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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Containment

I guess today is a post-therapy blog.

Therapy was….welll….therapy.  We always have to talk about feelings and stuff.  Ugh…and needs.  That every person has needs, which means I have needs, even if I don’t want to have needs.

And we talked about emotions and emotional flooding (being totally maxed emotionally, beyond the point of being productive.)  And we talked about containment.  Ways of containing the emotions by writing down a couple of words to ease the emotional overload, with the intent on going back to the trigger when one is no longer overloaded.  Or of writing what needed containing on an envelope and sliding it under Grace’s door for containment and returning too later.

And then that lightbulb went off in my head…..

The AT, an envelope, containment…This has happened before.  And it worked.  So, I have hope that it will work with Grace too.

Other than that, today has been tolerable. Having therapy this morning got me moving out of bed and into my day.  I am trying hard to not go back to bed.  Yesterday, I stayed out of my room most of the day.  It seems less isolating to be upstairs.  Plus, I have the dogs for company.  I cannot express how much it means to me to have these dogs in my life.  They may not be my dogs, but they do me a lot of good.

Now, I am going to make lunch.  I can feel a bit of the depression starting to settle around me, so I am going to keep busy and see if I can deter it for a while

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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.

Sewing and The Phone Call(s)

Sewing

I spent the bulk of yesterday sewing while I waited for the phone call from my PNP.  Not only did I finish the little dog’s coat but I had enough fleece to make her a second coat.  The first coat is a double layer, warmer coat.  The second coat is a single layer, with a thick fleece for those cool spring days.  I am delighted with how they came out.  I love the flower print and the blue will look fantastic on the little dog’s white fur . Her gotcha day is the 27th, so I will have pics of her in the coats then.

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The Phone Call(s)

When my PNP finally got a hold of me, she had a lot to say.  She had talked to my Primary Physician and my doctor had charged my PNP and I to researching inpatient/residential eating disorder facilities.  I am kind of curious as how it fell to my PNP to be the one to help me with the research, however, I am fine with it.  I adore my PNP and I know she will do a good job helping me.

I had dug out the letter and business card of my Blue Cross case manager (yup, I have one) and after I talked to my PNP, I called my case manager.  She was incredibly helpful and kind.  (I feel kind of embarrassed calling a total stranger and telling her I have an eating disorder and I need help finding more intensive treatment.)  She did some legwork on her part and verified my insurance coverage for such care.  It turns out I have damn good insurance and as long as I stay “in network” I have 100% coverage and no copay/deductible for both inpatient and residential treatment!  This is such a relief to me because with me completely out of work right now, and me having spent the last year minimally working, we kind of have no money.  Not having to pay anything out of pocket for treatment is a blessing.

My Case Manager sent me a list of in network facilities, most of them within driving distance of my home.  I started cranking my way through the list and alternated feelings of panic, despair and relief as I investigated them.  It was exhausting. 😦

I also forwarded the list to my PNP and I sent her an email later with my current top choices.  I need more info about all of them, so I will have to spend some time contacting places and getting my questions answered.  At the end of the week, my Case Manager is calling me back to see if I need more choices and to see how I am doing with the process.

I had a kind of anxiety/panic melt-down after contacting my Case Manager and I sent a panicked email to the AT asking if I could come see him today so we can talk about all of this.  I see him later this morning.  I did feel calmer last evening, but then last night, the dogs woke me up at 2 and I was feeling stressed and anxious and could not fall back asleep. Finally after an hour and a half, I took a lorazepam and then settled down pretty quickly and fell back asleep.

So…I am stressed and overwhelmed, full of questions (I have a huge list of questions to take to the AT) and honestly, a little bit relieved that I have some treatment options. I don’t know how close I am to my doc putting her foot down and saying it is time for the higher lever of treatment…But at least I will be prepared if/when it happens.

 

 

 

Just About The Knitting (And Sewing) Today

Just About The Knitting (And Sewing) Today

I had thought about writing another Heidi-history post today, or an anorexia post, or some sort of deep meaningful post today…But then I decided to just let that all rest…I’ve got therapy tomorrow, there will be enough deep meaning then…Today is a light day.  Today is a knitting (and sewing) post kind of day!

