So back to my recovery.
I was referred to the 3 day outpatient program at North York General a few months ago through my GP. I went in for a two hour assessment and was told that I am “too sick” for their hospital. The doctors recommended that I consider the full time outpatient program at TGH.
Later that week, I met with the intake coordinator at Toronto General. I was told that their program involved a commitment of 3 months from 10am – 6pm five days a week. But after discussing my history, medical condition and symptoms I was once again told that I am “too sick”. They said the only way that I would benefit from treatment was to be admitted to a full time, inpatient program at their hospital. That freaked the shit out of me. Full time?
Another glitch. The wait list was 4 months long. What????? 4 months? So basically I was told that I am too sick to do outpatient, but I have to wait 4 months to get treatment? I told the doctors that if I didn’t get help today, I would be dead in 4 months.
I spoke to the doctors at TGH and had to convince them to give me a spot in the outpatient program. I literally begged. They felt that I needed to be monitored very closely and didn’t feel that the outpatient program would help me be successful. I explained that sitting around doing nothing certainly wouldn’t help me be successful. So, with extreme hesitation they told me that they would admit me into their program on a trial basis. By trial basis, they meant that I had to eat every morsel of food and follow every single rule they imposed on me. Anything I did not comply with, would lead to my dismissal. I knew I had to do something and do something right away so I was prepared to do what was necessary.
I spoke to my boss who gave me his blessing to take off whatever time I needed. I had a week to mentally prepare myself.
May 11th, the day after my 41st birthday. I began. I was ready to give it my all.
So I just finished my first supervised meal. Supervised. I’m 41 and had to have someone tell me that there was still a bit of cake on my plate that needed to be finished. 41. Supervised. What I wanted to do was cry. As I sat and stared at the 16 other patients, carrying on a conversation about the awesome museums around the world I just wanted to yell, “Are you all for real?” You are shoving food in my face and asking me to eat cake on my first day? What kind of program is this? I felt like they were throwing me in the pool and leaving me to drown. What about baby steps? What about a customized meal?
I wanted to cry because I can’t believe I’m here. I cannot believe that this is where I am. That I have been given no choice. Do I think I need to be here? Yes. For my friends and family. Do I want to be here for me? No. I want to run for the door.
Day 1 is over. I hated it. I hated everything about it. Being examined under a microscope while you eat is embarrassing and demoralizing. It’s painful and it feels like I’m being punished. I didn’t ask for an eating disorder. It found me. It manipulated its way into my life and convinced me that it would be the best friend I could ever imagine. And it was right. It became just that whether I wanted it or not. And today, after day 1 I feel that I would rather have an eating disorder than sit in treatment for three months listening to other people’s problems and be monitored like a child while I eat. But I know this isn’t realistic.
I don’t want to live the way I have been living. Taking so many laxatives completely shuts down your body. I become a zombie for 24-48 hours. But with three kids and a job, I would have to find a way to function. It is painful to try and carry on during the day when you just want to lie in bed from the excruciating pain. My body would hurt from top to bottom. Each time, I would think to myself, “This has to be the last time. You have caused this pain to yourself. Who would do this to themselves?”
When I was in Florida in January, I was at Whole Foods and noticed a sign that read: Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love.
I do love myself, so why would I take a box of laxatives and think that somehow it would make me feel good about myself? I know I deserve better.