House: “Started thinking about what you said; about me obsessing; started obsessing about obsessing.”
Lately, some girls I am in treatment with and I have been discussing an aspect of eating disorders treatment that always makes me think of the above quote. Specifically, we have been talking about one of the great ironies of eating disorder treatment: in order to get a life back that doesn’t revolve around the eating disorder, you often first have to remove yourself from life and focus on the eating disorder even more.
Before going into treatment, my mind was obviously relatively consumed by eating disorder thoughts. At the same time, I was still working and volunteering. Although my social interactions with friends were limited because a lot of social interactions involve food, I was still seeing them. Also, even though I was had days where I would debate with myself about what to eat and how much to eat, I didn’t need to spend a lot of time planning meals because, well, I wasn’t having them.
Then I started treatment. I went inpatient, then to residential, and now am in an intensive PHP. I am actually in treatment in a completely different city. Obviously, doing so means I am not going to work. While I have made friends in treatment, I can’t hang out with my friends from home. . I have to closely plan my meals and be very diligent about completing them. When I am not in program I have to make sure to prioritize eating, sometimes ending other activities early in order to eat.
I am constantly in groups or individual sessions where I am being asked to think about my eating disorder. In other words, I am spending my days literally obsessing about why I am obsessing.
Sometimes I feel like the longer I am in treatment, the more disconnected I become from real life. However, I know the goal of treatment is to help free me of the eating disorder so that I can get on with my life. Hopefully, the time spent obsessing about my obsessions will allow me to soon be free of them.