Worse?! and March Journaling

Wow…Just when I think, “How could I feel any worse?”  I have a day like yesterday.  It was ugly.

I finally broke down and emailed the AT, here is what I said:

This is being a really, really bad day.  I am pretty much going minute by minute to keep myself from [self-harming]…Telling myself things like, “You are expecting a phone call after breakfast, you can [self-harm] after that.” and “Just write letters to the twins first and you can [self-harm] after that.”  So far, I have made it without [self-harming], though I am kind of obsessed with the idea.
But…what is really getting to me is an intrusive thought.  It is a PTSD related thought that I used to have all the time, and then didn’t for a few years…And it has started up again and every time I am not thinking about something else, it pops into my head. 
It is exhausting me to constantly be putting off [self-harming] and trying to keep my brain busy to keep out the intrusive though.  I feel like I can’t keep it all up.  
Do you have any advice at all about dealing with the intrusive thought?  I think I am managing the [self-harming] okay, and  though it is really tiring, I know the urge will pass eventually.  But the intrusive thought…I don’t know how to stop it from disrupting me.  
My plan at the moment is to go outside and do some chores, which will keep me busy for a while and won’t leave room for the intrusive thought and it will keep me from perseverating about [self-harming].  But I can’t do chores forever. 😦
The AT responded with an idea for me to draw a representation of the intrusive thought, seal it in an envelope and bring it to him on Monday and in the in between time, to just let go of the intrusive thought.  So, I was pretty skeptical about it, but I did it anyway. And you know what?  So far, the intrusive thought has been rattling inside the envelope, but has stayed out of my head!  That AT…he has some good ideas!
And then…In that way that happens where you see just what you need at the right time, one of my Renfrew alumni friends posted this on Facebook.  So fitting for my day yesterday!
March Journaling


I finally figured out who the OTR is. She is the one that teaches the Life Skills classes (Of course! It is a function-based class on interacting with people.)


Today, a girl, A, was chatting with me in the hall.  She said that I am an inspiration.  I was really touched and also a bit surprised by her comment. Me? And inspiration?

And yesterday during Community Meeting, Glitter H said that I am really supportive and kind and basically a great member of the community.  I was—I don’t know—I kind of felt all, “Ah shucks.” And then today I told Glitter H that she is awesome and she told me I am awesome too.  And I looked at her.  And she said, “If you aren’t ready to believe it, then I will hold it for you and when you are ready to believe it, I will give it back to you.” ❤ ❤ ❤

There is another young woman here, G.  She is sick.  Some of the girls here are sooo sick. She cries a lot, I know because she is my suitemate.  I have been trying to connect with her and have been repeatedly rebuffed. She was crying in the hall yesterday and I said, “I know you are going to say no, but do you want a hug?”  And much to my surprise, she said “Yes.” I gave her a big hug and I could pretty much feel every bone in her body and every vertebra.

Anyway, this girl is an amazing artist. She does these delicate watercolors of trees.  It is hard to explain why they touch me so much, but I love them.



Cheater Blog

Cheater Blog

I don’t have much to say today.  I can’t sleep enough. I am overwhelmed. I am not motivated.  Oh right…I am super depressed.

So, I need to transcribe more journal entries as I have run out of the ones I typed.  I am too numb today to say much or process anything.  So, I hand you a “Cheater” blog today.  Basically, some links to stuff I have been posting on Facebook.

Body Checking which is an ED symptom of mine that I engage in very frequently.

It’s Not About The Food  Actually, eating disorders have very little to do with food.

Atypical Anorexia  Info about my ED diagnosis.

National Eating Disorders Association   A plethora of handy info.

Eating Disorder Hope More info.


Consumed and March Journaling


The truth is that I am a good faker.  Because for the most part, unless I have told you, you would not realize right now that I am being totally consumed my my depression and pulled to dark places that I have not been to in a long time.  Everyday is a struggle. Being alive is more painful than seems worth it.  I have to drag myself out of bed in the morning, I have no initiative to run errands and I am close to tears most of the time. And…while I have now described here a bit of what is going on, I cannot properly describe how badly and how hopeless I feel.  Luckily, I am on increased therapy and Team Heidi support right now, because I really, really need it.

However, even though life is pretty bleak at the moment, I have to report something awesome that happened yesterday.  Yesterday, Biebs and I finally connected via telephone and we talked for two hours.  Yup, two hours!  I have missed her so much! It was really good to connect.

And this morning, another Renfrew friend is supposed to give me a call. It is nice to keep my friendships going.  Especially now, when I am having such a difficult time.

