Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Therapist

Today I had my first appointment with the new therapist.  I didn't realize I was so anxious about it until yesterday/this morning when my stomach started doing these nervous rumblings and I couldn't sit still for more than two minutes at a time.  Homework did not get done.

I think I was just uneasy about jumping back into treatment after being able to sort of pretend to forget about it for a couple of weeks.  Like I got a little honeymoon period without all the therapy and weigh-ins and meal plans, which made recovery - and the ED - seem less real.

I was worried about the therapist being male, and that it would just be too weird to talk to him.  Was I supposed to bring up my period?  Would he bring it up?  Ew.  I was worried about getting weighed - I wasn't sure it would happed, but figured it was a distinct possibility.  So I worried that my weight would be too low and the therapist would think I was restricting.  And I worried that my weight would be too high and he would think I didn't need treatment.  I also worried about having to explain my ED history - how the hell do you condense something like that?  And how do you phrase it without sounding stupid and dramatic? Worryworryworry.

Long story short, I survived and the therapist - let's call him R - was super nice.  I was uncomfortable at the beginning, but I really think it had more to do with me being uncomfortable about therapy in general than it did with R being male.  He was really easy to talk to, even though he made a me squirm a couple of times.  But the squirming was because he was challenging me and trying to make me articulate my recovery goals and some disordered patterns I still have.  So I think it was good for me.

Basically I felt like he understood me without too much trouble, and was able to recognize pretty quickly where I am in recovery.  I signed a release for him to talk to W, my therapist from home, which will hopefully save us some rehashing of stuff I've already gone over in therapy before.

He did weigh me.  At first he wanted to do it backwards, which caught me off-guard because B never did blind weights.  After hearing that I'd known my weight all along, R left it up to me.  So I said that I would rather see my weight, and that I probably already knew what it would be anyway.  Then he asked what I thought my weight was, and my guess was correct within a pound (i.e. I weighed one pound less on his scale than I had predicted).

I was pretty (irrationally) self-conscious about my weight, and nervous that R would say I was too fat for therapy and he wouldn't want to waste his time on me.  Obviously this did not happen.  He started off by saying, "I don't think you need to lose weight."  Okay, well, duh.  I guess I didn't really expect him to tell the anorexic to lose weight.  But then he said he would like me to regain some of the weight I'd lost over the summer, and asked whether I would be willing to do that.  This was one of the points at which I squirmed.  But never fear - I did agree to gain the weight.  Still squirming though.

As for seeing a dietician - R said it probably wouldn't be completely necessary every single week, which is fine with me.  Been there, done that.  And I'm already kind of an expert on calories.  However, R and I both agreed it would be helpful to at least check in with the RD there at least every few weeks.  I tend to lose perspective on what "normal" eating and "normal" calorie amounts are, so hopefully an RD will be able to keep me on track.

So I think this was a positive development.  I'm not thrilled about being back in therapy and I wish it weren't necessary, but I'm open to it.  And at least the guy's nice.


  1. I'm so glad that it went this well. I haven't seen a male therapist on a regular basis before, but I was diagnosed by a male therapist and found his presence very calming. R sounds like he knows what he's doing and I'm so glad he's nice. I'm really proud of you for being open to this. I know you want to be "done" in many ways, and this will help you get there faster! Good luck this week and please try to eat what you are supposed to :)

  2. Hey there, really glad to hear that the first session turned out okay! I've never seen a male therapist before, and can see how it might feel strange at first, but having a new/different dynamic might actually be helpful in pushing past some sticking points that are still challenging you in the recovery process. That could be said about any new therapist, though, regardless of gender.

    I've actually always found it easier to talk to males than females, because it seems to me like things are more straightforward and I'm not as worried about being judged as I would with a female--but that's just a personal thing I guess. *Anyway*, really hope that his exchanges with W. are useful and that things move forward. And remember, you were *not* fat before you lost the summer weight, and even though it may be uncomfortable to put it back on, it will be fine and maybe even a bit freeing.

    It is kind of frustrating to drag yourself into therapist when you want to be out there not thinking about your ED, but remember that recovery is like building a boat, and if you sail off before every last bit is in place it really increases your chances of sinking. You should be mega proud of all the progress you've made, of course, you're a star, but hang in there and remember all of this hassle will have a huge payoff!