First Week

Today is Friday – the weekend is coming. This will be my official first week of treatment. Honestly, I thought that this would never come. It seems like it has been so much longer than just a few days!

It has definitely been a tough week. Monday was hectic – blood tests, ECGs, interviews with the nurses and doctors, learning the schedule, etc. And let’s not get started with the meals. The food here is so much more than I am used to…actually, A LOT more. And you are expected to finish all of it – or else you get supplemented with a meal replacement drink. The bathrooms are locked at all times, and they are only opened half an hour before meals (unless there is an emergency. Then the staff stands outside of the bathroom while you go). There is no activity allowed. In fact, I was told to sit down on my bed when I was praying my prayers for the morning!

We have many good groups that I find are helpful. Everyday, we all sit down together and share what we did the last night, including our current emotion. Other groups include diabolical behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, self-discovery, mindfulness, nutrition, goal group, weekend planning, and education group. At first, I was a bit shy to open up and speak about my illness in front of the other girls, but I soon learned that it actually helps a lot to talk. I found myself getting very emotional and crying in groups, especially when they hit a sensitive spot in my heart. This is something new to me – crying in public. I am usually a very strong-looking girl; I can tolerate my emotions long enough until I am alone or with my family (then the crying begins). Here, however, I found that I eventually exploded. I could no longer keep the pain trapped up inside of me. It had to come out – and it did.

Overall, I feel nothing short of exhausted. It is such difficult work – eating each and every meal despite being extremely full. Knowing that I have to gain weight – a lot of weight – and hating it. Realizing that I no longer have the life I want – no school, no Church, and missing my friends. Seeing my family only for two hours at night. Not being able to use the bathroom when you need to. All of this puts so much stress and pressure on me…many times here, I have felt like simply going home. And I admit, I still feel that way. Today was tough because my meals were unusually large. And next week, even if I gain weight, they are still increasing my meal plan. So, you can imagine how difficult this is for me. Many nights, I don’t know whether or not I can make it through to the next day. My mind rushes to thinking of how much weight I will gain on Monday, how much more food they will give me, if all my clothes will still fit…and it goes on and on.

I guess the main thing to look at is that I made it through this week. I suppose that is my ultimate goal right now – to take it one week, one day…heck, even one meal at a time. It sounds tedious – and it is. But that’s the reality. Everyone told me that recovery would be the best for me. And I believe it. But not everyone warned me of the torture and pain that I would have to endure. Now, having gone through it (and continuing in the program), I realize how much of a challenge recovery is. Everyday, I find myself questioning why I am here and why I am allowing myself to go through all this misery and anxiety. Of course, the easier path would be to simply not eat. Or to go home and decide that I could do this on my own. But reality tells me that food is not enough. I need therapy and groups to help me recover emotionally and mentally as well.

And so my first week is nearly over. Was it challenging? Yes. Was I in pain? Of course. Did I ever feel like leaving? Everyday. Did I wonder why I am here, and did I sometimes just want to scream. ALL THE TIME. But, is it worth it?

Of course.

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