To the Therapist Who Called Me a 'Typical 17-Year-Old Anorexic'


Dear R,

I’ve have been seeing you for over a year and a half, but some things you say to me hurt. They hurt more than I let on. I have been trying to find my place in life. I have tried to differentiate myself from my anorexia, but you still make me feel like I am my anorexia. Although you said I was,“the typical 17-year old-anorexic,” I am here to say I’m not. I am not a statistic! I am an individual who had the misfortune of having an eating disorder. I do not associate myself as my anorexia. I try not to define myself as it, but when you tell me things like that it hurts.

R, we used to have sessions twice a week, then once, then twice, and now once again. I feel as if you do not care. I feel as if you want to bring me down at times just to see what I’ll do. You know me, you know what pushes my buttons, yet you still say hurtful things. You told me I should change my goal of becoming a psychologist. You told me I was not equipped for that goal. You have turned my misfortunes into weaknesses about me as an individual. You never let me live it down. Although you do not let me forget my mistakes, I have people who do.

I am here to tell anyone who has been put in a category due to their mental illness that you need to fight. You need to tell the individual you are not a statistic because you are unique. You are different, every eating disorder was triggered by some different event. You may not have the same recovery pathway as the next person who walks in your therapist’s door, but that is OK! Life would be boring if everyone was the same. You are not typical, you are beautiful in your own way.

So, thank you R. Thank you for all the times you have brought me down and at times brought me up. Thank you for making me realize the only one who knows what upsets them is the person being told the upsetting information. Thank you for calling me “a typical 17-year-old anorexic” because maybe if you kept that to yourself, I would not fight so hard to gain the weight back. Without your help, I would not be able to fight for the life I so desperately want, instead of the life I may get with my eating disorder.

Sincerely,

The patient

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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