Does Going Back to Therapy Mean You’re Relapsing?

Recovery is an ongoing process. It ebbs and it flows. For some, recovery is a journey in and of itself.

Personally, I still feel as though I’m “in recovery” rather than “recovered” some days. Though I can manage the disordered thoughts and resist acting on them most days, there are still days that the eating disorder wins.

I’ve realized that, in my seven-year recovery journey, I need a few close people to keep me accountable and help push me back on track with my eating disordered shades blind me from reality. I have trigger cards leftover from when I was in inpatient treatment, which list signs of backsliding. It’s a good, yet gentle reminder, that sometimes I need to ask for help.

When I began to backslide this past spring, I had a close friend encourage me to talk to a professional. At first, the guilt and anxiety led me to push off going back and talking to a therapist. My eating disordered mind told me I didn’t deserve that.

Pride told me that if I went and sought help again, it meant I was relapsing.

Neither of those were true.

Eating disorders are extremely complex mental disorders. I’m not trying to fall back into behaviors. I’m not trying to prioritize restriction and exercise rigidity that once ruled my life.

In fact, I’m trying to stay far, far away from that. But, having been entrapped in those habits for over a decade and they still creep up from time to time. And that’s okay.

Turns out, trying a new therapist was a great experience. Like me, she also has two little ones age 3.We just immediately clicked.

To me, therapy is like having an unbiased friend who can be a sounding board and redirect you. It’s incredibly helpful for me. With all the changes I went through last year – going from one to two kiddos, starting a new job and moving into a new home – my eating disorder began to creep back in as a “constant” that I once clung onto.

Change, unfortunately, is a big trigger for my behaviors.

If your eating disordered thoughts or behaviors are creeping back into your daily routines, know that you are not alone. Know that it’s normal to go through weak moments. It’s okay not to be perfect in your recovery.

We are all human. And we all have struggles. We all need crutches and someone to lean on from time to time. There’s no one better than a professional when it comes to eating disorder help.

I like to envision my eating disorder recovery with phases of the moon from time to time. Founder, Jessica Raymond, mentioned a quote on her podcast once that has stuck with me for several months. It’s a fitting reminder about the ebbs and flows of recovery:

The Moon is a loyal companion, it never leaves. It’s always there, watching steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections. -Tahereh Mafi

Tags from the story
, , ,
More from Meggie Sexton

The Struggle is Real: Eating Disorders and Pregnancy

This takes years of effort and hard work and I’m personally not...
Read More