THE GROUP

I've tried to write about the way being in group therapy for three years affected my life a couple of times. I never felt like i could convey the profoundness while still remaining un-cheesy. Here's an attempt.
  1. The first time I went to group therapy, I was terrified. I am not the most naturally likable person & I don't put myself out there a lot. I don't fit in easily.
  2. I thought I would be the fattest person in the room & would have no business being in a group for eating disorder recovery. I was barely sick.
    That's a fun lie your brain tells you quite often when you're deep in an eating disorder.
  3. The first time I went, I was surprised. The woman running the group was like a grandma & the women inside could not have been more different from one another.
  4. But, as we each went around the room, giving a quick run down of our stories, i recognized something in these women that I found hard to find in others.
  5. They were perfectionists, like me. And scared of the rest of the world. We liked control.
  6. We met once a week, for an hour. Our facilitator was an older woman who was an ardent feminist.
    Though she was normally mild-mannered, she told us about how once, when she saw a man on our campus wearing a shirt that said he wouldn't fuck fat women, she screamed at him.
  7. Sometimes we would do weird breathing exercises or talk about coping techniques, but we spent a lot of time learning intimate details of stranger's lives.
    We cried with each other, laughed at morbid eating disorder jokes together, rolled our eyes when the facilitator broke out the ~don't drink~ lecture for the millionth time
  8. It's certainly a strange experience. Especially so when you run into each other on campus and ask about something oddly personal in the company of others.
    Oh her? We just met in my uh....journalism class?
  9. I was in a few different groups of people, as member graduated or dropped out or went into more intensive treatment or got better.
  10. Some weeks were really hard. When someone had to decide how they were going to finish school and get inpatient treatment, it was difficult to find hope.
    Breakups, binges, parent problems...these things are real but can cause so much pain.
  11. There were also moments of incredible hope. Watching someone have a breakthrough or like succeed in their life was so amazing.
  12. I've never felt more impressed or happy for these women than seeing that they've gotten married, escaped bad relationships, finished school, gotten jobs or just fucking eaten a real meal.
  13. They inspire me, every day, to stick with my own recovery.
  14. Most of us have fallen out of touch, save for occasional encouragement on Facebook or other social media.
  15. But I think of them a lot. How having that community truly changed my recovery process & made me advocate for others with eating disorders.
  16. If you're given the chance to try group therapy, consider it. It's really comforting to be able to know others are dealing with the same shit, even if it seems silly.