Outdoor Time

Yesterday was a rocky day for me.  The eating disorder was loud and I was struggling with starting a binge.  I asked myself why I was feeling the urge. The question my therapist and dietitian at treatment always would ask is, “What are you feeling deprived of?”  Because bingeing is about being deprived and trying to fill the hole.  At least that is what it is for me.  Unfortunately, I can’t always pinpoint what I am feeling deprived of or I can’t put words to it.

So…I was struggling and I decided that before I made it any worse, I would go outside and work in the garden.  And so I did.  I mowed the lawn and the dog yard and I pulled all of the stuff up out of my first little garden.  Well….I left the marigolds because they are still in full bloom and I love them!  After all the chores, I felt good.  Being outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air was so comforting to my soul.

I even went on a walk with dh and the dogs in the afternoon.  It was totally more of what I needed.  I just need to get outside and get out of my head!

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Walking the Dogs

First of all, therapy was super hard today…The first part of it anyway.  First thing, the AT pissed me off.  I know this has little (or nothing) to do with him…but I was so mad that I almost left.  I don’t say that dramatically, I was really mad.  Now of course, it has blown over and I am left to wonder what was so triggering for me.  I think in part it has to do with me transitioning back to him after all the time away.  It just feels bumpy and I don’t want it to.  I really like and work with the AT very well…I wanted a seamless transition but parts of me are stumbling.

Why stumbling?  Because I think I expected things to be like they were before I left for treatment and yet they are not.  I did a huge amount of growth and change and I think I need to catch up with myself!  The AT is right on track and caught up…but I am tripping over my own feet. I think this is a classic example of a time where I need to give  myself a whole heck-of-a-lotta grace.

And as to the AT?  He is himself.  And boy is he pushing me hard.  It’s okay, I can take it…but I have been shedding a lot of tears during therapy.  I guess that means it is working.

Now…Dogs.

The dogs need to be walked and I am home during the day and can walk them.  Like right now, it is sunny and cool and just a delicious fall day….perfect for walking the dogs.  But I really struggle with walking them because I am afraid of it triggering  my extreme exercise mode.  My fear about the eating disorder taking the reins when I exercise has been ongoing and I have managed it by simply avoiding exercise.  I avoided it in treatment, I avoid it now….But avoiding it gets me nowhere.  Ugh.  I don’t have much to say about this.  I guess I really need to talk about it with dietitian next week.  Not that we haven’t talked about it before…..<sigh>  I do have a goal of walking the dogs today and of walking them just for a 20-30 mins. I’ll just have to see if I can actually do it.

Decreasing Support

I am doing well….Really, I am in a good place right now but I am aware of the fact that I have only been home for 11 days.  With therapy and couples therapy (more on that later) things are getting hard.  Now, I am weathering it okay so far and hope to keep doing so….But I am kind of nervous about it.

Monday, I saw my doctor and she took one look at how well I was doing and suggested that we no longer need to meet weekly, but could schedule every other week.  I said I thought we should at least keep my next week’s appointment and then look at it from there.

Yesterday, I talked to my Blue Cross case manager and she was very happy to hear how well I am doing.  She suggested after our next check-in phone call in two weeks that we could “close” my case because I’ll have met all my goals.  She did say we could see how I was doing and then go from there.

How am I feeling about all of this?  Well….really scared.  Support has been part of what has kept me on track. Without all the support I got in the spring, I surely would have been much sicker.  I am hesitant to decrease support now, especially since I just barely go home.  I feel a little bit abandoned.  I will say that it might make sense to finish with my case manager as if I have met my goals in terms of my work with her, then I won’t need the support.  I do get that.  But my doctor?  I don’t know.  Is taking away support a step in the right direction? Or a set up for failure?  Luckily, I have until next Monday to think about it and then I can talk to her about how I am feeling.

Now, as to couple’s therapy….Dh and I have been doing couple’s therapy since February and it has been incredibly helpful.  But one of the things I need to work on is sex issues because I struggle because of my trauma history.  Although I have talked a little bit with our therapist about this, it had not come up in a session yet.  Until yesterday.  Week two of being home and seeing him and he dove right in to “intimacy.”  It was really hard for me and I am still kind of reeling from it.  When one of the first questions was about if dh and I are having intercourse, well….I knew the discussion was going to push me past my tolerance level.  And it did, so we talked about some aspects of intimacy, but not about sex.  After the session, I felt like I needed therapy with the AT to process it all.  Alas, I don’t see the AT until tomorrow morning, so my job is to hold myself together and not use eating disorder behaviors to deal with my feelings.

