Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I feel like Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice

This business of finding a new therapist in New York is making me so anxious I want to die. Not really die, obviously. I mean it in the figurative sense. Like I wish I could crawl in a hole, and then come out only after someone else has made the decision for me.

I'm here in Manhattan just for the week to scope things out. I've met with two potential therapists and tomorrow I'm meeting with a nutritionist. The nutritionist seemed nice over the phone and her rate is $120 a session which is pretty decent for NYC, so I think I'm all set with her. The therapists on the other hand, I need to choose between. Both specialize in eating disorders, one of them is a clinical psychologist (Psy D.) and the other is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). The Psy D. was just incredible. She has a very different approach towards therapy than Emily, my therapist in Boston, but she seems really experienced and smart. Her methods are focused a lot on experiential treatment, AKA mindfulness and moment to moment type stuff. She's all about putting yourself right in the middle of what scares you most, and conquering those fears. She said something to me in our intake appointment that just blew my mind. I was talking about how for so long I've avoided trying new things or following my interests because I know I won't be as good as other people, and I know I won't be talented or skilled enough to feel proud of anything I accomplish. She said, "Okay, but imagine how much time, energy, brain-power, and determination you've put into your eating disorder. Think how many years you have invested in the binge/restrict cycle. That takes more ambition than most people have. If you can do that you can probably do anything." I was like, holy shit. I had NEVER thought about it that way. Here is the one big problem though- her rate is $190 a session.

The other lady, the LMFT, was also very good. She's a lot younger, her approach is probably more evidence based and practical. She uses a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy I think. She was very sweet and made me feel really good about myself, just in the brief half hour that we met. She said she could tell I had worked very hard to accomplish so much in treatment, and she said her first impression of me was that I was articulate and bright. That was nice to hear! She is incredibly organized. She said if we start together she would want to be in touch with my treatment team back home and the outpatient program I'm in right now. She thinks group therapy is really important, and she gave me some information on where to find the best ones. I liked her a lot too. Her rate is $175 per session, but she has a sliding scale so it might turn out to be less.

I simply have no idea. NO FUCKING IDEA. I hate this. I want both of them! I think what it comes down to is this: If I choose the Psy D., I'll probably be doing more soul searching and self examination than I ever could have imagined myself being capable of. If I choose the LMFT, I'll get to work with this really awesome, down to earth therapist, who seems to genuinely care about and understand what I'm going through. I will make a decision by Friday. That is the deadline I'm giving myself.

Any thoughts? Advice? I'd love to know how other people went about choosing their therapists.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Whhhhaaaaat? It's been forever! I didn't even know my blog still existed. This is good. SO much has happened since the last time I was here. I certainly won't delve into all of it right now. Well, let's see. Where did we leave off...? Oh, that's right. I was at teetering on the brink of ED insanity, and had pretty much given up all hope of ever getting better. I stayed helpless and out of control like that for about month or so before FINALLY doing something about it. There is really only so much rock bottom a person can handle. I threw up my hands and checked back into treatment.

For those of you who are reading this for the first time, or for anyone who has forgotten, here is my story (the condensed version): My name is Eliza. I am 21 years old, and I have had an eating disorder since I was 14. My formal diagnosis (if you put any stock in that sort of thing; I don't) is EDNOS, which stands for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Isn't that a horrible name to give a mental illness? Anyway, I fall under that category because I've been all over the place in terms of specific eating disordered behaviors and patterns. I started off with anorexia in high school, and then at certain point I got too hungry and sick of being hungry so I started binge eating. It was like that on and off for the rest of high school and the beginning of college. I was constantly dieting and trying to reach a weight that I could never healthily stay at, and then once I got to that weight I would binge and gain it all back again. About two years ago though, in the middle of sophomore year of college, I lost too much weight and had to go on medical leave. I've been on leave since January 2009, and I've been through treatment twice. The first attempt was a big fat misfire because my parents had forced me into it. Rule #1 of recovery: TREATMENT DOES NOT WORK ON PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE THERE. I kept on trying to lose weight throughout treatment. I was compulsively exercising, leaving out exchanges from my meal plan, and lying to my team about it the whole time. In the long run, the constant dieting and rigidity just set me up for more and more binges, and ultimately it got to the point where I gave up restricting and exercise and solely engaged in bingeing. I eventually became overweight, and consequently fell into an immobilizing depression. That's when I put MYSELF back in treatment. That was over this past summer, and now here I am.

Whew. And here is the current plan for my future: I'm finishing up treatment this fall, and then I'm going to live in New York City with my Aunt Sarah until second semester starts in January. Then, HOPEFULLY, I will FINALLY be ready to go back to college.

Anyways, I want my blog to be different this time around. I want it to be recovery focused and healthy. That doesn't mean I'm not going to bitch and rant about bad days and how much I hate myself every once in a while, BUT I am setting some ground rules. I will never include specific numbers (weight, calories) because I know how triggering it can be for other people and the last thing I want is to make you guys feel like shit. That's what eating disorders are there for, right? Heh heh. I also will never encourage or suggest any ED behaviors- and that includes dieting. Yes, I've struggled with binge eating, and yes I've struggled with my weight, but for someone with an eating disorder, dieting is a death trap- no matter what size you are. Lastly, I promise that if I start to relapse, I'll stop blogging. That might seem extreme and maybe even a little nonsensical, but eating disorders are poisonous and I will not allow mine to invade this space.

Well, that's it for now. More to come. It's good to be back :)