Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Don’ts of ED Professionals

So, I’ve seen a lot of therapists in my day. And dieticians. And, some (well, most) have been great. But well, a few were a little sketch (or, at least, made some pretty awful mistakes). I was thinking today that I should blog about a list of things not to do if you’re a professional (either in therapy or nutrition or simply the care tech flushing their feces) working with an Ed patient:

1.) I had a therapist who was not approachable – not even a little bit. And don’t you, as a therapist, say, find being approachable kind of an asset? I’d ask her a question and she’d look irritated with me. If (this is while I was IP) I needed to speak with her for a few minutes, not a full session or anything, she’d give this big dramatic sigh and then speak as little as possible to me – like, speaking over 50 words would be punishable by pain of death or whatever. Plus she wore bitch boots, and they scared me. A lot. Oh, and once she told me I had never accomplished anything in my life. I was like, Thanks a lot, ya giant a-hole.

2.) Don’t mess around with “weight issues” if you are not the patient’s dietician – maybe, maybe you can as her therapist, but you need to be very careful, because remember, you weren’t trained to deal with their weight, you acquired all those fancy letters after your name to piddle around in their brain. And if you’re anything else lower on the food chain? DON’T DO IT! While I was IP, I had a care-tech who had never met me, even though I’d been in treatment for nearly a month – she’d been gone on vacation, or something. So she saw me, and more or less asked me if I was bulimic or anorexic. Guys, you just don’t. do. that. I was pissed. And constipated. So she read a book and sat outside my bathroom while I tried to go #2. And I was so indignant that this woman would have the privilege of flushing my fecal matter.

3.) We’re taught, as ED patients, to try try try to not compare ourselves to others’, right? But we all know this is ridiculous, and that we more or less compare ourselves to anything that is female and breathes. But we’re always told, it doesn’t matter what others look like, comparing is bad, blah blah, and take care of yourself and don’t worry about others, blah, and she might be skinnier than you but she’s probably more unhappy, too, blah diddy blah. Well, my dietician decided it would be the World’s Cruelest Joke to take me to Chuckarama for lunch one afternoon. Buffets are sketchy to begin with, and me no likey. And, this specific dietician was tall, like me. And she was pretty. And she was freakishly thin. So naturally, I couldn’t stop comparing myself to her – I was much bigger than her. I made a comment to that effect as we were walking in, and you know what she said? She said this: “You’re totally the same size as me; you’re just as skinny as me.” To which I replied with a malicious/stunned expression and said flatly, “No. I’m not. You’re way smaller than me.” And then you know what she said? She laughed and said, “Yeah, you’re right, I am skinnier.” And then she tried to go in and get me to gorge myself on an all-you-can-eat buffet. I don’t think so. So as an ED professional, don’t be the freaking person to instigate comparisons. So not cool, sis.

4.) Do not give us ultimatums. Do not say you will no longer see a patient if she doesn’t gain XX amount of pounds in XX days or else they’ll be fired and thrown out of treatment. This doesn’t work, only makes us feel expendable and worthless because we more than likely cannot do what you are asking us. And it hurts like hell. I mean, if I could gain weight quickly and efficiently on my own, would I even freaking need to see you? No. So stop being bratty about it. (That’s what I wanted to say…) Needless to say, moved on to another D, and like her much more.

Okay, really, there are a lot more of these. But I’m starting to feel all tight and bitter inside, so I should stop. Plus, more of my unresolved anger issues toward the mental health industry are starting to blossom right about now, and with how DEE-PRESSED I’ve been lately, I think it best if I keep uncomf feelings to a minimum, you know?

I’m sorry I haven’t been properly commenting on some of your blogs. Please don’t be upset, honestly, I have a lot of catching up to do – I’ve been so down, I haven’t been able to do much of anything. But I have missed you, and I’m sure I’ll be back to my otherwise blogerrific self in no time. Brie out.


Emily said...

Brie, I totally agree (hey, that rhymes!) with all you have said in this entry.

Another don't:

(for professionals in general) Don't mention the weight of your other anorexic patients. And especially don't if they're thinner than I am. You should know by now that such mentionings only make me feel like shit. I don't care if they're "less unhappy" than me. How do you know just how unhappy I am with myself and my weight? (This happened with an old dietician of mine.)

Thankfully, my current dietician Pat doesn't do comparisons and doesn't mention the weight of her other ED patients (she specializes in ED's).

Kathy with a K said...

oh, the things I could add to your list of ED Professional Don'ts!

Hang in there Brie.

jana bananas said...

I think the poop thing is enough to keep me away from IP. What is up with that??

Heather said...

