Cutting Myself Some Slack and Knitting And Stuff

Cutting Myself Some Slack

There is so much that happened yesterday…I am not sure where to start.

Something happened in Art Therapy yesterday…For some reason it was a difficult session for me.  Not in the usual way though…I can’t quite pinpoint it.  I felt…ugh…It’s still so hard for me to understand and label my emotions.   I couldn’t get my mind to settle, I felt like I was skipping from topic to topic…I don’t know if I was trying to dodge topics or was just scrambled…

And as I was struggling…The AT was very kind and reassuring and aware.  I couldn’t even tell you exactly what he said.  But I heard his tone, gentle and compassionate, and I kind of softened a little bit inside.  And I didn’t expect that.  And I was able to leave the appointment feeling calm. Calm!  No feeling like I needed to flee to my car and then have a mini-anxiety attack.  I just felt…<gasp>  I know what it was! I felt present.  I trusted the AT enough to actually let him pull me into the present with him and then I still felt present after I left my appointment.  Wow.  Maybe there is hope!

In the afternoon, I had my Nutritionist Appointment.  The AT encouraged me to share yesterday’s blog post with her…And so I printed it and took it and she read it.  And she understood what I was saying….To which I heaved a huge (internal) sigh of relief.  And then she said the most amazing thing.  She said, “Let’s not make goals this week.”  I felt like a ton of bricks had been taken off my back.  No goals?  No goals=No failing.  No failing=No shame.  That means I can walk in her office next week with my conscious clear and my head held high.  That will be a first.  I walked out of that appointment feeling freed.  And sooo relieved.

Then I decided something. The AT is taking the Monday holiday off…So I have a week between appointments. And you know what? I am taking the week off.   I am going to knit and sew and get together with friends and read and do anything I want.  But I am not going to obsess about nutrition goals and I am not going to agonize about my depression/PTSD/eating disorder.  I suppose, those things might need attention at some point over the next week…But I am not going to let them consume me.  And next Thursday, when I see the AT and Nutritionist again…I will be ready for more work.

Knitting and Stuff

When I dropped off the soakers at SS’s yesterday, I picked up a pair of Pixie’s training pants.  SS would like a cover for the training pants (Pixie wears them at night).  She was using plastic pants, but Pixie rebelled saying the plastic pants are “for babies” and she refuses to wear them.  So, I am using the training pants for sizing and drawing out a pattern to make a fleece cover.  I can’t use the soaker pattern exactly (the fit wouldn’t be quite right) but I think it will be good with some modifications.  There needs to be more length between the waist and leg openings on the training pants cover versus the soakers.  It should be pretty easy to do.

I started the knit-along blanket.  I am loving the heather grey and blue combo.

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What I Would Like To Tell My Nutritionist and Knitting And More

What I Would Like To Tell My Nutritionist

Another week has wrapped around and I have a Nutritionist appointment this afternoon.  As always, I dread the appointment as this is my hardest appointment of the week.  Yes…Therapy is hard, but the Nutritionist is hard in a different way…And it makes it feel harder.

I do like my Nutritionist and I know she has my best interest in mind and wants to help me to help myself.  And she is always very positive…Which is good, because one of us needs to have some positivity.

What would I like to tell her?

I am not perfect.  Nope, I am not.  I try very hard to be perfect, and I would really like to do everything perfectly, but I cannot.  That doesn’t prevent me from trying…Which is a constant set-up for failure…But that’s a discussion for another time.  Every time I walk into your office, I am embarrassed and ashamed because I did not do my “homework” and meet the goals we made last week.  I would love to just skip my appointments (and I think about not coming anymore a lot) to avoid the embarrassment, but it seems like not coming would be a poor choice in the long run.

I know that I have said that I hyper-focus on my eating to have some control in my life.  And that is true…But it is a funny double-edged sword because somehow my hyper-focus has moved beyond my control.  And I am not sure how to reel myself back in.  I don’t want to admit that I don’t have control because I feel both very confused by the control/no control dichotomy and I am a little bit scared by not being in control and I don’t know what to do about not having control over my eating disorder.

