Tenuous Improvement

It is possible that the edge has been taken off of my depression.  I always hate this part of relief from my depression, because I never know if it is actually going to last.  It is frustrating because I had felt such a substantial decrease in my depression over the past few months that this exacerbation has been really hard.  And…as I start to feel better, I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Will I continue to feel better? Will I crash again?  How soon will I crash again?  It’s like I can’t have hope that feeling better may last.  I also think that the improvement is so delicate that it would take very little to push me right back down.

My PTSD was active again over the weekend, but not as bad as it had been.  One of my peers actually asked about it yesterday, and I felt really touched.  Like…she actually heard how much I was struggling and cared enough to check in with me about it.  It kind of made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Grace would probably use that interaction to illustrate the point that connecting with people is good for me…But one positive interaction with one peer does not prove the point.  Mostly, I just can’t accept what my peers say as supportive.  I mean, I have been doing this group therapy stuff so long now that I have heard the support over and over again.  Lots of it is just words with no follow-through.  And at this point, the support just never makes me feel better.  So, why bother?  And Grace doesn’t listen to me when I tell her there’s no point in talking about my struggles in group.  She has some very strong ideas about me needing connection.  I have some very strong ideas about it too.  If you can imagine, our ideas are kind of at each end of the spectrum.

Truthfully, connection just doesn’t seem safe to me.  I don’t want to put myself out there, I don’t want to be vulnerable, I don’t want to be disappointed.  Shit…that’s probably just me stuck in old patterns and then reinforcing them with my stubborness fear of being disappointed and hurt.

Today, programming doesn’t start until 3. I am feeling the loneliness of the before-programming-time already and it is only 8:30.  This is the depression litmus test.  Either I will start to feel like shit or I will hold my own until 3.  I do have an errand to run because my nutritionist wants me to add some cookies into my meal plan.  Cookies!!!  I think she is trying to kill me via my anxiety!

Come to think, I have two little projects started (projects make me very happy) and maybe I can get a couple of supplies while I am out to keep working on them. I also have homework to do today…That will keep my mind occupied too.  I am working on my treatment challenges/goals/objectives for the next month and I also have three writing pieces to do: What is the status of my body image right now?, What do I need both internally and externally while doing trauma work? and How does denying I have needs keep me stuck?

Yikes!  So much processing to do.  It is overwhelming just writing it down.

Social Dynamics, Sunday and The Collage

Social Dynamics

Wow! The social saga just continues.  The two new admits have been spending most of their time in the living room partly because one is on couch rest.  So…Yesterday, the living room was pretty much devoid of other people.  The new two are so off-putting that people just plain can’t stand to be in the room with them.  Really, it is sad…Sad that the new two are so sick with their EDs that they are colluding and making everyone else uncomfortable.  Sad that they will make themselves sicker. Sad that they don’t realize what a negative influence they are being on each other.  Just sad.  Have I ever mentioned that EDs suck? Yeah…I guess I probably have.

Sunday

Yesterday, I was busy doing more art.  I have had such a fantastic artful weekend.  I finished my book project and will share it with my dietician, Mac, tomorrow.  I usually see Mac on Mondays, so maybe I can give it to her in the morning so she can have a chance to look at it by the time I see her.  I don’t know if it will work or not as she is super busy, but I can at least try.

I had a bunch of finished assignments that I emailed off to Meg.  I am never sure what to do with the finished assignments and I also notice they never show up as completed on my weekly contract.  I figured maybe she needs to see them?  I don’t know. I just want to make sure that insurance sees that I have been doing the work, iykwim.

I also started working on a safe place for my child self.  This was a project Meg suggested after talking to the AT.  I picked up a small wood box on my Michael’s trip yesterday, so am using that and some scrapbook paper I had brought with me to decorate it.  It is only about half done…I mean in terms of decoration.  I haven’t done anything yet to represent the child-me.  But begun is half done, right?

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The Collage

Here’s the collage I mentioned yesterday.  I really like the way it came out. It makes me happy. (And btw, any pictures I post when here may be kind of sketchy in photo quality because between taking pics with my phone and inconsistent availability of good light, I can’t always get good pics.)

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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.

Nightmares and More Loose Ends

Nightmares

I took a nap yesterday morning (I was feeling pretty crummy physically) and had a hum-dinger of a nightmare.  I dreamed that I was walking with some people up a paved street.  It was dark dusk, where you can still sort of see, but not really because it is so dark.  There was also a daycare walking with a group a children.  A group of three-ish young men appeared. They were very shadowy in the light, like I could make out their form, but that was about it.  They snatched one of the kids, maybe a little boy?  Me and some other people ran over to see what we could do to help.  There was a pool of light from a street light on the ground and in the middle of it was the child’s arm, it had been torn of his body.  There was a lot of blood, and a blood trail leading away.  I wanted to find and rescue the child, so I was running after the trail.  So was a man.  I was going carefully to not mess up the blood trail (because it was evidence) but the man was being sloppy and stepping in it.  People (or maybe me?) kept yelling at him to not contaminate the evidence.

