Groupies

Sunday was my last group therapy session with TNT.  As much as I disliked the idea at first--I would be the fattest one there, I was either not sick enough or too sick to be helped--I really came to enjoy the group.  One of the requirements was that you had to be in active recovery.  That meant you couldn't be actively involved in ED symptoms.  A slip up didn't mean you would be asked to leave, but you had to have significant abstinence from the eating disorder.

That last little bit was some of what made the group really helpful.  I'd done support groups before that ended in what can only be described as a hot mess.  I quit going because it was so hard to continue my recovery in that environment.  All people would talk about is how much weight they had lost, how many times they threw up, and so on.  File under: Pointless, Definition of.

I had groups when I was in treatment, and many of those were, in fact, helpful.  Learning DBT skills in a group setting, doing relapse prevention with others, learning from each other was remarkably helpful.  I was lucky, too, in that most of these groups were led by good clinicians who could keep things on track.  Other groups I went to outside of treatment were at best a waste of time and at worst directly harmful.

So yes, I was wary, both from ED-related reasons and from experience.  I tried to remember that the ED blog community is kind of like group therapy (well, there is a group of us and blogging is therapeutic), and I've never regretted getting involved in that.  TNT asked me to commit to one month, which I did.  I figured if things really went to hell in a handbasket, I could discuss it with her and leave sooner if I really had to.

The women in the group ranged in age from mid-twenties to mid-fifties.  And the wonderful thing was that we all related to each other so well.  I didn't know anyone's diagnosis, although after the first few weeks I had a guess.  In the end, though, it didn't really matter.  Not age, not diagnosis.  Many of us had similar problems in figuring out life after the eating disorder.  How do you manage urges?  How do you decide who to tell?  How do you handle the holidays? 

I'm going to miss my group.  I actually began looking forward to Monday nights.  TNT tried to find someone else to take over the group after she left, but she couldn't find anyone.  There's no group closer to home--at least, no other similar group.

I'm really grateful I got this chance, though, and maybe one day I'll get another chance.

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5 comments:

hm said...

Awww- :( Lots of goodbyes for you these days, it seems. Hard! Your blog is an incredibly therapeutic "group" experience for me. I'm glad it's invisible and all in type. You're obviously ready for bigger things than just this, but I'm so grateful you continue to facilitate this for all of us not yet ready/able to interact with a group of people up close and in person. I hope it provides some comfort that you still have your avid readers. Your blog is sure meaningful and comforting to me. Glad for you that you walked away from your group experience feeling positive.

Libby said...

I'm so glad that it was a good thing for you. The groups that I did that were good were very, very good. And the ones that were bad were horrid. :)

It sounds like it was the right kind of support at the right time. I wish it didn't have to end for you! But I'm glad that you took the chance and ended up having a positive experience.

J Boat said...

If you wouldnt mind emailing me at boatjdoc@gmail.com I wanted to ask a question I am a little embarrassed to ask publicly. If not, that is fine. Thank you.

scottrecovered said...

I am so glad this was helpful for you! I would LOVE a group like this. How did you find it??

Scott

Carrie Arnold said...

Scott,

My therapist started the group--she had been wanting to do so for several years, but never had enough people in ongoing recovery to start the group. And since she's leaving clinical practice, and couldn't find anyone else to take over the group kind of fizzled out.

I think it's a great idea and I wish more people had these groups. Maybe you could talk to a therapist or clinic in your area about getting one started.

Carrie

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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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