Friday, November 21, 2008


Etymology: Latin morbidus diseased
1 a: of, relating to, or characteristic of disease
2: abnormally susceptible to or characterized by gloomy or unwholesome feelings
3: grisly, gruesome
1 : inspiring horror or intense fear
2 : inspiring disgust or distaste
Whoever decided that the term "Morbid Obesity" was a good idea has alot to learn about sensitivity. Because, really, it's not enough that I struggle with this day in and day out? My self-esteem and body image are not in the toilet enough? So someone has to make sure that I'm equated with a word meaning diseased, unwholesome, grisly, gruesome and make certain I'm aware that I inspire horror, fear, disgust and distaste?
I had my intake assessment at The Renfrew Center (eating disorder clinic) yesterday. I was flipping out beforehand (see 2 posts down). I was chewing down my Rescue Remedy pastilles like m&ms. Renfrew in CT is located in a beautiful old home that's been redone to accomodate their function. Well, the home is currently under renovation so they had to temporarily relocate. If I'd not been to the other location in the past, I think I may have left once I got to this office. First off, it's in an office building and all the way in the back corner down a very narrow hallway that is like a maze. Suffocating and scary, particularly when I was already in panic mode. I get to the door and walk in. The entrance is cramped and tiny; it's stark. Decorated in an outdated contemporary style of silver and black with harsh light fixtures that cast pointed shadows on the wall, looking like devil horns atop each light. There is a girl sitting in one of the 2 waiting chairs that are smashed together in a corner. I'm not particularly feeling like being that close to another person at the moment so I stand at the counter. The shiny, cold, silver & black counter. One of the counselors comes out and calls the girl back. I'm standing there alone. No receptionist at the desk. I'm getting antsy.
A few minutes pass and my anxiety is climbing. I have a scheduled appointment. Why is there no one here? Why didn't the counselor say anything like "Someone will be right with you"? I'm invisible. I'm worthless. I'm not even good enough to acknowledge. I cough and clear my throat a bit, trying to make a little noise and hopefully alert someone that I'm there. My mind is racing. I have another Rescue Remedy as I fight the internal battle between reality and story telling. I walk to the hallway where the counselor came from and look, listen. "Hello?", I call out. Nothing. I pace, pulse escalating. I've had migraine symptoms for an hour now. Not so much the pain but visual auras, shooting lights and vertigo. I look at the emergency exit and think about making a run for it. No, no, I tell myself....I'm here to make a change in my life. Don't run away. I walk back over to the hallway that leads down to the offices and call out louder "Helllllooooo??" A moment later, a woman comes out and asks if she can help me. I tell her I've been standing there for 15 minutes. "You must be Kim" she says. she's expecting me and still wasn't checking to see if I've arrived? Nice. Women come to this place to deal with a shameful disorder/addiction and you're going to leave them standing alone in a horrible little waiting room? No bell on the desk or anything? No sign?? The woman apologizes for my wait and then says "You should have come around the corner to find me." WTH?? I respond to her "Really? How would I have known to do that? There is no sign or anything to let me know that I shouldn't expect a person to be at the front desk." She gives me another apology and sets me up with paperwork to complete. On the first page of paperwork...."Emergency Contact" section which I leave blank. Because I have no one to contact.
LaurieAnn, the woman doing my evaluation, shows up a few minutes later. Her "usual" office isn't open so we're going to have our appointment in this corner office where I'm filling out paperwork. This horrible, dirty office that is irregularly triangular in shape, has one full wall of windows to the parking lot outside, has a glass door from which you can see the waiting area and 3 straightback uncomfortable chairs. I don't know about everyone else....but for me, I need a certain kind of warmth to my setting when I'm going to let down my guard and talk about my deepest, darkest fears, pain and secrets.
LaurieAnn tells me to get comfortable and I tell her that it's really not possible. There are too many unnerving things in my surroundings. I'm very much on edge. I'm not comfortable. I start to cry. I pull a second chair in front of me as a barrier because I feel so totally exposed and vulnerable. To her credit, LaurieAnn rearranges the room a bit to make it better for me. Not good, but better. We start with a couple easy questions. The interview questions are actually arranged quite well. Easy stuff, slip in a tough one, ease back up, more toughies. It went nicely back and forth so that it didn't remain intense for long periods of time. Not surprisingly (for me, anyway) was the ease in which I can discuss my "trauma history" as they call it. I can detach from that so easily to share the facts. The food issues were MUCH harder to talk about.
Last time I did this evaluation, the counselor first recommended that I attend the partial residential program which is daily, M-F, 9am-2pm. I told her there was no way I could do that because I'd miss work. So instead she said I could do the evening program, 3 nights a week from 6-8. In theory that sounds alright except, logistically, it just doesn't work. I'm willing to leave work early 3 days a week but I have no one to watch Bianca consistently. I don't have a support network. I don't have a sitter. Because of my past, I cannot leave her with someone I don't know and trust. My mother works evenings. We live an hour from her daycare and 90% of the teachers don't have cars so they are out of the question for babysitting. By the way, the 10% who DO have cars are Moms themselves which is why they are not able to babysit. I have one neighbor who I would trust but she has 2 kids with a 3rd on the way and her kids bedtime is well before I would be home to pick up Bianca. My friend Jennie would be good except, again, distance...she lives 45 minutes away....but also her work schedule. She's not done at work til 7-8 at night. I could drop her off at Jennie's parents house because they are like grandparents to her. But that would mean leave work to get Bianca, drive 30 minutes to drop her off there, drive an hour southwest to Renfrew, then an hour back northeast to get Bianca and then 45 minutes back west again to home. Which would mean not getting home til 10:00 three nights a week and that is too much for her. Also, I'd have to quit choir during this time since one of the night meetings is on a Tuesday and, finally, there would be 3 nights a week I would have virtually no time with my daughter. Nothing more than the car ride.
In any case, LaurieAnn says at the end of our meeting that she's going to recommend the evening program for me. I tell her I can't do that due to childcare issues and I really need the day program. Well, she tells me....the day program is now only for anorexics and bulimics. I feel like the room is closing in around me and my knees get weak. All I can think is "Oh my God, even in a supposed safe place where they help women with eating disorders, I'm still the freak." I don't belong. Because I'm the fat one. The Morbid one.....stay away from her. She's not welcome....she's gruesome. I am not entitled to the same healing that they are. I am relegated to the cast off night group. The group I can't attend, anyway, because my life is a fucking shambles with no one in my support system. And now I see why....because this is what happens when I reach out for help. I'm slapped away and put back in my place to deal with it on my own. I begin to cry and shake. LaurieAnn grabs a chair for me (we'd moved into a different room at this point) so I don't pass out or something. She asks me what I'm thinking and I just blurt "I can't have gone through all this again for nothing. I can't do the night group and I just went through all of that again.....for nothing....AGAIN!"
She tells me that she will talk to the other counselor and see what they can come up with; that maybe it's as "simple" as me just seeing a nutritionist. FFS, woman....I don't need someone to tell me what to eat. I already know that. I don't want a one on one. I need the support of a group because isolation is such a HUGE factor in my addiction. I need to learn how to change my emotional relationship with food. If you think giving me a copy of the food pyramid and weekly weigh-in's is the answer to all of this, then you don't deserve to be working at an eating disorder clinic.
I had to run out of there because I was late to pick up Bianca. At the beginning of the interview with her, she asked me a list of questions about my moods and feelings. She asked me if I felt hopeless and I said no, that if I felt like there was no hope then I would not be there trying to make a change for the better. Well, after the way our meeting ended, I told her that I changed my mind because now I *DO* feel hopeless. I feel like I spilled all my heart and guts to this perfect stranger and then she went "Psyche! We can't really help you! But thanks for all the juicy details of your lowest moments in life!" I feel like there will never be an answer for this. I feel alone and isolated, ashamed, humiliated. Alone. And if I didn't already say it....I feel alone. The worst part of that is that I don't want to be alone but it's the only thing that feels safe right now. My safe little prison of solitude.


