The Project

Right now, my time has been consumed by a project.  My program dietitian recommended that I rearrange my dining room and kitchen to disrupt the possibility of slipping back into eating disorder auto-pilot when I got home.  And so…We have rearranged.  And are still rearranging.  Basically, we are having a whole house purge starting with the dining room and kitchen.  If it hasn’t been used in a long time, it is outta here.  If we have kept it due to an obligation or guilt, it’s outta here.  It’s a new beginning in multiple ways.  And I am liking it.

Except.  Except that I am totally letting the projects consume me and am giving myself very little room to think/feel/breathe.  This is not an ideal position for me to be in.  It also has meant that I haven’t ventured out to yoga at a new studio yet.  I know my hesitation is that it will be a brand-new studio and I am anxious about that.  But…I am starting to feel a bit edgy and off and I know that means that I will have to go to yoga asap.  So…I guess I will be off to yoga tomorrow.  I need to figure out a class…Oh! And I need to check the weather, as I have heard we have bad weather coming our way.

Back to the rearranging…So, we have an U shaped open floor plan living room/dining room and then a galley kitchen (the stairs are in the middle of the U).  I love that it feels spacious and open.  I hate that we have been bogged down by poorly placed and crappy furniture and clutter.  We have moved some of the crappy furniture out and as I said before, we are purging clutter.  But, the rearrangement we have done…I love it.  We moved the dining room table around the corner and on the far side of the U and now it looks over the deck and outside at the view.  We moved our bird feeders so that we can enjoy the birds too.  Where the dining room table was, we put a coffee table and moved two small arm chairs.  This faces the kitchen, but you can see around the whole U from there.  We call it “The Cafe.”  And we all love it.  Such simple changes, but such a huge difference!

Next week, we will be putting a new coat of paint on the walls.  Dh wanted yellow, and I am not invested in a color, so yellow it will be.  He wants to do that thing where you have some walls one color and then an accent color on another wall.  Again, I am game…whatever, just as long as it looks new and different.

We also have some nasty wall damage from our crappy futon frame…I think we are going to cheat to fix it.  It is on the inside of the U and sort of a stand-alone wall.  I think we may slap up some wainscoting and call it good.  It will also be a good trial to see what we think of wainscoting.

So much to do and so much fun!  Well…unless you count that part where I am sooo exhausted from doing all this stuff for hours on end.

Okay…Off to the city for some appointments.

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.

Butterflies in Late December

Yesterday, we visited a butterfly conservatory.  It was amazing.  We walked into the room and immediately, butterflies glided past us.  It was truly magical.  The room was hot and humid…a delicious treat from the winter temperatures.

As we wound through the paths, the butterflies would lift from the foliage, drift about and then flutter back down.  They circled in the air like birds.  It was peaceful and delightful.

At first I though that we would be there briefly, as the room was not too big.  But we sat on benches and watched the butterflies and we tried to photograph them…no easy task with the shutter delay on cellphone cameras!  We also talked a lot with one of the employees about the butterflies, which are imported from South America and Asia.  Actually, their chrysalides are imported and we saw many in their “incubator” that were ready to hatch.  We stayed for quite a while.

It was so. much. fun!!!

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Lights

The big highlight of dh’s visit (so far!) was going to a glow event in the city.  It was delightful to stroll through the grounds, holding hands with my best friend and enjoying the lights.  And it was nice to have a break from all-treatment-all-the-time life that I have been living for the past 5.5 months.

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Depression Steals So Much From Me

Okay…Today’s blog post is late.  I did write it earlier, but last night I had some failure of my wifi adapter which rendered my computer non-connectable.  It was a long 24 hours.  I tried and tried to fix it, but had to wait until this evening and dh coached me along and now, all is well inside my computer again.

The funny thing is that so much happened today….This morning’s post is almost ancient.  Oh well…It is still important.


 

Depression steals so much from me.

