It’s hard to know where to start, or even how to explain. I’ve come and gone from Monte a number of times. And each time I returned I was greeted with hugs and smiles. These people believed in me even when I couldn’t. And most importantly in more ways than one they fought for me especially in times when I wasn’t fighting for myself or my insurance was fighting against us both. There are people at Monte who literally saved me from my destructive self. Treatment is hard, Recovery is hard. Life is hard. But they made me feel like I was worth something. Even though I struggle to believe it. I chose to trust them, despite my fears and my ED. Having them constantly tell me I mattered made me want to believe it. Gave me enough fight to give recovery a try. Currently I am 9 month free of ED behaviors, 10 months without misusing medication, and 2yrs free from SH. It’s hard, but I still have the support of staff from Monte despite being out of treatment for 8 months. They will always be my first choice when the goal is recovery. Not everyone in treatment is there for treatment. But Monte still works with everyone to gain recovery. Sadly it can be a long battle. But I grew stronger each time I returned. And now, now I might just survive myself. I love my Montefam.
I do not even know where to begin. I am alive because of this treatment center! I HIGHLY recommend Montecatini Eating Disorder Treatment Center. The staff (intake coordinators, patient assistants, nurses, therapists, etc) have the best interest of each patient at heart. They take the patient in as a person and address the needs individually and personally. The therapists are tough because they know (some personally) the power of addiction and what it takes to break the cycle. I have experienced first-hand the power of connection, the importance of “tough love”, and the gift of seeing me as a person, rather than my addiction because of the amazing “work” these people do. The staff at Montecatini saw through my disorder and helped me see the beauty beneath…the potential I possessed and the amazing qualities in myself that my eating disorder masked for years. I have read some “negative” feedback and would like to say that this treatment center, and its staff, do whatever it takes to truly get to the root of addiction. They take every measure necessary to take control away from the eating disorder. I am actively living in recovery because these women and men invested in me. I am grateful to have been touched by their souls!!
I first entered Residential Treatment at Montecatini in November of 2012; I was there until March of 2013, returned in June of 2013 to discharge again in July of 2014, and readmitted once more in September of 2015, to discharge for the last time in December of 2015. I had been struggling with Anorexia for 15 years prior to the decision to go to treatment. Saying I was reluctant to fly across the entire country to “put my life on hold” to receive a higher level of care, is an understatement. But after admitting I knew it was the best decision I ever made. During the first time I admitted, I was a college student as well as a college athlete, playing lacrosse.
It happened by chance, that I chose Montecatini as the place where I was going to receive treatment, and I always have and willI say that it was a miracle. During my first stay at Monte, I was baffled by everything I learned about my illness. I was truly naive to the gravity and danger of the way I was living my life. Not only did I struggle with an Eating Disorder, but substance abuse, depression, and anxiety as well, and it is by the Grace of God that I lived to even see treatment the first time. From 2012-2013, I learned a lot, but left too soon to go play my senior year of lacrosse for my University. I had been named the Best Player in the Country while I was in treatment, and because I valued athletics and commitment (apparently to my Eating Disorder), I left, only to return three months later.
I needed every ounce of my 13 months of treatment the second time, but again, left too soon. While I was home, I was progressively getting worse in every way – physically, mentally, and behaviorally. It was almost as if everything I had learned at Monte up until this point had been erased from my brain. I neglected all of the coping skills, meal plans, thought processes, and an overall healthier lifestyle. The year I was home, was by far the worst year of my life. In June of 2015, I was rushed to the hospital, and found that I had developed a liter of fluid around my heart, and a liter on each of my lungs. I was a short time away from death. I had an Emergency Open Heart Surgery, and that was a huge turning point for me.
After literally having a near-death experience, it would be expected that I say that I had a new outlook on life, and started living purposefully and healthily, but that would be a lie. My third treatment stay at Montecatini is what ACTUALLY saved my life. I was angry, broken, and what I found out, just “done.” I was done barely existing, I was done lying. I was done being sick and exhausted every day. I was done being obsessed with how I looked and what I ate every single second of every day, and I was done being absolutely miserable; when I realized this, Montecatini was there with open arms. I have been through every level of care Montecatini has to offer- residential, partial hospitalization (PHP), and intensive outpatient (IOP), and all were extremely beneficial and critical for my recovery. Montecatini met all of my treatment needs, and the innumerable things I learned when I was there set me up for success in the rest of my life.
Although they will tell you that, “I did the work,” I would never be alive without every member of the staff at Monte. I have been absolutely blessed to have been able to work with THE best professionals in the Eating Disorder field, and I am eternally grateful for everything they have contributed to my life. Every day they inspired me, cheered me on, picked me up, challenged me, forced me to think outside of my Eating Disordered Self, supported me, loved me, and most importantly, saved me. The staff here, especially Sharon, Nancy, and Leah, took a chance on me, not only the first and second times, but taking me back a third time after my Open Heart Surgery, and that chance is what saved my life. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would recommend Montecatini to any person on the planet, because I know they will be getting the best care this world has to offer.
They are the best. From the intake and liking by Lynette, to the incredible director- there is no other place that cares about the person as much. Sharon the Director is like no when you’ll ever meet. She’s got a heart as good as gold. And Nancy who’s been there for many years is the clinical director. Nancy understands addictions with only love and no judgement. With this loving combination and Leah as the loving lead dietician there is no other team that can help so much. If you have struggled with any type of eating disorder and even with. Co-occurring addictions and mental health issues, they’re really there for you.
Montecatini is an incredible treatment center that makes you feel safe, secure, and cared for. They have levels of care ranging from residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and customized after care groups. I attended residential, PHP, IOP, and continued my support by attending their alumni/ANAD groups held on-site twice a week. I feared treatment would be in a scary, sterile, hospital setting…. this was the exact opposite! The residential houses are beautiful and so comfortable inside and out, the community of the other women and staff makes it feel like a home. You can tell that the staff care about you as they take time throughout the day to check-in on you.
Everyone has an assigned therapist, dietician, and psychiatrist they meet with during the week. The groups are very helpful including CBT, DBT, Relationship Group, Process Groups, Body Image, Nutrtion, Yoga, Art Therapy, Co-occurring Disorders, and Discharge Planning. I felt that the structure was a good balance of keeping us busy with gaining new knowledge as well as giving us downtime to process emotions, thoughts, and connect with our peers.
Meals are eaten as a group six times a day (3 meals, 3 snacks) Everyone receives the same meals prepared by the chef, and we get to choose our own snacks. It was a challenge to eat so many new foods, but definitely helped push me in areas I needed to grow. The dietician works with you on an individual basis to establish any food restrictions needed and your portion size. You learn how to portion your own food, identify hunger and fullness cues, and sit with any discomfort around food. There is always support at the table from a staff member, though I found the support from my peers the most meaningful. There are also plenty of items you are in the kitchen helping prepare the food. As you step down from residential you receive support with helping make a meal plan, and go grocery shopping.
Overall, I can’t say enough amazing things about Montecatini. I went there at an absolute low in my life struggling with an eating disorder for 15 years, trauma, and addiction. They met me where I was at, and helped me every step of the way. For the first time in my life I realized there was another solution. I could live a life free from everything that had been holding me down so long. It was as Montecatini I gained hope, I learned how to trust, how to accept love, and to live a life worth living!