“You’re going home today!”. On the thirtieth of December, my face lit up as I heard those four words. It was day eleven of my first admission for ‘severe Anorexia Nervosa’. Little did I know that six months later I would be amidst my third admission, only this time those four words would not come on day eleven, nor would it come for many days to pass. It’s day twelve today; day twelve since my overdose, day twelve since admission. Day twelve and every day from here on out is breaking new ground and building a new timeframe for my ‘longest admission’. Full disclosure, this is not the ground I’d planned to be breaking, mind you; it’s either this ground or the ground they break to lower my coffin – so day twelve of admission it is.
The last twelve days have seen many things and have brought to me many emotions; overwhelmed would be the first and foremost. The environment within I stay houses many people, I am in the acute psychiatric wing and the secure wing is only separated by a wall. Most often the alarms go off two to three times a day and all available staff run to the secure wing, quite the scary ordeal. It’s not uncommon to hear banging and yelling either. On the acute wing there are currently six other inpatients and each battling their own struggles; I won’t lie it is a scary scary place to be and I remain primarily within the four walls of my room. My days themselves are very much the same. In the mornings I wake between six and seven. The first thing I do is go to the bathroom, leaving the door ajar for my 1:1, I then get dressed and ready for the day. Upon finishing in the bathroom I switch off the light and close the door, I fold my clothes and pack them away in the cupboard that’s bolted to the floor and then I make my bed for the day. My bed too is bolted to the floor, as is everything else in this sterile room. Nurse change over for the mornings take place between seven and seven thirty. Once the change over has taken place I am introduced to my morning nurse who is often a now familiar face and always female. I then ask to retrieve my phone from the communal charging room, as chargers are not allowed in the living courters. My phone is either brought to me by a nurse who was free or my nurse wheels me down in a wheelchair to retrieve it myself; I am still on bedrest. Mornings often begin busy and slow down again after breakfast. Breakfast is at the standard eight o’clock and mine is always; three weetbix, one cup of ‘full cream’ milk and a compact protein drink. The anxiety around breakfast is far less than my other meals as it is the only non-solid meal which is easier to stomach and it is also the same every day. During the half an hour prior to breakfast my nurse completes the bulk of the daily tests. First I am wheeled down to the examination room where I lay with my top half bare on the bed as a daily ECG is conducted, these are most often ‘abnormal’ due to the effect my eating disorder has had on my heart. Next I am given my medication which is a series of vitamins, minerals, thymine and phosphate etc. My blood work is done next, as is my first set of visual obs for the day. Every four hours my blood pressure is taken, lying first before standing for five minutes and taking it again; the five minute wait allows the drs to see if I have a postural drop between my lying and standing, by right there should be no drop after the five minutes however mine often still drops drastically. My blood sugar levels are tested two hours prior and post every meal, this is much less frequent than during the first ten days of re-feeding. Morning tea is served at ten and for that all I’m required to consume is a compact protein drink, the same goes for afternoon tea at three. Lunch and dinner are much the same, served at twelve and five thirty is a cooked meal of some sort; these I am yet to finish, when unable to finish them I am required to consume a compact protein drink. During the weeks my days are often filled with visits from health professionals; Mondays I see my dietician, Tuesdays I see my OT, Wednesdays I see a team of Psychiatrists, Thursdays is my scary review days where I meet with everyone and plans are revisited, Fridays I see the doctors and then weekends there is a rest period. Between meals and visits, I am often either sleeping, reading or writing. Nurses change over between one and three in the afternoon, then again at nine thirty in the evening. I have been blessed with lovely nurses and a number of them are Christians, God has used two in particular who have taken on a motherlike role and really ministered into my life; reminding me of who God says I am and sharing His love with me.
It’s been six days since I hit my rock bottom and in all honesty, I’m still very much there. Allow me to explain. If you’ve read my post prior to this one, you’d know that on Tuesday the sixteenth I found myself realising God’s love for me and surrendering this season unto Him, inviting Him back into my heart. The only problem being, it’s now six days later and I still haven’t let go or opened the door of my heart. I’m still very much stuck amidst my rock bottom. I discussed this with mom earlier today and through a series of events I’ve realised that I’ll remain stuck until I am able to vulnerably let go. Last night T forwarded me a devotion that was written by the CEO of RZIM, you can read it here. Within the article the author wrote; “My dad was a magical storyteller, using story to illustrate even the most complex truths so that they could be held. But he applied the story differently that night, suggesting that perhaps we don’t feel free to love God if we’re holding something back from him. And in that moment, I knew that I was. I was holding back surrender, and I was afraid if I surrendered I would lose something that mattered to me. But that night, I surrendered completely. I flew home the next day; a friend saw me soon after I returned and immediately asked me what had happened to me. It was visible, and it was visceral. My act of surrender created space for me to accept that God loved me, and then because He first loved me, I fell deeply in love with him. That changed everything for me, and in ways I never imagined.” As I read those words I knew exactly why T has thought to share it with me. I recalled when she’d told me that maybe I needed to simply let God love me, but that to do so maybe I’d need to be vulnerable and that in and of itself was scary. Recovery and losing control was also scary, still is. You see, I identify with the author of the article because I too, find myself holding back from full surrender in a fear of losing my control over this season. Now I know what you are thinking, my mom made it loud and clear this morning when we spoke; I do not have control, Gollum does, I know this yet I am afraid to allow God to take control. I have been so resistant in allowing God to love me because I have not been able to love myself, I have not deemed myself as worthy of love but perhaps the key is in the vulnerability of surrender? My mom made a statement in saying that the battle of healing over my life is a battle that is fought spiritually, my illness stems from within me; its a battlefield of the mind, over my heart and my faith. Satan has fought for me to think nothing of myself, he has won and I have treated myself so horribly for so long; I’ve allowed myself to lose my faith and delve wholly into my illness. Healing comes from God and I am in dire need of healing; spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. God’s word tells us that our battles are fought through prayer and thanksgiving; God is waiting to fight my battle yet all this time I’ve denied Him that opportunity. I told my mom and T that vulnerability is scary, healing is scary, allowing God to love me is scary. To that my mom said that yes, it is scary but there is no fear in perfect love and God Himself is perfect love. T has also said that there is no need to be fearful, God has loved me all along but it has been I who’s placed the distance between us. The article ended by saying that; “it is the love of Jesus Christ that saves us and transforms us all.”
My journey in healing will bring forth a complete transformation within me, nothing will remain as it was but it is only by the love of my Heavenly Father, attained through vulnerability and surrender. Up until the day I am able to do so, I will hence forth remain ‘stuck’ in my rock bottom.
– c x