The Perfect Body

I am not sure how the time goes by so quickly.  I guess I have been neglecting my blog because I have had a few people ask about it over the past week.  Yes…the blog is a bit dusty.

My blog gaps have mostly been because I am pretty constantly in a state of emotional full-ness (overwhelm) here and that I am constantly writing homework assignments about my feelings.  I think that the constant emotional drain just tires me so much that I have no energy for the blog.  I have had the idea that maybe I should post homework as blog entries, and I think I will do that.  It is very much what is going on in my mind and with my feelings, so it is very relevant.


9-20-16

My life will change in _______ ways if I had the perfect body.

Just the idea of having a perfect body kind of fills me with some kind of giddy excitement.  Oh to have a perfect body!!!!!  My life would be amazing and different and I would be so much happier.

If I had a perfect body, I would no longer think of my body as disgusting.  Not only, would I not think my body is disgusting, but no one else would think it is disgusting either.  I could go out in public and not have to worry about the critical eyes of other people assessing and judging my body.  I would be free to go in store that I wanted, grocery shop without anxiety, go to restaurants and creemee stands without shame and engage with people without being self-conscious and hyper-aware of my body and body size.

I wouldn’t have to shame myself or have a constant negative self-talk loop playing in my head.  Instead of messages of worthlessness and of my mantra, “fat, ugly and stupid,” I could have self-confidence and pride.  I wouldn’t have to isolate myself, try to be invisible, try to slide through everything in life un-noticed.  I could social and happy and not feel like I am faking it or pretending.  As a matter of fact, there would not be this un-spoken tension of me and the other person knowing that I am disgusting, but just not mentioning it.

I could wear what I want with confidence.  Now, I mostly wear what I want, but not with confidence, but rather with the resignation that the folks here at PHP have already seen my body and know that it is disgusting.  I don’t have to fake it here…Since they already know, I can wear what I want (which I wear for comfort) because the cat is out of the bag, I don’t have to hide or pretend here.  My body glares as too big and too disgusting.  It is sooo obvious.

If I had the perfect body, I would smile more.  I would worry less.  Life would be So. Much. Easier.  And I would be so much less anxious and less miserable.  There is nothing about having a perfect body that could be wrong.

But there is one catch.  I will never have the perfect body.  And I mean that by my critical/perfectionist standards.  It is not a phrase of grace, but a phrase of self-loathing.  I can have a smaller body, but my body is beyond fixing to a point where I will ever be able to call it perfect.  And that infuriates me.  Some of the flaws, I can accept, like stretch marks from being pregnant.  But others….there is no way to make better.

And this leaves me in the futile cycle of trying to attain perfection and all that I associate with it, in a body that I will never like, never accept and honestly, that I would rather be totally disconnected from.  And yet, I am stuck with it.  Quite literally, it is attached to my head and I can’t get away from it.  And so my self-vitriol, self-loathing, self-criticism, self-judgment continue into perpetuity.

If only I had the perfect body, I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.

_____

I had to read this assignment during Body Image group.  It was hard getting feedback from my peers because they pointed out how harsh I am with myself and that they don’t think I am disgusting.  They kind of said that I was selling-them-short by assuming that all they see is my body.  There were also a number of people who completely understood what I was saying and how I feel about my body.  (We are in ED treatment, afterall.)  When I re-read this to post it, agree that it is harsh.  And after the feedback from my peers, I actually feel less self-conscious here.  I am not sure that I feel less self-conscious overall….but even a little bit is progress.

Up and Down But More Down Than Up

Up and Down But More Down Than Up

Yup. Today was emotionally brutal.

This morning, one of our peers graduated to a lower level of care.  It was so exciting! She has worked hard, seems so grounded and really is on the right path for recovery.  I couldn’t be happier for her.  And I am excited that when I make the same step down I will get to see her again in that program.  She is a vibrant person…I will miss her until I see her again.

This morning, one of our peers gave up on her recovery and checked herself out against medical advice.  She is very, very unwell and there is very little chance that she will have a positive outcome without further treatment.  It is beyond discouraging.

We were in one of our groups where we do Monday check-in and were asked how we were feeling about the departure of our second peer.  No one said a word.  I final spoke up and said, “She is going to die.”  Everyone was thinking it, I just was the one to say it.  Of course, then my therapist (who was one of the co-facilitators of the group) wanted to know how I was feeling.  <eye roll>  I hate those damn feelings things.  But eventually, I ‘fessed up to some feelings.  Partly, I was scared.  Scared for the peer, scared for me as someone who also has and ED and feels like the battle is hopeless, scared for the rest of my peers.  I realize too that it brought back the pain of Sarah, the friend of mine who killed herself earlier this summer.  That connection with people who are compromised might lead to more death and more loss for me.  Ugh…Too much.  I hate feeling scared. I hate feeling sad.  I just hate feelings.

