Sunday, September 2, 2012

Conflicting Perceptions

Right now, I'm doing SO well with food that I barely even recognize myself. I still obsess, I still count calories, I still don't always get in my Boost or meet the full dietician-mandated meal plan; but I am doing better than I have in over a year and have no intentions whatsoever of turning back. When I wake up in the morning, I just know that I will eat and that it will be okay—can't even describe what a comfort and relief that is.

So it sucked when, at therapy on Friday, R basically outlined all the ways I'm failing, not following through, not inspiring confidence, and not recovering the right way. I don't feel like explaining the whole premise of our discussion because it's complicated and I'm lazy but basically, R thinks I'm doing a lot worse than I do. He seems to think I could change my mind about recovery any day now and go back to restricting and lose all the weight I've gained. He also thinks I'm gaining way too slowly and that it barely counts as gaining at all. We got into a stupid nit-picky argument about what qualifies as gaining (seemed pretty simple to me: my weight is higher every time I step on the scale—ergo, I am gaining weight) which left me rolling my eyes and wanting to punch something.

Then R said that it felt like he was talking to my eating disorder and not my real self. I put my foot down then and told him that I hate when people say that to me. My eating disorder is not a scheming little devil-man perched on my shoulder, or an abusive ex-boyfriend (sorry JS fans but I REALLY hate that book), or a sentient being of any kind. My eating disorder is an illness.

It's weird that while I think I'm doing great, R seems under the impression that I'm teetering on the edge of a very steep cliff. My weight is inches from healthy, my mind is clearer, I'm dealing with the bad body image (mostly) rationally, and I'm eating more calories per day than I have in over a year. Why, then, do I leave therapy feeling like a dysfunctional wreck of a human being? On Friday he even told me: "I don't think I'm doing much good by you." We just aren't on the same page. Guys, I think I need a new therapist. Not really sure how to go about doing that, since I don't exactly want to cut ties with Treatment Center. I love my ED doctor, my psychiatrist, and my dietician there, but R is the only therapist who takes my insurance.

Other than that, things are good. School's going well and I like my classes. Thoughts go out to anyone down south who got hit by Isaac, stay safe.


  1. Oh god I HATE THE "Ed" books too! We have a v. similar name & similar-ish educational history and too many therapists have thought that I would *totally* love that crap but NO. I do NOT appreciate it either. I haven't quite teased out what about it pisses off so much but it definitely does. For me it felt like a forfeiture of responsibility-- like oh this OTHER mean scary thing takes over poor lil ole me's brain and I'm just so scared and helpless. Bullshit. I have never done well with the idea that the ED was something that happened upon me, or something that I don't have control over, etc, etc.

    For me, it's been much more effective to say this is something *I* sometimes do, I sometimes fall into doing, it's not something I wish I had ever done, but it's me, albeit an avoidant sad withdrawn version of me that I will work like hell to NOT BE.

    I've seen the same therapist for 9 years, and we've had some times where I just needed a break, sometimes when I had to figure out what was frustrating and not working, and figure out what would work better. But uh, prior to seeing him, and in the midst of seeing him while in various IP stints, I've seen therapists that were patently AWFUL for me.

    Can you take maybe a mini-break from seeing him, and take the time to think what would be effective for you in therapy? For me, when I'm at a really bad place w/r/t sx's I can't say what would be helpful-- but when I'm getting restored/saner I can usually tell what I need and don't need, I just suck at consistently doing what I need to do.

    I think one of the mistakes some people make in ED treatment, especially in centers, is this belief that more treatment is always better-- but sometimes you need time to yourself, and it's so freaking tricky to balance accountability to other vs. independence/autonomy etc.

    Anyhow this is a big ole rambly mess but all I wanted to say was-- therapy is hard, and having a good working relationship with one therapist while you evolve and change from a v sick person to a not so sick person to a real independent person is extremely tricky, and may involve some major awk convos to rehash how the relationship can be effective.

    1. Oh wow, I didn't even realize until now that you and Jenni Schaefer have the same initials! I'd read a book written by you over her ANY day. Her whole Ed-as-an-abuser theory really pisses me off; they're just totally different, incomparable evils, you know? It seems disrespectful to ED patients and abused women alike.

      And thanks, that's really helpful regarding the therapy situation. R is definitely not a bad therapist; he's actually a really good therapist, but we don't always get along and we don't always seem compatible. Thanks again, I'll keep ya posted!

  2. I'm with you on how I feel about the's an illness, not a guy I need to break up with. It sounds like the situation with R is very frustrating, and I'm guessing that the time spent disagreeing about how you're doing behavior wise is taking time away from talking about the psychological stuff, which is a key component too. Can you address with R why you feel like this isn't working? Or maybe take a little break and re-assess? It's so hard to find someone you connect with, trust, and feel like you can make progress with, but it's so crucial. I really hope things get resolved so that you continue to move forward in recovery, it sounds like you're doing amazingly well!

  3. It does sounds like a bit of a break from therapy might be a good thing. This will give you a chance to get settled in the new semester and your new schedule, and also give you time to really think about what you want and need from therapy and R. At the same time, part of R.'s job is to push you out of your comfort zone, so there probably should be some tension in the relationship and even times when you really don't like him. For me, one of the best skills I've learned in therapy (apart from managing the reasons I started therapy in the first place) is how to be better in a relationship, how to work through those tensions without walking away (my usual MO). Good luck with the new school year and trust your own instincts about how you are doing--honestly, you really are the only one who knows that and part of recovery is learning to trust yourself again.