Social Dynamics, Sunday and The Collage

Social Dynamics

Wow! The social saga just continues.  The two new admits have been spending most of their time in the living room partly because one is on couch rest.  So…Yesterday, the living room was pretty much devoid of other people.  The new two are so off-putting that people just plain can’t stand to be in the room with them.  Really, it is sad…Sad that the new two are so sick with their EDs that they are colluding and making everyone else uncomfortable.  Sad that they will make themselves sicker. Sad that they don’t realize what a negative influence they are being on each other.  Just sad.  Have I ever mentioned that EDs suck? Yeah…I guess I probably have.


Yesterday, I was busy doing more art.  I have had such a fantastic artful weekend.  I finished my book project and will share it with my dietician, Mac, tomorrow.  I usually see Mac on Mondays, so maybe I can give it to her in the morning so she can have a chance to look at it by the time I see her.  I don’t know if it will work or not as she is super busy, but I can at least try.

I had a bunch of finished assignments that I emailed off to Meg.  I am never sure what to do with the finished assignments and I also notice they never show up as completed on my weekly contract.  I figured maybe she needs to see them?  I don’t know. I just want to make sure that insurance sees that I have been doing the work, iykwim.

I also started working on a safe place for my child self.  This was a project Meg suggested after talking to the AT.  I picked up a small wood box on my Michael’s trip yesterday, so am using that and some scrapbook paper I had brought with me to decorate it.  It is only about half done…I mean in terms of decoration.  I haven’t done anything yet to represent the child-me.  But begun is half done, right?


The Collage

Here’s the collage I mentioned yesterday.  I really like the way it came out. It makes me happy. (And btw, any pictures I post when here may be kind of sketchy in photo quality because between taking pics with my phone and inconsistent availability of good light, I can’t always get good pics.)



So Fucking Tired

I am just emotionally spent.  The news that one of my friends from treatment killed herself is disheartening in a way for which I have no words to express.   And when you are in residential treatment with someone, you get to know them on a more intimate level…You see them at four in the morning, half asleep, teeth not brushed, hair gone wild as you wait for morning vitals.  You see them putting on their make-up in the morning, making their way through their days with laughing, crying and determined perseverance, fighting for recovery at meals and watching as they face their inner demons one forkful at a time…And then ending the day, exhausted, spent, waiting with them in pajamas in the med line before you both stagger to bed and crashing for the night, only to repeat the whole process the next day.  There are not many people you get to know on that level and with that kind of personal intensity.

It is painful to me that her mental illness took her life.  I wish she had felt like she had other choices, other options, other anything than to kill herself.  But I understand the feeling of wanting to do anything to make the internal pain and turmoil stop.

This is a real blow to the recovery community of which I am a member.  We are all so close to the edge and emotionally unstable already…A suicide just adds to the overwhelm.

I was lucky enough to get an extra appointment in with the AT yesterday morning.  I sent him a one line email first thing, “Woke up to find out that one of my Renfrew friends killed herself Monday.”  I don’t know what I wanted from him….Just acknowledgement or support.  But he had an opening in his schedule, so I got to go to his safe office and work on my feelings.  He had me do a piece of art as a tribute to my friend.  And we talked a little bit and I cried.  And my feelings just wanted to consume me.

After that, I had a quiet, numb day.  I didn’t exercise at all, I didn’t garden, I didn’t really anything.  And that was okay.  I needed a “light” kind of day.  I even took a little nap (good escapism) with the Big Dog snuggling me on one side and the Tabby cat snuggling me on the other.  It was good.

But.  I didn’t eat.  I skipped breakfast. I skipped lunch.  I did eat some fruit at 2:00…not because I cared, but because I knew that the Team cared.  I did have dinner because dh and ds would have noticed if I didn’t.  But I didn’t make much of an effort to eat my normal kind of dinner. The eating disorder is always there to help me manage my feelings and make me feel better.  I love that.  And I hate it.

Today, I am a bit more balanced. I made myself eat breakfast.  I am still numb. I expect a quiet morning.  I might walk the dogs, I might not.  I have appointments all afternoon.  Hopefully, I will be less engaged in ED symptoms.  I already have a good start since I ate breakfast.

