Still Sad and Food Dye Won’t Kill You First

Still Sad

I think mornings are just going to be hard…but maybe not just the mornings. I woke up again profoundly sad and depressed and just feeling discouraged and hopeless.  Yesterday, I shook it off until the end of the day, when I was done with programming and errands and everything. It seems like as long as I am busy and distracted, I can push the feelings away…but as soon as I am un-occupied, the feelings are there, gnawing at me.  And I feel empty and alone.

Food Dye Won’t Kill You

I had my weekly nutrition appointment yesterday and my Dietitian was talking to me about my stuck-point of orthorexic thinking.  Evidently, my rigid stand on no food dyes, no artificial sweeteners, no high sugar/high fat/highly processed foods is another way my eating disorder is active.  At first, I really chafed at this idea….but then some things happened that made me realize that yes, I fall under the orthorexic category.  (I didn’t come up with this on my own…The first week I was in PHP, I was called out on orthoroexic behavior twice.)

The way I measure if my behavior is ED related is by my response to it.  If you set a bright red tortilla chip (full of red food dye) in front of my and I immediately want to cry and my anxiety sky-rockets…Yup, it’s ED.  Also, my inconsistency of what is safe and not safe with artificial stuff in foods also is an indicator.  So…yup. I engage in orthorexic behavior.

Of course, as with many of my other ED behaviors, my Dietitian and Anxiety Therapist are working hard to dissuade me of the need for the behaviors and help me to work through them…It is a painful process.

Yesterday, my Dietitian got down to some reality about my orthorexic thinking.  She said, “Food dye isn’t going to kill you.  Maybe it will take a day off the end of your life, if even that.  But your eating disorder is going to kill you.”  She said the same thing last week, but I didn’t hear her last week, as in the message fell on unwilling ears.  Yesterday…that message gave me pause.  Food dye won’t kill me, but my eating disorder will.  Food dye won’t kill me, but my eating disorder will.

This is the thought that I am mulling over right now.  Kind of sobering, isn’t it?  The question is, will it sink in or not.  Or…maybe the question is, how long will it take to sink in?   I dunno.  The problem is that I respond well to logical thinking…Until the noise of the eating disorder gets loud and sways me to the disordered thinking.  Overall, the ED has been much quieter, but it is still present and it still is constantly muttering about my treatment choices and that I still need to engage in ED behaviors to be safe and happy, even though the reality is that my ED will kill me.

 

 

The Apartment, Therapy, The New Therapist, and Speaking of Hard

The Apartment

I am so tired.  Last night was the first night in the apartment housing.  The place is filthy.  And I don’t mean like from my germ phobia kind of point of view.  The place is gross. The fridge wasn’t cleaned, the bathroom is yucky, there is a used q-tip on the floor in my room.  Anything metal is rusted.  It’s just nasty.  Plus it smells strongly of stale cigarette smoke.  It has poor lighting too.  Oh…and the dryer sucks.  I washed and tried to dry my sheets last night (to use my laundry detergent rather than have an allergic reaction to theirs) and after a long, long, long time of trying to dry my sheets, I finally gave up and just made my bed and slept on damp sheets.  The internet doesn’t work either.  Really, it is that bad.  So, what to do?  I haven’t gotten that far yet.  I am so tired and stressed, I am just going to give it the weekend. Plus Mel and I have plans to clean this weekend.  That should help a ton!

Then, last night was also really hard.  I didn’t sleep well, mostly because I woke up in the middle of the night in PTSD hypervigilance mode.  I was terrified and couldn’t calm myself.  I actually had to get up and check the outside door to see if it was locked. And the window and then I locked my bedroom door too.  I haven’t felt that unsettled and needed to lock doors in a long time.  I even considered tucking a chair under the exterior door. Again, I haven’t felt that unsafe in a long time.

Therapy

So the new therapist…She actually seemed pretty on the ball yesterday…I mean for the parts where I could pay attention to her between my severe anxiety, tears and dissociation.  I will probably have to make eye contact with her and actually try to engage with her next time I see her.  I really am struggling with the change of therapist.  All it makes me want to do is go home.  If I have to change therapists, then I just want to go home to see the AT.  He is safe and I know him and he knows me.  And then, if I went home, I would be home! In my safe world, with all the people and dogs and things that I love.  I just miss being home sooo much.  I don’t know why this time in treatment my homesickness has been so strong….

