I thought this would be a good section to add to my blog for several reasons. When I started trying to recover from anorexia without going inpatient, I didn’t know anyone else in the same situation and I was only armed with a little knowledge of the practicalities I’d picked up as a day patient at the local EDU the previous year. Everyone around me told me it would be incredibly difficult to do it on my own, but for several reasons I didn’t feel that I had a choice in the matter. I often wished I knew a few other people in the same position, or people who had done it and come out the other side. Two years later I am becoming one of those people in the latter category, and I quite often get emails from people who are just starting out in recovery, asking questions about what I did and how I did it.
People find themselves in the position of wanting to recover but having very little support for many reasons. There might not be much in the way of ED treatment in their area, they might be desperate to stay in school or unable to take the time off of work – although health ideally needs to come first, life isn’t ideal a lot of the time! In the UK it’s also quite common for people who have been through ED treatment a couple of times to be labelled as chronic and left to their own devices. When I went back to my local EDU after relapsing, they had me in to check my weight once a week but nothing more – there was no therapy involved, no input from a nutritionist, and there was a very, very long waiting list for the day programme. It wasn’t very good for my self esteem to be treated as a waste of resources and told that my plan to get back to a healthy weight was ‘overambitious’. In the event, I did start gaining weight at home, and after a couple of months I was confident enough to give up on the EDU and find a private therapist instead. She wasn’t an ED specialist, I just saw her for support and the practicalities of my recovery were entirely up to me. Now I am at a healthy weight and free from all ED behaviours. Some people will find themselves ready to recover when there is very little in the way of treatment options, and if you are one of those people I want to tell you that it IS possible to recover with less than ideal support.
Initially I broke this down into three different pages, covering physical, behavioural and psychological aspects of recovery. A year later I added a page about post-weight restoration recovery, including issues around maintaining a healthy weight and moving into intuitive eating. Most people actually email me with questions about physical stuff, but I don’t want to trigger people so if you don’t want to look at numbers you can avoid the physical page. Anyway, it would have been incredibly long if I’d put it all together 😉
Finally, obviously I’m not any sort of medical professional. This is all my own opinion, based on reading everything I could get my hands on about eating disorders, plus a lot of trial and error.
1. Body – weight restoration, meal plans, maintenence and things to expect from recovery
2. Behaviour – changing harmful behaviours, coping with that, and avoiding ‘jumping the fence’
3. Brain – motivation, fighting eating disordered thoughts, healthy coping skills, therapy and support
4. Recovery after weight restoration 1 – reaching target weight, intuitive eating, exercise
5. Recovery after weight restoration 2 – life without the eating disorder
6. Relapse prevention plan
7. Recovery revision cards