Going into treatment is not only a scary thing, but it never seems to be the right time. I entered into McCallum Place on November 3rd, and I discharged on January 27th. What do I mean by the right time? There are always holidays, special events, things, activities going on, and treatment doesn’t really stop for those things. Like for me I missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New years due to being in treatment. Am I sad? To be honest, I am very thankful that I was in treatment during that time. This specific time of year has always been hard. Why? We, as Americans revolve most holidays around food. As someone who is struggling with an eating disorder, and struggling with all the changes that comes with weight gain. Body Image sucks, refeeding sucks, the emotions surrounding the process of refeeding sucks, physical body changes after meals is horrible. If you don’t understand, then all I’m going to say is that when lentil loaf or chili is being served at meal time, after meal times, after post meal group, everyone to the nurses station for tums and gas-x. Thanksgiving this past year was one that I will forever remember. The cook for that day did his best to make it special for us to be able to distinguish it as a holiday and not just a regular McCallum day. On the holidays, did we have groups? Of course, but we also got to make fleece scarves for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and make blankets for ourselves, but Adam totally went above and beyond to decorate our table. There was a turkey alternative, which is what I had, but there were traditional thanksgiving foods there. Sweet potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie, and this is totally an inside joke but there was PLENTY of gravy! The company was great because we all struggled with the meal, but you know what? We either ate all of it, felt accomplished, and then seconded guessed ourselves afterwards, or those of us who couldn’t quite finish the meal and had to boost for the rest. Was it hard, absolutely, but did it help prepare me for the future? Absolutely! What was hard for me was knowing that we were going to have to do this yet again at Christmas. Meal times at McCallum were fun and so difficult. In the morning, we did horoscopes and jumbles, at lunch we did wordy gurdy, and dinner we played the ABC game. You have to understand the importance of table games at this very critical time. Did they want us to be present while we ate our meals, yes, but playing games, and laughing, or for me and E, talking about our stuffed children, it was needed to help keep us mentally there.
Long story short, why do I say all of that? Since being in treatment and missing holidays at home, I feel like I have missed out on an entire year. Treatment is like another world. It’s an alternate universe. You are in a nurturing, caring environment, unlike home, where the chaos was created. Losing 3 months of your life vs. losing your life…which one is better? Putting my life on hold for 3 months was worth it, because in the long run 3 months is nothing!