Welcome to Inpatient: A Poem


By: Amelia

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

Shoulders hunched

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.

“To Mommy”

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

Girls reside.

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,

And sobs,

And screams:

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