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.

0824161523

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.
  • 1105161214
  • The little magical bits of nature I find:
  • 0923160905
  • 1109160636a
  • 0821161049

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.

1113161950

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.

Bleak Monday Morning

Well….I have taken a shower and combed my hair. And I am back in my bed wishing the day wouldn’t start and that I don’t have to function.  I just want to cry and I can’t face another day.

Saturday night, I went out with a recovery-minded friend.  I had a really nice time.  We had dinner and then poked around in a couple of stores.  This caught my eye.

1015161943

This kind of sums up 2016 for me.

Of course, the “mess” started a very long time ago, and this year, I am just trying to deal with the mess….But it sucks.  I have spent 19 weeks out of state in ED treatment this year.  I have at least 6-8 weeks more treatment before I will go home.  It just kind of wears me down.  Like, right down to the core…I am just weary.

I am also coming off a rough weekend, and it is Monday morning and I just want to hole up in my room and isolate for the day.  My perspective is on the bleak side.  I guess that means it is time to get up, go through the motions of my “normal” morning and then get to PHP.  When all else fails…Go to autopilot.

 

Treatment is a Bitch

Yesterday, I ended up sharing homework assignments in both our Eating Disorder group and in our main therapy group.  I also had my 1:1 anxiety therapy.

My name was top of the list for sharing in Eating Disorder group.  I like sharing in groups because it is an opportunity for getting feedback, support and thoughtful questions from my peers and the therapists running the group.  Sometimes the questions make me squirm, but it is always productive.

My dietitian and I had discussed what to talk about in ED group and she said I could read an older homework assignment or read something from my blog.  I felt like reading the post about my family of origin and food would be most helpful in terms of getting support and feedback.  I felt embarassed to share it as it kind of highlights how fucked up my family was…but part of sharing in groups is about reducing shame.

You know what I realized when reading it and during the feedback after?  That my orthorexic thinking has much deeper roots than I realized.  Like, it goes way back to when I was in elementary school.  I had no idea!  It gave me a bit of pause about the self-judgment I feel because I have a hard time shaking the orthorexia.  The orthorexia is deeply ingrained in my thought processes and feelings about food.  I am not going to just be able to snap out of it.  It’s not at all that simple.  Now…if I can turn that understanding into some compassion for myself, I will be in a better place.  But, I still am frustrated and angry at myself that I cannot shake the orthorexia faster.  I guess since I really only got diagnosed with it recently, I figured it was a recent development and would be easy to stop.  I sure was wrong about that.

Anxiety therapy was hard yesterday.  Somehow we got to talking about what I feel like I deserve and don’t deserve.  I don’t think I deserve much.  Like really, this is another deeply ingrained belief.  And while we were talking, I was working hard at challenging my therapy blocking behaviors (namely, shutting down when I felt intense emotions.)  It was a hard and draining session.  I left sniffling from crying and feeling totally raw.

I went from that session to the main therapy group…I walked in half-way through it (because of the anxiety appt) and noted that there were four people observing the group.  I don’t like change, people observing make me uncomfortable.  They were clinicians from around the country who had come for an event that Hilltop PHP is having today and tomorrow, but they had come early to observe groups and stuff.

So…I sat down and was trying to decompress a little bit and…My name popped up on the sharing list and I was immediately called upon to share some homework.  Yikes!  So, I shared an assignment about feelings and tried to ignore the visitors and focus on what I was doing.  The glitch was that the assignment briefly addressed the physical abuse I endured as a child.  This is something I pretty much never talk about and had never even really brought up during my whole stay a Hilltop.  (Because I am pretty sure I deserved the abuse because I was bad.)  Of course, it became part of the discussion and I was really uncomfortable.  And I didn’t share that I minimize the abuse because I feel like I deserved it.

Anyway, it was an intense day.  And everything has been more intense lately because I have been steadily working on my trauma narrative from the first sexual abuse I had when I was four.  That assignment has me in a constant state of emotional rawness and miner overload.

It has been a long week.

K…I don’t have time to proofread…Hopefully, the typos aren’t too bad!!!  I’ll try to get to editing later.

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.

Nightmares and Cognitive Flexibility

Nightmares

I have not slept well since getting to Hilltop.  I have had a couple nights where I have been totally emotionally wrung out and thus crashed in that “I can’t cope another minute with the stuff in my head.” But even then, I have been having nightmares pretty much nightly. So far, only one time was so bad that I woke up in “freeze.”  (And lemme tell ya, it is hard to ground yourself with the usual, “I am in my bedroom with dh. I am home. This is now. There’s my door/closet, etc.” When you aren’t actually home.) But mostly, it’s just nightmares.  Something unusual is that I wake up from having them and then fall back asleep.  But in the morning, I can’t remember the nightmare at all.  Usually, my memory is pretty detailed and the emotions are fresh.  I am not sure why it is different here.

