This week, I quit therapy.
Wait a minute… I was nearing hospitalization for anorexia just seven months ago, and my psychiatrist recently suggested intensive outpatient was reasonable, and now I’m not even addressing it at all?
Yes, that’s right… Sort of.
So am I giving up on recovery? Did I suddenly get better? Well, no. I’ve just had enough of therapy.
I’m sick of writing down every bite I put into my mouth. I’m sick of dissecting and talking about every meal. I’m sick of being told to eat more or to eat less. I’m sick of being told that my normal weight isn’t “healthy.” I’m sick of feeling brainwashed into accepting a body that I didn’t have before my disorder. I’m sick of everything being put under a microscope. I’m sick of wasting my time.
Dealing with Lyme and the other PANS symptoms is taxing enough, and recovering from an eating disorder takes total dedication. I’m simply trying to survive at this point, so something as demanding as intensive outpatient therapy is out of the question. As it is, getting myself to class for nine hours per week and doing the required work is hard enough. For that matter, I have days when I can barely get dressed. Do you really think I’m in any shape to drag myself to therapy for fifteen hours a week?
Now before you start telling me that recovery is the most important thing and that I need to put my health first, I want to say that I agree with that. In fact, I spent several months talking to a nutritionist and a therapist each week with regular check-ins with my psychiatrist, but truth be told, my eating is almost as disordered now as it was when I started (though in different ways). All those hours of therapy yielded few results.
I still count calories and restrict or binge, depending on the day (though I’m managing to maintain a consistent and healthy weight range). I still have rules about when and how I should eat. I still basically only eat soft foods/fruits (I think this is more of a sensory issue than an eating disorder fear, though). I still try to avoid restaurants like the plague, because I don’t know what they might be sneaking into my food. I don’t deny that I still need help, but the help I was getting wasn’t working.
I quit therapy because talking about food so much was only magnifying my obsessions. I quit because I’m healthy (or as healthy as someone can be with late-stage Lyme) and not in physical danger. I quit because I simply don’t have the mental energy to try to break free from my rituals at the moment.
I’m not here to recommend others quit therapy—I know it helps a lot of people, and there were times when it seemed to help me. But for me right now, it was the right choice. I continue to hold out hope that, eventually, when my Lyme and PANS are under control, the thoughts and rituals will quiet down. I’ve noticed that sometimes, when I’m not having PANS symptoms, the food obsessions are gone, too. But if someday, I’m otherwise better and still have an eating disorder, I just might go back to therapy.