There is going to be a running theme in my blog, which will be how to manage life without relying on the eating disorder to manage my feelings.  This is my job now: learning and using healthy coping strategies.

And on a side note…I had a really strong compulsion to paint with watercolors yesterday, but didn’t allow myself time to do it.  What’s up with that?

I’m Back…

So, I am not going to try to catch up the past 8 months in one blog post.  But here is a brief synopsis:

  • Started relapsing in April after some super hard therapy work
  • Started new eating disorder behavior: bingeing, which accompanied my restriction and exercise
  • Got sicker
  • Went back into residential treatment July 3
  • Stepped down to Partial Hospitalization in late July
  • Was discharged 9-29
  • Drove home and got home on 10-1

This time, treatment went to a deeper level and I made a lot more progress.  I am still working on my eating disorder and trauma and everything with Team Heidi, but I feel a lot stronger than I did in the winter and spring.

That said, yesterday I really struggled during a particularly intense therapy session.  The AT started out the session by saying, “Want to do some art?”  Yup, I was totally game.  He had me grab a piece of watercolor paper and he slid the watercolors and a jar of water and told me to paint, “what needs to come out” or something to that effect.  And so I painted a representation of feeling alone.  And the pain of of feeling lonely.  When I was done, I passed it to the AT, who took a look at it and interpreted it exactly as I had painted it. Loneliness.  As he talked to me about it, he hit on every nuance of how I feel.

I wasn’t prepared for that.  I felt totally stripped naked and exposed.  It was a painful juxtaposition of me wanting to have some control over what he sees and how he sees it and the fact that I need to be be  vulnerable and seen and validated for the feelings that I have.  Who knew that being validated could be so painful?  Let’s just say that I cried a lot.

But it was after the appointment where I really struggled.  The eating disorder came in whispering that it could make the feelings to away.  I did not binge, but I definitely ate food for comfort.  And this is where my struggle lies….to make it through hard things (therapy, life, etc.) without falling back on eating disordered behavior.  I am not say that comfort/emotional eating is the worst thing in the world, but for me, it is a very, very slippery slope.  Bingeing=shame and self-loathing.  Bingeing=restriction to compensate for the binge. Bingeing=too much exercise to purged the calories of the binge.  Bingeing is what is at the bottom of the slippery slope.

Last week, I did great, but I think the honeymoon is over and the day to day struggles are real.  But I am not discouraged.  Truthfully, I know I can handle this but it is not going to be easy.

The Blog

I am not sure what to do with the blog.  I don’t have the same compelling need to write and dump stuff out of my head as when I started the blog. My world, that was spinning totally out of control, the self-loathing, the PTSD, the hopelessness, the eating disorder….It has all  been tamed so much.  I feel calm, collected, centered, grounded.  I just feel so different. The need to use the blog as containment for all the “bad” in my life has just decreased so much….

So, what to do about the blog?  I don’t know.  I am thinking of starting a recovery blog, a blog that would be about healing and renewal and be much more upbeat and hopeful.  But I just don’t know.

Hmmm….what to do……

The Project

Right now, my time has been consumed by a project.  My program dietitian recommended that I rearrange my dining room and kitchen to disrupt the possibility of slipping back into eating disorder auto-pilot when I got home.  And so…We have rearranged.  And are still rearranging.  Basically, we are having a whole house purge starting with the dining room and kitchen.  If it hasn’t been used in a long time, it is outta here.  If we have kept it due to an obligation or guilt, it’s outta here.  It’s a new beginning in multiple ways.  And I am liking it.

Except.  Except that I am totally letting the projects consume me and am giving myself very little room to think/feel/breathe.  This is not an ideal position for me to be in.  It also has meant that I haven’t ventured out to yoga at a new studio yet.  I know my hesitation is that it will be a brand-new studio and I am anxious about that.  But…I am starting to feel a bit edgy and off and I know that means that I will have to go to yoga asap.  So…I guess I will be off to yoga tomorrow.  I need to figure out a class…Oh! And I need to check the weather, as I have heard we have bad weather coming our way.