That’s why I never meet my goals, because I don’t have total control over my behavior anymore.  I try to meet my goals.  I really do try. I hear what you say…I am always super skeptical, but I try.  We made a goal of me eating fruit leather before exercising.  I made sure I have fruit leather stocked in my cupboards so that I would be ready to do it.  The next day, when it was fruit leather time, a whole one seemed too much…So I cut it in half and ate half.  I know that the attempt is worth almost as much as succeeding.  But then the next day, I couldn’t do it again.  And the next day, I couldn’t…and on and on. And then I felt guilty and like I have failed.  It doesn’t matter that I tried, all I can see is that I failed.

It has been this way over and over again. Protein pancakes?  Yup…I tried.  I didn’t have ricotta cheese, so I found a recipe for ones with cottage cheese. I made the batter, I cooked the pancakes…And I couldn’t eat them.  As a matter of fact, they became a contributing factor to a huge emotional melt-down. (I don’t blame the pancakes…But they were kind of the last straw.  Sometimes, I am just hanging on by a thread and evidently changing what I eat that dramatically is just too overwhelming.)

But sometimes, I do hear you and I do get there.  Eating more carbs (sweet potatoes and white potatoes)?  It took me a couple of weeks, but this week I have had sweet potato or white potato almost every single day.  You say carbs are important…My body needs them.  Okay…I want them too then (as long as they don’t disrupt my calories for the day) and I worked them in.  It is actually not atypical for me to take a week or two or four to integrate change.  I am like that with lots of things…Sometimes, it takes me months (like 6-9) to work up to a suggested psych med change.  I don’t like change…and it is even harder with changing things I put into my body.

I hope you don’t think I am being difficult when I walk into your office and have yet again failed with my homework.  I am not trying to be difficult.  I am just stuck…Trapped by my own baggage. I feel like I am going around and around in circles.  It is frustrating for me and exhausting.

I said before that I am confused…Lots of things about my eating disorder confuse me.  For example, I like that I am losing weight, lots of it and fast.  On a superficial level, the weight loss itself is very rewarding.  On a deeper lever, the control, the strength, the power and self-control I feel…It is much more rewarding. I am strong. I am decisive. I even have some pride in my ability to deny myself.  It makes me feel good.  But…as I said before, I also know that I have lost control and the eating disorder is in control.  And I know I am hurting myself and that the longer I do it the more I will damage my body.  And I try and try to ignore the symptoms I have like being freezing cold all the time, the heart palpitations and tachycardia, the weakness, feeling faint when I stand up, feeling shaky, poor short-term memory, fuzzy thinking.  All that stuff concerns me and I don’t like feeling all those symptoms.  But, I can’t make my brain decide that the negatives outweigh the positives.  I don’t know how to do it.

When you asked me what my end game is….I didn’t know what to say.  I had never thought of it that way before.  End game?  I have no clue.  I don’t know when I will stop what I am doing…I don’t even know if I can stop what I am doing.  We’ll see what happens in therapy.  I think that therapy success is the key to it all…But I just don’t know if I can get better fast enough in therapy.  Can I get better emotionally before I crash physically?  I guess that is the big question.

Anyway…So, here we are at another Thursday.  And I didn’t meet my goals.  And after the melt-down on Saturday, I have had a back-slide with some of my progress.  I am repeating foods each day…As a matter of fact, I have pretty much eaten the same things for the same meals all week.  It feels safe right now and I need the security.  But…it isn’t all bad because I got those carbs in.  Has it been part of my repeating cycle? Yup.  But hopefully the potatoes count for something.

At this point, I wouldn’t blame you if you just give up on me.  I am not sure I am actually fixable.  But…as long as you want to keep trying, I will keep showing up and trying too.

Sooo…..That’s what I would like to tell her.  Will I?  Of course not.  I don’t want her to think that I am just coming up with excuses for yet another week of failures.

And Knitting And More

I didn’t knit a stitch yesterday. However, I did do a yarn run for my knit-along with Spinnermom.  We cast on today.  I am excited about the colors I picked.

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And here is the pattern we are working…Simple but striking. Instead of white, I am using heather grey.

