On Wednesday I had a productive therapy session. Not every session is productive. I would like to say it is especially because the amount of money therapy costs is ridiculous (much less than they used to be thanks to Obamacare – yes, I know, I know, polotics, but seriously no matter where you stand on that issue my therapy costs has gone down so that’s helpful) but the reality is that sometimes therapy is just not productive at all and somedays counterproductive. Sometimes those counterproductive sessions are needed. Sometimes you can’t get anywhere unless you take a few steps backwards and realize that you are closer to hitting rock bottom than you thought. That’s when the come to Jesus moments happen so to say and change really begins to happen.
Well, my last few months have been full of those counterproductive/not productive sessions. This is just a snapshots of how my sessions have gone:
Kate: I’m fat.
Beth: What’s really going on?
Kate: Nothing. I’m just fat.
Beth: That’s your eating disorder talking. What’s going on?
Kate: Um, no it’s a fact I’m fat.
Beth: Okay so let’s work on that feeling.
Kate: No, let’s not.
See what I mean about not being productive? No part of that get’s me anywhere. Here is another example of a session.
Kate: Please, please can’t you just let me go back to my eating disorder? I promise to only use it for a little while.
Beth: Absolutely not.
Kate: Whhhhyyyyyy noooottttt????
Beth: Why would expect me to give you permission to kill yourself? What kind of therapist would I be if I did that?
Kate: Please, please, please. I can’t stay at this weight.
Beth: Why? Why can’t you accept this weight? What’s really going on?
Kate: Nothing. I’m fat.
Yeah….that would also be a non-productive session. And to my mother and father I’m terribly sorry you have been paying for half my sessions to be spent in these round and round pointless conversations. But here’s the thing. I honestly thought that somehow the anxiety, overwhelmed feelings, memories, self-hatred, destructive thoughts would simply be fixed if I wasn’t fat. And honestly I can’t believe I let myself believe that. That’s treatment lesson 101!
The first thing you learn in therapy is that fat is not a feeling. And loosing weight doesn’t make any feelings go away. And here I was sitting in therapy and stewing at home believing that FAT was causing all my problems and I could fix them by you know restricting a little here and a little there. Thank God for my therapist who does not tolerate behaviors (she seriously would terminate my therapy if I began to use symptoms.Harsh yes? What I need? defiantly.) and thank goodness I valued therapy enough to stay in it. Otherwise I would probably be on a plane back to Utah or who knows where to treatment. Which would mean a fourth consecutive Christmas away from home. I would have been devastated as would my family. But instead I had a productive session. A session that went beyond “I’m fat” and into the real stuff.
I’m not entirely sure how I got there but suddenly I was reading Beth a journal entry. I have felt really alone lately and not like I could share some of the things that I have been struggling with with my friends who I normally convide in. Not because of anything they have said or done but because I have this perceived notion that I need to be perfect and strong in recovery. Let me be clear. NONE of my friends have given me this impression. It’s from my own messed up head. So all of these things have become secrets and things hidden from the main supports in my recovery life. Suddenly, I was reading a journal entry to Beth and they all just came pouring out and once they started I couldn’t stop. By the end of the session I had a headache from crying but my anxiety and the overwhelming feeling that I must, must do something (ie loose weight) was gone. I didn’t realize this until later in the week but my obsession with my weight has dwindled significantly. No, I am not happy with my body image but I do feel better about it and not as desperate to fix it.
Beth and I talked about how to proceed after I read my journal entry because they was so much content that indicated we have much to work on and we have a plan to get through the holidays. After that we’ll see. The number one goal is to keep me symptom free like I am now so I can avoid treatment but still work on issues.
No more of getting distracted by the “I’m fat” trap.