Why I Cried and Philly

Why I Cried

Yesterday, I showed the AT a piece of art I made while in treatment.  It was the day my lovely friend, Biebs was discharged.  As a matter-of-fact, she left about half an hour before that particular art therapy group.  I took her leaving really hard.  I really grew close to Biebs (and still keep in close contact), she is smart and insightful and caring and we spent many hours together in the late afternoons walking back and forth on the sidewalk in front of the facility.  When she came to say good-bye, I just totally melted.  She and I had started the same day, and I was the last of us left.  Everyone else I really cared about or who were from the core group I hung out with for the first month had already left.  And now, my amazing friend, Biebs was leaving too.  It was just too much.

By the time I got to art therapy, I had not pulled myself together.  It was so bad that even people who never offered hugs offered me hugs.  And there was nothing anyone could do to make me feel better.  I was just broken.

So, I went into art therapy and cried.  I cried for the whole session, even while doing my project.  The art therapist running the group put a box of Kleenex beside me and I just grabbed tissues and cried and worked on my project.  It was horrible. And then when we were done, the art therapist asked me to stay after the session and we talked a little bit and I cried some more.

It was just an afternoon of raw, unrestrained sorrow.

Yesterday, while I was showing the AT the piece of art from the day Biebs left, I felt that deep aching sadness again.  Of course, not as strongly as it was a while ago but it was enough to make tears spring to my eyes.  And for that sadness build and come right up to the surface.

And then, I realized something.  Or…I didn’t realize it, it was something I already knew, but I guess it was just really driven home for me.  One of the reasons I hate dealing with the childhood trauma stuff is that I can’t bear to feel all the feelings that come along with it.  All the feelings that I had as a child who had been sexually abused.  All the feelings that I refuse to feel and that has led to a life of stamping out and not allowing feelings. All those feelings are still there.  And if looking at the piece of art from the day Biebs left evoked the feelings from that day, looking at the me child-me will surely do the same.  And I can’t do it.  I can’t feel those feeling.  The overwhelm of pain and sorrow and all the rest of it is far beyond my ability to handle it.

I was able to articulate my concern about the art triggering the feelings of that day and how I am scared about dealing with child-me stuff triggering those feelings.  And I did it between tears and dissociation and terror (and I am impressed that I was even able to be articulate in all that emotional mess!).  The AT was very compassionate and reassuring. But I am still terrified of the mess of feelings I am going to have to deal with at some point.  I don’t know if I can do it.  However, it seems to be the key to everything….Or at least to lots of my dysfunctions.  But how do I deal with the agony of it without engaging any of my maladaptive coping mechanisms?  And how do I manage the feelings without restricting?  How do I stay safe?

Ugh.  Too much to think about!


This morning, I am off to Philadelphia.  The treatment facility is having their annual reunion and I am going.  I am really excited about it and looking forward to seeing friends and staff and feeling the safety bubble that is Renfrew.

Join us on Saturday, June 4, 2016, to reconnect with old friends, reinvigorate your recovery and discover new ways to seek support. We invite you to experience a new reunion schedule where you will have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and activities that will stimulate new thinking and further support your journey in recovery.

Look out Renfrew, here I come!




You know about those triple-decker appointment days?  Today was a quadruple-decker appointment day.  I started at 12:30 and by 4:00 I has seen everybody on Team Heidi.  <phew>  I am tired!


