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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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.

Hollow

If I am distracted, I am pretty much okay.  I know I am kind of withdrawn when distracted, but I can manage.  But once I am not distracted, the depression just slams me and I am totally not okay.

I went shopping with the woman I live with yesterday. More to the point, she went shopping and I tagged along (she invited me). She went to these higher end clothing stores and bought a beautiful evening gown at one store and then an outfit for a cocktail party at another store.  At the second store, I fell in love with a blue, velvety, embroidered tunic (which would have been a knee-length dress on me) top.  I couldn’t stop wanting it…even the woman I live with looked at it and said, “That’s a Heidi-shirt!”  It was expensive to start, but 50% off…and still expensive.  It’s neither here nor there though, they didn’t have my size, only a smaller size.  I spent the rest of my time in the store wishing my body was smaller and contemplating how I could achieve making my body smaller…It was not a good path for my brain.

We got home and I was drained.  I didn’t have any energy to make dinner, so I had a fluffernutter and some blackberries and a huge mug of my not-coffee. It was probably not a dinner that met my meal plan.

Then, the friend I was supposed to get together with after dinner cancelled. I was alone at home, and I could feel the depression just crushing me.  All I wanted to do was retreat to my isolation zone, but the dogs were out and about and I didn’t have the energy to put the puppy in her kennel, so I put on my pajamas, did my laundry, did some homework, sent out a couple of emails.  It was low key. And I was just depressed the whole time.

Now it is morning.  I dreamed last night that I was weighed and saw my weight. I want nothing more than to weight myself on the way to shower.  Would it matter if I did?  Why do we spend so much energy trying to hide my weight from me?  Why can’t I just know?  If I knew, then I could be more at ease with where I am with my eating disorder.

Of course, to weigh myself, I’d actually have to get out of bed.  I need to get out of bed, I want to go to UU, I need to try to function, I am getting together with a peer sometime later today, I need to shower, I need to move.  And yet, I am still in bed, the depression holds me down as if I had wet sacks of sand on me.  And the idea of rallying and making it to UU is beyond exhausting.  I’ve already been laying here this way for almost an hour…It is almost impossible to get going because I have no initiative.

I think this depression has become a problem.  This weekend, I had planned to do things differently, but yesterday was not a good start, I ended up missing yoga, I didn’t get together with peers (I had two opportunities to do so), I felt smothered by depression, I went shopping but felt hollow the whole time, I lied to my peers to get out of socializing, and I didn’t care about anything. I will try to do differently today, but I am afraid that no matter what I do, I will just feel hollow and dead inside.

Okay.  I have to get out of bed.  If I am going to try to do differently today, I have to get up.

Body Image

Oh…and I totally forgot…So, today is a bad body image day for me.  It actually started last night…Or really, Tuesday.

Tuesday, I went on the Meal Challenge where a dietitian takes a handful of us on a restaurant outing for lunch.  It went as well as could be expected….I mean, I ate at a restaurant, I enjoyed some of the food, I felt anxious and guilty.  And I worried about the impact (i.e. gaining weight) from the trip.

Tuesday afternoon, we had Snack Challenge, for which I had to eat a doughnut.

Tuesday evening, I had a dinner date with one of my peers.

Last night, I ate left-overs from the evening dinner.

And then I had yoga.  And when I was sitting there in yoga, I looked down at my stomach and I could tell that it was bigger.  And I looked at my thighs and they were totally bigger. And I felt very self-conscious and embarrassed. Now, I know that technically, my body wasn’t bigger…I can intellectualize that.  But my distorted sense of self saw that I am fatter.

This morning, I was obsessing about what to wear and hating my body.  I had a full outfit on and was sure that everything didn’t fit right.  And I was in my closet going to pick out a different outfit, but couldn’t figure out what to wear because none of it would be better.  I would still be ugly and fat.  I am still ugly and fat.

I just am convinced that everything I eat will make me fat…Like, every single bite of food. My dietitian and I talk about this a lot.  That it is not actually true, that it is a manifestation of my ED.  And still, I can’t shake it…I know that eating will make me fat.

I really wish I could count calories.  And weigh myself.  I just need to know what is going on with my body.