Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

treatment teams vs stubborn wills


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I know there can be a lot of mixed feelings about your treatment team, especially when you’re caught up in the thick of an eating disorder or addiction or in the midst of a bad depressive episode.  You like to think that you know what’s best for you, and these people that only see you once a week or once a month–what do they know?  And all too often, they suggest things that just rub the wrong way–seeking more intensive care, finding a nutritionist, trying new coping skills that sound pointless.

I have to admit that I once had that relationship with my treatment team.  And then I decided I wanted to get better.  I didn’t want to continue the “sick life”–constantly weak, in and out of hospitals, fainting, lying to family and friends, not being able to function fully in life.

Once I really made the decision that I wanted to be well, that I was tired of the eating disorder, my relationship with my treatment team changed.  I figured that I had tried it my way.  Plenty of times.  And I only ended up sicker, or in the hospital again, fighting with staff to let me go home.  There was one way I hadn’t tried, and that was what the way my treatment team was pushing for.

So I let go.  I let go of my stubbornness and my pride.  My clinging to the idea that I knew what was right–all the time.  And I put my trust in my treatment team.  I told myself I would try it their way.  I would go where they sent me and try all those stupid coping skills and not put up a fight.  Or, at least do my best not to put up a fight.  I had no idea where this would lead me, but I figured that my way hadn’t worked out so well.  In fact, every step of the way, my way turned out pretty damn bad.

This was not easy.  I ended up being in the hospital for much longer than I had in the past.  I went into my doctor’s office and said “I want to go home” a few times.  He always countered with, “But I thought you wanted to get better?”  And then he said, “You will stay for now.  But you will never come back.”  And he was right.  And when I did go home, I went back to my outpatient team and was ready and willing to work with them.  I extended my trial of doing things their way rather than my way.  It still wasn’t easy.  My comfort zone expanded in a great many ways.  But I tried their coping skills.  I tried things the nutritionist suggested.  I followed the treatment plan.

Their way worked.  In a way my way had never come close to in the past.  And I began to recognize the positive changes in my life.  And I began to feel more comfortable, bit by bit, with this new way of living.  It was still scary as hell, but my life was changing–for the better.  I was living.  Actually living.  Without an eating disorder to hold me back or tug at my shoulders when my friends decided to go out for lunch and I decided to go with them.

This philosophy of trusting my treatment team has continued.  I know I’m not always the perfect patient, no one is.  But I really do try to listen sincerely and put things into practice.  Sometimes it takes a couple tries, but eventually I’m on path.

The past two years have been rough.  The depression has been worse than any other depressive episode in the past (I’m bipolar).  Trusting my treatment team has meant going inpatient and trying new medicines and trying new treatments.  I can’t say I wanted to go in the hospital, but I also knew one thing.  Two things, rather:  I wanted to live and, if I was going to live, I wanted to get better.  And I’m not sure that could have happened if I hadn’t listened to my doctors.

There are times when mental illnesses block  your logic.  When you can’t see the path in front of you clearly.  When you can’t tell which way to turn.  When the knowledge of what is best for you is skewed.  This is when my treatment team steps in and says, “Here.  Walk this way. Try this new thing.”

I’m thankful I chose their way.  I’m thankful someone stepped in and took me by the hand and showed me which way to go.  I’m alive.  And living freely again.  It took awhile.  And I wanted to fight back at times, but then I remembered what happens when I go my own way.

I’d much rather walk down an unknown path with someone guiding me than walk down the hell of my own paths alone and in the dark.

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September 2, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. This is great. I very much feel the same way. Thanks for writing-you’re awesome!!

    Comment by Musia | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  2. Great post, Alexis!

    Comment by Lauren | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  3. So something I needed to read today. My ED has gotten much less powerful, and I’ve been working well on recovery, finally following my team’s directions. I admire your willingness to continue trusting and listening to your team… since my ED has started dissipating, my depression has taken over. I keep reminding myself that listening to my team helped me get away from ED, it just seems so much harder to shake the depression, even with their support.

    I love the last line “I’d much rather walk down an unknown path with someone guiding me than walk down the hell of my own paths alone and in the dark.” Such a powerful testament to the work you’ve done! Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by apurpledreamer | September 2, 2012 | Reply

  4. Reblogged this on effortlessly perfect.

    Comment by effortlesslyperfect | September 3, 2012 | Reply

  5. Great post! So true and relevant.

    Comment by Janie | September 3, 2012 | Reply


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