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Yesterday was a sewing day.  I made some more covers, this time for Maternity Leave Mom, J.  I am going over to her house tomorrow to visit with her and her baby.  I can finally see how the soakers fit on a baby!  Oh…And I am dropping off soakers at SS’s house too.

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Doctor Appointment and Knitting

Doctor Appointment

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday.  I guess it went okay.  I mean, the doctor was fine, but I am getting the message, “It’s up to you” a lot about my eating.  And I get it, it is up to me…But when people say that (the Nutritionist has said it too) I feel a lot of pressure.  I don’t think it is meant as pressure, but I internalize it as such.  And when I feel pressure about my eating, it makes the hyper-focus worse.

I actually find the “It’s up to you” stance to be very disheartening.  It kind of threw the rest of my day….I just feel discouraged and hopeless when people say that.  If it was that easy, if I could just wake up one day and start eating normally, I think I would have…But it is so much more complicated than that.  Yes, it’s up to me…But I don’t know how to do it.

And I had more blood work done yesterday.  My liver enzymes have dropped quite a bit, one being back in the normal range and the other being elevated still, but much better.  Of course, another part of the blood work had dropped…I will have to wait and see what my doc has to say about it before I worry. A couple of results aren’t back yet…One being my vitamin D.

I also had an unexpected surprise at the doctor’s office.  The psych meds fairy appeared and gave me a bunch more sample packets of my medication.  Since this particular med is my most expensive med, I truly appreciate all the help I have been getting with it.

Art Therapy

At this point, I am simply trying to not think about Monday’s appointment.  Really, what I want is to follow-up on something he said…But I have to wait until Thursday to do so.  Basically, I am impatiently patiently biding my time to follow-up and then figure out what I am thinking/feeling.  Tomorrow will not come soon enough!

Knitting

More work on the kimono baby sweater. I have knit this pattern a few times before and it always seems to come out wider than I want.  Next time I knit it, I am going to cast on with ten fewer stitches. I think that will trim up the width nicely.

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And starting on a basic baby blanket. The yarn is so lush and plush, I don’t want to make a fancy blanket…The yarn is the star of this blanket.  I started it on knitting needles, but the yarn is sticky and doesn’t slide nicely.  It was making me grumpy and hurting my hands.  However, I am prepared to implement any yarn related contingency plan and thus took the project off the needle and put it on a knitting loom.  It is going much better this way.

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And here’s my last knitting pic…Okay, okay…It’s not knitting. 🙂  But it is an adorably cute dog! Gotta stick in a puppy picture every now and then!  As you can see, she was having a rough day.

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Art Therapy and Knitting

Art Therapy and Knitting

Art Therapy

I took the soaker to Art Therapy to show the AT.  I don’t know why I like to do that…For instance, I took him a bowl last fall and a tile last week from pottery class.  I guess, I like to share with him things that I create that make me happy…That I am proud of.

He admired my knitting…the quality of my knitting and seemed surprised that having been on such a long knitting hiatus I was able to get right back to it.  I realize writing this that I bet that was a compliment and I should have said “Thank you.” Oops!  Sometimes, I hear things as observations…Not compliments, I guess something can be both.

Then we talked about those horrible pictures I drew.  And I was half-present and half-dissociated most of the time, and a bit more dissociated part of the time.  The AT said some things that I am still processing…And things that I only heard part of and want to have him explain to me again.  So, for the moment, I am not ready to process it all on my blog.

Which brings me back to the knitting.

The AT said that knitting is very good for trauma, which I would agree with.  His reasoning was more neurological, left brain/right brain.  My reasoning is that the repetition becomes meditative and soothing.  Both are accurate.

Knitting

So…this whole knitting thing.  I think something changed for me when I knit SS’s baby’s soaker (I will need to come up with a pseudonym for the baby!) I feel like, my knitter’s block is lifted and I can knit again.  This is an amazing and powerful thing. For years, knitting was a grounding force in my life…I always had a bag with a knitting project with me.  Everywhere I went, I was prepared to knit.  And I am ready to knit again! Yesterday, I even got a few skeins of yarn to get me going (My supply had dwindled down to just wool…Which is terrific, but not so great for the baby sweaters/blankets I want to knit.  Wool isn’t practical for babies, imho.)

