Welcome to Inpatient: A Poem
Welcome to inpatient, take a look around
Are you surprised by what you see?
Or maybe more by what you don’t see?
Because where are the girls with
Paper-thin skin and crumbling bones
Hunched in corners, curled into balls
With their knees to their chest?
Where are all the sunken eyes
And hollow cheeks?
Isn’t that what they are supposed to look like?
Did you think you’d see more tears?
Hear more hiccupped crying?
So where is all that?
Welcome to inpatient, take a second look around
In fact, let me be your tour guide.
Follow my eyes to the far back right,
Perched on the windowsill
Pink hat, sketchpad balanced on knees
Hands flying across paper,
Creating magic with nothing
But a ballpoint pen
Life shooting out of fingertips.
Welcome to inpatient, step with me here to the left now
Three more, crouched intently
All sides of the old coffee table
A thousand small puzzle pieces
Scattered around, and held between fingers
Recreating stilled beauty in between concentrated silence,
Quick, hushed whispers,
And bursts of child-like laughter.
Life rising from every end of that table.
Welcome to inpatient, look right behind them
Furrowed brow, intent eyes
Blue glow reflecting from the computer screen
While flitty fingers tap, tap, tap
Away at computer keys
Seeping intelligence with every word
Spoken and typed
Life flowing at 89 words per minute
Welcome to inpatient, now look to your right
Just a little bit further
Clutching stacks of…
No, not trash. Gifts.
Created by small energetic hands
To remind her
She’s a mother
Nurturing with compassion
Her own bright-eyed girls
As well as the
Big-hearted girls here
In need of motherly love
Life felt with every comforting hug.
Welcome to inpatient
This is not a place
Where half-dead, hollowed-out
This is a place of life
Of strength, of courage, of bravery,
Of laughter, of smiles, of hugs,
Of art, and music, and intelligence.
Yes, there are tears,
As there tend to be in life.
But welcome to inpatient.
We are here,
And we are living.
For those who may not know, for the past 3 weeks, I have been in an inpatient/residential treatment center receiving care for my eating disorder. The first several days were a very special kind of hell, but after about a week, I came to realize that this is nothing like I was expecting. It's a thousand times more excruciating than anyone could possibly explain, but even just in my first week there on inpatient, I learned a lot. When I moved from inpatient over to the residential unit, I wrote this. I was not prepared at all for what I would see and experience, both good and bad. This poem also focuses on a few of the other girls here that I have grown close to in the short time that I've been here.
This blog was originally published here