205 Days

205 days ago, at the crack of dawn, I left dh and ds for what I thought was going to be 6 weeks of treatment for atypical anorexia. 205 days later, I am being discharged from the program, a healthier, happier and completely changed person. Although difficult in many ways, this extended treatment was the best thing that I could have ever done for myself. I want to thank all my supporters, near and far for helping me on my journey. I also want to thank my therapists, dietitians and other staff at Hilltop for their expert care and guidance that has helped give my my life back. Today will be a day of mixed emotions as I leave the program that saved my life and also look forward to flying home tomorrow to start a new chapter of my life.

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Reminding Myself

Struggling this morning.  Yesterday was so emotionally draining….I feel tired.  Just tired and numb.  I am pulling some stuff from some recent blogs  and emails/texts to remind myself that I am okay and that I am making progress and that all is not lost.

“Heidi,  You are a fighter and you are both persistent and stubborn.  This is something I have seen from the get-go and if you use that to your advantage there is no doubt in my mind that you can have recovery and maintain it even when there are lapses.  Hold onto that persistence and fight that you have and use it to your advantage.  That isn’t something that someone can give you or take away, it is something that you have.”


So, of the core beliefs I have challenged and changed, what do I believe now?

  1. The sexual abuse when I was 4 was not my fault.
  2. The sexual abuse when I was 14 may not have been my fault.
  3. I can tolerate my body (for the most part).
  4. I can tolerate myself (neutral feelings).
  5. My eating disorder is a serious problem.
  6. I do have an eating disorder.
  7. I did have trauma.
  8. I was treated unfairly as a child.
  9. I have needs.
  10. I didn’t deserve any of my traumas.
  11. I can heal.
  12. I am lovable to some people.
  13. I can trust some people.

Hey Heidi,

Victory indeed!! I hope you don’t mind, but I took a little time to read back in your posts. It is wonderful to see the progress that you have been able to make during your time at “Hilltop” and I can also say I 100% agree with what [your therapist] said! You are a resilient fighter and she is right-NO ONE can take that away from you. I wish you all the best and l would love to see you before you D/C.


Yesterday, dh and I were texting and he sent me some texts that I need to remember, so I am going to put them here so I can look back at them:

Me: I just have “gotta get it all done” panic.

DH: You don’t. You have made so much progress.

You’ll do a little more work with them, and then come home, wherever you are in your process. And you’ll be OK.

And we’ll take care of you and you’ll continue to work on on things.

And there will be good days and harder days.

For better and for worse…

In sickness and in health…

I love you. And your deserve to be loved and to be cared for.

Me: U r making me cry

DH: I don’t want you to heap unrealistic expectations on yourself.

You don’t have to be perfect, to be “all better,” for me (or any of us) to love you.

I know I’m not perfect, either.

wanna video chat?


“And remembering recovery is indeed defined by progress, not perfection; every valiant act of courage taken in hope of overcoming an eating disorder should never be underestimated.”


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This is all gonna be okay.  I’m gonna be okay.

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Sweetarts

The woods near the gravel parking lot at programming are now littered with Sweetarts.

Recovery is such a messy process.

I was supposed to do a challenge snack with my dietitian today.  And I bought Sweetarts earlier this week because I was feeling empowered to do the challenge.  Candy!  Can you imagine? She wants me to eat candy!  But…I was ready.

Only, we didn’t quite communicate on the where and how part of the challenge. I pretended to be all flexible about it but I felt missed, like she had forgotten that we were supposed to do the challenge.  And then my dietitian had her own thought that it would be easy to just do the challenge during group.

I have enough shame about eating candy that doing it front of the group wasn’t even on my radar. And so I refused.  Which was okay, we just rescheduled until tomorrow.

Except that I was thrown.  My plan had gotten messy, my core beliefs got triggered and I had a total melt-down. Only…it was for the most part an internal melt-down, which meant I just shutdown completely.  And I sat through the group, staring at my lap and hoping and praying group would end soon and I could run away.  I sat there hating myself and becoming more and more angry at me, my inability to eat candy, my failings as a person, my eating disorder.  And one of my peers was talking about wanting just.be.normal.  I just raged internally against myself. I want to be normal too!