I worry that I have become one dimensional. Especially if you view me from the perspective of my blog.  I am more than depression/PTSD/anxiety/disordered eating.  Sometimes, even I forget that…Or get so lost in all the mental illness stuff that I can’t see that I am more than that.  Because I am more than that!  Did you know I have a fantastic and wry sense of humor?  Or that I bake a mean yeast bread? Or that I have indoor gardens from which I grow salad veggies during the winter? Or that I adore my chickens? Or that I want to hike the mountain this summer?  Or that I am itching to make a new quilt as all the ones I made ages ago are wearing out?  Maybe…maybe some of those things have slid into the blog…But I bet not many.

I have a plan.  Since knitting is so very important to me and don’t want to be trapped into being one dimensional, I am going to divide my blog posts.  There’s going to be the mental health stuff and then there will be knitting stuff.  They may even seem incongruent on particular days…But heck…That’s my life!  And the knitting part of the blog will be photo heavy.  Because there is nothing I like more than sharing my progress with my projects.  I even have some pictures for today. 🙂

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The spoils of yesterday’s yarn shopping trip!  The first yarn is just yummy and delicious.  It screams “Baby sweater” to me.  The next few skeins are ultrasoft and snugglable.   It is going to be a baby blanket for a certain yet-to-be-born baby.  The next skein is just yummily beautiful again…It also will be a baby sweater or two or maybe a baby blanket? I haven’t decided yet!

I will likely knit a sweater and the blanket concurrently.  As a matter of fact, I am so lin love with the green yarn that I already started a kimono baby sweater.

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And I have a baby blanket KAL (knit-along) with a friend coming up…<contented sigh>  This kind of stuff…This is what the “old me” used to do and enjoy. I really hope I can pull that into the “new me.” (I am not the “new me” yet…but I am working on it!)

Oh…And one last thing…In the interest of time, I pulled out some fleece scraps and I whipped together two fleece soakers for the needs-a-pseudonym baby. Talk about a quick and easy project!

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Thrown

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Thrown

I started off strong yesterday morning…But by noon, I could feel the mood fading.  By 1:00, I was miserable.  But I did not snap at anybody or have a meltdown. I just put on my game-face and plodded through my day.  However, I felt pretty dead inside.

I feel very thrown right now.  I know it is about that picture I drew (and the subsequent four pictures).  I know something has been stirred up…Only I can’t put my finger on it, so it is making me unsettled and panicky and sad and stressed….Oh wait…that sounds like a PTSD exacerbation. <sigh>  I really don’t need that right now!

Even my dreams are unsettled, sexual violence, abandonment, filth…Not exactly what I would call restful.

I feel like my shattered pieces are careening away from me and I am reaching and reaching to grab them and they are just beyond my fingertips and I can’t grasp them.

And you know what?  It is making me want to binge. I feel like sitting and eating and eating and eating until I explode…Until I can’t feel anything anymore…Until I confirm the fact that I am ugly and shameful and weak.

I won’t do it though.  It would pretty much destroy me to have such a flagrant failure of self-control.  Instead, I have reverted a bit to some of my old minimalist eating habits, like repeating foods during the day and eating less.  These things feel safe to me.  And I am in control.  And I need to control something right now.

Knitting

BTW, I did re-do the leg cuffs on the soaker and I chain stitched a tie for it. Then I washed and lanolized it.  I will deliver it to SS’s house this morning.

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Saturday Meltdown

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Saturday Meltdown

So…I kind of had a meltdown yesterday morning.  It was ugly.  No…It was really ugly.

I woke up with that emptiness and soul-crushing sadness.

Then my eating disorder started screaming at me. It didn’t want me to eat anything yesterday.  And I was going to indulge it.  But…I know that not eating anything would be really, really bad for me.  I was torn.

