What traditional ED “care” is like and why it so often fails

This is what traditional “care” for eating disorders is like….

The first goal is to knock down the patients’ current ideology. They do this by telling the patient their lives are unmanageable. Here, the First Step of AA works brilliantly. Your life is unmanageable because of your ED. They will point out how things are out of control. Your marriage. Your kids. Your job. Your social life. Your house is a mess, your clothes don’t match, you look a wreck. Your behavior is erratic. You have anxiety. You can’t control your drinking, either. You got into a car wreck. Your grades are faltering. They’ll tell you anything, any reason to knock down current beliefs.

Then what? They place blame on a fictitious Devil named Ed. Ed is to blame for your crap life! Ed is the Bad Guy, the Devil who has taken possession of you! Ed lives insideĀ  you, and only “treatment” can get Ed out! But you have to follow every word we say. We’re the authorities. Only the Staff can tell you how to get Ed out. The Staff are the experts on life itself! The Staff have it all together; patients do not.

Now what? You must follow what Staff says. You must do what the therapist orders. You are possessed. All ED’s are sneaky liars, so you cannot be trusted. From now on, Staff will weigh you because you, Sneaky Liar, will lie about your weight. You, Sneaky Liar, will lie about what you are eating so from now on, Staff decides what you’ll eat. And Staff will watch you every second of the day, even watch you pee and poop.

In some facilities, patients are watched while they shower. In other facilities, showers reek of vomit since this is the only private place the patients have. Do they vomit due to some horrible illness? Or do they vomit out of sheer desperation because their human rights are denied?

The staff know better. Staff will tell you what to do, and they know you better than you know yourself. They know and you do not. What they say goes. You have no rights. Human rights do not exist on this Unit. Nor in ED therapy, where you are force-weighed, regularly threatened, accused of lying whether you are or not, and coerced onto a meal plan. If they want to monitor you more closely, all they have to do is accuse you of suicidality. That ALWAYS works. You’ll be guaranteed 1:1 monitoring, ordered by a doctor, and no amount of protesting will end the abuse.

What will end this? Starving yourself to death is a viable and often appealing way out. Why? They can’t stop you, can they? What a game this has become, whether you realize it or not, you’re playing a Game of Death where the Thinner is the Winner.

There IS a way out, and it’s not death at all. You stop playing the game. That’s right. Quit. End it. Stop the game. Call it a truce, or make like your mommies called you in for milk and cookies so you have to put away your chess set now. Sorry, no checkmate. Not today. Walk away and end it.

Walk away from the fake game and walk into your life. I guarantee that life will treat you better than ED “care” which is riddled with human rights abuses. While I know life itself is a game of sorts, how you play that game is up to you. You can wear many hats, choose your strategy, and play it fast or slow. In ED “care,” they choose that path, the path that so often leads to death or permanent disability. In life, the choice is yours.

What may have been true was that eating was difficult. But you are not hopeless, not defective, not “overly needy,” not hopelessly dependent, nor inferior, not a liar, not sneaky, and just as trustworthy as anyone else. Many people have difficulties. This is just one of them. I don’t think it warrants them denying your human rights, that is, denying your humanness.

Go show them. Never mind that, show yourself.

Feedback and comments welcome!