After a lifetime of indulgence and possibly not looking after myself quite as well as I could have done I felt a detox and yoga break in Phuket was just the ticket. I kept a mini diary, so you can get my real time thoughts and feelings.
Perhaps it was a warning to run for the hills when the taxi driver (a proud father of a 10 year old Muay Thai champ) found my destination hilarious. He jumped up and down pulling faces, pointing at me, insinuating I was a mad person. He kept asking what’s wrong with me. I assured him that nothing was wrong, I just want to be fit and healthy. He chuckled to himself for the whole journey. Either he had me sussed and I was off to a psychiatric hospital. Was I? Or perhaps a cult. I’ll be honest, both those thoughts ran through my head.
I’m here and it’s beautiful! The team are so friendly, there are flower petals on my bed and the whole setting is so serene. Pah, what does that taxi driver know, I’ve landed in heaven and can’t wait to throw myself into the next 4 days. I tucked into my last meal, a simple salad, an apple and took the evening Ashtanga yoga class. What could possibly go wrong?
11am: I’m crying. I can’t remember if I was hormonal anyway or if it’s due to the regime. Started the day with an Abs & Core workout and a green vile drink (Wheatgrass). Also had an induction into the world of clay shakes and nutrition capsules, followed by a coffee colonic and a ‘massage’. Basically, I’ve chosen to starve myself, have a ridiculous amount of coffee pumped into my arse, pour various vile potions with the texture of clay down my throat and have a massage given by someone who’s decided Halloween has come a day early and has the fingers of a witch. What have I done?
I feel unbelievably awful. Every hour I have to remember to do something and it’s always bad. It’s like a never ending to do list of all the hateful things you try and ignore but can’t.
6pm: I’ve endured my last clay drink of the day and had my second colonic (Self inflicted/ medicated) and I think I’ve turned a bit of a corner. I’ve basically had a word with myself and read a load of literature on forgiveness, loving myself etc. I also drank my second coconut juice (the only nice drink we’re allowed as it’s full of electrolytes) and drank my liver flush (horrific garlic and oil). If I’m honest my head hurts and my skin is bad. How is this even possible after day 1?! But, I’m feeling less like I want to stab someone so things are looking up. I’m also lying on a sun-bed in the evening light trying to hang on to the fact that this is good for me.
6am: After falling asleep at 9pm I woke up in the early hours. I love that first few moments, perhaps minutes, when you wake up and you don’t know who you are or where you are. I clung onto those moments this morning and prayed for the circus in my head not to start just yet.
7.30am: The schedule said ‘Mountain walk’ so that’s what I did. We got into a branded open sided bus and headed to our walking point. It felt nice to be out (how is this only day 2), but kind of like we’re rehab patients being given a taste of freedom. We stopped at a chemist for some toothpaste purchasing and my eyes zoomed in on the Walls sign. Ooh I’ll just have an ice-cream, no! I’d almost forgotten I was fasting. That’s it I clearly can’t leave the vicinity.
I was almost upbeat for about 10 minutes after the walk, yes 10 whole minutes. Then I had my morning coffee (that means taken anally round here) and another hell like massage, there were more tears. I should have asked her to calm down but no I just gritted my teeth. It’s literally so painful, like a million little hammers hitting you on your already bruised body and it’s relentless. A full hour of slow and painful torture, whilst starving and having just released a load of liquid from your rectum.
6pm: Only the others are keeping me sane and many have come back a few times – I’m obviously doing this all wrong! I’m not sure what I can’t cope with more, the strict schedule of pill and clay drink swallowing, the treatments or just having to conform. After a quick FaceTime conversation with Mum, she tried to convince me to leg it and get some food in me. It’s weird but the thought of leaving hadn’t even crossed my mind, that would mean quitting something I’ve said I’m going to do. But then I started to question why am I staying here?! She even challenged me by asking where my rebellious streak had gone. I’ll have you know I dared to eat the tiny bit of flesh inside my fresh coconut earlier today and I skipped a rancid clay drink!
7am: I’m refusing to get out of bed. I’m too weak to do morning circuits, I haven’t eaten for 2 days! I’m sipping blackcurrant tea and trying to muster some positivity to see me through the next few days. I’m finally reading the information I probably should have read before starting this programme. I booked this on the fly you see whilst diving in Koh Tao. So, I think I’m having a ‘Healing Crisis’. Apparently, our personal history of abuse, illness, emotional trauma, depression is carried out in our bodies… and therefore may well resurface for a couple of days whilst eliminating the toxins. Fantastic! Oh and I’m sure putting my body through continuous trauma of colonics and hell massages is just adding to my distress.
I say Colonic, but that’s just because I’m ignorant to the world of colon cleansing and assumed the majority of you guys may be too. It’s actually Colemas, ‘same same but different’. It involves lying on a bench with a self administered tube inside you and pumping lots of fluid (I’d guess 10 litres) up your backside and letting everything else wash out. Twice a day seems a little excessive though doesn’t it?! I’ll spare you from the detail, but in case you’re interested we have to have coffee each morning (‘organic, and a good way of stimulating the colon walls’, then a choice of coffee, Vitamin C (‘a powerful source of antioxidants and a natural immune system booster’, or Garlic (‘natural antiseptic, used for cleansing parasites and candida’). Only the hardcore do garlic!
