Homework and Callie

Homework

I am supposed to be working on homework right now.  I have an assignment to write about, “Identify the cycle of needing to be perfect that blocks me from receiving the care I need and deserve.”

Ugh.

I can kind of deal with the first part of the assignment…but the whole “need and deserve” thing….It just doesn’t work for me.  I want to reject care.  I don’t want people to care, I don’t want to be vulnerable and I don’t want to need people.  I want to keep everyone (except dh) an arm’s distance away, safely on the other side of my walls.  I don’t need care.

And deserve? Are you kidding me?  I don’t even think I deserve to spend money on food that I will eat because I think it is a waste of money (and food).  I don’t think I deserve nice clothes.  I don’t think I deserve peoples’ kindness and attention.  So…deserving care?  I don’t think so.

I know this is harsh, even I can see that…but it is sooo entrenched in me that I don’t know how to get around it.  I mean, I am supposed to challenge it and ultimately, retrain my brain.  But sometimes, I am so stuck in my core beliefs that I just don’t know how to break out of them.

Callie

So, I am going to ignore the homework and write about Callie instead.

Callie is one of the Direct Care staff here.  We have a rotation of 5ish regular direct care staff and they are all very good.  It seems as though Hilltop is quite particular about who they hire and the level of education the people have.  Some of the direct care staff people are even therapists.  I think all of them have Master’s degrees and if not, are working on their Master’s (though I haven’t actually asked everybody so I don’t know for sure.)  Anyway, there are a few that I am really attracted to, that seem like good fits for me, though honestly, they are all approachable.

Callie has turned out to be the person that I reach out to the most.  I really like her, she is very “real” and honest and caring.  I like the way she thinks, I like her insights and I actually feel like I have made a connection with her, which is huge for me.  I have let her into my little world.  Again, huge.  I really feel like I can talk with her and that she hears me.

I don’t know all the details, but aside from working here, Callie has been going to school and this fall, she is doing an internship, supervised by Kyla, in addition to her work hours.  And so, as I have connected with Callie, she mentioned something about sitting in on a session with me and Kyla.  And so, if everything works out today, she will.  I am good with this as it will help Callie know me better and further our relationship.

Also, I am supposed to read my trauma narrative to Callie this morning in prep for reading it this afternoon for Sexual Healing.  Since I am so ashamed of some of the stuff in my narrative and since it is soooo revealing, I am afraid that I will skip parts of it.  Well…I desperately want to skip parts of it, which would not be very productive.  So, if Callie knows what is in it, she can help me be accountable.  (She will be in the group taking notes, which is one of the parts of the Direct Care job.)

And thus, I have officially  integrated Callie into Hilltop Team Heidi.

Just saying Hilltop Team Heidi makes me miss my home Team Heidi.  But I think the Hilltop Team is as strong as as the home team, so I am very lucky.

 

 

Bleak Monday Morning

Well….I have taken a shower and combed my hair. And I am back in my bed wishing the day wouldn’t start and that I don’t have to function.  I just want to cry and I can’t face another day.

Saturday night, I went out with a recovery-minded friend.  I had a really nice time.  We had dinner and then poked around in a couple of stores.  This caught my eye.

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This kind of sums up 2016 for me.

Of course, the “mess” started a very long time ago, and this year, I am just trying to deal with the mess….But it sucks.  I have spent 19 weeks out of state in ED treatment this year.  I have at least 6-8 weeks more treatment before I will go home.  It just kind of wears me down.  Like, right down to the core…I am just weary.

I am also coming off a rough weekend, and it is Monday morning and I just want to hole up in my room and isolate for the day.  My perspective is on the bleak side.  I guess that means it is time to get up, go through the motions of my “normal” morning and then get to PHP.  When all else fails…Go to autopilot.

