Priorities

Yesterday got better.  This morning worse.  But I did eat.  Eating is the important thing to do when striving for the “next right thing.”

I didn’t sleep well.  I couldn’t fall asleep.  I was up frequently. I had a rape nightmare.  I woke up all discombobulated.

I am exhausted.  I am irritable…no…not irritable, just at my stress tolerance and everything over my stress tolerance pushes my coping skills which makes me edgy.

 

 

Love

Post #3

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?

I love this man soooo much.

Powerful Recovery Article

“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.”

 

Finding the Strengh to Carry On

Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, ICCL

The prospect of recovery being ongoing can be a daunting prospect. Yet, the concept of being completely “recovered” from an eating disorder is something of an ongoing debate. At what point can a person who has struggled with an eating disorder consider themselves fully recovered, and how is this defined or measured?

While the answers to these questions may not clearly be spelled out in easy to define ways, there are many measures that are telling of progress in recovery. Recovery by any means should be considered nothing less than a fight for life and freedom from the overwhelming burden that is an eating disorder. However, the striking reality is that this picture may be painted differently for each individual walking this road.

For the middle-aged woman who is battling a decades-long fight against bulimia or the college-aged male who is struggling with anorexia, progress in recovery may look completely different – though differences do not negate what is momentum against these psychiatric illnesses. For one person, recovery may mean choosing life each and every day; for another, recovery may mean the bravery to work with a therapist to face a painful past.

“Every single courageous step taken in the name of eating disorder recovery is powerful; momentous enough to shatter the stronghold of an eating disorder.”

When you are facing an unknown future with the presence of an eating disorder, it is easy to limit your perspective with the reality you are currently faced with. The mind convoluted with an eating disorder views things in terms of the disease: “How can I avoid eating this meal?”, “Where can I get rid of this food?”, “Why would anyone love me as I am?”

Recovery, in contrast, looks ahead in face of these fears and questions and asks instead, “What must I do now to stay alive, to truly thrive in life?” When asked in these terms, the prospect of recovery becomes much more attainable – meeting you where you are today and empowering you with the hope you need to keep moving one foot in front of the other.

The truth is this: your life is meaningful and valuable. You are worthy of love and care, and having an eating disorder does not lessen that. Because eating disorders are chronic diseases by nature with strong biological underpinnings, this may very well be an ongoing part of your life. Rather than wallow in the overwhelm of what lies ahead, mindfully meet yourself in the present to act on what it is you need today to keep yourself moving forward.

No act in recovery is too small or insignificant to continue challenging the eating disorder that calls you away from the life you want to live.

“Even in the moments where it feels like all hope is lost or that you cannot possibly pull yourself together once again, there is opportunity for healing and restoration.”

Wherever you might find yourself today, it is important to understand that recovery can meet you exactly where you are at: in the midst of brokenness, confusion, shame, guilt, frustration and the overwhelming messiness of life with an eating disorder. You cannot wait for yourself to reach a certain standard that will never be met. Recovery can start with the simplest of steps: confiding in a friend, eating that next meal, staying off the scale, asking for accountability, connecting to help. Sometimes recovery means pulling up the blinders and resisting the tendency to compare to what everyone else is doing; simply focusing on the here and now and asking yourself, “What is the next step I need to take to keep moving forward?”

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.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brown

RecoveryWarriors

My Process, Her Process

Fascinating.

You know what? I am getting better. I am sort of stumbling along, feeling the ups and downs and looking forward, but I have forgotten to look back to see how much I have changed.

This morning I ran to get some groceries with a peer.  It was an eye-opening experience. This peer has had more treatment than me and has really struggled.  I know she still struggles based on her words and attitudes and emotions.  I didn’t anticipate issues shopping with her, or I wouldn’t have asked her to go with me.

She checked calories on every single item she bought, while saying the she knew she shouldn’t be doing it. She did not buy certain foods based on their calorie content while saying that she knew she shouldn’t be doing it..  She talked about having high binge urges and then bought a fistful of candy at the check-out.

Wow.  She is still totally enmeshed in her eating disorder.

I don’t want to come across as holier-than-thou, because I certainly peek at calories and question food choices based on calories.  But…I work very hard to not scrutinize the calories of everything I buy.  I may question food choices based on calories, but I don’t refuse to buy foods because of calorie content.  And the one time I did intentionally buy a low-cal food, my nutritionist told me to throw the food out and buy what I would have normally bought, and you know what? I did it immediately after my appointment.  Yes, it was painful.  But I did it.