March Journaling


[This journal entry had a very dismal and graphic picture that I drew of my ED]

The ED has me tight in his grasp, but I am trying to reach myself so I can pull myself back to me. The ED is hurting me and is going to molest me and make me do things I don’t want to do. But I just can’t reach myself and pull me back to safety.


Morning vitals/bloodwork are a challenge.  I can get up and usually around 4, and I stagger down, less awake than seems possible for actually being moving and thinking.  Of course my BP and HR continue to be off so I keep having to get Gatorade.

My bowels are a wreck and I am so, so, so uncomfortable.  Partly because the constipation protocol takes a few days.  But, I am on day 6 with only two tiny BMs and I am miserable.  Today, I am getting the 1, 2, 3 punch. Milk of magnesia, prune juice and Miralax (which I started yesterday).  The nurse, S, says I have hypoactive bowels.  Yup, I kinda knew that.  However she is kind and caring and I like her.  Bloodwork is a nightmare—can’t get blood from a stone, or from me!!!

Saw the psychiatrist yesterday.  It was good. He seems really nice, seems safe/trustable.  Funny thing though, he observed something that the AT had commented on recently, that I have a distancing way of interacting, keeping him a bit off balance and using humor. The psychiatrist says it is typical of trauma folks.

Speaking of trauma, I start the trauma track sessions today. I am both nervous and excited. I am ready to do the work.  Trauma track just meets 1x/week and you increase frequency as you progress through the sequence (3 levels).


Struggling and March Journaling


I am just having a really hard time right now.  I am not sure what can be done for it.  Thank goodness I have lots of Team Heidi appointments right now, as I am really in need of the extra support.

(And there is a weird coincidence that the first journal entry I am posting today is also about really struggling.)

March Journaling

3-13 Sunday Morning

I am already struggling with the amount of emotional pain I am in right now.  I already feel myself having to put on the “I’m okay” mask and hiding behind it.  What I really want to do is restrict (my weight has gone up unacceptably), self-harm (to stop the feelings) and I wish I was dead to stop the hurting.

Why can’t I keep it under control? I end up crying, which doesn’t seem to help. I want to ask why I feel so much worse, especially when I am supposed to be getting better, but I know that even just the idea of peeling back the layers is terrifying and painful.

I am afraid to ask for help. I am afraid they will put me on some sort of restriction or move my room or otherwise do something with the intent of keeping me safe that will actually feel like a punishment. I can’t talk to my peers—I don’t know who would understand.

I just wish I was dead.

Why is everything about this so hard?

I don’t know how I am going to face breakfast this morning. I feel so stressed that I feel sick. I feel betrayed by my body and the food that is supposed to be nourishing me and keeping me healthy has actually caused me to gain weight.

I don’t want to get dressed today. I don’t want to participate today. I don’t want to get out of bed today (even though I have done so several times)(vitals—ortho—Gatorade—re-check of vitals, shower, laundry) and it isn’t even 7:00.

Oh-and today is Family Day which is going to super suck.  FD followed by weekend visiting hours is going to be brutal—knowing that dh would love to be here but cannot because of the distance.

The only good thing lately is that I got my night meds early and was able to go to bed early.  Thank goodness!  It gave me relief from the pain.

I will think about talking to one of the counselors today—If I am brave enough to do so.

3-13 Evening

Things are evening out for me.  I feel settled enough now to be feisty and ask for more involvement in my care i.e. asking for actual #s from my lab results, asking about a new med added to my med-list (Miralax) and complaining vigorously that I missed a class due to med line issues.

I am really making social connections here. I have found a handful of friends.  I really like K.  She is 18 and thoughtful and bright and just full of wisdom and good insight.  I also really like Biebs—again bright, thoughtful, kind. There are many others too and nursing staff too that I feel connected with.

I checked in with dh. The 15 mins phone limit seems just about right.  I can talk without being too sucked into the homesickness.

Bad blood draw tonight. Fussy nurse too. I tried to make small talk to keep me from fainting and she was clearly irritated.  T. was her name. I need to remember to avoid her in the future.  She poked me and didn’t get a vein.  She also said (I asked her if my chatting was bothering her) she doesn’t talk when doing blood draws.  Well….how can you distract me and keep me from passing out if you don’t talk to me?

Talked to one of the counselors, A, about urges to self-harm.  She mentioned that taking away the eating disorder coping skills helps flare up other coping strategies.  Well…I knew that! I had just forgotten.  It’s what I refer to as “switching pathologies.”