1pm: More crying, like real proper crying. Right, that’s it, I’ve hit the point where enough’s enough. I’m sure you’re supposed to suck it up and wait till the healing Crisis ends but it’s scaring me now. It’s like the black depression cloud is starting to loom and I’m pretty sure there’s no one here who’s qualified to dig me out of this again. I found the ‘Fasting Consultant’ and told them I need to do something, she encouraged me to switch to a raw food diet. Many of the patients/inmates/clients are already doing this. So that’s it, I begin tomorrow and already a few clouds lifted and the vultures stopped circling my brain.
4.30pm: I’m actually starving. I’ve just had another jabby massage, followed by a Colema and I feel like I’ve been abused. I’m so weak, maybe I could just head straight to bed and sleep till tomorrow when I know I can get some food. Nope can’t do it. I’m sat outside the office like a lost child hoping the Fasting Consultant will turn up and I can beg for food tonight. She’s gone home.
I headed back to my communal living area, literally holding back the tears and dragging my feet. Of course I could just walk out, although I’m not actually sure where I am in Phuket, it’s pretty remote and that would mean completely falling off the wagon and feasting on an incredible mouth-watering Massaman Curry. I’m running through past meals in my head, my God I’d even eat Weetabix right now and I hate Weetabix!
5pm: What the fuck! My communal kitchen is full of food. I haven’t even seen food for the last 3 days. The raw foodies are very good and keep their eating hidden from the Full Fasters. So, there’s a raw food ‘cooking’ lesson about to take place. It’s too much temptation and I begged to join. Of course being Thailand they made a space for me. I could barely concentrate and just hoped we could get to the eating bit really quickly! The food we created was incredible, hopefully as good in real life not just when you’re starving to death.
We made a beautiful drink with ‘Butterfly Pea’ flowers, lemongrass, honey and water- my god! This stuff is not only the most exotic coloured drink I’ve ever seen but it also tastes like heaven.
Our chef showed us how to create, a breakfast bowl with chopped coconut and figs using almond nut milk, Courgette pasta with pesto, raw papaya salad and cheesecakes. We shared one portion of each dish amongst the whole group so there was no feasting but the food was fantastic and all completely natural and raw. I’m sure I’ve already turned from deathly white to having a wee bit of colour in my cheeks and I can think straight again!
7pm: It’s meditation time. I’ve tried to meditate a number of times over the last few years and never quite reached the state I’d like to. I’m not sure if it was being so far away from any past stresses and worries, having food in me after 3 days of starvation, Toby the wonderful Buddhist man, or just being sat next to a Lotus pond in the tropics, but this is the closest I’ve ever got to reaching a mediative state. I didn’t even have to push any stresses or worries out as they didn’t try and get in. My mind drifted to the underwater world of diving and I felt like I was in a dream like state but still aware of Toby’s voice and my surroundings. Feeling so much more positive now but exhausted.
6am: I slept 10 hours last night! I lay there for a while eyes shut trying to remember whether I should be happy or sad today. It’s a happy day! Food, last day and still feeling light after evening meditation and some healing words. Went on a beach walk with the rest of the asylum, the few mouthfuls of food I had last night only just kept me going for that.
8.45am: Came back for the morning meeting, but I’m rebelling today and yes I know I’m only cheating myself but I’m happy again and that is definitely the most important thing. No wheatgrass drinks, no massage of doom, no weird zapping treatment that apparently not only helps you detox through electric shocks but also cures cancer and aids. I have to have the Colemas, well the last one anyway which involves injecting a syringe of probiotics up you after a flush of normal water – meh, if I have to.
I took part in the daily tarot reading from the ‘magical unicorn’ cards.
1pm: I ate my salad like I’ve never eaten before and then headed to the Raw Food cafe. I didn’t know a great deal about Raw foods and how many recipes you could create literally using raw fruit and veg, I ate Burritos. The flavours are like nothing I’ve tasted before and I’ll without a doubt be recreating some of the meals when I get home. So basically yes I had a double lunch.
4pm: Feeling full and happy once more I’m packing my bags wondering how I can go from death’s door and being an emotional wreck to feeling so much better. I’d like to say the detox worked and I’m cleansed but I think it’s more to having eaten properly and dodged the final day of treatments (apart from the arse syringe one, those probiotics had to go up there to get me ready for normal food). I’m smiling again and I can actually hold a conversation – this has been a struggle since the programme began.
I came into this with such a positive attitude and anticipated it would be tough but as over the years I’ve starved myself on and off for ‘fun’ I really didn’t think the lack of eating would be an issue. I also didn’t expect to go through a ‘Healing Crisis’! I’m far away from home, with a long journey ahead the last thing I wanted was any form of crisis. Anyone who’s been lucky enough to escape the grips of depression and come through the other side will know what I mean when you can feel the warning signs. You stop swimming and start fighting to keep your head above the water. It’s exhausting and it feels like you have lead weights hanging from every limb pulling you under. Personally, the healing crisis was a step too far. Does this mean I have lots of trauma itching to get out? No, I don’t believe it does. There may be a little, but overall I’m okay, so long as I look after myself. For me, this detox was by no means looking after myself. I’m sure I’ve learnt a few things about myself, mainly what an impact on my emotions skipping food has. 3 days was extreme but I won’t be so casual about meal skipping now. I hated the routine of taking pills, clay drinks, colemas, massages, exercise. I imagine it’s a little like rehab without the talking therapy. Maybe it’s wonderful if you’ve hit your rock bottom and are looking for a way out. I was actually having lots of fun in Thailand and in no way looking for an escape from that.
I won’t post the name of the centre as I’m sure they have helped hundreds and Trip Advisor has glowing references, but as you may have guessed this wasn’t for me!