So, how far have I come?  I eat food.  I eat more than 350 calories a day.  I exercise minimally.  I rarely self-harm.  I resist restriction urges or restrict very mildly.  I calorie count sometimes, but not often.  I worry about my weight, but I don’t weigh myself every day, or every week…or even at all. I don’t body check every single day.  I eat more than a rotating cycle of the same 5 foods.

Even though it is far from perfect, all those changes are huge progress. I think I have some hope for me.  I am not judging myself against my peer, but seeing where she is in her process just made me realize how far I have come in my process.

Just for the heck of it, I looked back to see what I was writing during this time last year…..It’s kind of painful to look at:

Hyper-focusing Again (Still?)

So…this is not being a good week at all for my Nutritionist goals.  My therapy-induced upheaval has just super charged my eating hyper-focus and I am unable to snap out of it and I have been unable to diversify what I eat or increase the quantity…If anything, I am eating less.  And I have lost more weight than I am supposed to (again).  I am supposed to be losing about a pound a week and anything in the 1-2 pound range is acceptable.  This week, I have lost 5.4lbs.

But hyper-focusing is the only way I have any control in my life right now…So, I continue to hyper-focus.  And if I am being totally honest…I think I am getting worse.  Now, when I sit down to eat, I feel sick.  Like the idea of eating makes me sick to my stomach.  I don’t know if this is just extreme general stress (I do have other stressors right now besides the therapy upheaval) or if it is food stress.  But it worries me.

Oh well…I suppose it doesn’t really matter anyway.  Like I have said before, I am nowhere near starving to death, so it’s not like I am hurting myself.

All I have to say is ouch.  I was totally hurting myself and though I didn’t know at the time, you can malnourish yourself to death (i.e.starve) while still having fat on your body.

Holy shit….I was sooo oblivious.  I wonder what I would have thought if someone sat down with me and told me what was going to unfold over the next 12 months.  I am sure I would have just dismissed it as them over-reacting and not believed it.  But now, I have lived it.  I want to say it’s been a shitty 12 months, but that isn’t fair.  Because despite hitting some real lows, I have been crawling my way up out of that hole and working to get myself better.  Yes, there have been some shitty parts.  But I have also found strength and courage I never thought I had.  In that respect, it has also been an amazing 12 months.

 

A Wordy Post!

By whatever method I am being measured, I suppose yesterday counted as an awesome day.  Just as long as no-one looks too closely.

Yes…I made it to yoga.  I literally almost didn’t.  I didn’t do my timing right and still was eating breakfast and in my pajamas when I needed to leave for yoga.  Luckily, at least I was showered!  I was sooo angry at myself for not even giving myself the choice to go (because it was too late) that I cried.  Lots of judgmental thoughts went through my mind.  And then, I looked at the clock and thought, “I still have time. I might be a few minutes late, but I can try to make it.”  So, I got the dogs settled, ran downstairs and changed my clothes, grabbed what I needed and ran to the car.  I made it to my 8:00 yoga class at 7:59. So yes, I got to do yoga, which I really enjoyed. I am going to look at the yoga schedule today and commit to getting to yoga more than once this week.

Next was grocery shopping.  Other than feeling guilty for spending so much money (I have discussed my beliefs about not being worth buying food for.) it was an uneventful trip.

In the early afternoon, was the lunch with my peers and the peer who is leaving for a higher level of care.  I didn’t want to go.  I went more for social graces interests than because I wanted to be there.  Something about the whole luncheon really bothered me.  As I was driving there, I realized that celebrating the departure of my friend (who had to leave the program because she was starving herself) just seemed wrong.  It felt like we were celebrating the fact that her ED had won this round.  The same issues came up around Sarah’s wake in June….I didn’t blog about it, but spent a long time talking to the AT about it.  So, I got to the lunch and luckily, I was seated far away from that peer.  I decided to pretend that I was just having lunch with the peers sitting by me (there were 11 of us, so it wasn’t awkward to just focus on the folks near me) and ignore the “celebration” aspect of it.

Do you know that I hate getting together like this with my peers?  Seriously, I am so fucking tired of talking about eating disorders, our mental illnesses and watching people sneak in behaviors at meals.  Or…of knowing that the person is eating the meal, but is going to go right home and purge.  There’s a new person in IOP and she has been and is still actively purging and binging and purging.  She’s been doing it for weeks.  As a matter of fact, she and the girl who we had the lunch for, were living together and I am guessing some of what was going on with her was that they were in a situation in which they ended up competing with each other.  Who could be sickest?

