So, You Wanna Go to Treatment….

I made this pizza in treatment!

Thanks everyone who left such insightful and supportive comments on my culinary school post! I really think that those of you who “dream” of going should grab life by the balls and go for it! Dont let the cost stop you! I promise, there are loads of easy to get scholarships and believe me, college fees are usually way higher. If you have any questions feel free to comment or email me at eden.leora@gmail.com.

Moving on, as I promised.

So here it is….So you want to go to Impatient Treatment.

Oh my, there is so much to say and I would like to do this in an organized and yet somewhat lighthearted manner. I’ve actually thought about this post for weeks now.

The six clients in my treatment, I'm on the way left (the short one, always). I think we went to the beach that day. See.....treatment is fun!

First, I’d like to just clarify I’m NOT claiming to be an expert on treatment. I can only give you my opinion based on my own experience. So briefly, I’ll review my experience.

I went to an impatient treatment center after 7 years battling an eating/exercise disorder and being under weight as well as being diagnosed with osteoporosis.  I had never been to an impatient or really any kind of ED treatment before, I just had therapy sessions since I was thirteen (since my mom died). I went to a very special treatment center called Monte Nido. It was NOT a hospital and only consisted for six “clients” basically living in a big house with therapists hanging out with us all the time. We had exercise privileges like walks, circuit training, and yoga. We were weighed once a week, and never told our weight. We had three meals and three snacks, if we needed to gain weight (not everyone did, I knew a very overweight girl there), the dietitian would make your snacks a little bigger. If you still weren’t gaining, then maybe the meals would be a little bulked up (nothing drastic, like maybe an extra tbs of butter or another ounce of what ever the protein source was). We had real food, made by the chef of the house and if you were on a higher “level” (as you got to be when you had been there long enough), you had the privilege to portion out your own meal and even make your own as long as you consulted with the dietitian before hand,

Anyhow….that being said, I don’t think most treatment centers are effective. I wish there were all run like the one I went too, but they aren’t. Most just focus on the weight restoration and then your left not knowing how to handle life again. But I don’t mean to discourage you. I think any treatment is worth a shot and there are many effective programs out there.

we went out once a week out to lunch with the dietitian so that we'd get comfortable eating in restaurants without everything being perfectly portioned. Incase your wondering, I'm in the orange.

I thought I would list some indications I think may signal you might want to consider treatment:

1) You cant do it alone: Believe me, I know you want to so desperately and maybe you’ve convinced yourself your can. But if eating at least two servings of grains for breakfast or adding butter to your bread is something you aspire to do but can’t, you need support. It’s ok to be a little vulnerable, it ok to reach out. My dad used to be astounded at the fact that i just couldn’t eat what I was prescribed to by my dietitian. That if I wanted to recover so bad, why didn’t I just eat that extra dressing or whatever. When you know what you need to do, and yet cant seem to do it, you need some support and a good indicator some sore of treatment may be helpful.

2) You want to go….but not really: Mainly, your scarred. You want to recover, but if your afraid of treatment getting in the way of your “set ways” and rituals or fear of gaining weight or whatever, its a good indicator you need to bite the bullet and admit yourself. Of course, I think most people struggling on the surface think they would like to go to treatment, but if the opportunity came around, they would most likely decline or postpone it. I was on the waiting list to go to my treatment center and they told me it would take about a month. Then, two weeks later, I got call that there would be an opening in a few days. I panicked and told my dad “I can’t right now” or that something is coming up that I have to attend…but I knew I was bs-ing myself. Don’t put treatment off. Its not like the dentist or jury duty, and there will be no “ideal” time set aside for treatment. I hate to be cliche and quote “Rent”, but if you gotta go, “no day but today”.

3) Your eating/exercise behavior is causing other things in your life to go sour: You may not even realize that your life is affected. In fact, you may be in denial, think that your symptoms help you “function”. But are you shunning events to accommodate to your disorder? I know that when I was in high school, didn’t go to prom after parties. I mean, besides the fact that they were lame. You know what I did? I ate. I starved all day and ran about 10 miles the morning of prom. This was my routine at the time, I’d starve and workout all day, and go binge at night. I didn’t have a boyfriend (no room for that with an ED) so it wasn’t like I was letting anyone down. I went home at about 12 am and I ate.

