Yes, I AM Alive!

For today’s blog post, I am posting the summary that I sent home to my outpatient team this morning:

Okay…After a horrible week, and two days nonstop of crying, Thursday evening, I decided that what I was doing to adjust to being here was not working.  And so, I woke up Friday morning, and decided it was time to do something different. And yesterday went much better.  I don’t know why I can flip the switch like that….But I finally feel like I am settled in the partial hospitalization program, I don’t hate it anymore, I don’t have uges to run away anymore and I have realized that PHP will be what I make of it.  It took me three weeks to get to that point, but I am finally there.

I think that I finally have started to develop an attachment and trust to/with my therapist (as much as I don’t want to admit it.)  I am pushing myself really hard in therapy and she pushes me hard too.  She also calls me out on every single therapy interfering behavior I use during out sessions, it is painful and annoying and I have a hard time not letting it trigger my core beliefs (that she is criticizing me vs. helping me and that it does not mean I am a bad person).  I can see myself getting a lot of work done with her.  That said, I think it is going to be a slow and excruciating process.
They have a level system here and I am still on Level One.  It is hard not to compare and judge myself about it as there are people who have come in after me and are already on Level Two.  It makes me wonder what is wrong with me… I am guessing it has a lot to do with my rocky transition. Oh, and I have had a couple of episodes of engaging in behaviors (calorie counting and 5 days in a row of “invisible restricting”). I did eventually hold myself accountable for both behaviors and have not calorie counted since, but am still struggling with high urges for both.
I am up to 5 solo walks a week.  This is something that I don’t mess around with.  Getting a chance to be outside and have a half hour to myself is very motivating to not abuse the exercise.  I do not want to lose the privilege!  I am also supposed to go to a yoga studio twice a week, but my social anxiety has prevented me from getting there.  I need to make a plan with my anxiety therapist about it.
Speaking of my anxiety therapist, I did my first social anxiety/food exposure this week.  I would tell you it was horrible, she would say it was good.  I can say that I survived and my anxiety did come down after it peaked.  But I didn’t like it.  And…we get to do it again a few more times. 😦
Yesterday, I moved out of the off-site apartments and into the home of a friend of a friend of a friend.  I hated the apartment because it was dark and dreary and dingy.  I need light and brightness. Also, the woman who owns the home is charging me about half of what I was paying the treatment facility for the apartment (finances are my main reason for moving), which will extend the amount of time I can spend in treatment, although I really want to be home at the end of October.
I continue to work hard on on my “homework.”  I have assignments such as, “If I wasn’t judging myself, would I think others were judging me?  And would I even care?”, “Why do I respond to sadness with self-harm?” and “What do I want to change about my relationship with food?”
Okay….I think this about covers the past week.  I am glad I finally got myself “unstuck” and am moving forward again.

Blogging?

Yeah…it’s been a rough little bit  I am so tired, so drained so everything (and I know I have said it all before.)  It’s just been hard to manage my blog.

I think I will sort through some of my homework assignments and post them. That will keep my words going.

Here’s one I just did.

 

What would I like to change about my relationship with food to develop a healthier relationship with food.  Attitudes. Beliefs. Stuck points. How is it tied to emotions?

I have struggled with this agenda and actually set it aside for a month because I didn’t know what to say.  My relationship with food is unbelievably complex and it goes all the way back to my childhood when food was used in weird ways by my family.  I would really like you to read this blog post which addresses some of the issues that revolved around food as I was growing up.  I think knowing some of the background is important.  This is another post that addresses how my mom used food to avoid dealing with my feelings.

Now that some of the background has been established, what would I like to change about my relationship with food?

  • I would like to have fewer “unsafe” foods
  • I would like to rely less on “safe foods”
  • I would like to have a less rigid routine around food (i.e. the ability to be flexible about meal times)
  • I would like to be able to be spontaneous with dining out or getting together with friends
  • I would like to not have to worry about every calorie I eat
  • I would like to not have the automatic correlation that eating will make me fat
  • I would like to be able to enjoy foods without guilt or shame
  • I would like to be able to eat treats without it becoming a reflection of my worth, me fearing gaining weight or me feeling ashamed and disgusting
  • I would like to not think that I have to burn off all the calories I eat by exercising
  • I would like to not be obsessive and have compulsions regarding calories, negating calories
  • I would like to not feel disgusting when I eat
  • I would like to not eat to punish myself
  • I would like to not foods I don’t like

My biggest issue with trying to look at these changes is that, right now, I feel like I am afraid of food.  I am afraid to eat it because I will get fat.  I am afraid to like it because I will want to eat more of it and become fat and I am afraid that if I don’t micro-manage everything about food….I will get fat.  This is not an ‘if’.  In my mind I, have an unequivocal correlation that eating will make me fat.  Food=Fat. Even here, with reassurances that I have not gained weight…I am convinced that I have gained/am gaining weight.