I don’t know….I also blame myself for being here.  If I coped with my issues better, if I had fought my ED harder, if I was somehow a stronger or better person, I wouldn’t need to be away from home.  <sigh>  I wish I could get over this self-blame.  But I can’t convince myself that I am not letting down dh and ds by being gone for so long and not working and not contributing to the family.

The New Therapist

I have been observing the new therapist, Kyla, today.  And I realized something…I actually realized it a little bit yesterday, but as I have watched her walking around and interacting with people, I realized that she looks very similar to a professor I had at my Associate’s Degree school.  And I have a very negative association with that school, that program and that particular professor.  That was the school where the Trigger incident occurred and I got no support over it.  And that particular professor, whom Kyla resembles, was one of the key players in not hearing me and not supporting me (or outsourcing me for the support I needed) and just generally being part of my downward spiral while I was there.  I actually had a lot of issues with this professor before the Trigger and was always on edge around her, but she also happened to be chair of the department, so I had to deal with her about the Trigger.

Now, of course, I know that Kyla is not this professor.  But my immediate response is sort of a visceral gun-shy kind of response.  Which means I should bring it up in therapy. Which means we will have to talk about it…..Ugh.  I hate all of this!

Let me rewind to, “I just want to go home and see the AT.”  I am tired of everything being so fucking hard.

And Speaking of Hard

Cuz I need more stress <eye roll>…..My new dietitian tried to fuss with my meal plan.  Not changing my food quantity, but changing the way I am portioning.  And I listened to her and I tried for one meal….And I freaked.  Seriously, I could barely cope.  It brought back all that shame that I had blogged about a handful of weeks ago about portion sizes and feeling fat and people comparing and my shitty body image.  And I could barely eat because I was so anxious.  Really, I just felt so stressed that I had nausea and could barely get food down.  It is so un-fun having to eat when I feel that way.  I mean, I don’t think any of us would want to eat when feeling nausea, but it’s not like I have a choice, so it makes it worse.

So, in a moment of courage I approached the dietician asked if we could step into her office and I promptly cried.  And she asked what was being brought up for me (one of their absolute favorite questions here) and I barely hesitated before saying that it brought up shame and made me feel obvious and the fact that my body size is so different than everyone else’s (in other words, I am FAT).  And we discussed that maybe right now is not the right time to change the way I am doing my meal plan.  And that maybe I have work to do/processing to do about why I feel so ashamed.  And that we will made the meal plan change but not today or this weekend, and that maybe we will start slow and work up.

And….guess what? I felt heard and validated.  And she even said something about taking me where I am at.  I left her office so relieved.

She did want me to journal/blog about my feelings of shame with changing the meal plan, and I will. But not today.  At this point, I need to give myself a little break.

Two Things

Thing One

I do appreciate comments and words of support on my blog, especially as I struggle with things like body image and my concerns about my size and weight.  However, I think I need to bring attention to something about me and my struggles.

I have an eating disorder.  Yup.  I do.  I have an eating disorder that wants me to restrict food like crazy, exercise like crazy and count calories, measure portions and has totally taken over my whole flippin’ life.  This eating disorder has caused me heart troubles which had the potential of killing me, consumed my cognition and has eaten up weeks and now months of my life with residential treatment.  I am on the hard road to recovery, but am nowhere near recovery.  I have a couple more months of treatment ahead of me and then months more when I am home.

Soooo….Comments and/or advice encouraging dieting are not really helpful to my process.  I’ve got the whole “dieting” thing down pat.  It is the “surviving and living” thing that gives me the real challenges.

I cannot in good conscience approve comments on my blog that have potential to undermine my recovery process.  Right now, I am referring specifically, to diet related comments, but I also have had pro-ana comments which I also have not approved.  For more on the that, I refer you here.

Thing Two

I am really, really anxious about my transition to the partial hospitalization program. I don’t like change, I don’t want change.  I like my safety bubble here on top of the hill.  I don’t wanna leave.

And yet, as Meg aptly put it, I need the challenge of the step-down in level of care.

The problem is (among others) is that this change of program and coinciding change of living situation has made me desperately homesick.  If I need to leave Hilltop, then I just want to go home.  <sigh>  And the thought of being away from home for 4 months is just painful.  <double sigh>

I packed up most of my stuff tonight for the move on Thursday.  I figured it would be easier to not do it tomorrow when I am in a panic about the transition.

