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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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!