A meal with an anorexic is likely not a pleasant experience for either you or the anorexic. They are terrified of food. After a few days, I'm picking up the lingo. There are "safe" foods. There are "challenge" or "fear" foods. In the program, an anorexic that doesn't clean his/her plate has to Boost, which is to drink an Ensure-like supplement. Boosting regularly will get you a higher level of care.
Social Butterfly's program is 9-3 six days a week, except for Wednesday which is also family therapy from 3-4:30. SB will also see an individual therapist once a week and will be followed by a psychiatrist. They also have a schoolteacher.
Back to my beginning: A meal with an anorexic is likely not a pleasant experience for either you or the anorexic. They are terrified of food. I am lucky, SB is doing so well in the program eating a variety of foods that I am able to stick with the safer foods. I have left the potato chips and doughnuts to the professionals and I've stuck to a lot of chicken and brown rice, beans, corn tortillas and avocado. She has always loved avocados and they are a healthy source of the fat she needs in her diet. She doesn't love avocados anymore, but she is eating them.
Imagine how you would feel if a spider was right in front of you and you couldn't away from it. Really picture what it would look like, what it would feel like (stomach churning?) and how your heart would pound. Imgagine the anxiety building and building unabated until it was terror.
That (from what I can see) is what an anorexic feels like about their food. Treatment means confronting this five to six times a day with three meals and two or more snacks. And the calories! In order to gain weight anorexics need to eat more calories than it would take you or I to gain the same amount of weight, so it's a lot of food. When they say they are stuffed, they are right. I am putting on weight just from eating with her! The nutritionist says that's common.
But we do it, she and I, every day we confront the terror--and guess what? She is getting better already. While the beginning of the week the meals required cajoling, negotiating and threatening--as well as a preternatural calm that is not my default setting--on my end, the last two nights have been pleasant. She's not thrilled to eat the food, but she doesn't have a choice--not if she wants to get better, and she does want to get better.
We have had a great first week, with progress made already. I had not even realized how much her "light" had dimmed until she laughed with abandon tonight and I realize I haven't heard that in too long.
Also? I learned a cool thing in Dialectical Behavior Therapy--it's called "Wise Mind" and I think I'll post about it tomorrow.