Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I do not watch the A&E show "Intervention" on a daily basis, but I happened to be flipping through channels and saw it was on last night. I was watching something else, so I ended up staying up until 1:00 AM to catch the encore of it. It was about a severely anorectic young woman named Emily. I actually think for the most part, it was okay-- maybe a few too many shots of her body nude, like in a shower, dressing, etc. which I didn't think were necessary.

I could relate with some of her feelings like unworthiness, not feeling like you deserved pleasure, that you didn't measure up to everyone, etc. With this young woman, to me, there were a lot of factors stemming from the family. Not that they were intentional but as always were major contributors to the development of her eating disorder. Since she had an identical twin sister who seemed to have it all, she always felt in her shadow. As one twin grew more confident and self-assured with life, Emily stood by the sidelines and began shrinking. This whole set up reminds me of Shelly from the documentary "Thin." She had similar issues with being an identical twin. I can definitely see how the whole identity crisis can be difficult.

Also, another key factor into Emily's illness was being date raped. It was never said whether she received any counseling for this. I remember reading an article recently that said how trauma changes the way we view the world. Here's an excerpt from the trauma study at Cornell University:

Cornell researchers report that rapes, sudden deaths of loved ones, life-threatening accidents and other such traumas may result in enduring changes on how an individual views the world.

Since the show is called "Intervention," Emily had one with her family around. She eventually accepted treatment at Casa Palmera for 90 days. The last clip of her shows her being very motivated, saying she really wanted to give recovery a chance, that it was like a lightbulb went off. However, the last screen where they tell the progress of each participant said she had lost 7 pounds while there and was discharged to medical care. The remaining part of treatment, she was tube fed and went to Remuda Ranch.

The show ended up bitter sweet I guess. I still have a lot of issue with treatment and eating disorders. Maybe I am very biased, because I feel like I've never truly had an advocate or a professional say "I won't see you anymore unless you go IP," or something to that effect. The worst ultimatum I had was when my college therapist was about to ditch me, because I refused to get a physical for several months due to fear. She was willing to help me get through the door at least, and in the end, it wound up being one of the best moves I made.

It just seems so hard when you don't look the part and you fall under the radar.
A part of you feels great that you go undetected, but another part of you screams out for someone to notice, to care, to say "this is not okay." I often wonder what my physical therapist thinks. The PT and PTA just keep asking me if I run everyday which I don't. I just run a minimum of X miles.

Then there is my father.
He says I need to stop running for 2-3 months to give my hamstring a chance to heal. Okay, this may be true, but it's not what you say to someone with eating and exercising issues. He's just like "well walk then. You'll be fine, you look great, what's the problem." I just want to shout at him and say "Yeah, I may look great, but it's only due to being very active and probably not eating enough." Oh yeah, that's right, he thinks the average sedentary person really only needs 1200-1500 calories/day and that would solve the obesity problem.

Anyway, I'm going off tangent about this. As I said, it's great that these people on shows like Intervention are getting the help they need, it just feels like the rest of us are left in the dust. Any residential treatment facility is a fortune and most of us do not have that type of money to shell out. It's just a sad reality.


Anonymous said...

I've been there. I'm there every day. You decide your next moves. Just know you're not alone.

Tiptoe said...

Anon, thanks for your words. Reminding myself I'm not along in this constant battle is so very helpful. Hope you're doing okay.

Anonymous said...

It's an odd thing...
I've lived like this for years, and I'm pretty sure no one has noticed. I don't want anyone to, yet, I do at the same time. I want someone to physcally stop me as I don't know how or always want to myself.

I'm glad you posted this though, even though it was over a year ago.

Tiptoe said...

Anon, I'm glad you found this post helpful, though I'm sorry that you are living with an ED.

You're right that there can be a conflict of wanting someone to notice and intervene but at the same time continuing with an ED.

The thing is the longer an ED remains, the harder it is to overcome. I truly hope you are able to tell someone about this and get the help you receive. Sometimes, it just means reaching out and taking a leap of faith.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

i know shelley from "thin" - she's in recovery. she's doing so well, it's amazing.

don't give up!