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!

 

 

Support

I have been getting through this week with lots of support from Team Heidi.  Sometimes, I feel guilty for all the support I need from the professionals on my team.  I am sure they have other clients that need their attention and I hate taking up more than my fair share of their time.  Plus, I feel kind of embarrassed to be so needy.  And yet, without the extra support, I would be a wreck…Or perhaps quite literally in the hospital.  So, I will feel ashamed for needing the support, but I will still ask for it.

I have also been getting support from a subset of Team Heidi: Friends.  I have been reaching out and asking local friends for time to visit them and reconnect and for them to help me by having me not be alone.  And I have been pretty upfront about why I want to spend time with them (that I need support).  And my friends have been receptive.  Monday, I had lunch with a friend and we chatted for a long time.  Yesterday, I went over to SS’s and visited with her and Blossom (Pixie was in preschool) and we went on a lovely long walk in the woods near her house.  I have two friend-dates lined up for next week too.  Wednesdays and Fridays are my tricky days right now as I have no appointments and lots of time on my hands is not so good.

That said, I need to really apply myself to collecting some CEUs online as my license expires at the end of this month and I have been a bit remiss in my collection of continuing ed hours.  I need to get 20 hours by the end of the month.  This Friday, I couldn’t round up any friend-dates, so it will be a date with me and my laptop and some CEUs.

In terms of Team Heidi support, I am also working with one of the key players on Team Heidi to get the support I need.  That would be dh. 🙂  It is hard for me ask him for support and to express how much I need his support…But I am trying.  I am better at it than I used to be, but it still challenges me.

Stressful and Knitting With L.

Stressful

I started with Art Therapy yesterday.  I did some painting, which felt really good. We talked about my eating and at the end of the appointment, I left with this summary of what we had covered.

  • My eating disorder is rampant right now
  • It is directly related to my sexual trauma
  • I don’t have any control over the eating disorder right now

As well as Art Therapy, I had an appointment with my Primary Physician yesterday.  My doctor’s appointment was pretty stressful. First of all, I had to share with her my therapy summary.  Then my doctor began talking more seriously about inpatient/residential treatment for my eating disorder (which I will admit has gotten more restrictive over time, especially in the past week or so)  She was going to call and consult with Team Heidi, namely the AT and my PNP.  I left the doctor’s office at about 10 and already had a call back from my PNP at 10:50, so evidently my doctor got right on her phone calls.  (Though I never connected with my PNP yesterday, I will do so today.)

I don’t know if my doctor got hold of the AT yet.

I left my doctor’s office nearly in tears.  The idea of inpatient/residential treatment is really stressful to me…For lots of reasons, but the  one that really scares me is that I would have to go far away to get such treatment.  As a matter of fact, what my doctor said she really wants for treatment for me is Intensive Outpatient (IOP) treatment.  That’s when you just do a day day program of several hours for treatment while still living at home.  The problem is, my state doesn’t have any eating disorder treatment centers.  None. Zip. Zero.  No place for IOP, no place for inpatient.  Thus, if I had to go for inpatient treatment, it would have to be some place far away.

My doctor did mention the hospital as an option, but not one that she is at all in favor of. She said she doesn’t think hospitals do a good job treating eating disorders.  As a matter of fact, I think (if it comes down to inpatient treatment) she is going to be somewhat fussy as to where I would go.  And I mean fussy in a good way….She acknowledged that for a couple of reasons (my age being one) it would really be important to find a place that would be prepared to work with me/a good fit for me.

The whole conversation had me kind of reeling.  However, my doctor is doing an amazing job working with me right now.  She is sooo understanding and supportive and genuine in her concern. It’s almost like I matter!

In the evening, I talked with dh about my appointment and the idea of inpatient treatment somewhere.  His response was basically, “Whatever it takes to get you better. We will make it work.”  He also asked me what I felt about the idea….But I didn’t have an answer.  I am soo lost about the eating disorder right now….I don’t know what the right thing is to do.

