April 14, 2011 was my last day at an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program for depression and bulimia. After nine months, I was well enough to transition out. The care and treatment I received there were vital for my recovery.
I have never shared this with anyone, but I am sharing it with you now. On my last day, my medical team gave me two special gifts: a “Blooming Rock” and the following words to take with me.
Transition for Janelle
The object we’re giving you today is called a “Blooming Rock.” It will “bloom” with crystals over the course of weeks when you submerge it in vinegar.
We have been so delighted to be part of your journey here: you have learned so many DBT and CBT skills and have made significant changes in your behavior and your thinking. We have admired your ability to get in touch with difficult emotions, such as sadness and anger, and your persistence in fighting black and white thinking. We think your commitment to a masters program you feel unsure about and to working with a therapist you’re unsure of show how strong you are.
We chose this object for you for several reasons, and especially because we hope you will always remember:
Our vision of your strength: you consistently give to other people and work on your issues. Even when you’re feeling vulnerable and down, you consider other people’s feelings. You can be your own rock.
That things are not always as they seem: just as this ordinary looking rock has something extraordinary buried within it, there are other ways of looking at things — even when they seem like fact. Crystals are beautiful because they break light up and scatter it in multiple directions. We think you have extraordinary abilities to think about things from many different points of view: You are your own crystal!
That everything changes over time: The beauty within this rock only develops over weeks, and cannot be measured moment by moment. Like recovery, you’ll only notice the change after a long period of time has elapsed. Be patient with yourself. Allow your mind to change, allow your emotions to wax and wane, and give yourself the time to allow that to happen.
Radiance can arise from bitterness: just as only vinegar will bring the crystals from the rock, perhaps you needed hardship and confusion to refine those qualities we most value in you: your compassion, persistence, flexibility, enthusiasm, humor, and hope.
You will be missed, by staff and patients, alike.
I hadn’t read this letter in years. As I read and typed, it brought back many emotions and memories. My time there was not easy; working towards recovery is so freakin’ hard. It hurts and it’s painful, both mentally and physically. I also have memories of everyone I met there. The team in charge of my care, especially, and the faces of those just like me — each with their own afflictions and pain — fighting to survive, will always stay in my memory. That place saved my life. How could I ever forget?
Please share your story with me.
Have you ever been in intensive outpatient care? If so, what for and how did it work out for you? Is a loved one a patient now or were they ever a patient in such a program? Feel free to share as little or as much as you would like.
View this post on Instagram
I transitioned out of an intensive outpatient treatment program for depression and bulimia almost 8 years ago. That program saved my life. My most recent post is the transition letter my team of specialists wrote for and recited to me on my last day. • • • • Eating disorder recovery is possible. It takes hard work. It's painful and grueling. But it is worth it. • • • • I hope you may find some strength and hope in the letter they wrote for me. The direct link is in my profile. Feel free to leave me your comments. I would also love to hear your stories. • • • Never lose hope. FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE. • • • #eatingdisorderrecovery #edrecovery #bulimia #outpatient #outpatienttreatment #grouptherapy #therapy #nutrition #counseling #dialecticalbehaviortherapy #cognitivebehavioraltherapy #cognitivedissonance #recovery #relapse #sadness #anger #blackandwhitethinking #fightforyourlife #bepatient #allowchange #forgive #radiance #hardship #strength #mentalhealth #endstigma #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalillness #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthwarrior