They make us eat six times a day. Three meals and three snacks. We all sit in the kitchen together and there is a monitor at the head of the table making sure we eat everything on our plates and drink everything in our cups. This is called the refeeding process. It must be done slowly and steadily, with more food added on as time progresses so we donâ€™t shock our systems. So we are not in danger of ending up like Karen Carpenter â€” she gained too much weight too fast after starving for a long time, and her heart couldnâ€™t take it.
The bathroom doors are locked so the bulimics canâ€™t go in and puke. (I myself have never been a purger.) When you need to go, you must ask a monitor to unlock the door for you and after she lets you in she stands just outside the door and then you must either count while you are on the toilet, loud enough so that she can hear you, right up until the moment you exit, or you must let her flush for you after you are done â€” so that there is proof that you didnâ€™t vomit your food into the toilet.
Every morning they wake us up at seven and we all put on hospital johnnies, first thing, and go and have our vitals (temperature, blood pressure) checked and have ourselves weighed. I have gained five pounds so far. Iâ€™m doing well. Iâ€™m a model patient, weight gaining-wise. My mental/emo health is another story â€” a longer story, a work in progress.
All I want is to be well and to have energy and to get back on track and to have my quiet little life back. It was a lonely and solitary life, but it was mine. And I was basically healthy-ish. And I was free, in a sense.
Singer/songwriter Juliana Hatfield, who blogged this in early November, while in treatment for an eating disorder at the age of 41. That’s some hardcore shit, and props to Juliana for being so honest about it. She recently released a memoir titled When I Grow Up. Obviously, she’s still working on it, as are we all.