Back to the rearranging…So, we have an U shaped open floor plan living room/dining room and then a galley kitchen (the stairs are in the middle of the U).  I love that it feels spacious and open.  I hate that we have been bogged down by poorly placed and crappy furniture and clutter.  We have moved some of the crappy furniture out and as I said before, we are purging clutter.  But, the rearrangement we have done…I love it.  We moved the dining room table around the corner and on the far side of the U and now it looks over the deck and outside at the view.  We moved our bird feeders so that we can enjoy the birds too.  Where the dining room table was, we put a coffee table and moved two small arm chairs.  This faces the kitchen, but you can see around the whole U from there.  We call it “The Cafe.”  And we all love it.  Such simple changes, but such a huge difference!

Next week, we will be putting a new coat of paint on the walls.  Dh wanted yellow, and I am not invested in a color, so yellow it will be.  He wants to do that thing where you have some walls one color and then an accent color on another wall.  Again, I am game…whatever, just as long as it looks new and different.

We also have some nasty wall damage from our crappy futon frame…I think we are going to cheat to fix it.  It is on the inside of the U and sort of a stand-alone wall.  I think we may slap up some wainscoting and call it good.  It will also be a good trial to see what we think of wainscoting.

So much to do and so much fun!  Well…unless you count that part where I am sooo exhausted from doing all this stuff for hours on end.

Okay…Off to the city for some appointments.

Insomnia Means Means More Time to Blog, Right?

Howling coyotes (if you can call the sound they make howling) woke us up at 3.  They must have been very, very nearby as they were so loud.  As suddenly as the howling started, it stopped.  But I was awake.  I thought for a few minutes about the wild rabbit we have seen the past couple of mornings, or as we like to call him, the Yard Rabbit.  But 3 is early for crepuscular animals such as yard rabbits, so I am hoping he is safe.

I tried to fall back asleep, but the room was too quiet and too dark. And dh was snoring.  And I just didn’t feel sleepy anymore. Then I started thinking about chores and laundry….I know I will  be miserable later because I started my day at 3 (well…technically 4:06 cuz that’s when I got out of bed.)  We are due for some nasty weather later today, so being home and napping in the afternoon is a definite possibility.

The question I am being asked is, “How are you doing?”

I am overwhelmed.  And I am surviving.  I have had a lot of anxiety over doing this all perfectly…Yes, I know.  The last thing I need is perfectionism right now, so I am really trying to cut myself a LOT of slack.  Basically, re-integrating the first couple of days, I just felt kind of stunned and numb.  Yesterday was much better. <phew>

I am eating.  That’s the first and most important thing, right?  And despite a lot of anxiety about it, I am pretty sure I am eating my meal plan correctly.  I won’t know that for myself, I need to wait to be weighed and then someone will tell me how I am doing, but they only will if there is an issue.  So…I will keep doing what I think is right and see where it leads me.

I saw the AT yesterday.  I was soooo glad to see him.  Despite me feeling pretty anxious and worrying about reconnecting with him, it went well.  We actually had a bridging phone call last week when I was still in the program. My program therapist, the AT and I talked for an hour.  I think it was key to re-building my trust with him.  And I wrote a self-assigned piece about what he needs to know about me now.  So, yesterday I felt a little awkward at the start, but slid easily into safe comfort with him.

I have reconnected/connected with half my team now.  (I mean of the clinical team…Dh is always part of the team, even if I don’t mention him outright every time.)  I met the new dietitian Saturday.  She seems okay…I have a couple hesitations but I am going with it for the moment.  I saw the new Couples’ Counselor (CC) with dh yesterday.  He seems really nice and I think seeing him is going to be really helpful.  As I just mentioned, I saw the AT.  I also had a phone “interview” with an OCD therapist.  At the end of the interview, he accepted me as a client and I will be starting with him next week.  So, that’s contact with 2/3 of my clinical team in my first 3 days home.

Today, I see my primary physician.  Tomorrow, I see my Psych NP and the AT (again).  Then the rest of the week, I get to relax and recover and catch my breath.

Between all of Team Heidi, I will have 7 appointments a week to start.  The AT commented yesterday that it is like I will be having a job and that it is exactly what I need to be doing right now.  I felt relieved when he said that because I worry that all of my appointments are selfish, or like I am taking too much from all of my clinicians.  Or that I should be getting a real job and diving right back into the world of employment (which would be a bad idea at the moment.)  I like it when my therapists say things that actually make me feel better.

Tomorrow, I will write about my/our (dh is on board and helping with this) project of changing the physical environment of our home to help me not fall back into old habits and patterns of behavior.

And I will write about my plates.