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My First Day in Treatment

My first day in treatment left me speechless. There was no way I could write during these early days. In one of my previous posts, I wrote about how I ended up here. I shared in that post how I cried many, many tears the days leading up to my first day in treatment.

The Day Before Treatment

The day before I was to arrive, I very emotionally decided I wasn’t going. I had changed my mind. Not only had I changed my mind, but I was also extremely certain on the fact that I was not going. There had been some information that had been given me that had caused this change of heart. I promise I’ve never cried so many tears in one day as I did this day.

I called the treatment center and informed them I thought I was getting sick and it probably wasn’t wise for me to come. Ha! They weren’t taking that as an answer. I was informed that there was a doctor on staff and if I were to need anything, their doctor could take care of me.

I then sat with my pastor and very tearfully proclaimed this change of heart; however, I was convinced that I didn’t have a choice. He assured me everything I read about my time there was for my good. I should want these horrible things to happen. Really? My mind didn’t comprehend this. Thankfully, my pastor had worked in a psychiatric hospital before, so he knew what I was about to encounter. He used his knowledge to convince me it was still the right decision.

Not happy about going, but resigned I didn’t have a choice, I began to try to pack. What does one wear to eating disorder treatment? They gave me a packing list, but the only thing it said was comfortable clothes. Is that blue jeans or sweat pants? What was I going to do while there? Would I be doing exercise and need exercise clothes? (HA!  I did have that thought.) Guess it is a good thing I got the big suitcase out of the attic.

As I sit here today, those are the only things I remember about the day before treatment. I know my mind did a lot of thinking that night. (Well, maybe a better description would be worrying.) The next morning came way too quickly. One of our friends was going to drive Zine, and they would be with me for the first part of the morning. So we took two cars to Birmingham.

My First Day in Treatment

Thursday Morning

We arrived at the treatment center about ten minutes early. There was no way I was walking into this season of my life ten minutes early. We sat in the parking lot inside big blue for ten minutes while I struggled to keep the tears inside. We prayed for courage, and I was assured over and over again that everything would be okay. I could do this. While those prayers and words were sweet, I didn’t feel strong and brave not one little bit. I didn’t think I could do this.

We were greeted by warm, friendly people. I sat in an office and signed my life away. I have no clue what I signed that day, but I signed a lot!! All too soon, I was whisked away to a nurse’s office while my family received a tour of the facility.

In the nurse’s office, someone brought in a granola bar and a glass of water and expected me to eat it. I hadn’t eaten a granola bar in I don’t know how long. What I would soon come to find out is that every morning at 10:30 you are expected to eat a snack and drink a glass of water.

Lunch Time

I felt like I went from one office to the next for the next couple of hours. Before I could catch my breath, it was lunchtime. I sat down in a strange dining room, with strange people, and with a strange plate of food set before me.

This plate was white, and it had black lines drawn on it. What did these lines mean? I honestly thought that there was probably some reason there were black lines drawn on the plate. I was certain it had something to do with how you knew how much food was on your plate. It took me weeks to figure out those lines were nothing but a design on the plates. However, it didn’t take me long to figure out if you didn’t eat your meal they brought you a nasty supplement to drink. Let’s say I could not even tolerate those supplements. I think we went to about Plan F before we found something that I could tolerate as a supplement.

The first 72 hours was considered an observation period. During this time, I couldn’t go to the bathroom unsupervised. I won’t go into details about how these supervised potty visits happened, but I will say, it was a very humbling experience. It was a joyous day when I heard that they would remove my “obs” and give me bathroom privileges.

Thursday Afternoon

After lunch brought another humbling experience. There are certain things you can and can’t bring to treatment. So how are they going to know what you brought aside from going through your suitcase? I find myself sitting in a room, surrounded by my large suitcase (now I’m wishing for that small suitcase in my attic), bathroom bag, backpack, and a tote bag. As I sit with a nasty supplement in my hands, I watch them go through my suitcases.

I know this place is to help me, but for the first day, it felt like just the opposite. After that humbling experience, it was now time to move into my little apartment. And before I knew it, I found another snack being pushed before me. Wait, did these people not realize I just finished my lunch a little while ago? Why yes, yes they did understand that, but it was 3:30. It was snack time once again.

I sat in a group session after snack time. I don’t think I said a word. My life was a blur. My ability to think or communicate was gone! I felt overwhelmed, and I just wanted to go home. There was downtime before dinner.  I remember thinking what a waste of my time. I could be home doing things, but here I sit in awkwardness.

Thursday Evening

Dinner happened, and once again a supplement came my way that I did not drink. By the time I got back to my room, I was spent both physically and emotionally. Spiritually I had entered one of the darkest seasons ever! Let me go to sleep and maybe when I wake up this bad dream will be over. Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t happen much when I am struggling with an eating disorder relapse. My first day in treatment ended laying in an unfamiliar bed praying that sleep would come and the nightmare would be over.

On the other side of a part hospitalization program (PHP) for an eating disorder, I can look back on my first day and think how in the world did I do that?  My mind is blown that I was brave enough to do that.

Brave Enough

On the other side of a part hospitalization program (PHP) for an eating disorder, I can look back on my first day and think how in the world did I do that?  My mind is blown that I was brave enough to do that.  I didn’t feel brave, but it took a lot of courage and bravery to do what I did. My mind still wonders how my husband and sweet friend were able to leave me there. I remember giving them pleading eyes like you can’t leave me here. Y’all, there really are no words to adequately express the emotions that went on inside me this day. The only thing that I can say is that the emotions were unbelievably intense.

There is a truth that keeps coming back to me about my first day in treatment.  This has to be the only way I survived my first day in treatment.

My First Day in can do all things through Christ.  #eatingdisorder #edrecovery #anorexia





Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.