"Things do not change; we change." -Henry David Thoreau
"It's been three months and I'm still bingeing," said a client (call her Danielle*) recently. "Why haven't I gotten better?"
Danielle has been turning to food since childhood, about two decades. She's been in treatment for three months. She's in therapy twice a week, which equals about 24 total hours invested in recovery so far. Two decades cannot be undone by what is in effect one cumulative day of therapy (are you listening, insurance companies?).
If you don't feel as if you're recovering from disordered eating quickly enough, remember that it took time to develop this way of turning to or from food to deal with internal conflicts. It will take more than a few months to create a different relationship to yourself. As you tear down one structure, you are building another; it takes time to deconstruct one model of being in the world and to construct another.
It's also important to consider other ways of valuing progress. Although Danielle is still bingeing, she has made significant changes in other ways. When she first came to my office, Danielle was emotionally shut off and very intellectual in her approach to the world. Three months later she is able to recognize her feelings, see patterns in the way she relates to people, and notices that she turns to food when she feels uncomfortable.
When you think about change and recovery, think about what you're adding to your life (insight, interest in yourself), not just about the pounds you want to lose or gain. Those are the building blocks on which recovery is built!
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