So today I was thinking back on all that has happened this year. It seems like just yesterday that I was at Remuda when I really was admitted there on February 10th. I just can’t believe it was that long ago. In honor of all the time that I have been out, I thought that I would go back and think about my last few weeks before going there….
In late January, my friend Gabrielle was coming from Florida to stay for a long weekend. I was so excited. Little did I know, though, that she was coming to visit to try to talk to me about what was going on. At this time I was still in school, my classes for the spring semester had just started. For my music class we were required to go see a couple performances and write reports on them. One night I had gotten tickets for us to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Weinberg Center. Right before we left, my mom was talking to me about some blood work results that I had gotten back a few days earlier. When I looked at all the pages of them, I didn’t notice any levels that were abnormal. But, when my mom looked at them, she saw some that were not quite right. She told me that she looked them up online and that they were all problems caused by being underweight. I was just so sick then that I somehow didn’t think that being 82 pounds was a problem. The way I looked at it, I was not having any noticeable symptoms of malnutrition-dizziness, fainting, etc.- so how could I possibly be sick? Little did I know, my organs were basically shutting down inside of me.
I remember wishing that my mom hadn’t told me this right before we went to dinner and the performance. Throughout the whole show I was just totally tuned out of everything and I felt so numb. I wanted to cry but I just couldn’t. My mom noticed my terrible mood and emailed me that we would find the help that I needed. I was thinking about my condition the whole night and that’s when I made the decision that would change my life.
When we got home, Gabrielle went to her room to get changed for bed and just relax a bit. I stayed out in the kitchen with my mom to talk to her. I just broke down in tears when I told her that I knew the only way I was going to get better was if I went to inpatient treatment somewhere. She gave me a big hug and told me that we would do whatever it took, and that we would do that if it’s what I really thought I needed. This was a groundbreaking moment in my life. It is so out of character for me to break down and admit that I can’t do something on my own. It was so hard to just be vulnerable like that, but I knew I had to swallow my pride if I wanted to live.
After my talk with my mom, I felt a little better knowing somewhat about the direction I would be going in. I went back to Gabrielle’s room to talk to her and tell her what just happened. It was so comforting talking to her. She just made me feel so great and assured me that there was no shame at all in what I was going ot do. She told me that she would be there with me through everything and would write to me all the time. This moment just made me so much more thankful for having such a wonderful friend in my life. I know that no matter what, Gabrielle will always be there for me and I will always be there for her as well.
When the next week started, I went with my mom to my second-ever meeting with my fabulous therapist, Beth. I told her that I needed to go to inpatient treatment and she thought that was the best idea. She told me about two places where I could go, Remuda Ranch in Bowling Green, Virginia, or Shepard-Pratt in Baltimore. When Beth talked about Remuda, I sort of saw her eyes light up and she just spoke about it with a passion that she didn’t express for Shepard-Pratt. I knew instantly that I would end up at Remuda. I humored my mom by looking into the other place, but I knew in my gut that I was dead set against it. For one, it was in Baltimore, just a short distance from Loyola, where I had just transferred from, and I under no circumstances did I want to be around there again.
Over the next few days, we got things in order with Remuda. I had to go through so many calls with the intake coordinators about my condition. I had to go to school and talk to the administrators about taking a leave of absence. The dean of students that I talked to was so understanding. I could tell that she truly had my well-being at heart. She told me to take as long as I needed and that, when I was ready, my place at Hood would be there waiting for me. She gave me a little stuffed bear with a Hood shirt on that was so cute and soft. Unfortunately, when I got to Remuda, they took it away from me; there were very strict rules about what we were and weren’t allowed to have. The people at the registrar told me that they would take care of contacting all of my professors about how I wouldn’t be there anymore, so that was good that it was one less thing I had to do in preparation for my departure.
I soon found out from the people at Remuda that I would be going there in a matter of days. That really threw me for a loop. I thought for sure I’d have at least a week before I would go, I was pretty sure that I would have more than that, though. The hardest part was coming up- saying goodbye to my friends. I thought that I was going to be at Remuda for two months. One month in the intensive in-patient program and one month in their “step down” program that would get us ready for life at home again.
Amanda and I met up one day after she had class at Hood. I told her what was going to happen and I don’t think she thought that things were that serious. That’s understandable, though, because I didn’t either until a couple days earlier. I gave her my address for there and all that information and I made her promise to write me all the time and keep me informed on what I was missing out on.
One of the worst parts about this whole process was packing. We were really restricted on what we could bring, so I felt like I was packing the ugliest clothes that I owned. Even though I was going to rehab, I still wanted to look my best and it was killing me that I was having my sense of fashion taken away from me. I was also limited to two suitcases. Um, I can barely pack one large suitcase for only a week long vacation, so limiting me to two for two months was CRAZY. It was definitely a challenge, but I stuffed them full as I could.
The night before I left for Remuda, I went out to dinner with my parents and Amanda to Bonefish Grill. Despite everything going on, I couldn’t help but find it a little funny that we were “celebrating” me going to rehab for an eating disorder by going out to eat. It’s strange that going out to eat is really the only thing people do in celebration of different events.
The ride to Remuda was torturous. It took three hours. I was in the back of the car feeling like a little girl and listening to somber music the whole way there. We stopped at a fast food restaurant on the way for a bathroom break. I broke down in tears in my moms arms because I just did not want to go. I tried to convince her that I would definitely be able to get better at home, that we could just turn the car around and head back. I would be fine, I didn’t know what I was thinking when I decided that I needed serious help. But, as you can probably guess, she did not buy that little pity party.
I asked her what it would be like when I was there because I didn’t get any information about how the day would go. She told me that we would be woken up at 5:00 every morning. That was like a slap in the face. 5:00!?!? I don’t think I had ever gotten up that early before in my entire life. This was going to be a harder transition than I thought. She told me that the day would be filled with therapy sessions and meals and some down time. We would have specially allotted time for phone calls and we would only be allowed in our rooms for a half hour before we were supposed to go to sleep. This was crazy. I was going to rehab, not prison! I was just glad that I hadn’t known all this before, if I had I would have been fretting about it for much longer than I needed to.
When I got to Remuda I was just numb and totally disconnected from everything. We all went into a room with an intake coordinator and she started to ask me some questions. I don’t know how that woman understood anything I told her because once I opened my mouth to talk, the floodgates opened and the tears were pouring out of my eyes. I got only a couple minutes to say goodbye to my parents and then I was hopped in the oh-so-convenient golf carts for transportation to the adult building. Those things would become one of the worst parts of my day. To conserve our energies and keep our expended calories at an absolute minimum, we had to be transported in the golf cart anywhere we went.
Well this blog is getting really, really long and I’m sobbing thinking back about everything. I could go on and on about everything that happened during my stay at Remuda, but this post was supposed to help me reflect on what happened before I was admitted so I’m just going to cut it off there. I will probably post more later about my stay, but for now, I think that this is good enough. The post has done it’s job in clearing my mind and I feel like a huge load has been taken off my shoulders.