Sometimes Compassion Comes Out Of Nowhere

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia

Let me be brutally honest: I was terrified to see my dietician today. I KNEW I had not had a good week and I KNEW things wouldn’t be pretty or go as they “should” go. I was so anxious before hand that I could hardly eat (ironic, right?!). I knew what was coming – critique, judgment, disappointment, failure, and ya know…that particular head shake that they all do, accompanied by, “We can’t do this anymore.” “No, no…this is not good Sarah Catherine.” “What has been going through your head?!” “How are we gonna turn this around?” My team is famous for that head shake…literally, they ALL do it. I’m just waiting for the attack on caffeine consumption that’s probably headed my way (and well deserved to say the least) tomorrow.

But that’s tomorrow. I’ll take it as it’s handed to me, and I’ll accept it and move on. We’re talking about today.

Today I sat in my dieticians office with my half eaten lunch in my lap. After stepping on and then off the scale and being told my weight, I waited apprehensively for the sigh of disapproval (also a famous trait of my team members). But that sigh never came. I waited for it to sneak in even as the conversation continued, but it did not.

I felt compassion today. I didn’t set out with a particular goal to give any specific amount of compassion, but I felt it encompass me as I sat in that office. It was a blessing. Seriously, I kid you not – the fact that my dietician told me that she believed in me, that she knew I can do it, that I make good decisions and I just need to be more confident in them, etc made a world of difference to me. I walked out of there feeling a little bummed, but not dejected and disheartened as I so often have in the past. Also, the fact that she didn’t freak out that I had lost x amount of pounds (which in all honesty, isn’t really that much…if you were to think of it in terms of someone trying to lose weight to get healthy, if they lose that much weights it’s not monumental or celebratory, so why would it be different for me?! Right. I have an eating disorder. I get it, you can hush now.) In the past I honestly feel like there’s been a bit of over reacting going on, people get to anxious and upset about the littlest things and it freaks me out, scares me, makes me discount their words/opinions later on down the road, etc. But she showed concern (without freaking out), a definite interest in turning things around, and wait for it….drum roll please, TRUST!! She trusts me!! Can I get a hallelujah, Amen?!?!

It makes me feel safe to know that I am trusted. I am a different person post Denver than I was pre-denver. Pre-denver I was trying (and doing a horrible job of it) to manipulate my weight and lie about what I was/wasn’t eating, and how much I was struggling. I truly believed that the way I was living was normal and okay. But, I know better now. I am being completely honest with my team this time. I am being particularly (and painfully) honest with my dietician, so to feel safe with her and to have earned her trust, means the world to me.

I also confided in my dietician today. Something (well one thing – there’s two, but we’ll start with a small step first, right?!) that I haven’t had the guts to really discuss with my team is how I feel about struggling. I feel as though I am labeled as an eating disorder. I have anorexia, so I have those tendencies. Before, my weight was an indicator of my level of struggle. Now, my indicator is my words. But I’m horrible with words and using them in the right way as to say things that are relate-able and make sense. (see, this is proof!) I feel as though I’m a nuisance or annoying to constantly be struggling, or verbally announcing my struggle, if there’s no physical proof to back it up. It’s almost as if I feel “fake”. Like, sure I’m struggling, but if we’re just going based on verbals, then I feel like I’m ALWAYS struggling or something is ALWAYS hard/stressful/causing anxiety/overwhelming/unconquerable. I feel as if I’m only verbally struggling, or only showing it through verbals then people will discount it or minimize it because it happens so frequently. Almost as if they’re thinking, “Oh great…here she goes again. Something is always upsetting her or stressing her out. When is she going to learn…” Maybe it’s because people have said that about people I know before. People have said that about me before. I don’t enjoy being around people who are always complaining about one thing or another, and I am PARANOID that I will be that person to the people around me.

I actually just overreact and over think every situation that ever exists anywhere ever. That’s my problem, but how I do I even begin to manage that?!

Anyways, today – although not an ideal appointment, health wise – my dietician showed me compassion by listening to me, validating me, and showing that she trusts me and has faith in my ability to beat this retched disorder. That was amazing to me, and it made me feel safe with her.

Now, to conquer biology and psychology and rip my brains out with all this information I have to memorize…the joys of college. #sarcasm

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