So what happens when Eight people with eating disorders head to a rural Texas treatment center to undergo an intense 42-day program with therapist Tennie McCarty. McCarty uses a tough-love approach and unorthodox methods to help her patients overcome their disorders? DRAMA, DRAMA and wait for it……….DRAMA!
Well what did you expect?…them all to just sit around hold hands and sing Kumbaya?
Stick anybody with an Addiction attached to them or not in the middle of the Hot Texas sun with all of their basic amenities taken away, and I am surprised this hasn’t turned into a spin-off show called CSI Buffalo Gap.
In my last blog I touched on how and what it is like to be on a reality TV show as I myself danced on that floor for 6 weeks. I was lucky to have the cameras follow me around in my own environment which gave me more freedom to be myself.
I honestly think it has to be really hard when you are being filmed in foreign territory, not knowing whats going to come next, or how you are going to react to it.
Being in treatment anywhere is tough. Not only are you having to deal with your issues, but you are all of a sudden forced to deal with every body’s Else’s issues as well. On top of that you are also forced to deal with their daily habits, which anybody knows is tough.
Suddenly it’s not You anymore..it’s everybody else. It’s like Survivor in Treatment. You realize how many times people chew their food, how loud they snore, and how many used towels they leave on the floor of your “now shared bathroom”.
This is where things start to get sticky…living with other people who were raised differently then you and act differently then you. Throw in a bunch of emotion and withdrawals and it can get down right “Saving Private Ryan”…the first 20 minutes.
People with Eating Disorders or any addiction for that matter are used to living the way they want. They act how they want, say what they want, and get away with whatever they want in order to feed their need for instant gratification.
We see this a lot in this show. I don’t think the producers had to worry about casting various personality types…that’s life. However that being said I am sure they purposely picked people who they knew might create some waves.
I found it funny how there was a lot of shock and dismay at putting Over Eaters a long side Anorexics, and Bulimics. Look that is the least of your worries…try putting somebody side by side who likes the temperature in the room hot, while one likes the temperature cold.
Being in treatment just isn’t about working through your issues, it’s about working through your issues with other people.
People might have sucked in their breath when confrontations started to be thrown out there, and personalities started to clash. One patient who seems to be the Drama Queen of the bunch actually started taking other peoples things without permission. She’s the one who everybody should actually be thanking, because she is helping them all figure out how to deal with people in the world who aggravate the crap out of us.
I often tell my patients that treatment is Dress Rehearsal for real life. It helps us practice what we are going to have to put up with out there in the Big Bad Real World. It helps us when we somebody pisses us off at work, when some family member ruins our day, or when a friend throws you under the bus and you didn’t see it coming.
The thing about this show and any other show about addiction is that it isn’t really dealing with what the person is addicted to at all. Yes the show is called “Addicted to Food”..but Food is just the symptom of what is going on underneath. Any addict has emotionally retarded themselves from the age they started abusing their substance. It’s crazy at times that you can be watching a show about 8 grown adults and yet you almost feel as if you are watching a show about 8 small children. You really see them not knowing how to deal with the real world. When you take away their drug of choice..in this case the Oral kind you can chew and digest, you see how emotionally malnourished they are as well. They are dealing with things they have buried and hidden for quite a long time. Suddenly issues like their mother and their Sexuality and their Rage start to come out.
Suddenly they aren’t overweight or underweight…they are simply human. This is why there is a side of me that agrees with shows about addiction being put on National Television. It’s probably why I myself decided a long time ago to put my own stuff in the “middle of a glass fishbowl”. It’s so people stop judging, or assuming that it all has to do with Food. That your not “Overweight”because you are fat and lazy, and that you are not “Underweight” because you are vain and not hungry.
Truth be told, sometimes Life is just Life, and a lot of people out there “addicted” or not…just don’ t know how to Deal with the stuff it throws their way. It’s the root that people need to get to…not how that root branched off into a million different directions.
When it’s all said and done “Shades of Hope” was just the place these patients had to deal with their issues. Was it the right place?..should it have been done on TV?..Will they get better after they leave?…Will they get Worse?
Honestly…it really didn’t matter where or what the circumstances where surrounding these 8 peoples journey. If they really wanted to get better then they will. The few weeks they were on TV was just the beginning. I think they are all courageous for putting themselves out there, but the true test of faith will come when they are not in front of the lens. They probably gave those who don’t understand Eating Disorders some enlightenment and probably made most people relate in somehow someway.
When the cameras go away however, their problems will not. When you leave Treatment, you still have a lot of stuff to work through, especially getting yourself acclimated back in to Society and back in to life.
I am sure there will be another show soon, and people will become just as addicted to that. In the end everybody has their stuff, they aren’t any different then anybody else except for a few weeks they let everybody in the World know about it. I wish them all the best!!