Cambodia 546

“I went to the drive through and got the biggest thing of popcorn chicken they sold and I ate every last bit of it in the car.” She had that numb, dead look in her eye that I had seen before. “Then I pulled over on the side of the road, stuck a finger down my throat, and made myself throw it all up.”

“You’ve done this before?” I asked in disbelief. “You are bulemic?”

She nodded. “Since I was a teenager. I hadn’t done it in a year or two, though.” I had been seeing her for over ten years and not an inkling of this was ever spoken of before. 

No clue.

“Why did you do it this time? What the hell happened?” 

“That new pulmonologist you sent me to? She’s as skinny as my pinkie. She says to me as soon as she walks through the door, before we talk about anything else, ‘You are obese! You need to lose weight. The only way you will be able to lose weight is by having bariatric surgery.'” 

Tears were starting to roll down her face. I handed her the Kleenex box.

“The thing is, Doc, she doesn’t know me from Adam. She has never met me before. She didn’t even try to get to know me. She just looked at me like I grossed her out.”
“Did you do any more binging and purging?”

“Every damn day since that appointment.”

Years of slowly getting her to change her diet and lifestyle, getting her to start exercising (using that nifty mini-elliptical machine I wrote about before), getting her to lose weight in the healthy way…. It had translated into her actually losing weight for a few months. Twenty pounds.

ALL down the drain. 

Often, when we think we have someone’s best interests at heart, we have no clue what they really need. It is easy to forget that a few words can tear someone down so thoroughly, so quickly. Thirty seconds to undo 11 years of work is a sobering thought. 

With the ACE study linking severe obesity (and even autoimmune diseases) to childhood trauma, evidence now of a genetic link to being overweight, the realization that the bacteria in the gut are different in people of different sizes…. There is much more at play here than someone simply having a sloppy lack of self control. 


Remember kindness. Always, always kindness.


188 thoughts on “Eroding

  1. That doctor sucks. I’m obese with Lupus and got down to 270. I’ve been on steroids for a couple of months and I’m back up 20 pounds. I see tons of doctors and none of them have been that nasty. However now I have to really be disciplined because I have severe acid reflux that is causing me to cough and can cause a whole lot of damage. It’s not easy. It’s a tough battle.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Amen. My mom was anorexic. One of the things I learned from her treatment is that when speaking with people with eating disorders, you never refer to weight, appearance or eating. It just intensifies their mental state and behavior. Since, as your story illustrates, you may not know who has an eating disorder, it is probably best not to broach these subjects with anybody, ever. Because as you say, a few words can do so much damage.

    BTW, I really enjoy your posts. You provide such a unique perspective that always makes me think. So, thanks.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting! It is just simply not possible to avoid the topic all together in a clinical setting, unfortunately, but by golly so many people need to do better at how they do address it! 🙂


  3. I’ve never had a Dr. treat me that badly, but the last time I went swimming (perhaps ever), I was walking along the side of the pool and a young girl, one of a group, pointed at my stomach and said loudly, “That’s why some people shouldn’t wear bathing suits.” Then they all started giggling. I had been so proud of my weight loss, and then this happened. It derailed my weight loss for over a year, I’ve lost some more since then, but I feel so bad every time I remember that.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I came to read the rest of what Punky had on her reblog. There are several doctors in my area who should have their tongues registered as lethal weapons, just because they don’t have a clue how to talk to another person. In my case, it was a Neurologist, the only one working in this area at the time, who bluntly told me I couldn’t afford him, my MS was now too advanced for any type of medication, and I should just save myself the time and expense and come home to die. That was 6 years ago and I’m stronger now than I was at that time, just because he made me angry. So I came home and LIVED, and plan on continuing to do so another 25 years. I realize you are talking about Bulimia, not one of my problems, but still, when a doctor starts talking without first engaging the brain, the damage can be overwhelming, no matter what the problem.
    Tripping down off the soapbox now, hopefully without the concussion that sometimes accompanies the trip.

    Liked by 1 person

      • We have a bankrupt hospital that is built on quicksand, that started breaking apart 2 weeks after the Grand Opening. Almost all docs in town are on that hospital payroll, so they really don’t make that much on a daily basis. Therefore, with their private practice, they overcharge, don’t really give patients more than two minutes of their time, don’t ask about drug allergies, just have their minds made up before you get there what they will or will not do. If the doc is good, and will take the time to listen, he/she will receive offers from other places, offering better conditions, better pay, and less bureaucracy with more intelligent people running the show. That is the way this town runs now. Life as we know and seem to accept it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • While I was in partial hospitalization after my first inpatient hospitalization for bipolar after a suicide attempt, I asked the psychiatrist who was seeing clients in partial when I could work again. She said, “Never.” She then described the circumscribed life I would now live as someone with a “Severe Mental Illness” It was quite an unpleasant and depressing future she described, basically not living. I decided then that this was not going to happen to me. I’ve had some pretty rough times on and off since then, but I’ve lived. When I look at my semicolon tattoo and think that I decided to continue my story, that meeting with that psychiatrist is what I think of.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My 22 year old grandson committed suicide in June of this summer. We are seeing it from the survivors side, and wondering “what if” and “what could we”, knowing all along we could not have stopped him. I am remembering the fun we had, trying to forget the bad parts, but they go together to make up the whole. It will take the rest of my life to survive this loss, but I am a survivor, so now we just have to help his brother thru it. That is the truly hard part. Thank you for sharing your story.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: I am a sinner!!! | Out of the Rabbit Hole

  6. I feel like every conversation with my daughters are a minefield. One wrong word is all it takes and they’ll be wrecked. Maybe for good. I don’t even have to mean anything by it or realize that I’ve even stepped on a mine. But they’re there. It’s scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It IS terrifying. My mother told me as a teenager that I needed to wear a girdle with some dress, I don’t even remember which one. I was 5ft 6in and weighed 120lbs at the time. I stopped eating and got down to 112lbs but my butt stayed. She doesn’t even remember the conversation but it made me self conscious/obsessed about my butt from then on. Parenting girls is terrifying.


    • I can’t speak with 100% certainty, but as long as you have that open dialogue with them and they know you love them, y’all should be ok. My parents were not like that, so any words they used were meant to hurt and remind me I would never be good enough.

      I don’t get that impression from you AT ALL. It’s obvious y’all love each other, so use your judgement and heart to talk about whatever you need to (which I know you know already)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Eroding | momkirby

  8. I’ve never liked anyone telling someone else what’s best for that person. What’s best for a person is subjective, not objective. I’m so sorry about so called ‘professionals’ who don’t know the meaning of professional.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sort of crap used to happen to me all the time. I call it the burn and churn – first they’d like you burn you – then it churns inside until I felt awful about myself. But life has taught me people will be mean, even family. It usually happen not because they are trying to hurt someone, but because they themselves are hurting as well. I’ve got a lot more peace now after understanding this. People don’t need sympathy, but they do need empathy. It’s totally different.

    Liked by 1 person

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