If you don’t enjoy a good rant, then you probably shouldn’t read this. Because let me tell you… I am about to rant like no other. So, hold onto your chair (or keep scrolling).
While I was in college, I had been seeing my eating disorder therapist, as well as my school counselor; I found the mix to be very helpful. My ED therapist worked on the food part and my counselor worked on the anxiety/depression part. Together, for over two years, they were able to provide me with a VERY strong support system. Not only were they kind, caring, and understanding, but they were also in constant contact with each other, always guiding me in the right direction. Unfortunately, once I graduated, I was no longer able to see my school counselor on a regular basis.
In an attempt to keep things as familiar as possible, I decided to reach out to a new counselor in town—one who was willing to continue with the strong support system I had in place. It took some detailed searching and quite a bit of time, but I finally found someone. The fact that she also possessed some background in eating disorders made me feel more comfortable with my decision.
The first session (which was back in February) went rather well; however, I was still hesitant to make a commitment, as it’s always difficult to fully trust someone with your issues. Not to mention, the past few months have been a whirlwind of chaos; my engagement came to an end, my workplace made some significant changes, and my ED therapist of almost 4 years moved to a different state. All of that, combined with my hesitation, prevented me from seeing her again… until today.
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t looking forward to our session. My eating disorder behaviors have been very debilitating and my desire to follow a path of recovery has pretty much come to a standstill. In fact, my new ED therapist is weary about continuing outpatient services with me, as she believes a higher level of care is becoming more necessary at this point. Anyways, I decided to listen to my rational mind and go into the counseling session with the intent of being open and honest. BIG MISTAKE (prepare for full-on rant).
I told my counselor about the struggles I’ve been facing—how I’ve been heavily engaging in eating disorder behaviors to numb out all of my feelings and how my health is declining because I am unwilling to let myself feel. And, do you know what she said?! I kid you not, she replied, “Well, I hope this isn’t the wrong thing to say, but you look great. You really do. You look healthy and vibrant!”
If someone had been recording our session, you would have seen my mouth drop to the floor. Literally. Like, that is the number one thing you don’t say to someone who has an eating disorder, especially when that person has just poured her heart out about how much she’s struggling! Any educated person would know that. Oh, but it doesn’t end there.
As if my struggles weren’t invalidated already, she continued to ENCOURAGE (yes, encourage) my eating disorder behaviors. She said, “I don’t necessarily think you’re in a terrible place right now. You’re maintaining. You’re using one coping method to block out the feelings of depression and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?
So you’re telling me, as a “professional,” that it’s okay for someone to starve their body, throw up their meals, pop laxatives and diuretics like candy, and exercise with the intent of burning [non-existent] calories? That using those behaviors are proper coping mechanisms for dealing with depression? Wow. Just wow.
Please excuse me while I go on a 3-day fast– because, after all, a health professional just told me that that is perfectly okay.