But I got off topic.  I am so sick of my peers.  I don’t know why I am encouraged to spend time with them outside of treatment.  They are solely focused on ED talk…not even recovery talk, but ED talk.  I am sooo much more than my eating disorder…I just don’t want to talk about it every time I am with them.  I want to have real conversations about real things and that doesn’t happen.  This is a huge part of the reason that I connected with my Janis, my pastoral care person, because she and I can talk about other stuff, which is a refreshing break.  It’s also why I like hanging out with Linda.  We have normal conversation.

I was so frustrated about my peers yesterday that I was ready to just wash my hands of IOP.  Like, just screw it.  What is the point anyway?

And if that wasn’t enough stress yesterday, I got a text from a peer/fried (who has been out of the program since September) asking if I wanted to go to her house and see a movie.  I jumped at the chance. She and I have done stuff together before and it is really close to “normal” i.e. not focused on our EDs.  When we were firming up plans, she seemed a little bit irritated in her texts.  I let it slide and went to her house.  When I got there, she seemed really put out and was cold and distant.  I thought she was mad at me, and was relieved that we were going to watch a movie so we didn’t have to interact much.  Then I noticed her gait was different, she had sort of a limp.  That’s when I realized that I was not watching the movie with my friend, but rather with one of her alters.  It explained her behavior…but still was pretty awkward as she seemed irritated the whole time I was there.

Aside from yoga, the only other positive about the day was that my friend who came over Friday night came over again last night.  We sat by the fire and chatted, yes about ED stuff, but in a recovery way, we drank coffee, we had a snack, it was relaxed and pleasant.  A good way to end a tumultuous day.

Today, other than church, I have nothing planned.  It does mean that my depression may be more active…only time will tell.  I have 3 agendas to work on, which will take up most of my afternoon.  And I am going to video chat with dh.  After yesterday, I am looking forward to a quiet day at home!!

Oh…and the whole realization that the luncheon yesterday felt like an ED celebration made me really miss the AT.  He is the one with whom I processed Sarah’s wake.  And thinking about that just made me pine for his compassion and caring.  I trust him, I feel safe with him and I miss him.  I am tired of being emotionally disrupted here with the revolving door of therapists.  All I wanted and needed was some continuity of support which is not really an option here.  At least I will be able to get that at home.

Isolation Excuses and Path To Recovery

Isolation Excuses

So…the puppy barked and barked last night.  I know from other times that her mom has been away that she has night-time separation anxiety, and so I own and use earplugs.  But last night, the barking was too much for me because the other dog was barking too.  And he was growling, like he does when strangers are here, and it set off all my hypervigilence/fear/nighttime safety triggers.  I was a mess.  After a while, I couldn’t take it anymore and I grabbed a blanket, came upstairs and got onto the covers of Linda’s bed and fell asleep.  The puppy is in a kennel in Linda’s room, so my presence soothed her and there wasn’t another peep out of her all night.  Am I supposed to climb onto Linda’s bed and go to sleep?  I don’t know…but it was a total necessity.

Tonight, I am going to try to stay in my own bed because I need to be in my own space.  And now that I know that I was safe-enough last night, that the dogs were just feeding off of each other, then I can hopefully be more settled tonight and not terrified.

As a result of last night’s disruption and me being so afraid, I am exhausted beyond measure this morning.  Which gives me a perfect excuse to skip yoga.  Of course, the truth is that going to yoga seems like too much work and all I want to do is stay home and isolate.  I am on the fence as to what I will actually do.

There is also a good-bye lunch (so ironic) for the peer that was discharged from the facility yesterday.  I am feeling really annoyed that she got kicked out for not eating for two weeks (because she has made herself so sick that she needs a higher level of care)  and yet her group good-bye is a meal in a restaurant, which is how she chose to do it.  Anyway, I am frustrated by her and also have no interest in spending time with my peers, so I am very, very tempted to skip the lunch too.

At least this afternoon, I have a legitimate reason to stay home so that I can take a nap.

I will get demerits from Grace if I isolate all weekend.  (That was tongue-in-cheek I am much more likely to get compassion than demerits.)  Perhaps the truth is that I will give myself demerits if I isolate all weekend.

