I like to call it, “Who’s the sickest?”. It goes something like this:
Patient 1: I had to be tubed six times
Patient 2: I was IP for 8 months
And eventually, it turns into leads to something like this:
Patient 1: I died and saw the light!
Patient 2: I’ve had my eating disorder since I was a zygote!
Before I went to treatment, I was in denial and ashamed of my eating disorder. I was pretty shocked to see this game of oneupmanship being played.
I havent written the above ^ And below, in the bolded is from a post i wrote back in 2012, and below that is the text i have written now in 2015 :)
Before i started treatment, i was embarrassed about my eating disorder. I was embarrassed about the fact that i couldnt eat like a normal person, that i would purge what i ate. I hated knowing that i couldnt go out and eat with friends or was missing a social event because of food and fear.... but then again not.
But when i started treatment, it was like people start boasting about their 'sick behaviour' started comparing... like.. oh, i used to only eat X calories. I exercised X hours... ive been sick for X years etc etc.. always a competition of who was the sickest.
I wasn't so talkative in treatment, i was the silent listener... but in my head, i compared... if i heard someone saying that they had only been sick 2 years, in my head i was telling myself... 'ohh, im sicker than them!!'
I would look people up and down, comparing myself to them and always coming to the conclusion that i was fattest. Always wondered why i was in treatment because everyone seemed thinner than me.
But it's stupid, we shouldnt compare ourselves... who is sickest? we are in treatment to learn to live without our ED. to get better... not to sit there sharing secrets, how to become sicker...
Having an ED is nothing to be proud of, nothing to brag or boast about... nobody is impressed... so its best to keep your 'Ana goals' and all the sick things you think are good and are an accomplishment to yourself...
Written in the present:
Something which i've thought about how getting treatment is very important and if you get the chance it is good to try it. However being an inpatient or even a day patient can be very triggering especially when you are surrounded by other people who are sick and who might be thinner. When you have an eating disorder you naturally compare yourself to others, all people and other peoples food intake, and then suddenly you are surrounded by X other patients who are sick and some who might eat less than you and be thinner than you... and that can be triggering. If i am honest, i almost learnt how to be sicker and learnt more sick behaviour from my time in treatment. I saw how other people cheated, as well as cheating with my food all the time and secret exercise. Even if i never fully admitted that i was sick, it was like i felt a connection and felt.... i amnt weird, others do the same thing so why are we in hospital? I was constantly surrounded in a sick atmosphere... the guilt, anxiety, fear and panic were heavy in the air. That might not be correct English,but basically.... it was like a thick cloud of anxiety, fear and guilt that hung over all the patients heads which just formed one big cloud. Everyone looked so dister and grey and i remember my sister being extremely shocked the first few times she came to visit me at Mando.
The problem with being an inpatient as well is that you can not escape it.... you are locked inside and have to spend your whole day with others who are sick. I dont personally believe that is very healthy.... i think it is important to spend time with family and friends and to spend time with others who arent sick so that you can get some type of life motivation and happiness. Not just sit and think and feel anxiety for several days on end... because that is what i did. During one of my inpatient stays it went several weeks before i was allowed to go home, and during my first admission to Mando my mum had to travel back to Ireland and during that time i dont think i have ever felt so lonely. I saw as other patients had family and friends come and visit them and i sat there all alone, only having moved to Sweden roughly 3 weeks ago and suddenly i was alone.
Treatment is good, but the comparison between patients isnt good. Also finding buddies who spur your eating disorder instead of your recovery is not good. Remember that you are in treatment to get better.... not to make friends, not to get tips on how to be sicker, not to make yourself sicker... but to get support and to get help!! If it helps you ask to distance yourself, ask if you can spend time in another room if you find that surrounding yourself with the other patients is to triggering or negatively affects you. Of course isolating yourself isnt good, but you do need to think of your health and your life. Focus on yourself and your goals and stay away from talking about your ED habits, how long you have been sick etc etc because that just fuels your disorder when you should be moving away from your disorder. It does not matter if you have been sick 6 months or 6 years, you still need support and help to get better and it does not matter if you have been admitted X or Y times. Or weigh X or Y kilo, it DOES NOT MATTER. You still need help and an eating disorder is not a comparison game, there is no "who is sickest"... the person who is sickest is the one who is in their grave. But even then they might not be the sickest, their body might just have given up even if they were fighting for recovery.... BUT.... there is no sickest anyway, so who cares. Focus on recovery and moving away from your eating disorder. Surround yourself with positivity and health as much as you can :)
You should not be proud over your eating disorder or proud over all your admissions or proud over your behaviour. You should be proud over overcoming your disorder, proud over listening to your body, proud over taking care of your body!!!
And stay away from the comparisons online... dont engage in that type of comparing talk, it will just negatively affect you.