Containment

I guess today is a post-therapy blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Exposures and More Journal

Exposures

I have not left my house since I got home except go to to appointments and maybe twice to the grocery store with dh.  Yesterday, dh and I had an official outing. <Ack>  We went out to lunch and then to downtown where we ate frozen yogurt and then stopped at a couple of shops.

Here were the things that were challenging to me:

  • Being in public
  • Eating in public
  • The Public
  • Eating frozen yogurt
  • Being downtown as it was mobbed with people because it was Saturday and sunny and mild-ish

(Yes, my social anxiety is still pretty prevalent.)

I did not have trouble meeting my meal plan exchanges  We had sushi for lunch.  I got my protein from steamed edamame, and carbs and veg from my vegetarian sushi rolls.  I still needed a dairy and fruit after the sushi and frozen yogurt counts as a dairy.  So, we went to a frozen yogurt place downtown where I got a frozen yogurt and topped it with fresh fruit, thus meeting both my dairy and fruit exchanges.  And though I am loathe to admit it, the frozen yogurt was really good.

All in all, it was actually a decent outing.  I had a nice time with dh and yes, I will even admit, it was good to get out of the house.  I am aware that I have been isolated and I am aware that isolating is not a good thing for me.

More Journaling

3-21

The days here just don’t get any easier.  I have stopped telling the new girls that it gets easier. Now, I tell them it gets less hard, but even that is a joke.  And asking people if they are okay is a pointless question.  No one is okay.  No one, not ever.  It just is too hard all the time.  All the time.  Instead, I need to ask if people need support or if there is anything I can do to help.

Yesterday was a terrible day.  Stupid dining room drama, like high school, over saving seats, stupid roommate interference and crazy homesickness (induced by the cold weather.)  The torture just went on and on and on.  I did get lots of support from my peers and I used a counselor for support too. It was helpful.

But today, I just feel depressed, like I have been overdone, just completely fried. I just want to stop feeling everything and my thoughts have travelled to wishing I was dead.

I wish I liked my therapist better. I wish the AT was here. I wish I had some support from a familiar person.  I feel alone today and empty and tired.

My PTSD was triggered in a class today.  I wasn’t expecting that.  Of course, I didn’t say anything to anyone at the time, I  just shrugged it off and kept going.  Really, I didn’t just shrug it off, I just crammed it down in the recesses and made it go away.

3-25

[This is a response to a prompt we were given in a therapeutic writing class]

Remember This:

I am still here and despite years upon years of trying to wall myself off from the rest of the world, of pretending to have a different exterior person who shrugs off hurt and pain and sorrow…Despite all of that, I am still here.

I am tender and vulnerable and I feel damaged beyond fixing.  The threads holding me together are brittle and fraying, but I am still here.  And maybe I don’t even know it yet, but maybe even under that strung together, damaged me is even another more tender more vulnerable me.

I am still here. I know this because I can sometimes feel a tiny ember of hope.  And I keep trying to nurture that fire and feel its warmth and light.

I am still here, raw, imperfect, broken, but no longer completely alone.  Because in finding kindred spirits, I have realized that maybe it is okay to be me, to be here and to accept myself where I am at.

Maybe, just maybe, I can let go of “I am still here.” And allow, “I AM here.”

 

Worse?! and March Journaling

Wow…Just when I think, “How could I feel any worse?”  I have a day like yesterday.  It was ugly.

I finally broke down and emailed the AT, here is what I said:

