My Clementine Journey: Melissa Peterson

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Clementine Portland Family Therapist Melissa Peterson, believes all individuals are highly influenced by the relationships and contexts in which they are embedded; therefore, she acknowledges the importance of connection and relationships in recovery. Get to know more about Melissa and the incredible work she is doing at Clementine Portland in this week’s My Clementine Journey…

What first attracted you to want to work at Clementine, and what of those things still inspire you today?

As someone personally recovered from an eating disorder, I’ve always valued Clementine/Monte Nido’s philosophy being that full recovery is possible. It wasn’t until my initial interview with the company years ago that I felt able to freely talk about my struggles with an eating disorder, as I was always told that full recovery was not possible. Ever since this experience, being with this company has never felt like “work” but has more so been my home.

Tell me about your role or roles you have had at Clementine over the years.

I’ve held many roles during my time working for Monte Nido & Affiliates, starting as a Recovery Coach at RainRock in 2012. While at RainRock, and completing my Graduate degree in Couples and Family Therapy, I began my role as Therapist Intern. After graduating from University of Oregon, I moved back home to Portland and obtained a job at the Eating Disorder Center of Portland. My initial role at EDCP was a Primary Therapist, however I was promoted to Lead Therapist during my time there. As soon as I found out we were opening Clementine in West Linn, I made the decision to transfer here as Family Therapist.

What does the best day look like working at Clementine?

My favorite thing is when all the staff and clients spend time together, even if these moments are short lived. For example, when clients make up songs about treatment or when they perform their choreographed dance from dance group, all staff is there to listen and watch. It’s in these moments that we truly feel like family.

How has working at Clementine shaped you as a person?

Reflecting on the past 6 or so years, I credit much of my personal growth to working with this company. I have made life-long meaningful relationships with coworkers that I now consider my chosen family, and have gained increased clinical confidence in working with eating disorders and family systems that I didn’t imagine possible.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

 

6 Ways to Combat Comparison in Recovery Angie Viets

8 Tips for High School Graduates Psychology Today

Struggling with Depression? Here’s How Journaling Can Help Mind Body Green

The Many Benefits of Meditation in the Classroom The Epoch Times

11 Mindfulness Activities You Can Do Today Psych Central

How to Stay Zen When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder More Love

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


4 Tips to Help Calm Down My Child Now

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Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) who coaches with families to let go of fear and panic, reduce distress, learn self-care skills to tolerate a loved one’s distress and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this post, Becky discusses ways to manage Emotions that show up when your loved one is at a residential treatment center (RTC) and when they come home.

When a child or other loved one is away at treatment you’ll have many emotions. It is easy to have judgment about our emotions. AND, that is not necessary or helpful to us or our loved one. So when we can prepare for emotions, name them and accept them, then we can have a plan to cope with them.

My article: What Parents and Health Care Professionals can Expect from Residential Eating Disorders Treatment, highlighted 15 points for parents to consider and prepare for while a child is in a RTC. I promised I’d go into more depth on each point. Please note that these pertain to anyone who cares about someone in recovery, I use ‘parents’ simply because they make up the majority of my coaching practice.

Here are just a few of the emotions parents/caregivers have expressed to me over the years:

  • Panicked
  • Fearful/Scared/Afraid
  •  Sad
  •  Angry/Pissed
  • Anxious
  • Hopeless
  • Out of Control
  • Worn Down

Some of these may sound very familiar to you and some, like ‘angry’ may surprise you. It can often surprise us when we feel angry towards our very ill child/loved one. AND, when our loved one is acting out and using us as a punching bag and they aren’t taking responsibility for their actions, anger can be a natural feeling. We don’t help ourselves or our loved one in recovery when we judge our emotions. So how do we stop doing that?

Here are my 4 Tips for being calmer when your child has an eating disorder:

  1. Notice & name your emotions
  2. Accept your emotions
  3. Use a calming tool
  4. Make a plan for going forward

First, knowing we’re going to have emotions that may surprise us can prepare us so we’re not blindsided by the emotion. Then naming the emotion can help us gain clarity on what we are feeling so we can accept the feeling and make a plan. After we feel the feeling, name it and allow ourselves the compassion to have the feeling, then we don’t need to be stuck in it. We can then consciously choose to keep feeling it or to then release it when we are ready.

