Today was really, really rough.
I just got back to university from my holiday break, ready to start my last semester of college. A week before I returned to school, I had a call with an eating disorder recovery center about 15 minutes away from campus. Over the holidays, my eating disorder got a lot worse. There were several factors that contributed to this: family stress, relationship stress, and the inability to control my food intake like I do at school. By the end of my break, I was exhausted and realized I needed professional help.
Besides visiting a counselor and dietitian for a couple sessions, I’ve never had consistent professional help to overcome my eating disorder. As my life sorta spun out of control over the holidays, I realized this needed to change—it was time to get real, professional, extensive, and consistent help.
Luckily, there is an eating disorder treatment center close to my university’s campus. I have visited the center on several occasions in the past to attend Eating Disorder Anonymous meetings. This facility offers an Intensive Outpatient Patient (IOP) program that I believed would be a good fit for me. Due to the fact that I’m in my last semester of college and have a good job, I decided I couldn’t drop everything and attend a Residential program (where I live at the facility for a month or more). Additionally, residential program are extremely expensive and my parents don’t have traditional insurance. The IOP program seemed like the perfect option. It still required 12 hours a week, but would allow me to keep my job and stay in school.
Before I could be accepted into the program, Ashley, the intake specialist, interviewed me. The day of the interview (just over a week ago), I sat alone on my bed and talked to Ashley about my eating disorder. I told her a lot of terrible and disgusting things. I told her that my eating disorder was ruining my life, and I really needed help. At the end of the conversation, Ashley explained I likely wouldn’t be accepted into the IOP program because I was too sick. I was shocked. If anything, I didn’t think I was sick enough (“not sick enough” is a common phrase from those suffering with eating disorders). I begged her to give me a chance. “This is my only option,” I said. “I really need help.” She promised to advocate my case to the admittance committee.
Today Ashley texted to tell me the treatment center had not accepted me into the IOP program, and despite my pleas, there was no way they would allow me to participate in the program. She texted me about a minute before the end of my Christian Ethics class. I broke down into tears, quickly packed my bags, and ran back to my room. Throwing myself on my bed with my boots and rain jacket still on, I cried and cried. I couldn’t believe it.
What was I supposed to do now? What other options did I have? Would I have to drop out of school? I was so angry and bitter. If only I had a dozen glass plates to throw against the wall—I would watch them shatter into a million pieces. I wanted to punch someone. I wanted to scream every curse word I knew.
There was no one to talk to. I felt completely alone. More than that, I felt humiliated and embarrassed. I had shared all my vulnerabilities with a complete stranger—told her details about my eating disorder that I had never spoken about before—only to face rejection from a program designed to help people like me.
I know this sounds dramatic. Obviously a treatment center is well within their rights to accept or reject any applicant they please. But to me, the rejection left me utterly humiliated. I still feel the embarrassment and humiliation so deeply I’m forcing back tears as I write this.
I feel like there’s no hope for me. My interview with the treatment center was the first time I have been completely vulnerable and the first time I have asked for help, only to receive “no” for an answer. Again, I understand they can turn down whomever they please, but it still hurts and I still feel hopeless. I honestly wonder if I’ll make it through this semester. I am so drained emotionally. Do I even have the strength to carry on?
A Sad Ending
I wish I had words of encouragement, but right now, it’s all I can do to keep from crying and alerting my roommate that something’s wrong.
Sorry for the rant. I’ll talk to you all later.
For posts that are a bit more encouraging, check out the ones below: