Imagine you have been ill and looked unwell for a time someone comments that you are looking better or well how do you react? I imagine the majority of you would be pleased to hear it and be glad you are not looking unwell anymore. Now say it to someone with an eating disorder and rather than being pleased what we will actually be thinking is great now I'm fat, too big, if I look well I can't be ill anymore so don't need to continue treatment or eat. How ridiculous is the eating disordered brain unable to process that people don't mean any of these things with this comment its just normal to tell people who are unwell they are looking better as most people don't want to hear god you look ill. Unfortunately that's exactly what anorexics want to hear as well means failure and being far too big.
I wish I could explain our twisted logic and our over all inability to accept any form of compliment without picking it apart and thinking people are only saying it to be kind at that it can't possibly be true, after all the only thing were good at is eating disorders. An important thing I've learnt is that no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel and whether you believe it or not if someone pays you a compliment that you disagree with the natural thing is to say no that's not true, before you know it you are discussing the issue when in actual fact what you want to do is forget it as soon as possible.So just say thank you and it stops there and the moment passes. I accept that after the event I will pick it apart and analyse the comment and then worry that because I accepted the compliment with out discussion that the person thinks I'm arrogant or big headed but at least it ended it quickly at the time.
The reason for me saying this is because I had to deal with this situation on Wednesday, the modern matron who is using me as a case study for her degree (I agreed to this as I had nothing better to do and it might help someone else have a better understanding) happened to say you look well in the face, instantly I was filled with oh god my face must look so fat, I must look well, I'm too big and don't need to be here! Poor woman looked mortified when I explained what reaction and feelings her comment had induced in me and I have to admit to being slightly amused as she desperately back peddled reassuring me that I was tiny and she just meant I had good skin. It's a pitty not every one who works on this unit has the same level of learning curve.
Prime example when we get bank nurses on who although have been on the unit before don't work here regularly can come out with some classic comments. you can excuse the occasional stupid comment and for the most part we can take them for what they are and have a laugh at them for example discussing slimming world diets while you struggle your way through lunch informing you their weight fell off, hmm I hate to think how big you were before! Asking if you have enjoyed you meal/ snack,really what do you think! A particular favourite of mine is when they offer you one of their crisps of chocolates at snack time, yes please I eagerly reply of course I want to have more. Then this morning while buttering toast with a ready portioned amount of margarine the bank nurse asked would you like some more and a particularly good one shared to me by another patient was when she was using margarine and the bank nurse exclaimed urghh how on earth can you eat that don't you know what's in it thus proceeding to tell the patient how much fat it contained, arhh helpfull. However like I said for the most we can brush them aside and laugh at them.
Yesterday however a particular comment caused such a reaction in me that I had to get one of the regular staff to get the nurse in question away from me before I punched her!! 3.15pm snacks arrived for which I was to have milky coffee and a banana on this occasion the banana had been forgotten I was torn should I tell them or just have the coffee and go without. This caused me to get agitated as I or at least the anorexia thought great you can get away with less but the part of me that desperately wants to see a true weight Monday needed to have it. Anyway bank nurse realising I'm not happy enquired what was wrong I replied stag should learn to read the snack list, she asked if something was missing to which all I could reply was well they should read what you have put, "don't worry bab there probably bringing your snack it doesn't matter" seriously getting wound up at this point situation calmed by entrance of staff nurse who instantly realised I needed a banana and advised he would get one, what came next really did amaze me at how stupid someone can be what I got was "ooh do you like bananas I do" I told her "you can have it if you want" and here comes my shock "ok" on asking if she was joking she told me "well I'll just have half with you" I said are you joking and she replied "I'll only have half" well I have to say I flipped as she started laughing when I said "are you for real are you taking the piss out of me" she continued to laugh until the nurse came in and I told her to get her away from me before I hit her. As if that was not bad enough later the same afternoon I heard a noise and low and behold it was the same nurse fast asleep and snoring on the chair out side my room while I was supposedly meant to be observed. Really helpful to do this not long after snacks when I am trying to fight the urge to vomit.
This is not the first time bank staff have fallen asleep, the first day of my admission and my first evening meal was pizza with a tun of cheese the nurse sat right next to me fell fast asleep, needless to say the cheese was removed from the pizza and disposed of in a tissue. Then the same evening while I lay awake for the entire night the bank nurse on my observation was fast asleep outside my room snoring more in the end I had to shout for him to shut up which did at least wake him I also had to wake him later that night so I could go to the toilet. Frustrating and unacceptable in my opinion.
Anyway I feel I have gone on a bit today and it may not be as coherent as usual I think it's because I am feeling really stressed and anxious, really not wanting to eat because at least if I don't eat I won't feel the need to be sick.