I think of myself as someone who is fairly self-sufficient. I don’t cry on my friend’s shoulders, I don’t go running to a family member when things are hard, I don’t lean on anyone other than myself when I am struggling. Personally, I think this is best. I think if you can’t handle things on your own than you are weak and should toughen up. It’s fine to talk a situation over with someone once you’ve dealt with it and can talk rationally and reasonably, but when in the throes of something big and emotional and messy, well, to me, alone is best.
Which makes the realization that I have come to depend on and even slightly look forward to my weekly group sessions a daunting one.
My recovery program is mostly group based sessions. They run on 8 week cycles. So for 8 weeks you are in a session about say, Building Self Compassion (that was my most recent one). You have once a week group meetings and you are limited to how many you are allowed to miss. On top of that weekly session there are three drop-in sessions you can pick from (meal support, meditation, weekly support). You don’t have to go to those drop-ins but you can, and they say the more you go to the better you do in your recovery. When the 8 week session is done you have a month or so where you only go to the drop-ins, and you are required to attend at least 2 in the month. Then a new 8 week session starts. This just keeps repeating.
So, every week, no matter where you are in the program, you should be attending at least one of the group sessions. At first I found this annoying, time consuming, even pointless. After a while I found it stressful, highly awkward for my schedule, and still pointless. Then at some point, some of the stuff I was being told started to sink in and I realized maybe it isn’t as pointless as I thought. I still found it occasionally annoying, and stressful, and it is legit time consuming and really messes with my schedule, but I try to look at it as one of those things that is important and therefore worthy of any interruptions it makes to my life.
I also sorta think of it as my punishment. If I wasn’t so fucked up I wouldn’t be having to deal with all this and I could be out enjoying life uninterrupted like my friends are.
My work shift was swapped for today so I had to miss the drop-in group support that is held on Mondays. My 8 week session just ended so I’ve just started the drop-ins which means I have no mandatory weekly group session this week. I don’t attend the other sessions, the meditation and food support groups, for reasons I won’t go in to here, which means until next week I won’t see anyone. Except I won’t see anyone next week either because the Monday is a stat holiday so they will be closed. So it’ll be three weeks before I see anyone and that is kinda freaking me out.
Before I’m pretty sure I would have looked at this as a boon, a freak scheduling mishap that brought about some alone time from the doctors and group sessions and delving in to why I think and feel things. But this week I actually tried to get my shift covered and was going to call in sick all so I could go to group this evening.
I’m kinda struggling and I need support and I wanted to go to group to get some support, to not feel so alone, but I couldn’t go and now I feel even more alone than before, and scared because I don’t know what I might do over the next two weeks, and confused because multiple things have happened over the past week I wanted to talk to someone about and now I won’t ever get to talk about those situations and I need advice on some stuff and need to know just how bad I screwed up when dealing with things but well, now I’ll never know because not like I can bring it up 2 weeks from now, it’ll all be old news.
I haven’t changed a lot of my ED behaviour, in fact, someone looking from the outside might say I have changed nothing. I am still eating my safe foods to the almost exclusion of everything else. I am still under eating daily, unless I have a binge day. I am still working out harder than I should. I am still feeling guilt and shame when I eat. But my thoughts have changed a little bit, honest! I sometimes think about eating other foods, I might not do it yet but before I wouldn’t have even thought it. I have eaten when normally I wouldn’t have because I felt hunger or because I realized it had been a long time since I had eaten so I probably should eat. Before I would have decided to keep fasting because why not? I’ve started drinking more water so I’m not always dehydrated. I may not eat the amount of food I am supposed to but I am eating more than I used to, well ok, not every day, but some days, and for me that is a big deal. And something huge for me, I gained a pound over the weekend and I didn’t go in to full blown panic and fast starting last night and continuing on until at least the end of day tomorrow. In fact, today I drank a ton of water, I ate two meals, and I had a snack! I’m working on not feeling guilty about all that food, not quite there yet but hey, I’m a work in progress.
My worry though, is I have things that happened that raised questions, questions I need answers to, and I have no one to answer them. I feel like without those answers I can’t properly move forward because what if I am doing something wrong, what if I made the wrong choice and continue to make wrong choices from here on out, what if I am fucking this up.
I don’t even know what the “what” I might be fucking up is. Is it my weight loss, my recovery, my eating disorder…I just don’t know…
I think I could schedule a one-on-one with my case manager but I don’t know for sure, and even if I could she has limited time and people with bigger problems than mine to deal with so I don’t want to bother her. Maybe I could email her…that’s something to look in to…
This post did not end up where I intended it to go lol What I was planning on writing was why the enforced separation from my group sessions might actually be a good thing for me because I have obviously become too reliant on them when dealing with stuff. I won’t be in this program forever, eventually I won’t have access to these people and groups, and I need to keep that in mind. I need to remember when I am low or struggling that in the end the one I should depend on is me, not the counselors or doctors or others in group because one day I’ll be out of the program and on my own anyways and it is important to be strong so I don’t have trouble with that transition.
Right now I am wavering with that thought though, as you might have guessed lol I think, given two weeks away from all the groups that thought will become stronger and I’ll end up taking a couple steps back recovery wise which would suck since the steps forward I have taken are so small and so few. But if I do contact my case manager what am I supposed to say? I think I’m becoming a wimp who needs someone to talk to, will you be that person for me this week? That is so not ever gonna happen.