The nightmares indicate that things are getting stirred up, which likely means they will get worse before they get better.  I am ambivalent about this since nightmares are almost run-of-the-mill for me anyway.  I guess it depends on how bad they get and how much they trigger the intense fear and “freeze” response.

A lot of my therapy so far has been my therapist collecting history data from me…With bits of real therapy mixed in. Basically, when I can’t tolerate the real therapy, I switch back to the interview part.  My therapist….Guess I will call her Meg.  Meg points out that I am avoiding when I do this, but I usually allow the conversation to loop back around whatever the sticky topic was and we end up talking about it.  I just need some pacing and some distancing.

But, the data collecting is not easy either.  Talking about my life history just points out exactly how it sucked.  Like, it is no wonder that I am totally fucked up.  I pretty much never stood a chance at having a normal life.  Someone, I don’t remember if it was here or if it was the AT commented to me that likely the issues with my parents and attachment and the relationship disconnected probably even started when I was a baby.  You know what it makes me think of….That Little Me video.  Like did anyone every really want or love me?  Or was I just always second best and an afterthought?  I can ask these questions, but I refuse to let myself feel the answers.

Cognitive Flexibility

Last week, a huge thunderstorm roared through here.  And by huge I mean HUGE.  The power went out for about 24 hours and things were all disrupted in terms of our schedule.  They also moved us to another building about 20 mins away because we didn’t have AC in our usual buildings due to the lack of power.  I did not do well with the disruption.  I didn’t have a sense of balance here yet, and I hadn’t made any friends yet, and I was feeling isolated and like a misfit and judged and body shamed.  I was just in so much pain and then they disrupted the status quo by moving us.  I held it together for a while in the other building and then had a melt-down. And as is par for the course of my life experience, I really had no one to support me.  One of the Direct Care people did get me to talk a little bit, but I was so closed and guarded that mostly I just shredded my tissue and avoided looking her in the eye.  I couldn’t really even allow myself to accept her comfort.  Sometimes, I wonder if this is a punishing behavior on my part…Or as a new concept Meg has tossed out there…the idea of re-enacting old patterns. Come to think, the AT also has talked about it, but with just a little bit of different verbage.  So, probably I am punishing myself in a way….because even though I desperately wanted support when I was growing up, I never got it.  And if I didn’t deserve it then, then I must not deserve it now.  And I didn’t deserved it then because I was somehow bad, and that belief hasn’t changed….I don’t know. Something is trying to connect about this in my head, but I am not quite getting there.

But, I have totally digressed.  Last night, we had a big thunderstorm. And the power went out.  And thus we are again transplanted to the other building. This time, I am rolling with it a bit better. Yes, the place is familiar so it isn’t all new and so bad. But I am also in a little bit of a better place so I am able to be a little more flexible.

Almost There? and Family and Friends and Team Heidi

Almost There?

This process of getting into The Facility has been amazingly consuming.  It sucks up lots and lots of time, lots of energy and lots of time from various members of Team Heidi.  I think we will all be glad when the process is done.

Yesterday, I spent half the afternoon juggling emails with the admissions coordinator, phone calls with the intake gal and also with my insurance case manager.  Oh…plus emails to my nutritionist as the facility needs medical documentation of my need for a gluten free diet.  Remember earlier this week, I made a list of loose ends to work on?  I have not had time to do any of it.  Seriously, every spare moment has been focused on getting my ducks in a row to get to the facility.

So…Here’s where it stands right now:

  • I still need the nutritionist to fax over her last note for GF documentation. She says she will do it first thing Monday morning.
  • I listed both dh and I as guarantors for the facility. I had my financial phone call yesterday and Monday they will call dh and apprise him as to the finances.
  • The medical team at The Facility had not finished reviewing my medical paperwork by end of day Friday. Hopefully, that will be completed on Monday.
  • The admission coordinator is working to get my visit pre-authorized so there are no surprises when I get there.
  • My case manager is working to get my visit pre-authorized so there are no surprises when I get there.
  • I don’t have an admission date yet, but once the medical review is done, I should get a date (this is probably going to happen on Monday)

The preauthorization of insurance is really important.  Just because the facility accepted me at a residential level doesn’t necessarily mean my insurance will concur with the level of care needed…They likely will, but there is no guarantee. I need to know ahead of time because no coverage will mean no residential treatment for me.  Residential treatment is…you might want to sit down for this….$2600 per day.  Yup….Crazy expensive.  So, there’s no way we could pay for it out of pocket…our pockets simply aren’t that deep!