Great topic....I love being critical of the mental health of my all time favorite past times.

I, too, could add a butt-load to your list...but I'll control myself.

We both saw the same T around the same time who loved making similar ultimatims. Need I say more? I grew very bitter with her, needless to say.

Here's my last say on this topic (or I too will be bitter the rest of today): As a professional T or D, please don't share information with others that is confidential!! You say you live by a creed of confidentiality....well, keep to it then!
Yes, indeed, I had a T who actually told other people things about MY sessions. And no, I'm not a minor, and no these were not my parents she told. Oh, and she also shared with ME, confidential things about OTHER clients she saw too.
I think you may know who I'm referring to. Bless her soul, I do believe her heart was in the right place and did things with good inentions, but man does it hurt when you find these things out. Since her, I have been very skeptical and weary of seeing any T whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you have been so depressed lately. I hope things start looking up soon. Remember the ducks!

Jackie said...

I already see Brie coming back to her blog-errific ways. I loved this and you are absolutely right, on every issue!!!

I have to tell you (I should text you but you never text or call back!) but my first appointment with my T, she didn't really know what my "eating disorder" was. So she said, "You know, a lot of the time, in order to handle stress, we use food to stuff our feelings." Is that what you are doing? I wanted to scream - I AM ANOREXIC. I KNOW I AM WEARING BAGGY CLOTHES AND AM BLOATED WITH WATER WEIGHT BECAUSE OF MY DAMN MEDS but the last thing I am doing is STUFFING my face. Okay, probably way too much info for your readers.

Bottomline, they need a NATIONWIDE course for all "professionals" dealing with patients with eating disorders. The insensitivity is almost shocking at points.

Okay, lunch? Dinner? Tea? Coffee? Water? Gum shopping? Mints? Maybe two recovering anorexics can cancel each other's depression out? Who knows. Love ya B.

xo Jackie

b said...

Jack! Are you kidding me? I totally text you back! Did you get my comment I sent you on your blog about this Saturday? Whaddya think? Oh, and your comment had me laughing! Gum shopping, lol!

And...sorry about what your T said. Ugh. So. not. cool.

I'll call or text tonight, okay?

Devon said...

I have to say, I highly value the comment made by a certain D at the buffet...goodness...

Ahhh for the love of the 'professionals'.

PS - I'm going to start seeing H - your D. A is leaving so here I am.

Don't you love my abbreviations as well? Me too.

I miss you terribly lets play

Abby said...

Brie, Brie--I loves it! I loves, loves, loves it!

I'm always hoping that things couldn't get any worse than whatever I've experienced or heard about last... but things always get worse. The thing about the dietitian saying how thin she was--that's bizarre. When you got into the restaurant, did you throw diet Coke on here or anything like that? I would hope so.

Oh, I just had an idea! (Don't take me too seriously, though.) We could make dietitian voodoo dolls... but instead of sticking pins into them, we could stick feeding tubes into them! Serves them right, eh?

(And... I've been working on a blog post that deals with things mental health professionals have done right... and wrong. But I don't want to infringe on your rights to your idea since you got to the Things Not To Do first... am I okay?)

alriggells said...

Loves it, and it is so true. In a way...kinda a guilty way I will say this...I believe that the "PROs" who are suppose to teach us to not be so manipulative are just as manipulative as we are. Kinda frustrating to be honest.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the VM Brie. Yes, Saturday works. E-mail me or call with the when and where - iced chai tea sounds delish :) Love ya!!

Tanya said...

I have so much I could add, but I am in enough of a bad place that I don't want any more reasons to quit therapy so I will avoid the list I could make to add. Anyhow I love the post, I hope it didn't bring you down too much.

Hugs...miss you.

elizabeth said...

oh! if only more people in the field payed attention to important things. It baffles me sometimes why they even go into this stuff if they don't know how to behave coreectly.

Rachel said...

This is a great post. Unfortunately, I have so many things I could add to this list. I've seen some real flakes in my day, too, the most heinous of which was the psychiatrist who, after listening to me describe my eating disorder in full, told me I still had weight to lose. Where do these people get their degrees at anyway?

b said...

Woah. Some of these things you commenters are telling me that your ED professionals did to you are ASTOUNDING. No words. That psychiatrist was sick, dude.

b said...

