2011 Shows

(Original Air Date: 09/28/10) Do you think about everything you eat with the fear of gaining weight? Do you skip meals to lose weight? What about your teenager? Dr. Phil takes an eye-opening journey into the mind of a young woman suffering from anorexia and bulimia. Meagan is 26 and at 5-foot-5, weighs only 73 pounds. She starves herself all day, abuses laxatives, and binges and purges at night when everyone is asleep. She has been battling her eating disorders for more than 10 years. Her parents, Donna and Tom, fear she could die at any moment but admit they enable Meagan’s disease to keep the peace. Meagan’s sister, Erika, says she’s so disgusted with her sister, she can’t stand being in the same room with her. Will Meagan accept help, and will her family learn how to best support her? Don't miss these warning signs of an eating disorder! Parents, you can’t afford to miss this show!

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: jocelyne227 on Aug 2, 2011, 5:23PM
My heart goes out to you and your family.  I know first hand the devastation of an eating disorder  and how crazy it can get, as my daughter suffers too!    We have tried everything and anything to help her.  Stay strong and get as much help as you can.
Replied By: mrsbynum on Jul 29, 2011, 3:05PM
I was wondering if there was anyway to find an update on how Meagen is doing and if she stuck with her treatment?
Replied By: lol911411 on Jul 28, 2011, 4:16PM - In reply to goalsnattitude
This family was so self pitying and so self absorbed. The mom was resentful, the sister was probably jealous, and the father seemed oblivious to what his daughter was going through. Meagan needs HELP. And all she got from this was more guilt, more abuse, and more anxiety. I'm completely outraged by this show.
Replied By: bonnieblue5 on Jul 28, 2011, 2:41PM - In reply to motorman1
You are soooo far off, my daughter is going through therapy for this and it's not because it's a control issue or a self absorbed issue...it's a disease that keeps growing
Replied By: m0mmy2 on Jul 28, 2011, 1:58PM
Hi there;

I just wanted to say, that I thought the young woman (with Anerexia) who expressed her concern with the treatment centre staff not being concerned with her not being able to use the washroom for 3 mos, was not responded to fairly by Dr. Phil.  I don't know what happens to the body when this degree of anerexia is reached, but for anyone to not be able to use the washroom for 3 mos, certainly sounds like cause for valid concern!!  I would be concerned if it went passed a few days (never mind weeks, or certainly not months!!).  I couldn't fathom the pain an individual would be in, after that length of time, but could only imagine it would be unbearable.  Be careful how insenstive you are, when dealing with the valid concerns she does have.  I could only imagine that people with mental health issues, that are this serious, are very senstive, & you need to have/show some compassion when dealing with them (& their issues).  Her health is at serious risk right now, & if you make her shut down, because you are not listening to concerns she's expressing that are valid, I can only say; God help her.

My son has Aspergers & PDD, & we have dealt with staff who are not 'suitable', & whom have reacted to him negatively (& poorly ~ not to mention, unprofessional), & I make sure I am on it (he has been assaulted by 2 staff at 2 separate institutions (one, a hospital, & another, a special care home).  I won't tolerate their impatience with him, because they are moody, & don't deal with the situation the way they are trained to).  One staff is no longer working on the Unit (at the hosp), & the other staff (at the special care home), is being investigated by Adult protection services.  I won't have him returned there, because I feel the staff aren't adequately trained.  The one involved in the incident at the special care home, was the worst one there.  The concern this young lady expressed over this issue would have me questioning the staff.  Perhaps she wasn't being fairly treated there by some individuals, & you have to hear her out about these things.

As I'm sure we're all aware ~ we recently lost a beautiful & very talented young lady, who was also in need of desperate help (albeit a different form).  Let's try to be proactive now, & make sure we help this young lady get through the disease/disorder that she is dealing with, while we still can.  Being insensitive & making her feel badly about her disorder, I don't belelive will help her get better, but fear she could just end up retreating back into her 'shell', & we know what the side effect of that would be.

