I'm starting this relapse prevention series by going back to the (very) basics. One of the major points of relapse prevention is to anticipate some of the difficulties you might have and create a plan for how to deal with them so that they don't trip you up too much. I think there's another aspect of relapse prevention planning that doesn't seem to get as much attention: assessing your strengths. What can you call upon when the going gets tough and the recovery gets tougher?
Together these strengths and weaknesses will provide a framwork for your relapse prevention plan.
Here is the list I wrote for myself Strengths
good support system
good treatment team
motivation to get/stay better
can draw upon a wide range of skills
putting insight into action
dealing with change
After I made these lists, I then took each one of these difficulties and made a specific list of how to deal with these issues without using the eating disorder. I'll share the list I made for dealing with body dysmorphia, so I have something concrete to turn to when I have a "fat attack."
Plan for body dysmorphia
focus on what my body can do rather than what it looks like
participate in sports or dance vs. all solitary exercising
repeat mantras: My body is healthy and healing at this weight.
continue CBT work on addressing body dysmorphia
"objects in mirror are smaller than they appear"
talk/share my feelings on body dysmorphia and what else is going on
accept the fact that I still have body dysmorphia and move on
remind myself: Losing weight won't solve anything. The ED is a short-term solution to a long-term problem
This list isn't going to be the be-all and end-all for dealing with body dysmorphia and relapse--the issue is a pretty major one for me and this list doesn't even come near to covering it all--but it's a start.
Tomorrow, I'll look at another aspect of relapse prevention: Identifying Triggers