If you’re reading this, you’re not alone. I’ve been there too.
My journey at Montecatini began over 2 years ago. There’s a part of me that wants to share all the specifics of my eating disorder to justify that I needed treatment; however, I have learned that my illness was enough, is enough, and will always be enough for me. I hope that resonates with you too. I grew up in a fairly loving family, had a pretty normal childhood, and didn’t have any major “trauma” unlike many; however, I had the right genetic, environmental, and social factors compounded with multiple overwhelming experiences that created the perfect storm, my ED. I checked myself into Monte after a rapid downhill slide in my life. I’d been struggling with my ED for half my life, and although I’d done treatment for years, it never quite stuck.
Let me just say, treatment has come a very long way since my early days. However, while at Monte, I thought they had it ALL wrong. The portions, the groups, the therapists, the dietitians, the psychiatrists, the PCTs, the cooks, even flipping AA, and mostly just the meal plan and having to do the thing I absolutely feared the most… gain. I did NOT think recovery at Monte was possible. In fact, I asked for my car keys, threatened to leave, ran away on multiple occasions, and even called other centers for help, because surely this program wasn’t going to work for me. I share this you because maybe you can relate- hear me out.
I was just a little willful in treatment- it’s ok if you are too. I think it was years of suppressed anger that finally spewed (unfortunately, often at M3). You know when they say… when you numb, you numb both the good and the bad. It’s true. At Monte, I began to feel everything, every little thing. However with that, I also started to have glimpses of the good. The full on belly laughs with friends. Dancing in the living room just because. Feeling joy hearing my nephew’s voice. Embracing the warmth of the sun on my skin or the ocean breeze on my face. Overall, just feeling energized to move and be. If I could give you advice, take time to enjoy those moments. I’m actually so grateful for the opportunity of getting to experience feeling feelings for the first time- it’s on a whole other level that likely most humans take for granted (I did before my ED). If you’re not there yet, it will come.
Maybe you’re feeling “different” than the rest. That was definitely me too. I felt like everyone around me was on fire for recovery (many with the “pink cloud”), but I couldn’t find it in myself. I kept waiting for an aha moment, waking up thinking this is the day… and yet, it didn’t come. Well, not in the way I expected it would. It was the small little victories along the way that I couldn’t see at the time, but now can see so clearly. It was telling the truth, using my voice, doing self-care, following my meal plan, setting boundaries, turning in my running shoes, doing something different, challenging my thoughts, caring for my inner child, surrendering, finding my higher power, the list goes on. Unfortunately, there will never be the perfect time/date/place to do recovery (believe me, I waited a long time), you have to “just do it” (~Nike). Take that first step, it’s worth it.
And then for the infamous “trust the process”. Honestly, I think I’m still a little reactive towards this phrase, AND also it is the real deal. Even as you step-down through each of the levels of care and discharge and start living your life in the real world and are a couple years out… trust the process- it still reigns true for me.
Truthfully, I never thought I’d be the one saying this- Montecatini gave me my life back! Plus, I gained so much more. How do I know? When my life becomes chaotic or messy or I’m anxious or fearful, I no longer run away from it like I used to do… Instead, I stay.
My wish is that you find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. That you are capable. That you are loved. That you are enough, period. That this journey is fucking hard, and you’re courageous because you’re already here.
Cheering you on!