These times, they are a-changin'

I'm not a fan of change. Never was. This made recovery even harder as my eating disorder persisted. I would have to change all of those rituals and behaviors- and I didn't like it. Moreso, I didn't even really want to.

There were drawbacks to an eating disorder, and the longer I was sick, the more obvious they got. I was always tired. My body was showing the wear and tear. I had no real friends. I was an anxious ball of goo. I finally began to tolerate some of the anxieties that went along with refeeding and recovery because I knew the status quo couldn't hold much longer.

I've written before about motivation to change, and researchers from Norway looked at what was motivating people with anorexia to recover. The found it tended to be in three main categories:

Sense of vitality (e.g., joy, concentration, spontaneity, energy); Sense of autonomy (e.g., choosing to recover, new methods of mastery, self-determination); Sense of insight (e.g., awareness, seeing nuances, limitation of goals, self-knowledge); and Negative consequences (e.g., loss of future, costs to own children, feeling sick or thin, social costs, physical costs)...Sustained therapeutic success may rest upon the therapist's ability to identify and ally with the patient's motives to recover.

I do believe you can choose to recover. I've seen it happen, a lot with older individuals who have been sick for longer. Insight by maturity can be a lifesaver. BUT I don't think treatment should always be predicated on this choice. If you don't know you're sick, or don't realize it's a problem, then how are you going to choose?

For older, independent adults, I think finding ways to help them through the process of change and recovery is really important. Clinicians really don't have any good, proven ways to help long-term patients recover. Discovering a motivation to ride out the anxieties of recovery seems to be quite crucial.

Whether or not you can choose to recover, you have to CHOOSE to stay better. Awareness helps. So does maturity. So does learning about your own personal pitfalls and triggers. And so does an understanding of the costs of anorexia.

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A:) said...

Wonderful and timely Carrie.

This kind of "realization" is what I am patiently waiting for to hit me over the head.

Which did you have?


marcella said...

Excellent post Carrie - backed up well by the article by Fairbairn in the set you posted a couple of days back.

Vickyann said...

It's very true, you've summed it up brilliantly; I know I want and have to recover but ten years ago although I knew I shouldn't be stopping myself from eating or making myself purge I couldn't understand what it was, why I was doing it. It was comforting at the same time and I let it continue.

I start treatment next week, I think you have to truely believe you want and can recover, the point when recovery becomes slightly less scary than the ed.


tokaiangel said...

Great post. I believe the disease will always lurk, but there does come a point where it just becomes blindingly obvious that being recovered is generally a whole lot more fun.

TA x

Rachel said...

I knew all along throughout my disorder that my behaviors were a problem, that normal people didn't live the way I did or obsess over the things I obsessed about. It was never an issue of me being delusional about my disorder, but rather a case of me being too afraid or reluctant to change things. Basically, I wanted to keep the "good" parts of my disorder (weight-loss, the feeling of superiority) and ditch the "bad" parts (calorie obsession, overexercising, purging). The problem is, eating disorders come loaded with both "good" and "bad" and it's impossible to separate the two. It's all or nothing.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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