Start with a deep breath. That’s where I began.
After years of being in and out of treatment for my anorexia nervosa, I needed to find stability outside of an eating disorder treatment center.
My eating disorder took over my entire life. It began for me at the young age of thirteen. It robbed me of opportunities and things I was passionate about and left me with nothing but a terrible relationship with food and my body. I went to several treatment centers to try to rebuild my life. They helped immensely, but I found myself struggling with how to apply what I learned in the “real world”.
The first step to eating disorder recovery, I was told, was to build a team. An eating disorder treatment team consists of a nutritionist, a psychiatrist, a physician, and a therapist. I found the first three with help of recommendations but needed to find a therapist who specializes in eating disorders.
I searched for a long time, met several eating disorder professionals, and finally found a therapist who worked for me. She was a therapist who specializes in anxiety, depression, negative body image, substance addiction, and eating disorders.
It was a breath of fresh air meeting my new therapist. I finally felt understood, and my eating disorder didn’t feel so crazy to me anymore. Puzzle pieces of my life started fitting together, and everything began to make sense.
There are many different types of therapists, but when recovering from an eating disorder, you need one who specializes in eating disorder recovery.
Eating disorders are a monstrous disease that convinces you that you are not good enough, that you don’t deserve to eat. Eating disorders are a dark gloomy cloud in your mind that yells at you all day long and judge your every move. I needed someone strong on my team who could help me fight the beast.
In eating disorder therapy, there is a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy involved, which I have found to be most helpful. We talk through dialogues, my eating disorder voice versus my healthy self. We discuss my body dysmorphia and find ways for me to love myself despite what I see in the mirror. We talk about my toolbox of therapeutic devices that help me get through situations in my daily life. We incorporate mindful movements such as yoga or dance.
When looking for an eating disorder therapist, look for a therapist who has a background including eating disorders. Also, see what else they specialize in to make sure it fits you best. Look at the co-occurring disorders they may also treat. Ask them what approaches they use in therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, or others. Ask if they’ll work with your other team members as mentioned earlier, such as your dietician, physician, and psychiatrist. Lastly, ask them about a long-term treatment plan to help you in the long-run battle with your eating disorder.
Through this type of outpatient management, I was able to balance my recovery with my daily life. I am able to maintain healthy stable relationships with friends and family. I am a preschool teacher, a dance teacher, and successfully living and thriving on my own.
Take your first step to eating disorder recovery now and check out what services Body Positive Works has to offer.