The blood trail looped around trees and went through snow and was in the street and lead to an alley.  The alley was narrow and dark and led to some stairs which went up three stories to some dilapidated apartments.  There were look-out guys up there, so I and the man ducked against the front of the building to hide.  We could hear the footsteps of the kidnappers as they made their way up the stairs and through the building.  I peeked around the corner again and there were all these men set up as sentries to guard the apartments.  I was trapped against the building and really scared.  The kidnappers were looking out the windows for us, but couldn’t see us because we were directly under the windows.  And then the dream faded away.

It was not a night terror/PTSD dream, it was a plain old nightmare.  But I haven’t had a dream like that in months.  And I haven’t had any “rescue” themed dreams in…years?  I used to have dreams about children in danger (usually sexual danger) and also dreams that I called “rescue the baby” dreams all the time.  And I haven’t had a kidnapper dream since late summer.  It was so intense!  I am impressed that I am so stirred up that my nightmare hit three of my re-occurring nightmare themes.  It covered children in danger, “rescue the baby” and kidnappers.  My poor sub-conscious.

The dream kind of threw me into an even higher anxiety state.  So, eventually, I emailed the AT for some support.

Then last night…Another nightmare. I will spare you the lengthy description, but the theme of last night’s was that there were these monsters that infecteded people and animals with their parasitic babies.  You couldn’t tell who was infected until they vomited the larvae.  It wasn’t safe to go outside because the monsters might get you.  And it wasn’t safe inside because you didn’t know who was colonized by the parasite. Anyway, I was hiding with a small group of people in a house, but we weren’t safe.  And there was a fire element to the dream and maps and an apparent resolution, that in truth was false (as revealed by the map.)

Not exactly restful.

More Loose Ends

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I don’t know if I have ever mentioned my indoor gardens, Aerogardens.  I take a lot of pride and pleasure in growing them and eating what I have grown.  I had a garden of beet greens and I still have three of salad greens and one growing cherry tomatoes.  I know that the amount of care they will need when I am gone is not going to fit into dh’s schedule, nor do I want to add one more task to his list…So I will be harvesting them (not sure about the tomatoes yet).  Last night, I clear cut the beets greens. L  Next, I will wash and sanitize the garden and put it back on the shelf until I get back.

Today, I will clear cut the two less vigorous salad greens.  It is kind of painful destroying all of my work.  I hate seeing them go.

I also found Blossom’s diaper cover and got that finished. I will have to drop it off at their house sometime during the week.

I am not feeling very patient waiting for something to happen. I just want the insurance stuff to be finished, the facility’s assessment to be finished, the doctor stuff to be finished and an admission date.  I don’t like this in between part at all.  It exacerbates all of my anxiety and is more disrupting than if things were just settled and I had a clear timeline.

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.

 

 

 

How Few Is Too Few? and Knitting

How Few Is Too Few?

Some days my body complains a bit about the eating.  I suppose it’s possible that my recent calorie reduction has pushed my body a bit too far.  And I suppose losing just shy of 4lbs since Thursday might be a bit aggressive…At least, so says my body.

I am hoping after breakfast (which I will eat at about 6) I will feel a bit less shaky, tachycardic and weak and a bit more perky.  I am a little bit worried about that long flight of stairs at the AT’s office, at the moment, it seems like a mountain.  But again, I haven’t had breakfast yet, or my B vitamins and I haven’t kicked myself into high gear…Ummm….of course, I am not sure I have a high gear this morning.  <sigh>

This sucks. Everything about it sucks.  My body, my mind, my justifications, my skewed thinking, my denial….It is all a bit too much.

Okay….Next topic. (this is gonna be a short and sweet blog today…I have no energy for thinking or typing.)

Knitting

The green kimono sweater is finished. Buttons are on!  I did some 2 stitch I-cord and made loops to go over the buttons to fasten the sweater.  It is an experiment, as I am worried a wiggling baby might wiggle the loops off the buttons, but it’s worth a shot, right?

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And I have started my second blanket square and I have started a new sweater. However, I am not in love with the new sweater pattern…I am trying to decide if I will just frog it (rip it all out, “rip-it, rip-it”) and start over.