The group prior to that was also horrible for me.  One of my peers shared some of her trauma history (which we frequently do as part of our group therapy) and as she talked about it, I started to feel like I was going to cry.  But it was odd because what she was saying is not something that I would ordinarily be bothered about.   I felt worse though, and dissociated and I furiously stretched and twisted and folded my putty.  (Lots of us have stress putty).  And when the group ended, I couldn’t stop with the putty.  I actually couldn’t get up.  I was frozen.  Everyone left and I couldn’t move.  My favorite Direct Care person was in the group and she came over to check on me.  I don’t really remember what she said, but it was a comfort just to have her near me.  I remember saying that part of me felt unsafe (that four-year-old part) and the rest is kind of a blur.  That experience threw me for the whole day

Actually, the whole day was just crap for all of us.  That peer who gave up on herself really depressed and discouraged the whole group.  Even in the afternoon, the community room just had this of hopelessness.  We are all afraid.

I don’t have much else to say about today.  I am ignoring my homework, ignoring my feelings and just letting the numbness carry me until bedtime.

Tomorrow will be a hard day too as it is my insurance review where they determine what level of coverage I will continue at.  The anxiety will be painful.  But the contingency plan is in place…I just hope I won’t have to use it.

Breaking the Rules, IFS and Social Dynamics

Breaking the Rules

So, I have been desperate to go on a walk.  Not an exercise walk, but a nature walk kind of walk.  Currently, I am not allowed. I just got approved for movement this week which only allows yoga and NIA.  Walks aren’t allowed and it would be forever until I was allowed a solo walk anyway.

Today we were at another site for “Family Week” (more on that later and no, I don’t have any family here for family week).  The other site has two buildings with a long walking path between.  We were not allowed to walk the path, we had to take a shuttle back and forth.  But one of my peers walked on the path even though she wasn’t supposed to.  And she got a Non Compliance for it.

That’s when I realized….If I walked around the driveway loop by myself, all I would get is a non-compliance?  Really?  I can get two non-compliances without affecting my privileges, the third cuts me from the outings.  Now, I once said I didn’t care about the outings, but really, I do.  So, I have been trying to stay compliant enough to not be cut from the outings.  That means I could do two loop walks a week! Two!  The temptation is almost too much to bear.

I wish my peer hadn’t talked about this particular non-compliant act because it had never occurred to me to just say “fuck it” and walk anyway.

But….There is a snag.  Meg has been really respectful of my need to be outdoors and earlier this week, we did half a therapy session outdoors.  It was delightful.  And then yesterday, I had therapy at the other site with Meg and we were in this office with a huge window that looked out into the trees and Meg commented on the nature view.  So, she gets it.  She heard what I was saying and gets my need and has tried to support it. As always, I am kind of bewildered by her response as it is so foreign to me.  But she is being respectful of me and my needs.

So, I feel like I would be being disrespectful I just threw the rules out and went on a walk.  I hate having high moral standards. I guess I will keep the idea of non-compliant walks in my back pocket, just in case.

IFS

Speaking of therapy, we have been doing more and more IFS work.  It is fascinating and I am getting a better understanding of myself.  It is also kind of involved and confusing work but that is why I have Meg to help me through it.  I am learning lots more about myself though and what makes me behave the way I do.  Recognizing that is the first step to changing, right?

Social Dynamics

I haven’t said much about the social dynamics for the past few days because it has settled down some.  Things have still been a bit topsy-turvy as we got three new admits in a very short amount of time and now the place is at max capacity.  But the new admits are settling in and there seems to be a lot less colluding going on.

The downside to so many new people and the place being at max capacity and the high demands of some of the clients is that it has been harder to get support from direct care.  I feel a little bit lost in the shuffle and kind of disappointed.  Like, I had talked about sharing something with my favorite direct care person, but she has been too busy. I try to console myself by saying it’s not really important anyway.  But I am not sure I feel better.  What I really wish is that I hadn’t gotten attached to her because if I didn’t care, then I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Let’s see…What else…

I don’t know, I feel totally drained.  That seems par for the course here.  But I am barely holding it together.  I had to do a lot of faking it yesterday to make it through the first day of family week, and it used up a lot of my reserves.  This morning, I just feel overwhelmingly depressed.  I don’t know how I am going to make it through two more days of family week.

