.  And life with an eating disorder or addiction= “not easy” squared.

I only purged for about a year-and-a-half of my anorexic timeline.  It did get severe, and I remember the day that I decided it was a problem was when I stood up at work and walked smack into the wall because I had blacked out.  In front of the secretarial staff.  Of course, I laughed and brushed it off.  And then I went to my office and made the call to set up going inpatient.  Each meal was a prayer or, rather, each hour after every meal was a prayer.  I was lucky enough to be hospitalized with people who shared my faith, and we wrote each other messages and stuck them in “mailboxes” on our doors.  Bible verses or prayers or just well-wishes.  During that hospitalization, I used every tool they gave me to stop purging–art therapy, distraction techniques, anxiety management–and yes, prayer.

I don’t think either the therapy or the prayer alone would have done the trick for me.  It was the combination of the two that gave me the strength to make it through each day.  I never purged after that IP stay.

Gürze Books is a wonderful site with numerous books for recovery, including books that deal with spirituality.  If you are Christian, I found the daily devotional Beyond the Looking Glass to be helpful.  I’ve had friends use Journey From the Storm Within and Seeing Yourself, which is a Christian-based workbook.

October 8, 2009 Posted by | coping, Eating Disorders, recovery, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Find your reason

My namesake boy, at least two and a half years ago

My namesake boy, at least two and a half years ago

Here’s My Little Name Sake Boy, as I call him.  From my hairstyle, this is from at least two-and-a-half years ago, but it still remains one of my favorites.  Just looking at the pure joy in his face makes me smile and I want to jump in my car and drive the 1,000 miles to see him as soon as possible.

He was my reason.  In the beginning, he was the only thing that kept me fighting for recovery.  Because whenever I was tossed that all too familiar phrase “You’ve got to recovery for yourself,” I always retorted, “I don’t care about myself.”  And I wasn’t lying.  An eating disorder is a slow form of suicide (it too me a long time to admit to that), and I saw nothing of worth in me to save.

But look at this child’s face.  I’m his ‘Ame Lexie.  How could I take myself out of his life?  Did I want him to watch me repeatedly waste away and then have some doctor hospitalize me so he could then come visit me in the hospital?  He visited me once in the hospital.  Christmas 2005.  He had only just started calling me ‘Ame Lexie.  He shoved his animal crackers underneath the art room door and I had to go get the nurse because we had animal crackers for evening snacks and I didn’t want anyone to get blamed for hiding food.  He learned how the sign for Peace there, thanks to my friend L.  And he learned how to say, “Peace Out!” if you gave him the peace sign, although it sounded more like “Pizzzaaat!”

Cute memory.  But I really hope he doesn’t remember it.  I don’t want him to remember that visit at all.

So he was my reason.  I never wanted him to visit me in a hospital again.  I carried his picture with me wherever I went.  And even after I was discharged, he was still my reason.

Yes, I do believe that you have to recover for yourself.  But in the early stages of recovery, that’s nearly impossible.  We put ourselves down for so long, treated our bodies and minds like crap, and a lot of us see nothing inside of ourselves worth saving, because all we can see is the eating disorder.

There are things within you worth saving.  But you will not be able to see them at first, not when you are fighting through hell to finish each meal, to sit with the food in your stomach, to not run miles to work off an apple.  The eating disorder voices are still too strong.  And your bodies are not strong enough–your brain isn’t getting the energy it needs to fight these thoughts.

So find your reason.  A nephew or niece.  Your own child.  Your academic goals.  Your career goals.  Your friends, who will be at a loss without you.  The fact that you want to have a child someday and want to give that child a healthy role model, not a sick one.  Your pets.  Music.  Knitting.

It doesn’t have to be a big, miraculous reason.  It just has to work for you.  It has to get you through each day.

And eventually, you will see that you are reason enough.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Change

It’s common among recovering alcoholics and addicts that once they are sober, they often can’t associate with the same peer group as they did when they were sick.  When you’re trying to stay sober, it’s difficult to be around people who are drinking, trading drinking stories, making drinking jokes, or even rehab group jokes.

This is one of the reasons why many treatment professionals warn against eating disorder patients staying in contact with people from treatment.  If one person relapses, it’s easy for the other to relapse. We’ve been told this many times.  I think there is some really good truth to this belief, but I also know that I have found some great support and friendship from people I met in treatment–but I have to admit that in all cases each person was invested in his or her recovery.

There is something treatment professionals don’t always warn us about: the fact that even after we recover, after we have done our best to rebuild trust and relationships, sometimes we lose people along the way.  Sometimes, there are people who got so used to the “sick” us that they can’t accept the healthy us.  They will always be waiting for us to slip into old behavioral patterns, old ways of relating to people.  Sometimes these people met us while we were sick, and perhaps it isn’t fair for us to ask them to accept us now, healthy, because they never knew what healthy looked like in the first place.

But sometimes, our recovery and change requires change in other people, changes they may not be willing to make.

How do we know which relationships will bear this test?  How do we know when to walk away?  I wish I knew the answer.  But right now, the lyrics of an Antje Duvekot song are running through my head:

“Dublin Boys”

” . . . I know that things gotta change / it’s what they always do / Oh but change has never been known to wait for you / I’m gonna go wear the green is / Don’t want to live for brown / I’m gonna get back on my horse till I go down . . . “

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, identity, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments