She Slips But Does Not Fall.

I weighed myself. 

12-19

I weighed myself.  This pains me in ways that I didn’t expect.

Everyone always asks, “What is the function of engaging in such-and-such ED behavior?”  And for this, I don’t have a great answer.  I have wanted to know my weight forever…at least it feels like forever.  The compulsion to know has waxed and waned and I try to roll with it.  The day I weighed myself, I started in the morning asking my dietitian about my weight.  I wanted to know if I was “healthy.”  I didn’t quite phrase it like that to her, not that I was trying to be deceptive, but more because I felt kind of awkward for asking.  We discussed it briefly and then moved on to the next topic, but my dietitian told me that we would go back to the weight discussion at the end and that I should remind her to do so.  I did remember, but I felt really embarrassed about it, so I didn’t ask.

Later, I still had my weight on my mind, but not in an obsessive way.  I was reading my old blogs and looked at where I was a year ago.  I was blown away by the changes I have made in the past 12 months.  Seeing how far I have come and how different I am gave me the impression that I could know my weight and handle it.

I went to the closet and pulled out the scale.  Honestly, it felt surreal, like I wasn’t connected to what I was doing and I wasn’t quite in my body.  I tapped the scale with my foot to see if it would turn on.  If the batteries were dead, I would have just let the whole thing go.  But they weren’t.  I gingerly put one foot on the scale and watched the numbers change.  I shifted my weight more and watched the numbers.  Then I just put my second foot on the scale.  And that was it.  The numbers scrolled by and then stopped.  The number was not at all what I expected.  I felt like throwing up.  The disconnected feeling got worse and I felt hollow in my stomach.

And then it hit me.  Fuck! What did I just do? All the time and work that I have put into not knowing my weight…I just fucked it all up.  By standing on that scale and looking at my weight, I just did something that I could not undo.  My eating disorder perseverated briefly on the number.  But the overwhelming feeling I had was a profound disappointment in myself.  And fear…fear that I let down myself, dh and my team here, fear that I couldn’t fix it, the number was in my head.  I couldn’t un-see it

It was pretty much time to leave for programming and this was the only chance I would have to talk to my therapist about it until after Christmas.  As I drove to IOP, my thoughts went from, “The number can’t be right. The scale must be broken.  Yes…that’s it, the scale is broken,” to “I have to exercise, I need to exercise,” to “It’s just a number.  My worth is not defined by a number.”  The thoughts were scrambled and competing.  And I just kept telling myself that all the scale did was give me a number.  It’s not who I am, it’s just a number.  Even if I didn’t like the number, I have been happier in general the past few months and becoming more tolerant of my body.  My body hasn’t changed just because I weighed myself.  Number or no number, next time I look in a mirror, my body won’t have changed.

At the end of the day, I wasn’t thinking about the number.  I am thinking about how much I disappointed in myself.   I am disappointed that I caved and made a choice was not at all a recovery based choice.

At dinner that night, I felt like a fraud.  We were peer posting and I didn’t have high ED urges but I felt like not saying something about my huge slip up was not being honest with my peers.  We stepped to the art room and I told them what I had done.  They were amazing and supportive.  We went back to the table and I said that I needed more support so we actually went to the group room and talked some more.  I explained how I felt like I had disappointed people and myself.  My peers reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect, that some of them had weighed themselves too, that some of them secretly own scales, that weighing myself doesn’t have to derail my recovery, that I am okay.

And you know what, I felt better.  It is nice to feel understood.

I did not tell my dietitian, I am too embarrassed to tell her about it.

So…that’s the story.  But what does it mean?

That day, I ate my dinner, I ate an evening snack.  I went to bed and didn’t perseverate over my “failure.”

I got up the next morning and was looking in the mirror as I hooked my bra. I turned left and right, looking at my body.  It looked the same as the day before.  Probably it was the same.  I had an urge to weight myself to see what the number was in the morning before I had eaten.  I mean, why would it matter? I already blew it by weighing myself. But I knew that I can’t start the habit of daily weighing.  That is a slippery slope that I don’t want to slide down.

And yes, I can’t un-see the number on the scale, but I can “fix” it by doing exactly what I did the next morning, which was to acknowledge my urge, counter it, and then just let it go.  I know that this will not be the last big mistake I make with my eating disorder.  Rather than obsess about it, hate myself and descend into a shame spiral, I am going to see it for what it can be…which is a “learning point”.  Just because I make a mistake doesn’t mean everything is ruined.  And no matter how disappointed I feel in myself, I am not a bad person.

