The Waiting Game
I’m playing the waiting game. And it freaking sucks.
My last blog post detailed how I was taking a medical leave from work in order to enter intensive treatment for my eating disorder. The only problem is, I need to wait for an open spot before I can get admitted.
Waiting for a bed is not easy… on so many levels.
Problem #1 is that I need to fill my time. I went from working 40 hours a week at my job to working 0. The first Monday I had off was kind of a relief, as I had been feeling incredibly tired at work and it was a struggle to not only perform but also get through my days with enough energy. But by the end of the week, I find myself running out of things to do. I’m trying to keep myself occupied with one thing per day. However, I have already checked off a lot of boxes on my to-do list.
Problem #2 is that relaxation is difficult. My mind is going a million miles a minute with regards to eating disorder (and recovery) thoughts. The worst thing for me right now is being alone with my thoughts, but unfortunately I do need to process them alone since I can’t be busy 100% of the time. Sure, on paper, curling up on the couch and binge-watching Netflix all day sounds like the best day ever. But with my fast-paced and intrusive thoughts, that seems like the worst plan.
Problem #3 is that no one, not even my treatment team, can tell me when I will be admitted. Due to unpredictable circumstances, it is impossible to figure out when it will be my turn. Believe me, I’ve tried to figure it out. But the waiting list for admission is forever fluctuating, and sometimes there are unexpected discharges and/or admissions. So it becomes useless to try and predict when my name will be at the top of the list. This makes waiting difficult, because it’s not like I have a countdown to my admission date. I literally don’t know if it will take 2 weeks or 2 months (or longer).
Problem #4 is the intensity of my eating disorder thoughts. I’m experiencing what is kind of like the eating disorder’s last “hoorah” - the last few days where I can act on any and every eating disorder impulse before all of my rituals and restrictions are taken away (once I enter treatment). There is this huge misconception where people feel they must get worse before entering treatment. While I tell others not to act on these thoughts, it’s hard when you’re the one waiting. I’m constantly fighting those voices telling me to eat less, and lose more weight, before admission. The eating disorder alone is tiring, but fighting its rules is exhausting too.
Problem #5 is that I’m tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally tired. Tired of the eating disorder, tired of fighting, tired of trying to keep as busy as possible so that I can distract myself from the myriad of thoughts in my head. I just wish that my team would call me and tell me it’s my turn. I am constantly glued to my phone and constantly refreshing my emails, checking for any indication that I’m up for admission. The whole process is tiring, and I don’t think many people understand how bad the waiting game can be.
I guess what I want you all to take away from this is to not underestimate how difficult waiting is. Sure, I’m off work and have unlimited amounts of free time on my hands. But a lot of my time is focused on planning and predicting and stressing and calculating and while my body may be relaxing from being off work, my mind is most definitely not relaxed.
To all of you waiting for something… treatment, a job offer, doctor’s results, opportunities… I hear you. It’s not easy. I wish I had a magical solution for you… a way to make it easier. But I don’t. Just know that you’re not alone. And I hope the waiting period ends soon… for both you and I.