Things That Feed My Spirit, Social Dynamics

Things That Feed My Spirit

I actually had a good day yesterday.  It’s true.  Partly it’s because Meg has been gone since Wednesday.  I am not happy that she is gone, as a matter of fact, I am pretty unsettled by it but it is the weekend so I wouldn’t see her anyway and tomorrow is Monday and we can return to our normal schedule.

The ‘partly’ part though, that’s because with the break from the trauma work, I have stopped spinning out of control and I feel balanced again.  Trauma work exacerbates everything, ED symptoms, self-harm urges, suicidal ideation….It makes it all hard to manage.  Of course, that is how I got here…So I can do the trauma work with the support that I need to stay safe.

But I have digressed.  Yesterday was a good day because I basically go to do art ALL day.   I haven’t done anything that feeds my spirit since I got here.  And without using my creative energy, I have been pretty lost.  But yesterday, we had open art and I started a project that encompasses 3 of my assignments.  I am quite happy with how it is coming out and will put it on the blog when it is done.  The other art project we did was in group and we were handed stacks of magazines and told to put together collages about who we are outside of our eating disorder.  My collage took its own spin and ended up being much more about my spiritual side than anything else.  And it reflected all that I am lacking and missing here in that respect.  I get my spirituality and comfort by being outside and walking around (not exercise-wise) and seeing nature…Wait…I wrote an assignment that touches on it,  lemme find it and post it.

What Do I Envision a Healthy Relationship with Exercise to Look like?

What is keeping me stuck/preventing me from achieving balance in my ED?

Right now, I use exercise as punishment, a weight loss tool, a way to achieve a “high” and occasionally I exercise just because I like it…Meaning without an ulterior motive.

My two main forms of exercise are yoga and walking.  I have 1:1 yoga sessions at studio near my home.  It is amazingly beautiful there, overlooking the north face of the mountain, with a spring fed pond beside the studio and flowers and trees or snow and ice…No matter what the season it is gorgeous there.  My instructor is gently supportive and though it took me a long time to be comfortable with her (because I am so uncomfortable in my body) I really find the yoga to be restorative and soothing.  It never fails that no matter how depressed or anxious or tired I am when I go to yoga, I walk out feeling calmer, more balanced and relaxed.  It just has a magical power.

That relationship with yoga where I always leave feeling better than when I started is what I would like my relationship with walking to be like.  I love being outside…And by saying I love it, I am truly understating the importance of it.  I find being outside refreshing, restorative and centering.  I am an observer by nature and soak in all that surrounds me when I am outside, trees, leaves, slug trails, red efts, the sky, insects, flowers, duckweed…I just take it all in and it feeds my mind and soul.  I also am very in touch with the smells and sounds when I am outside, cut grass, snow in the air, pungent skunk, soft fluttery floral scents from wildflowers in the fields, brush crunching as deer run into the woods, birds calling, the wind rustling leaves, tree trunks rubbing together and squeaking.

Plus there is the feel of being outdoors, the rain on my face, the crisp cool morning air and the biting winter air.  My favorite is when it is crisp and cold and I can feel it on my cheeks…not quite cold enough to feel uncomfortable, but cold enough to remind me that I am alive and that the world is vibrant around me.

I get to soak all of this in when I am walking.  Every little bit of it is important to me.  Maybe it sounds kind of hokey, but being outside in nature is my Zen.  I love, love, love it.

But….I see and feel almost none of this when I am in amped-up over-exercise mode.  In that mode, I lose all of the soothing/calming/restorative aspect of being outside.  And when I am in exercise-as-punishment mode, it is all lost.

I would like to be able to walk for the fitness and physical-well-being aspect of it to keep my heart and lungs healthy, to have strong muscles and to keep my body at a healthy weight for me.  I also know that I get significant psychological benefits from exercise, helping manage my depression, stimulating my cognition and giving me a chance to roll thoughts over in my mind.

I know I mentioned keeping my body at a healthy weight and I don’t want that statement to send up red flags.  I would like to be able to not over-exercise in an obsessive pursuit of weight loss, I would like to exercise to support what weight is good for me.  This would be reflected in having moderation with exercise either in frequency or duration.  Or increasing calorie intake to support my body for the level of exercise I am doing.

My exercise ideal sounds wonderful.  Exercising for health, pleasure and renewal.  It’s practically too good to be true.

