You might know that it’s my last day on the ward on Friday. I suppose, in a way, I’m writing to the ghosts of Langley past patients, because I’ve been here for-flipping-ever, but I wanted to make sure that everybody knows how grateful I am for everything that I’ve been lucky enough to experience on the ward, and how sad I am to go, even though I know it’s the right decision and the right time and all that jazz.
I’m probably not the best placed person to give ‘recovery tips’, mainly as I am so in awe of everyone on the ward who is making the choice to recover day in, day out, but I wanted to share with you two things.
Firstly, take everything that is offered. Meal cookery; CBT; LEAP; Bodywise…there have been times when I have thought I would never be able to take part in a group because I just couldn’t do it, and times when I’ve been like, ‘well this is a flaming waste of time’, but things only seems impossible when you don’t challenge them, and recovery is like a patchwork blanket: it isn’t complete unless you stitch together all the fragments.
Secondly, thankyou for being the people that you are. I have learnt at least one thing from each of you, and that’s the wonderful thing about the power of community. People think that inpatient care is about staff and food, but the people you share your recovery with are just as important. There are people on the ward who I am more than close to, and I am so happy that they have come into my life: I don’t have words to explain how close I feel to them. Strong bonds aren’t based on shared eating disorders, but on shared recoveries.
And, thirdly, and I’m not sure if this will even be read out, but please don’t be frightened of gaining weight. It can be painful and boring and unpredictable, but it is your personality which gains the most. Having a healthy BMI isn’t wearing a badge that says ‘I’m fat now’ or ‘I don’t need anybody’s help’: it’s being trusted to join a Pilates class in the community; nicking other people’s chips without caring and sometimes being like ‘You’re looking damn fine today, gurrrrrrrl’. Being healthy isn’t a signal that you don’t need help, it’s a signal that you’re ready to get the help that you need.
Anyway, I’ve written far too much and we’re all probably bored out of our brains – I’m sorry.
Please keep in touch because I have always been a massive loner, and did I mention that I really, really, really like cuddles?