Chapter 1: Intake

It's not about the number.

It’s not about the number.

A few years ago I made an appointment with an eating disorders specialist to deal with my binge eating. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a real thing. The fact that the acronym is BED is not wasted on me. After a real good binge session there is nowhere I’d rather be than in bed. In fact, some of my best bingeing is done in bed.

I should warn you here: If you don’t want to read about eating disorders from a humorous perspective turn back now. Humor is how I deal with things. I’m not not making light of anyone else’s struggle with eating disorders. This is simple my take on my experiences.

I sought help for binge eating after becoming a stand-up comedian. Much of being a comedian is about being real with the audience. At this point I was not comfortable with my body but I wanted to be. I also wanted to address my binge eating and hopefully get some help for it. I figured this was a good place to start.

There are two eating disorder clinics that I’m aware of: Emily Program and Melrose Institute. I won’t tell you which I went to because it doesn’t really matter. Here’s a definition of BED.

The first step in getting help is getting an intake assessment. Well, actually the first step is admitting you have a problem. Once you do that, then you can get yourself into a program and go through intake. You meet with a nurse. They ask you some questions. They weigh you but you’re not allowed to see your weight. They don’t want you to focus on the number.

It was very weird getting weighed but not getting to see the number. I felt like I was part of the Darma Initiative. In a regular doctor’s visit, no matter how hard I try not to see my weight number, I see it. Here it’s not even visible to you. It makes me want to see it. But it was also very liberating not having to look at the number on the scale.

I got accepted to the outpatient program. Yay! Everyone likes to be accepted, right?! Except that this kind of acceptance means that I have a problem that needs to be addressed. Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?

After I left the clinic I went grocery shopping. I remember vividly walking down the candy aisle. Coming towards me was anorexic woman. I know what you’re thinking? ‘You think everyone skinnier than you is anorexic’. But I don’t. There are a few that I think are bulimic.

Seriously, this lady was very thin. She looked much older than me but I think that could be because she was so thin. There we were, two women with very different eating disorders standing in the candy aisle. All I could think was ‘Maybe I could make friends with an anorexic woman at the clinic and we could partner up. I could eat her food for her.’ Which obviously is the complete wrong attitude to have. But what did I know? I was new to all of this.

Then I thought ‘This must be some sort of test they put you through to see how you’d react when confronted with your eating disorder opposite.’ Which makes complete sense that they’d set you up and out in public no less. I was already failing at being an eating disorder patient.

The next step is that they set up a bunch of appointments for you to meet with a psychologist and a nutritionist. They also really want you to get into a group session.

When I first got into the program they only had an evening group session available. I wanted help but not bad enough because I wasn’t willing to go to the night session. I didn’t want to miss comedy and open mic time. Honestly, I was afraid of what I was getting myself into. So I was fine waiting until a daytime group became available.

Fortunately a daytime group was about to start as soon as we got enough members. The downside was that it was Fridays in the summer. I didn’t care though. I had a few appointments with my therapist and nutritionist under my belt and I was ready for the next step: group therapy.

To be continued…

Thanks for stopping by! Julie

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