This is being a really, really bad day.  I am pretty much going minute by minute to keep myself from [self-harming]…Telling myself things like, “You are expecting a phone call after breakfast, you can [self-harm] after that.” and “Just write letters to the twins first and you can [self-harm] after that.”  So far, I have made it without [self-harming], though I am kind of obsessed with the idea.
But…what is really getting to me is an intrusive thought.  It is a PTSD related thought that I used to have all the time, and then didn’t for a few years…And it has started up again and every time I am not thinking about something else, it pops into my head. 
It is exhausting me to constantly be putting off [self-harming] and trying to keep my brain busy to keep out the intrusive though.  I feel like I can’t keep it all up.  
Do you have any advice at all about dealing with the intrusive thought?  I think I am managing the [self-harming] okay, and  though it is really tiring, I know the urge will pass eventually.  But the intrusive thought…I don’t know how to stop it from disrupting me.  
My plan at the moment is to go outside and do some chores, which will keep me busy for a while and won’t leave room for the intrusive thought and it will keep me from perseverating about [self-harming].  But I can’t do chores forever. 😦
The AT responded with an idea for me to draw a representation of the intrusive thought, seal it in an envelope and bring it to him on Monday and in the in between time, to just let go of the intrusive thought.  So, I was pretty skeptical about it, but I did it anyway. And you know what?  So far, the intrusive thought has been rattling inside the envelope, but has stayed out of my head!  That AT…he has some good ideas!
And then…In that way that happens where you see just what you need at the right time, one of my Renfrew alumni friends posted this on Facebook.  So fitting for my day yesterday!
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March Journaling

3-18-16

I finally figured out who the OTR is. She is the one that teaches the Life Skills classes (Of course! It is a function-based class on interacting with people.)

3-19

Today, a girl, A, was chatting with me in the hall.  She said that I am an inspiration.  I was really touched and also a bit surprised by her comment. Me? And inspiration?

And yesterday during Community Meeting, Glitter H said that I am really supportive and kind and basically a great member of the community.  I was—I don’t know—I kind of felt all, “Ah shucks.” And then today I told Glitter H that she is awesome and she told me I am awesome too.  And I looked at her.  And she said, “If you aren’t ready to believe it, then I will hold it for you and when you are ready to believe it, I will give it back to you.” ❤ ❤ ❤

There is another young woman here, G.  She is sick.  Some of the girls here are sooo sick. She cries a lot, I know because she is my suitemate.  I have been trying to connect with her and have been repeatedly rebuffed. She was crying in the hall yesterday and I said, “I know you are going to say no, but do you want a hug?”  And much to my surprise, she said “Yes.” I gave her a big hug and I could pretty much feel every bone in her body and every vertebra.

Anyway, this girl is an amazing artist. She does these delicate watercolors of trees.  It is hard to explain why they touch me so much, but I love them.

 

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Struggling and March Journaling

Struggling

I am just having a really hard time right now.  I am not sure what can be done for it.  Thank goodness I have lots of Team Heidi appointments right now, as I am really in need of the extra support.

(And there is a weird coincidence that the first journal entry I am posting today is also about really struggling.)

March Journaling

3-13 Sunday Morning

I am already struggling with the amount of emotional pain I am in right now.  I already feel myself having to put on the “I’m okay” mask and hiding behind it.  What I really want to do is restrict (my weight has gone up unacceptably), self-harm (to stop the feelings) and I wish I was dead to stop the hurting.

Why can’t I keep it under control? I end up crying, which doesn’t seem to help. I want to ask why I feel so much worse, especially when I am supposed to be getting better, but I know that even just the idea of peeling back the layers is terrifying and painful.

I am afraid to ask for help. I am afraid they will put me on some sort of restriction or move my room or otherwise do something with the intent of keeping me safe that will actually feel like a punishment. I can’t talk to my peers—I don’t know who would understand.

I just wish I was dead.

Why is everything about this so hard?

I don’t know how I am going to face breakfast this morning. I feel so stressed that I feel sick. I feel betrayed by my body and the food that is supposed to be nourishing me and keeping me healthy has actually caused me to gain weight.

I don’t want to get dressed today. I don’t want to participate today. I don’t want to get out of bed today (even though I have done so several times)(vitals—ortho—Gatorade—re-check of vitals, shower, laundry) and it isn’t even 7:00.

Oh-and today is Family Day which is going to super suck.  FD followed by weekend visiting hours is going to be brutal—knowing that dh would love to be here but cannot because of the distance.

The only good thing lately is that I got my night meds early and was able to go to bed early.  Thank goodness!  It gave me relief from the pain.

I will think about talking to one of the counselors today—If I am brave enough to do so.

