This is the second in a series of posts on dealing with an eating disorder. Read the first one here.
I went into the therapists office for my first meeting in full denial. I didn’t have mental problems, I had heart disease. But I was so scared about what was going on with my body I was willing to get someone to say I was fine in the head so I could go back to my doctor and tell her to check again.
After a few sessions, I was given a diagnosis. My therapist, Marcia, who had been solely working with eating disorder patients for 15 years informed me I had one of the worst cases of anorexia she had ever seen.
Well then. I still thought she was wrong, but I was scared, really scared. I could feel my body dying and many nights I would wake up with serious stomach pain from starvation and such weakness that I couldn’t stand up. I slept with grapes by my bed to stave off the hunger pains. A few grapes would often get me back to sleep. But I knew deep down my body was failing and I feared I would not wake up one day. So my fear kept me coming back and listening to her words and attempting to answer her questions.
Immediately after her diagnosis a whirl wind of things happened. They happened so fast I didn’t have time to run screaming from the office. Before I could spell anorexia I was connected with an amazing team of professionals who worked with me on many levels in different capacities. I was given names and addresses of where and when to show up. That was pretty much it.
I met with Marcia 3 times a week to begin with. Most of the hard work happened here. Gut wrenching, soul searching, truth telling stuff.
My psychiatrist, Michael, was very nice, and patient. We met monthly and he mainly helped me cope with what I was dealing with in therapy through medication which I did not want to take, and often didn’t, much to his dismay. But in the end he was a key piece of my recovery whether I liked it or not.
Pam, my diatician, met with me twice a week for a weigh in and education on good nutrition. She was unbelievably patient and kind to me as I very slowly began to re-eat. I had to put on a paper gown and step on a scale twice a week in front of Pam and provide documentation of my food intake to her. She put it all in a computer so we could see what I was really doing and how my body was responding. She was a great friend and I loved meeting with her. She taught me so much and seemed to truly love me through a very difficult recovery and learning process.
Finally, there was Dr. Kimberly, the one who diagnosed me to begin with. She monitored me as needed to make sure my body was healing and rebuilding the way we hoped it would. She delivered the good news, bad news and the unknown to me with understanding and kindness in her voice.
That was it, my full, amazing, talented, gifted and patient recovery team. I will forever love and cheris them in my heart.
They saved my life.
About 6 months into therapy I finally agreed “I may have an issue”. Just a small one though. I wondered how long this was going to take to get over, but all my therapist would tell me was she was going to be with me for a long time.
After a year I realized I was dealing with a giant and I was fully onboard – willing to defeat it, but incapable of doing it quickly. It was going to be a long road and Marcia assured me she wasn’t going anywhere. Those were comforting words to me.
And we were just beginning.