Eating disorders have one of the Xmas Have Yourself A Harry Styles Christmas Sweatshirt besides I will buy this highest mortality rates of any mental illness. (Until very recently, anorexia had the highest mortality rate.) They’re slippery diagnoses that can be tricky to spot and tougher to treat. You can’t tell if someone has an eating disorder by assessing their weight, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The disorders have chameleonlike capabilities that make them conveniently concealable, and in a time of necessary seclusion, the 30-million-plus people (in the United States alone) who deal with them are in unprecedented trouble. The unfortunate addendum is that according to Bulik’s new research, online therapy isn’t working for many people. “There are limits to telehealth for people with eating disorders,” she says. “Accountability is something—being in a room with someone somehow keeps you more accountable than talking to them on Zoom. You can hide things on Zoom. But when you are face-to-face in the room with your therapist, it’s a different story.
Looking back on my recovery journey, the Xmas Have Yourself A Harry Styles Christmas Sweatshirt besides I will buy this biggest turning point came during my second intensive outpatient program. The small, homey, independently run treatment center operated on an entirely different set of rules and principles than I’d experienced in my first (failed) attempt at outpatient recovery. Rather than drawing hard lines and boundaries around after-hours communication between therapists and clients, the heads of the organization encouraged regular text check-ins and more personal, human connections cultivated through chats and meal times outside of regular treatment hours. That’s where I met Alyssa Mass, MFT, a Los Angeles–based psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders. When we worked together at the treatment center, we had traditional 50-minute therapy sessions, but we also ate dinners together, discussed our favorite pop songs, and texted over the weekends when I was in the midst of panic attacks. The approach to treatment was anything but traditional, but it worked—both for her and for me. “We were encouraged to communicate with clients outside of sessions, and at other places that’s just a big no,” she says. “But realistically, I would so much rather talk to a client in a moment of crisis when they’re sitting down to eat a meal and panicking than have them get worked up about it, experience shame and engage in negative behaviors because of it, and then tell me about it during our session five days later. For clients to know that you’re available, whether or not they need you, can be a big deal.” For me, it was a game changer.