3-13 Evening

Things are evening out for me.  I feel settled enough now to be feisty and ask for more involvement in my care i.e. asking for actual #s from my lab results, asking about a new med added to my med-list (Miralax) and complaining vigorously that I missed a class due to med line issues.

I am really making social connections here. I have found a handful of friends.  I really like K.  She is 18 and thoughtful and bright and just full of wisdom and good insight.  I also really like Biebs—again bright, thoughtful, kind. There are many others too and nursing staff too that I feel connected with.

I checked in with dh. The 15 mins phone limit seems just about right.  I can talk without being too sucked into the homesickness.

Bad blood draw tonight. Fussy nurse too. I tried to make small talk to keep me from fainting and she was clearly irritated.  T. was her name. I need to remember to avoid her in the future.  She poked me and didn’t get a vein.  She also said (I asked her if my chatting was bothering her) she doesn’t talk when doing blood draws.  Well….how can you distract me and keep me from passing out if you don’t talk to me?

Talked to one of the counselors, A, about urges to self-harm.  She mentioned that taking away the eating disorder coping skills helps flare up other coping strategies.  Well…I knew that! I had just forgotten.  It’s what I refer to as “switching pathologies.”

 

Triple Decker Day and March Journaling

Yesterday was super busy…One of those triple decker appointment days.

My primary doc ran an EKG and was very happy with how it looked.  And we talked about the fact that I no longer am having heart palpitations and my tachycardia is better (still there, but better) and that an abnormality they noticed at Renfrew has resolved.   All in all, I am quite relieved.  Evidently, your heart really, really likes to be fed.  Who knew?

I saw the Nutritionist and that appointment went well.  She was sooo glad to see me, and glad to see me looking well.  I showed her a bunch of nutrition paperwork from Renfrew and talked to her about the exchange program.  I also told her about my strong ED urges.  Oh…and my obsession with knowing my weight.

And the AT…My hour of safety…It went well as well.  We are having some very frank discussions about my ED, which is just what I need right now.  And the AT called me out on some restricting I have been doing and he said that he was seeing some red flags.  I contend that I am being compliant with my meal plan…But he called me out for not eating when I am hungry, either by not snacking or waiting too long between meals.  These were both things that I wrote about in the ED messages post a couple of days ago.

I see the AT again today.  As a matter of fact, I have an appointment with Team Heidi people every day this week except Friday.  Yesterday was the triple decker day, today the AT, tomorrow my PNP and Thurs the AT.  Hopefully, that all will help me stay accountable and on track.

Okay…Now more entries from my Renfrew journal.

March Journaling:

3-11-16

Goals: Eat all of breakfast. No Ensure

Eat all of lunch. No Ensure.

3-12-16

I ate all 3 meals yesterday and so this morning I graduated to “trays” or what I like to call, the “Big Girl” dining room.  I don’t say this out loud as it is a bit of a slight if someone doesn’t know my sense of humor.

Last night was mandatory attendance MFG (Multi-Family Group).  It is a support group for friends/family and residents.  Family gets to talk about thoughts/feelings about living with someone with an E.D.  Residents get to share their thoughts/feelings about living with an E.D.

I sat down for group and the families started coming.  I started missing dh. But not like I was homesick for him—More that I knew that if we lived closer, he would have been there. He wants to help, he would gladly participate and he would have wanted to be there.  I just lost it and started crying.  And I couldn’t stop.  I left the room and a counselor followed.  She tried to be supportive, and I tried to let her, but I was just broken.  I had to attend the meeting, so I quietly sobbed for the first 15 minutes (or not even so quietly).  Then I just cried through the rest. It was interminable.  All I wanted to do was self-harm or die.  Anything to turn off the feelings.  The counselor did sit next to me for most of the meeting and occasionally rubbed my arm.  I appreciated it.  I was afraid to tell anyone about wanting to self-harm because I was afraid I would get in trouble.

Today is Saturday with extended visitor hours.  Tomorrow is Family Day. I think this whole weekend is going to suck. I just feel so sad that dh can’t be here when I know he would be if he could. It just kind of kills me inside.

Parts of being here are unmanageably hard.

*I sent a postcard to the AT today.*