Life in a treatment center for eating disorders is structured, to say the least. Below are a few things that make it a unique experience:
- I always have to ask to use the bathroom. All bathrooms are locked. Depending on whether someone has a history of bulimia, you may have to be monitored while in the bathroom. Once this is explained, it makes sense but it’s one more thing over which I have no control.
- I eat six times a day. Everything is prepared specifically for me and comes with plastic film over it with my name written on it.
- I have to eat everything on my plate. There are no seconds. If I refuse to eat, I have to drink Boost.
- We sit at a table together to eat. After everyone is finished, we have to say if we liked the food, how full we feel and how we feel emotionally.
- I only drink water at meals, we can only have unsweet tea or Crystal Light at snacks.
- We have group therapy five times a day.
- We can have electronics before 9:30am and after 7:30pm. I never realized how attached to my phone I was until now.
- Can’t have anything with a sharp edge including a razor to shave or fingernail clippers…like living at a TSA checkpoint
- Can’t tear or mash or shred food. I think anorexics do this to avoid eating.
The structure is the way I can reintegrate the various pieces of myself that I’ve lost in the disease. It’s why I’m here. I don’t resent any of these things but they remind me that this is where I am. This is what I need to get better. There is a great deal of relief in not having to think about food. There’s freedom in just following the routine.
There is little privacy. I often just want to get away from people and lay down.
Glad I’m here.
I hate it here.