• arielprag

it's time to let you die / thank you Rosewood

Trigger/content warning for somewhat detailed description of physical effects of restriction. No mention of numbers, method of restriction, or weight.

Yesterday (Friday) was my last day of IOP treatment at Rosewood Centers. I found out my insurance was cutting coverage for IOP Monday before last, and I was distraught.

Am I not worthy of treatment? Am I not sick enough? Am I sick at all? Do I deserve any help?

I restricted heavily last week and experienced physical consequences pretty quickly: Acid reflux that woke me up at night; dizziness and shaking; lower energy than usual, which is harder with a chronic illness; worsened mood; decreased ability to tolerate stress; and worst of all, i couldn’t sing properly.

I was angry, confused, frustrated, and scared. I had waited four years to receive formal treatment for my eating disorder, and I got a measly two months. Now they drop me and I immediately go back into behaviors.

On Monday I went back for my last week of program. It was difficult to go at all; it seemed pointless. A few days later, I’m grateful for having given myself the opportunity to grow. Being cut by insurance and having those last few days woke me up with a curious intensity.

A black mesh sports bag with the word "Rosewood" in white serif font printed on the front, along with an icon of white hills and a house. It lays flat on a dark brown slatted-wood bench. A leafy green plant overflows onto the top of the image.
Thank you for the free bag, alumni coordinator. My eating disorder is cured now.

Two months is a long time. During this time, I believe I was allowing myself to lose touch with why I went in the first place. Worse still, I was substituting my own hard work for the treatment center’s programming.

While the eating disorder remains strong at this point, I have decided that I don’t have to listen to it. I’m not weak for defying it. My eating disorder tells me that continuing recovery outside of treatment – i.e., without external validation – means that I was never sick, that I didn’t need treatment in the first place, that I was always too weak to continue depriving myself.

That’s absolute drivel. Continuing my recovery with an outpatient team will be incredibly challenging and is a sign of strength. I can’t help anyone if I’m spending half my time counting calories, injuring myself with excessive exercise, or lying in bed without energy. I already did that for six years.

A couple weeks ago during program, one of my peers brought in "Maybe it’s Time" from A Star is Born. Its lyrics mostly consist of the phrase "Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die." Its lyrics hit harder than I expected; I made the decision to let the old ways die four years ago, but never actually let them die. I didn’t want to let go in case I needed to turn to my eating disorder during a difficult time – like right now. For four years, I have deluded myself into believing that I had let go of the comforts brought by self-deprivation. In reality, I kept my eating disorder like a ridiculous sitcom character hides an overflowing from guests, preventing their avalanche by pushing myself against the clearly overloaded door. Or like Hodor holding back the wights. (Sorry for that stab in the heart.)

Hodor, character from the TV series Game of Thrones, holds back a door covered in vines and snow. He looks visibly distressed.

Secretly, I hoped I would eventually tire of stemming the flow, and would let go of the flimsy door to allow my ravenous eating disorder behaviors to take me back into their arms. The idea of relapsing was a tantalizing fallback plan for when life veered off my path. I wanted to let life eat me alive rather than allowing myself to eat life whole and declare victory.

I don’t need to do that. I don’t need to leave myself within reach of its perilous grasp to insist that I was once trapped in it. No one needs to do that. I won’t do that.

I will no longer hold myself back and pretend it is impossible to leave. If I run away from the door, you [my eating disorder] will crumble in the sunlight. It’s time to let you die.

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