Going into IP was one of the most memorable events of my entire life. I don't mean this in a good way, but in the fact that I'll never forget it. I met some great people there, and I believe it was what I needed at the time being. There were a lot of things that I didn't agree with, treatment methods that were outdated, but that's not what I'm going to talk about.
The unit I was at was actually a general psychiatric ward, which meant we had a wide range of people with various psychological issues there. One of the most typical questions we were asked by fellow patients after our name and age were "What are you here for?" And the answer to that question was always followed with "Why?".
That question (although pretty inappropriate now that I think about it) struck a chord with me, because at the time I had never stopped to think about this aspect of my illness. It was just something I HAD to do. I didn't know why, I just did. So I set out to find out why. The psychiatrists did little to help in that aspect. Later on I was told that I would probably never discover the reason because it's a complex issue so I might as well not try.
I am not advocating the fact that you should understand your illness and all the reasons behind it perfectly before you try to recover. That's not the point. I've had a specialist tell me that even HE doesn't always know the answers, because this illness is so complex and varies from person to person. But I think discovering some of the reasons that brought you to this point can be helpful in aiding recovery or preventing a relapse.
I had my first driving experience today (on snow - talk about scary). And my instructor made a comment about how petite I was (in reference to my feet not touching the pedals). Anyhow that comment made me happier then it should have, and then I started analyzing why. Why petite? Why not curvy, or womanly, or anything else? I think I figured out the answer to that question, one that is definitely in some small way tied into why this illness had such power over me.
It's hard for me to say this because I don't talk about it, but I was in an abusive relationship. Most of my closest friends don't know this, and I have a hard time telling them. I feel like they wouldn't believe me, or think I'm making a big deal out of nothing. In a way I feel responsible for letting it go on as long as it did, and even letting it happen in the first place. But it happened and it did affect a lot of things - my self esteem, body image and general happiness.
After it ended is when my ED really took off. And I think one of the reasons I craved (and still crave to a certain extent) being petite is because I wanted to be protected. I longed for someone in my life who would stand up for me; someone who would defend me. I had been so hurt that I just wanted someone to protect me. I was tired of the tough" facade I carried around. I wanted to somehow let the people around me know that I had needs, that I wasn't as strong as I pretended to be. And somehow for me the physical tied in behind the mental.
I guess I need to learn to use my voice to communicate what I'm feeling. I'll be the first to admit that this is hard for me. I don't want to be a bother, and I don't want to be seen as "weak" or "needy". What I need to realize is that I am a person just like anyone else. And people need each other. It's ok for me not to be strong 100% of the time. It's ok for me to have issues, everyone does. It doesn't make me less of a person to have needs. We all do and it's ok. It's okay to be human.