I want to begin with this… if you need treatment, you should commit to it. There is no better time than today.
Before COVID-19, I had been attending an IOP program at Walden, and things were going well. I was gaining insight into myself, learning new coping skills, and things were improving. Then suddenly, like overnight, I was unable to continue my IOP treatment in the clinic. Walden moved to virtual and online eating disorder treatment programming, (as did the country), and I wasn’t ready for it. So I held back… and began to slide a bit.
Then I heard about a virtual evening program, and I felt like I had been given the ‘golden’ ticket. I knew I had done a lot so far, but the isolation felt hard. I knew I needed to continue the work I was doing that felt good.
So I jumped in… again. I got reacquainted with some of the information I had learned in my in-person IOP program, which was helpful as I got used to a whole new way of treatment.
What I realized quickly was how wonderful it was to be comfortable in my own home , no need to worry about packing my meals. I had a stove and a refrigerator right near me. I didn’t have to get dressed up and everything felt a bit less intrusive.
As I settled into the virtual eating disorder program, the info began to resonate with me even more. I was relaxed and comfortable in my home and able to take in what was being shared in a different way, and it was clicking with me. Some of us had already been practicing our coping skills, and we were able to share what was working for us. It was all making a lot of sense and just felt really good.
After a few days, I began to notice that the people who were extremely introverted started to speak up. They, too, were finding their voice from the comfort of their living rooms. We were all in our own settings but somehow more together.
Meals were the biggest difference, but I have to say, it was no less effective virtually than it was in person. I didn’t have to worry about packing my meals and had access to everything in my kitchen. I live by myself, and I don’t like eating with others. Yet, here I was in my own dining room, with the other members of the group in their own homes, and we were all eating together. There was something bonding about all of us seeing the ‘realness’ of each other in our own personal space. For the most part, we all seemed to show up, listen, and participate as we became more comfortable. It just worked.
As treatment went on, I was so happy to see new people join the group. I had been able to understand and evolve in my own journey, and I was thrilled to see others have the courage to join and hopefully have the same positive experience as I was experiencing.