Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Saga Continues

I took another step forward last week in seeking treatment for my eating disorder. Laurie Ann from the Renfrew Center had left a message before Christmas with some promised names of Nutritionists and Psychiatrists. I knew it was on my voicemail but I'd not listened to it. I had asked for names of people near where I work, as well as near where I live, to see which would work out better for me. So her message was basically giving me the extension numbers of the two nutritionists and the one psychiatrist who work at the center. Useless. She said in the message that she "knew I said that days work better for me". ?? I called her back and I said "No, what I said was that I wanted to be part of the daytime residential program but since I'm not welcome there, I told you I'd either need someone to do day appt's near my office or night/weekend appt's near my home." So I asked her for more names. That was last week.
In the meantime, I was poking around Renfrew's website. I was looking in the FAQ section and I noticed a trend going on. Questions about Anorexia or Bulemia = Renfrew can help. Questions about compulsive overeating or food addition = Referring you elsewhere. I found this one question in particular that just really struck me with a sour note:
One woman writes in to ask why there is so much focus on A/B's & not so much on overeaters.
A: In general the mental health professions have focused more on anorexia and bulimia than on problems of overeating. There are, however, therapists and programs addressing the multifaceted personal, psychological, cultural and health issues involved in overeating. You may want to visit the Overcoming Overeating website which lists books, therapists and other resources. They even have an online mailing list discussion group for people using the Overcoming Overeating approach developed by Jane Hirschmann and Carol Munter. The Renfrew Center has developed Body Balance, an alternative program for large women, based on self-care rather than dieting, where large women can support one another in dealing with the issues that are limiting their lives.
To which I say, WTF??? "Large Women"??? That is so offensive and frankly diminishes the entire scope of the struggles I deal with on a daily basis.
Laurie Ann calls me back yesterday and said she really didn't have any other names for me. She had a couple but none of them were close enough to work out. So I put her on the spot and said that it just seems Renfrew isn't equipped for dealing with food addicts. She tried to turn that around and asked me why, if I was willing to do the residential day program, I can't take time out to see their therapists during the day. *bitch* "Because," I said "What I was prepared to do was take a leave of absence to focus exclusively on my healing. I can't be running in and out of work day in & day out, disrupting schedules to be constantly going to appointments. I'm either here or I'm not." And then I said "You didn't answer my question. Is Renfrew equipped to deal with food addicts?" She said that they definitely focus on Anorexics and Bulemics. I asked her why they don't state that up front instead of making me go through the evaluation and all this subsequent B.S. She said how they do have the Emotional Eaters group which is "perfect" for me. I said "It's one night a week, as opposed to ALL the other programs you have available for other disorders." She said in their experience the EE group in conjunction with therapy, nutritionist, phychiatrist & physician has been a successful approach. I said "Do you see how much more difficult you make it for me to get help? Go here this day, go there that day, see this person and that person." I told her it's really frustrating to feel like I can't get help from this place that flaunts itself as one of the best centers for eating disorders and it feels discriminatory that all the help is focused on the other eating disorders. I told her, IMHO, it's dangerous to "dabble"...either treat compulsive overeaters or don't. Don't try to ride the fence. I'm writing letters to the director of Renfrew, as well as the director of my local center, to express my displeasure. And I've all but washed my hands of them at this point.
I left work last night feeling like, once again, I had to try to take matters into my own hands to line up my own team of support people. But I refused to let myself feel defeated or to wallow in the old "I'm all alone in the world" thinking. I'm in charge.
There is a woman I see at Bianca's daycare, she's a Mom of one of the kids in the younger class, who I heard was a nutritionist. For months, I've been wanting to talk to her. She's so sweet. But I never can seem to catch her by herself for 5 seconds. Well, don't you know that last night we pulled into the parking lot at the same time. She had her older daughter with her which is one of the things that generally stops me from talking to her about this subject but her daughter took off to run around the playground leaving me alone with her for a minute. *Opportunity!!* So I took a deep breath and asked her if she was a nutritionist. She said yes, she is/was. She's not working in that exact capacity right now, she's doing consulting for something but she still has plenty of knowledge and contacts in the field. She gave me her email address and I wrote to her last night and gave her a brief run down of my situation. Really scary to talk to someone I see all the time about this!! But she wrote me back this AM and was so fantastic. She said she's not a fan of Renfrew. She recommended this place called Wilkins Center, which looks wonderful. Location-wise, it's not exactly convenient. But she said that was just one thought, she would reach out to a few contacts for ideas & referrals. And she said she would be happy to be a personal support for me in whatever way she can. *Exhale* I feel......dare I say.....hopeful. Again.


Enola said...

yeah! I know you are frustrated by your experience with Renfrow. I would be too. But, don't forget to take time and look at all the success you've had in making progress through this journey. Wasn't long ago you'd have gotten down and out for awhile. Now you are plugging right ahead. Great job!!! I'm so proud of you and am enjoying watching you move forward. It's exciting to see. ((((hugs))))

Angel said...

"Ditto" to everything Enola said. Look at you, putting it together that you know this other mom who is/was a nutritionist and talking to her! Doesn't that feel empowering?

The Wilkins website does say they address overeating. Let's see if they can back it up and be what you need.

RVB said...

YEAH - good for you for taking the initiative in your healing and talking to someone you see every day. That is a huge step. I admire you!

*Strong and Determined*