<sigh> Sometimes, it just feels hard.

Self-Worth and My Body

(This was a homework assignment written Sunday evening)

How I Define Self-Worth and How This Became Correlated to My Body

I am not even sure how I define my self-worth.  What things make me worth anything?

  • My intelligence
  • My sense of humor
  • My persistence/perseverance
  • My work ethic
  • My creativity
  • My compassion
  • My love of nature
  • My love of my family

What makes me feel like I am not worth anything?

  • That I am not smart enough
  • That I am not skinny enough
  • That I am ugly
  • That I am disgusting
  • That I am never good enough
  • That I am damaged
  • That I am bad
  • That I am stupid
  • That I do stupid/embarrassing things
  • That I am fat

Just looking at these two lists, it is clear that my sense of worth revolves around things that are intellectually/brain based and the things that make me feel worthless are all about my body.

I guess that the reason my body measures my lack of worth is because of messages I got over and over as a child. I was never good enough because I wasn’t lady-like enough. My body betrayed me by attracting sexual abuse.  Puberty came before I was ready.  My peers teased me relentlessly, first about my early puberty, with ogling and snide remarks about my breasts, and then because I got fat and thus my peers bullied and tortured me for the next 6 years over my size.  Basically, I learned at school to hate my body because my body was what made me a social pariah.  And it was my body’s fault.

I also had lots of criticism about my body at home.  It was never spoken directly, my mother never said to me, “Heidi, you are fat. Lose weight.”  But I was told how to dress and what to wear to make me look good/smaller despite my body size.  I also was told what to wear and how to dress to minimize my busty chest.  And then there was the time that my parents made me do Nutrisystem with them.  No…no one at home ever said I was fat, but the message was there loud and clear.

And the constant focus on my size and my feelings of shame and subsequent hatred of my body because of that focus, consumed my thoughts and emotions and became the central point of my self-worth.  Being smart wasn’t good enough, being funny wasn’t good enough, being kind and compassionate wasn’t good enough.  All people saw when they saw me was my body. And then that’s all I saw too.

So…the past few weeks, at HillTop, I have been feeling a bit better about my body.  I had started to accept my body…I mean, in tiny baby steps, but I was starting to like what I was seeing.  Maybe it was just over-confidence, but I was seeing my body as smaller and feeling some acceptance of it.

But then this afternoon, I undid all that.  I went out shopping with Mel and tried on a bunch of shirts because I wanted some new shirts to wear with my new leggings.  I have been wearing the leggings because they are really comfortable and I really want to be comfortable.  I am also really attracted to the prints and patterns on the leggings.  But when shopping, none of the shirts I found fit right.  And I got to actually look at myself in a mirror and I got to look at myself in my leggings…And I hated what I saw.  And I realized that I have been fooling myself and that I still am disgusting and ugly.  And not worth having any self-confidence.  There is nothing about me to like or feel good about or to even tolerate.

When I look at my body now, like even just sitting in this chair, it looks different.  I am huge.  I can see how big and fat and ugly I am.  I feel stupid and embarrassed that I actually thought any differently.  And that I let myself start to feel comfortable.

This means that everyone is wrong.  I can’t eat food the way I have been eating it.  I can’t not-exercise.  And Mac is wrong.  I do need to know how much I weigh so I can keep everything under control.

And what I really need now is to lose weight.  And a lot of it.

So…I guess the only way I can define self-worth is by my body size.  And right now, I am not worth anything.

 

Tuesday update:  After losing my shit and crying most of yesterday because I hate my body and I am so disgusting….I woke up this morning and pulled out my favorite pair of leggings, put them on, put on a tunic top (which is super comfy and shields some of my awkward body spots) and am trying to wear my leggings again.  I am going to try to tone down the hatred and dial up the fact that I enjoy the comfiness of the leggings…Not sure how this will play out…But I am giving it a try.

 

 

Saturday Meltdown

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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.)

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I Am Supposed To Have An End Game?!

I Am Supposed To Have An End Game?!

“What is your end game?”  “Where do you see yourself in 3 months/6 months?”

These are questions the Nutritionist asked me.  As if there is an end game for eating disorders…<sigh>

I have no idea what the answers are…This will give me a lot to think about.  At this point, I have nothing.