I can see this healthy relationship with exercise in my head…But when it comes down to brass tacks, I don’t trust myself to do it.  I am totally stuck in the ED compulsive exercise mode.  I actually knew this would be an issue when I was discharged from my previous res treatment and I actually delayed starting exercising again and I even started with “supervised” walks (by my choice to keep me on track).  But once on my own, I quickly got sucked into exercise as a way to ‘negate’ the calories I was eating in my meal plan.  I just couldn’t get past the ED thinking.  And that same thinking turned the exercise into a compulsion.  I couldn’t not exercise. I got all wrapped up in calories in/calories out.  I understand this is ED thinking and related to poor body image and self-esteem and body shame…But that didn’t really ease the compulsion part.

I guess the real reason I am stuck in my ED exercise thinking is because I hate myself and my body.  Which is a result of injury/trauma to my four-year-old child part and then subsequent re-injury to other parts.  And the only solution to that is to work with those parts, ask them to step aside so that I can try to find Self and make decisions from the Self perspective rather than the distracting Parts.

I think that does a good job of explaining what I get from being outside.  And here at Hilltop, we are not allowed to exercise.  Eventually, we get approval to do so, but it’s yoga and NIA and not outside.  All I want is some time outside where I can walk around the driveway a little bit and have some time a little bit with just me and nature.

I don’t remember if I blogged this, but after my last nutrition appointment, I did float the idea of mini walks by the Dietician.  She said we could talk about it more (maybe I did blog this, it sounds familiar).  I wonder if I show her my collage and read her the above assignment (she was the one who assigned it) that she will understand more my reason.  She did say she wanted to talk to me about why I didn’t want to do yoga or NIA.  I told her because that isn’t what I want.  I guess the truth is that it isn’t what I need.  Yes, yoga fulfills some of my needs, but it is not the same as being outside.

 Social Dynamics

I have been struggling over my reaction to the two new admits and how I perceive the difference in the vibe around here…..And I thought it was just me being socially challenged and I have been frustrated with myself for not being more flexible.  Yesterday, I learned that it is not just me.  After one of our meals, I walked into a conversation where one of my peers was expressing how upset she is about the new dynamic and the other people in the conversation agreed.  As a matter of fact, I think I have now heard 6 other people say (which makes 7 out of the ten) that they are really uncomfortable with the dynamic (Being an observer has its advantages, I can hear everything without necessarily being dragged into the muck of things).  The new women are “colluding” (a term they use here when people are feeding each other’s EDs) and it can triggering and it is disturbing and just plain annoying.  I should clarify, that this is all about these women’s process and where they are in their process and I don’t judge them because of it, ED recovery stinks and I have my own process and barriers…I really try not to judge anyone here.  But we are not in a vacuum here and we are on top of each other pretty much 24/7, so it is almost impossible to get space from new “feel” of the group.

Tomorrow, we have our ED process group and on Mondays, it is always a check-in group.  We will see if anyone has the courage to speak up about the new dynamic.

And lastly, as posting that assignment has turned this into an epic blog…Polly.  I kind of gave myself some space from Polly after she moved from the table, but I am over the surprise and feeling sad, so we are back on track.  I spent a long time talking with her last evening, just kind of chatting.  Of course, it wasn’t about anything not-ED related (I hate that seems like it’s the only thing I have in common with folks here) but it was nice to chat anyway as our conversation varied between light and serious but was relaxed and a nice way to end a nice day.  Actually, I even hung around for evening snack before going to be (which I usually don’t do because I don’t have an evening snack) and chit-chatted pleasantly at the table with folks.  It’s times like that that I can see ghosts of my old self and the person I would like to be again.

Polly Moved From Our Station and My Four Year Old and Hard

Polly Moved From Our Station

I spoke too soon.  Just when I was getting comfortable, Polly left the table.  Her reason for leaving is valid.  So, I don’t know why it makes me sad, but it does.  I just kind of feel abandoned and rejected.  And I wonder if I did something wrong or if imposing myself on the table was actually bothering her.  I don’t know…But now I feel awkward and alone.  I am trying to decide if I should leave the table too…I just don’t know.  I hate social dynamics.

Really, all I want to do is withdraw.  I put myself out there with Polly, it didn’t work out. Now I should just put my guard up and retreat.  And not try again.  I had no idea how hard the social dynamics would be here.

My Four Year Old

I have discovered something.  A lot of my emotional rules and fears come from when I was four.  Clearly, I don’t operate on a 4 year level emotionally…Sort of anyway.   But it is fascinating to see that trauma from when I was four has had such a profound influence on my life.  I suppose that statement that comes from minimizing or denial…I guess I figure as long as I don’t have to think or deal with it, then it didn’t really happen.  It’s too bad that it doesn’t actually work that way.

