Health Care NEEDS to Change: More Sensitivity, Less Judgement

I had a doctors appointment this morning at a new practice to get my medications refilled, and as someone in recovery, I always dread getting weighed because most of the time, practices have no sensitivity towards patients with eating disorders and either say the weight out loud or show it to you against your wishes.

As soon as I went back, I said, “I must warn you I am in recovery from anorexia, so I cannot see or know anything about my weight, or it will cause a relapse.” The nurse looked me up and down, slyly said, “mmhmm,” and rolled her eyes at me.¬†She continued to make no effort to conceal my weight from me, and eventually, she put it right in front of me, and almost instantly, my world shattered. I haven’t been aware of my weight for the past three years, and seeing the number killed me. It took everything I had in me to not break down in the office.

First of all, this is no way to treat anyone’s preferences about knowing or not knowing their weights, let alone the wishes of someone who’s in recovery from an eating disorder. I cannot express how invalidated I feel or the impact this has made on my body image and self-esteem, and all of this could have been avoided if they took the needs of an eating disorder patient into consideration. While this situation pains me, I refuse to sink, and I want something good to come of it!

From my experiences today, I am led to believe our health care system lacks sensitivity training for treating patients with mental health conditions, especially eating disorders. We’re supposed to be able to turn to our doctors and nurses in our darkest times to get answers and understand what is going on in our bodies, not to be judged and belittled, and unless our health care professionals are knowledgeable about these conditions, they will not be able to properly help us.

What can we do to make this better? How can we try to make sure no other ED patient has to go through this? For starters, I am going to write a letter from Girl in the Mirror to this particular health care system explaining what I went through today and pushing for sensitivity training and eating disorder education for all employees. I will offer to help organize an eating disorder education seminar for employees and provide resources for anyone needing to know more. While it’s such a small step, I hope it will start the long process of ensuring no one has to go through anything like this ever again.

Have you ever been through something like this? Will you join me in demanding eating disorder education for all health care professionals by writing a letter to your health care provider? Please share your stories and comments down below, and let’s talk about it.

I love you all,

XOXO

Madison

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