I got my first full square done for the blanket.  I am so, so, so happy with the grey and blue!  They look better together than I imagined they would.

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Now, I need to cast on for an identical square and then after that, I have to knit two squares with the grey and the darker blue.

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The crazy thing is that at the moment, my needles are empty! <gasp>  I will have to remedy that ASAP! 🙂

Last night, I made a trip to get some buttons for the green sweater.  I found buttons that are absolutely perfect.  The purple flower will be for the outside of the sweater and the green will be for the inside.  The flower looks amazing on the green.  I am really pleased I found nice buttons.  And I only need one of each button…So I will have to think of a project to go with the other two buttons!

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And while at the button store, I perused fleece.  We brought our little dog home from the greyhound rescue a year ago the 27th.  As an anniversary present for her, I am going to make her a new coat.  After hemming and hawing over fleece choices for half an hour, I finally spied this fleece.  Perfect!

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The little dog will love it, I am sure!

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Yup…nothing like a spoiled  well taken care of dog!

And lastly, as I was cranking out stripes last night, I had a friend “helping” me.  The big dog is particularly attached to me and any time I am sitting on the couch, he curls up beside me and either puts his head on my lap or tucks it behind my back.  Yesterday, his devotion even surpassed having yarn tickling his ears and my blanket square flip-flopping on his face.

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Nope, no spoiled dogs here!

 

Doctor Appointment and Knitting

Doctor Appointment

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday.  I guess it went okay.  I mean, the doctor was fine, but I am getting the message, “It’s up to you” a lot about my eating.  And I get it, it is up to me…But when people say that (the Nutritionist has said it too) I feel a lot of pressure.  I don’t think it is meant as pressure, but I internalize it as such.  And when I feel pressure about my eating, it makes the hyper-focus worse.

I actually find the “It’s up to you” stance to be very disheartening.  It kind of threw the rest of my day….I just feel discouraged and hopeless when people say that.  If it was that easy, if I could just wake up one day and start eating normally, I think I would have…But it is so much more complicated than that.  Yes, it’s up to me…But I don’t know how to do it.

And I had more blood work done yesterday.  My liver enzymes have dropped quite a bit, one being back in the normal range and the other being elevated still, but much better.  Of course, another part of the blood work had dropped…I will have to wait and see what my doc has to say about it before I worry. A couple of results aren’t back yet…One being my vitamin D.

I also had an unexpected surprise at the doctor’s office.  The psych meds fairy appeared and gave me a bunch more sample packets of my medication.  Since this particular med is my most expensive med, I truly appreciate all the help I have been getting with it.

Art Therapy

At this point, I am simply trying to not think about Monday’s appointment.  Really, what I want is to follow-up on something he said…But I have to wait until Thursday to do so.  Basically, I am impatiently patiently biding my time to follow-up and then figure out what I am thinking/feeling.  Tomorrow will not come soon enough!

Knitting

More work on the kimono baby sweater. I have knit this pattern a few times before and it always seems to come out wider than I want.  Next time I knit it, I am going to cast on with ten fewer stitches. I think that will trim up the width nicely.

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And starting on a basic baby blanket. The yarn is so lush and plush, I don’t want to make a fancy blanket…The yarn is the star of this blanket.  I started it on knitting needles, but the yarn is sticky and doesn’t slide nicely.  It was making me grumpy and hurting my hands.  However, I am prepared to implement any yarn related contingency plan and thus took the project off the needle and put it on a knitting loom.  It is going much better this way.

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And here’s my last knitting pic…Okay, okay…It’s not knitting. 🙂  But it is an adorably cute dog! Gotta stick in a puppy picture every now and then!  As you can see, she was having a rough day.

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Grumblings

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Grumblings

I’m not sure I have much to say today.  I feel like bursting into tears.  And I am tired because I was awake between 3:30 and 4:15 (ds got up and went to the bathroom at 3:30 and when he closed his door it startled me awake) and then I was up for good at 4:50.  I felt irritable the second half of Saturday and all day yesterday and I might still be irritable this morning.  I have AT and I am feeling frustrated about not making more progress.  I work today, but have not idea of how long (she never tells me ahead of time…Could be for 3 hours, could be for 7 or anywhere in between).  And it is pitch black out and cold with some snow.  And the dogs are nagging me for breakfast, but it isn’t time yet.