Hard

Everything is hard right now.  I am just crashing and burning.  And I am not ready to be flexible enough to have Meg be gone for a couple of days.  That said, I don’t really have much say or input in the matter, nor should I.  But here it is…Me being reluctantly flexible. Ugh.

Meg being gone makes me miss the security and safety of Team Heidi.

I don’t know…I am just overwhelmed so I don’t have anything useful to say right now.

Polly and Sunday

Polly

Yesterday, the internet was down alll day. I had written a raging blog post about my Sunday, but never got to post it.  At this point, I no longer feel rage about Sunday, what I feel is more like heavy defeat and numbness.  The rage post no longer fits, so I am shelving it.

What I will post is something about Polly and then an assignment I was given yesterday regarding Sunday and how I responded to it.

So first…..Polly.  Polly and I were talking yesterday and I said that I had mentioned to Meg something about the table that Polly and I sit at as our “Station.”  And when talking to it to Polly, I referred to it as her table and she countered, “It’s not my table.”  And then she went on to say that she had only started sitting there a short time before I arrived at Hilltop.  This gave me a moment of thought.  Polly was the first person I was friendly with when I got here and part of it is because I inserted myself on the other half of her table.  And then we slowly got to be friends across the tops of our laptops (or at least as much of friends as you can be in treatment.)  I briefly pondered the fact that Polly moved to the table in time for me to share it with her.  The AT might point out that that sequence happened for a reason…And maybe I might agree.  Or maybe it is just a coincidence and means nothing.

0726160629

The best part of our station is that it gives us a vantage point of the whole place.  Actually Polly has the best/safest spot at the table, .but i often turn so my back is against the wall and thus I get a good view of everything going on.  It’s a safe spot.

I don’t know where I am going with this….I just like Polly and am glad that she accepted me crashing her space.

You know, the other person I have become really friendly with (and she often comes and stands at our table and chats) is a woman who I was convinced I would never like.  I had heard she is very judgmental and compares like crazy (which she actually does). And of all of us here she is the most overtly entrenched in her ED symptoms.  Basically, I gave her a wide berth because I didn’t feel safe around her. But, being social by nature, I chatted pleasantly with her several times and started to like her.  Yup, her ED has a strangle hold on her (just like the rest of us) and yes, she struggles and struggles.  But she is actually pretty nice and so I have developed a comfortable rapport with her.

The one thing about my snap judgments of people…Sometimes, I am wrong.

Sunday

Okay…now that homework assignment:

When I look behind me, I see that I am being trailed by years of stuff.  And this stuff weighs me down….no, it doesn’t just weigh me down, it is like an anchor on an elastic band.  It drags along behind me and the band stretches and stretches and I have to work sooo hard to keep moving forward, but I am making progress.  Yes, the progress is slow and the band sometimes pulls me back, but I am still moving.  But every once in a while, that anchor slips up out of the dirt and the elastic ker-twangs it right at me.  And it hits me and I can’t help but be hurt and overwhelmed and doubled over in pain.  But I can’t make the pain stop and the anchor just keeps bouncing on that elastic and hitting me again and again.  Sometimes, I just lick my wounds and keep on moving and other times, I can’t cope and I have to do anything I can to stop the pain.

Sunday morning, my anchor came flying at me and I was not able to cope.

When I have situations in which I feel unheard, brushed off or not believed, I get really, really upset.  Therapist #2 had a lot of concerns about my reactions to not being heard but we didn’t really ever get to address it in therapy as at that point, I was nowhere near being able to talk about trauma.  Even just skipping across the top of the topic was too much for me.  And being unheard is a trigger that will totally unravel me.

Being unheard was pretty much the story of my childhood.  No one heard me.  No one helped me.  No one acknowledged me. Here’s what I wrote about it for my agenda on being invisible: [This refers to a prior assignment…They call assignments ‘agendas’.

I felt invisible when I was growing up.  No one really saw me or heard me, no one was aware of my needs and struggles and desperate wants of love and attention. I was just a nothing and a no one. I never even had my own identity, I was always my sister’s little sister.  I didn’t even have my own name.  There was nothing about me that was remarkable enough for people to remember.  Maybe I was never remarkable enough to remember.  Heidi was nothing. 