  • Nutrition:  We discussed Invisible Restricting (as described in that blog a few days ago.) Plus over-exercising.  Evidently, hour long walks on hilly terrain is too much exercise for my calorie intake  Then when you add 1 1/2 hours of heavy yard work after the walk…Well…then that is way too much.  Of course, I am good with it…But the Nutritionist? Not so much.  Her solution?  Either limit my exercise to 45 mins a day. Or increase my meal plan.  Ummm…..No, increasing the meal plan is not gonna happen. I think that falls under, “Ways to give Heidi a nervous breakdown.”  And limiting exercise?  Welllll……Let’s just say, we’ll see about that.  I like negating my calories by exercising.  Why would I want to change it?
  • Primary Physician:  Was pleased to see me in better spirits this week.  Of course, I am pretty pleased to see me in better spirits too!  Also, Thursdays are my weigh-in day.  And you know what I figured out?  If I want to know my weight, all I would have to do is watch the nurse type it in.  This thought dawned on me as she sat down to enter it into the computer. And I quickly looked away.  Somehow, as desperately as I want to know how much I weigh, I am also really afraid because I might have gained weight.  And I know this is potentially an irrational fear….But, it is what my ED tries to tell me, that I have gained weight and therefore need to restrict it away.  Of course, knowing that I have lost weight is a trap too because my ED will be sooo excited and want more.  I guess not knowing is the safest thing for me right now, even if it does lead to obsessive fits of wanting to know my weight.  Overall, the appointment was good.  My doctor was thoughtful and empathetic and and we talked about the blog (she had mentioned it a couple of times recently) and I asked if she wanted to look at it and she does.  So, now enters another member of Team Heidi into the crazy, complicated and uncensored version of what is in my brain.  In for a penny, in for a pound…..
  • PNP:  For some reason my PNP concurs with the Nutritionist about the over-exercising.  Go figure!  And she spent a lot of time trying to appeal to my logical side. And I spent a lot of time trying to say that I am good with the calorie imbalance I have created.  And she tried to point out the long-term implications of restricting and I ….Well, I don’t really know.  Thus is the ED conundrum.  Restrict and control and feel good at the expense of my health.  Or don’t restrict, be out of control and maintain my health.  See…when I type it, it seems a bit simpler, health is good.  But then…Restricting is so appealing too. And around and around it goes in my head.
  • Art Therapy:  Have I ever mentioned that I hate feeling things? And really, feelings themselves kind of suck! (And come to think of it, feelings came up with my doctor today too…It’s like feelings are important or something!)  The feelings part of the  AT appointment, I will save for tomorrow’s blog.  Aside from feelings we looked at some art I had done since my last appointment. And then we looked a bit more at some of my art from Art Therapy at Renfrew.  Of course, it was one of those pieces of art that gave me a little emotional melt-down. <sigh>  Everything is so hard.  I wonder what it would be like to have an uncomplicated life…Well, it’s probably not worth thinking about, I am pretty sure I drew a short straw when it came to having a “normal” life.  Pining for one will only lead to disappointment.


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.



Saturday Meltdown


Saturday Meltdown

So…I kind of had a meltdown yesterday morning.  It was ugly.  No…It was really ugly.

I woke up with that emptiness and soul-crushing sadness.

Then my eating disorder started screaming at me. It didn’t want me to eat anything yesterday.  And I was going to indulge it.  But…I know that not eating anything would be really, really bad for me.  I was torn.

When dh woke up, I decided I’d have some cereal.  I usually have a bowl of cereal every morning (but I have been eating less and less…I used to eat a cup of cereal every morning, then three quarters a cup and now I eat a half cup) so I figured my mini-portion of cereal would be okay.  Only…there wasn’t enough milk. <sigh>

The Nutritionist wanted me to try a recipe for protein pancakes and I found one online that I wanted to try.  So…I made the batter. It uses egg whites, no yolks.  And I was separating the whites over the bowl and the yolk fell in. I panicked.  (Yolk=calories)  So, I grabbed a big soup spoon and tried to pull the yolk out of the bowl, and the yolk broke.  Panic turned to super panic.  The batter was contaminated.  Dh tried to reassure me it was okay…And the Eating Disorder was trying to tell me I had ruined the batter.  In the end, I scooped about 98% of the yolk out and tried to convince myself it was fine.

Then I cooked the pancakes.  And then I kind of lost it…Huge meltdown…Dh said something benign and I snapped at him and pretty much ripped his head off (poor dh!).  I was soo angry and frustrated and irritable and sour…I had to remove myself ASAP before I got in more trouble.  So, I grabbed 1.5 pancakes (approx. 100 calories worth) and my water bottle and went to my bedroom.  (I don’t know why I took the pancakes…I never eat in the bedroom.)  I set the pancakes on my bureau and crawled into bed and had a micro-moment of crying.  Then I just laid there…overwhelmed by pain.  I was not coping.

I thought maybe I should take some lorazepam, but I didn’t trust myself to not take too many.  Then I started pondering…What if I took all my lorazepam?  Would it kill me?  Well…what if I took all my lorazepam and all my trazadone? Would that kill me?  And on and on….Then I realized that I can’t take those meds inappropriately because when I get a prescription, I make an inner commitment to take them as prescribed…No more, no less.  Not only would it be wrong to mis-use the prescriptions…but it would be unfair to my prescriber as well.

So…then I thought about various ways to soothe myself by self-harming.

And all the while, I kept thinking about that picture that I drew with my PNP that then went to the AT’s office and is part of a project I started on Thursday.  And since the moment I finished the drawing, I knew it was wrong…Incomplete. And it had been really, really bothering me.  And I didn’t know if I had the courage to draw it correctly and have it be “witnessed.”  And this kept bothering me and bothering me and my mind kept flashing the drawing how it should have been drawn.

The incompleteness?  The figure needed a big, menacing, erect penis.  And then I realized that the drawing, which was supposed to be a representation of my eating disorder, was not about my eating disorder…Or if it was, it was not wholly about my eating disorder.  And different images of the drawing (like new scenarios) kept popping up in my head…So much so that I thought maybe I was having flashbacks or about to have a flashback….The way the pictures were popping into my head…It reminded me of how my flashbacks happen.

And I wanted to call the AT and get support. And maybe I should have…but that is still so hard for me to do…Instead, I decided I needed to draw the pictures in my head and I climbed out of bed and went downstairs and drew…Ugly and nasty pictures.  Four.  Four pictures wanted to be drawn.  Four pictures that I will take to Art Therapy on Monday and then leave in the bubble of his office…Safely contained.

When I finished drawing the pictures, I tore them out of the sketchbook, stacked them neatly in order and tucked them carefully in my mandala book.

And then, I felt better…Pressure was relieved.  I could function again and the pain moderated and I was done snapping at people and wanting to self-harm….Well…except the eating disorder was still screaming at me not to eat.

After a walk with dh and the dogs, some fresh air and some chatting with dh…I settled down some more.  Finally at about noon, the eating disorder’s screaming had dulled to a grumble and I was able to eat some lunch.  I stuck with 100% safe foods and in my usual portions…So, lunch was uneventful.

The rest of the day was much more under control.  I was lonely as dh and ds had an engagement allll afternoon and evening (left a before noon, were back about 10), but I kept myself busy.  I set my mind and hands to a knitting project.  I knitted for hours…And I even finished my project.  It is a tiny wool soaker for SS’s new baby.   I can’t remember the last time I really sat down and knitted something and enjoyed doing so.  It was a nice way to spend the day.

Here’s a pic.  I am  not loving the way the leg cuffs came out…I think they will be too bulky on a petite baby, I am likely going to rip them out and just crochet a little bit around the edge of the leg holes…But here’s what is looks like now. (It still has yarn ends showing because I haven’t quite decided about those leg cuffs.)



Bitter Disappointment and Yoga and Hating Myself

Bitter Disappointment

Yesterday had a rough start.  I was really upset that I couldn’t go help SS with the nursery set up and stuff.  I had been looking forward to it and I really wanted to help her and then I had to bail.  I was angry (with myself) and frustrated and I ended up being grumpy all morning about it.  I threw myself into baking (pumpkin bread for ds, biscuits for the dogs) and working on my Art Therapy homework to dull the emotions I was feeling.


By the time yoga time came around, I was still having tachycardia and I just plain felt crummy…Some days the low calories catch up with me and I just feel fatigued and weak and blah.  Yesterday was one of those days.   But I was not going to miss yoga.  I am a stubborn sort of person and I was going to yoga come Hell or high water.

And I did go. I started off by asking my Yoga Instructor if we could talk for a couple of minutes before we started.  I have only seen her once since before Christmas and so much has gone on over the past month, I felt like it was important to touch base.  I mentioned the tachycardia episodes and the low calories as the cause and also that I was currently feeling tachycardic and tired/low energy and just not myself.

You know the nice thing about my Instructor?  I told her all that stuff and she didn’t even bat an eye.  I am always prepared to be judged or rejected…But nope.  She listened, thanked me for talking with her and then did a yoga session that perfectly met my needs for the day.  It was not super strenuous, which was good because I was tired just doing the poses we did.  My Instructor has a knack for that…somehow (even when I don’t express a specific issue) our sessions are always just what I need at the time.

While we were doing yoga today, I was watching my Instructor and I was struck by something. It looks like she is really comfortable being in her body.  You can just tell by the way she moves and the way carries herself.  I almost asked her about it…but let the impulse slide.  But as I was watching her, I was wondering what it would be like to actually be comfortable in your body…And more specifically, what would it feel like to me to be comfortable in my body?

Hating Myself

My relationship with my body is one of pretty vile self-loathing, criticism and judgement.  I probably cannot adequately express how much I hate my body.  Part of it is an extension of my general hatred for myself and part of it is being disgusted with my body and therefore hating it.  I am not sure I will ever like my body.

As part of my Art Therapy homework, I made a representation of myself.  Any time I do this, I am just filled with an intense self-hateful rage and overwhelming urge to destroy whatever the representation is.  The hate is so vicious that I just want to shred or smash or scratch out the Me figure.  Lots of times, I represent the feeling with a big red X over the Me.  I don’t know why making Me representations triggers this.  It also triggers quite the nasty spiral where the urge to shred transfers to my physical body.  And that intense loathing and body hatred just spikes to pretty much unbearable levels.