Okay…fantastically, wonderful, amazing news!  Dh decided that it has been enough time with us apart and he is coming here in two weeks to see me!  I cannot describe what this means to me!  I pretty much cried when he firmed it all up and bought his plane ticket.  I thought that this would totally get me out of my depressive funk.  I mean, my best friend is coming to visit! And I have missed him soo much!  And he is coming here!!!!  To see me!!

This was all worked out and plane ticket was bought before noon.  And then later, after suppertime, when I got home from programming…I could feel the denseness of the depression sliding over me.  You know, I thought I would be able to ride the dh high for the next few weeks, but I guess it won’t be that easy.  And this is why I say depression steals so much from me.  I want to be excited and happy for the next two weeks.  I don’t want to feel inert.

At least I can count on this…When dh comes, I will be soo happy and so busy and so excited that during those 5 days that he is here the depression will be over-ridden by my joy.  So, I will at least have that time to feel like me.  And though I won’t count on it, maybe the depression will actually be better by then anyway.  A girl can hope, right?

Yesterday, I worried about the day feeling long and me feeling alone but I did not sit in the loneliness of my day yesterday.  I had those errands to run and sort of on a whim, I texted a peer that I like, and asked if she wanted to go along for the ride and maybe go out to lunch too.  She was happy to go, so we spent a couple of hours together, which was really nice.  We did go out to lunch together…And I struggled with my ED.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t eat, because I did.  But the anxiety and backlash from eating was really strong.  It was totally one of those moments where I panicked, the “Oh shit! I just ate food.  Now I am going to gain weight.  I have done the wrong thing.  I need to restrict for the rest of the day.”  This tells me that my eating disorder is a little more engaged than I thought it was.  For what it’s worth though, I have been on track with my meal plan today.  And I was yesterday too.  I can be okay as long as I keep doing the next right thing.

This morning, I get together with Janis, my pastoral care person.  I made the plan at the end of last week…And guess what?  I don’t want to go.  It just seems like too much effort.  You know what I want to do?  Stay in bed all day.  It’s not really an option because I have programming…but I would sure like to do it.

Blackberry Cobbler

Woke up this morning and before I was fully awake, I thought I was home.  Dh loves toast and eats it alll the time.  (Seriously, he is a toast addict!)  So, the woman I am living with was already up and I could smell toast, so I think smelling toast as I was waking up transported me back home to the many mornings I would wake up to the smell of dh’s toast. It made for a rough start of the day.  Funny how a simple smell can transport me the 1160 miles to home.  I want to say I hate being here…but I don’t.  I need to be here to get better.  I can’t hate being here because that won’t help me.  But I would be much, much happier to be home.

Monday, among other assignments, my dietitian wanted me to make a blackberry cobbler.  I have been eating a lot of blackberries and she was concerned that I was being repetitive with my food.  (Really, it was because blackberries have been $1 a package…and unheard of price back home and I love blackberries, so I have been eating as many of the as I can!!!!!) I took up her challenge, bought a cute little Pyrex container and baked my cobbler.

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And then? I panicked. Because step two of making the cobbler would be to eat the cobbler. And I panicked.  I am sooo mad at myself.  Like it’s just a stupid cobbler, why can’t I eat it? Why does my brain go right to the fact that it is calories and that I can’t have extra calories?

See why I can’t hate being here? I still need to be here. As frustrating as that is to admit, I am not quite done my work here yet.  And I won’t be done any of the work when I go home, I know that.  But I need to be more consistent with the food.  I need to be able to panic over food and still eat it. Oh…right…the cobbler.  So, I ate one spoonful of it last night, just so I could say I had some. I am going to challenge myself by having cobbler for breakfast.  Because it’s just cobbler, right?  It’s just a fucking cobbler.

 

 

Thankful

I am not so much a “What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving” kind of person…But….What am I thankful for?

Okay…first of all, I am thankful for myself and the fact that I am even alive right now.  I did not kill myself this year.  I survived the worst points of my eating disorder.  My Hilltop dietitian pointed out to me recently that before I went into treatment in March (at the other facility) I was not eating enough to sustain life.  She pointed out our bodies are resilient and do anything to stay alive, but that the cost is high.  I am thankful that despite hitting some ultra-lows with my depression that I did not kill myself.  Yes, I am just plain thankful that I am alive to write this blog post.

