Back in hospital

So I’m back in hospital and have been since 17 December. It seems like everyone saw it coming; my mum, my aunt, my friends, the nurses, even readers of my blog. Everyone except me that is. Huh. Naively I thought if I didn’t have any physical health problems, they wouldn’t form me under the Mental Health Act, and I believed my case manager when she said they wanted to keep me out of hospital. This is a new low for me, one month out before being back in again. Usually I’m able to keep out for at least four months between admissions.

So how did it happen? It started with two of my friends whom were also inpatients last admission voicing their concerns to me. They were concerned I wasn’t eating much and I’d lost weight all over again, and had convinced themselves I was at risk of dropping dead overnight. They asked me to come to the Emergency Department with them, I told them there was no need and that I was fine. After much convincing and my friend saying that she wouldn’t sleep at night worrying about me, and that they couldn’t forgive themselves if they had to attend my funeral, I came with them into the psych triage at A St. I went out of guilt and I was sure whoever I saw would also agree that I’m fine. Spoke to a nurse and a doctor who were happy for me to go home and said they’d talk to L, my community mental health nurse/case manager. The next day I had a visit from my case manager who said that she’d talk to the psych registrar, Dr D, to see if I could get an appointment with her during the week. On Tuesday morning I then got a call from L asking me to come in for an appointment with Dr D that afternoon. I went and drove to my appointment without any inkling whatsoever that I wasn’t going to be able go back home that afternoon. I was told by Dr D they had spoken to the inpatient consultant psychiatrist and that they wanted me to come into hospital. If I didn’t agree, I would be formed under the Mental Health Act. My relatives had to pack my bag for me, come drop it off and drive my car home for me.

The next morning I was reviewed by the doctors and dietitian where I was told I’d be put under a Form 6 under the Mental Health Act, they’d be inserting a nasogastric tube, I’d be put on bed rest, be on a 1:1 nursing special, and whereas last admission they discharged me at a BMI of 16, this time they wanted me at a BMI of 18.5. “What if I eat and or/drink orally?” I asked, desperate to avoid an NG tube. They replied that it’s “Not negotiable.” Obviously I was upset at all I was told, and after the review I tried to abscond from the ward. Unfortunately it was my poorest effort yet, and I didn’t get very far before a nurse and a doctor caught up to me, grabbed me by the arms and forcibly escorted me to the seclusion room of the PICU/locked ward.

It’s there I stayed for six long days. I refused to let them put the NG tube in so I was restrained and injected with midazolam so that they could try and force it up through my nose. The events are a little blurry, but I remember a nurse trying twice to get it in, me trying my best to prevent that from happening, and somehow or other I actually got out of it and thus far no NG tube has been put in. A short time after that, my blood pressure apparently dropped quite low, and a code blue was called. I was pretty out of it by then, but remember having an oxygen mask and getting IV fluids put through.

For the first few days on the locked ward I was confined to my room on bed rest. I found that very hard to handle, with nothing to do except read a book or stare at the wall. Being a PICU, everything is taken off you- phone, iPad, electronic equipment, cords, toiletries, anything breakable, jewellery, bag, keys, wallet, and plates and cutlery were all plastic. I self harmed at one point by using my nails to scratch my arm and using my watch to hit my arm- until I was restrained by nurses and security guards on my bed, and had my watch taken off me.

On Monday when the dietitian and then doctors came to see me I was told I would be allowed to be wheeled in a wheelchair to the lounge room to watch TV- but still not allowed to have my meals in the dining room or participate in OT activities. Though those conditions were a tiny bit better, I was upset that I was still so restricted, and not allowed to even walk 5m to get from A to B. In addition to this, because aforementioned friend was also in the locked ward, staff wanted to prevent us from interacting and we were told we weren’t allowed to talk to each other. At one time when we were both in the lounge room, a nurse told me I had to go back to my room, as we were apparently communicating with each other. That’s when I got pissed off and started arguing- we had not said one word to each other that whole time in the lounge room and it felt so unfair that I was the one kicked out when there’s nothing else I can do. There was one night though where the nurses didn’t care that we were talking to each other, and it really helped my mood to be able to chat and have a laugh with her, other patients and nurses. On the locked ward I was so bored and depressed that I didn’t give a shit any more and actually ate, even extra food like ice cream, chocolate and cheese toasties.

I was moved back up to the open ward on Christmas Eve. After being in such a controlled and restricted environment, it is such a relief to be back on an open ward. It’s much more relaxed, I have all my belongings back, I’ve been having my meals in the dining room and have been to the OT groups of cooking and art. On Christmas Day I had a few hours leave with my relatives, as my parents are overseas at the moment. I was seriously contemplating killing myself if I was still in the locked ward and confined to my room, but as I wasn’t and had been moved to the open ward, I was in a good enough mood that I didn’t bring back to the ward things to harm or kill myself with. It was nice getting away from the hospital, being away from being constantly watched and getting to see my dog, even if I did eat then purge while home.

I’m still on constant 1:1 nursing, and this is the longest that I’ve continuously been specialled. The doctor on duty came to see me today, and it happened to be the doctor I was seeing whilst inpatient at another psych ward during October/November 2011. He remembered me, and joked “You’re always needy!” about me being specialled….again.

