To the Insurance Company That Sees Me as Just a Number

My name is Bekah. But all you probably know is my ID number on a piece of paper or computer screen — either of which you will use to judge whether or not I’m worthy of potentially lifesaving and life changing care and treatments.

But most of the time you seem to deem me unworthy. You’re either asking for more at a pace I cannot tolerate, or you’re telling me I’ve “progressed enough” and that I don’t need any more care. All cases are not the same. Some struggle more than others. Let me tell you a little about myself, so you don’t just see me as a number.

I am 22 years old, closer to 23. I’ve been a competitive dancer since the age of 3 and it’s one of my many passions in life. I also love to sing, help lead praise and worship at a church and hope to further my music. I also want to go into the medical field and become a pediatric nurse — I love kids and I love helping people. I’m a nanny for 2-year-old twins and absolutely adore them and my job.

But right now, I’m the one in desperate need of help.

I’ve suffered with anorexia nervosa for almost 13 years, starting at age 10. My disease isn’t about being pretty or glamorous, as many seem to think. One factor you probably don’t know that contributed to my illness is that I was sexually abused from ages 4 to 5 and again at age 7. I can trace a deep hatred to my body back to age 3. Eating disorders are dangerous — anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. I do not want to become another statistic.

As you probably know, due to malnutrition I have had lots of muscle atrophy and weakening, not to mention a severely injured ankle. But I’m trying my damn hardest every freakin’ day to gain strength back at this skilled nursing facility/physical rehabilitation center. I’m 22, not 90 — I have a full life left to live, preferably walking and dancing through it. Why do you get that power to cut me off because I couldn’t stand an extra 30 seconds or turn my feed rate up due to nausea? Sure, I may not reach those goals at the snap of a finger; maybe I stand an extra 5 seconds. The fact that I’m even keeping my feed on is huge progress in itself.

For once I can say I think I’m finally starting to do a little better, 13 years later. To cut me off in the middle of this is wrong. It’s a death sentence. How come you get to determine what “enough” progress is? You don’t know my name, you don’t know my story and you don’t even know my face. All you know me by are notes scribbled down on paper then transferred to computer. Why not try talking to the client? Why not try hearing them out and understanding where they’re coming from?

As for me, I’m taking steps. They may be baby steps, and maybe I’ll even take three forward and then six back. Maybe I’ll have a rough day or week, but does that make me unworthy of care? I ask that you stop determining what I’m worthy of by a stupid number, or note, or assumption. I am a damn human being.

blonde woman in treatment facility
Bekah at her treatment facility

If you or a loved one are affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-0656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anorexia Nervosa

I Met My Boyfriend in a Psych Ward

When you’re admitted to a psychiatric hospital, you expect many things — long boring days, lots of medications, loneliness, arts and crafts, restraints, seeing unimaginable events and maybe, if you’re lucky, a breath of fresh air for five minutes each day. But what you don’t expect is to make long-lasting friendships. You especially don’t expect [...]

What I Want My Family to Know About Having Anorexia on Thanksgiving

As the first few weeks of November go by, my anxiety has been getting worse. I keep asking myself why? What’s so different? Then I remember — Thanksgiving isn’t far away. For many people, Thanksgiving brings pleasant memories: warmth, laughter, sharing, seeing family you haven’t seen all year and of course, stuffing your face to your [...]

Blogger Shares Tips on How to Really Dress Up as ‘Anna Rexia’ for Halloween

Every year at Halloween some distasteful costumes surface, but few are as offensive and disheartening as “Anna Rexia.” Via For under $50, the costume simultaneously pokes fun at and sexualizes anorexia — a serious, potentially deadly condition. This is no laughing matter — eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, according to [...]

What the Starbucks Barista Didn't Know When She Wrote 'Smile' on My Coffee

Dear barista, You didn’t know me and you didn’t know my story. Most importantly, you probably didn’t know writing the simple word “smile” on my order would change my day for the better. When you look at me, you might assume I’m happy, bubbly, outgoing and full of life. But you don’t really see the complete [...]