Monday, June 11, 2012

June challenge 11: force

I am trying to be organic with this challenge and write about the first thing that pops into my mind when I read the day's word. Today, I saw 'force' and it immediately conjured up memories of time in hospital. The nature of anorexia and the infamous ambivalence towards treatment means that anyone who's been in hospital will have known people who've undergone compulsory treatment, even if they have not, themselves, experienced it.

Compulsion can be merely the threat of use of the Mental Health Act to force someone to comply with the ward's routines and regulations. Rarely, force is used physically. If a patient is being held according to a section of the Mental Health Act, nurses are able to restrain them in order to ensure that they comply with treatment. In the sphere of EDs, this is most often manifested as staff holding down a patient in order to site an NG tube and provide nutrition through the tube. (sometimes NG feeding is done on voluntary patients or on involuntary patients without restraint, because as an involuntary patient, you know that if you refuse the NG feed, restraint will be used).

I have never had to be restrained myself but know from experience that the atmosphere on the ward becomes very strained when someone is "refusing", and therefore (possibly) being restrained and tube fed after each of the 3 meals and 4 snacks in the day. The alarms will go off at several times through the day and staff from other wards respond to the alarm to assist with the restraint.

All the patients feel wretched for their friend/peer who is experiencing such a difficult time and also feel bad for the way that it affects them: feeling guilty for not refusing; feeling abandoned by the staff; just wanting not to be there.

In a way, these situations throw the whole experience of treatment into sharp relief and force us to examine our motivations for being there and whether we are complying with the demands of the staff simply because we are people-pleasers or avoiding conflict or to keep our families happy... Treatment is successful at keeping people with anorexia alive but often has little to do with the active process of recovery.

Recovery can't be forced on anyone. It's a gradual process that needs to come from within.


Angela said...

You are so right! We can ultimately only recover for ourselves. As much as I wanted to get better for my loved ones, I had to start caring enough about myself before I could commit to recovery. Nice post :)

Unknown said...

A lot of sense here... and reflecting on what you wrote, it makes sense why my recovery has been so freaking slow!

Cheryl said...

Beautifully put.

I just found your blog by way of the Word of the Day Challenge, and am so glad to have stumbled across it.

Looking forward to reading more x