I am thankful to dh for his unwavering support, for keeping our household running, for missing me every day but never asking me to come home, for telling me that as long as it takes and whatever I need, we will make it work so that I can get better.  And I am thankful for his unconditional love.

I am thankful for ds who has been willing to pick up slack at home and step into a role of much responsibility.  I am also thankful for his love and support and flexibility with me being gone.  And I am thankful he is doing it all while juggling a job and a full semester.  He is an amazing kid…errr…man.

I am thankful for my friends,

  • Donna who has kept me in her thoughts and prayers and has kept me in a steady stream of postcards and notes and love.
  • SS for taking good care of my special little friends and for supporting and encouraging me.
  • A., who was invaluable at keeping me in one piece all spring and summer.
  • L., who has been a loving and supportive friend.

I am thankful for my treatment friends who are constantly supporting me, loving me and deeply understanding my pain and how hard it is to heal.  And who remind me that I am worth recovery.

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And I am thankful for Team Heidi. Really, I cannot thank them enough for their support which has gone above and beyond anything I ever expected.  Team Heidi held me up when I had nothing left to keep myself up. Team Heidi kept me safe with persistence and commitment.  And Team Heidi gave me the support to pack myself up and travel across the country for treatment.

I am thankful for Hilltop Team Heidi.  The support of this team has helped me learn things about myself that I never knew and showed me I have strength I didn’t know I have.  Trauma work is a bitch, and I have had multiple teams here that I have trusted enough to do the work and keep focused on my recovery.  And even though I am one of many people they treat each year, I feel like they actually care about me.

I am thankful for the first treatment center I went to this year, for re-feeding me and getting me medically stable.

I am thankful for the woman who took me into her home and lets me stay here for very little “rent” thus helping me be able to stay for treatment as long as I need to.  I also appreciate her kindness and companionship.

I am thankful for the UU I found and the support of my Pastoral Care person (whose house I am going to for dinner today.)  It is so nice to be taken in by strangers and treated like I am an old friend.

I am thankful for the little things.

  • This puppy, that makes me absolutely crazy and that give me much joy.
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  • The little magical bits of nature I find:
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Oh! And I am really thankful for finding my way into a yoga studio where I feel safe and cared about and supported with trauma sensitive instructors and financial accommodations.

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Truly, my list could go on and on.  I have much to be thankful for this year.

Now…If I can get myself out of my anxiety and mood funk, which is still following me like sticky dark shadow, I might be able to make it through today without falling apart.  However, I am still really struggling and I am not looking forward to going to programming today (Yes, we have programming on Thanksgiving day) and I am anxious about the dinner I am going to later because I really won’t know anyone there.  But I will try, just for today, to cut myself some slack.  And if that’s too much, then I will just try 5 minutes of grace at a time.  And if that doesn’t work….well…I can only do the best that I can do.

Homesick

I woke up this morning to the sound of dog nails on the floor above me…And the muffled sounds of someone preparing for the day.  It sounded familiar and like when dh would wake up in the mornings before me and take the dogs out and start his day making his tea, while I was still cozing in bed.

So, when I was slowly waking up this morning…I thought I was home.

I am not home.  It was not my bed or my house or my dogs or my person getting a start on the day.

The disappointment is palpable.

Wrapping Things Up

What do you do with yourself when you are leaving in 48 hours and will be gone for weeks?

