I have been to many therapists. Okay, maybe “many” is too strong a word. But I have been to more than most people and I have come away with quite a few interesting, if not always enlightening, experiences. However, I would have to say that the one I had today (technically yesterday…it is currently midnight) was probably the most interesting.
Her office was located in a fitness complex. That should have been my first clue that something was up. Or maybe the fact that she walked out in tight yoga capris and a form-fitting pink tank top should have alerted me that this was definitely NOT going to be a typical therapy session (or a therapy session at all…)
But hey, my options are limited and I was ready for some luck. I’d had enough crazy/unhelpful therapists to last a lifetime…right?
Yeah, apparently not.
After me and my dad were seated in little black fold-up chairs in the yoga room (because, you know, the weight lifting/cardio room might be too loud), she proceeded to tell us about her history. I’m not going to get into all of it because 1) It’s her story and she deserves privacy and 2) It’s long and irrelevant to this post. But it included her roller coaster ride of diets, being overweight, having a food addiction, etc, etc until the magic moment when she discovered fitness and “health.”
Now, I realize that finding health and happiness means something different for everyone. There’s no one size fits all (literally or figuratively health does not come in just one size or shape). But I, as someone with an eating disorder, want to get away from the fitness/dieting world, which emphasizes losing weight, eating only “healthy” foods, and working out solely for the purpose of achieving some societal ideal.
So as I am sitting there and she is talking about all of this-raising many ED related fears of mine and making me feel increasingly self-conscious-I try to send subtle messages to my dad. Like “SOS” signals with my eyes or something. But he is absorbed in listening to her and it seems that I am trapped, at least for the moment.
Finally, she turns to me and starts asking a series of questions, some eating disorder related and others not. I can feel myself shut down but I try to stay open to what she has to say. Eventually, after briefly trying a tapping technique (whole ‘nother story there) and having a “healthy” food plan given to me, I just break down.
It was not a pretty sight. I had put make-up on for the occasion, a rare thing for me, and mascara was streaming down my face. Both my dad and the therapist (fitness coach?) are looking at me like I’ve suddenly grown a third head and even I’m not sure what to think, the situation is so bizarre. She awkwardly hands me a tissue and I blow my nose, feeling like a two-year old throwing a tantrum.
Here’s the thing: I don’t like therapists, even eating disorder certified, tried and true therapists. They make me feel awkward and uncomfortable and usually leave me feeling more hopeless than I did before. I have this image in my mind of this “perfect” therapist who will solve all of my problems, just like the fairy godmother in Cinderella. This has yet to happen and probably never will. But still, I hold on to the hope.
This time, however, was different. It wasn’t simply Yeah, this ain’t gonna work. It was I am so triggered, I need to get out of here now before I go crazy.
There was one more thing to come, though: the scale.
It was sitting right there and after crying/yelling/generally becoming very frustrated, she decided that it would be a good idea to put me on the scale. At this suggestion, Ed took over.
“If you are going to weigh me, I get to see the number.” I told her stubbornly. Having little experience in the way of eating disorders, she agreed, after some resistance from my dad.
So we went to the scale, my heart beating rapidly. She pulls out the thing and at the last-minute, I decide not to look after all.
And than she calls out the number.
I can’t really blame her-I did, after all, tell her I wanted to know it. But at that moment, I feel so conflicted and confused that after a few angry words, I bolt for the door.
Only after a few hours to reflect on the whole experience can I see how truly bizarre the whole thing was. A girl with an eating disorder goes to a personal trainer who has no experience with treating eating disorders-and perhaps is even a bit disordered herself-for counseling. And ends up getting a lot of unhelpful information. The things I get myself into.
It’s been an interesting day, to say the least.
This post truly has no point. It’s just me venting, as usual. I got to admit, though, that I really enjoyed creating the picture for this post;)