As written by Meggie Sutherland Cutter…
Trigger warning: This post contains details some readers may find distressing. For support Mamamia urges anyone struggling to contact The Butterfly Foundation.
I spent a couple months at a psychiatric hospital when I was eighteen. Where I was being treated, the eating disorder patients were treated separately from other patients. The facility I went to specialised in eating disorders.
I had no idea what to expect when I got there. When I first arrived and was checked in, I was evaluated physically from a doctor. They had to see how much muscle loss I had from malnutrition. They also had to take my blood pressure, get my weight, take my blood and get a urine sample etc.
I was also evaluated by a psychiatrist. Soon after I was taken to my room if I remember correctly. In my room, a nurse came and looked through all of my luggage. They have to check to make sure you aren’t hiding anything that you could self harm with. Mobile phones were taken away, as well as chargers or any cords you could possibly choke yourself with, no razors for shaving either. The door to my room had to be kept open at all times.
These were private rooms for new patients in the treatment centre. I also was not allowed to go to the bathroom by myself. There had to be someone present to make sure you weren't throwing up or self harming in some way. That was the first part of treatment. The new people stayed in that area, separate from the people who had been there for weeks or months. You could move into the house with the other women when you progressed in treatment.
In the halfway house everyone had a roommate. Some women lived there and only went to treatment for part of the day, and went to work for the rest of the day. Most of the women in the house were in full inpatient treatment however. If you were living in the house you had more free time, and on Saturdays there were scheduled group outings to places like Target, or occasionally a restaurant, always with a therapist chaperoning.