I did not fuck up by weighing myself.  I did not ruin everything.  And how I am dealing with my choice is evidence to me that I have strength of self that I didn’t have 4 month ago, because I am accepting my mistake, not letting it derail me and moving on and doing the next right things. I think I kind of like this person who does not let a mistake drag her down into hatred and self-loathing.

12-27  About the Second weighing

Why did I do it again?

So, a week after the first weighing, I did it again.

This time, when I did weekend check-in  at programming, I admitted to the group that I had weighed myself again and that I had weighed myself last week.  Again, I got questions about what function the second weighing served.  I don’t really know.  I feel like partly, I weighed myself because I could.  And I also know it was totally ED related.  But ultimately, I don’t even know if I cared about the number.

I don’t know if weighing myself was about control over what has been happening while I have been in treatment or about managing the feelings when dh left (I didn’t let myself cry after I left him at the airport) or about my obsession with knowing my weight. I am just kind of at a loss as to what function weighing myself a second time served.

I am not happy about my choice to weigh myself again.  This not a path I want to go down.

I plan on moving the scale to where I can’t access it easily and I plan on utilizing peer support, journaling and containment to get through the next urges to weigh myself.  When I get home, there won’t be a scale in our house.  Of all the ED things I am giving up, the scale is actually the hardest thing.  I need to put more thought into why.

12-28

Moving the scale to where I can’t see it is not a viable option because I would still know where it is.  I can’t get rid of the scale, because it is not my scale, it belongs to the woman I live with.  It is not her primary scale as she has one in her bathroom.  I can respect her space and not weigh myself on hers. So, what to do with the scale outside my bathroom?

I took the batteries out and threw them away.

In order to use that scale again, I would have to make a very deliberate effort to get new batteries and put them in the scale.  That extra step is enough to slow down the impulsiveness of the urge and give me a chance to catch my breath and deal with why I am having the urge vs. just giving in to the urge. I think it is a good solution.

And yes, the two weighings have spiked my urge to weigh myself.  I am getting lots of opportunity to explore what is behind the urges.

Today, I see my dietitian.  I still have not told her face-to-face about the weighings, but I sent her the first two parts above. Plus, I am sure my therapist told her. I will not get judged by my dietitian. However, I am still really embarrassed and will be judging myself. It will be an awkward appointment for me.

Recovery is a messy process.

Interpersonal Issues

Yesterday, a treatment friend and I got together to run a couple of errands.  As she was driving, she commented that she and some of my peers were concerned about me.  She explained that basically, she had been nominated as the one to talk to me about how I had not been myself and have been overly sensitive and defensive lately.  And that my level of defensiveness was akin to when they had been with me in residential treatment in July and August.

Ouch.

Of course, I have known that I am falling apart and been a miserable mess.  This isn’t news to me.  I just didn’t realize that it was showing up as me being super defensive.  Of course, her talking to me about it made me….Defensive.  But I tried really hard to listen to her because I know she was coming from a place of concern.  Basically, the whole rest of our errands, I tried not to burst into tears and I felt profoundly depressed and damaged. I also felt embarrassed and now I know everyone is watching me and every move I make is being filed away.

This morning, I had therapy which was hard.  I get tired of everything being hard all the time and I get tired of crying.  I do like my new therapist and I think I am adjusting to her. I think it might be easier to trust her than I expected.  I have mixed feelings about this as it doesn’t feel safe.  But she seems safe, so maybe I should just roll with it.

I also saw my dietitian and much to my relief, the appointment went really, really well.  I am so glad because I don’t know if I could handle much more upheaval.  Not only did it go well, but we discussed an issue I had regarding calorie counting over the weekend and she was very kind and compassionate and offered me an opportunity to do the next right thing…which I did.  We even ended the appointment with a hug! (She asked and I accepted.)

The rest of programming, I was hyper-aware of myself in the groups.  I was careful with what I said.  Oh…and I ended up having to present in a group, which I totally didn’t expect. (Someone else was supposed to present, but wasn’t prepared.)  I picked a nice safe piece to read, an optimistic piece, so that the feedback wouldn’t be stressful and so that I wouldn’t be put in a place where I would be defensive.  Was that the best choice?  I don’t think I’ll answer that.  Of course, I didn’t really have much else to share, so it kind of was what it was, iykwim.

My therapist seems to think that I have a problem interacting with/in the group.  She probably is basing this on things that I said and my behavior over the weekend…I have to think about it some because she wants me to check-in during a group about it, which I am loathe to do.  More on the group interaction issue tomorrow.  Tonight, I need to work on some homework before bed.

