Sunday, March 2, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part X, On Mail Time and Nia

Mail time was always my favorite part of the day, because I was able to have contact with the outside world. It reminded me that there were sane people in the world who weren't hell-bent on destroying themselves, which was always cheering.

I wasn't a big cryer while in treatment, but getting letters from my family always made me cry, because it was one of the only times I allowed myself to think about how much I really missed them. Leaving my son last year was especially difficult, and that's putting it lightly. It was the worst thing I've ever done. To him and to myself. Man I suck.

With each stay in treatment, I received less and less mail, which was always more than a little disheartening. My mom faithfully wrote me, but my siblings, by my third round of treatment, didn't really bother. This, of course, bugged me a lot, but who can blame them? I suppose it'd be tough to have a sister who they never thought would get better. Brandon (the husband) wasn't always the best letter writer, either. He faithfully came to visit me every week, and we talked on the phone twice a week, but letter writing wasn't one of his strong points. I tried not to be offended by this. I remember once I even wrote him a completely scandalous letter that was pretty much porn, seeing if I could get a response. I did, but not the written one I was hoping for...

After mail time is over, it was time to get ready for Nia. Oh, Nia. How I hated this with a fiery passion. Really I had a special hatred I reserved just for this crazy, modern, eclectic dancing the CFC called therapeutic.

I always loved the first month or so of treatment, because I didn't have to go to Nia. This was because I wasn't exercise approved because my heart or electrolytes were out of wack or whatever. But as soon as I was healthy enough, (I took this to be fat enough) going to Nia was mandatory.

Thus began the longest hour and a half of the entire week. We'd go down the exercise room, wearing shorts and gym shirts and feeling fat and insecure. Many girls loved Nia. I could never get into it. I wasn't about getting "in touch" with my body and depicting my pain and rage or whatever through dance and movement.

Cue weird, creepy music, and it was time to start moving. Our exercise routines included things like making clouds and hearts with hand gestures, marching around like robots, leaping around with scarves, holding hands and running in circles, and doing tribal incantations.

I could never keep a straight face, and always tried desperately to claim the back corner of the room before another self-conscious freak did. I was never more painfully aware of how tall and fat (I thought, at least) I was than when I was leaping around like a monkey, all arms and legs in all their lurpy glory.

The over-exercisers loved Nia, and would always go above and beyond the routine to burn the maximum amount of calories possible, while I, on the other side of the spectrum, tried my damndest to move as little as possible, which mainly consisted of me looking at the floor with my arms crossed and shuffling my feet.

Nia was excruciating. Worse than excruciating. The one positive thing about it, however; was that often I was able to sufficiently work off enough food in my stomach that I wasn't so full I would burst by evening snack.
Because it was next on the schedule.

One more chapter, folks, and this crazy epic will be complete! I wonder if it is you or I that is more thrilled about this? It's debatable, I'm sure.

21 comments:

jana said...

Dear god, I would hate this with a passion. I would do anything I could do get out of a dance class. Jana don't dance. What a horrific experience. The only thing I can think of that would almost match up to this is drama therapy. I experienced that once and was so traumatized that it was one of the reasons I left the program. I barely had to even participate but my hate for it was that strong. They shouldn't make people participate in things that can cause so much mental anguish. Then again, that would apply to pretty much everything in treatment so there goes that idea.

I love your witty writing style. I'm sad that there's only one more chapter just because they're quite amusing, but I look forward to your regular posts as well.

jana said...

By the way, what font is your blog title? I'm digging it.

Devon said...

teehee - well we both know I was one of the Nia-lovers. I do recall a certain time near the end of your stay when you requested Accidentally in Love and we all danced around...including you. Oh my goodness!

Love ya my dear - and this story - and our tribal incantations...obviously

KC Elaine said...

haha, I was a nia-lover

Tanya said...

I am with you Brie...I have been an exercise addict in the past but when it comes to Nia...I am so not into it...the only time I had fun is when I got to pretend I was punching things...or people.

brie said...

Yeah, Brie don't dance either! I wonder if drama therapy was a little like a group we did once we were on RTC...(it's a stage of the program for girls who have been in treatment for awhile) it was called ceremonial group, and once they made me sing When You Wish Upon A Star a capella. I don't know this song. I've never seen Pinocchio. I cried the entire day!

brie said...

Oh, I forgot. The font is called Pupcat. Isn't it rad?

brie said...

