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How did I get here?

How did I get here?  That’s a question I’ve asked myself a gazillion times since I started eating disorder treatment.

Here on transparent Tuesday, where I have purposed to share some of my story in a very transparent way, I’m going to answer that question.  Or at least try to.

I’ve shared very few details about my time in treatment.  But as God frees me to share, you will be hearing more of my story.  I am confident that God is going to use this struggle for His glory.  There is hope in this struggle!

How did I get here?

About one week into eating disorder treatment, I remember sitting on my bed one night thinking, how did I get here?  What happened?  How in the world did I agree to this?  What was I thinking?  The questions bombarded me faster than my mouth could say the words. That feeling has continued for much of my treatment time.  I think I am just now settling into the truth that I have done this hard thing.

Over the past few months, my eating disorder flared back up, and I lost more weight than before.  Our friends were concerned, and my family was worried, but I thought they were making a big deal out of nothing.

The Therapist Office

However, one Friday afternoon, I sat in a therapist office and heard an ultimatum laid out on the table.  I have never seen this therapist act like this.  There was a fire in her eyes.  She was not to be ignored!  Just what was that ultimatum?  It was two things I had to do or else she would no longer see me.

First, I had to go to the psychiatrist office and tell them she sent me and that I needed an appointment as soon as possible.

Secondly, I had to check out this eating disorder clinic in Birmingham.  I had never even heard of this eating disorder clinic.

This therapist was serious.  I left the office, and thought, “Well, you’re about to save me some money.”  I was angry.

By that evening, my anger had settled, and an uneasiness took its place.  I researched the eating disorder the therapist had mentioned to me, and I went wow, this is me.  ARFID was the acronym for the disorder.  When my family read about the disorder, my son said, “Wow, sounds like mom wrote this.”  (My diagnosis did not end up being ARFID. Instead, it turned out to be anorexia.)

In my research, I discovered there were numerous quizzes online to determine if one might be struggling with an eating disorder.  Much to my dismay, every quiz I took, confirmed it was a possibility I might have an eating disorder.

Friends, I thought when I suffered and conquered my eating disorder a few years ago that I was done with eating disorders.  Oh, how wrong I was!

The Website

I scoured the website of this eating disorder facility in Birmingham.  The information was sparse.  They were positive that they wanted you to call for information.  I did call, and from the moment I called for information, my life changed forever.  I scheduled a tour of the facility on Wednesday.

The Psychiatrist Office

On Monday, I called the psychiatrist office, and they made me an appointment for Tuesday.  On Tuesday, I saw a very troubled psychiatrist.  He gave me more ultimatums.  All the time, telling me it was my choice to pursue this avenue.  But let me be real, being kicked to the curb for defiance would not play to my advantage when I went to search for another psychiatrist.  And I think I do have one of the best!  The consequences of choosing to ignore were much more significant than I wanted to risk.  I left the psychiatrist office with a deep unsettled feeling in my heart and the pit of my stomach.

Touring the Facility

The next morning, I arose and made the drive to Birmingham alone.  I had a friend that had offered to go, but truthfully, I wanted to go alone.  I didn’t want anyone to enter this part of my world.

As I sit here today, I remember hardly anything about my tour of the facility.  I can’t tell you what I learned or what they said.  It just seems like a big blur.  I don’t recall my drive home, nothing, nada.  Talk about being in shock; this was it!

The Next Steps

Before anything could be determined, I had to fill out a ton of paperwork and have a phone interview.  I also had to have my primary doctor do an EKG, draw more labs than kernels on a corn cob, and have a TB skin test.

On Thursday, I filled out the paperwork online.

Friday afternoon I had about an hour and a half phone interview where they asked more questions than one can even imagine.

On Saturday, we had a family meeting.  What were we going to do?  How was life going to proceed in my absence?  My family sat for an entire morning with our sweet friends that have walked with us through so much.  That time together was both precious and productive.  A plan was made.

On Monday, I called to see when I could see my doctor and told them why I needed to come in.  They literally said can you be here in thirty minutes?  I was getting ready to take Zine to the doctor to get his cath tube changed, but I agreed to the appointment.  I called our sweet friends and asked if they could take Zine while I went and saw my doctor.  Now, all of our lives are in an uproar.  Ours and theirs!

I was exceptionally nervous about going to see my doctor.  However, God was gracious.  The doctor recognized the overwhelmed spirit in my heart.  He sweetly said, “Karen, I have a hundred questions, but I’m not going to ask any right now.  Let’s just get done what needs to be done.”  I was so thankful that he didn’t need the whole story.  That was a blessing in the midst of turmoil.  EKG was done.  Labs drawn.  TB test was done.  All by lunch on Monday.

The Phone Call

On Tuesday afternoon, I received a phone call from the eating disorder clinic.  They called to tell me that they had received many of my labs and everything was looking like I would be able to come.  Thursday was the start date, given that nothing turned up in the remaining few labs or with my skin test.

On Wednesday, I returned to my primary doctor for the final few things and to have my skin test read.  Now the only thing needed was to pack and cry. Cry bucketloads is precisely what I did.  All day long the tears rolled. I was terrified.

And this my friends, answers the question, how did I get here?

In a matter of one and a half weeks, I went from thinking my life was made up of a bunch of people making a big deal out of nothing to entering an eating disorder treatment facility.




Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.