I don’t have very many options given the lack of resources in my state.  I already see the AT twice a week…Would it matter if I went three times a week? Would I get better faster? Would I be able to do harder work?  Would he even consider the possibility?  Other than increasing frequency with him, I don’t see any options for additional support.

It all boils down to this, and I know I have said it before….Will I be able to get my psych shit together (and thus put the eating disorder to rest or at least loosen the strangle-hold it has on me) before my body gives out?  And yesterday was a crappy body-day for me.  I felt really awful in the morning and then just crummy the rest of the day.  Today, so far, I just feel kind of crummy.

Knitting with L

The good thing about yesterday was that after my morning appointments, I went over to my friend, L’s house for a few hours and we knitted and chatted.  I really like L and enjoyed getting together with her.  We chatted a lot about my doctor appointment as well as about our kids and of course, about knitting. 🙂

I got a few more stripes done on the blanket square (I am still undecided about that new baby sweater, so I am ignoring it at the moment) but I was moving really slowly and my brain was not at all cooperating to be productive.  I also tried to repair a project her daughter had done that had a couple of places where she had dropped stitches.  Now, I have dropped many stitches in my years knitting and I know exactly how to ladder them up to the edge to be fixed.  But yesterday?  It was just baffling to me. I kept doing it wrong and then redoing it wrong and redoing it wrong.  I just could not get my brain to work and I could not get my problem solving skills kicked into gear to see what I was doing wrong. Eventually, I just gave up.

L, on the other hand, made some real progress with finishing a sweater she is making for her daughter.  It is gorgeous. The yarn she chose is beautiful, the pattern on the chest is beautiful…The whole thing is just gorgeous! She has been working on it for years and now all she has to do is set in the sleeves and seam them up.  She’s nearly done!

Today, I will knit some, but I have declared it a sewing day and I am going to start (and hopefully finish) the little dog’s coat.

 

 

Waiting and Pottery Class

Waiting

Yesterday morning, I got up and started some turkey stock both on the stove and in the crockpot.  Ds made stock earlier this month and it was well-liked in the soups/stews I have made recently but there is only a pint of his stock left.  After the stock cooks, I put it into canning jars and freeze it up.  Luckily, the weather this time of year cooperates with the cooling and freezing of the stock on the deck.  I won’t ever eat anything made from the stock, as it is meat based, but I am glad to make it and know that dh and ds are eating healthy homemade food.

I did some hand sewing for quite a while in the morning.  It was just the right kind of activity because I was super low energy and just finding it hard to move much.  I had planned on walking the dogs, but it was cold and snowing and I just didn’t feel up to it.  (I have been really cold lately.)  It was a quiet kind of morning.

Mostly though, I was waiting.  My bloodwork came back from Tuesday’s blood draw and I took a look at it first thing in the morning.  (There is a website through the hospital that posts labs and stuff, the info show up there fast and I can check it before my doctor even sees it.)  A couple of my lab values were off…This is the first time that has happened.  So, I was waiting for an email from my doctor to see what she thought.  Here is the message she put on the bottom of my lab results, “Heidi, Your liver enzymes (AST and ALT) are now elevated and this may be due to the stress on your liver due to inadequate calorie intake.  We should recheck this at your next visit. Please let me know if you have questions. Best wishes, [Your Doctor]”  I am not sure how worried I should be about this…I guess the next bloodwork check will let me know.

Pottery Class

In the evening I had pottery class.  Despite just wanting to curl up in bed to stay warm and rest, I pulled myself together and went to pottery.  It’s kind of like yoga in that I love it so much that I will get there come Hell or high water.  I threw my pot lid on the wheel, though I don’t have much hope that it will fire to the right size.  But it was my first lid and I did my best…Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised!  I also started glazing my tiles.  I am painting in the glaze to color the pictures I drew…Technically, this might not work as the glaze colors may just run together when it is fired.  Honestly, I am okay with that, as painting the tiles is kind of an experiment and I am not feeling like they have to come out perfect.

Here are the tiles during the glazing process.  The colors of the glaze are not at all accurate, they fire and change color/darken significantly. For example the trees will fire to a dark green even though the glaze is so light.

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