Triple Decker Day and March Journaling

Yesterday was super busy…One of those triple decker appointment days.

My primary doc ran an EKG and was very happy with how it looked.  And we talked about the fact that I no longer am having heart palpitations and my tachycardia is better (still there, but better) and that an abnormality they noticed at Renfrew has resolved.   All in all, I am quite relieved.  Evidently, your heart really, really likes to be fed.  Who knew?

I saw the Nutritionist and that appointment went well.  She was sooo glad to see me, and glad to see me looking well.  I showed her a bunch of nutrition paperwork from Renfrew and talked to her about the exchange program.  I also told her about my strong ED urges.  Oh…and my obsession with knowing my weight.

And the AT…My hour of safety…It went well as well.  We are having some very frank discussions about my ED, which is just what I need right now.  And the AT called me out on some restricting I have been doing and he said that he was seeing some red flags.  I contend that I am being compliant with my meal plan…But he called me out for not eating when I am hungry, either by not snacking or waiting too long between meals.  These were both things that I wrote about in the ED messages post a couple of days ago.

I see the AT again today.  As a matter of fact, I have an appointment with Team Heidi people every day this week except Friday.  Yesterday was the triple decker day, today the AT, tomorrow my PNP and Thurs the AT.  Hopefully, that all will help me stay accountable and on track.

Okay…Now more entries from my Renfrew journal.

March Journaling:


Goals: Eat all of breakfast. No Ensure

Eat all of lunch. No Ensure.


I ate all 3 meals yesterday and so this morning I graduated to “trays” or what I like to call, the “Big Girl” dining room.  I don’t say this out loud as it is a bit of a slight if someone doesn’t know my sense of humor.

Last night was mandatory attendance MFG (Multi-Family Group).  It is a support group for friends/family and residents.  Family gets to talk about thoughts/feelings about living with someone with an E.D.  Residents get to share their thoughts/feelings about living with an E.D.

I sat down for group and the families started coming.  I started missing dh. But not like I was homesick for him—More that I knew that if we lived closer, he would have been there. He wants to help, he would gladly participate and he would have wanted to be there.  I just lost it and started crying.  And I couldn’t stop.  I left the room and a counselor followed.  She tried to be supportive, and I tried to let her, but I was just broken.  I had to attend the meeting, so I quietly sobbed for the first 15 minutes (or not even so quietly).  Then I just cried through the rest. It was interminable.  All I wanted to do was self-harm or die.  Anything to turn off the feelings.  The counselor did sit next to me for most of the meeting and occasionally rubbed my arm.  I appreciated it.  I was afraid to tell anyone about wanting to self-harm because I was afraid I would get in trouble.

Today is Saturday with extended visitor hours.  Tomorrow is Family Day. I think this whole weekend is going to suck. I just feel so sad that dh can’t be here when I know he would be if he could. It just kind of kills me inside.

Parts of being here are unmanageably hard.

*I sent a postcard to the AT today.*

Things Are Hard and March Journaling

Things Are Hard

This whole transition home and early recovery thing is hard.  You probably guessed that after the messages post on Saturday.

The biggest two issues I have right now…Wait, there are three…The biggest three issues I have right now are an overwhelming urge to restrict, an overwhelming urge to over-exercise to make up for the fact that I am not restricting and an overwhelming urge to say “fuck it” to my psych meds and stop taking them.

The most concerning of these three for me is the med issue.  I have never, ever had this issue with meds and I have been taking my psych meds for 8 years.  But on Saturday night, I intentionally did not take my meds.  I don’t know what this is about or why I am doing it. Or is this is some new form of self-harming, or some new way to feel like I have control….I just don’t know.  What I do know is that it is bad.

I did email my PNP for support yesterday…More really to tattle on myself so that I had some accountability.  She asked me to commit to taking my meds as prescribed until I see her next.  I told her I would try.  My confidence is low that I will succeed, but I will make the attempt.

In other news, I am desperately trying to find an eating disorder support group or therapy group to augment my current therapy and nutritionist appts.  So far, it is going very poorly.  I have found three possibilities after spending literally hours Googling.  I have put out calls/inquiry emails to each place, but have not heard back yet.

I am working hard to keep myself from falling apart.  I don’t want to go back to where I was at the beginning of March before I had to go to Renfrew.

March Journaling:  March 10: Night

This was a hard, hard day. 4:00 a.m. vitals, tachycardic, orthostatic, Gatorade.  Also blood draw (2 tries and I got rally nauseous) and blood sugar.

