Write a letter to a medical professional (general or mental health) or write an advert for a medical professional. What do you need from them? What don’t you need from them? What matters to you? Use your own experiences if you feel able to do so.
Wow, I wish I had a few days to look at this one. What a great topic. I have seen so many professionals, and I believe all of them did the best they could to help me find health. I am sad to say that I believe the majority, with few exceptions, did me more harm than good. That sounds harsh and I admit that it is harsh, but it is my truth. I also know in my gut that I would not be where I am today without each and every professional affecting my life in exactly the way they did at the time that they did. Just thought I’d get that out of the way before I began. Here we go….
First, I would like to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who took my case, who fought for me when I could not fight for myself, who pushed me to look within, who told me I was good enough, who encouraged me to continue living, who locked me up when I was not safe, who welcomed me back after I strayed, who wanted me to live more than I willed to live myself. Without you there would be no me. Thank you.
Secondly, I have some feedback to offer you after all these years. I know as professionals you know that this is only my experience but perhaps you see cases like me more often than once a lifetime. I’m willing to bet you see cases like me quite a bit actually. So maybe, just maybe, you’ll find some use in my feedback. I had such a loud head when I came to you for help. It seemed like most of your exercises made those noises louder. I guess I don’t really understand why you looked so hard and dug so deep to find the reasons. I mean I was in pain and instead of finding something to help me out of that pain, you encouraged me to find more so that I could find where all that pain started. I must say it was wonderful to think that I could find a fall guy or thing or whatever. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear this elusive fault entity was never found. What you might not guess is that a lot of people and a lot of me was hurt trying to find it. We, you and me MP, pointed fingers trying to catch targets. Well, I have news for you- My parents didn’t abuse me. My siblings didn’t leave me out. I was not bullied. My coaches were tough and I appreciated that. My talents were treated as gifts, and I was no dog and pony show. People didn’t call me stupid nor did/do I feel stupid. I was and always will be loved. I AM NOT A VICTIM!!! I get it. I get that these things could have been big deals for a girl showing my symptoms, but they just weren’t for me. So, at some point I implore you to stop digging! I mean sure, I had some skeletons in the closet and I had to look at some of those. Great. So what? I had uncovered all of them within probably the first couple months of therapy and over a decade later nothing new had surfaced, nothing from my past anyway. Plenty of new demoralizing, painful, tragic moments had come from my behavior and my obsession with disease, addiction and death. I was also now a bona fide Axis II Borderline Personality Disorder. One diagnosis I can absolutely see as accurate. I had learned it all in the groups, the institutions and the rehabs that were supposed to help me. I knew how to stay sick, to play sick, to welcome sick, to love sick. Why in the world did you keep digging into my first 10 years of life at this point? I mean where was the hope? Where was the celebration of the life I was living in the moment you were sharing it with me? Where was the direction for some contrary action? Pity was what I felt from you in my last five years of ED. Pity. Does that ever help anyone break free of emotional, physical and spiritual bondage? Really? I mean you’re not even joining me in the conversation at that point. You’re just nodding, writing prescriptions, agreeing with the crap hole that was my life, and the impossibility of me finding recovery. This was supposed to move me towards health?!!! I’m sorry, I just don’t see it.
Thirdly, I will admit that I was never fair to you. I never told you the whole truth. I wanted to be taken care of and becoming healthy meant independence and independence was utterly terrifying to me because it meant you wouldn’t take care of me. I was so afraid to live my life that I didn’t allow you to help me begin to re-enter it. I allowed you to help me stay sick. I purposefully served you plate-fulls of misery so you would lock me in psych wards and care for me 24 hours a day. I shattered myself into tiny pieces so that I would remain forever broken, and so you would forever attempt to repair me. Thank you for being my support for so long. Without you, I would have had to use more desperate, louder methods to attract help, and I probably would have died in the process.
Finally, I will tell you what I hope you will do with the next ‘me’ that comes your way. Challenge me. Tell me to stop thinking about myself and my problems so much and to go and help other women the way I keep telling you I’m called to do. Contradict me. Tell me I am wrong when I call myself ugly. Tell me you see me differently than I see me and that you believe someday I will agree with you too. Tell me to stop the pity party and start using my gifts, my voice, my light. Cry with me please. Cry with me because crying heals and when you cry with me you allow me to go out from you refreshed, energized and understood. Celebrate my family and my talents. Tell me to spend time with them and to help them at those family parties. To show up for life by giving some life to those I love. Tell me to dance and sing and craft and laugh with my family. Tell me to celebrate me and to allow my family to do the same. Teach me to give compliments and to accept them with honesty and grace. Oh, and one more thing, hug me when I leave your office (That’s for Rita and Lou Ann – thank you).
Again, thank you all who saw me to this place I am today. Make no mistake, without you there would be no me. Keep therapising, doctoring, and dieticianing. You do save lives!!
Love from, Fran