  • Pull out all the perishable gluten free food (not that there is much less, as I had bought lightly last week as Friday was a possible departure date ) so it gets consumed and not wasted.
  • Waffle some more about clothing packed….The grey and white striped t-shirt or the soft teal and grey striped t-shirt? One more pair of capris or not?
  • Double check stationary and stamps and addresses.
  • Soak up time with the family.
  • Finish outdoor chores (though with the steady rain today, that may be limited).
  • Sign-up for automatic checking account withdrawal for the fuel oil company so mailing that bill is one less thing to worry about.  This also officially makes all of our bills, except the mortgage, electronically paid.
  • Think of 100 things I wish I had said to/discussed with the the AT in the past couple of weeks.
  • Re-inventory packed items.
  • Decide what I am going to wear on travel/admission day.
  • Wash my stuffed rabbits so they are fresh and clean to take with me.
  • Snuggle dh.
  • Make a couple of last phone calls to family and friends and/or text friends.
  • Decide at the last minute that I need, “just one more thing” to take with me.

You get the idea….

I was texting my PNP last night about going to treatment.  I told her that I am good with going.  I really am, but it will be harder this time around to leave home and family and my home treatment team.  This is partly because I am not as sick, so I struggle a bit with whether or not I actually need the ED treatment (but I know I do…and I really need the trauma stabilization).  And because I like the security and comfort of what I know…my familiar world.

But, I know that I need to go and I do so in a very different place in terms of my physical and cognitive self than when I went to Renfrew.  This is to my advantage. It means I can think clearly enough to really engage in the psych work. My body is not being consumed by intense physical healing, which allows for energy to be distributed emotionally and cognitively.  I will have fewer distractions from the therapy work.

At this point, I am less worried about the travel.  Leaving here will be easy as we have a small (very small) airport and navigating it is straightforward. Though I have not flown out of our airport in decades, I have dropped off dh often enough that it is familiar and safe feeling.  My lay-over airport is in Atlanta.  I have had lots of coaching from my e-friend, Donna, about that airport and general flying/TSA kind of stuff.  That has helped ease my anxiety.  And dh will give me a run-down too of what to expect.  I also scheduled a flight with a longer lay-over so that I am not scrambling to go from one gate to another.  I have time to figure things out, not panic and do what I need to do.  Or more to the point, I have time to fuck it up, get lost, get confused, cry a little if I need to and still make my connecting flight.  However, I don’t anticipate the second scenario…But it is good to not have the time pressure.

I also have a full awareness that my anxiety about the travel will be much worse than the actual travel.  That’s how anxiety works…gets me all worked up and stressed over things I can actually handle.  So, with all this awareness, I can say, “Yes, I am nervous and anxious about traveling, but I am fully capable of doing it and have made allowances for myself to not feel rushed and overwhelmed.”

Now….I think I need to pluck Kaloo and Tooloo out of bed and send them off for a bath.  Did I ever mention that dh (good-naturedly) fusses at me about the stuffed rabbits in the bed? <giggle>  He calls them “Cabbage Rats.”  And yet, every time he makes the bed, he tucks my bunnies right against my pillow with the covers tucked up to their chins.  ❤  I bet he will miss them when I am gone!  He might even miss me! 😉

Kaloo is green, Tooloo is pink.

kaloo Tooloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reunion and Food and More Dresses

Reunion

It has been a crazy-busy kind of weekend with definite goods and bads.

Reunion was great.  Getting to see my alumni friends was the highlight. There were lots of hugs and smiles and laughter.  But the friend part of reunion was far too short.  I think they should end reunion with an open social, so you can just stay and hang out with friends for a while…It is friends who give me the real support and strength and motivation.

The programming for reunion was okay. They had a couple of interesting speakers and then a morning workshop, lunch and an afternoon workshop.  The workshops were not as inspiring as I had hoped for.  The morning one was dominated by three women who just dumped their life stories and issues on the group and just never stopped talking.  Even with the facilitators trying to get the women to let other people speak, it didn’t happened.  I could barely get a word in edge-wise, and really, that says a ton. So…that group was kind of disappointing.  The afternoon group was better.  It was kind of helpful, but not what I had hoped for.  However, I did make a connection with a woman who had “graduated” form the program in 2014 and had some really nice perspective about recovery.  That was great!

My friend, Biebs was unable to attend. However, I texted her highlights during the whole day.  It also worked as a way for me to record salient points.  Here are things that struck me as meaningful.

