Kaitlyn R Kaitlyn's Story

“Who am I, and what do I want and need today?”

When I think back to my last stay at the Robert Wood Johnson Eating Disorders Program, I remember feeling like it’s probably going to be just another trip on the treatment merry-go-round, like its been for the last 10 years. “Everyone wants recovery so much for me,” I remember thinking. “Why can’t I just want it for myself?”

The days passed, and I was discharged into their Partial Hospitalization Program, and then out into the real world, again. I moved in with my boyfriend and got a new job. For a while, I really struggled and there were threats from my treatment team that I may need to go back to the program. My boyfriend had caught me at the gym, when I was not supposed to be exercising, numerous times. I felt like people were giving up on me, and I was giving up on myself, like I usually do.

Then one day in a therapy session, I ended up talking with my therapist about my boyfriend catching me at a gym, yet again, and her response really resonated with me. She said, “Well, you don’t have to get better for your boyfriend. You can stay sick if that’s what you want.” I don’t know exactly why that really stuck with me, but for the first time, I began to really think and ask myself what do “I” really want, and what is my goal in all of this?

My response kind of both confused and scared me a little at first. Instead of acting like a person with an eating disorder, I started acting like the person who I really wanted to be. I think a good way to describe it would be like that quote, “Focus not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

“Who am I, and what do I want and need today?” This is something I ask myself on a daily basis now, and I finally feel like I’m able to answer honestly. My advice would be don’t focus on battling or fighting the eating disorder; instead, focus on finding and believing in yourself.