Hello friends! I'm very busy with my studies and in a few weeks, I'll have my finals for this semester. I struggle with "work-life balance" and set myself under too much pressure, therefore, my creativity suffers. But I work on that and I try to be more active on my blog again. I hope you understand. Recently I've been wanting to make my blog more personal next to sharing tips and giving advice.
Today's topicToday I want to talk about an important and personal topic, therapy. When I got diagnosed with anorexia accompanied by depression and anxiety (which is very common) I was shocked because I haven’t thought it was that serious. Anorexia tricks a lot with your mind and you often don’t realize how difficult and complex this illness is. I said to doctors “no way, I’m not that sick, I can overcome this easily on my own.”.After I got down to dangerously low weight and sleeping with 3 blankets, thinking about food 24/7 I broke down and cried my soul out to my mom. At this time I also decided to quit my apprenticeship because I couldn’t concentrate or work at all (I also didn’t like what I did). We decided to go to the doctors the next day and he send me to a psychiatrist. I had to get an appointment and couldn’t go there immediately, I had to wait about 2-3 weeks. As I got there, my blood got checked, of course, I got weighed, my mom and I had an interview separated to check the situation at home. The psychiatrist I talked to wanted to send me to a clinic for eating disorders, but I didn’t want to go. I was 18 at that time and so they couldn’t force me. She was very harsh and I didn’t get well with her. (But now I realize she must be like that because my illness was that serious.)
My first therapistI took the responsibility to get outpatient therapy and was looking for a therapist in my hometown.Luckily, I found someone who just opened their doctor’s office and I got regular appointments after only one month of waiting. Usually, you wait 3-6 months because the wait lists are so long. Anyway, I got skeptical from the beginning on because I was uncomfortable talking to a male. Especially about such personal and deep topics. But I gave it a shot because I couldn’t recover on my own when I was caught in the depths of anorexia, where I could have died “easily”. This was around January or February of 2014. At this time, I took some time off for about 10 months as I mentioned before in order to focus on my recovery. I started going to therapy once a week and did nothing special besides that. But one thing was that I caught up with my interest in Japanese culture and started learning Japanese on my own. I could do a part-time job next to that, but my anxiety was on the rooftop and I was way too anxious to even talk to someone in a supermarket, drugstore or similar. So I was “only” going to therapy and besides that staying at home, where I practiced, more or less what I’ve learned in my therapy sessions and through the recovery community online. The last one was more helpful in my opinion because I worked with the wrong therapist. He set me under too much pressure and confused me. Especially when I slowly started eating again...
Troubles, ProblemsOne time he said what I eat is okay, and one time he even said it’s too much, even though I tried my best to hit recovery amounts and stayed sedentary in order to repair my body and heal my soul. Eventually, I relapsed several times during this stage and was in “quasi-recovery”. I often had arguments with him and it just was not beneficial for my healing process. Sadly I continued to go to this therapist until my apprenticeship started because I still wasn’t able to find a new one and I thought “better a bad therapist than no one”. Within these 10 months I eventually got to a minimum healthy weight, but the boundaries to underweight we’re little.
Life without therapyAfter I utilized all my therapy sessions I couldn’t go to a new therapist for 2 years (yeah, this was a stupid law in Germany which could be dangerous for patients with illnesses such as eating disorders, where risks of relapse are real at all stages) and was kinda forced to apply what I’ve learned in the past. And this was surprisingly better than I thought since it’s not good to make the success of your recovery dependent from professionals. No matter if you get the support of the best doctors or therapists if you’re not ready to go out of your comfort zone and face your fears you will stay poor. And eventually, risk your life. Living with an eating disorder (or any other mental illness) is like playing Russian roulette. Luckily, I was strong enough to finish my apprenticeship and went to an ED clinic for 3 weeks after I graduated. This was in spring 2017.I went to this clinic to stabilize my current health state and there were so many people caught in the depths of their eating disorders and other issues which reminded me of how far I came. Because I thought I barely made progress in those past 3 years. The best thing, by far, was meeting my roommate which I’m still friends with till today. She’s such a sweet soul and I’m grateful to have met her. We spend a lot of time laughing and reminding ourselves we're not our illnesses. I’m proud of her progress so far (Girl, if you read this, big virtual hugs!). In this clinic, I had different forms of therapy by several professionals, including meal preparation, body awareness exercises and of course also group therapy where we discussed personal topics and could give our opinions & tips.
My first adventure on my ownA few months after I got outpatient, I moved to Cologne to attend university (where I didn’t enjoy my major but met someone I’m still friends with today and I this city will always have a place in my heart) & found a good new therapist there. She was literally one of the best professionals I worked together with. She gave me good advice and we worked through stuff which was under the condition of my eating disorder. Btw, I hate saying my eating disorder, like if it was my pet or something, lol, but yeah, it doesn’t define me, so I NEVER say or want to hear I’m eating disordered (that makes me angry.).
Back to the presentHalf a year later I was back in my hometown and got appointments with a new therapist who accompanied me until I moved to my new place where I study now. I want to prove myself I don’t need professional help anymore and here I want to apply everything I’ve learned the past years. This works well so far.The most important thing while finding a therapist is, be honest with them and yourself. If you don’t feel like you can trust them, then search for them as soon as you find the “right one”. Kind of the same thing as finding the right partner, you just know when it’s the right one. Have you ever been in therapy?
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