(DAY #23 of total inpatient admission)
Weetabix x 2.
Wholemeal toast x 2, butter.
Tuna mayo, jacket potato, margarine, 5-bean salad, side salad.
Rhubarb crumble and custard.
Lamb and mint stew, herb dumpling, mashed potato, swede and carrot mash.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
Weetabix x 2.
We were just about to have supper not long ago, and I was casually typing away this blog post, in my ‘Lady and the Tramp’ PJ shorts and jacket, awaiting the snack trolley which is brought through at 9pm. This is probably my fave bit of the day in terms of eating. It all feels very relaxed and normal, sat on the sofas watching telly, everyone ready for bed.
It then completely threw me that the nurse came over and discreetly told me to put on some longer trousers. I don’t know why, but it felt like a personal attack and I was paranoid if one of the patients had said something. I could understand if it was when I was at my lowest weight a couple of weeks back, but now I am eating all this food, my Eating Disorder is convincing myself I’m already looking ‘normal’. That now that I’m tasting crumble and custard in my mouth, people must be able to tell on the outside. Associating pleasurable foods with having a direct impact on the way I look…
It never entered my mind that I could be causing a problem. I was just dressed for a warm night. Patients in Eating Disorder Units get advised to cover up to avoid triggering others, I guess when people’s body parts look abnormal/unwell. As much as my head panics that this is all going too quickly, I am starting to think that it’s convincing me my body is changing quicker than it actually is. That’s the only way I can make sense of the comment earlier.
It all makes it feel very confusing. I now don’t know if what I see in the mirror is right.
Today was the first group I’ve been allowed to attend since my BMI increased enough to come off ‘bed-rest’ (wheelchair). The ‘Thoughts and Feelings’ group… I’d never quite understood why you weren’t allowed to attend groups just because you had to use the wheelchair on the ward. If you’re just ‘sat’ on a chair? But apparently it’s for motivation purposes. To encourage you to see the positives of gaining weight. Earning privileges. Which to be fair, does work!
So I was quite looking forward to it…
…this group is where all the 17 current patients sit in a circle, and all take it in turns to discuss their chosen challenging ‘situation/event’ that’s happened over the week. What thoughts arose, emotions, the physiological changes of the body and the behaviours in reaction to these. At my last inpatient Unit I always dreaded contributing to groups, avoiding where possible. I guess I didn’t want to access my feelings and I was embarrassed about having to speak out and hear my own voice. Did my emotions even matter? Would these wishy-washy exercises even take my Eating Disorder away? Like I’ve said before, I was there but I had little hope, faith or mental effort for things to change.
Today’s group made me pretty excited – an excuse to be social to be honest, and also to break a bit of ice with the other patients. I’d spent the majority of my time here so far alone. Both being pre-occupied with Anorexia’s sneaky habits for the first couple of weeks or so, and now, still isolated (well, despite the staff member on eyesight observations) quite wrapped up in my own thoughts and constantly compelled to stay ‘productive’. The need to feel productive I’m realising I might have to start challenging… I’m learning it could be my way of trying to ‘deserve’ the food that I’m eating.
Anyway, in the group I used my weight-gain shock scenario on Monday morning as a talking point. My thoughts and feelings around that, and how I managed to turn a rocky, negative morning into a balanced, more positive perspective on recovery. I was quite proud of myself for pulling out the confidence from somewhere to say it out loud in front of people. It’s also a bit of a motivation boost hearing from other patients, as we’re all at different stages of our treatment programs. Some people talked about their anxieties with ‘self-catering’, cooking your own meals – something which comes further down the line. Some discussed their first hours out ‘on leave’… others their weekends at home. It all kind of made it exciting thinking of the privileges yet to be earned, with weight gain and recovery progress.
It seemed bizarre when the dietician yesterday said I’m still at the very early stages. It all feels so strange. These 23 days have felt like MONTHS… so many changes have already happened, it’s so terrifying yet empowering to know this is only just the beginning.
Well, that leaves it on a positive note whilst remembering it’s weigh-day tomorrow.