Thursday, January 19, 2012

Team Dynamics

Lately, I've been noticing that my therapy sessions with R are getting better, but those with my dietician J are getting worse. On Monday of this week, I saw R and thought we had one of the most productive sessions ever. We covered so much more than usual, far beyond the food/weight/behavior stuff. We talked a lot about S, my friends, school - stuff that he doesn't normally ask about, or that I'm too reserved to bring up. Maybe I'm just getting comfortable with R, but I find myself so much more willing to open up. With being more compliant on the food piece, I am definitely getting much more out of therapy than I did last fall, when I would nod along and agree to "try harder" but not really commit to anything. It's nice to have R tell me "Good job!" at the end of each appointment rather than give me an ultimatum.

On the other hand, I've been getting increasingly frustrated with my dietician. Well, to be fair, I guess I'm not frustrated with J so much as I am with the dietary process in general. I'm still not fantastic about following the meal plan to the letter, but I come a lot closer than I ever did last semester. I'm also a bit more flexible with food choices, although I definitely still operate within a very narrow range of options. Every time I see her, though, J keeps telling me to be "more aggressive" or I will have to "go to treatment." I know she's not a therapist, but I do feel that she underestimates how hard it is for me to eat as much as she wants. Maybe this is my fault, since I'm really careful about not unloading my fears and anxieties about food and eating on her, and I'm self-conscious about seeming too anxious and needy.

Something that bugged me at my last appointment: I asked J if she had any suggestions for not counting calories, since that definitely prevents me from eating more freely. She kind of laughed and said, "Just don't do it!" Then she went on to say that I shouldn't worry about calories because she was keeping track, and having me count would only increase my anxiety. 

I'm sure she didn't mean to sound so flippant, but that's the way it came across. Plus, I know that counting calories isn't conducive to reducing my anxiety about weight gain, and I know that it's an obsessive, unhealthy habit. That doesn't stop me from doing it. I was really looking for strategies like mixing up foods and eating more variety that might break the compulsion and help me take a more holistic approach to food and nutrition. In my appointment, it felt like J dismissed my question and made me feel stupid for asking it.

So for the past few weeks, I leave appointments with R feeling better, and I leave appointments with J feeling worse. This is sort of a strange situation, since R and J communicate regularly and are very much on the same page in terms of my meal plan and weight goals. Plus, the dynamic is much different than my old team, since I always got along much better with my old dietician than my old therapist. I remember finding it way easier to discuss food, weight, calories, etc. with B than to discuss thoughts and feelings with W. It was reassuring to talk out the food stuff with a professional, but therapy made me feel super uncomfortable and vulnerable. I'm not sure if the shift is just a matter of different personalities or a broader indication of where I am in recovery. 

1 comment:

  1. I really hate the flippant "just quit it" attitude. I sort of think of it as analogous to smoking--people who smoke KNOW what the risks of cigarettes are, and no one wants lung cancer, but when it comes to actually stopping the behavior, sometimes that knowledge isn't enough.

    I think that sometimes in recovery there is a need to take a drastic step and break off a behavior, but that should be treated as the serious challenge that it is, with coping strategies in place (like you mentioned you had wanted from J.) instead of just a demeaning dismissal.

    I am REALLY glad to hear that things are going better with R! That's awesome. And major kudos on increasing compliance over the past few weeks. I hope things get better with J., hang in there!