I was not completely sold I had a problem when I made the appointment with a dietician in August of 2016. I knew I was very thin and I was becoming too accustomed to the double take some people make when they first meet me. At ninety-nine pounds and five foot eight, I was nervous on how this new dietician would react upon our first meeting. When Gretchen, a petite red headed woman, stylishly dressed in bold colors opened the front door of her office she greeted me with a warm smile, no hint of shock at my thin frame. Phew, Ithought, maybe this can be a one and done appointment, my mind already envisioning our conversation going in in a similar vein as those with my General Practitioner over the years.
“You know Sherri, you are fine you just need to gain a few pounds. Just eat more avocados and olive oil and see me again in a month”.
Ha! Wishful thinking on my part. At the end of our hour-long session, that was NOT what Gretchen said. Instead in a kind and gentle way but with a seriousness to her voice, Gretchen laid out the facts. It’s difficult to remember her exact words, the sound of my own panic pounding in my ears. I recall;
· Concerned for your life
· Life-threatening and
· Treatment options
Words tumbling around in my head like letters in a Bingo game. I was having a hard time grasping this was me she was talking about.
Gretchen then leaned forwards in her chair, speaking in a deliberate manner, a look of compassion on her face, and said the words I will always remember “you did not cause your eating disorder, it is not your fault.”
My vision became blurry as the tears welled up in my eyes and threatened to spill out over my cheeks as I fought to hold them back. I wanted to believe this woman. I wanted to save face, to believe that I was not so vain, so weak ….so….so… stupid to get myself into this “life-threatening” position. But if it wasn’t my fault then who, how, why?