Well, I have got an awful lot to say, so beware!!
I am 46 and have had an eating disorder since age 24.
My inpatient treatment started last year, in May, in a hospital in the UK. So much of the experience didn’t help that I don’t know where to start!!
Firstly, though, the staff were great. There are just not enough staff (that’s the NHS for you).
I was there for five months from NG tube / 1-1 observations / collapsing / wheelchair etc to the BMI needed for discharge. I HATE the issue of BMI but that is another story!
Ok, I am having a ‘100% honesty’ moment, so this will come at you in no particular order and be more of a brainstorm…
I was getting through recovery in the hospital and still had my depression and anxiety and suicidal thoughts and I kept asking, ‘can my mental health care co-ordinator come to our meetings?’. I knew I would need her when I left. She never did.
I said I would ring her myself – they said no, that they would. Still nothing.
So, I called her myself – all she offered was meds, which the hospital would not give me.
In hospital, I obviously had to start eating – no choice. But as I started to get better, I felt hungry. It got to the point that in the evening I was filling up on cups of tea to help my tum because that’s all we had access to.
So, I asked to see the dietician, asking if I could be allowed more food during the day cos filling myself up with drinks was ‘old behaviour’ and I couldn’t sleep well cos my tummy was rumbling and hurting. She said I wasn’t hungry at night – I was bored. I said I’m hungry!!
Eventually, she allowed me one extra apple per day… that’s not right!! I was still underweight and asking for food!
Luckily, by now I had got to the stage of making my own porridge and (I did admit it) I weighed out more than was ‘allowed’. I told the staff this and they were great and ‘let it go’ despite being against my meal plan.
The staff shortages also meant that the help-care groups stopped and we were only allowed cups of tea on certain days of the week!
It’s humiliating… you are locked in.
When you want the loo after meals you have to have staff in an open doorway. On one occasion I had an upset stomach and she laughed and said, ‘I bet you feel better now!’.
I have now been out of the ward for a year. One of my friends had been there for 18 months and is still there now! Two other friends have been re-admitted.
One friend from there has relapsed. I have relapsed.
Something needs to change.
Follow Claire on Instagram: @lilyrosie2
(image is Claire with her son!)
To read other individual treatment experience stories of eating disorder treatment from around the world, please click here.
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