I also believe that some foods are better than other foods.  Natural, whole, non-gmo, non-chemical-ed (artificial sweeteners, dyes, ingredients that aren’t foods), locally sourced foods are all superior to other foods.  Anything that falls under the category of junk food or is high in fat or that, in my mind, is empty calories is not a “good” food.  Something that is kind of embarrassing about the good food/bad food thing is that I feel like when I see people eating foods or my idea of  “bad” foods, I feel like I am better than them.  I also get really, really irritated when I see people eating “bad” food, especially at home when my husband or son are doing it.  I carry a lot of shame and about this. Like, why does it matter what people eat?  I shouldn’t care and ultimately, it is not my concern.  But the sense of being better than them because I have the control to eat heathy food still prevails over my shame.

I think my biggest stuckpoint with food is that I cannot give up the idea that eating will make me fat.  Sometimes, I get in an absolute panic because I am eating and I can’t measure (calories/weight/measurements) to see if I am losing weight.   I also feel like, if I can’t know how many calories I am eating, then I can’t eat.  Of course, it is all sort of a stupid thing to obsess about because I am fat already.  But the idea of gaining one more ounce of fat just kills me.  I cannot be fat (ter).  It cannot happen.  As a matter-of-fact, at this point in my life I feel like my weight is an all-or-nothing deal.  Either I lose weight and keep it off or I am an utter failure.  I also feel like there will never be another chance to do it right again.  Honestly, I would rather kill myself than weight what I did a year ago.  And yes, I feel a lot of shame about that too.

My emotional connection with food is also complex.  I don’t even quite know how to address it.  I used to eat for comfort which was a self-soothing technique I started in middle-school and then used for years, except when I was having bouts of restriction.  At this point, I take no comfort in my connection with food.  The primary feeling I associate with food and eating is overwhelming shame and disgust.  I shouldn’t eat because I don’t deserve to eat.  I don’t deserve to eat because I am not worth wasting food on. I feel like when I eat, I am wasting both food and the money spent on the food.  Plus, I am fat anyway, so I don’t need the food.

Lots of feelings also interrupt my eating process.  Like, if I am mad I can’t eat.  If I am overwhelmed with sadness, I can’t eat.  If I am embarrassed/ashamed I can’t eat.  I also hate eating while crying.  As a child, I spent many dinners crying while eating and it is still very hard for me to eat when crying (which can be a real issue in ED treatment).

Okay…I don’t know where this assignment is going.  I feel confused and overwhelmed and I don’t know if I am even expressing myself right.  This is probably why I didn’t tackle this assignment when Mac first gave it to me.  I just can’t put all of my thoughts/feelings about food into coherent words.  I hope that this has given enough insight to at least be a springboard for discussion.

Struggling

I am depressed.

That kind of sums it up.  I am just depressed right down to the core.  I am not sleeping well, I can barely get out of bed in the mornings, as I have no desire or motivation to do so.  I can’t do the homework that I need to do because I sit at the computer and just numbly stare at the screen.  I haven’t even been blogging because I don’t know what to say and don’t have the energy to try to figure it out.

I feel really lost right now.

 

Friday

Okay….The word is Overwhelmed.  I not been blogging because I have been completely overwhelmed.  I wish I had a way to quantify how exhausting the work in ED treatment is.  It’s therapy all day, every day in groups and then punctuated by individual therapy three times a week, anxiety therapy once a week and psychiatry once a week.  And if that’s not enough…There is a weekly dietitian appointment.  The times between group and individual therapy is spent in meals or snack (we eat 5 times a day at the program) or doing homework.  Oh…and making social connections for peer support is squeezed in between.

<phew>  Is it a wonder why I am tired all the time?

I found out this morning that one of my friends from residential treatment tried to kill herself.  Does this sound familiar?  Yup.  It’s a re-run.  When she texted me about it, she kind of downplayed it and then confessed that she had been suicidal and impulsive.  Thank goodness she was in a safe environment and someone was able to immediately respond to her actions and talk her off the ledge, so to speak.  Mind you, the way she was going to kill herself was not very lethal (as opposed to my friend last week) but she said her intent was suicide…It just makes me sad.  I am not sure she was honest with her clinicians about it…But she was sent for a psych eval and hold, so they clearly took her behavior seriously.  Ugh.  Want to know something selfish?  I kind of wish she hadn’t told me.  But then…I am glad she did because I would have probably heard about it anyway.

Do you think people ever try to kill themselves to get attention? Like using  action to express things they can’t say in words?  Kind of that “cry for help” kind of thing?  I wonder this, because her method was not really going to kill her…I don’t know.  What I do know is that I am going to distance myself from this relationship.  Not because I am shitty friend, but because she is seeking support from me that I cannot give her and honestly, I don’t want to give her.  I like her and I have enjoyed her company, but I am not her caretaker.  Do I/will I care about her? Sure.  But I definitely am setting a boundary for myself.

I could mention again how hard it is to make connections in a group of emotionally/psych fragile people…but I have said it before.  It makes me not want to connect with anyone in treatment.  But treatment is not a vacuum…I can’t spend all my time isolated and alone…And that would totally be counter-productive to my process.

Okay, my process is my process.  I need to keep my focus.  And I don’t say that in a denying-emotions kind of way, I say it in a don’t-let-this-be-a-distraction kind of way.  Because I could easily be distracted by this.