So, you’ve reached Transition (or, for the rest of the world, that wonderful, incredible patch between 17.5 and 20, also known as ‘no man’s land’). Congratulations and so on and so forth, but also I am completely feeling the mixed emotions thing. I’m going to be really annoying and say that you should love your body, but at the same time I shall be shouting at mine in a mirror.
But yes. Transition. You’ve reached that wonderful stage of your recovery where you start to feel that you haven’t got all that far to go, and that you should be going out and doing something with your life. I have been there, done that and guessed the size of my t-shirt because I couldn’t stand the thought of changing rooms. Therefore, I have compiled a list of tips and tricks for Transition, because I am kind, annoying and clearly have nothing better to do with my life. Also Quetiapine is in my bodaaaaaaay.
So, yes. Tips.
1. Every week, make sure you shout at somebody (a member of staff in my case, but you could probably use your therapist to the same effect) about how nobody cares about you when you’re no longer at death’s door. It isn’t true – my key worker told me – but it’s very therapeutic in a cathartic sense of the word. Also, you may award yourself points for every time somebody tells you that it’s a ‘different stage of treatment’ and ‘just a different point in the journey’. 10 points = 1 vodka shot
2. In no way whatsoever at all does reaching Transition/that BMI mean you’re better. You’re not. I thought that I was, and I used to feel so embarrassed about still being in hospital until I realised that I was actually still pretty crazy and I needed to work on stuff in order to be a functioning member of society. The confusing thing about this bit of recovery is that there’s no set path, really, because there is no fixed goalpost for ‘better’. You have to make your own goals and then ask for help with them, but that can be quite empowering if you’re into the blue sky thinking way of life. Which obvz I am.
3. I’m terrible sorry not sorry when I say that it’s all about the BMI. Nobody ever believes me when I bang on about it but 20 is da magic number. I didn’t believe it before I got there, because I was like, ‘No mate. That is too high.’, like the ganstaaaaaar that I am, but it turns out that all the research is right. It’s like a biological light switching on in your head. Sort of like being a squirrel that has been hit on the head by an acorn but then his head repairs and he can see clearly again. I think of 17.5-19.5 as my ‘wilderness patch’ because I was in the wilds of not knowing where I was going and writing poems about relapse and setting myself goals for relapse and stuff, but it turned out that I was still fairly malnourished in the grand scheme of things. This should be number one really but it only just came to me now, so it’s number three. But I like threes.
4. Leave is good as long as you’re good. I made that catchy little slogan up myself there. I might be trademarking it. Yeah. Eat stuff. It’s fine. People are more fun that way. And food is nice. Which is a fact. It’s a thing we can’t deny like the fact that everybody should love pie. See what I did there? Also, plan real life things to do. Mum and I went food shopping at Waitrose once to practise being in the public food shop and not having ye olde breakdown. It turned out to be the worst weekend leave of my life but that is not the point I am making. The point I am making is that doing stuff like that is almost as important as the food. No-one can teach you to live again because it’s such a personal thing, but it’s highly integral to stuff.
5. Wear nice clothes. You are worth it, even if you don’t feel it/see it/want to be. The problem with it is that everybody either tells you that you’re looking nice/better etc. and you feel like the proverbial Lincolnshire Thick Sausage in the chipolata tub, or people don’t say anything at all, and you feel like the proverbial Lincolnshire Thick Sausage in the chipolata tub.
6. You are not the Lincolnshire Thick Sausage in the chipolata tub. And nobody is saying that to be nice. It’s just the truth. You wonder whether you’ll ever tolerate your body again, but it’s not that you learn to love it, it’s that it becomes less important. That was difficult for me to believe after spending years pinching bits of me and all the stuff that accompanies the pinching, but it sort of just happens if you let it.
7. Cry as much as possible on as many people as possible. You get 10 points for each person you cry on and 100 for anybody with a clinical job title. Crying is highly therapeutic but also you want to be getting as much as possible out of the NHS supply of tissues whilst you still have the chance. Whatever you do, remember that recovery doesn’t mean no more being sad, it just means that you can process and deal with the sadness better and it makes more sense.
8. Eat all the foods. Try the new foods and don’t be scared not to like stuff. It’s not a bad thing to have a ridiculous supper and hate it but still complete it and crowd surf out of that Dining Room like you own it. The more perverse the better because then you can trot out that hospital door and be like ‘I can do this, bitchez; I ate trout stuffed with skittles and broccoli for supper. You can’t phase me.’. This is a true fact.
9. Do reward yourself for doing good. You have earned it so flipping much because you are working so hard. There’s nothing wrong with a splash of behaviourism sometimes. Maybe I am trying to say ‘be kind to yourself’ but the wrong words came out. Sometimes this happens. Don’t forget that you may be fighting les war against your body and brain, but you will still always be your own best friend. And when you strut around your local area in your 100% silk lounge suit, embroidered with the cast of Heartbeat, people will be nothing but jealous.
10. Always fight to win. It is so easy to be like, ‘yeah mate I’m doing it and then I’ll be back where I was again’, but you have to be well firm with your head that that is not what is happening here, and actually you are in control of what happens and you have the choice not to listen and it’s all going to be your way from here on in. I make it sound like it’s an easy thing to do and it’s not, but it’s the most important bit, unless I’ve said that about anything else in here, in which case it’s the second most important thing, or hierarchive for yourself or something.
So there are my tips. Sorry and all, but I do like to just come out with words at all times, and sometimes writing is better than speaking because nobody tells me to shut up and I have a personal promise never to search bins, because then I believe that others treasure my every word. It is vair frustrating to me that there isn’t a more prescriptive path for the later stages of weight gain, because it is such an important bit, and it’s the bit where you can grab it by the balls and run with it, or forget what the point is, and look at new admissions/people you perceive as thinner and think that they’re getting more attention than you (this may just be me). Whatever you do, don’t let it be that one because I don’t know, it’s just so important and so difficult to tell people that recovery and maintaining weight and starting to not worry about the old stuff is within everybody’s grasp and it’s also jolly good japes at times.
Transition on, comrade.