Lots more crying today.  I must look stricken/overwhelmed/scared rabbit as the nurses kept asking me if I was okay.  Everyone wanted to blame my HR/BP on anxiety.  Maybe they were right. Of course, I felt prickly about it.

Had to report a girl for purging under my window this afternoon.  I realized that probably what I heard yesterday was the same girl purging in the same place.  I feel sad for her.

Eating is incredibly difficult.  I cannot physically get all the food in my stomach.  It makes me feel incredibly over-full.  I am soo stressed about this it is not funny.  I feel like I am failing. And most of the crew I started with has moved into the next dining room.  I know I shouldn’t compare, but I feel left behind.  Why can they do it and not me?  Of course, if they do it and then throw it all up under my window, I guess they aren’t necessarily moving on for the right reasons.

Therapy was hard today. I was mad and bitchy and felt kind of embarrassed about it.  We also ran way over session time (we only get 30 mins/session, we went closer to 50) and I felt bad for taking up her time.

A wonderful thing today.  I was resting before dinner and the girl next door started playing her harp.  The birds were singing, the harp was playing and I felt drowsy and calm.  It was a good half hour of Zen.  It was also what I needed today.

**Had Art Therapy activity today. It was the first hour here that I felt safe and comfortable.  I ❤ Art Therapy.  And I miss the AT.**




Journal Entries from March

When I got to the facility…Oh heck, this vague naming thing is just confusing.  The facility was Renfrew.

So, when I got to Renfrew, it was my intention to journal every day.  I got a start at it, but I had no idea how busy and how tired I would be, so the journaling tapered off pretty quickly.  In the end, I ended up using my journal as more of a scrapbook.  But there are a handful of entries to share.

The interesting thing is that when I read these entries, I see a bit of naivety that I had about my eating disorder…It is a lot more complicated than I realized in the beginning.

March 9

I cried a lot today.  The first meal, lunch, was overwhelming and before I could even eat it, I cried.  The other women here are really supportive, which is good because I need it right now.

The psychiatrist was really nice—seems like a real person, passed the Heidi approval test.

Family therapy with dh. B is my therapist. She seems okay—I meet with her again tomorrow. She said we will work collaboratively with the AT and at discharge time we will have a “bridging” session via phone to get him up to date.

I didn’t cry at dinner, nor did I eat the whole meal.  Tomorrow, if I don’t eat it all, I will be given a supplement, Ensure, to drink. I hate this idea, but I can’t make myself eat all my food.

I am so tired I can barely think.  The days will be really long for me, night meds are at 9:30.


March 10:  Morning

Things I forgot to say about yesterday.

–Someone purged under our window yesterday

–Waiting to take evening meds, someone was outside crying under our window

–My roommate asks lots of eating disorder and family history questions

–I was scheduled for evening leisure group but was so fried that I just came back to the room and laid down until 9:20 meds

I barely slept last night.  We had our lights out by 10, then we had 3 room checks.  Someone opens the door and looks in our room. I was up at 3:07.  Got up for morning vitals at 4.  BP/HR were high, so I earned myself the orthostatic Gatorade regimen.

In the past day, I have realized how much I have let my eating disorder get out of control.  I didn’t realize the extent of my illness, but after yesterday’s meals, it is glaring.

The birds are amazing. It sounds like a summer morning with the chorus of bird song. (And they sort of drown out the sound of the highway.)

Cardinals/Redwing blackbirds.



I have been reading a book, Life Without Ed, which is written by a woman about her experience of recovering from her eating disorder.  The standard abbreviation for eating disorder is ED and many people just lump them together in the the name, Ed.  Thus the Ed in the title.  I do not refer to my ED as Ed because I actually have an Ed in my life and I don’t want to create confusion or a negative association with my person-Ed.

So, this woman writes a lot about what her ED says to her.  My ED does not tell me all the same things that hers tells her, but her representation of the insidious undermining  of the messages from her ED totally resonates with me. I decided I would make a list of the current messages I get from my ED.  Much to my surprise, what I thought would be a pretty short list, turned into a very long list of messages.  And I think it does a good job at showing how my ED wants to undermine my recovery process/progress.

Honestly, this list isn’t even everything…But it gives you more than enough of an idea as to what messages I hear.

