Inpatient units are slightly different to other forms of treatment. Chances are, if you’ve reached this point, the choices have been reduced – in which case, inpatient treatment can save your life – but, if you’re just considering options –
Inpatient treatment made me do things that I wanted to do on my own but couldn’t quite manage.
It forced me to change – in the hope that, once I’d gone through the process, the outcome would speak for itself.
Plus, it kept me alive; and, somewhat perversely, the desire not to go back had a huge impact on my recovery.
The great thing about inpatient units is that you have very little say in what goes on. In any other context, this would be a distinctly bad thing; but, when you’re totally immersed in an eating disorder, letting someone else take over can be just what is called for.
A structured eating routine with rigorously enforced supervision is a living nightmare at first – but it can also break you through the change barrier and show you that eating is not the catastrophe you imagined. What’s more, it neatly sidetracks the guilt and anger and fear that an eating disorder is so great at creating when you’re going it alone.
It’s strangely liberating to learn that the change isn’t quite as devastating as you might have feared. Once you’ve got over the anger and the fear and the protestations, relief is the over-riding emotion –
Because, when you’re really submerged in it all, the idea of changing is too terrifying to contemplate – unless someone’s holding your hand and right there with you.
Because, when an eating disorder’s really got its claws in, you start to think that you’ll never be able to get better. That the illness is far bigger than you are; and, however good your intentions are, you always seem to slip back –
And, it’s at this point that inpatient treatment can be a bit of a life-saver.
I know that there are cons – institutionalisation, competitiveness, the ‘not the real world’ scenario – but it’s a pretty hefty pro.
I get that inpatient treatment is far from the cushy clinic experience that graces the pages of the glossies – but, it can turn the tables round pretty damned fast and get you facing the right direction –
- and it can make the world of normal eating a little less alien and a little less unknown –