Saying goodbye to my GP

My GP is leaving my practice soon so today was my last appointment with her. I was a bit emotional about it beforehand as she has been so influential in helping me get to where I am now that I was feeling sad to let her go.

I first had an appointment with her about 3 years ago. I was having trouble with my pill and wanted to discuss changing it. I had chosen her as the dr to go to because I had seen that she listed eating disorders as one of her special interests. I had no intention of talking to her about eating disorders (I had had two awful experiences up to that point I had pledged to never discuss it with a GP again), but I was curious as to what she was like.

As part of my appointment she said it would be worth weighing me and I refused and said I’d prefer not to. She asked why and I said I just prefer others to not know my weight. She said that she was a dr and that it was only a number so it shouldn’t really be a big deal, but that if it was a big deal she was in a position to help me. I told her I used to have issues with ‘that kind of thing’ but they were being managed now (ahem!). She said okay and left it there, but as I was leaving said to come see her again if they ever ‘stopped being managed’ or could be ‘managed more’ (guessing she saw straight through me!).

Six months later and I was in a very bad place, I was horrendously depressed and suicidal and my ED was alive and kicking. When I told my PhD supervisor he said I needed to see the doctor to determine whether I could continue. I saw the dr and explained how I felt. She referred me to the ED service and recommended sick leave but I didn’t want to jeopardise my studies so I kept going. A month later I was worse not better so she “firmly recommended” a break from study – I was horrified. I argued that I had tried to get better before and it hadn’t worked, and she said she couldn’t promise full recovery but if even something stuck it had to be better than where I was now. She told me that there was a freedom I didn’t even know about but that was worth my aiming for.  I felt like I didn’t really have a choice but inside I think I was intensely relieved. She was fighting ED for me and it felt so good to have an ally.

I saw her every month for a while, then every two months, just quick appointments to check in. She’s helped me medically with the health complications associated with ED (anaemia, reflux, gastroparesis, IBS) and not once has judged me or blamed me. Every time I see her praises me for sticking with it, she congratulates me when I take two steps forward, understands and gently nudges me when I take three back. She never promised me full recovery, but she inspired me to believe it was possible. She has always maintained that you either have a life or an eating disorder, and I am so glad that I chose life, and so very grateful that she was there to support me during it.

I hope that you all are as lucky to have people to support you, and even more that you find the strength to choose life.

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