When this not-being-heard happens I end up in a kind of a freeze.  I just shut down and enter this deep state of hopelessness.  I am guessing the shutdown looks like helplessness to other people, because I stop standing up for myself and/or advocating for myself and I withdraw. Sometimes, I withdraw really deeply into myself.  But it is not helplessness.  It is hopelessness.  I just get so mired in the hopelessness that I can’t see any way out of it and I stop trying.

This emotional re-run plays out in the moment of being unheard and then keeps replaying in my head.  I engage in punishing behaviors, I perseverate, I feel hurt and angry and like life is unfair. My core beliefs that I am bad and broken and worthless get reinforced.  And I withdraw more into my dark place.  And I punish myself more.

Depending on how the whole thing plays out, I either eventually get over it or I have to make it stop.  Making it stop involves self-harm.

When I self-harmed here on Sunday night it was the first time that I actually self-harmed in residential treatment.  I am not even sure why I did it.  I just was at the end of my rope.  I know that there is support staff here to help me, but I evidently am not smart enough to reach out to them…Another failing on my part.  And I knew it was a failure.  Which compounded my pain.

I did not engage in particularly significant self-harm and since I don’t really care about my body ultimately it doesn’t matter if I self-harm or not.  But I did the most benign form of self-harm that I engage in and pinched a little patch of skin between my index fingernail and my thumb.  And then I counted slowly to 100.  I did it 3 times.  Honestly, it didn’t hurt enough to satisfy me.  It was sort of a tentative trial.  I now know that I can self-harm in res.

For me, self-harm is not about making the biggest gash and the most gore…All I am after is the pain.  I probably would have been more satisfied with the more severe (most painful) kind of self-harm I engage in…but that also leaves the most mark and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.

Oh…and Meg wants me to talk to the anxiety therapist about my counting to 100 because the number 100 is involved in all of the self-harm I do and Meg want me to explore the ritual aspect of that.

And I got my second non-compliance for the week.  Yup, you get a non-compliance for self-harming.  Go figure.

Restriction High and Depression

Restriction High

I almost restricted yesterday night.  It was so close that I actually got that rush and totally could feel the restriction high.  Which only made the urge to restrict more intense.  I love the feeling of that high.

Here’s what happened:  When we sat for dinner, I had this horrible chunk of tofu sitting on my plate.  <shudder> Seriously, it was like they just cut a chunk off of one of those slabs of tofu you buy at the grocery store.  And it was huge…almost as big as the palm of my hand and it was super thick.  It had been seasoned on the top and somehow warmed…But it was in no way, shape or form palatable.  First of all, it reminded me of all the cold, flaccid, plain tofu I was served at Renfrew.  (Tofu was their go-to vegetarian protein and they didn’t know how to prepare it.) Secondly, I don’t like the texture of tofu very much when it is served that way.

Then I tasted the carrot slaw side-dish and didn’t like it and I figured in for a penny in for a pound, right?  So, I didn’t eat that either.  I was given a vanilla supplement and drank about a third of my dose and then….I thought about the calories in it and I stopped.  I had absolutely no plan or intention of drinking the rest of that supplement.  And that’s when I felt the restriction high rise up.  It was the best I have felt since I got to Hilltop.  Like, I pretty much felt giddy.  I looove that feeling.

I was filling out my non-compliance form and at that point I had decided not to drink the rest of the supplement.  I even wrote on my form about it.

Then one of my peers came through to sweep the dining room and as she came over to me she said, “I think you should just do it.”  I know she totally understands the place that I was in and I know she was looking out for me. And so I wavered.  She said, “You drank some of it, right?”  I replied, “Yes.”  And she said, “Well, you may as well drink all of it.”

And for that moment…her encouragement over-rode the restriction urge.  So, I took some more sips of the supplement (which is only slightly less horrible than flaccid tofu.  The taste isn’t bad, but the texture, richness and denseness is awful.) Then the Direct Care person (and my favorite one!) moved and sat right next to me and asked about ds.  And I forced the rest of that damn supplement down.

And the best part?  That restriction rush?  It kept going for about another half hour.  Did I mention that I love that feeling?

But then reality hit in.  And my stomach started hurting (supplements are not good for stomachs…way too rich) and the restriction high just crashed.

Of course, now I will struggle more with eating because I have a fresh taste of the restriction high.

Which rolls me into my next topic.

Depression

I am sooo depressed.  Mostly, I am keeping it to myself. (I know. Bad idea.) I do let bits of it show to my favorite Direct Care person.  And I am sure Meg sees it too.  But I am struggling so much.  Like, I just can’t do it. I don’t know exactly what it is that I can’t do…but I can’t do it. Mostly, I just want to curl up in a ball and wither away to nothing.  I hate being alive.  I hate processing trauma.  I hate being me.  There has got to be something better than this.