 

Struggling/Depressed

I’m not gonna lie.  I am super depressed.  It hits me most in the mornings and evening when I have no distractions.  I am weary and dead-inside.  I struggle to get out of bed and function.  I can’t make simple decisions, like what to wear.  I am overwhelmed.  The evenings are barely better.  I feel hollow and empty and try to convince myself that brushing my teeth is a good idea.  I put on my pajamas and crawl into bed…My mind slowly drifts across the day (not in an obsessive/anxiety sort of way) and I wish I was dead and intrusive thoughts break into my quietness and then I fall asleep.

Daytime is better.  We are so busy here and there is really no way to be disengaged.  I do the work I need to do, I smile at my peers and the support staff, I deflect my sadness with humor.  I am not faking it too well though.  When I am distracted from the busy-ness, my affect changes.  I know this, because I have had a few people approach me in such moments and ask if I am okay.  Mostly, I say that I am just tired.  To some, I have said I am depressed.  Feeling depressed is run-of-the-mill here, so it is an honest answer, but sort of meaningless.  I have not told anyone how depressed I am.  Or that I am struggling to maintain function and to not cry all the time.  (Although, crying is run-of-the-mill as well…so it wouldn’t look any different than any other day.)

I even can tell you why I am depressed.  Last week, Kyla had my write a trauma narrative from when I was 4.  It has stirred up lots of stuff.  She had me read her the narrative and I omitted stuff from it when I read it, which I told her.  She gave me the assignment of highlighting the omitted stuff before the next session.  And I didn’t do it.  She reassigned it.  I didn’t do it. She reassigned it on Monday.  And I did it. And I added to the narrative and I hunted down something I had written and given to the AT in May.  And I hate all of it.  So, the depression has settled around me, like a tarry blanket.  I feel broken and sad and like I am being swallowed into a dark hole.  It’s no wonder that I am tired all the time, I am working hard to maintain my day affect.

So, here I am.  Depressed.

The depression makes me not want to eat.  Supposedly, I am going to be moved to Level 2 today, giving me more autonomy with my meals. I have been waiting for this “promotion,” but right now, I feel like the timing is poor and I will struggle to do what I need to do with my meals.  I have already thought of 101 ways to get around eating what I am supposed to when I am moved to Level 2.  I am frustrated that I think this way, frustrated that I might use the autonomy to work the system.  Disappointed that I can’t shake the ED thinking.

I just don’t know.  I have therapy at 11 this morning.  I am supposed to read the damn narrative again.  But I won’t.  I feel stubborn about it.  Or scared…I guess really, I feel scared and so I want to put up every wall  I can to not have to read it.  However, I may get around it because there are a few things that I actually do need to discuss with Kyla that are not the narrative, but that are becoming pressing issues.  Mind you, she can spot distraction behavior a mile away, so I don’t know what I will be able to get away with, but I do have some other things to talk about that are totally legit.

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Body

I am not sure how the time goes by so quickly.  I guess I have been neglecting my blog because I have had a few people ask about it over the past week.  Yes…the blog is a bit dusty.

My blog gaps have mostly been because I am pretty constantly in a state of emotional full-ness (overwhelm) here and that I am constantly writing homework assignments about my feelings.  I think that the constant emotional drain just tires me so much that I have no energy for the blog.  I have had the idea that maybe I should post homework as blog entries, and I think I will do that.  It is very much what is going on in my mind and with my feelings, so it is very relevant.


9-20-16

My life will change in _______ ways if I had the perfect body.

Just the idea of having a perfect body kind of fills me with some kind of giddy excitement.  Oh to have a perfect body!!!!!  My life would be amazing and different and I would be so much happier.

If I had a perfect body, I would no longer think of my body as disgusting.  Not only, would I not think my body is disgusting, but no one else would think it is disgusting either.  I could go out in public and not have to worry about the critical eyes of other people assessing and judging my body.  I would be free to go in store that I wanted, grocery shop without anxiety, go to restaurants and creemee stands without shame and engage with people without being self-conscious and hyper-aware of my body and body size.

