The treatment i went to - Mando in Stockholm they have a 5 year follow up program which i am still going to, but its just one visit each year and i have one visit sometime in autumn and that is either my last visit or second last visit and then i am no longer a patient for them. However that follow up treatment is more for their statistics rather than to actually help, or that is how i feel anyway. I mean sure you fill out some questionnaires and you eat a meal there and you get weighed, but even when i struggled with depression i never felt like i could talk to my case manager there because i just wanted to be free and i didnt want to go back to treatment so its easy to say that you are fine and everything is fine and then after 2 hours you leave there and know that you dont need to go back for another 6 months. However many treatment programs dont even have that follow up treatment so i do think its good, because if someone has lost alot of weight they cant really hide that when they go back and have to get weighed, so it is good that they have the follow up treatment. Though what i wish is that in treatment they talked more about post recovery and going back to school, going back to living life and socializing. Dealing with stress, dealing with life....
Just because you recover doesnt mean that all your problems are gone. Its just like when people try to lose weight and they still hate themselves even after the weightloss or all their problems are there, and that is because you need to work on the actual problem, and that is part of recovery. You need to work on the actual problem but that often needs help as well, such as therapy to realise what the problem is and to get advice about how to fix that problem or overcome that problem.
It is hard to talk about and give advice about life after recovery because it is so different for everyone and whether you are truly mentally recovered or not. But while i was in treatment nobody ever talked to me about how i should eat when i was recovered, whether i needed to decrease my calories, whether i should exercise lots or not exercise at all, nobody talked to me about how to love my body or how to cope with stress, nobody helped me to get back into life... instead it was basically just going from being an inpatient for a year and struggling to even eat an apple on my own to suddenly being back in school and having to eat all my food mostly on my own and still struggling with all my problems such as hating my body, having low self esteem, not able to cope with emotions... all of that was still there and i had to learn to cope with those things on my own. I have grown from that and learnt alot and become stronger, but in a way i wish that i had gotten help with it as well.
I wish someone had talked to me about the fact that finding balance with food is hard, finding balance with exercise is hard, that if you have struggled with restrictive eating it is not uncommon to end up struggling with binge eating. But no one did help me with that, they focused on giving me a meal plan and making me gain wright and the rest was up to me.... I managed, but it was a struggle.
With my blog though i try my best to help all of YOU to answer some of those questions about after recovery. Because it is scary, it is unknown... you want to know how your metabolism will work, whether you will keep gaining weight, how you should eat, how you should exercise, how to love your body, how to cope with school, how to socialize... so many questions and nobody really gives you the answers, but i try my best to help. Because i know how it feels to be in the dark and scared and you just want someone to give you advice. But then again i guess thats life, nobody really has the answers and we all just have to keep going and do stuff even if we have no idea what the results will be. But it usually turns out ok at the end!!!
But back to the start, i hope that treatment programs begin to develop to offer better treatment, care and help even for those who dont need to gain weight or those who have reached a healthy weight. And also get better at answering questions and giving advice and not just saying "eat this, rest and eventually go back to school or work", because that doesnt help so much.
In general i think treatment needs to improve for eating disorders, i was lucky that i got to go to a specialized treatment for eating disorders and was also put on the priority list, as well as health care being free for those under 18 here in Sweden, so i am very lucky and thankful. Because i know how it is very different in other countries as well as waiting time for eating disorder treatment being long (At mando there was a waiting list of around 6 months, but as i came from treatment from Ireland and everything had been arranged and i was in a critical stage i only had to wait 2 weeks before i was admitted. But one thing which i noted when i have talked to others at Mando is that some waited several months before they recieved treatment - after doing the tests at Mando - and they were also in critical stages, but there just wasnt enough staff for them to recieve help, or there were enough beds for them to be inpatient, and that is scary. Because in just a matter of a few weeks health can deteriorate. ) So in the future i hope that treatment improves and also treatment to help people truly recover and not just let them go because they are a healthy weight!!