patient support group: embarrassment

first time i’ve ever journaled my experience of my hospital patient support group, but i really think it’s worth it. For context, it’s a two hour session for any current or former patients at my ED service regardless of circumstance to come together and talk about their struggles. It’s organized by two paid facilitators, both with lived experience of EDs and now fully recovered. One of them I believe was actually a patient on the ward.

everyone there feels like.. i feel like i will remember these people and that room many years from now.

We talked a lot about feeling embarrassed. Blue hair woman who has been very quiet for the last few weeks – to the extent that I’ve been worried and almost frustrated with with her for holding back – finally spoke up. She brought up feeling different and inferior, because she felt like most people in the room struggle with restriction, whereas she has ‘the opposite’ problem of bingeing and purging. Several of us were quick to reassure her this is not the case, and then the room opened up about a range of things we felt made us different and less than, and scared of judgement. It felt so strange to me to think that there could be any way in the world she would feel inferior. After all, she is so much smaller than me. The weight-restored woman was very down this week, particularly about looking healthier and people not expressing as much urgency over her meal plan as they may have done in the past. I tried to tell her that I believe her, that nothing about her would ever make me question her struggle. I also told the room that I feel isolated, and how some of my own cowardice in recovery is feeling like gaining weight will deprive me of the only space to which I feel like I tenuously belong. We also talked about using our loved ones as sort of life rafts or anchors in recovery, to the extent that can end up quite controlling. I was almost shocked to hear blue haired woman describe eating with her brother as a sort of musical piece that needs to happen in total synchronicity, or else she feels the need to reject the meal and reject any semblance of caring about it. I made a few parallels with my own relationship with R and particularly the very nascent stages of recovery where I would get upset about him eating faster or slower than me, and also being very disturbed if he needed to sleep when I needed to eat, or conflicted if he missed a meal for any reason. It made me think of how angry I got last time he brought some of my favourite foods over without my explicit blessing – not because I was expected to eat everything but because there are things about sharing food and eating with other people quite apart from the food itself that I do like, that I do crave/miss and are so hard to fit in and around my disorder. I made the room laugh on several occasions and this week more than any other week people addressed me directly or cited something I said before launching their own thought process. I felt very happy. Suddenly all the lethargy and desperation and fear was gone, and I felt completely present in the room and able to listen and contribute and learn something. When the two hours were up I felt a pang of sadness, but then coming home and writing this makes it all feel less effervescent, atomised and weird. I will never forget that little room. Maybe the first room in my recovery.

Free space

I woke up at 5am today because I went to bed early because I was done eating for the day.

I failed to collect my Effexor/Venla prescription so now I’m coming off SNRIs and can barely get out of bed, except to eat some variation of vegetables cooked w water and drenched in hot sauce (I’ve cut back on carbs and sodium because lmao I have actual edema in my hands and it needs to get gone). Also I was kind of politely a dick to my friend who is trying to help me get better cos she sent a few messages reminding me I need to pick up the script and i was literally hashtag triggered, like it made me so angry I started crying wtaf lol. I got this notebook today where i’m trying to like write down my triggers so as I’m sitting up w spinal pain, crying cos my mate was being nice to me and refusing to look for work – despite having made like a tenth of my rent this month so far – and i’m crying into this book trying to like bullet point wtf is up but like i can’t do it, can’t be concise, got no fucking idea why I feel this way. It’s not just the withdrawal, it’s also definitely the eating disorder cos I’m cranky af and I spend more time googling cauliflower rice calories than thinking about anything else in my life rn. I feel completely deranged, so when I finally go to the eating disorder clinic in a few months’ time I should fit right in w all the sad desperate women crawling down corridors in black leggings, angry that their family won’t let them die.

 

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