Part of the plan may be simply knowing that emotions are going to show up that we hadn’t expected. And being gentle and kind to ourselves.

Then we can have some coping tools to reduce our distress in our back pocket. One of the keys is to choose one or two that we really find easy and can do anywhere and anytime. Some parents even leave a post it note visible to remind them to use the tools they find most useful.

For instance, some parents really find DBT skills helpful. DBT is a mindfulness and distress tolerance therapy designed by Marsha Linehan. It stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I love the DBT skill; ‘Opposite action to reaction.’ When a crisis comes up I can choose this skill to be extra calm so I can make rational decisions.

Some people like the 4-7-8 breathing tool that I teach my coaching clients. It is simply breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 7 and out for a count of 8. And repeating 2-3 times.

Now, it may seem odd to you that I’m not focusing on your loved one’s illness or treatment journey.

This is about you AND when you take care of YOU, it helps your loved one in recovery.

It can feel counter-intuitive. It is essential. What I see is that coaching clients who work with me for 6 months or more are able to implement tools for self-care and then we both see their loved one improve in their recovery. It surprised me too!

When caregivers are not burned out, we can be calmer. More compassionate. More caring. And more confident. When a person in recovery has caregivers who are calmer, more compassionate, more caring and confident; they do better. What would be different for you to not be exhausted, overwhelmed and unsure?

So when people ask me, “Becky, how can I support my loved one in recovery?” I tell them, “Get your oxygen mask on 1st. Make sure it’s firmly in place before assisting your loved one.” Where have you heard this before? This is NO DIFFERENT.

I know, it can feel selfish…and please go back and re-read this paragraph again: “ When caregivers are not burned out, we can be calmer. More compassionate. More caring. And more confident. When a person in recovery has caregivers who are calmer, more compassionate, more caring and confident; they do better.”

So what do you think? Are you ready to prepare for your emotions? To name them? Accept? Plan? What self care tools will you use?

Please share your comments.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Summer Programs at Clementine

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With the summer quickly approaching, parents and families may find themselves looking for programs that will help treat and prepare their children before they had back to school in the fall. At Clementine, we offer programs that incorporate highly personalized medical, psychiatric and nutritional care with an extensive academic program in an effort to help them make that transition as comfortable as possible.

Summer programming for adolescents take place at our locations in Briarcliff Manor, NY; South Miami, FL, Portland, OR and Malibu Lake, CA. At all of these locations, school times are still honored the same as they are during the school year but the times are cut in half and end late August. The culture at these locations still focuses on personalized, supportive programming and collaboration between faculty, families and patients. However, during the summer we help to attain a new goal of sustainable, preparedness through an additional education plan.

Teachers lead classrooms Monday through Thursday and on Friday recovery coaches take over. Teachers select various topics on current events to incorporate into programming in an effort to prepare adolescents for their transition back into a typical school atmosphere. Each day is dedicated to a different programming aspect. Tuesdays are dedicated to how to write a college essay, how to create an effective budget, how to write a proper letter and how to apply for a job. Wednesdays incorporate a rotation of Ted-Talks and academic games intended to increase socialization skills and conflict resolution. Thursdays are dedicated to movies and discussion and Fridays are career days where local professionals come in to expose adolescents to the professional opportunities in the real world.

It is essential students maintain a balance between their academics and treatment so we make sure to incorporate a sufficient amount of each in their day. If for some reason a student is falling behind there are ways to accommodate based on their specific needs. If a student has a lot of school work, some of the activities listed above can be suspended for a private tutor to come in.

Our summer program at Clementine offers a specific treatment plan for your child on their path to healing with an additional academic component in our curriculum. It is our hope that through this program your child will leave treatment feeling better than before and with a foundation for their future school year.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Healing the Family

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Amanda Mellowspring, RD/N, CEDRD is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in program development and clinical application working with eating disorders at various levels of care. She shares how the food exposures and challenges at Clementine help clients in their recovery process.

Most often by the time an individual admits to one of Clementine’s residential treatment programs, the client, the family, and their peer group are afraid, frustrated, and exhausted. Oftentimes, many emotional injuries have occurred along the way. Many of these have occurred surrounding food.