4) You want to recover, for YOU: I can’t stress this enough. Treatment of any sort will be a big waste of time and money if you are doing it for anyone else. If you honestly have no desire to get better, don’t go. I hear of stories of some girls fighting tooth and nail with the staff. This didn’t happen very often in my treatment, everyone was over 18 (its NOT for adolescents) and was there because they wanted to be there. Sure, maybe some loved ones encouraged them, but they signed themselves in. I think that its tricky with young patients. Hence I’m so glad I was with older women. Anyhow, my point is, it’s all about you. Only you will benefit, and only you have the power to recover. It can’t be done for you (as much as I wish someone could just recover for me!).

Ok, so we’ve covered indications that may suggest you need treatment. But I would also like to not some things that may seem like road blocks in your journey to get treatment and how to overcome them:

1) Your gender: I’m mainly speaking about men, because ED’s are sadly viewed as a “feminine” disorder. Most of the people I keep in touch with these days from high school are male. They all have admitted to me self consciousness about their body or even exhibited similar OCD like behavior to what I have. The thing is, they are scarred to admit it and since men have super fast metabolisms, they tend to be able to eat a hell of a lot more without noticing a dent in the scale. I’m really proud of people like Chuck who are open about their struggles. I think it helps other guys open up a bit too. Anyhow, there was a guy who came in to my outpatient program. And no, he wasn’t gay! Some guys at my gym I am positive have some serious exercise issues. So don’t go thinking you can’t get treatment just cause you have a “package” down there. I think of ED’s as an “equal opportunity disease”.

2) You’r not “underweight”: I can’t use myself as an example, out of the six clients that were at my facility, I believe only four or three was on a weight gain plan. Just because you’re not emaciated or even obese, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve treatment. It’s not always about weight. It wasn’t all about weight for me. Sure, I did need to gain weight, but I was never so thin that I needed to be hospitalized. My eating was somewhat “normal” but “disorderly” and my exercise was excessive. The main thing was, my eating/exercise routines WERE affecting my life in a sour way. Yes, some weight needed to be restored, but more than anything, I just needed my obsessions to diminish. Anyhow, don’t think that ED’s have a certain “look” or a weight cut off.

3) The Money: O this one is a whopper! Sadly, health insurance in the states sucks butt. Unfortunately, getting your insurance to cover you can become a second job. My best advice is to first get a good sense of the coverage you have. Don’t rely on a treatment center to call and get your benefit information. You need to be the expert on your insurance policy. If you are a student, I would check with counseling centers and student health services. Don’t give up! One of my roommate from my treatment worked at Starbucks for a few months because they have such a fantastic insurance coverage. They paid for 90 days of treatment. Assess your own financial resources. Try to negotiate a fee/ charge you can afford with the treatment centers. And not to be a beggar, but I think it can’t hurt to ask a well-off trusted grandma or friend to loan you the money. My insurance barely covered my treatment, and I feel horribly guilty that my dad had to pay for most of it, but my therapist reminds me that in the long haul, I’m saving money. I’m saving on all the medical complications that could come out of being sick, and of course, funeral costs, sadly, ED’s are the deadliest of mental disorders.

I feel like this post is perhaps getting too lengthy, and I might write a follow up post based the comments that may arise out of this one.

I would also like to mention that if you do chose to go to an impatient facility, you shouldn’t go for a short period of time. Ideally, give your self an unlimited time if you can. I was there for three months and it wasn’t long enough. I know people who were there for over a year. The process takes time, and its so hard to go back to the “real world” after you live in a nurturing bubble like that. I understand that insurance tend to give you a set amount of days, but I do wish you try to extend your stay if you can. Talk with your treatment center. Monte Nido was excellent at yelling at those insurance bozos for extending client’s stay. Recovery cant be fast forwarded, and I mean that for out of treatment as well.

One last note, I do think its possible to recover without treatment. But its difficult, much more difficult. I think treatment was a good boost, but I don’t think I belong there now. Why? Well, I think its because I kind of want to go! I would love to have food prepared for me, and enough of it. I’d love to not worry about running to the store to get toilet paper. I’d love to have my therapist on call all the time, eating a few meals with me throughout the week. But right now, my “work” is being independent and learning how to eat properly without the need of accountability. Going to treatment was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I think this post is long enough so I won’t bore you with a recipe, although those seem to be popular. I will bring you a tasty one tomorrow!