After group, I quietly packed up my bag. I thanked and politely declined the support I was offered by my peers and I walked to my car, lips trembling, trying not to sob.

I didn’t even know what was wrong with me.  At that point, I didn’t know what had triggered me.  I just knew I was hurting inside more than anything and that I hated my fucking Sweetarts and I hated recovery and I hated food and I hated my dietitian and I hated me.

I stood outside my car, unwrapped a handful of Sweetarts and hurled them into the woods.  I unwrapped another handful and raged them into the woods too.  All the Sweetarts went flying.

I didn’t pause.  I know that I smelled them because they smelled sweet and pleasant and I know I looked at them because the blue one was pretty and I thought about the dye in it. But I didn’t stop to actually be in that moment.  I just flung those fucking Sweetarts as far from me as possible.

I drove home wanting to self-harm, wishing I was dead and hurting, hurting, hurting.  So, I decided to that I wasn’t going to eat dinner.  And I wasn’t going to eat breakfast or lunch either.  And that I didn’t give a shit about recovery.

Honestly, I haven’t been in this emotional place for probably two months+.  It sucked and it scared me.

I got home and I crawled into bed.  And I rested about 5 minutes before deciding that I’d better do the next right thing and get up and make dinner.  I grabbed some paper and a pen and decided to sort of flow-chart out what the heck had just happened.  That’s how I found out that feeling missed by my dietitian triggered core beliefs that triggered maladaptive responses that triggered shame that triggered more shame and urges as ways to stop the shame/pain.  The mystery was solved.  The feelings abated.

I cooked myself quesadillas with pepper jack cheese, seasoned turkey and pineapple salsa.

I ate it.

This is so fucking hard.  Recovery is so fucking hard.

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Countdown

  • set up appointments with the AT
  • set up appointment with couple’s counselor (CC)
  • set up appointment with Psych NP
  • Find dietitian
  • set up appointment with dietitian
  • buy plane ticket
  • make appointment with primary physician
  • make dentist appointment
  • schedule physical with primary physician

What else do I need to do?

And I don’t want to have to say goodbye to all the amazing clinicians that I have grown very attached to here.

15 days left.

 

Excited

I am getting antsy!  The end is sooo in sight that I can see it!  I don’t even need a periscope!

I will be home in three weeks.  Not counting today (cuz it’s half over) I have:

18

days left!

<happy dance>

 

Thoughts on Compassion

I got invited to be in a closed eating disorder Facebook group facilitated by the therapist of one of my Hilltop Recovery  Friends.  It has prompted some thinking on my part.

The topic was compassion.

I wrote:  It is hard for me to wrap my head around the concept of self-compassion. My initial response is to scoff at the idea and say that I don’t need anyone’s compassion, much less my own…But the longer I have been in treatment, the more I have realized the importance of acknowledging past wrongs and how they impacted me. Am I more self-compassionate? I am not sure, but I realized about a week ago that I no longer hate myself. This is a huge shift for me and is perhaps the greatest step I will take towards finding and accepting my own compassion towards myself.

She replied:   This is HUGE! The ED has three roots, self-hate, shame & fear. Deprivation is one of the main causes of this. Every human has Core Needs & when ALL of these CN are not consistently met, a person experiences deprivation. A child, adolescent, teen or adult in deprivation of universal Core Needs lives in fear, feels toxic shame and comes to the conclusion that if they were better, smarter, stronger, more this, more that (this is self hate) then none of this deprivation of universal core needs would be happening to them. I am so glad you’re on this healing recovery journey and that you’re here with us!

I wrote: It has been a long time coming. And every word that you just wrote about shame, fear, need for perfectionism, core needs not being met, etc. has been the foundation of who I am as a person. It is almost weird to change….Like who am I now? How do I be with myself now? And how do I not slide down those familiar pathways during times of stress? I just keep reminding myself, over and over again….”Do the next right thing.” All I have to do is one day at or time, or if that’s too much, one meal at a time and just focus on doing the next right thing. (Which is often much easier said than done.)