With eating disorders, food is the vehicle through which feelings are expressed that otherwise may not be spoken or heard. For this reason, food symbolically consumes the family and the peer group for these individuals. Family meals become tense if not obsolete because of the frustrations and anxieties associated with food selection, preparation, quantity, and behaviors at the table. Dining with friends is no longer a fun way to catch up, laugh, and share stories. It becomes a terrifying task of eating enough of the “right” things to seem “normal enough” and not ruin everyone else’s fun as her mind races with thoughts of hidden calories, special orders, and comparisons.

In healing these injuries, it is vital that each client at Clementine, not only achieves a state of health and wellness with appropriate food intake and nutrient balance but that she also begins to experience freedom in her experiences with food.  Food exposures and challenges with staff, with family, and individually are all important ways of doing this. This aspect of recovery takes practice in self-confidence with nutritional needs and honesty in honoring all of the aspects of food that make it enjoyable in our lives. Being able to cook a meal with mom and dad, go on a picnic, order in for a movie night, or go out for ice cream on a pass are all examples of ways that Clementine clients have practiced this healing.

During these exposures clients are not only practicing eating foods they like and desire in appropriate quantities to support their body’s needs, they are also challenging messages regarding comparisons with others, seeing calorie information posted in restaurants, managing herself while others around her may feed themselves differently, and working to be present in the moment socially and emotionally to enjoy the opportunity to be with friends or family.

The Clementine dietitian works closely with the entire treatment team and family to ensure that the dynamics surrounding these injuries at the table are acknowledged and approached with compassion for both the client and her family members.

Obtaining a state of health and awareness of how to nourish one’s body appropriately is vital in recovery, while healing the injuries that have occurred around the table offers peace and serenity for these individuals allowing them to move forward in their life and recovery without the wounds of the eating disorder.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.587.0780visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Recovery ABC’s

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Clementine Miami South Miami Clinical Director Bertha Tavarez, PsyD shares about the “Reocvery ABC’s” in this week’s blog post. Dr. Tavarez explains how she and her team use the framework to help guide adolescents on their recovery journey.

As a clinical director of Clementine, my team and I guide adolescents in sculpting a recovered identity that will sustain them through the later stages of treatment and beyond. As you can imagine, helping carve out this identity presents with additional challenges because adolescents in general are just beginning to individuate from their families and develop a standalone “I am.” What follows this “I am” statement can set an individual on a path toward wellness or self-destruction.

The Recovery ABC’s is the undercurrent of living a recovered life. At Clementine, adolescents learn to self-define these terms, notice when they are in alignment or in conflict with them, and learn to communicate these terms to their loved ones. They are the foundation that will stabilize nutritional and clinical treatment gains.

A-Accountability

When an adolescent faces a challenge with accountability, they usually find out through feedback that is difficult to internalize. Over time, it becomes such an intolerable value, that many clients cannot access it through feelings of shame, guilt, and victimization. What we teach clients is that accountability is not a bad word. Accountability does not mean blame. Accountability in its purest forms means taking part ownership over a situation so that it can serve as a stepping stone to self-efficacy in resolution.

B- Boundaries

Teaching an adolescent about the importance of boundaries goes in alignment with their drive toward individuation. Adolescents enter into a phase of noticing emotional proximity in relation to others and are guided in vocalizing their experiences with physical and emotional closeness within the family system and social settings. For example, normalizing the need for “space” and verbalizing, “no” in an effective manner are self-protective actions that can help clients hold relationships with integrity and safety.

C- Consistency

When adolescents experiment with new value-systems, there is a period of time in which they will verbalize recovery-oriented statements, but not be able to carry them through to action. It is important that actions are held to the standard of values-congruency. Consistency is seen as an element of building trust with the self and others. When an adolescent is struggling with consistency, it is our job as providers to bring this to their awareness, challenge conflicting behaviors, and reinforce their mastery over consistency in all the areas of their recovery. Adolescents are also taught to differentiate consistency from perfection so that their motivation is not hindered by unattainable recovery goals.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

 

The ABCs of Building Coping Skills in Students Psychology Today

The Problem with “Cleaning Eating” in Eating Disorder Recovery Jennifer Rollins

The Promise of Self-Compassion For Stressed-Out Teens New York Times

10 Mental Health Tips to Share with Your High School Senior Psychology Today

What to do when your Child Relapses (again) During Eating Disorder Recovery More-Love

Yoga in Schools May Help Kids with Anxiety Forbes

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part Three: If It Were Cancer…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch concludes her series in this week’s blog post. Cherie shares the pain felt by a family when a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. 

