Just Inpatient Tings

Seeing as my time as an inpatient has nearly come to an end, I thought I would reflect on things that almost certainly always happen when you are in an eating disorder unit. Everything on this list is something that I have experienced A LOT whilst being in hospital and I hope it provides a little bit of insight into what life is like as an inpatient.

  • Writing a list of foods you miss and wish you could have.
  • Doing an insane amount of colouring in.
  • Tuna mayo jacket potatoes.
  • Having to schedule wees and then getting it wrong and needing to ask when it’s in a rest period.
  • Getting told off for behaviours the staff deem as disordered like crossing your legs, dunking your biscuits and cutting things up.
  • Pasta that is literally just mush on a plate.
  • Having to ask for everything like to go outside or to go to the loo and feeling really bad about disturbing the nurses when they are making notes.
  • Getting told off for standing during rest periods.
  • Having to wait 3 days after a parcel arrives to actually get it.
  • Plastic beds.
  • Apple crumble and custard 5 times a week.
  • Having no outside light in your bedroom because of the blocked windows.
  • Taking up hobbies you never thought you would e.g. cross stitch, painting, gardening.
  • Hummus.
  • Fidget spinners and tangles.
  • Conversations in the morning guaranteed to start with “how did you sleep” and the reply is either “like a log” or “I didn’t” depending on how much melatonin has been prescribed.
  • Having a nice nurse on your 1:1 who you can gossip with.
  • Going to optional once then being woken up twice every day for the next 3 weeks as they expect you to go.
  • Getting told off for not putting enough milk in your tea.
  • Slippers.
  • Asking for a dessert spoon instead of a tablespoon to eat your stewed plums with.
  • Patients looking at you as if you are crazy when you add sugar to your tea.
  • Green (grey) beans.
  • Wearing baggy clothes every day.
  • Talking about the weather at every single meal and snack.
  • Ground leave being the fastest half-hour of the day.
  • Having a panic attack in the CTM.
  • Going to a group you’re not interested in just to pass some time.
  • “SNACK!” and meals being shouted at you 6 times a day.
  • Having the torch shone in your face every 15 minutes when you first arrive.
  • Having to give yourself a genuine reality check that escaping is probably not the best idea, despite definitely being possible…
  • Getting blood tests done 3 times a day and them running out of veins to try on (this happened to me at the JR and they ended up doing it on my feet… ouch).
  • Ruminating about who you will become when your new life outside of hospital begins.
  • Night staff being loud and keeping you up.
  • Thinking about how ungrateful you previously were when you could do and eat anything you wanted.
  • Having arguments with the dieticians as to whether you genuinely dislike something or it’s an eating disorder behaviour.
  • Having a countdown to your next home leave/discharge.
  • Planning out meticulously what you’ll say in your CTM.
  • Awkward silences in groups.
  • BBQ beef hula hoops.
  • Lining up for each meal before entering the dining room.
  • Being hungry…
  • Waiting half an hour for other tables to self-serve before you.
  • Trying to sneak in an extra sip of water.
  • Not being able to stand the sound of people crunching their glacier mints after every meal and snack.
  • Getting self-conscious about your breathing and suddenly going really fast when the nurse is taking your respiration rate just because you’re aware of them doing it.
  • Being forced to go for a wee at 5:45 AM before weigh-in.
  • Having to stay behind the dog on the dog walk to not be seen as “excessively exercising”.
  • Having a sandwich for dinner.
  • Apricot wheats (RIP).
  • Staff walking in on you getting dressed.
  • Having to tell staff when they have your meal plan wrong (so asking for more food) i.e. every anorexic’s nightmare.
  • Finding foods you didn’t know you liked because you’re forced to eat them (for me this was ketchup, coleslaw and jacket potatoes).
  • Not being allowed anything made of glass or anything that is remotely sharp… goodbye nail file.
  • Staring at the clock all through community meeting.
  • Finding foods you didn’t know you hated because you’re forced to eat them (the stewed plums that look like brains and the dreaded mushroom soup).
  • Being allowed deodorant and body spray but not air freshener?
  • Having a glass of milk as a “snack” 3 times a day when you’re first admitted.
  • And last but not least, making best pals for life!

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