Do I Really Deserve Help For This?
“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself”
The 25th February this year, marked the start of eating disorder awareness week. This wasn’t just here in the UK, but something that went on across the globe. Charities from all over the world ran campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of eating disorders. I, like many other people, knew absolutely nothing about this. You see, the only reason I became aware of this awareness week was when I heard it on the tv at my dad’s. It wasn’t on the news as you might think, it wasn’t even a charity campaign either. It was in fact a live broadcast from the houses of parliament here in the UK. MP’s from across the country was talking about it and highlighting just how important an issue it was.
As I tuned in and listened to what was being said, I found myself thinking about some of the things I could relate to myself, but I just shrugged it off. MP’s would be reading out stories from their own constituents and I was both shocked and amazed at just how bad an eating disorder is. Until this point, I had only ever heard of anorexia, and I was surprised at just how many different eating disorders there where. Surprised at how it doesn’t discriminate by age, gender or religion. After the MP’s moved onto another subject, I spent some time reflecting on what I just heard.
Thinking back over the last year, I recall the few times I was accused of taking drugs or being anorexic because of my weight loss and looking pasty. I also recall the amount of times over the years that I had to take iron tablets because I was anaemic. I recall the times I would constantly weigh myself, sometimes several times a day. I would recall the obsession with exercise and making sure I always do at least 10,000 steps a day. I would recall the obsession with certain types of food because of calories. I recall the times of taking diet pills and going on keto diets. I recall the constant restricting and binging habits and the throwing up after a binge. And just how much my weight constantly fluctuated but stayed within normal ranges. So surely, because my weight is in a normal range, it means I am okay right? I don’t have an eating disorder?!
I decided to reach out and contacted an eating disorder charity here in the UK. I explained everything to them, and they asked me a lot of questions and they told me to contact my GP to make an appointment as it sounded like I did have an eating disorder. At this I just went silent, I couldn’t respond, and after a few minutes I explained that I couldn’t talk to my GP because I have trust issues and I don’t yet know them well enough. He then told me that I could call the NHS 111 service and explain it to them, to which they would put a report forward for my GP, so I took this advice and called.
After almost an hour on the phone to NHS 111 I was told I needed to call my GP within 24 hours for an appointment, I was also told they sent a report over and a referral form for my GP. I was now in a state of panic, it was looking more and more likely by the minute that I had an eating disorder and I could not accept this. I tried to find any explanation possible for it all. I knew that it must be a mistake, maybe the charity I spoke to misheard something I said? Maybe the NHS 111 service misheard something I said? I just tried so damn hard to find some explanation to things, an explanation to say its just normal what I go through and that it is not an eating disorder.
The following morning, I was in the doctors having a blood test to which I had a follow up appointment with my GP the following day. I don’t really remember much about this blood test, but I’m pretty sure I was dissociating at this time. When I seen my doc the following day, my anxiety was going through the roof. I could feel my heart racing, and every beat felt as though it was about to break through my chest. After a few minutes of trying to calm myself down, my GP looked at me and told me I was anaemic and needed to start iron tablets again. She read through the report sent by the NHS and started to fill in the referral form. She told me I definitely had an eating disorder and it may take some time before I hear from the referral process.
I still can not accept what is going on, I even regret to some degree calling the charity that started all this off. I don’t feel like I deserve any help with this!