God bless her, & I sincerely hope she is able to win this battle with the disease/disorder that is controlling her.  I hope God gives her the strength she needs, as well as compassionate professional individuals who will help her to overcome this, not to mention the support of her family.
Replied By: dsorceress on Jul 28, 2011, 1:42PM
I can tell you from personal experience that this girl is not living in reality, she CAN'T because she is sick. I never had an eating disorder, but I had stomach surgery for severe and recurring ulcers that caused me to be unable to eat anything for several months. It was not a matter of not wanting to eat, I desperately wanted to eat but I could not keep solid food down. I lived on weak tea for weeks; I was actually thrilled when I was able to keep down thin chicken bouillon. I can tell you that I was absolutely NOT SANE during this period! Just like the girl on this show, I was emotionally fragile, unable to make cognitive sense, etc. I believe that the lack of protein and other nutrients made me emotionally and psychologically unstable. There are portions of this time I actually cannot even remember, but trust me my family does! I do not believe this girl is really capable of understanding what is going on; she is living in a fog. This may sound harsh but I believe she needs to be institutionalized until she has enough nutrients in her system for her brain to normalize. She CAN'T make sense because she doesn't have the ability to reason right now, and she won't until she gets some nutrients in her. And she will die without intervention beyond her ability to interrupt; her illness will not let her see how self destructive her behavior is. The crybaby thing is all part of that; don't judge her too harshly about that because it is beyond her ability to control but it is symptomatic of the larger problem: she is NOT HERSELF. And probably does not even remember any more who she is, after all this time. This is one of the worst cases I have ever seen, and I lived with an anorexic sibling so I am familir with the symptoms.
Replied By: motorman1 on Jul 28, 2011, 1:38PM - In reply to rosieme
she is so self-involved and has no idea how much she hurts the people around her.  I agree with her sister's anger.
Replied By: michelegyselin on Jul 28, 2011, 1:32PM
Having lived with schizophrenia for 24 years I know what it's like to have to mistrust your mind because it may play tricks on you, although with the medication it's not as bad as it used to be, but I don't know if medication exists to control the delusion that you're as fat as a elephant when in fact you're dangerously skinny, so this young woman will have to learn to mistrust her perceptions and take the word of those who love her that she is in effect putting her life in jeopardy if she doesn't stop starving herself.  And it would help if her mother didn't enable her in her dangerous lifestyle.  If she won't eat then she should be hospitalized until she regains enough weight to be healthy.
Replied By: smc924 on Jul 28, 2011, 1:19PM
I'm recovered from a terrible with bulimia.  It took intensive therapy.  I don't like any assertion that people with eating disorders are selfish, unless you have one you can understand how "ED"  (personified name for an eating disorder)  takes a hold of you.  Becoming free of bulimia was one of the toughest experiences of my life but it happened because I wanted to recover.  My heart goes out to this poor poor girl and her family I hope she finds the strength she needs to fight and win.  Its an up hill battle but totally worth it.  Below is my story  I hope some of you find it inspiring and I hope it helps you more to understand this terrible disease.

Do you know what the first thing I remember about my 28th birthday is?  I shit my pants.  Way to welcome in the 28th year.  I was walking to work and just couldn’t get there fast enough.  This was the second of three times this would happen to me over the course of the year.  Though I suppose having taken sixty five stool softeners and  ten laxatives the night before played a role in it, but I had to, right?  Everyone wants to look thin on their birthday and Jon was taking me to dinner,  plus I had a piece of chocolate cake the night before.

I look back on that day and see how far I have come.  Granted I’ve put on 35lbs possibly more, I wouldn’t know I’ve given my scale away, but it will come off healthily and permanently.  I can’t say the desire to be thin has gone away, but I can say my “Life without Ed”  is truly fab.

I’ve been heavier since I was a little girl.  Maybe eight years old.  I remember at five walking around singing about myself in full confidence “I’m the prettiest girl on campus,” somewhere along the way that confidence turned to shame. I think the comments from my family started to come when I was around nine.  In all honesty, I maybe just had a little baby fat, but  by 10 I was already doing Richard Simmons Deal a Meal which evolved into a strictly liquid diet during the daytime for me, only having dinner with parents over the course of four months.  By twelve I had decided to become a vegetarian faking a strong anticruelty bravado to cover up an insecure little girl trying to do whatever she could to lose weight..

