Gossip Girl, Treatment Version
Disclaimer: This is a venting post. Also, while I poke fun at the topic, please know that gossip is a serious issue, even on an inpatient unit.
We've all been there. Something happens and someone tells somebody about it. Then word spreads and before you know it, the whole school, work place, or sports team knows what happened to said person.
We are not immune to this gossip phenomenon. Gossip lives on in all types of social circles and against our better judgment, sometimes we join in. Or give in. Although we know better, we "extend" the line of gossip until it gets further and further away from the source.
Why do we do this? Everybody wants a thrill. Everybody wants to feel included. And sometimes we just want people to like us. None of these reasons for our behaviour are inherently bad. But what aren't so great are the malicious acts in which we partake in order to achieve these goals.
Now, I've mentioned school, the work place, and sports teams as examples of where gossip can occur. But throw a bunch of girls (and sometimes boys) together in a tight space with limited access to the real world and what do we have? The BREEDING GROUNDS for gossip. This, my friends, is known as "Gossip Girl, Treatment Version".
What can we possibly gossip about in treatment? Well, don't be surprised. The list is extensive. Some of it may seem a bit peculiar to the average person, but trust me, issues are REAL here in treatment.
Here is a quick breakdown:
- "She is hiding food". Or, more specifically, "she is hiding butter in her napkin".
- "Did you hear she faked her weight? She did it so she wouldn't have her privileges taken away".
- "He is always giving me the biggest piece of _____ (insert food item). He just wants the smallest piece for himself.
- "I heard her exercising in her room last night...".
- _____ (insert staff member) is so rude and never available. Clearly she doesn't do her job well".
- _____ (insert staff member) called me out for standing too much. He is so annoying".
Now, don't get me wrong. While these issues may seem petty, when you are living on a locked unit, it can feel like this is ALL that people talk about. And these kind of issues really trigger that eating disorder voice in your head, the one you are fighting so hard against, leaving you feeling angry and frustrated.
It's so easy to get sucked into all of this. But after a conversation I had yesterday, I will do my best to absolutely refrain from any Gossip Girl-like behaviour. To be honest, I have enough of my own problems at the moment and I don't need to take on anyone else's. At the same time, I want to start advocating for those being gossiped about, especially if the "talkers" are in the wrong.
My advice to those of you inpatient:
- Walk away from any triggering talk. If something is upsetting you, you owe it to yourself to walk away and focus on you. Your health. Your recovery.
- Don't be afraid to speak your opinion. Your voice is just as worthy of being heard. Stand up for those being gossiped about. Don't let the talkers get away with their inaccuracies. Even if they do speak the truth, they shouldn't be talking behind someone else's back.
- Don't join in. It can be so easy to succumb to peer pressure and "join in" on the gossip train. But there is no need to do that. It will only come around to bite you in the end. You can still fit in without gossiping. Choose to talk about movies, or music, or your life story. Don't seek approval at someone else's expense.
- Choose your friends wisely. Treatment friendships can be great, but ultimately you're there for yourself. You go in alone and you leave alone. Put yourself first.
There you go, friends. A little insider scoop on treatment gossip. But more relevantly, please shy away from any kind of gossip, no matter what setting you're in. It's just not worth it.