I was an inpatient three times in three different treatment centres / hospitals when I was 15-16 years old, after developing Anorexia age 12.
It’s hard to even put into words how damaging these occasions were for me and they did far more harm than good for both my physical and mental well being for many, many years.
Although I won’t go into too much detail, as it’s painful for me to think about these times, I will highlight just a few of my experiences:
– I was left alone all day in my room (apart from meals) despite being suicidal. I slit my wrists open in the first few days of being there.
– They took away all of my comforts, including my hat which I wore day and night to help me to feel safe.
– The meal ‘helpers’ didn’t have an ounce of compassion, empathy or love. They simply threatened me with a supplement drink or a feeding tube if I didn’t eat.
– They did ‘not want to waste their resources on me’ by letting me have therapy as I was ‘too underweight’ to understand them. (Bullshit).
– I was not allowed a phone or to see family apart from 2 hours on a Sunday.
– I was locked in a small padded room by myself for hours because I was crying (they didn’t want me to upset the other patients).
– I was told I was ‘cheating’ for losing weight, even though they were the ones not feeding me enough (under 1500 calories).
– I was treated like a mindless robot rather than a human.
The list is endless.
And sadly I know so many people who have had very similar experiences to me. It’s just not right.
I felt like I was in prison, rather than a place to recover.
Anorexia/Bulimia is an illness that affects us on every single level. It is not just a body size. It’s not just about weight. It’s not a choice. It deserves to be understood.
I was rejected from several other units for being ‘too complex’, ‘too underweight’ and then ‘not underweight’ enough over the years.
I’ve seen so many ‘professionals’, ‘specialists’, ‘therapists’, etc. and no one ever seemed to ‘get it’. It felt like no one even tried to.
Needless to say, I suffered from my eating disorders for a further 13 years after my inpatient stays. If I had been properly supported earlier, I might have been spared a decade of pain. This is why it is imperative that treatment for children, adolescents and adults, is vastly improved.
Recovery treatment should be healing, not traumatic.
Please follow Hat (Hat Will Beat This) on Instagram and see her fantastic recovery videos on YouTube:
(The images above are from a book that Hat’s Mum (@hatsmama) bought for Hat when she was in hospital and the staff had taken her hat away from her).
To read more eating disorder treatment experiences please click here.
And if you agree that treatment for eating disorders requires urgent review and change – please read about the petition campaigning for change to the way eating disorders are treated worldwide and for a link to it here: