I left residential treatment my sophomore year after struggling with bulimia for a few years. I didn't open up completely to my therapist in that treatment center because I was so afraid of being open and honest about my feelings.
When I returned from treatment that school year, I had done so well with eating that first week back in the real world. But, it suddenly started going downhill from there. I had no support besides a new therapist I had just begun working with. In treatment I learned that reaching out for support is okay, so I began opening up to my guidance counselor who was just the support I needed.
I had gone to her office so many times just those last few months of my sophomore year. It's still hard for me to understand it, but when my junior year began, I was told I could only talk to my counselor about academic things and not emotional problems. It still makes me upset remembering being told that and then my reaction to it, which was to push everyone away. When I began accepting help again about a month later, I learned that counselors aren't really there as sole supports in a school setting. My therapist spoke up for me to the school that it didn't feel fair and that I don't cope well with losing people I care about. So I was then allowed to check in with her once a month. Because of who I am as a person, I feel so lost when things in life are beyond my control, which was why I used the eating disorder - it gave me that comfort and control. I felt so many different emotions with the limited number of times I could see my counselor, and felt like I had no control and was being punished for wanting and needing support.
Since all of this, two years have passed and I'll be graduating soon. I've been able to let go of a lot of the strong emotions I've had around this situation. Not only have I been able to let go, I've been able to take in that good feeling that I did have support my sophomore year after returning home from treatment. Though I wish things hadn't changed so drastically, I know I'm really lucky to have had someone so caring help me when I needed support.
While I was in treatment, I had the opportunity to participate in art groups instructed by a therapist. In the future, I really would love to be an art therapist and help people struggling with eating disorders, since art has been a useful coping skill for me. What also has inspired me to want to do that has been my counselor. She has helped me see that being kind and supportive to others and giving back is something I want to do one day. I would love to be in the role of helping someone and being one of that person's reasons they didn't give up. My counselor was definitely one of my reasons to keep fighting at times I was struggling the most in my recovery. So I'm giving her a key with "inspire" engraved on it. She's inspired me to not only help people but also to never give up on them.