I go through the motions of being social and functioning…Although yesterday afternoon, it was a real struggle.  We had our weekly Therapeutic Outing that I had been really looking forward to and by lunchtime, I was totally going to bail.  As a matter-of-fact, Polly was supposed to go and she bailed (much to my disappointment.)  I did end up going, but I had a hard time getting into any frame of mind to actually enjoy the outing.  I bet it was an hour and a half into the outing before I even felt the tiniest bit relaxed. Eventually, I felt more relaxed, but it was that short-lived kind of thing where as soon as the activity (distraction) was done my mood started spiraling again.  And then we got home just in time for dinner and I had that stupid tofu….I hate eating. L

And then I was thinking about this week.  Meg has told me twice that she is going to be gone Thursday and Friday this week.  And it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that it hit me.  She is going to be gone. Not here.  And as much as I am loathe to admit it, she has become an important part of my routine here and I don’t actually want her to be gone.  And then my thoughts took me to: “What if she doesn’t come back?”  I don’t like that it matters to me.  I don’t need to her to be here.  I don’t need her.

Ugh…I am confused and grumpy and depressed.  I think I am scared too.  The work I have to do here is terrifying.

Everything in my brain is scrambled right now.  I don’t like the way that feels.

Anyway…That therapeutic outing?  We went to one of those places where they have ceramics that you glaze.  I found a very small bowl (cuz really, I can’t lug any big pieces of ceramics with me when I fly home) that I can keep my bracelets in.

Here’s a pic of it when I finished glazing it.  Eventually, I will post a pic of it after it has been fired.

13816934_10207248917400604_187585541_n

 

 

My Business Is Everybody’s Business and Therapy and Assigments

My Business Is Everybody’s Business

Last night, half of the residents of Hilltop went to see a movie.  I don’t care for movies in theaters so I stayed home as did a few other people (some people were not allowed to go).  We sort of chatted and then we played Bananagrams and actually had a really nice/fun time.

When it hit 8:00, it was time to go downstairs to wash up.  At this facility the resident bathrooms (we have them in our rooms) are locked during the day and locked over night, with a window of time first thing in the morning and then at 8 when they are unlocked for showers and such.  You can earn the privilege of having them unlocked overnight (which I have had for about a week now) but they are always locked during the day.  I have a special accommodation regarding my period and my bathroom can be unlocked during the day just while I have my period.  I won’t get into details about why it is unlocked other than to say I have really, really heavy periods which are hard to manage.  The past two days my bathroom has been unlocked all day and it will be for another couple of days.

So, we finished Bananagrams and it was just about 8 and my peers were wondering if the bathrooms were unlocked and one of them turned to me and said, “But yours is always unlocked.”  And I was surprised and I said, “You mean at night? Or during the day?” And she responded, “During the day and at night.”  And I was like, WTF!  There is only one person here that I have told about my bathroom because I didn’t want any purgers to sneak into my bathroom and purge because they knew my bathroom was unlocked. Meanwhile, another peer heard the conversation and started to get all worked up about it…<sigh>.

Really, I was just so surprised that this woman knew my business.  The point of my bathroom accommodation was to give me some space to attend to my heavy periods but I also had been enjoying the fact that I could be discreet about my period.  Except, evidently I do not get the luxury of being discreet.

I guess when you live with 7 or 8 other women who are hyper-aware of everything and always comparing and who are confined to a small space there is no such thing as privacy.

Luckily, I have Polly (who is the one person I had told about my bathroom) because I was able to take her aside and express my surprise and anxiety about the fact that everyone seemed to know my business.  I really like Polly and am glad I have connected with her here.  It is good to have a friend.

Therapy

Therapy is sooo hard.  We finally finished all the social history questions and yesterday was the “List your trauma” day.   I tried to convince her that since this data has already been collected and since it was in my timeline assignment that I didn’t actually have to tell her….but she wasn’t buying it.  So, I spent the appointment sliding in and out of dissociation.  And Meg kept reeling me back in and then addressing more of the questions. It was.not.fun. .

So, I had to tell her and the whole time I was just dying of shame.  And feeling disgusting and bad.  What I don’t understand is why Meg and everyone else can’t see what a horrible person I am.  I don’t think Meg sees it because she doesn’t act repulsed by me.  It is the same struggle I have with Team Heidi….I just don’t get what they see in me and why they care.  Hilltop Team Heidi is the same way.  It just sort of baffles my brain.

