I’d just like you all to know that I have returned from eating disorder treatment. I cannot say much about what the treatment center was like for the sake of confidentiality. But I can say that it was an excellent facility and the staff very kind to me. They were also well qualified and behaved very professionally. The facility was very comfortable considering it was a hospital. Even the food was good. I learned that in eating disorders units there have to be some very strict rules, otherwise there will be complete chaos, and treatment will be compromised. I tolerated the rules but complained frequently. The staff, in turn, tolerated my periodic discourteous remarks about “protocol.” Once, I gave a staff member the finger. There were no consequences worthy of note. At first, I saw the place as prison: we patients were “prisoners,” and staff were “guards.” I retained this attitude for nearly the entire hospitalization.
I was sad every day while I was there. I cried nearly every day. When I get up the energy, I will share my journal entries. I did quite a bit of writing, which the staff encouraged. We were required to write down our thoughts and feelings after each meal. I did so, with zest. I wrote freely about my feelings about the food itself, about how uncomfortable I felt in my body when I ate, how I planned not to eat certain foods next time, how angry I was about a particular rule, and random thoughts and feelings, in particular my sadness, that never seemed to go away.
This writing was the essence of my hospitalization, but it was only half, the half I dared to share with staff. The other half I kept to myself, and didn’t share with anyone, including my friends, with whom I spoke (on my cell phone) every day. There was no private place to talk, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was failing at treatment, that I wasn’t really ready to receive the healing that the hospitalization was supposed to give me. I especially didn’t want the other patients to know that I lacked the enthusiasm that they seemed to have, and that I didn’t plan to follow the meal plan after I left the hospital and plan to exercise as well, against the nutritionist’s recommendation. I didn’t want them to know what a hypocrite I am. But I believe my self-hatred was apparent in the way I appeared to them. The girls there didn’t really like me, and I don’t blame them. I am ugly. I feel ugly, wretched, horrible.
About 98% of me wants to stay anorexic and lose the weight I gained in the hospital. There is 2% that cried out for help while in there, that threw little hints to staff that maybe I should stay longer, that maybe a few days more, even a week longer, would change the channels in my brain to the point that I might even like eating. Maybe someday I’ll hit bottom and be ready for treatment. I know I can always go back there, and I wouldn’t hesitate, if only I were ready to take that next step.
click here to hear my voice.