I remember comments from Grandma, My Grandpa, and my aunts about my weight. I felt like I was a disappointment and embarrassment to my parents and that maybe they would love me as much as my brother and sister if I could lose some weight and people would stop commenting to them about it. In retrospect I think perhaps these  were some of the first voices of eating disorder or ED that I heard.

The years that followed contained periods of starvation and binging to make up for emotions associated with moving far from my friends and being an awkward little girl with a deep Pennsylvania accent thrust to the eighth grade of a school with kids who acted very cruel.  In high school, I did make a good friend, her name was Tabatha. Tabatha however was possibly the most self conscious I have ever met.  She tall and very thin but refused to wear sleeveless shirts because she thought her arms were fat.  She gave looks for outfits she didn’t like, and while being a true friend, fed into my insecurities. 

At fifteen I purged for the first time.  I had eaten a box of candy after a particularly rough day at school.  I remember sticking my fingers down my throat, the pain in the upheaval, and the relief once my body was rid of the poison I had just fed it.  I began purging daily.  I received so many compliments as my body shrunk in front everyone.  My friends and I would go to Friendlies for Sundaes a couple times a week.  I would get a house salad, with honey mustard dressing while they would have Peanutbutter cup sundaes.  I would always purge my salad.     Things cooled down in the summer and I returned to normal eating habits, and gained back most of what I lost. 

I went to college and Ed came with me.  I kept a running tally of days I went without eating. And after I had starved as much as I could I would binge and purge.  I would go through periods of wellness and gain back more than what I had lost.  This continued for many years.

In 2008 I graduated law school in perhaps the worst market possible.  The stress of not having a job weighed heavily on me.  I felt like I was taking and taking from my parents without giving them anything to be proud of.  By January of 2009 I was still not employed and tipping the scales at one the highest weights I had ever weighed.  Something had to be done.  Through a low carb lifestyle I was able to drop fifty pounds.  I eventually got work .  My ego was boosted as I was promoted to a managment position of 50 attorney in my job.  The project ended in September, and I grew careless of what was eating.  By December I had gained back 35lbs.  I attempted to lose this weight through a low carb program as well. Low carb I always suspected worked for me because it allowed me to be extreme - I’ve always been good at extreme.  We had a reunion schedule for the project from the summer before scheduled for the end of January.  I was 20lbs from where I was on the project and began an extreme diet for the week preceding the reunion.  I ate 5 times a day a 200 calorie portion of something that had 80% of its calories from fat and very low carb.  I was able to lose 12lbs in a week, but after that week Ed had come back into my life.  I began eating  only a salad at lunch time every day… By March I began binging and purging a couple times a week and taking laxatives in the amount of 10 a day.   Weight began to fall off., but somewhere in the middle I let go I gave Ed control and it took me the fight of my life to get it back. 

I remember the first time ED scared me.  It was a hot day and I insisted on running up the stairs at the movies probably about 3 flights while my friend took the escalator.  I got to the top and saw gray.  I need food and I knew it.  I was seconds away from passing out and I was terrified. But even then I couldn’t shake Ed.  My effort to leave him started then but were largely ineffective. In fact it caused  me to revisit compulsive exercise.  I was running up to ten miles a day when in August I got a stress fracture in my foot,  and later in  month pulled my quad.  Ed was becoming pretty abusive.

By September I was binging and purging multiple times a day, leaving work to go to Panda express, and knowing every public restroom in the vicinity of my work place.  Binging and purging had turned into my solace. It was the cure to stress, my best friend I could tell all insecurities too and the secret to my success.  Everyone could not believe how great I looked, even me. I had lost over 100lbs. The attention was ridiculous.  I was getting more male attention than I ever had, being asked on dates on a weekly basis. Though I was in a pretty great relationship with a great guy at the time.  And I was happy outwardly anyhow, I don’t think I even realized how much of a slave I was.  My laxative use ha0d escalated to 30-70 stool softeners and 8 laxatives a day.  This continued for a number of months

I had never felt more like a drug addict.  I used to watch INTERVENTION  and see addicts go for one day without heroin and wonder why after making it 1 day or 3 days they go back to terrible neighborhoods and terrible drugs, but ED was just like that always assaulting my emotions tellling me what to do causing compulsions to binge purge spend my last dollars on laxatives.. 