I found out the daily cost during my financial phone call.  She wanted to know if my insurance ran out, would it be feasible to continue any treatment paying out of pocket?  Then she dropped the daily rate.  Ummmm….no…that is not at all feasible. As a matter of fact, dh and I have already discussed a contingency plan for what to do if insurance cuts me off with minimal notice (which can happen).  It involves a hotel and/or a train.  Either way, it will be cheaper than $2600!!!

Yesterday, I ran an errand to get a few things I will need to take with me.  I am planning on packing simply and light.  I did have one splurge (one item that I don’t need for the trip, but really want to have to make myself more comfortable when I am there).  I loved the fleece I made the little dog’s coats out of.  I really, really wanted to get some to put on top of my bed as a bed spread to be cheerful and remind me of home.  I gambled that JoAnn’s would still have some fleece left.  I was not disappointed.

12833374_10206207932696637_1882179445_n

Now…I just have to say that the color is not quite right in this picture. For some reason, I can’t get a photo that accurately represents the color.  It is much more of what I would call a Hawaiian blue, more cheerful.  But at least you can get an idea.

I am going to cut off the selvages and ends with my pinking shears and that will be the extent of my edging for it.  Quick and easy!

I have started making a pile of things I am taking.  The process has started.

The Family

So, dh is taking all of this really well.  He is doing whatever he can to support me.  Yesterday, he told his boss and professor (he is taking an art history class this semester) that he has an upcoming trip and why.  They were both very understanding about it.

Ds appears to have adjusted already…He is a pretty resilient sort of critter.  Hmmm….wonder where he gets that from!  🙂

Friends

My friends have been super supportive for which I am appreciative.  A is actually coming over this afternoon to see me before I go.  L has gone off to another country for a class, but had been very supportive right up until she left…I am sure she is still being supportive…Just not in an IM kind of way.

SS…she has been awesome a well.  She has a lot on her hands at the moment.  I actually have been worried about her.  Poor little Miss Blossom contracted a nasty upper respiratory virus that tends to prey on preemie babies. They have been at the hospital all week.  Blossom got sicker and had to go into the pediatric ICU a couple of days ago. But…she has started to perk up and appears to be (slowly) on the mend.  And yet, even with all that going one, we have been in frequent communication via IM.

Team Heidi

The AT and my PNP have been kindly fielding my bouts of panic.  I have been needing more “after hours” support over the past week and they have both been more than willing to give it to me.  I worry that I am asking too much time from them…Hopefully, pretty soon I will be gone and not bugging them anymore.  Do you think they will miss me when I am gone?

Nightmare and More Loose Ends and Breaking The News To Ds

Nightmares

Last night, my nightmare graduated to the kind that has me wake up in heart-pounding panic and full freeze mode.  Once I had gathered my wits about me, I ran through my grounding techniques telling myself, “It is now, not then” over and over. And then I ran through…that’s dh in the bed beside me, I am in my room, ds is in his room, it is now, I am warm under my covers, I have to pee…Orienting myself to sensations, time and safety.  (Therapist #2 did a fantastic job training me in this process for orienting myself to present after nightmares.)

So, out of the past three sleeps, I have had three nightmares.  I am not happy about this. I hope it settles down ASAP, especially with the progression to the night terror/PTSD nightmare.

More Loose Ends

I harvested two of the lettuce gardens and cleaned both of them and the beet garden.

I gave the big dog a good nail trim yesterday.  The little dog hates nail trims, so I only got two of her nails done.

I think maybe I need to make a checklist of things to do! Let’s see

  1. Call and re-defer student loan
  2. Check in with Case Manager
  3. Get chicken food and shavings
  4. Clean out chicken coop
  5. Deal with house plants
  6. Harvest last Aerogarden <sigh>
  7. Deliver items to various people (bag to L, soakers to J, diaper cover to SS)
  8. Freeze up a handful of dinners for dh/ds
  9. Start refrigerator bread dough for dh/ds
  10. Get a few items of clothing (more underpants, a couple of t-shirts, pajamas, maybe some capris…it will warmer where I am going than here)

That’s the list for the moment. I am sure it will change over time.

Breaking The News To Ds

Last night, we had a family conversation about my eating disorder and impending residential treatment.  Ds was absolutely non-plussed by the whole thing.  He didn’t seem worried and he didn’t have any questions.  So either he has inherited the Heidi stoicism or he is just not worried.  I did sort of lay it out factually…and was calm and clear.  Calmness begets calmness.  I’ll check in with him in a day or so and see if he has any further questions/thoughts.