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17 thoughts on “So, You Wanna Go to Treatment….

  1. I never went to treatment, but I disn’t get reallyr eally serious about recovery until I joined a support group. I was “better”, but better was not going to cut it, and I knew that. Group was amazing, because it was the first time I was able to talk ot other women going through the same struggles. It was amazing to tell a story and have everyone nod their heads in agreement. My boyfriend always looks scared like he doesn’t know what to do.
    I am so glad that you went to such a great treatment center. I think I would have loved somewhere like that. A little community. I bet the support was phenomenal there! How was the transition back into the “real world”? That is always my biggest question about treatment centers. It seems easy to be on the right track when the environment is catered towards recovery. What in the world do you do once you are back in the stressful real world?
    This is a great post, Eden!

  2. Wonderful post. I was in treatment IOP and PHP and all the advice and tips you give, I would also give as well 🙂
    Seems like you turned out wonerfully, though 🙂 ! hehe

  3. I actually looked into going to Monte Nido at one point…they are in Malibu and have another place in Oregon, right? I was in complete desperation for something that would work for me, but I couldn’t afford to go. I had just gotten out of an inpatient program at a hospital which was awful and 100% about weight restoration- nothing at all like what you describe here. It didn’t help me at all emotionally (even though I guess it kind of saved my life physically…but that didn’t last long, because like you said, once I got back in the real world, I couldn’t do it myself). Anyway, I’m Canadian and it’s complicated, but basically health insurance does not cover treatment centers in the U.S, and the ones in Canada are not up to par. This might sound strange, but you’re actually lucky that you were able to go there.
    Anyway, I agree with all of your info and recommendations about treatment and I really hope that lots of people read this and take it into account. Sometimes there are misconceptions about treatment, or people go for the wrong reasons, but you’ve really hit the nail on the head here. And I’m really glad you got the help you needed. It takes a lot of strength to do that, but you seem to be in a better place now. Thanks for sharing, as always.

    • I know its AWFUL for canadians! my roommate was from toronto and there was such a mess with the visa and all that. And yes, Monte Nido is a blessing, I was very lucky to go there. I’d like to maybe open up my a treatment place like that one day. They also have an outpatient program thats also good that I did for six months after treatment.

  4. I live in Canada, and although I never went to inpatient, it was almost not even an option. There were only really TWO potential places, and one of them was in an entirely different province. I went to therapy for a few months, but even that wasn’t specialized for eating disorders. It’s crazy how little help there actually is for a disease that is SO common. I honestly think if I had the option to go to a place similar to the one you went, I would have jumped at the chance. I obviously don’t have any experience to back this up, but I really think that most impatient programs SHOULD be like the one you went to, rather than like a hospital.

    Anyway.. great post, and very informative! I am one of those little guys that can be categorized by your last paragraph – ‘doing it on my own’… so I don’t have much else to add 😛
    ❤ Tat

  5. What a great post. I think you know that I had an eating disorder from my Junior year in high school, really all throughout college. In college it wasn’t quite as bad, as I had put some weight back on, but I know I still had some disordered eating. Being in school for dietetics actually helped me get better, because I started learning all the BAD things that I was doing to my body and brain since I wasn’t eating enough. Truth be told, I actually “healed” myself. I didn’t go to treatment because I Just wasn’t bad enough (although in reality, I probably could have benefited from talking with other girls who had the same issue). I did talk to a counselor, and I know that helped a lot.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You should be so proud of yourself for many, many reasons!! And, I know you are. Have a wonderful weekend.

  6. Reading your posts makes me think I needed treatment. My brain is still whacked out but i’m eating so I think i’m fine now. I was never “thin” looking or looked like I needed help. Or maybe that is my warped mind? Who knows. You’re right that you don’t have to be emanciated to need help. Once I signed with my trainer/nutritionist my health got much better and I actually started liking my body.

    I’m glad you got the help you needed. That pizza looks good to me 🙂

  7. This is a great post, but I get a little cranky because I didn’t have a great experience. Even though I needed/need “real” treatment, a great residential place like you went to is not an option. I had the institutionalized hospital deal for two weeks and it less than stellar, to say the least, and cost close to $15,000–none of it covered by insurance. It was not really ED-specific for the most part and meals were prescribed by the dietician and served in a cafeteria with all the other patients, except you had a nurse monitoring your meal at the ED table. But, I was desperate and it was the only option.