Okay, okay. You're right Dev. I'll hide it no longer. I DID like that one song, Accidentally In Love. But I think it's because it was just a normal song I'd heard on the radio that didn't require tribal drums or a ritual lamb sacrifice.

I miss you. We on for this week sometime?

Emily said...

Oh, that Nia sounds horrible. I am thankful I never had to do dance therapy, ever!!! Drama therapy would be just as bad. I don't dance and I don't sing (except along to my iPod, of course) and I don't act.

jana said...

Ooh, thanks for the font! I'm a huuuuge fontaholic.

I would have been horrified by having to sing in front of people. You had to sing up there by yourself? How can they do that? Torture. How is that supposed to help someone? I'm getting anxious just thinking about it.

Drama therapy...
So one person would be in the center and they'd talk about a distressing situation going on in their life. Then people from the group were pulled in to play the different characters and the person could learn how to respond differently or change their perception of the experience. Or something. I don't know. It was a nightmare. I was the last one to be pulled in, luckily, but holy crap if that didn't nearly kill me. I just kind of froze and had to be told what to say. How helpful!

jana said...

Emily, I am the SAME. I won't do role-play stuff at work either. Not that it comes up much but it has. And I refused to take a presentation class at work where they videotaped you. My boss was pissed and just didn't understand but there was no way in hell that I was going to have any part of it.

aLana said...

nia, nia. i liked when megan did it except for the weird touch lamps and tribal music. danielle drove me absolutely insane though. i'm pretty sure thats when i stopped going. being an overexerciser i pretty much cried and begged to taken off exercise restriction and relished in seeing how far i could push the limit before getting pulled aside by a tech! what can i say, im a rebel... so that day finally came, when wearing scrubs about 4 sizes too big, i did a full out leap in the middle of nia and the crotch was so low that it caught on my knee and i ripped the sucker ALL the way from the crotch to the calf! you know that was some serious momentum! haha the worst was trying to act all casual about it as i walked back upstairs and through RTC having community in order to get back to inpatient. BUMMER. so yeah, the joys of nia. but you can bet your bottom dollar that it was one hell of a leap! :)

heather said...

My second time at the center....your first, is when they first began the whole Nia thing. Oh how I despised those nights! I was so appalled and disgusted by anything about body, that MOVING my body in such a way was truly degrading (to me). I begged Julie over and over to let get out of it, but she wouldn't let me....until.....I did some of my head "tapping" (asI like to call it) and got my way....FINALLY...at the cost of a huge red welt on my forehead and Julie being pissed beyond belief. But still....I got out of it, thank God!

brie said...

We had drama therapy, only we called it...I dunno...communication group or something. The therapist was a hard-ass, too - if you didn't participate you were kicked out of group and phase dropped. It was all about learning how to communicate in a meaninful way, etc. And it WAS painful. But not as bad as ceremonial group!

Oh, and in my next installment, I'll be talking about music therapy. Can you say karaoke??

Stacy said...

no nia for me... I think it was movement therapy. We got to workout 3 mornings a week after a certain point when I was there... latin aerobics was rad... nia sounds kinda freaky? better than sitting on my ever growing BOOTY maybe?!

so is Lynette the music therapist still? she was SO F'iN RAD!

racher said...

not ever doing nia again is motivation enough to recover. recovery now! nia never!

aLana said...

i think one of my favorites was being on my tour with pam and her taking us down to the nia room and saying it was the center's dance studio. i just looked at her and straight up said "no it's not, real dance studios have mirrors." whoops. sorry pam!

brie said...

I love that they call it a dance studio. That sounds so much more appealing than the tribal incantation room where many girls get very, very frightened, doesn't it? Lana, I love you and your stubborness! I would have never dared say that to Pam!! ;)

Bowles Family said...

I actually never sat in on/attended a NIA session, so I dont have much experience, but it always sounded like even i would be self conscious and feel weird.
I love that you wrote a scandalous letter to Brandon and didn't hear back. I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but it sounds pretty funny now. ;)

Savannah said...

I hated Nia...with the biggest passion ever. It was never a good feeling to have my breasticles bounce around when nobody else had huge mounds on their chests like I did. That was horrible.

However, this story of tripping on scrubs that Alana has enlightened us with...may be one of the most amazing things ever. Love it!

Brookie said...

I'm finally catching up on your blog. I've been reading about your life in the center. It sounds pretty sucky indeed. I think I finally had to comment at this point because of the nia. You couldn't get me to do that if you had a gun to my head. How embarassing. I would die!