You are not as transparent as you may think

Ok

Been seeing my T a long time now. I have a lot of trust in her and she has helped me a great deal. However I was very hurt by one simple sentence she said to me today. To give a little background I am in nursing school right now and am about to begin my psychiatric rotation. I told my T that I felt a little apprehensive as I do not know yet if I will be working with eating disordered patients. She went on to say that "You are not as transparent as you may think to the eating disordered patient" I kind of took this as a blow...I was like "Did she really just say that?" Because I heard "you will never be looked at as being even close to the category of very thin girls" Ok true statement, but hurt none the less. Fortunately she picked up on how upset I was and explained that the message she was trying to convey was that I do not appear incompetent and that I have the ability to be professional in these kinds of situations and not fall apart. She meant to compliment me but I had taken it as the all too familiar statement "You don't look like you have an eating disorder".....sigh. Just had to vent a little. We talked a little bit about this but the session was close to the end so we may have to work through it a bit more next time. Overall I feel like what she is saying is true and that I do need to realize that I am not transparent, not super skinny and be ok with that…a blow to my ego. She did apologize and told me that I was not to blame about how I perceived the statement and that she had been insensitive....hurt though and makes me feel almost distrustful...I don't want to go into some of my deepest fears and have them thrown in my face like I am preposterous for even thinking I have struggles...its invalidating....Anyways thanks for reading. Happy Friday! :)

Surrender,

Okay... You've been working HARD! You've regained CRITICAL weight and are looking healthier! That's what I read in those words. I also know well how the ED wants to twist them into, "I'm too fat. I need to be thinner to be noticed; to be important." Breathe, dear friend... It's so hard to separate out what we know from what we feel... For so long we have ignored what we know, in favor of trying to eleviate what we FEEL... Trying NOT to feel the PAIN. Of being less than. Of being inadequate. The TRUTH is that you ARE ADEQUATE! You will EXCEL in your work BECAUSE of your DEEP understanding, natural empathy, and intuitive sensitivities. You'll be in a very unique position to be able to relate to and help those that are suffering with EDs, or any mental illness. Patients will be relieved to have an empathetic, caring nurse. They will not mistrust you because they find you trapped in your own illness or inadequate in some way. You'll be able to USE your experiences to help others! ♥ VERY empowering, my friend! :)

Love you!

Jen

Wise Jen

Thank you for your words. You said it exactly; I need to separate out what I know from what I feel. I aspire to be able to use these intuitive sensitivities you speak of to help others. I mean this is the whole reason I tried so hard to get into nursing school because I had been there (well at least mental illness there) and wanted to help others. Thank you for the reminder that I will best serve others and that they will be able to TRUST me if I stay healthy in recovery and not let the lure of negative ED thoughts pull me in. Namaste friend :)

Surrender...so, did your remark to your T refer to how YOU would be affected by working with ED patients, or vice verse? I actually first thought you were referring to YOUR reaction. Do you think it would affect you?
I also think that your T was likely referring to your 'transparency' in an emotional way, not in terms of your appearance. Maybe not, but based on her explanation, it sounds that way.
Statistically, there is a higher percentage of people suffering from eating disorders OTHER than anorexia, than there are those who are of a low weight and anorexic. In other words, weight truly does not define an eating disorder, nor the intensity of the illness. Yes, it does play a part, but many people, by sight, can not be 'diagnosed'. You may be going to Nursing school with other young women who struggle with an eating disorder, but it is not obvious.
I do understand the dichotomy of feelings this brings up. It's important for some that others 'see' their pain, and if they are not noticeably 'sick', then it minimizes the illness (in their minds). It can be very confusing.
You might want to think about why you still would want that identity, or why it is insulting to you that your T would insinuate that you are not 'noticeably' ill.
I agree that you will be the more compassionate and caring nurse for what you are learning during this process of recovery. Good luck...and take care....Jan

yes i agree with jen, too---but i think she meant this as a compliment...

but i understand and would have thought---oh crap im not thin enough---ED thoughts--but i think she was saying you look HEALTHY and that is a good thing even if we with ED dont think so...healthy is a compliment--saying you look sick is not a compliment, it is an insult. i know we want to look sick, but that right there is the mental distortion, and we have to find out why we want that..

i know in society we all want this super thin image--but it is just a sickly sickly image and skinny is not good like we think.... healthy is the way to go...(and yes im trying to convice myself here too, ha).
anyway--i think what she said came out wrong--and i know how super sensitive we with ED are. my fiancee knows not to say the wrong thing around me, and yes he learned the HARD way.... it is difficult to know what is safe to say around ED pateints----but hey---you will be using your knowledge to help others(right) that is what your are saying--that you will be helping ED patients??? thatll be great and yes it is good if you look healthy treating ED patients and not skinny cause then, the girls there will be more receptive of you and look up to you...

anyway, i know what she said might have hurt---but it is a good thing--what she said...

skinny does not equal good, no matter what our dumb society says..

im so happy for your nursing job!!!!!

love
maureen

Well said, Maureen!

thanks my sweet friend–trying to stay positive in my own time of choas now----still waiting for jan’s new order—MAN and im a wayyyys off!

love
maureen

Thank you Jan, Maureen and Molly :)

Jan You having me thinking...So yes my T was referring to how I would react to other eating disordered patients. She meant to say that I do not come off as having this struggle so you can see my confusion and hurt around what that means in terms of what I physically look like...She saved herself with her explanation and I truly believed her when she told me she did not mean to hurt me or be little my struggle but yes it DOES bother me. What you said about it being important for some that others 'see' their pain, and if they are not noticeably 'sick', then it minimizes the illness (in their minds) still somewhat rings true for me. I am noticing that I am caring less and less about how the general public views me( still care a little) but it mattered SO much more to me how my T see's me. Why do I still would want that identity, or why it is insulting to me that she inadvertency told me that I do not look noticeably thin?? I don't really know. The only thing I can come up is that it has something to do with trust or validation...not sure could be grasping at straws...Thank YOU SO MUCH for your response though.

Maureen: I am not 100% sure if I will be working with eating disorders but it is a definite possibility. Thank you for your positive attitude, I truly believe you when you write :)

thanks so much surrender—and i hope you do well in your nursing!

love
maureen

Surrender,

Just a thought... Could it be that you are afraid that if your therapist doesn't see you as sick, that she'll think you don't need her anymore? I have had these thoughts myself, so I just wondered...

Wishing you well! ♥

Jen

hmmmm good point. Like maybe she’ll leave me if I am not “sick”? Yikes I do not want to believe that I am that attached but maybe its true