  • Courageously approach your emotions
  • I can do hard things and I am not alone
  • Through connecting with others and strengthening your relationships, you learn to connect with yourself
  • What does it mean to give Grace to yourself?
  • Give yourself Grace..That Grace for yourself that allows you to say, “I need help.” and ask for that help
  • How to move forward through trauma? A lot of help. A lot of support, a lot of therapy.  A therapist that specializes in trauma.
  • Repeated residential admissions treatment helps refine recovery
  • How much am I ruminating on my eating disorder thoughts and how does that effect my day?
  • Make recovery a priority and fit other things around it
  • Recovery is a full-time job and that’s okay

I am glad that we came down for the reunion and I will definitely plan to attend next year’s.  It may not have been exactly what I was hoping for, but it was important to me that I attend.

Food

So….here’s the downfall of the weekend: Food. And I am super anxious about this because I know that Team Heidi is going to be all over me about this.  <sigh>  I try to do things right, but some things this weekend were just out of my control.

The first food disaster happened when we were driving down on Friday.  I was driving and I had a headache and felt kind of over-tired.  I figured I was just over-tired as the past few days had been busy. But as I was driving I felt progressively worse and my stomach started to feel really tense.  And then about 2.5 hours into the trip, I had to vomit.  I pulled the car over to the side of the road and immediately threw up.  Did this deter my plans of going to reunion? No way!!  But the whole rest of the trip (dh took over driving after I threw up) was me trying to sleep (which didn’t work) and trying not to throw up again.  It was a looong 7 hours.  I ate nothing for all that time. Once we got to the hotel, I felt a little better and after a while managed to lightly eat.

Breakfast yesterday morning was also really light as my stomach was still not happy.  It was nothing like Friday, but it was not interested in food.  However, by lunchtime, I was feeling much better and at that point I was even feeling hungry.  Lunch was provided at the reunion….And….There was nothing gluten free except the fruit salad.  They had hamburgers and tuna sandwiches and pasta salad and fruit salad and cookies. And since I eat vegetarian, it wasn’t like I could dissect a sandwich to just eat part of it.  So, I was screwed.  Dh offered to take me some place for lunch, but finding places that meet my gluten free/vegetarian needs usually involves some internet research and often a phone call to clarify a restaurants menu….Spontaneous restaurant meals are nearly impossible.  So, my lunch consisted of fruit salad and Gatorade.

When we had dinner, I tried to pack in extra exchanges, but it didn’t really work. There is only so much I can fit in my stomach.  I couldn’t even eat all the food I had ordered…not that I even ordered a ton of food…I just couldn’t eat it all.  I did the best I could, but between Friday and Saturday, I missed the equivalent of a whole day’s worth of food. I am okay with it (of course!) but I have to face the Team and they will be less okay with it.  I already got push-back from my PNP about it. <sigh>

More Dresses

So, I was super excited because there is a mall here in Philly that has a bricks and mortar store of the place where I bought my blue dress.  It was on my list of things to do and dh and I went last night.  It was soo much fun!  I tried on sundresses, fancy dresses, light and airy summer tops..  Dh was wonderfully patient while I experimented with different styles and colors.  Honestly, pretty much everything looked really nice on me.  I didn’t love anything enough to buy…Well, maybe I did…I really liked a particular sundress, but could not figure out how to manage the dress straps and a bra. And no…going bra-less is not an option!  But still, the whole experience was fun and positive.

But…I left the store feeling something.  I am not sure what. (It’s that damn inability to label feelings again!)  I felt sort of empty and sad?  I just don’t know…Maybe it was because everything I tried on was feminine and that is scary for me?  And I liked the feminine even though it makes me feel vulnerable?  Maybe I didn’t feel worth having nice dresses?  Maybe it is too much of a shift too fast to be trying on so many things?  I don’t know…I just felt hollow and confused and sad.  But…I still feel good about the shopping experience, so that is even more confusing!

Sometimes, I wish I did a better job of understanding and expressing my feelings!