Read Part One of Cherie’s Series HERE and Part Two HERE.

If it were cancer… Would you accommodate it or do everything possible to eradicate it?

If it were cancer… Would you be passive or would you be aggressive?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to drive a car when they were so sick from undergoing chemo treatments?

If it were cancer… Would you validate their distress, yet still require them to undergo prescribed treatment? Or would you let the treatment stop?

If it were cancer… Would you be angry at your loved one? Would you lose your temper?

If it were cancer… Would anyone in the family be upset or angry? Would there be any hesitation to support the family or the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you remember that you have to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your loved one?

If it were cancer… Would you ever blame yourself? Would you ever think that you caused the cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you be proactive and diligent about following up with your team and providers? Or would it not even be on your priority list?

If it were cancer… Would you and your spouse or ex be working together to eradicate the cancer in your loved one? Or would you be feuding on how to navigate?

If it were cancer… Would you go against the treatment team’s recommendations? Or would you think it’s not that serious, we will wait to seek a higher level of care?

If it were cancer… Would you accept the first medical practitioner recommended? Or would you ask questions and seek out the best?

If it were cancer… Would you ask me or my loved one how did you get cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you validate the struggle? Or would you judge and interrogate?

If it were cancer… Would you be empathetic? Or would you say “just eat” or “quit purging”?

If it were cancer… And a clinician did not appear educated, would you stay? Or would you seek new expert care?

If it were cancer… Would you have done anything different? Would you have taken a different path?

If it were cancer… Would you accept any treatment to stay alive? Or would it be a battle just to get you in treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family is so scared?

If it were cancer… Would you tell your family?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants to support you? Why they want to be involved?

If it were cancer… Would you tell them it’s none of their business? Would you tell them to walk away? Would you tell them that you can do this on your own?

If it were cancer… Would you refuse treatment? Would you battle your family? Or would you listen?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants you to be diligent in your recovery? Wants you to have the support of a team?

If it were cancer… Would you think your family is trying to control you?  Would you think that your family is trying to smother you? Or would you think my family really loves me?

If it were cancer… Would you allow your family to hold your hand as you navigate treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to comfort you when you’re struggling?

If it were cancer…Would you allow family and friends to love you? To hug you? Or would you isolate?

If it were cancer… Would you trust them and want them to help carry your pain?

If it were cancer… Would you run to them or from them?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to their concerns and their fears?

If it were cancer… Would you understand that this is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to your family? Would you understand that their fears are justified?

If it were cancer… And your student needed to miss school would you hesitate to allow them? Or would you do everything to support them until the school can wait?

If it were cancer… Would you allow virtual school at home until they were recovered and fully in remission?

If it were cancer… Would you penalize them for missing school?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything to support the patient help them reintegrate into school? Or would you saddle them with unrealistic expectations and burdens?

If it were cancer… Would you send cards and bring meals? Would you offer to help?

If it were cancer… Would you offer to watch the kids so the carers could get a night away?

If it were cancer… Would you unite the neighbors, school families, and church members to support the family and the patient? Or would you look the other way? Would you do nothing?

If it were cancer… Would you continue to speak to those affected about your diets, workouts, latest health craze?

If it were cancer… Would you quit asking the patient to babysit because you were afraid your children might catch “it”?

If it were cancer… Would you reach out to the family if you had not heard from them for a week, a month, a year? Would you express concern and offer support?

If it were cancer…Would we be demanding more research? More funding? More grants and scholarships? Would we accept “no”?

If it were cancer…Would nations, organizations, and populations join hands to eradicate?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to give your employee time off? Or would you offer them to take all the time their family needs?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate or refuse to cover treatment? Would you tell the patient or the family that treatment is not “medically necessary” and deny insurance coverage?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the patient and the family that they need to fail at a lower level of care first before insurance will cover prescribed treatment?

