In honor of Good Friday: The Good that came out of inpatient. Oh, and two cake ball giveaway winners!

by Elizabeth on March 29, 2013

As I mentioned earlier in the week, there were a lot of good things that I learned while in inpatient treatment. Here are a few of the ones that I try to remember today that help in life overall!

It’s really helpful to experience not having control. Living life with an eating disorder, although it serves several purposes, is an attempt to feel some sense of control over your life when there are other areas that are out of your control. You become addicted to controlling things and even the slightest tampering with a person’s sense of control will rock their eating disordered world. Although it’s NOT FUN to have all of your freedom taken away, it’s great exposure therapy. It’s vital for people to make friends with “out of control” because most things in your life you can’t control! I remember being there and while looking out the window, being so jealous of people walking down the street and all the freedom they had. They had access to their cell phones whenever they wanted, their bathrooms weren’t locked, they could go outside at their leisure, and they got to go home to family at night. Despite not having these luxuries I once took for granted, I learned what it felt like to not have control. And I needed that.

You learn a lot about yourself by trying new things. When I was severely in my eating disorder, it stole my vitality. It took all of my energy to plan, organize, and act out my behaviors. It took my time, my livelihood, and my well-being. When I no longer was able to devote so much time to these things, I had a LOT of free time and needed to find new ways to fill it. My mom sent me some scrapbooking material so I could pass the time by making a scrapbook for Noah and fill it with pictures once he got here. I fell in love with making it and thinking about pictures I would take specifically for certain pages! Never would I have spent the time I did making something so meaningful for him if I hadn’t had that opportunity there. I also discovered I really love painting. When we moved into our house a year ago, I decided to freehand paint one of Noah’s walls giraffe print. I didn’t care how it came out I just wanted to enjoy the experience of creating something for my son.

I also made him some letters to match the bedding.

It’s actually really hard to gain a significant amount of weight. My reasoning for saying this isn’t at all to be triggering. I just know for myself and probably others out there, there is a HUGE fear that if I eat this one thing differently, this one time, crazy things will happen and my life will spin completely out of control! I will gain ten pounds in a week and it won’t ever stop! Wrong. It doesn’t work like that. I think Joe mentioned there were three meals and three snacks a day when I was in inpatient. Just to give you an idea… one daily snack was bigger than any meal I ever ate at home. And that was just a snack. I did this consistently week in and out for 9 weeks and some weeks I was told I only gained a pound. Again, I don’t say this to be triggering. I say it to encourage someone who might be stuck to step outside the box, even if it’s just something small. I promise nothing crazy will happen.

You don’t come out “recovered,” but it’s a good start. I think it’s a common misconception (it was for me) that someone is in need of a higher level of care, they get the help they need, and they come out “fixed/better/well/recovered/insert whatever word you want.” Coming out of inpatient I was probably about 10% different than when I went in (100% being the goal). This probably changes from person to person, but there was a lot of work left to be done. It’s one thing to eat, exercise, sleep, etc. normally when you are being monitored 24/7, and it’s a whole different ball game when you come home and are monitored for (maybe?) a few hours a week. I was fortunate enough to come home to a support system that was pretty much 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and I still struggled A LOT. I learned that it really does take so much time and effort to make new habits for yourself in an old environment. That being said, it can be done. I always remind Joe, the road to wellness isn’t this perfect slow and steady incline. It’s more like a roller coaster and as long as the general trend is upward, that’s what counts. There is so much to be said for struggling and choosing to pull YOURSELF up and do something differently rather than being forced.

And the WINNERS of the cake ball giveaway are:

#22 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries!

# 87 Emily!!!

Email me at [email protected] with the flavor of your choice!

Question:

1. Tell me something GOOD on your Good Friday (guess that wasn’t really a question…)

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michele March 29, 2013 at 7:06 am

Again, thank you for sharing your experience and story. You are a wonderful person!
My son made his First Communion last night (we are Lutheran). We spent the evening as a family and are all home together today (or local frozen yogurt place opens at noon!). Good Friday service tonight and then preparing for Easter…it’s one of my favorite times if the year!
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2 Sarah @PickyRunner March 29, 2013 at 7:12 am

Control is a funny thing. I was a total control freak in my worst days but now, it almost freaks me out in a way. It’s like I have all the control to do whatever I want and I’m afraid of what I could do with it. I love the grocery store but having that much freedom is scary. I find it fascinating to hear these stories’ about other peoples’ experiences with this. The room you painted for Noah is absolutely gorgeous. I definitely do not have that kind of talent. Not in the least.
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3 Thetinyrunner March 29, 2013 at 7:32 am

I love how open you are on your blog! I am so excited to read everyday! LOVE Noah’s room! It is so precious! I am at my parents house for Easter weekend so I get to spend some time with my younger sisters on Good Friday!
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4 klh March 29, 2013 at 7:34 am

I just came across your blog and have been stalking the archives!
The posts from you and your husband about your journey in recovery are absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!!
The goods you have mentioned are definitely spot on!
I am a fellow Texan (although I don’t live there currently) so it’s always fun to see others.