When dh woke up, I decided I’d have some cereal.  I usually have a bowl of cereal every morning (but I have been eating less and less…I used to eat a cup of cereal every morning, then three quarters a cup and now I eat a half cup) so I figured my mini-portion of cereal would be okay.  Only…there wasn’t enough milk. <sigh>

The Nutritionist wanted me to try a recipe for protein pancakes and I found one online that I wanted to try.  So…I made the batter. It uses egg whites, no yolks.  And I was separating the whites over the bowl and the yolk fell in. I panicked.  (Yolk=calories)  So, I grabbed a big soup spoon and tried to pull the yolk out of the bowl, and the yolk broke.  Panic turned to super panic.  The batter was contaminated.  Dh tried to reassure me it was okay…And the Eating Disorder was trying to tell me I had ruined the batter.  In the end, I scooped about 98% of the yolk out and tried to convince myself it was fine.

Then I cooked the pancakes.  And then I kind of lost it…Huge meltdown…Dh said something benign and I snapped at him and pretty much ripped his head off (poor dh!).  I was soo angry and frustrated and irritable and sour…I had to remove myself ASAP before I got in more trouble.  So, I grabbed 1.5 pancakes (approx. 100 calories worth) and my water bottle and went to my bedroom.  (I don’t know why I took the pancakes…I never eat in the bedroom.)  I set the pancakes on my bureau and crawled into bed and had a micro-moment of crying.  Then I just laid there…overwhelmed by pain.  I was not coping.

I thought maybe I should take some lorazepam, but I didn’t trust myself to not take too many.  Then I started pondering…What if I took all my lorazepam?  Would it kill me?  Well…what if I took all my lorazepam and all my trazadone? Would that kill me?  And on and on….Then I realized that I can’t take those meds inappropriately because when I get a prescription, I make an inner commitment to take them as prescribed…No more, no less.  Not only would it be wrong to mis-use the prescriptions…but it would be unfair to my prescriber as well.

So…then I thought about various ways to soothe myself by self-harming.

And all the while, I kept thinking about that picture that I drew with my PNP that then went to the AT’s office and is part of a project I started on Thursday.  And since the moment I finished the drawing, I knew it was wrong…Incomplete. And it had been really, really bothering me.  And I didn’t know if I had the courage to draw it correctly and have it be “witnessed.”  And this kept bothering me and bothering me and my mind kept flashing the drawing how it should have been drawn.

The incompleteness?  The figure needed a big, menacing, erect penis.  And then I realized that the drawing, which was supposed to be a representation of my eating disorder, was not about my eating disorder…Or if it was, it was not wholly about my eating disorder.  And different images of the drawing (like new scenarios) kept popping up in my head…So much so that I thought maybe I was having flashbacks or about to have a flashback….The way the pictures were popping into my head…It reminded me of how my flashbacks happen.

And I wanted to call the AT and get support. And maybe I should have…but that is still so hard for me to do…Instead, I decided I needed to draw the pictures in my head and I climbed out of bed and went downstairs and drew…Ugly and nasty pictures.  Four.  Four pictures wanted to be drawn.  Four pictures that I will take to Art Therapy on Monday and then leave in the bubble of his office…Safely contained.

When I finished drawing the pictures, I tore them out of the sketchbook, stacked them neatly in order and tucked them carefully in my mandala book.

And then, I felt better…Pressure was relieved.  I could function again and the pain moderated and I was done snapping at people and wanting to self-harm….Well…except the eating disorder was still screaming at me not to eat.

After a walk with dh and the dogs, some fresh air and some chatting with dh…I settled down some more.  Finally at about noon, the eating disorder’s screaming had dulled to a grumble and I was able to eat some lunch.  I stuck with 100% safe foods and in my usual portions…So, lunch was uneventful.

The rest of the day was much more under control.  I was lonely as dh and ds had an engagement allll afternoon and evening (left a before noon, were back about 10), but I kept myself busy.  I set my mind and hands to a knitting project.  I knitted for hours…And I even finished my project.  It is a tiny wool soaker for SS’s new baby.   I can’t remember the last time I really sat down and knitted something and enjoyed doing so.  It was a nice way to spend the day.

Here’s a pic.  I am  not loving the way the leg cuffs came out…I think they will be too bulky on a petite baby, I am likely going to rip them out and just crochet a little bit around the edge of the leg holes…But here’s what is looks like now. (It still has yarn ends showing because I haven’t quite decided about those leg cuffs.)

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