I wouldn’t have to shame myself or have a constant negative self-talk loop playing in my head.  Instead of messages of worthlessness and of my mantra, “fat, ugly and stupid,” I could have self-confidence and pride.  I wouldn’t have to isolate myself, try to be invisible, try to slide through everything in life un-noticed.  I could social and happy and not feel like I am faking it or pretending.  As a matter of fact, there would not be this un-spoken tension of me and the other person knowing that I am disgusting, but just not mentioning it.

I could wear what I want with confidence.  Now, I mostly wear what I want, but not with confidence, but rather with the resignation that the folks here at PHP have already seen my body and know that it is disgusting.  I don’t have to fake it here…Since they already know, I can wear what I want (which I wear for comfort) because the cat is out of the bag, I don’t have to hide or pretend here.  My body glares as too big and too disgusting.  It is sooo obvious.

If I had the perfect body, I would smile more.  I would worry less.  Life would be So. Much. Easier.  And I would be so much less anxious and less miserable.  There is nothing about having a perfect body that could be wrong.

But there is one catch.  I will never have the perfect body.  And I mean that by my critical/perfectionist standards.  It is not a phrase of grace, but a phrase of self-loathing.  I can have a smaller body, but my body is beyond fixing to a point where I will ever be able to call it perfect.  And that infuriates me.  Some of the flaws, I can accept, like stretch marks from being pregnant.  But others….there is no way to make better.

And this leaves me in the futile cycle of trying to attain perfection and all that I associate with it, in a body that I will never like, never accept and honestly, that I would rather be totally disconnected from.  And yet, I am stuck with it.  Quite literally, it is attached to my head and I can’t get away from it.  And so my self-vitriol, self-loathing, self-criticism, self-judgment continue into perpetuity.

If only I had the perfect body, I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.

_____

I had to read this assignment during Body Image group.  It was hard getting feedback from my peers because they pointed out how harsh I am with myself and that they don’t think I am disgusting.  They kind of said that I was selling-them-short by assuming that all they see is my body.  There were also a number of people who completely understood what I was saying and how I feel about my body.  (We are in ED treatment, afterall.)  When I re-read this to post it, agree that it is harsh.  And after the feedback from my peers, I actually feel less self-conscious here.  I am not sure that I feel less self-conscious overall….but even a little bit is progress.

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.

Suicide (Not Me) and Monday

Suicide

Being part of a community of mentally ill/fragile people is challenging because you never know how close to the edge anyone is.  Last night, I saw a Facebook post from a friend (who I have kept in regular touch with) from my previous treatment facility.  Friday, she tried to kill herself, and it sounds like she almost did.  She had to be intubated, was in the ICU and was in a coma.  Strangely, I have no emotional reaction to this.  But it makes me want to keep all my current peers a safe distance away.  I don’t want to connect with people who are just going to disappear out of my life.

Or who disappear and then pop back in.  I am still Facebook friends with my friend who killed herself earlier this summer.  I don’t know why…I just haven’t had the heart to unfriend her.  Every now and then, someone posts a message to her and so I get a notification from her page.  It is unsettling and kinds of jolts me into feelings that I don’t want to have, so I just ignore it all.

In the transition meeting with Meg and Kyla, Meg brought the suicide of my friend up.  Honestly, at that point, I had buried the suicide so deeply inside of me that I had practically forgotten about it. Although my memory of the transition meeting is a bit sketchy, I think Meg said that I had not grieved the loss of my friend.  I don’t know what to think of that.  Have I grieved? Do I want to grieve?  Does it matter?

Monday

I am so anxious about today, that pretty much as soon as I woke up, my hands were shaking. I don’t know how to get my shit together and not lose it at PHP.  Well…I can almost guarantee I will lose it at PHP, but I don’t want to.  And I will probably have to face Kyla today and I sooo regret that email that I sent her Saturday in which I told her how I was feeling because she forgot me.  I don’t know why I wrote it or what benefit I thought I would get about stating my feelings and showing a bit of vulnerability by doing so.  What the fuck was I thinking?!

I cannot do this.  I can’t do any of it.