At Christmas I binged and purged and binged and purged.  Both my grandmas told me I needed to watch myself or I’d gain back the weight I had lost.  After a second comment from my mom’s mom I broke down and locked myself in the bathroom and cried.  The pressure was so much.  All anyone wanted to talk about was my weight and how great I looked and how proud they were of me or how I shouldn’t be eating something. I wanted to be seen for more than that. The attention I once found so flattering was no longer all it was cracked up to be. I felt my family was more proud of me for losing weight than for graduating law school, the congratulations’ said it all and confirmed everything ED had been telling me.

By February I was  close to something very serious.  I was taking 70 laxatives a day the binging and purging up to 5 times a day.  I only had the energy to move around for five hours the rest of the time was spent on my couch. I still saw myself as fat.  My friend Jenny saw right through any false bravado I offered up.  She saw the marks on my knuckles and how I ran to the bathroom after my meals.  She repeatedly supported me and encouraged me to tell my parents and so one night gripping my rosary and asking God for strength I did just that.  My parents, possibly the most efficient people on the planet hopped into action. I met with a counselor at Insights in the beginning of February.  I told her my story openly assuming she certainly had heard worse, afterall I was still not skinny, I surely was fine.  Meghan began to cry midway through my story, she was truly worried about me. I just didn’t see why.  Things got worse between that appointment and my first appointment with the doctor. I figured things were going to be taken care of so might as well give it all up to ED in the meanwhile.  This was a huge mistake. At this point I couldn’t have told you the last day I didn’t purge or even the last day I didn’t purge three times. I was a mess. 

In an interesting twist of fate I adopted a kitten in the first week of March.  By the third day she was really sick, having gone just three hours without food or water she was visibly neurologically effected and almost died,.  She would have died had I not taken her to emergency room.  This was a very bizarre, very in your face illustration to me of what I was doing to myself. I became committed to treatment.  And for the first time in a number of months I went one day without purging.

Recovery was not rainbows and butterflies since then don’t get me wrong.  I was forced to deal with deepseated feeling of insecurity and unworthiness.  Pains that haunted my subconscious for years. I remember being so angry myself when for the first time in months I wasn’t dizzy.  I was surely letting go to waste everything I had worked for or so ED told me.  Initially I would go three days without purging.  I would try so hard, but as I watched the numbers on the scale increase  and it would affect me.  I remember the day I stopped purging for good.  I had a cup of soup for lunch.  I thought I was fine until I looked up the calorie content online.  Upon seeing that my little cup of soup had more than 500 calories I decided a binge and purge was in order and I went to grab some more food.   On my way to the pizza shop I stopped dead in my tracks.  I recently to learn to separate ED’s thought from my own and I realized I was acting solely on ED’s thoughts.  I stopped in my tracks and said  out loud in the streets “FUCK YOU ED.” I turned around and   I went to Starbucks, grabbed a cupcake for an extra fuck you to my dear, dear friend ED. 

Quitting laxatives was a bit harder, interestingly enough.  These terrible things which woke me many nights sometimes to throw up my overdose amount and sometimes to reap the “benefits” of taking 70 stool softeners took me a few weeks longer to shake, but I did and I have.

I’m happier now, that’s for sure, I’m full of life and able to go places and see my friends.  Everytime I broke up with a boy I got a new bedspread,.  Welp, after breaking up with ED I went out and bought a new bed redid my apartment and it basically looks like a whole new place.  And why shouldn’t I have this is probably the most significant breakup of my life.  I’m focusing on living a healthy lifestyle and not taking any moments for granted.  I wasted so much life on my couch and in my bathroom.  I’m not doing that anymore.  I made a new rule for 2011:No Saying No to Myself. This means if I'm remotely interested in something, I make sure I do it. I've got to tell you putting myself first is probably the best thing I've ever done.
Replied By: wabrown on Jul 28, 2011, 12:52PM
Dr. Phil, I watch your show frequently. I am a retired psychiatric nurse. The subject of this show is obviously a borderline. (A lot of your guests are big time borderlines.) Perhaps you should go ahead and do a show about borderline personality disorder.
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