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I Should Have Taken Therapy More Seriously

When I was fourteen years old, I was admitted to an inpatient treatment facility to get much needed help for my anorexia. At the time of admittance; I was barely one hundred pounds, I was emotionally traumatized from dealing with my mother’s years of physical and emotional abuse, I was being bullied at school, and I was dealing with suicidal thoughts on a daily basis.

I was a mess and it was apparent that I desperately needed help in dealing with the trauma I had already experienced in my life and the trauma I was continuing to experience on a daily basis with Mom.

I remember being very angry my first day at the inpatient clinic. I remember Mom dropping my bags on the floor near the reception desk with a cocky smile on her face.  It was as though she couldn’t wait to rid of me and I knew deep down when she left, she was hoping that they would keep in in there forever.  The fact that she was getting pleasure out of seeing me at my lowest point and feeling happiness at the sight of her daughter being left at a clinic enraged me.  Enraged me to the point that my goal from the moment I checked in was figuring a way out of there as soon as possible.  I would say what I had to say and do what I had to do in order to convince everyone around me that I was fine and could go home.

That would show Mom, wouldn’t it? That would show her that I was stronger than she imagined and that she couldn’t get rid of me that easily; right?

Wrong. Because instead of taking the therapy seriously, using my time with my doctors to help myself, and listening and learning from those around me suffering from the same disease, I spent my time plotting and saying whatever I had to in order to be released from that place. I lied about why I was anorexic, forced food down my throat with a smile, acted happy to be putting weight back on, and made up story after story to my psychiatrist about my “happy” childhood.  Instead of helping and focusing on myself; I focused on proving Mom wrong and getting checked out of that place.

Did I fool anyone? I highly doubt it.  I highly doubt one doctor or psychiatrist bought my stories about a happy childhood and that one nurse believed I was that happy when I gained weight.  No one questioned anything I said, they just let me talk and talk; maybe hoping one day I would finally crack and tell the truth about why I was admitted in there in the first place.

But I never cracked, I never uttered a word about my abuse, and I “pretended” my way throughout my entire stay. And I regret it to this day.

Regret because I wasted my time and everyone else’s time around me. Regret because instead of helping myself and learning healthy ways to cope with my eating disorder, I was forced to cope on my own and deal with my demons the same way I always had; by myself.  Regret because I still find myself restricting myself as an adult when things get hard.  And regret because I failed my mother.

Had I opened up and told the truth about my childhood; told the truth about the horrible things Mom did to me, there was a chance she could have gotten help too. There could have been a chance for her to sit down and finally tell the truth about why she did such awful things to me.  Maybe the therapy would have helped her as much as it would have helped me; maybe she would have finally gotten some help after years of denying she ever had a problem.

I can’t go back and change things now; it is what it is and I made the decisions I made. But I implore to anyone reading this; if you get the chance to get help for your problems, take it.  Take the help and take it seriously.  Don’t try to be smarter than everyone else and attempt to wiggle your way out of much needed therapy because in the long run, you may have the same regrets that I do.

I Should Have Taken Therapy More Seriously

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2017). I Should Have Taken Therapy More Seriously. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Oct 2017
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