Let's face it: recovery is hard enough on its own, you don't need a bad doctor or misinformed dietitian making it even harder.
Having the right treatment team to support you through your journey can make a world of difference. But how do you sift through all the options and find the best fit?
The first time I "tried" to recover (aka the first time I actually admitted something might kind of be wrong), I looked at all the therapists covered by my insurance and chose the one closest to my office who had evening appointment times. And her name sounded friendly. Literally. That's how I chose a therapist. Based on proximity and a name.
No surprise it didn't really work out. But instead of realizing it was just not the right therapist, I decided the failed appointment was proof that I didn't need help and could do it on my own because obviously therapy was pointless. Ugh. Wrong again Amanda!
Needless to say, I was very hesitant when I was admitted as inpatient. Again, I thought I was just going to see another round of doctors and therapists who would be zero help.
But this time was different. This time, I absolutely loved my doctors. My psychiatrist, dietitian and therapist all worked together to help me and the combination of them was phenomenal. It was a complete 180 from my first stab at the whole treatment thing!
Of course, I didn't exactly have a say in my team because of the circumstances. But I did learn a lot about what makes a good treatment team when it comes to recovery.
Here are my top tips:
1. Don't settle for the easy option. Just because a therapist works right next door or is the cheapest, doesn't mean he/she is the best fit for you. Shop around! There are so many therapists these days who have blogs too. Reading their sites can give a good hint if their views and opinions will mesh with yours.
2. Speak up. If you go to a few appointments and feel like it isn't working, don't be afraid to tell your therapist or your parents. Don't immediately think something is wrong with you or that all therapy will be ineffective. Be honest with your team AND yourself.
3. That being said, give it a chance. Sometimes it takes more than two sessions for therapy to "work". You need time to build a relationship with your therapist and get to know them (and vice versa!). Be patient and open up as much as you can in the beginning. Your therapist isn't going to judge you so don't hold back!
4. Focus on the overall picture. You know how a chair can't work with only 2 legs? Well a treatment team can't work with just a therapist. Or just a primary care doctor. Remember, it's supposed to be a TEAM. Especially in the beginning, you'll probably need a therapist, a dietitian, your primary care doctor, and a psychiatrist. You may even need more! So don't just focus on one. Make sure you find a group who will communicate among themselves so everyone is kept in the loop.
It can be tough to find the right fit when it comes to treatment professionals but I promise you, the effort is well worth it. For me, I struggle opening up to others so finding a therapist I clicked with wasn't easy but once I did, my recovery process was soooo much better.
And now the fun part...
Want to win a Starbucks gift card???
Yeah I know you do ;) Here's how you can:
Take this quick survey on how your doctor affected your recovery. Anya, a junior at Brown University, has recovered from anorexia and is doing research on the relationship between doctor/patient and the impact on recovery.
Help her raise awareness for eating disorders by taking her survey. Literally takes 2 seconds.
You have until Friday... then I'll pick the name and send you a little Starbucks gift card because we could all use a little more coffee in our lives!! :)
Photo credit: Tumblr