as far as kaitlyn knows, she’s guaranteed out of treatment by the end of the month. she called me sobbing the other night after a fight with her parents on the phone, in which she had to -berate- them into agreeing not to bully her into more therapy ever again. No more therapists or psychiatrists or treatment. Because what they thought would help her never has, not for the years they’ve put her in different treatment programs or sent her to different therapists. She just wants it to /end/.
So basically, since neither of us ever really…explained what happened to land her in treatment to begin with, her parents essentially coerced her into leaving school, talking around her and asking her to make the decision to pull out of classes on medical leave only /hours/ after they’d picked her up for the weekend, and she’d been sobbing for hours and she was so scared and so drained but the only thing she kept telling them was that she /did not want to leave school/, which apparently wasn’t a decision from their 21-year-old adult daughter that they were willing to respect. They talked around her and over her and pressured her into signing the paperwork to leave school /that night/, when she wanted a couple of days to think about it, at least, if they wouldn’t respect her telling them repeatedly that she didn’t want to leave school. But they kept saying over and over and over that she needed to decide /now/, that they needed to get the paperwork in /the next morning/ and she was so wrung out she didn’t have the willpower or the drive to resist them anymore.
The next day, they faxed in her school leave paperwork, and they went to a therapist to get the recommendation she needed to enter treatment, This therapist, as was the /legal/ thing to do, /asked/ kaitlyn herself directly if she felt like she could make a decision this big at that moment in time, which she /did not feel/ capable of doing, but her parents had had her sign a disclosure agreement because they wanted to be involved in whatever treatment she received, and they were in the room with her and the therapist, and she didn’t feel like she could /say/ she wasn’t ready to make the call on whether or not to enter treatment in front of her parents, especially when he hadn’t slept enough in too long and when she’d been so anxious for so long and she was too tired to even try to resist them anymore. So the appointment to visit the treatment facility was set up that afternoon, and they took her to visit it the next day. And then two days later her paperwork cleared and she was checked in.
Kaitlyn’s had upwards of ten different therapists in her life, been in multiple treatment programs for ED, and has /never once/ felt that talk therapy has done anything to help her. The repeated visits and repeated therapists have always been her parents convincing her to see them, “maybe this time will be different”, “we just want you to be happy”, “we want you to love yourself”, but /it should not be about/ what they think will do her good when kaitlyn’s never once felt that talk therapy and group therapy has ever done her any good whatsoever. In fact, it only makes her more likely to compare herself to the people she’s surrounded with in those group sessions, compare her bodies to theirs and compare her problems to theirs and they /always/ make her feel like she /doesn’t deserve to be there/. Like the things she struggles with are trivial compared to theirs and that she shouldn’t get to feel as bad about herself as she does when there are people around her she /knows/ have endured circumstances worse than hers.
And /this/ place, this immersive residential program she’s been at for the past four months, she’s afraid has made her /more/ anxious and afraid of going back to her life as it was than she was before she’d been checked in. She feels /crazy/ for still thinking negatively about herself. She feels invalidated and hounded and insane because she can’t seem to get her parents to understand that /this method of treatment doesn’t help her/. She feels like she’s had the last four months of her life /stolen/ from her, and she feels like her inability to love herself has irreparably damaged her relationship with her parents, because they won’t own up to having rushed her into treatment when she was in no stable mental or emotional position to make the decisions they had her sign off on, and she /resents/ that they pressured her into being there.
And the crux of the matter is, she was checked in under having an “unspecified” eating disorder. She’s too physically healthy to fit the criteria for anorexia, which was what she’d struggled with in high school. She eats enough. She doesn’t restrict herself and she doesn’t over-exercise. What she struggles with is self-hatred. And talk therapy has not once in the /years/ she’s been seeing therapists done her any good at all. And the repeated /insistence/ that she just ‘try it again’ has only made her feelings about herself and her fears about her future even /worse/.
All this time she’s just wanted to go /home/. But now she doesn’t know where home /is/. It’s not her parents’ home, or her apartment at school, and definitely not where she’s staying while at treatment. She feels stagnant and stuck and like she’ll never remember what it felt like to go to class and do homework the way she used to and feel vaguely normal anymore. She’s afraid she won’t be able to integrate back into school and that she can’t write well anymore and that she can’t /focus/ enough anymore to go back to school or do anything without second-guessing herself because /therapy has made her feel crazy/, like she cant trust her own perceptions or trust the things she feels and sometimes even like she’s not allowed or entitled to feel the ways she does at all. And if she can’t do that, if she can’t go back to school and find a routine and get the same high grades she’d used to before she was pulled out for treatment, then she doesn’t know what she even has left. School was the one thing she felt /good/ at. And the things she used to do for fun feel like work and too much effort to her now and she wants to /write/ but she doesn’t know /what/ and even if she starts something she’s afraid she’ll never be able to do it the way she used to, and that no one will read it, and that she’s regressed too much while stuck in treatment that wrings her out and leaves her too exhausted and drained and emotionally tapped out to write.
So now that she’s theoretically close to being released, her therapists keep asking her what she wants to do when she gets out. Whether she’s got another therapist or a nutritionist lined up for when she’s out, whether she has plans for herself. And she /doesn’t/. She /refuses/ to see any more therapists or submit to any more treatment when it’s hurt her so much more than it’s ever helped her. She wants to go back to school but if they re-accept her she’s afraid she’ll fail and if they don’t re-accept her she’ll feel like she /has/ failed. Failed at school and failed at recovery and failed to live up to her parents’ expectations that she’d feel different after all this and failed at her whole existence.
Some people just /can’t/ love themselves. And all she wants is acknowledgement of that, but she knows her parents will never admit that they were wrong, and that sending her to treatment has affected her negatively. They’ll never understand that /not/ being able to love herself doesn’t make her broken.
All she knows is she /can’t/ endure treatment much longer but she’s so afraid she can’t do anything else anymore, either. And i don’t know how to /help/ her from the distance i’m at.
I’m utterly useless at showing people how much i care about them or offering comfort when i can’t touch them or hug them or kiss their faces. And even though we text /constantly/ we’re restricted from that when she’s in group, or with her therapist, or during meals, and then when i’m at lab and working with people hanging over my shoulder i can’t even leave her texts to come back to and distract her between her sessions. I love her so much and i want to take the hurt away from her more than i’ve ever wanted anything else in my entire life, but i know i can’t do that, and i know being loved doesn’t fix anything, and i know there’s only so much my telling her how beautiful she is and how much i adore her can help. But i don’t…know how else to soothe the fear or the pain for her when i can’t hold her hands or sit with her or pull her into my arms when it surges and knocks the wind out of her and /hurts/. I feel so powerless and i can’t even imagine how much worse she’s felt /constantly/ for /four months/. i can’t make it better. And that’s /crippling/ to me.