Katie

PS – the painting in your son’s room is awesome!
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5 Kristin March 29, 2013 at 7:41 am

My Friday is good because I am reminded, so intensely, that Jesus died for me and that he thinks I am worthy of his immense suffering. Even when I am feeling discouraged or “fat,” I can remember that I am enough for him. :) My friday is also good because the sun is FINALLY shining in Michigan! :)

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6 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats March 29, 2013 at 8:05 am

I am glad you touched on the good side of treatment. It isn’t meant to be a cure all but any good that you can take away from it is a blessing :) Also, I’m completely obsessed with Noah’s nursery wall.
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7 Emily March 29, 2013 at 8:06 am

My case was nowhere as severe as yours, but I did go to counseling back in the day for my disordered eating. I agree that you don’t come out of it recovered, but with any luck you come out facing the right path to recovery. Thanks again for sharing your story!

Oh, I got my son’s Easter basket last night, and I’m so excited to celebrate with him this weekend!
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8 Karen :0) March 29, 2013 at 8:24 am

Scrapbooking is a great tool! Love the letters you made. Thank you for being so open and honest about your treatments. I know you are reaching a lot of people who need to hear what you have to say! Have a great Easter weekend!

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9 Chelsie S March 29, 2013 at 8:55 am

This post is amazing and hit a very strong note with me because I found that I got the exact same benefits out of inpatient treatment. That was three years ago for me, and I’m finally reaching a point of consistently living without my eating disorder. I think that, like you, I came out 10% better, but instead of fighting, I relapsed. Twice. But each time I learned more and more about myself. I incorporated what I had learned while in treatment to each subsequent recovery. Inpatient didn’t “cure” me, but it did give me the tools that I needed to finally wish to bring myself towards health and continue to strive for that every day.
Thank you for writing this post (and all of your posts!). You’re a fabulous example of humility, courage, strength, perseverance. Keep the faith. :)

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10 Kelsey March 29, 2013 at 9:04 am

It’s going to be a sunny day! Great post and LOVE Noah’s room :)
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11 Alex @ therunwithin March 29, 2013 at 9:04 am

this makes me beam for you! I think it really shows how in tune you are with your body now
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12 Amy N. March 29, 2013 at 9:58 am

Wow, the giraffe print on Noah’s wall is so adorable! Can I convince you to come paint my boys room?

I loved hearing about the good things about impatient treatment. Often we hear how hard it was and what torture it was, and don’t always hear the lessons learned out of it or the things you learned to appreciate it.
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13 Amy March 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

Thank you for being so open! As a nurse, runner, and someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for longer than I care to mention, (and has been inpatient 5 times) it’s nice to hear you be so honest. I am FINALLY headed toward the recovery side! I am thankful that I don’t have to work Easter!, that I just went on a 5mile run with my husband (it’s finally sunny in Boston!) and I am running in a half marathon tomorrow! Sorry for the long response!

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14 Debbie @ Deb Runs... March 29, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thank you again for another great follow-up post to your series. How were you toward Joe and your family when you first arrived home from inpatient treatment? Was it awkward at first, or were you able to move right back into your relationship with everyone because you were so thankful for them and their support?

My something good on Good Friday: Today I’ve already hit Costco and the local grocery store, and I’m ready to work on my Easter Bunny cake for Sunday! :-) Happy Easter!
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15 HilJo March 29, 2013 at 11:23 am

I really appreciate these posts. I remember getting weighed at the doctor the summer before my junior year of high school and being so afraid I drank about 10 cups of water before hand and put rocks in my pockets. Sitting in that waiting room dying to pee was such a horrible horrible feeling. I wanted to be so tiny, but I did not want the doctor to say anything was wrong. Two summers later when I was in the sitting room I was mildly curious what I would weigh, but not freaking out. I had gained almost 30 lbs and was actually a healthy weight, and though I was a little sad to see “high” numbers, I was SO MUCH HAPPIER in the waiting room. It was a good reminder for me.

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16 Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom March 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

I had an awesome gym session this morning (even though it was short), the sun is shining, I am breathing, and I had a really nice conversation with a man in the grocery store today :D
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17 Alyssa @ See This Girl Run March 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

Good: Not only will I (hopefully!) be able to get in a work out tonight (I had to miss yesterday) but I can sleep in a little tomorrow morning (like…7:30 or 8) :) I can’t wait! I’m so tired today haha
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18 Joe Sauvageau March 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

Wha an excellent post babe! I am going to have a hard time topping that for my Monday afternoon post ;) I love you!

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19 sharissespieces March 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm

husband comment=super sweetness!
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20 Chelsea March 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm

My husband and I just signed up for our first 5K! And our church is broadcasting our Easter service, so even though Mark has to work we’ll still be able to “go” to church :) TWO good things for a VERY Good Friday
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21 Allison March 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

These are some great lessons. You are so honest; thank you!
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22 Cori @ olivetorun March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I guess I wasn’t meant to have cake balls. :(
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23 char eats greens March 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm

That’s kinda awesome that Ashley won on THE DAY SHE HAD HER BABY!!!! (I’m dying for her story over here haha)

I love Noah’s letters!!! I painted a tree in my baby girl’s room and I’m going to eventually have her name hanging from a tree branch!!
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24 Rebecca H March 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm

My good thing for today was my husband took surprise leave from work so he could come home and hang out with me :)
I love the giraffe print on Noah’s wall! You are awesome and I hope you have a wonderful Easter :)

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25 [email protected] March 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm

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