I have a lot to write about and I try and keep these posts generally focussed on one topic. The title of this...well, could have me writing for days but I specifically want to talk about my experience with the admission of a new client yesterday.
She is young, just barely 16. It makes me happy that she is here now and not 12 years from now like I am. That's not 'woe is me', it's simply relief that one person won't have to endure this for 1/2 their life before getting help that works.
I met her yesterday in the hospital as we all have to be admitted to hosptial and ensured to be stable before coming to the villa. She was this little grey skinned thing with huge brown eyes that were (and still are) so full of fear. She is softly spoken with a very gentle smile that does not grace her face often or easily which is sad. I find myself seeing in her what everyone here must have seen in me when i arrived - the happy ending that is coming for her. I can now see it for all of my friends stuggling. I no longer live in a constant fear of losing those who are so close to me because I know that it is possible to survive and to really live a life after anorexia/bulimia and if people can just be enabled to hold on until they find the help that will work for them, then there really is such amazing possibilities for everyone.
Anyway, focus. I looked at her and remember many of my first days of treatment at various places. I was always so scared with racing thoughts of being the 'fattest' one in the program and/or not being able to do what I need to. I didn't trust a soul and believed that no onw could possibly understand. I held onto my behaviours like nobody's business and wanted people to catch me and tell me I could stop but they didn't. I often 'outsmarted' the staff and would have to 'tell' on myself and end up being punished and laden with restrictions and blame so often I just wouldn't say anything. Even here, on 1:1 24h care I got away with stuff but what was I really getting away with? I'm really that good at killing myself...go me! Not. It takes so much strength to say 'I'm really struggling, can you help me' and that is always our individual responsibility but is sure is nice when it doesn't need to be said and someone is right there, almost assuming the worst but always supporting the best and always, always there without judgement.
I remember proclaiming after every admission to hospital or program that that was my last time enduring refeeding...and then a few weeks later I would be back doing the same thing. Bearing the edema and anxiety. The discomfort and fullness and pain and holding my breath as I wait for lab test results. Arguing with anyone who would listen that the portions of my meals were wrong, the formula in the bag different, wrong, too much, etc. And definitely not able to see the point of enduring such a seemingly impossible time when I knew deep down that it would only happen again.
Coming here, I have been told that it was quite evident that I was the skeptic. I was basically daring the staff here to try to help me. I thought, 'Who do you think you are thinking that you can save me after everyone else has failed? I'm too far gone.' and at the same time, placing everythign that was me in their hands and blindly following guidelines that made no sense to me and just accepting that I was in another program, had to follow the rules, had to just get through until I fooled them also and they let me out and back to mny dark, dark world.
Boy did I prove myself differently. Of course, it took a complete surrender to this place and these people to make it work. I promised to give it my all and even when I couldn't to let the staff give their all to me and pull me through. I hope this new girl can do the same. It is impossible as a new admission to see the possibility. Even months into the process it seems never ending, it's too painful, it's still impossible. But then, the clouds break and the light starts streaming in. It's like my team has been above the clouds all along and telling me that the sun exists but what did I have to go on to really believe that? Nothing. It was about blindly accepting that they knew waht they were talking about and that they had seen it with their own eyes. And they were right.
I guess I have a bit of anxiety with the new clients...that they will give up when it gets really painful and I know that with the people that arrive here, that eqautes with a loss of their lives. I firmly believe that this is the last stop for most of us. Maybe some will leave early and carry on in and out of institutions but I think the majority would die. I hope she can hold on. And I'm excited for yet another person to have arrived her alive and be able to be enabled to live.
Hmm...this took a different spin than the intention I set out with. I"m not sure what the next topic will be.
In other general news: I'm unofficially 'off care'. Yes, 6 months of 24h 1:1 care and I have been weaned off quickly and am now, respsonible for myself. I took myself to watch the sunset last night to celebrate and it was beautiful. Life is really getting exciting.
Less than two weeks until my sister arrives back on the continent! YAY!!!!!