Crisis Mitigation

It's been a long time since I've posted, and I feel like a lot has happened over the year or so that I have been absent. A lot of hopeful things and a lot of things that have left me feeling defeated. I want try to refrain from rehashing the last year unless it directly relates to what I am feeling in this moment.

Since February, I have been bouncing from treatment center, to psych ward, to treatment center, and so forth. I initially went into treatment feeling hopeful, feeling like this might be the time, this might be the LAST time I ever have to do this, this will be the time to not just learn, but to acquire the skills needed to maintain recovery. And then boom, three days into treatment I got taken by ambulance to a "Behavioral Health Unit" within a medical hospital. That was a pretty deep low for me, especially because at the time I could not recognize how bad things were. But looking back, even to just a few weeks ago, I apologize in advance for the language but I have been in a pretty fucked up place both behaviorally and emotionally.

Since then, I was forced into treatment, signed myself out against medical advance, was obligated to go into treatment again with the consequence that if I did not go I would lose my outpatient team, and then asked to leave after five weeks because the facility was ill-equipped to address my mental health concerns. And yes, they were concerns.

The most recent stint in treatment, I felt like I was well prepared to come out and "face the world." I knew from past experience that I can do treatment REALLY well, and still struggle at home. I had no doubt that this was a replication of the past. However, the difference this time is that I had received such inspiration from the small community I had become close with, that recovery could be possible. I became self-aware of the areas I needed to work on in my personal life. And most importantly, I had so much to lose. This fall will be my internship, and I can't risk ever having to go back to treatment; that would put my career at jeopardy. Because of what I had at stake, I felt like that would give me the motivation to make recovery work at home.

NEWS FLASH: Motivation isn't everything. I have written about this topic before, so I should know this. I got home and I crashed the first day. I have no doubt if I let this consume me that I will not be able to successfully make it through my internship. And I have no doubt that one small slip will really fuck up my world. But being motivated doesn't stop me from being afraid to eat all 8 starches on my meal plan.

Motivation gave me the ability to make a shopping list that contained all the exchanges I needed to meet my meal plan. Motivation helped me go to the store and put the items I needed in my cart. Motivation inspired me to label all of my foods with the product's exchanges so I would not have to go back to weighing out and measuring food that did not need to be weighed or measured, or obsessively counting calories. But motivation did not rid me of the debilitating fear of meeting my meal plan, or calm me down when I panicked and became frantic after consuming a "normal" dinner; motivation did not halt me from purging.

It's so discouraging to have the tools that seem to help others in their own recovery, to have practiced and succeeded at using them in treatment, and to come home and not be able to access them. It's discouraging to feel confident that I am prepared to do recovery outside of a facility, only to come home and crash and burn. It's discouraging to know that my passion is on the line, and to not have that stop me. It's discouraging that my summer is now going to be me going back into treatment, and that I am once again going to miss out on opportunities with my family and relatives.

It's hard for me to view recovery as sustainable. Right now treatment feels like merely "Crisis Mitigation." That is, I can be in a scary place both in my eating disorder or in my emotional health and go into treatment and be saved, but it will never completely take me to the staircase needed to get out of this hell. Maybe, just maybe, I can reach a happy place in recovery for a few months, but it is inevitable that I will always be susceptible to relapse. And it it inevitable that just the right concoction of triggers and stressors will set me down the spiral again.