Clinics, Confessions and Trips to the Library (Part 1/3)

Part One-"Clinics"

I finally feel like my life has finally started to take a few turns for the better.
I guess it all started a few months ago with the end of my AP classes and the conclusion of soccer season. My dad had found a car for me and my friend drama was dying down. My mom also found an eating disorder clinic at Primary Children's Hospital and we were able to set an appointment for last week. I'm getting ahead of myself now, but literally, the past month has been a blur (in a good way).

My sister, Holly, took decided to take me to an LDS Family Services meeting for church members with eating disorders about two weeks ago. After having her check to see who was there, I chose to not attend because there would have been at least a ten year age gap between me and the other victims there; however, this was a huge step in the right direction. Not only did her kindness help me realize that I wasn't as alone as I thought I was, it helped me look at my life in a new light. In a sense, it prepared me for the change that would later take place within that same week. A few days later I attended my first of many clinic visits at Primary Children's.
I can't begin to tell you how wonderful that experience was. After my experience at Dr. Foster's office two months prior to this visit, I have to admit I was beyond skeptical. I guess I just didn't want to be disappointed again or have someone take my disorder lightly when it is something so serious.

We signed in and were immediately taken back to a patient room and was told to get put on a gown so I could be weighed accurately. They had me stand with my back to the digital screen so I couldn't see my weight, it wasn't hard to tell that they specialized in eating disorders after this. They obviously understood the sensitivity that eating disorder victims have towards viewing their weight. After we were met by a doctor, nutritionist and social worker/therapist. They were beyond helpful, they were my saviors. We spent the most time talking to my social worker (apparently we had set a "record" for the longest visit), she was so understanding. It felt nice to talk to someone who was experienced with what you were going through. She helped mediated between me and my mom along with giving excellent advice. Luckily, I was able to be honest with her. I told her about my purging, eating habits, emotions and pretty much anything else I could think of. It felt fantastic except for the moments I would look over at my mom and see the pain that would shoot across her face as she heard about things I had been keeping secret for months (purging, suicide, bingeing while she was gone). I could have never said the things that I said in that doctor's office to my mom alone. I needed someone else's support and expertise to soften the blow.

Later we met with the nutritionist and she definitely helped me adjust the way I viewed food. Now, don't confuse this with recovery, in fact, I'm no where close to that yet. Relapse will always be an all too eminent reality for the rest of my life and even more so in these vital following months. However, because of this changed mentality, my habits and thoughts are slowly starting to shift away from the extremes in which I have been living in. I'm finally gaining ground against the disorder that I allowed to define who I was for far too long.

 A few days ago I was talking to my Mom about the progress I had been able to make that I frankly wasn't capable of even fathoming prior to the clinic visit. After discussing this for a few minutes, I think she hit the reason why right on the head. I finally had hope. (I can't begin to express how liberating hope can be when deprived from its presence for a prolonged period of time.) I guess it felt like I was trapped in a small, uncomfortable concrete box that allowed no light in. Then after going to Primary Children's for the first time, the walls of that prison began to expand outward in every direction. Light broke in through cracks formed in the concrete cell I had built up around myself as its foundation began to crumble. (I'd like to imagine that one day the cracks would become so large as to cause the walls to crash down, never to form again.)I had room to not only stretch my legs, but to see glimpses of the world around me again, ending my self-induced solitary confinement.

Its been two weeks since my last clinic visit and also two weeks since my last binge or purge. Since then, I have been diagnosed with moderate depression and severe anxiety. Both can induce eating disorders to take place. I was advised to officially tell my immediate family about my disorder and that I would need their help to end this vicious cycle. When I decided to, I seriously wanted to cry I felt so relieved. I was terrified at first, but their support overwhelmed me. My therapist said that this is a family problem and that we're going to need everyone to come together in order for me to heal as an individual. After talking to them, I've decided she couldn't have been more right. My disorder is no longer something kept or talked about behind closed doors, but a topic that is openly (but still carefully) discussed. My Mom also has been doing some online researching and we discovered that Diabetics are more likely than "normal" individuals to gain eating disorders due to changing blood sugar levels and mental instabilities that can follow. Insulin (which is a steroid) can also promote weight gain in Diabetics due to excessive usage and the way the body may react to the substance (double-edged sword, anyone?). I guess this disorder wasn't just formed after one event or one flaw in my character. It was ultimately made up of seemingly small factors that ganged up to become one big problem. 

As recommended, my mom arranged an appointment for me to meet with a disorder psychiatrist at the end of July and I have my next clinic visit this Thursday. As much as I wish that medications and doctors could solve this dilemma for me, I know that my future is in my hands and based upon my resolve--not a bottle of anti-depressants. It's such a relief to finally feel like we're going about this the right way and I have educated professionals to support me. I feel alive again. I feel like I am gaining control. I'm starting to feel like myself again. I feel...happy.

My brother and nephew playing around while we were out
celebrating  Dad's 50th birthday, it's nice to finally
look outside of myself and notice moments like this again 

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