Assignments

At the end of every week, we get our “Contract” which is a paper outlining what we should be working on during the week.   I am going list a few of them to give an idea as to what I a working on.

  • I will write about what emotions were like in my family and rules around emotions. Based on this assignment I will better understand my struggles with emotions.
  • I will write about why I want to be invisible.  Based on this assignment I will understand how this came to be.
  • I will write a plan about how I would like to incorporate my support system during my treatment.
  • I will write in detail about what a day would look like if I acted in ways consistent with my values and beliefs.  I will consider relationships, self-talk, self-care, meals, priorities in the investment of energy.

These contracts have a collaborative aspect too.  At the beginning of the week, we are given a Pre-Contract where we assess the past week and then have an opportunity to think of assignments for the coming week.  And those assignments get integrated into the Contract.  Here’s one of those.  What I wrote on the Pre-Contract is in quotes.

  • I will “list 10 alternative ways to occupy my hands instead of body checking so I have more options.” Based on this I will be able to to work on slowing down the process of body checking with the hopes of understanding the underlying function of it.

There is so much more to say about my days at Hilltop, but not enough time to blog it all…And I notice that I breezed through today’s blog without really addressing what I have been feeling the past couple of days (pretty depressed and hopeless).  Perhaps I will have a more feelings oriented blot tomorrow.

Fitting In

I had a really hard time breaking into the group socially when I got here. At first I realized it was because Sarah’s suicide.  I got close to someone at Renfrew and I really liked her and then a bit over a month ago, she killed herself.  I was really upset after she died (obviously!) and what I didn’t realize is how her death still shadows me.  Like little things set me off and I get really upset.  So, when I got here, I totally distanced from my peers.  It took me about a day to figure out that I didn’t want to get close to them because I was feeling very guarded about putting myself out there and then being hurt.  (I have several side notes about other things that have triggered my sorrow/grief about her suicide here, but will tack that into another post.)

So…The women here are intense.  Most of them are emaciated…Just super, super thin. That, of course, is intimidating to me because it makes the fact that I am fat just glare.  And several of them are so pre-occupied with having to find something to have control over that they openly obsess about random things.  It made approaching challenging.

Plus, they are so obsessed with their weight/size (and please note, I know that I am obsessed with my weight/size too, I just do it differently) that they judge each other and I am sure that they judge me.

I have been walking around the social scene on eggshells.  It has been brutal.  I have felt lonely and like I don’t fit in and very left out.  Those feelings hit on lots of my social fears.  Plus I have felt judged and body shamed.  Like body shame that has been so intense that I have been just mortified to exist here.

And while the women have made small talk with me, I only connected with one, and even then my approach has been guarded and closed.

A fucking rough first week.

So, Sunday afternoon, I talked to a recovery-friend about some of my struggles and when I got off the phone, I had a couple of realizations.  If I want to make friends and not feel socially isolated, I need to behave differently.  I need to engage and be friendly.  I realized later that in my anxiety about feeling body shame and not fitting in that I was probably giving off some pretty defensive vibes which were probably off-putting to my peers.  It was kind of one of those moments when I was able to get out of my head enough to look at myself and see what I can do to make things better.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a new attitude.  I approached peers and felt much more relaxed and open.  I engaged in small talk and at times, worked to connect on the next level with some of my peers.  And I found some responsiveness on their part and I just plain felt better on my part.  And more relaxed.  Which is good, because the energy I spent being on guard around my peers is better spent in other ways here.

Plus, I have made a friend…Sometime mid-week last week I connected (guardedly for sure) with a woman who I have some things in common with.  And she is nice and I like her.  That relationship has kept me from feeling completely like a social pariah.  Yesterday, we connected some more as I let my walls down some.  And then she did something unexpected.  I ate my snack late as I had had an appt during snack time.  So, it was me and a person from Direct Care at the table.  Hmmm…I’m gonna need a name for this new friend…Ummm…..Polly.  Okay, so Polly came over and sat at the table to visit with me while I had snack.  She was partly waiting to ask the woman from Direct Care a question, but really she sat to chat with me.  And her body language was open and relaxed.  I felt kind of surprised (you know…the, “Why would she go out of her way to come to the table and sit and chat with me?”) and I also felt kind of happy.

Yesterday was totally a turning point socially for me.  This may be a hard group of people to connect with as we are all pretty damaged and guarded and inter-personal relationships are not really our talent (understatement of the day) but….I can do it.  And getting to the point where I don’t feel like such and outsider is a huge relief to me.

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