Friday 8 March 2013

... that one comment can make such a difference...

Ben was in tears this morning. The reason? My (frustrated) reaction to his (frustrated and confused) reaction to a throw-away comment made by the university's specialist eating disorder nurse yesterday. The comment: "Well you look absolutely fine now. I can tell by looking at you."

Also, her heavy emphasis on the "fact" that eating disorders are "an anxiety thing". In other words, solve the anxiety and you solve the eating disorder. Or at least that was the message we were getting.

When we got home we had a peek at a video she'd pointed out to us which the university had produced for eating disorders awareness week. They'd taken a group of (former?) eating disorder sufferers and asked them to talk about their eating disorders. The focus of the video was all about "positive body image".

Also, one of the young women said (something along the lines of): "In the end I got bored with it, so I just stopped." And now I'm better, kind of thing...

Here is the link, make up your own mind.

Ben was in tears because, he says, the one person he thought he could depend on to "get it" across all the various support services we saw yesterday was the specialist eating disorders nurse.

And he felt that she just didn't "get it".

I must admit that, looking back, certain things did concern me. But I put that down to the fact that, after all this time, I know a heck of a lot about eating disorders - from being on the "front line", 24/7 for so long, and from moving in the circles I do. So I thought, well, she doesn't know us, she doesn't know Ben's history and she might just be one of those people that are adept at getting misinterpreted by people or just say the "wrong thing". Like I do, on numerous occasions.

So I referred her to the FEAST website ("A mine of information about everything to do with disorders") and Men Get Eating Disorders Too ("Who know absolutely tons about eating disorders in males").

She knew about BEAT.

Or "BITE", as she referred to it a couple of times, before I corrected her.

The key is, though, that all of this was a Big Deal to Ben. So much so that it's almost as if all the other positive stuff from yesterday never happened.

He needed to feel comfortable with this nurse, but he didn't.

And it's left him mega confused and disheartened. I believe it may affect his decision whether or not to go to university in September. Or at least that particular university.

It also leaves me so incredibly frustrated that, so late in the day, a throw-away comment like this can be such a Big Deal to him.


  1. I think he'd be better off seeing no one than someone who says stuff like that. It would've upset me too. You can't tell someone's fine just by looking at them either.
    The rest of the stuff on offer there sounds really good though.

  2. the theory that eating disorders are an anxiety issue does not actually mean that eating disorders are nothing but a worry of getting fat. i am an recovered anorexic myself, and i personally think that (my) anorexia is caused by biological factors. but i dont think that these factors caused my ed directly. my theory is that these factors caused my severe anxiety and some other mental health issues. and by restricting my food, the anxiety got much better (simply because if you restrict your food intake, you start to feel less and less emotions and so you are also less anxious). so i think that ed is caused by biological factors (indirectly) as well as by anxiety, if you understand how i mean that. and i think thats also the reason why my anxiety got worse when i started to eat more again. like i said, thats just how i feel about my ed, i am not saying that this is the way it is and end of the story. just wanted to point out that thats maybe how the nurse sees it. but by the way, i do also think that the other thinks the nurse said are not okay at all and they would have hurt me a lot as well