Yesterday evening was the beginning of a new group therapy for eating disorders. My therapist Monique and a therapist in training, Amanda, run the group for 16 weeks. Usually, Monique will only take a maximum of ten people, but there was 18 girls who wanted to be in the group! Monique didn't want to turn anyone away so they split the group into two, Monique leading one group while Amanda leads the other.
This is my third group therapy with Monique and it was just as awkward as every other group's first session. Everyone is sizing each other up and deciding who is a threat to their own eating disorder and who they don't need to worry about for competition. I know I'm being quite frank, but it's true. The first session can be very triggering because all your eating disorder sees is the other girls eating disorders and it feels threatened. However, once you get to know the other girls for who they are as people, separate from their EDs, you end up creating a bond with them and usually they're helpful relationships, not triggering ones.
I think I came off as a "veteran." I acted very comfortable, especially because I knew some of the returning girls, Monique is also my therapist, and my best friend Andi was in the group too. I knew I was most likely making it easier for the other girls who don't know me to make me out as a threat. I just wanted to help the group flow and I wanted everyone else to loosen up and feel comfortable. I talked more, not about myself, but asking questions when girls introduced themselves and just filling in the awkward silences. If I could do it again, I would have stayed quiet. I felt too vulnerable and too easily judged.
I won't talk about the other girls here when I talk about group, because it's for their own privacy. But I will talk about what I've learned from group for myself.
I have a good feeling about this group. I'm excited to get to know these girls and relate to them on a level I'm unable to with most other people. And I'm SOOO happy Andi is part of the group!!!