Four Phases of Recovery +
Being given the opportunity once again to attend the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) Conference for 2010, was quite an honor.
I'd like to share some insight that was emphasized once again for me while I was there.
Recovery from an eating disorder can be broken into four main phases, which of course, look and play out differently for every individual.
#1) The Turning Point: this is a subjective response to having 'enough', being tired of being sick. This phase may require multiple 'moments', each of which builds strength upon strength, until the person makes the decision to get help. One must decide to move beyond the state of arrested development that an eating disorder often signifies. This phase marks the beginning of a process (recovery) that may take years to complete.
#2) Treatment: this phase is mandatory for FULL recovery. While treatment can't 'cure' an eating disorder, it can help a person develop the self-responsibility that is necessary to complete the process.
#3) Restoration: this is the phase during which physical health is restored. A person who became ill at age 14 may need time to 'catch up' developmentally. They have experienced 'delayed adolescence' in a sense. This is an involved, yet exciting time of exploration. This is also when a person begins to restore a core sense of self.
#4) Discovery: an exploration of one's major life goal, moving toward a mature sense of self. A person's individual character and personality will begin to bloom, which leads to a level of empowerment and self-directedness never reached before.
THE BONUS PHASE: The Wise Mind: This is when trust in recovery develops, fears disappear, and the former shame and stigma that may have been felt about having an eating disorder morphs into a new freedom and a deeper understanding of self.