Therapy in Eating Disorder recovery is absolutely paramount to the longevity of ones wellbeing. Psychological and Physiological treatments are each as important as the other, working in tangent to ease the mangled complexity of the illness.
For recovery to “work” the sufferer has to, I had to and have to continue to, commit 100%, finding ways to withstand the constant barrage of abuse that the illness will inevitably hurl day after day.
During the early days of having been officially diagnosed, I didn’t have the necessary want to recover. I knew that I didn’t want the illness to keep its vicious hold but I also found so much comfort in it- for that reason alone I felt safe in the identity that it gave me. It was because of this that I fought so tirelessly against the therapies that I was being given both int he community and as an inpatient.
As controversial as this has proved to be, and as frowned upon as I know this opinion will be, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in its prescribed form or as it was delivered to me, was not right.
In fact, I absolutely hated it.
I knew what to say in response to their questions to ensure that I would be disharged and I hated the quite patronising nature of it. **
Talking therapy- 10 weeks and I was signed off. I touched the surface of so many areas that I am so grateful for unearthing but I wasn’t receiving the nutritional care that should have run parallel to it. Talking was so empowering though, and it was incredible to uncover some of the things that I thought had been long buried.
Family therapy, well that was a revelation. On the one hand it was a very negative experience, trying to unpick so much trauma with one parent still going through their own battles was almost impossible. I needed investment from all parties and unfortunately one parent wasn’t able to do that.
Next up and we turn to a somewhat alternative method and that is of “Screaming therapy”- interesting but actually so effective! I had so much anger that being allowed to stand in a field and let it all out was just incredible, the release and the freedom that I felt almost instantly was energising.
Art therapy- don’t get me started… no way. This girl does not draw, she doesn’t do collage and trust me she really does not do pottery…
Perhaps it is safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of experiences in the therapy world and I really have given it my eveything- for the most part.
My latest has been that of Emotional Freedom technique or as more commonly known- tapping.
Like most things, I had my reservations, nerves and questions- most prominent- would it work? And if did work what would that mean for me?
For the first time I actually found myself a little confused, I wasn’t sure what the right answers were and this felt quite exposing. In discussing some of the fears that continue to grip me, I realised that as opposed to feeling that deep pit of your stomach kind of anxiety, I felt an odd kind of numbness. How did I feel about facing my fears NOTHING- because I knew I would never let this happen, I would never let the illness go quite enough to even feel the fear let alone do it anyway.
As the session went on, I continued to tap areas of my body, wondering why on earth this was working. Why I was starting to bring things up that I thought were deeply buried.
Tap, Tap, Tap continuously tapping- I’m encouraged to repeat everything that Tanya says. I stop. “I must start to like myself, let go and accept who I am’ “Perhaps I am not the worst person in the world”
The realisation that his illness continues to run so deep into my heart and soul stops me in my tracks.
It drives me to a level of self loathing that I cannot argue with- it defines me and as such I cannot let anyone else in. I want support, but then push it away in a bid to protect them- from what? Me.
With this in mind, what today has shown me, is that EDAW should be about our own self awareness as well each others. Education is about listening, but are we truly listening to ourselves. Are we giving ourselves the freedom to hurt, be loved but also to heal or are we self destructing?
**nb Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t for other- CBT is evidenced based theory and it does wrk for the majority.