Oh, and Nanners? The poop thing. Well. Ahem. In IP, lots of girls are bulimic or ED NOS or whatever. Or anorexic and want to throw up. You know. So, the care-techs leave the door open a crack while you do your thing, then you have to open the door to let them in BEFORE you turn on the sink to wash your hands, because you could quickly throw up in the sink and wash it down, (this is what I was told. I don't purge, but apparently it's happened) so then they have to come in and more or less look at your business and flush it to make sure you didn't purge. After all meals and snacks, you have to wait 1/2 hour to even use the bathroom, it's not allowed before then. It's so embarrassing at first, but you know what? You get so used to it you don't even notice it anymore. In fact, I remember going on a weekend pass home, and my hubby would always walk into the bathroom and make me come back in and flush - I'd completely forgotten because usually people do it for me, lol. That happens to girls a lot, apparently!

kristin said...

I'm glad that you're back Brie. I missed you!

I hope that you feel better soon.

Don't forget about the positives in your life. That always helps me to balance out my thoughts.

Take care, Brie! Love ya, girly!

PS: Thanks for commenting on my blog. I really appreciate it. :)

jana bananas said...

What horrific stories! Luckily, I don't have any. I'm sorry these so-called professionals have said such horrible things to you girls. How are these ED specialists?! Geez.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'd like to link to your blog, but I wanted to check with you first since the subject matter is sensitive. Will you let me know if that's ok?


b said...

Hi, of course I don't mind if you link to my blog. When I check my comments through email, it doesn't give a link on your username - so I didn't think you had a blog, but lo and behold - you do! I'll go check it now...

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Yeah, there's something funky about Blogger and the way it interacts with Wordpress user names. (Actually, it's probably entirely user error on my part - but I prefer to believe otherwise! Ha!)

(My name is Marste, btw - it doesn't link through if I leave comments with it, so . . . meh.)

Stacy said...

A D that weighs you and lets you see your weight. That didn't last.

this one was annoying more as an IP at CFC. My D didn't put me on weight gain cause I was at low end of normal when I got to CFC. their normal eating program made me lose weight (so doesn't that mean you are finding your set point?) well losing when in IP is a no no so even tho I wasn't underweight I was put on weight gain. DUH bulimics and EDNOS are usually somewhere close to normal and don't normally have to gain but they did it just because.???

Fortunately most of the things I endured while IP at CFC were warranted and my extern T (she was still in school)was really good.

Brie I really hope you can get through this without having to deal with more jacked up profs.

Brett said...

this is brett. I HATE CHUCKA

Brett said...

Just kidding. This is angela. Brett wants to marry chucka because he loves it so much. I hereby swear never to impersonate brett again.

Paige said...

Very well said. I also think it's not a great idea for a therapist to tell their suicidal patient: "You'd be better off dead. You should kill yourself". Thanks so much for your permission! I tried to take his advice a week later. Grrr, it makes me angry just thinking about it!

I HATE chuckarama. Why do they take ED girls there? Not only do you have to eat all this greasy food, you have to eat food that has nasty flies jumping all over it, mating and laying eggs in it. Yuck.

b said...

Ang, I read the "I hate Chucka" comment and knew it had to be an imposter, lol! No one loves a cheap buffet more than my twin bro...Thanks for giving me a laugh.

Love you both.

Palmtreechick said...

Love it!!

I almost got fired once for my weight. Please, I wasn't even underweight. Well, according to my T's "Charts" I was, but by like 5 pounds. Pah-leez!

NoSurfGirl said...

mrrrmmm. That's me being all not sure what to say.

When I was a care tech (look, I have revealed my secret identity a little) I was SOOO scared of saying the wrong thing that I'm sure I said the wrong thing sometimes. I sure hope i wasn't the one who offended... if I was I am truly sorry.

Good vent. maybe someday you'll be in a position to give some girl just the help she really needs. This ED business is becoming more and more prevalent... I think people need help from those who know how to help.

Krystle said...

Wise advice. :)

Keely said...

geez...some of these stories make me cringe... I had a dietician (post center) and asked me to write down what I ate. I brought in my list and she would be like:

"You had a cookie on thursday? Why did you do that? You could have had a serving of whole grain brown rice. Why not eat your servings of carrots like I suggested last week? Cookies are junk food. I am very disappointed in you Keely."

No joke.

The worst thing is that she is a *great* ED dietician in Salt Lake and came highly recommended...HA! Doesn't beleive in intuitive eating -more like the organic health freak diet with no room for cookies...

I told her I was hungry after my meal (I was on maintain) and she said, well don't have a cookie! How do you feel about carrot sticks!!!! HAH HA HAHAHAHAH! I turned orange a few years back from eating so many of those. How do you think I "feel" about them, you idiot?

On a side note, I know family members mean well but my mom came for family therapy and grabbed the back of my upper arm and squeezed it and said "ooh, this feels nice. you're eating again! " Not cool right now. not cool...