It’s Day Three of my five-week Eating Disorders Day Treatment Program.
My goal for tonight was to write to you, to let you know what’s happening.
To be honest, mealtimes are hard for me. Right now, I feel nauseated. This happens after every meal there, and not because it’s hospital food. After breakfast, here at home, today. I became nauseous.
Is this normal?
Yes. Apparently, for someone with an eating disorder at the beginning of treatment, nausea after eating is normal.
Tomorrow, I will be meeting with a psychiatrist who may, perhaps, prescribe something to help me digest more easily. Motilium, I don’t know. Taking another prescription drug, in addition to the complex cocktail of drugs for my kidney transplant and mood disorder doesn’t thrill me. But, we’ll see.
A Ph.D in “normal” eating…
What I will share with you is that I’m learning so much. I feel I’m in graduate school.
I never knew what “normal” eating was because I’ve restricted food, feared food, abused food, binged on food and misunderstood food, all my life. In fact, it’s medicine for my body. Like insulin, if I had diabetes. And now, I’m learning all about about it. I realize I know nothing. Just myths. So many myths. Astonishing.
The time zooms by. Each day, in a series of educational groups, classes, meetings and activities, we learn, discuss, share.
There is our daily Community Meeting, then Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Emotional Relationships Group, Spiritual Group, Nutrition and Menu Planning, Weekend Planning, short walks, check-ins, weigh-ins, cooking and shopping. I don’t even know the whole weekly cycle will be.
My therapist is the essence of calm…
Three times a week, I meet with my therapist, one-on-one. Not Dr. Bob, but a social worker. I simply adore her. She is the essence of calm – and smart. In no time, she twigged to my innate intensity, obsessiveness and anxiety.
We have “independent work” times, too. Time to read and do our homework. There’s tons. And talk. Curiously, there are little tins of Play-Doh in our lounge. A variety of books. A big tin of wooden building blocks called Jenga. I’m looking forward to trying it. And to toying with the Play-Doh, too. Reminds me of my childhood. Perhaps that’s the point.
There are so many “norms” to learn…
You wouldn’t believe how anxious I am. I have a genius for mistake-making and in the last three days, I’ve excelled. There are so many “norms” to which I must adhere and the only way I seem to learn them is to “break” them.
At lunch, I had a cookie, today. One, rather large cookie. As is my wont, I broke it up in little pieces as I was eating it and one of the two dieticians who watch us eat very closely stopped me and told me I must take bites out of the cookie. Not to break it up.
“Why?” I asked.
“It’s one of our norms,” she said.
That was that. We’re not allowed to discuss food or body shape during meals or community meetings. We must keep things light. Movies. TV. The weather. Books.
Next week, I may be able to go shopping. I may be able to cook there. I don’t know. All this is so new to me.
As for the actual eating, it feels like I’m eating huge amounts, when in fact, I’m told, our menus feature “normal” portions! We are learning to “normalize” our eating so that at the end of my five weeks there, I will begin to feel better about eating and will have the tools and strategies to help me continue to eat normally. Three meals a day plus two snacks. At specific times. “Mechanically.”
You cannot control your weight…
It will take at least a year to accomplish all my goals, but the main one is to let go of the idea that I can control my weight. Then, to be more self-accepting. Less self-conscious. Less perfectionistic.
Meanwhile, I’m going to take up knitting. Everyone knits. It’s a great way to occupy your hands. Distract yourself. One of our “behavioural strategies for eating disorder symptoms.” I cannot chew gum or suck on candy. Cannot drink between meals. Nor can I use any diet products. At all. Ever.
So this is the beginning of a new way of living. A new way of eating. A new life.
One of my goals is to blog each week. And the other is to keep a journal. I’ve started the journal. It’s handwritten. I want the feeling of writing, again. It’s different than typing. More intimate.
See you next week.
Image Credit: Pinterest