mile191 said...

kim. wow, i feel so much for you reading. I wish i could hug you. i am listening to the song from my site, Broken, and thinking WHY when we are already broken do people have to make things worse. The world is not always nice. I am glad you found me. Know that I will check on you. I do care. I am sorry you have no emergency contact. If I could go to your meetings with you, and you could come to mine, that would be ideal. But seeing how this is cyber world....well, you know. but know this. i am honest, i am here, i will read you. you are not alone. take care. and as amysplash says hugs ((()))♥

Strong and determined said...


Wow - I wish I could hug you too. You might not want that, but if I were around, I would ask if you needed one. I've been MIA online for a few days and have missed your last couple of posts. What a day you had! And WHY - oh WHY does an eating disorder clinic not try to make things 100 times easier that that meeting went? Like you said, it is very difficult to bring it all up again, and then her reaction was severely off base.
Is there any other program in the area that might be worth trying?

I just touched on this issue again with my therapist this week and it didn't go well. I NEED my ED right now to get me through the hell in my life. And yes, I know this is very unhealthy. I admire you for being ready and for taking the huge first step.
Again...hugs. My life is an abyss of chaos and uncertainty right now, so I don't know when I will post again on my blog. But I will continue to check in here and see how you are doing!

Angel said...

What an awful experience all the way around. (((Kim))) How would you feel sending them a letter of this post so that they would know exactly how UNhelpful they are? How can they honestly think they are helping people when you had to go through all that just to get someone's attention (no sign whatsoever? Hello, people!) and then to still have to try to get help. And you are right--a "simple" appointment with a nutritionist? Surely she didn't really think that would be an instant cure? Because if she is that clueless on that, then why doesn't she think that the same "cure" would apply for anorexics/bulimics?

Since you had initially felt that they would be able to be helpful, they had to have represented some semblance of experience in treating eating disorders. Hopefully their average counselor is more informed and better prepared than this one was?

You have every right to be disgusted with them and their treatment of you. You are reaching out for help and theirs is not a good way to help people. They should be ashamed of themselves and horrified at the lack of service they are providing you. Since they apparently can't do the job, is there another treatment facility around? Is there a counselor who specializes in eating disorders who maybe has a related support group? Or can Renfrow recover from your first impression (rightfully earned) and end up giving you the treatment you need and deserve?

Please don't stop asking for help, Kim. I know this has been absolutely horrifying for you (and rightfully so) and they should be embarrassed at how low a level of service they provided at your initial assessment. Complain to someone who is in a position to do something about it and see if they can help you after all. You are worth the effort of letting them know how you feel they have failed you. Let them either justify themselves with excuses but give you a recommendation elsewhere, offer to help you after all, or give you a referral to someone who can help you. Don't let them off the hook! You cooperated with the intake interview, bared your soul and wounds, now they have the obligation to assist you or point you in the direction of someone who can. Hold them to it! You are probably not the first person who they have treated this way, but you can try to make sure that you are the last.

Enola said...

Oh no. I'm so sorry. I hate this for you. I feel absolutely terrible for you. You deserve better and they treated you horrifically. I'm so sorry.

Strong and determined said...

I've been thinking about you a lot this weekend. ((((Kim))))