Through talks and the blog, I have the privilege of hearing different stories. One woman I’m in contact with is struggling with an eating disorder. Wearing layers she looks slim but okay. Yet she finds it almost impossible to eat. To the point where even children’s clothes are now too big.
She knows she has a problem. And though terrified of gaining weight, she wants to get help.
After months of encouragement, she faced her biggest fear, registered and made an appointment with a GP. This, she says, was one of the scariest things she’s had to do.
‘It’ll be worth it’, we argued, ‘you need professional support’.
She waited for her appointment, fighting the urge to flee. ‘Maybe I’m okay’ she said. ‘No’, we answered, ‘you know you’re not’.
So she stuck it out. Took a deep breath and went into the surgery.
‘How can I help you?’
‘I think – I think I maybe have an eating disorder. I’m scared to eat and I’d like to get help’.
The GP looked her up and down. ‘You look healthy enough’ .
She swallowed. Twisted her foot and tried again.
‘I’m terrified of gaining weight. I can’t make myself eat’.
He tapped his pen. ‘Tell me what you see when you look in the mirror’.
A pause as her mouth twisted. ‘Like X celebrity, before they got a gastric band’.
The GP leant back – and laughed in her face. ‘You know that’s ridiculous’
‘No. Yes. I don’t know’.
‘How can you think you’re fat? There’s nothing of you!’
‘Are you depressed? I can help you with that’
‘No. No – not especially.’
‘How about anxious?’
‘No. It’s the – food’.
‘Well I’m afraid we can’t help you. If it was depression or anxiety-related, then yes. But if it’s just this – then all I can suggest is you eat more’.
‘So you can’t do anything?’
‘ I can give you a helpline number and they might recommend some counselling’.
‘That’d be good. But who would pay for it? We don’t have the money’.
‘Sorry I can’t help you. But like I say, give them a try. And keep eating.’