Today I had a session with someone and I found out some very interesting and reassuring…and a little scary…things that I need to put onto a page. So here we go.
For a very long time now, I have been feeling like a liar. I have been feeling fake, and I have been feeling very confused. I felt like what I was telling people wasn’t accurate. Wasn’t true. Even though I knew I was sick, I felt like what I was saying was a lie. Up until today I didn’t know why I felt that way, but now I do.
Those feelings stem from a past of not being treated properly for the “diseases” or “illnesses” or whatever it is that you want to call what I had. A long time ago, I got help for an eating disorder, amongst other things, but the primary was the eating disorder. I didn’t tell the person I saw that it was my main concern, I kept that off to the side, but it was thrown around. The person that I saw for help claimed to specialize in eating disorders. So when I saw her, I was expecting to be told I needed to go to a treatment center or extensive outpatient therapy. Neither of those things were said to me. Instead, I was seen for the other factors that were likely stemming from or at least being triggered by the eating disorder. The eating disorder, which should have been the initial focus, was simply something to toss in from time to time. We would talk about it, but we never created a plan or really went into any detail about any of it.
The reason for this, I believe, is because I did not “look sick”, nor did I show many signs of internal damage occurring. By internal damage I mean GI tract issues, vision loss, slow BP, things like that. Well….I mean if I did have any of those things, nobody ever mentioned it to me. I had some GI problems, but I assumed they were things that just “happen sometimes”. You know? Like being constipated. It happens. Nobody told me that it could be happening because I am not eating enough.
I believe I wasn’t properly treated when I first went to get help because I did not “look sick”. My average weight was between 110 and 115. I am 5’4″, so that is underweight for someone of my height and also my build, my genetics, etc. However, I didn’t look like 110. I looked like 115-120 because of my build and the way my body distributes fat. I think this is why nobody really noticed my eating habits, my behaviors, my obsessions, etc. I think I looked healthy, therefor I was healthy to everyone around me when in reality, I was suffering.
The doctor I saw, I was truly expecting to give me an eating disorder work up of some kind. She didn’t even weigh me. She didn’t ask for a copy of my vitals. She asked me why I thought I was sick, what were my behaviors, and then she filed that information away and we talked more about the other problems I was having.
Back to the part about me feeling like a liar. I now know why I felt that way. I went into that therapy session thinking, “if I really am this sick, she’s gonna send me somewhere to get help”. She didn’t do that. That doctor not giving me any kind of a work up besides a form to fill out confirmed what I believed, that I really wasn’t that sick. I was sick, and I had an eating disorder, but it wasn’t severe. I was fine. I was safe. I was in the clear. And I went with that. For years I felt like I needed to justify myself when I told people I had an eating disorder, even just my family, I justified it by saying “but it wasn’t that bad, I wasn’t hospitalized or anything.”
I felt like a liar. I felt like I was lying to everyone by saying I had an eating disorder because to me it wasn’t bad and if a doctor didn’t see it as much to be concerned with then why should I? I felt like I was also lying to myself because part of me knew I was sick. Really sick. Part of me knew that something was wrong and that I was telling people, not for the sake of having an interesting story, but so that they would step in and help me because I was still suffering. Part of me was still suffering.
Today I found out that my current doctor would have hospitalized me. I should have been hospitalized. I was sick and I didn’t get the help I needed because I didn’t fit the part; because the doctor I saw wasn’t properly trained in eating disorders even though her profile said she was. Even though she acted as though she was, maybe she wasn’t or maybe she just saw me wrong. I don’t know.
But I now understand why I thought the way I did and why I felt the way I did, up until today. Today I get it. Today I no longer feel like a liar. Like I need to justify myself. Like I’m fake. Today I know that what I was battling was very real. I just happened to see doctors who were not trained how I thought they were. And that sucks, but I’m so glad that I know now and I can stop that train of thought from continuing on.
I should have been hospitalized, and I am grateful to know that now.