My story part four – IP treatment.
(If you missed last part click here)
On January 5th 2010 I was admitted to a hospital. When I first got in I had no idea that this was to be my home for 3 months. I was expecting to stay for a week , at the most; just so the doctors to do some tests and make sure nothing was wrong with me. I soon found out that I would be going through a re-feeding process and had to gain a certain weight before I would be released. There were a lot of tears the first few days – both from the pain that I was experiencing from eating again, and the emotional toll the whole situation had on me. I was separated from friends and family, with no contact to the outside world. We didn’t have Internet access, and our mobile phones were confiscated. We were allowed one hour of phone time 2 a week and had three visiting days. I found myself alone, in unfamiliar surroundings being pushed, prodded and ordered to do things at every turn. The first weeks were spent in a daze. My brain simply could not process all that was going on around me, there were days I didn’t even have it in me to cry. I was forced to eat foods I hadn’t eaten in years and portion sizes far larger then I had ever eaten. This was not an ED clinic and so we were expected to eat exactly what everyone else did – just much more of it. The food was the cheapest thing available and often prepared in a very unappetizing manner. Still we had no choice – eat or be force fed through a tube.
But I wouldn’t call the whole experience a negative one. Being separated from my old world helped me realize just how much I took for granted. I made new friends – people I am in touch with to this day. I overcame many old fears, simply because I had no other choice. I learned that my body would not gain over a certain amount in a certain period of time, because it just wasn’t physically possible for me. I learned that sometimes pain and discomfort were a necessary part of recovery. And I learned that exercise and movement could be simply for enjoyment, not for burned calories.
I won’t disguise that it was a difficult time for me. In my opinion the mentality and treatment of eating disorders in that hospital was very backward. It was commonly accepted that the same patients came back 2-3 times after their initial release. The focus was on weight gain, and little attention was given to the mental issues behind the illness. The quality and quantity of food made it an enemy – something that needed to be dealt with every day, but never enjoyed. There’s a lot of things that made the experience less then positive, but in the end I believe it is what I needed at that point in my life. My friends and family were unable to deal with my mental issues and knew very little about eating disorders. Given the chance I would have fooled and tricked them at every opportunity and never really believed recovery was an option. But it was an option and the most important things I learned through my hospitalization. I also learned life was so much more enjoyable when you have the energy, vitality and even mental stability properly fueling your body will give you. Although I would never choose to go through this experience, I was able to take something away from it.
I learned that no matter how difficult the situation that your in is, a positive attitude will help you get through anything. Just take it one day at a time and try to enjoy what you can. That was the only things keeping me sane in the months I spent within the hospital walls. Difficulties only make you stronger and no matter how bad a situation might seem – remember all things do come to an end.
If you’ve suffered from an Ed were you ever hospitalized? What were your experiences with this?