    I won’t ramble on and on, but I truly believe that if residential settings like the one you attended were readily available for more people, there would be a much greater success rate of normalcy among people with issues. It’s such an individual disease that can’t be treated in a “blanket” way, but unfortunately, many people can’t even afford that.

    I am so glad you had the opportunity to address your issues in such a supportive environment, and thank you for sharing them with those of us who haven’t! We all have the tools to recover from anything, but it’s nice to have that reinforced.

  8. Good post. I am really grateful for my time at Monte Nido. I have mixed feelings about treatment centers in general, in that I think they imply that once you’re done there, you’re cured. I was kind of caught off guard when I started to slip after Monte Nido. In any case, I still look back at that time for encouragement, as I know I’ve been through weight restoration and remember how happy I was. I use their meal plan as a default too — 3 meals, 3 snacks, no excuses. I was lucky in that eds were very much in the news when I went (2001) and insurance companies were pressured to pay. Blue Cross paid most of my way. I really wanted to be there and was totally sick of anorexia, so I did really well. Plus, being good with structure and rules and obedience, it was perfect for me. Ha. I would advise anyone in the depths of an ed to consider treatment, knowing that it’ll get you healthy in many ways, but it takes work to sustain that.

  9. Treatment sounds really intense but also kind of wonderful! I am glad you found such a great place to get better.

    Insurance is such a pain…I learned the hard way after being in the hospital for weeks when I was pregnant with Maya and had complications! Thousands of dollars later I’ve learned my lesson!!

  10. Pingback: No “knead” Fig Ricotta Empanadas and Answering Some Questions | Eden's Eats

  11. I really enjoyed this post, so thankyou for that 🙂
    In Australia, or at least the state I live in, there aren’t any residential eating disorder centres. there are inpatient facilities in hospitals, but these are purely for weight restoration and they generally only keep you in there for 1-2 weeks.
    Part of me wishes that we had some of the many residential facilities that you have in America. I secretly wish that I could go to Renfrew, but of course we have nothing like that over here.
    It still shocks me that such a developed country as Australia has such a lacking in residential treatment centres, especially compared to the abundance of treatment facilities that you seem to have in America.

    anyhow. thankyou for this post. I enjoyed your insight, and found in interesting.
    ~genevieve. xo

  12. I suffered from an ED as well and although mine was not that bad where I needed inpatient help. I did see a dietitian and therapist for quite some time. Now, I work with ED patients and really feel that my past experience has helped them. Just being able to talk with someone that has had this experience is really beneficial for patients including myself as my own dietitian had suffered from an ED.
    Your ED center sounds alot like the one I work at:)

  13. I think the most important thing you said was “you can’t do it alone.” If we could do it alone, then there wouldn’t be a problem. We would just say “I think I’ll start eating more and eating correctly!” and, viola, it would be over. But that’s not the case.
    Also, if you are not ready to go, don’t waste your time. You MUST want to get better. And realize that not everyone in your treatment center will want to get better. Stay away from them. My sister recently went through the same clinic I did. I told her to avoid these people at all cost and I followed up with her everday to make sure she did and that she stayed on the right track.

    Finally is the importance of the follow up after being inpatient. Having a network waiting for you when you come out is so important. We dropped the ball a little bit on this for me. But realizing it, my parent’s and family have gone to every length to make sure my sister has everything she needs.

    This is a really good post Eden, thank you for it. And thank you for your support. It’s hearing things like that you said that help to keep doing what I do and pushing myself everyday. Let me know if you even want to talk more in depth! Thanks again.

  14. Three cheers for Nido! I also was in treatment there a few years ago and it was truly an amazing place. I’ve never done any other treatment, but the stories I here from others make me remember to thank my lucky stars that I ended up there. It was a bubble, though, wasn’t it? Coming out into the ‘real’ world where not everything is done for you and nothing works like the clockwork schedule there was a bit of a shock!

    Anyway, just discovered your blog through some random surfing and am thoroughly enjoying reading your voice. I’m also juggling recovery and work in the food and fitness worlds – and really believe it’s possible to do it all in a healthy and happy way. You seem to definitely be on the right path. Kudos! 🙂

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