Some time after we began outpatient treatment at Walden Behavioral Care I put a picture on my Facebook page of my daughter in her bathing suit by the pool, eating an ice cream with her sister. Many of my acquaintances who did not know about her earlier hospitalization for an eating disorder probably glanced at the photo and said to themselves,“oh, a picture of your kid, big deal.”

But then the “likes” from those who did know about how acute she was came pouring in. They knew and understood how something so normal, so seemingly benign, was a huge deal for her to have achieved in recovery. They got it. Your child can get there too.

Full recovery is possible from an eating disorder. Thanks to the clinical treatment at Walden Behavioral Care focusing on early and aggressive treatment, my daughter has had a rapid recovery path. I was given the tools to help her navigate her continued recovery after we were discharged, and she stands an excellent chance to go into later adolescence unfettered by the insidious eating disorder that nearly took her life.  If I had a slogan for her recovery it would be, “From 62 pounds to living a vibrant life!”

What are some important ways recovery can manifest if you commit to early and aggressive treatment? 

A. Full nutrition, full time. No more fear foods or fear eating situations.

B. Continued weight gain for growth, resumption or start of period (for girls)

C. Continued absence of eating disorder behaviors

 D. No more than minor thoughts about body image, food, or weight

E. Ability to tolerate and work through every day age-based anxiety and distress

F. Ability to eat some if not most meals independently in age appropriate ways and self-regulate around food without losing weight

 G. Continued emotional and nutritional support from caregivers

Recovery looks pretty darn normal. Getting to be able to put that check mark beside those criteria was a work in progress. A process… Rather than thinking of eating disorder treatment as slaying the eating disorder dragon, I think of it as giving her and us as caregivers, the tools to take the fire away from the dragon, so when it appears , she  says,  “ Meh it’s just a dragon” and moves on to swimming and eating ice cream by the pool.