Yup…It’s very possible that I might be grumpy on this Monday morning.  It’s likely that will level off some as I get moving and have some breakfast.  And I won’t/can’t be grumpy at work, so I will have it under control by 9:15.  I can be grumpy at Art Therapy, but it’s kind of counter-productive, so hopefully, I will have it under control by 8.

K…Best way to combat grumpiness? Cuteness!  Here’s a picture of the little dog under the tree waiting for Santa.  ❤

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Art Therapy, The Nutritionist and The Big Dog

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Art Therapy

Yesterday was not a banner Art Therapy day.  I did not have my best game-face on and it really showed.  I was testy and irritable and I walked in with my defenses raised.  And as the session progressed, I felt myself dissociate more and more. By the end of the session, I had to really work hard to focus on the AT….To keep myself in the same room with him.  It took a lot of energy.

We did talk about the dissociation and the AT posited that I had been dissociated all weekend (well…since last Thursday’s appointment) and when I reflected back…It made a lot of sense, I think he was right (again!). I was pretty flat and numb feeling over the weekend, I couldn’t really string together thoughts for decent blog posts…I had that bad night Thursday night…It all sort of clicks that I was triggered and then dissociated my way out of it.

But what sticks with me most about Art Therapy yesterday is something the AT asked me…He asked what he could do so that I would trust him more.  And I feel so bad and guilty about it.  I wish I could trust him more. I am trying to trust him more. There is not reason to not trust him….So, I kind of feel like shit for not being able to trust him more.  So…now I am struggling with the trust and I feel like I am a bad person for not trusting him more. <sigh> Why doesn’t this ever get any easier?

The Nutritionist

After Art Therapy, I saw the Nutritionist.  That appointment was challenging too as I had to tell her I have kind of gone way off the OCD deep-end with my eating.  She was very thoughtful and kind about it and had some ideas for how I could ease off the pressure on myself.  She made some really good points too…I have some things to think about.

She also told me I am losing weight too fast and I need to try to slow it down a bit.  Evidently, the OCD eating pattern is resulting in excessive calorie restriction.  I didn’t dare say to her, “Losing weight too fast?  You really think that’s a problem?”  I am not sure how much effort I will put into increasing my calorie consumption. (And yes…I do understand there are physical and psychological issues, with losing weight too fast.)

The Big Dog

And really, I never got a chance to settle in at home yesterday afternoon to process my appointments because the Big Dog got hurt.  I literally had been home 5 minutes, long enough to let the dogs out and then back in when i noticed blood on the floor.  I wasn’t too worried and went to see which dog was bleeding and I turned and there was Big Dog, staring pitifully at me holding his left rear leg off the ground. I still wasn’t too worried until I saw the wound…He sliced the skin just below his hock, right across the tendon…And then the skin retracted on both ends.  It was bloody and gory and clearly needed stitches.  Poor baby!  I did not do well maintaining my composure (I am super-attached to this dog!) but I didn’t cry (Didn’t want to upset him anymore…he was already trembling and anxious) and I did get his leg all wrapped up and called the vet.  Basically, I had enough time to gulp some lunch and then zip the dog into town to the vet.

One hour and three staples later…We left the vet.

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My poor puppy! He has pain meds for a few days and antibiotics for two weeks.  And he has activity restrictions for the next couple of days and then can only go on short walks until the staples come out….Which is a bummer as we had just gotten into a nice walking routine again….Both the dogs and I will miss our longer walks.

But…one good thing did come out of this.  I texted dh about the injury and vet visit and he offered to go with me.  And….I said yes.  That is to say, I knew I was a bit emotionally unglued about the dog and I really needed support and I accepted his offer to come with me.  It pretty much falls under the category of “Asking for Help When I Need It”  only he offered before I could ask. 😉

Crazy, huh?  Maybe I am learning things in Art Therapy!