Join our guest writer and volunteer, Em, as she shares her experience in a higher level of care for eating disorder recovery.
In December 2021 my treatment team and I had the difficult conversation that, while I had continuously shown growth and progress in my recovery, I had reached a plateau. My good days were more frequent and they were really good days, but I also continued to have my bad days. These days were progressively less frequent, they also were also more extreme. I was miserable and couldn’t see it, but my team could. A higher level of care was recommended to offer the level of support that I needed to get through those days. My initial reaction was one of hurt and anger. “Couldn’t they see how hard I was trying.” “Was any of the progress I had made really worth it.” “Were they just recommending this because they are tired of working with me?” Fortunately, as I waited for an opening at — my perspective changed.
In February I was finally able to take the next step in my recovery. I packed my bags (and my snacks), fueled my car, and set off on a solo, 30 hour cross country road trip. This is how I needed to begin this stage of my recovery. I was finally doing something for myself. I felt a sense of freedom and independence that I haven’t felt in years. And I find the most clarity in the moments by myself, blaring my favorite ‘00s pop punk, and just driving. In that clarity I was able to reflect on how I felt about this next step, where I really was in my recovery process, and what I truly hoped to gain from this experience-because there was something profoundly beautiful about needing to rely on myself in each moment.
As I go through this recovery process I will be sharing ‘Letters to Myself’ at each big moment-beginning treatment, stepping down, adding movement, sharing my life story, returning to my outpatient team, etc. My hope is that I can provide an understanding of my internal dialogue, reduce the stigma and expectations around what is required to get necessary treatment, and to let others know that they are not alone in this experience.
Stay tuned for future posts on the Letters to Myself Blog Series.