 

 

 

 

Not Doing Well

I am totally drowning right now.  Seriously, I cannot handle this transition.  I am losing my shit completely.  I knew the transition would be hard, but did not have any idea that it would be this hard.  I am empty and depressed and scared and hopeless.  And I am already restricting.  Yup.  I am such a failure.  I am so ashamed that I can’t even talk to anyone about the fact that I am struggling this much. So, I sit here, in tears, just wishing I was dead.  Struggling with restricting when given more meal autonomy is probably not surprising to my clinicians, and I am sure that even though I will get in trouble for doing it, it is a way to “practice” the skills that I need to overcome the urges, but I just feel like a complete and utter failure.

I don’t know how anyone recovers from an eating disorder.  I have no fucking idea.  I am not the only one at PHP (partial hosp) struggling with urges and/or actively using symptoms. Is it even possible to recover?

I guess the only thing I have right now is the knowledge that it is okay to struggle and I am only barely restricting and that I know it is about having control.  If I can remind myself of my goals and am honest with my clinicians maybe I can catch this before it takes off.

Oh…and speaking of clinicians, Kyla has earned her first strike.  I saw her for the initial appointment on Thursday and she was supposed to check in with me yesterday to see how I am doing.  And she forgot.  I was sitting at the table and saw her come up the stairs, keys in hand, and go right out the door.  And I felt like every single thing I have ever felt about being worthless was proved true.  Honestly, I was devastated.  Now, I feel like I can’t trust her.  She is not supposed to forget me, she is not supposed to make me feel worse about myself and anything she says about caring about me or supporting me (cuz they always say that) is bullshit.  There is no way I am going to let my guard down around her.

She did actually email later in the day and apologize for forgetting me.  And asked what she could do to support me….but I feel like that ship has already sailed.  However, I worked really hard to set my anger and disappointment aside and respond to her email with some “I” statements and reflections of my feelings.  I figured that even though I likely will never trust her, I ought to at least make an effort, especially since she did email me.

Anyway, for what it’s worth…Here’s what I said:

I really want to be snarky and passive aggressive in my response to you….And I am struggling to set that part aside so I can respond from a more Self oriented kind of place….We’ll see how that goes.

Yes, I noticed that you forgot to check in.  I am very unhappy about it because it just reinforces a bunch of my core beliefs and I feel abandoned and it puts a huge kink in the whole trust-building thing.  I already hated the whole process of transitioning from [Meg] and now I just feel like giving up completely.
I am not sure there is anything you can do to support me right now.  I am miserable and struggling and at the moment, I just want to quit PHP and go home.  I am barely managing my ED urges and I forgot to have morning snack today (It was an honest error….I don’t know if you will actually believe that, but it is true.) which has caused my restriction urges to surge.  I feel like I am hanging on by a thread, but that thread is unraveling and about to break.
I know transitions are hard for me and I want to cut myself some slack, but I just can’t.  This process should be easier and I am not sure why I can’t do it right.  At this point, I just hate everything about me and being here.
So….That’s what is going on with me right now.
Oh, and for the record, I may want to quit PHP and go home, but I won’t actually do it.  I am trying really hard to actually get on the path to recovery, and I know going home would not be a sound choice.
And even though I am mad (i.e. hurt) about you forgetting me, I am glad you emailed.  It saved me from spending the weekend convinced that you hate me.
I don’t know…Maybe I was too honest?  I feel kind of unsure about having actually sent that email.   Of course, I feel unsure about everything.
And as to my comment about forgetting snack, it is actually true that I genuinely forgot. Snack is different in PHP, in that you do it within a certain time range, but everyone doesn’t sit down together and no-one announces it is snack time.  In residential, it is more structured and evidently, I haven’t quite adjusted to the new system yet.  And yes, it was the strong restricting urges after snack, combined with some issues about my meal plan and my shame about eating that led to the restricting.  And like I said, it was only super mild restricting, “invisible restricting” so hopefully, I can nip it in the bud today.  As long as I don’t let the shame, self-loathing and feelings of failure consume me, I think I have a fighting chance. Actually, that sounds far too optimistic for what I am actually feeling…But maybe I can convince myself it is true?