Messages from my eating disorder:

  • Your meal plan is too much and you can’t eat all that food or you will gain weight.
  • If you can’t weigh yourself to know that you aren’t gaining weight, you can’t eat.
  • If you gain weight, you are worthless. You need to restrict to prevent gaining weight.
  • If you lose weight, you are amazing and strong and I will help you stay that way and you can lose even more weight and be even stronger.
  • I am your only friend and I keep you safe.
  • When you reach out for support and no one is available, I will be right here to help you.
  • You need to exercise/exercise more to negate the calories you just ate.
  • If you don’t know how much you weigh and you plan on sticking with that meal plan, then you have to exercise.
  • Because exercise is good for you, people will assume you are doing it to take care of yourself and not because I told you that you need to.
  • When you are hungry between meals and don’t eat it means you are stronger than other people…they will cave and eat.
  • Stretching times between meals doesn’t count as restricting.
  • Your Renfrew nutritionist told you to have snacks when you are hungry between meals, but you don’t have to and it doesn’t count as restricting because it is not on your meal plan.
  • No one will really notice if you just shave off one carb, one protein, one fat, one dairy from your meal plan.
  • If you pick the smallest piece of fruit, the smallest bread slice, the smallest everything, you will still be compliant with your meal plan and you will get to eat less food.
  • It doesn’t matter if your meal plan worked for you for 5.5 weeks at Renfrew. Now you are home and the meal plan will make you gain weight.
  • You still have your scale. You can weigh yourself every day!
  • You don’t need anyone’s help.
  • You are shameful and ugly and weak.
  • You are going to fail at fighting me, so why bother trying?
  • Everyone knows you are disgusting.
  • Everyone can see that you are fat and that you don’t deserve any love or caring>
  • If you restrict, everything will be better!

Now you can see why every meal is an effort and challenge for me.  This is the constant dialogue in my head.  And it totally sucks.  However, I have been sticking to my meal plan and no, I am not even picking the smallest of everything to cut calories even though the thought is very tempting.  I can’t say that I am resisting everything on this list…But I am doing the best I can.





Going to treatment is not at all something that “cures” you of your eating disorder.  As a matter of fact, one of the things I learned is that an eating disorder has no “cure.”  It is a life-long condition, kind of like an addiction.  Yes, you can manage your symptoms and yes, you can go into “remission” but get rid of it completely? Nope.  It just doesn’t happen that way.  And the complexity of an eating disorder and it’s co-occuring (dual diagnosis) mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and PTSD, mean that for me, it will be a constant struggle.

Okay.  I can do struggles.  I do hard things.

But I guess I expected myself to be in a bit of a different place when I got home.  And in many ways, I am in a different place.  I feel so much more grounded and whole and I feel like my depression/anxiety is more manageable.  I learned skills to recognize my feelings and accept them (or as the facility always said, “lean in to your feelings”).  Okay, well…I am accepting them as best I can, I am certainly not perfect with it.  I also learned mindfulness skills and grounding skills and that I am not alone.

I also gained friends.  And these friends are supportive and loving and kind and I will keep in touch with a handful of them forever.  I made connections that I would not have ever made anywhere else.  And I am beyond thankful for that.

But my expectations…I just didn’t expect eating to be quite this hard when I got home.  Each and every meal is a challenge.  Some meals, I just look at the food and cry.  And some meals, I can barely eat.  I do eat them.  I am dedicated to remaining compliant with my meal plan (or at least for as long as possible.).  But it is hard.

One of my behavior changes that I have implemented since discharge is not weighing myself every day (or a couple of times every day).  So far, I am managing this okay, in that I have not stepped foot on a scale other than at the doctor’s office.  And even then, I am on “blind weights” meaning that I don’t see the weight  Of course, there was a goof at the doctor’s office and I did see my weight and perhaps that has led to my current obsession/angst about how much I weigh.

And here’s the hard part.  I feel like if I don’t know how much I weigh, then I can’t eat the amount of food I need to eat.  My eating disorder is telling me that I need to eat less.  And it is getting pretty loud about it. And I am really having a hard time.  Like I said, I am compliant with my meal plan, but it is making me more and more miserable.

And weighing myself is a total trap. If my weight goes up, I will be really upset and the urge to restrict what I eat will be overwhelming.  If my weight goes down…Well, that just rewards the eating disorder and encourages restriction.  I am damned if I do, damned if I don’t and damned just thinking about it.

Eating disorders suck.



Still here, still muddling through each day. Well, really each meal

Did I mention I came back from treatment with a miserable cold?  I am finally on the “feeling better” end of my cold, so that will be nice.  Of course, dh has just come down with it….

I know I am still pretty quiet, but as I start to feel better from my cold and feeling slightly more adjusted to being home, I expect to be blogging more.