Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Actually Getting Help...

I haven't been able to write a full post about all this - maybe it's too emotionally exhausting - but I just wanted to let long-time readers know that I'm actually seeing a therapist who will assess me for possible eating disorder help. I can only see him three times, because he's connected with my work, but he can give me an assessment that might give me actual therapy covered by insurance. I've got all this homework to do about emotions and how to deal with them instead of eating (or feeling guilty, or going on long angry rants in my head). I think it's helping me. He wants me to deal with my feelings, i.e. really feel them, and it scares the crap out of me but maybe it can finally help me heal. I'm very hopeful about this.

It all started when I saw my new work health nurse, and she actually listened to me and took me seriously. We talked about everything else first. I was prepared for a huge anti-fat lecture, but she just asked me, with obvious compassion(!!), "You've circled 'obesity' here?" (They had it listed as a disease, which I hate, but I did circle it, lest they think I'm deluded about it.) I told her everything about my eating and emotional issues. It's odd, it was so easy to talk to her. She got me an appoitnment with the doctor, who got me an appointment with the therapist. The doctor wanted to know my exact weight and height, which I gave, and she didn't give any comment on them. So that was nice. I got an appointment with the therapist the next Wednesday(!!). (The private doctors in Finland have zero queue and you can get in almost anytime. Not so with the tax-funded ones, sadly. I had to wait two weeks when I was suicidal.)

The therapist talks a lot and gives me a lot of homework. On the first meeting, he drew this map of my emotional issues - bullying, my mother's expectations, being bisexual,  feeling different, etc. - and the emotional and physical reactions they cause. It was like he knew me. It was a bit creepy, but then maybe my problems aren't so unique after all?

I also had complete bloodworks done. My blood pressure and cholesterol are good. Big relief there. My blood sugar was a bit high, which was a big concern for me, since my Dad has diabetes. However, in the glucose tolerance test, my readings were well within normal. Diabetes may lurk in my future, but it's not something I can't live with. However, this motivated me to kick my sugary Coke habit. I was trying to eat less sugar before the glucose tolerance test, and I experimented on Stevia, which I liked a lot. I don't think I'm ready to give up candy unless I absolutely have to, but Coke Zero helps me feel like I'm not deprived, and yet it takes away the extra hyperness/fullness I had with regular Coke (which I drank maybe a liter per day up til now). I'm also trying to exercise more, on my exercycle. I'm not sure if I'll ever be big on exercise, but I'd like to at least increase my circulation in the shoulders and legs, to avoid issues that come with a sitting-down job.

I've been very tempted to just go with it and go on a diet, but on a philosophical level, I've gone too far to go back to "fat is bad and diets are good, forever, amen". It's just not the truth about all this. I did lose a little weight; I don't know how much and I'm not setting any weight loss goals or limiting my intake in the name of weight loss. (And I can't even if I wanted to, because my ED always kicks in with a vengeance then.) I like having a tiny bit of my jellybelly off, but I try to remind myself that it might come back, and that's OK too.

Today, seeing my regular doctor - whom I'd never met before and might never meet again, thanks to the changing doctors of Finnish communal health services - I had a worse experience. She gave me a cortison shot for my possibly inflamed hip, and while she didn't do the "OMG UR SO FAT" routine, she did act in a way that I found rather annoying. She told me I should try running. I asked if running is a good thing for an "overweight" person (I try to come on their level, maybe I'm just sheepish). She said, "Well if you're overweight then you should lose it!!!!" and told me that running is a good weight loss exercise and "You should shed the extra weight at a young age, so you won't have problems later". She seemed young and overeager and very anti-fat. I didn't start a fight.

In general, she wouldn't stop talking, and I feel like she didn't listen to me at all. (Incidentally, there was recently a study published about how doctors really genuinely don't listen to patients. Encouraging.) I had mentioned my eating disorder issues, but she obviously didn't think that's a reason to be silent about my weight. Either way, I don't have OMG Hip Replacement Surgery coming, it's just a local inflammation. So that's also a relief. All in all, my health is good. I'm happy about that.

I feel proud of having come out with my issues, but it also had to do with the nurse who really did listen and have a conversation with me. Sadly, not all health professionals are the same, but once you have a way in, maybe things will get better. Wish  me luck?


  1. I'm very glad you can finally get help, deniselle. I experienced a shit storm with a doctor lately (here you can't choose; having a family doctor is near impossible, and I had to wait four months for a mere «hello do you want to be my doctor» appointment.) Same shit, didn't listen to me and offered WLS five minutes after I was in. But seriously, if you can, fire her. Nevermind that running can hurt your joints like hell if you start too fast. Take good care of you and you are absolutely right to be proud of all the work you've done so far!

  2. Oh my god, that sounds awful. O.o Five times?! Is there nowhere you can complain to?

    Basically, I can choose to see a private doctor, I just have to pay for it. The state-funded doctor costs 13,80 per visit; the private doctor costs 40 if they don't do any tests. (With tests, it can easily go over 100 euros, and I can't afford that.) So at least I got my cortison shot for cheap. I can sort of understand the strain these doctors are under (they have to see patients nonstop all day, basically). But still, a little compassion wouldn't hurt.

    Also, thank you so much *hugs* I hope things will go well. I feel like talking about it to a therapist has already helped a bit, like it makes me feel like I can really help myself and beat this anxiety over food.