 

Still Sad and Food Dye Won’t Kill You First

Still Sad

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

Food Dye Won’t Kill You

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Social Stuff, Compliance and Integrity, I Have to Know and What Else?

Social Stuff

I was right. The two newest admits have totally changed the social dynamic.  It’s fascinating as one was here very recently and has returned.  That’s not the fascinating part, the fascinating part is how some of the staff have responded to her and allow her lots of lee-way.  I suppose it could be that the rules are different because she is not brand-new to the place. But even so, there is a definite vibe going on that I am not really liking.

Such is the life of a constantly changing social group with ever shifting dynamics.  And the life of someone who hates it.

Compliance and Integrity

I worked hard to be compliant yesterday as I really want to go on the outing to Michael’s.  If you are non-compliant within 24 hours of an outing, you can’t go.  So, I need to get through the next two meals.  Of course, the goal is to stay compliant after that too, but I am focusing on these couple of meals.  Oddly, even though I had counted two non-compliances this week, I am only marked down for 1.  I talked to my favorite Direct Care person about as I wanted to be honest about it, but she said it wasn’t recorded.  I guess I won’t complain, as didn’t try to hide it, so I am feeling like I did the right thing.  My integrity is important to me.

I have to know

So…I am kind of losing my shit.  I cannot stop checking my body to see how much weight I have gained.  Like, I obsessively use my hands to body check during groups, I start off my mornings now by body checking in the mirror (I hadn’t done this before).  I have devised plans as to how I can measure my body to see if it is getting bigger.  And over and over I body check and body check and body check with my hands. I am going to lose my mind if I don’t know how much I weigh.

I also cannot stop obsessing around calories.  Yesterday, about 6 times, I started mentally calculating the calories I had eaten.  And six times, I stopped.  One of the last times, I was sitting on the porch, phone in hand, ready to google the calories and one of my peers came out onto the porch to.  I confessed that I was about to do an ED driven behavior (didn’t say what though to not be triggering) and I allowed her to distract me.  I also texted one of my ED recovery friends and told her I was struggling to not count calories.  Her response was, “It’s not going to help.  Feed yourself, don’t feed the ED.”  Of course, she is right.  And I knew she would say something like that which is why I texted her.  But it hasn’t lowered the level of the urges.

I am still beyond self-conscious about my meal sizes and portion sizes.  I am going to start a list of things to not request for snack anymore because I feel so awkward.  Snack is more social and interactive and the table is such that more people can see what you are eating.  Yesterday, I just wanted to die from shame because of my snack portion. Honestly, it is was so little food that I don’t even know why I bother to have snack anyway.  And if I wasn’t trying to be compliant for the outing today, I may have just walked away.  Instead, I just burned in shame and made a note that I need to figure out better ways to do snack.  I had the same issue with the sub-meal this week (you can substitute a meal 3x/wk if you don’t like the meal being offered.)  The sub meal is a BLT with Doritos and fruit.  Only, because I am gluten free, I can’t have the vegetarian bacon, so I have a Sunbutter and jelly sandwich which looks tiny compared to the BLTs and of course, ¼ of it is cut off.  Again, it is so glaringly small on my plate….It is so obvious…they may as well just spell out the word FAT with my food.  Basically, if meals weren’t hard enough already, this whole Portion-of-Shame business is killing me.

Ugh…I am just not a happy camper.

All I need to do is get through today and go in the outing and come home with some projects/craft supplies that can take my mind off of things for a while.

What Else?

Oh…I did mention my portion size issue (though not at all the depth to which I feel it) to the dietician the other day.  I got the impression that I was not the first to speak up about being uncomfortable with the comparing.  Last night she made an announcement about how meal plans are individualized and that comparing is not appropriate and can lead to colluding with other people’s EDs.    Will it make a difference?  I am guessing not.  At dinner, I was sitting next to the woman who I am most uncomfortable with at meals because she is always looking at my plate and talking about comparing (and for some reason, I am always sitting next to her or directly across from her.)  Anyway, as I slowly ate my 3 pieces of asparagus, TVP patty (which was cut in half) and small scoop of scalloped potatoes (1/2 cup maybe) which was all served on an 11” inch dinner plate, I caught my peer making sidelong glances at my plate.  I really wanted to just say “fuck it” and get up and walk away.  But….the Michael’s trip. It has been a huge motivation for me the past few days.  So, instead, I just sat there and wanted to die and ate my food as slowly as possible to make it look like I had more food than I had.  And then, I had forgotten that the meal ended with a dessert.  I am only hoping she didn’t see that the ice cream cup I was handed had ¼ of the ice cream scooped out.

There has got to be a better way to do the portioning.