If it were cancer…Would you ignore the prescribed treatment of the treatment team and allow the insurance company to determine what is best practice or best care for the patient? Would you follow the mandates by the insurance company medical director who has never met the patient? Would the public and media allow any such treatment of a cancer patient?

If it were cancer…Would a patient be discharged from care without completing treatment?

If it were cancer…Would continued coverage be reviewed every two weeks, week, or three days? Would chemo treatments stop if insurance denied?

If it were cancer…Would the patient or family be battling insurance while trying to save their loved ones life?

If it were cancer…Would treatment be denied by the insurance company?

If it were cancer…Would the entire team – family, friends, providers, and insurance demand early intervention and treatment? Would every one collaborate and communicate to ensure the action was swift and aggressive? And as prescribed?

If it were cancer… Would you let any newly diagnosed patient leave your office without appointments, materials, and support?

If it were cancer… Would you help the patient and the family find appropriate support and treatment? Would you do everything possible?

If it were cancer…and you weren’t familiar with that particular type of cancer, would you align yourself with a doctor who was? Would you tell the family I am going to help you find the best care possible?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the family that their loved one needs to do this alone?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the family that their support is not helping? Or would you teach them how to support the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the patient they were “not that sick”?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything possible to support the patient and the family?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to collaborate with other treatment providers? Or would you feel it’s a necessity?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to the family’s concerns when they approached you?

If it were cancer… Would you schedule appointments in two days, two weeks, or two months?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to include the parents? Would you care if they were over 18? Would you let them decompensate because there was no release? Would let them refuse to take the chemo? Undergo treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you think it is serious?

The bottom line is eating disorders are just as deadly as cancer. In fact, without treatment, up to 20% will die. They have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and they are the third most chronic illness in adolescents. Every 62 minutes someone dies as a direct result of an eating disorder… 23 lives lost every single day!

So as you’re navigating this journey yourself, with a loved one, with a patient, or with a friend, and you’re pondering what to do or what to say, how to support someone who is struggling, determining your next step, questioning what the right path is, please try to reframe it.

If it were cancer…

P.S. This post is not meant in any way to diminish the seriousness of cancer nor negate any families horrific journey with cancer.  It is intended to highlight the seriousness of eating disorders. Imagine if everyone treated eating disorders like cancer…

 

This article originally published on Cherie Monarch’s Blog.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part Two: If It Were Cancer…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares part two of her series in this week’s blog post. In her series, Cherie shares the pain felt by a family when a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. 

Read Part One of Cherie’s Series HERE

You, or your loved one, are a shell of their former self, and barely recognizable. As a parent, you’re doing everything you can to provide care, support, and try to understand what the hell is going on. You just know that a terrorist is holding your loved one captive. In fact, he’s holding your entire family captive.

When our loved one has an eating disorder,  it’s like the whole family has an eating disorder.

What is the answer? How can we help ourselves or our loved one navigate this journey with an eating disorder? How can we help others understand this journey?

When I was walking this journey with my loved one, it really helped me to reframe every step of the process in terms of cancer. If it were cancer…

The thing that is important to quickly understand is that food and stopping behaviors  is their chemo. Without chemo they will die. Without food, they will die.

Every decision, every action, every statement needs to be addressed in terms of cancer.

If it were cancer…

If it were cancer… Would it immediately evoke empathy, compassion, support, and action?

If it were cancer… Would you think you or your loved one chose it? Would you think they could just stop?

If it were cancer… Would you allow your loved one to refuse the medicine or the treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you think that it was a phase? Would you think that it would just go away?

If it were cancer… Would you think they had a choice? Would you tell them just to eat?

If it were cancer… Would you negotiate whether or not they need chemo? Life-sustaining medicine. Food.

If it were cancer… Would you run cancer around life? Or life around cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to quickly assemble a multidisciplinary team? Would you hesitate to find the best practitioners in the country? In the world?

If it were cancer… Would you be concerned about geography? Would you care if the treatment were in your state… or would you travel across the country without question?

If it were cancer… Would you even think about school? Would you be concerned about graduations, or college applications, and whether they graduate with their twin?

If it were cancer… Would you search out the best possible program? Or just go with one that’s closest?