Path to Recovery

Okay…so I mentioned an art therapy project yesterday.  The directive was to make an art piece representing where you are in your recovery process.  I kind of took the directive into a less artsy direction and basically made a map.  It ended up huge, I bet it is 4-5′ wide.

recoverypath2

It starts on the left with the super lows of being entrenched in the eating disorder.  It is dark and bleak and hopeless. And as you can see, from that point, all the work is an uphill battle.

recoverypath3

But as the progress moves up, and the eating disorder symptoms taper off, things start to look better until I get over the hump and into recovery.

recoverypath

Way on the right are some words that are hard to read that say, “Living Life”, “Life”, and “Hope for the future.”

unnamed

And where I am on my path to recovery?  I am on the slippery slope.  It is a one step forward, two steps back, four steps forward, one step back kind of place.  So, I slide up and down the slippery slope.

recoverypath4

I wish I was in a more secure place and at the same time, I am glad that I am not in the dark place.  I am guessing I will be on the slippery slope for a long time.  And that’s okay, as long as I don’t slide all the way to the bottom.

I didn’t really depict it, because I kind of put the idealistic version of recovery on the right, but honestly, even that will have a lot of give and take until I get far enough away from the eating disorder.  But I have heard from clinicians at Hilltop and from recovery speakers, that one can end up in solid recovery.  So, there is hope for that.

12963936_1590397867944881_6937435206480629289_n

Still Struggling

I was a bad therapee yesterday.  I had therapy at 9.  I had been okay, I had talked to my PNP prior to therapy and was feeling good.  I adore my PNP so talking to her always makes me feel better for a little while.  But when I headed out to therapy, my anxiety hit me.  I have no idea why I was anxious, but by the time I got to therapy, I was really anxious.  All I can figure is that it was related to therapy. I’m not sure what triggered it though.

Unfortunately, it was one of those appointments where I was really struggling to stay present and connected.  Grace did a lot of talking, which was fine, she was explaining some stuff and reflecting stuff back to me.  And if you ask me now what she said, I really couldn’t tell you.  I know we talked about peers and feelings, I know that we talked about something about yoga and self-care, I know that when I left she said we would go over two homework assignments on Monday.  But…the details about all of this is fuzzy because I just couldn’t stay focused.  Like, I remember one of the assignments she said, but not the other (but I am going to guess which one she meant). And I can’t remember at all the details about what she said about self-care.  Nor can I really remember the peer conversation other than the fact that I was really unhappy talking about it.

So, What makes me a bad therapee?  The fact that I knew I was having a hard time staying present and focusing.  And I almost said something to her, but I didn’t.  I just kept trying to force myself to attend to her and hear what she was saying.  Only, clearly, it didn’t work.  I am really frustrated with myself for not doing a better job of communicating my state of mind with Grace.  Actually, I feel pretty critical of myself for basically wasting a whole appointment because I couldn’t stay present. Fucking stupid.

You know, I was going to summarize the rest of the day, but I realize that it is all pretty fuzzy.  I did a project in art therapy that I am going to take pictures of today so I can post them tomorrow.  The directive was, “Where are you in the recovery process?”  Oh right, we had our Gender and Sexuality group.  Someone read her homework assignment and I wasn’t really able to give her much feedback because as soon as she stopped reading, I couldn’t remember what she had said.

The other thing about yesterday is that from lunchtime on, I felt uncomfortably overfull.  As if I had eaten too much.  And I am not sure what was up with that because I had not eaten too much.  And the feeling lasted all afternoon and when dinner came, I had no appetite and had to force the food down.  I am going to guess that this was a psychosomatic event.  I say that, because aside from feeling overfull, I totally felt like my body had gotten bigger.  Like, I happened to put my hand on my stomach and I was startled as to how much bigger it had gotten (since the morning.)  Intellectually,  I know that  my stomach didn’t get bigger in 6 hours.  But my distorted perception was that my stomach was bigger, and I looked at my legs and my thighs were bigger too

And then lastly, my mood, which had been feeling a little bit better, dropped again last evening.  I was home alone and it was quiet and I just felt the weight of the depression settle on me.  I know I refer to my depression as being on me a lot.  Have you ever had an x-ray and they put one of those really heavy vests on you to shield parts of your body from the x-ray?  That is sort of how I experience my depression settling on me.  It is just feels like a heaviness in my mind and body.  Like the depression has weight and substance.

I also realized last night that the woman I live with is gone all weekend and that I need to be extra careful to not isolate.  And I am a high isolation risk this weekend.  I feel more depressed, I am struggling with the departure of my peer.  I will be alone in the house.  It will be sooo easy to just stay in bed all day.  However, I already had plans for a friend to come over tonight, so tonight is taken care of.  Tomorrow, I will make myself go to yoga in the morning and to the grocery store too.  And today, I will make a plan for the rest of the weekend.