As a matter of fact, at the moment, I feel like my life has stopped…like I am in a holding pattern until one of two things happens, 1. I get better and contain the eating disorder. 2. My body crashes and I have to have be hospitalized.  I suppose there might be a third option… 3. My body starts to crash and I have to have some sort of intensive intervention (hospital again) to prevent the whole crash.

I try my best to have an honest and uncensored blog…Which is why I lay out those options.  The last two things are eventualities that I have been warned about multiple times.  You’d think it’d be enough to scare me into recovery…But it doesn’t.  I guess that demonstrates the depth of my pathology.

I just don’t know….Lost, lost, lost. That’s me.

Here’s what I do know:

  • I haven’t lost enough weight yet. And no, I don’t know when it will be “enough.”
  • Having control over what/how much I eat seems to have improved my mood quite a bit.
  • I like being in control. It makes me feel better about myself and powerful.
  • I am very, very afraid of regaining the weight I have lost.

But an end game?  I am not even sure I know exactly what that means.

Okay…Aside from thinking about my end game, here are my other nutrition goals for this week:

  1. Eat a snack of fruit leather or fruit before exercising to increase energy
  2. Think about ways to eat safe foods in different ways (And she gave me a recipe to try for a protein packed pancake made with ricotta cheese…sort of an extension of my eating cottage cheese.)

She probably doesn’t mean eat the fruit leather and then deduct the calories from another meal later in the day…

Why is this so hard for me?

You know, sometimes I think to myself, “Today I am going to just eat and not worry about it.”  But when it comes right down to it, I can’t.  As a matter of fact, if I am being honest and uncensored, I will admit that it is really, really hard for me to keep eating at my current calorie level.  I could easily eat less.  I wonder if anyone realizes that? That my struggle isn’t just about eating additional calories…I also struggle with keeping up my current calories.  And when I say struggle, I do mean it.

You know…I don’t think I am lost…I think I am just fucked.

Okay…I’m done with this topic.

My Infuriating Body and Speaking Of Friends (Finally…The Stealth Project!)

My Infuriating Body

I woke up hating myself this morning…Not that I have to stretch very far to find those feelings….

Actually, I guess I didn’t wake up hating myself.  It was after I weighed myself that I started hating myself.  This week, the weight isn’t coming off and I am furious.  After the first few days of it not changing (literally…no change on the scale) I started to increase my exercise.  It hasn’t worked.  I have not decreased my calorie intake because I am trying hard to be “good” about what I am eating.  At this point though, the weight stubbornness has significantly contributed to me not bothering to try to increase my daily calories. And if my weight does not cooperate, decreasing calories will be next.

I can feel that bitter taste of body-betrayal in my mouth.  And as I said, I am furious.

I think the only reason that I have not totally lost it about this weight plateau is because at some point soon I am supposed to get my period. (And if I had remembered to enter last month’s period into my app, I would know when….But since I forgot, I only have a rough guess.)  Before I get my period, I retain water….Though not usually for so many days.  However, I am giving my body the tiniest benefit of the doubt that it is just in PMS mode.  If not…well…the self-recrimination will be nasty.

I think this weight issue is why I have been feeling more anxiety about getting in exercise and obsessing about how many calories I have been eating.  I am supposed to be in control of all of this and losing weight and at the moment, I am not.  I am having a very hard time dealing with it.

Anyway, I need to tame some of the self-loathing I am feeling right now.  Intense self-loathing is never good and usually leads to maladaptive coping strategies, and I can feel that I am on that edge right now.  Luckily, I have a “playdate” with a friend this morning and so I (hopefully) can get out of my head for a while.  Seeing my friend will either soothe my mood, or distract me for a while.  The former would be best…But only time will tell.

Speaking Of Friends (Finally…The Stealth Project!)

I finally made my way to SS’s on Sunday.  She invited me to come craft with her and she had a project of refreshing some diaper covers by running new elastic through the legs and the back.  We worked together and got quite a few done.  And Miss Pixie kept us company and played and kept us company and played and munched on a doughnut. 🙂

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I took the stealth project which is a mobile for the new baby’s room.  One of the themes for the baby’s room (it is the valance over the window) is, “I love you to the moon and back again.”  So, I made this:

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I am really quite pleased with how it came out.