Yeah, I was in
a well known Dublin specialised hospital for 12 weeks. Here is my
I first met
the consultant for a preliminary meeting before I was admitted. He
explained his interpretation of how the programme worked but was
quite vague about the details. He also gave me loads of statistics
and information on the success rate of his programme. This
conversation instilled a sense of hope in me and a sense that the
programme could work for me (how wrong was I).
Whilst on the
course, we were supposed to meet him once a week for about 5 to 10
minutes each. He would ask about how we were getting on but that
was about it. Had the lady in charge of the programme flagged
anything of concern to him prior to the meeting, he may have brought
that up too. The first time I met him after I was admitted, he
threatened to throw me off the programme because I was 'complaining
too much'. In fact, the only complaining I had done was to inform
them that the food was too cold (even hot meals were cold - and
every patient on the ward agreed, whether they were on the programme
As for the
food, I wasn't the only one who complained. At one stage the entire
female ward (and remember that EVERYBODY, regardless of the
condition, shared the same wards), refused to eat the food and
signed a petition complaining about the poor quality of it.
The consultant was also
not impressed that I had asked for more tea on a couple of
occasions. This was when I knew that the programme was not going to
work for me (about day 3 or 4 of the programme).
I felt that he spent very little time with us or helping us to
recover. We only saw him for that one short meeting each week.
That was it.
As for one-to-one counselling, he didn't do any.
There was a staff there yes, but only the lady second in command to
the consultant , was full time committed to us (although we didn't
see her all the time either). The other staff members who dealt
with us, also dealt with other patients who were in for other
experience copper fastens my belief that they really haven't a clue
how to deal with the condition, they are insecure about their
treatment methods and they certainly don't want to be open to public
Most of the other patients were suffering from various other
'categories' of depression and/or mental disorder. Most of them
were elderly too. The other staff had to deal with all their issues
too, including the administration of medication, and all other
nursing duties. They didn't share our programme, but we shared the
same dining room, that's was all. I felt particularly humiliated
because I had to spend the whole day on the women's ward (it could
just have easily eaten on the menís' ward, but then again, none of
the staff on the male ward knew the first thing about ED.
Weight gain is the primary focus on this programme. You are weighed
on a very regular basis and you have to make certain gains each
week. I wasn't making any progress at first (despite NOT resisting
and actually asking for more food), so they started to mistrust me.
There is a set food plan, and everybody gets it, male, female,
large, small, overweight or emaciated. Personally, I felt that this
was ridiculous. I was given the same amount of food as would be
appropriate for a young teenage girl, even though I was a 6 foot
tall male in his early twenties (I'm still 6 feet tall and male by
the way, lol). So, it was no wonder that I couldn't gain weight at
After all meals, we had to go to our rest room and just sit for 1/2
an hour. That was torture because it was so boring. They also
refused to take into consideration individual differences in food
and took no account of the state of a sufferer's digestion system.
Curry and other irritating foodstuffs were regularly on the menu
and you ALWAYS had to have a three course meal followed by two
slices of bread with butter and jam - problem with this is that it
bore no resemblance with what constituted a normal diet. Who the
hell eats bread and jam after a curry?
For 'therapy', we had group sessions where we were supposed to set
goals about what we wanted to do with our lives. Again, I felt that
this was a complete waste of time because the things we considered
were just a means of filling time rather than dealing with the
We also had to cook a meal once a week and, on that day, around week
8 I think, we also had to go to town and get the ingredients for
that meal. If we went out, we also had to eat out. I never did it
because I decided I wanted to resume my studies and they agreed to
it. In truth, I just wanted to get away from the group. I was
starting to lose all patience with them because we were having
countless petty arguments and stuff (real big brother scenario).
Finally, I can recall only three other activities. First, there
were art and craft classes that we were told to go to. I have ZERO
interest in them, but they didn't care. Secondly, we were obliged
to go to a relaxation class where we did muscular tensing/relaxing
exercises with visualisation. Boring as hell and, again, I had no
Overall, while I don't know what the theory of the programme was, I
do know that it could not work. All it did was to create a
differently programmed robot.
I refused all
medication when I was on the programme. But, all of the others were
on something or other. I even saw one girl regularly request an
increase in her medication and she usually got it. I also talked to
people getting the electric shock treatment. They'd come back to
the ward looking like zombies.
As regards one-on-one therapy, there was none. I requested it, it
was refused, and I pleaded for some, so they assigned a student
doing her PhD to me. Sure, she was nice to talk to, but couldn't
hope to help me because she didn't understand the condition.
All this was a dreadful experience and I could not wait to get out.
In fact, I rebelled and the ONLY time when I found sanity and
freedom was when I started to sneak out every evening and go for a
short jog in Phoenix Park. God, I felt so free during that time 20
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