If it were cancer… Would you allow a provider to wait a month, two or three until the next appointment? What you wait until next week to call for an appointment?

If it were cancer… Would you schedule treatment around holidays, vacations, school, or summer camps?

If it were cancer… Would you postpone treatment a few weeks? Would you think it won’t make a difference. Or would you start today?

If it were cancer… Would you continue competitive sports, dance, and exercise? Or would you rationalize that their body needs rest, needs to heal, and restore strength and energy to fight this demon?

If it were cancer… Would you accept partially healed? Or would you push for full recovery/remission?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to share with family, friends, or your entire community?

If it were cancer… Would it matter if they were 12, 18, or 30? Would the fact they were over 18 keep you from insisting they complete treatment or take their medication? Would the fact they were 18 even enter your mind? Would you even consider their adult status when mandating them to complete chemo and radiation?

If it were cancer… Would you let them leave the treatment program before the chemo was complete? If 10 chemo treatments were prescribed, would you let them stop after five?

If it were cancer… Would you postpone or delay treatment because they’re looking a little better? Would you think maybe this is a phase? Maybe they don’t need treatment? Would you even care about the way the looked?

If it were cancer… Would you let them forgo the chemo because it caused them distress and made them sick?

If it were cancer… Would they leave treatment and go right back to school and life? Or would they automatically be allowed time for recovery?

If it were cancer… Would you negotiate treatment at all? Or would you lovingly and definitively state treatment will save your life… It’s not an option.

If it were cancer… Would you let them go to college? Would you let them finish the semester and rationalize it’s only three more weeks? Chemo can wait.

If it were cancer… Would you postpone an intervention?

If it were cancer… and your loved one called right after they started treatment and said I hate it and I want to come home, would you let them? Would you pick them up and allow them to leave AMA?

If it were cancer… Would you care what friends, family, or neighbors said or would you just be focused on getting your loved one well?

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part One: If It Were Cancer…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares an important series highlighting the seriousness of struggling with an eating disorder. In part one, Cherie begins with a conversation she had with a dear friend who recently found out a loved one was diagnosed with cancer…

To all patients, parents, families, friends, providers, clinicians, teachers, coaches, school personnel, and frankly, everyone, everywhere who has or knows someone with an eating disorder…

Cancer.

It is one word.

One single word.

A powerful word.

When spoken, it’s a word that immediately elicits compassion, empathy, support, understanding, and action. It is one word that immediately garners the support of family, friends, a team of physicians, and will compel people to start walks, fundraisers, galas, go fund me’s, meal support, etc. Cancer will mandate that there be an army of warriors surrounding the family and patient as they walk this journey. And it should.

Cancer. A longtime friend recently posted this on his home page. His daughter is battling cancer. Of course, it immediately elicited my empathy and understanding. Offers of how can I help?

My friend is aware that our family had a loved one that struggled with an eating disorder. He understood that as a parent that this was the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to me. That I would have gladly taken the place of my daughter. That I would have given anything to bear her pain and suffering.  He understood that my journey of a child with a life-threatening illness was worse than my own two open-heart surgeries.

I messaged him and offered support. I shared how very sorry I was for what his daughter and his family were enduring. That I can’t imagine how difficult CANCER has been for them.

I was blown away.  What I was not prepared for was his reply…

“Actually you don’t have to imagine watching your child go through something like this. You lived it. Different disease but just just as deadly, and probably more difficult to treat. The leukemia my daughter has has a very well developed treatment protocol, that is used throughout the entire country, and there is constant collaboration between all of the treatment centers. I know that is not the same with eating disorders. Hell, you still have to fight to get it recognized as a disease, and not just some “silly little girl who won’t eat.” To me your battle seems harder.”

My conversation with my friend caused me to do a lot of reflection. Having a loved one battling an eating disorder is much like battling cancer. It is one of the most challenging and most difficult journeys of our life. Some of us may be battling to get a diagnosis; others of us may have been given a diagnosis but are trying to understand what’s happening.

The difference with eating disorders is …No one is provided with a handbook on how to heal your loved one from an eating disorder. Follow this protocol. Instead we’re left with minimal guidance, minimal support, lots of questions, no direction, a lot of confusion, and no respite care. There are conflicting messages everywhere.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.