DIY Recovery

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.

Here goes!!

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

11 responses to “DIY Recovery

  1. BTW, this is an awesome thing you are doing.

  2. I think you have done a great job! Thanks for sharing all these experiences and insights. Personally I find all these information very useful. =)

  3. This is absolutely amazing! You are such a brilliant young women. I only wish I could have come across such a well written recovery plan during my struggles!

    Keep it up!

  4. Pingback: Snow Fun / Eye of the Tiger « Scarecrows In Shadows

  5. I’m so glad you decided to make these pages. I can tell they are going to be very usefull for me so thank you!!

  6. I am one of those few doing it alone, at 40 years of age I am parenting myself. Have no access to english speaking help here in Geneva Switzerland so am just getting on with it. I am struggling with working out an adequate calorie daily target. I am a mother of two kids and fairly sedentary in that I do endless housework and sit in a car but am not exercising right now. Do i just work out my BMI and go from there? any advice sorely needed in terms of meal plans. I can do the cals no problem but not in a very orderly or nutritious manor.

  7. Hi, you commented on my blog a couple of weeks ago. Reading blogs like yours has encouraged me to try and recover myself, finally made the decision today.

    I’m doing it mostly alone (ED services are pretty useless here for adults unless you’re an emergency sadly.) Your DIY recovery is helping me (ideas and so on.) So yeah thanks =)

  8. Been dipping in and out of your blog ever since you commented on mine. Can I just say, you are an amazing woman. You have achieved so much it’s insane!

    Thank you so much for giving me the courage to try. Blogs like yours make me realise, ‘yes, I may be experiencing x, y and z, but so have other people!’ Reading blogs by people in various stages of recovery has made me realise how much the disorder screws with your mind, I thought I was the only one to be utterly inconsolable, crying late into the night because of the terror of having to let go. How the excuses make sense ‘oh everyone expects me to be thin.’, ‘They all know me as this shy, self-conscious, clingy, easy to please, person… hey maybe that’s my personality! This is so my personality, hey, I’ll be like this without the ED, no one’ll like me anyway, so I may as well hang on to the ED. I’m GOOD at something at least!’

    I have to remind myself that that’s how eating disorders work. They do not respond well to logic. None of us are ‘stupid’, we know the risks, yet carry on regardless (had too many patronising people try and lecture me, cars, fuel, humans need food, etc…)

    I am attending counseling (with some poor guy who knows nothing about eating disorders and is baffled by me to say the least! At least he’s got it’s not about being pretty for the boys, I’ll give him that much… Haha!) but aside from that there is little in the way of support. EDU either tell you you’re too ill for treatment, or not ill enough… heard both in my time! Anyway, I have rambled and ranted long enough.

    At the moment I’m still in the ‘waking up’ phase. ‘Argh! Emotions!’ and ‘Wow! I’m back.’ Taken a while and a few attempts to get to ‘wow I’m back.’ Also random crying fits? Feel like an extreme teenager…

    I have tried to recover on my own, but never with so much information at my disposal before =D

    x

  9. I’m so thankful for this! Currently in “DIY Recovery” once again… it’s more difficult than words can describe. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

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