I wonder how this self-hatred plays into my eating disorder, cuz I bet it does.

The Art Therapist and my PNP have both told me that my minimalist eating counts as self-harming behavior.  I am not sure what I think of that.  I am not doing it to hurt myself.  I am doing it to #1. Not gain weight, #2. Have control over something before I lose my shit, #3. Lose weight to be healthy. None of those reasons have anything to do with self-harm. In fact, they all seem to be the opposite of self-harm.  Now, maybe the AT and PNP would point out that the extremeness of my calorie reduction is bad…But really, I don’t care.  I am pretty sure I am fine…Just as long as no one asks me to increase my calories.  That would make me un-fine.

Now…You might think that me saying that I am fine directly contradicts what I said about feeling crummy today.  I choose to ignore that contradiction.

Good Things, Good Day

Good Things, Good Day

So, I finished the stealth project yesterday. I am very pleased with the way it came out and it isn’t even perfect! Shocking, I know!  I will post pictures tomorrow as I am delivering it today.

See this little bundle of baby?  (She wished to remain anonymous, so we will just admire her sweet baby hair.) This baby bundle is making my friend SS very happy.


SS has been waiting two years for “The Call,” the call being when you hear from your adoption agency that there is a baby waiting for you. And last week, they finally got The Call!  I am sooo happy for them.  And just think, Miss Pixie will be a big sister now!

This morning, I am going over to her house to give her a hand prepping for the new baby’s homecoming.  She has lots to organize and unpack and a crib to set up again.  I can’t wait to go because I can’t wait to see my friend beaming with happiness.  🙂

And maybe now, you have figured out who I made the stealth project for. 😉

After I help out SS for a while, I will come back to the Snowy Hinterlands for yoga.  It has been two weeks…Maybe even two and half weeks since my last yoga.  I have missed my instructor and I have missed my yoga.

I think today will be a good day.  I am looking forward to it!

Oh…And yesterday, I also started working on my Art Therapy homework.  I am making a sort of “map” for the AT of everyone on Team Heidi.  None of them actually know each other, even though they are in contact with each other.  This will be a way of showing the team and explaining how I relate to them/what their role is.  I will post pictures of that too when it is done.

Ugh…The Awful Book and My Other Homework and And The Rest Of The Day…

Ugh…The Awful Book!

I read the book.  I can now look the Nutritionist in the eye and say that I did my homework.  I will say, that having an better understanding of the Internal Family Systems model did help me get through the book…And I think I understand the theory differently now, but I still contend that it is a muddy and poorly written book and the illustrations trivialize the message and some are just plain offensive to me.

And in terms of introducing IFS to the lay-person…I don’t think so.

And in terms of giving it to someone with an eating disorder as a reading assignment…I found it a huge turn-off that the book represented the subpersonality of food and eating as “Happy Pig.”  Really?  Is the lack of sensitivity in this representation just me being over sensitive, or does it seem a poor choice?


I would have liked a bit more of a theoretical analysis/intellectual kind of book.  And some empirical data to support the validity of the data and techniques being presented.  And I would have liked to see a little bit less of the author’s personal experiences used as examples.

Will I share any of this with the Nutritionist? Nope.  I will smile and nod and say I read it and that it wasn’t the best fit for me.  I might ask her what main points she thought would be of benefit to me…But I don’t have enough trust with her to offer a critical opinion.

My Other Homework

I had Art Therapy homework too….And I am really, really reluctant to take it in and show him.  What he asked me to do and what wanted doing do not match up…I feel very vulnerable about it.  I also feel pretty guarded because I know I did the wrong thing.  I feel all anxious and jittery about showing him.  And I can tell you this, I won’t be able to look him in the eye because I will feel embarrassed and feel like he is going to judge me.

Okay…I am now going to remind myself that therapy is my safety zone.  I can be me…I can be the me that I don’t let myself be anywhere else, I don’t have to pretend that everything is okay, I can show that things are messy in my brain.  It is okay. He will not judge. Safety zone. Safety zone. Safety zone.

And The Rest Of The Day…

Nutritionist appointment.  I am doomed.  Except for one day, I met my goal.  But…I still ate way too few calories each day and I still lost a chunk of weight. (Which doesn’t necessarily bother me…but again, I know did the wrong thing according to her goals and I will be stressed about it.)

Primary Physician appointment.  Still doomed, please refer to prior doomed-ness.  And…she gave me an eating challenge when I saw her on Friday and I failed with it.  So, I am double-doomed.

I think today is going to suck.