I talked to my dad on the phone Tuesday night to check in. We had a nice talk, but then he had to let me know of some news with our insurance. My therapist let me know a couple weeks ago that my insurance denied coverage after the first 7 days of treatment, but Renfrew was going to appeal it. I tried not to worry about it, but the problem left me feeling discouraged and defeated.
I knew that if I went home after only two weeks, I would not be returning with much change to build on. I was scared to fall back into old patterns and had absolutely no confidence in myself. I was scared to leave, while also comforted by the fact I could go back to my eating disorder at home and go back into hiding. I spent a lot of time sitting outside on the porch, thinking about how my eating disorder isn’t really that bad. I don’t really need to be here according to my labs, my weight, or to my insurance. I was not as sick as the girls around me. And I felt worthless because I hadn’t even been trying hard enough in treatment to learn and engage. I probably did just need to go home. It kind of felt like I was failing both at my eating disorder and at recovery simultaneously.
My third week went on and I didn’t hear any news about my insurance. I assumed the appeal had worked and I got to stay. But after the phone call with my dad this week, I learned that it was quite the opposite. He revealed that my last day may be this Thursday. He asked my team not to tell me anything the past week and a half so it wouldn’t stress me out and I could focus on treatment, but now I felt blindsided. I was in shock at this point. I didn’t feel ready to go home. I was stuck between this place of trusting that things would get better if I stayed a little longer but knowing I had comfort and safety in my eating disorder if I went home.
I went back and forth from hoping and hoping that I could stay, trying to retain as much information as possible and visualizing the restricting and the workouts I’d do the second I got home. I was in this place that was balancing on a thin line of wanting the safety of treatment and wanting the safety of my eating disorder and losing weight.
I also held this enormous guilt on my chest if my insurance denied the past three weeks. Without insurance, it would be so much money. Thousands and thousands of dollars that I didn’t have and I didn’t want my dad to have to pay. The thought of him paying for this just fueled my self hate for these few days. I felt like such a burden.
My insurance denied multiple appeals that Renfrew sent to them. Apparently my dad spent the past two weeks yelling at people over the phone who were refusing to cover my treatment. Liz told me that they had one more appeal they were going to try. My entire team created a three page letter detailing why I needed to be in treatment and what I was working on. I asked for a copy of the letter after they finished it. My dad asked for a copy as well.
I really did not want to sign the form that allowed the letter to be sent to my dad. Like I mentioned, all I want to do is to make him happy. I hadn’t read the letter yet, but I knew that the information that could be found in it would hurt him and make him upset. I almost said no, but thought about how much he had been advocating for me over the past few weeks. Even though he didn’t really understand what was going on and I didn’t share much about my struggles, he fought hard for me to get what I needed.
I told Liz that she could send the letter to him. And I am now thankful that I did. The letter contained my diagnosis, my medications, and what I was working on in therapy, with my dietician, and with my psychiatrist. It detailed the ways that I had hurt myself for the past year and all of my feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness I feel. It contained a lot of information I had never shared with my parents out of fear of worrying them. After reading this letter, my dad understood what he was advocating for. Maybe he understood what I was struggling with a little better. He still loved me and supported me after reading. It felt pretty huge. I felt a wall come down that I had been scared to approach for a long time. And it felt like my dad was on the same page as me.
After I read this letter, it occurred to me that maybe I do really need to be here. Maybe I need a lot more help than I thought. My entire team advocated for me and put in so much effort to make sure that I was able to get what I needed. It honestly surprised me. The amount of time and energy that my therapist spent in helping me to stay surprised me. Being advocated for by so many people surprised me. Even if I did have to go home after Thursday, I felt far more empowered than I did before. I felt some worth and I felt seen. And kind of important even. If all of these people are fighting for me, maybe I am worth fighting for.
We all waited patiently to hear back from my insurance. For the next couple days, I would anxiously look out the window of the community room during group to check if Liz was coming down the hallway to let me know if I was going home or not.
We had a family session scheduled with my dad and stepmom for this Friday around 3:30pm. I was hoping all day that we would hear back from our insurance before this but still no word. A little after 3:00, I went to Liz’s office to talk a little bit before our family session. I approached the door and I could hear her talking on the phone. The woman talking over speaker phone said loudly, “If we don’t hear back we will process her discharge for Monday.” I waited a little bit on the couch across the hall so I wouldn’t eavesdrop, but then knocked just so she’d know I was there. I heard Liz say, “Oh she’s here now,” and they ended the call.
I came in and sat down on her couch. I asked her if she had any word from my insurance and she said no and that it was looking like I would discharge on Monday if they denied it again or didn’t respond. I felt anxious. I just knew in my head that when I went home I’d go right back into restriction mode. I was confident that I wouldn’t binge and purge, for some reason I felt like I now had this under control. But my brain was screaming at me to lose weight every second of the day. I couldn’t look in mirrors because I felt so disgusted with myself and couldn’t wait to lose weight when I got home.
We talked for a little bit about my anxieties and the writings Rebekah sent her. “You are so insightful and process things so well in writing,” she told me.
I was very in my own head during this chat. I can remember thinking, “If I process everything so well and I’m insightful, why am I still struggling with all of this? Why won’t it go away?”
We called my dad and stepmom, but after a few minutes my dad was getting another phone call so he excused himself to answer it quickly. A few minutes passed and he returned to the call. Our insurance had called him and approved the previous two weeks that they were denying and one more week of residential. Liz let out a huge sigh of relief. “I am so relieved! I was really getting worried.”
I felt something shift for me after this phone call. I get to stay, at least for another week that I know of. I get to continue going to trauma group and working with Liz and Leila. I can work through A stage and maybe even T Stage. I get to stay with this community who understands and supports me. My parents and I had a great talk and seemed to finally understand so much they didn’t before. I was so relieved too.
Liz and I talked for a while longer after our phone call. I felt so much better. I was in good spirits and Liz always made me laugh. Somehow we got on the topic of my dog’s Instagram and we started going through it, which really ended the day on a good note. She gave me some of my favorite advice I’ve ever received, “You need to start talking to yourself the way your dog would talk about you.”
I felt like everyone was on the same page. I felt like I was given an opportunity. The fact that I sought treatment and recovery was completely voluntary at first. It was optional. But when the possibility was threatened, it opened my eyes that the fact that I am able to be here is a privilege and I should work as hard as I can to get everything that I can out of it. I had two possibilities and I was happy that I could continue to work towards recovery. Because maybe I’m worth it.