Unlike last time in hospital, this time I’ve actually been eating and mostly compliant. I’m trying not to think about it, how much I loathe being controlled, being made to gain weight, eat way more than I’m comfortable with and how fat and disgusting I feel. I’ve been told they want me to be 46kg before discharge but there’s no way I’ll be okay with that. I’ve never been 46kg in my life, the most I’ve ever been is about 43kg, and that’s when I was eating normally and hadn’t purged in months. I’m Asian, 158cm with a small body frame and 46kg is too high, none of my clothes will fit at that weight. Right now I don’t even plan to go home and lose weight all over again, I could probably live with maintaining at around 40kg which would be high enough so that I don’t get scheduled under the Mental Health Act, but I’d rather kill myself than be 46kg. If necessary, I believe I do have the means to do so properly. When I came into hospital I was 34.8kg, just 11 days later I was 39.0 kg this morning. I’ve been told they expect a gain of about 1kg a week, and in less than two weeks I’ve already gained 4.2kg. On one hand that gets me out faster. On the other hand it proves to me that this amount of food is way too much for me, I’m always bloated and I’m ballooning with how much I’m eating.

18 thoughts on “Back in hospital

  1. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m in a similar boat, I know how much it sucks. My last two admissions they discharged me at bmi 18. It’s unbearable. I’m 2 weeks out an at bmi 16.45 lol. It won’t end well. I know that but I can’t help myself.

    Your weight gain should settle. And either way it has to be done. Comply with what you can, if you can.

    I wish they’d just leave people alone.

  2. What a waste of tax payers money. If you want to starve yourself to death then go ahead. Your completely selfish. There are really sick people with Cancer who want the medical help and are fighting for their life.
    Your completely self absorbed and all you think about is yourself. God gave you your body and you starve it and abuse it like you do
    Maybe try doing something nice for other people instead of obsessing over how you look and your weight.

    • If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Do you even know anything about mental illness? Have you ever experienced it? If not, then don’t put down things that you have no idea about.

    • Michele, get the fuck off this blog. Cancer and eating disorders are completely different things, so you cannot compare them without sounding stupid. If you believe in all that “god” shit, then he also gave her this disorder, and since he gave people free will she can do whatever the fuck she wants with it, though it would make a lot of people happy if she didn’t have to be forced into the hospital all the time. It’s not just an obsession over weight and appearance, it’s a mental disorder. This is how people with EDs think. This is how we cope with things. This is how we rationalize. Recovering from an ED means going against everything your mind is programmed to do.
      You need to go educate yourself before you go around saying shit.

    • You also said that you wouldn’t be sending anymore comments back in November, and I think you need to stick to that. Stop sending comments. Keep your promises. Don’t lie. Don’t post anymore. You’re bad at it.

  3. Well you haven’t got a clue have you Michele??? Before you start writing nasty bitchy little comments on something you clearly don’t know the first thing about, why not try learning maybe develop a bit of compassion! Good for you if you don’t understand the extreme levels of guilt,anxiety and self hatred people with eating disorders live with! It’s idiots like yourself that stop more people asking for help! They’re afraid they’re going to be judged be self riotous clueless people like you! And guess what Michele people dye from eating disorders! Anorexia has the highest mortality rate out of all mental health problems!

    Sweetie please be strong I know 46kg must seem a lot but they’re trying to give you longer to accept your recovery after you leave! Xx

  4. And I know how scary gaining weight is. I just hope that you are able to get out of the hospital quickly. The way they treated ED patients is ridiculous and doesn’t ever sound like it helps people that are in there other than pissing them off and making them gain weight. It’s not just a weight thing, jeez.

  5. Oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear you’re back in hospital. Though this post seems to reflect a better adjustment to being inpatient than your previous stay. I hope you are able to get healthy mentally and physically with the least amount of trauma possible. It can be so frustrating when they just seen the one side to your illness (the anorexia) and not treat the other difficulties you’re experiencing.

    I feel your pain regarding PICU. I spent a week in one and it was…incredibly difficult and I still struggle with the memories of it.

    I just wanted to leave you some encouragement. You can get through this, Will Find Hope. There are people out there who care for you, even though I just know you through this blog. With love from Canada. 🙂

  6. ^I’m guessing Psychiatric ICU?

    This was very sad to read. I’m afraid you are only eating so you can gain weight, be released, most likely to fall back on old habits. You may relapse and be re-hospitalized. Sorry to sound pessimistic but the truth is they are not really treating you – just trying to ‘fatten you up’ so to speak (not literally fat but you know what I mean). The system in place fails to help people.

  7. Treatment for an ED has two aspects, the physical and emotional. If you are only getting treatment for the physical side of it, maybe you should ask them about starting some therapy to target the emotional side. The hospital will have psychologists for you to talk to, and it may also be able to link you with an outside psychologist for treatment in and out of hospital.
    You often complain that you are not receiving the care that you expect. Have you thought about voicing these ideas? Asking for therapy for things that are bothering you?
    Also what happened to the DBT program that you were going to do? Are you still able to attend that group? From what I understand is that some aspects of DBT are really useful for anxiety, depression and EDs.

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