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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Hollow

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Hollow

I just don’t have much to say today.  I feel empty inside, hollow…Like my outside is a crumbling shell and I am imploding because there is nothing on the inside to give body to the shell.

I feel depressed…Sad, isolated, alone, unmotivated, flat.

Those feelings careen around in the hollowness, bouncing off the shell, overlapping, tangling, ricocheting…becoming an unbearable dissonance.

I don’t even want to bother with slipping on an “I’m okay.” facade to day.  I just want to fade away into nothingness and not feel anything anymore.

 

 

 

Learning Body Shame

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Learning Body Shame

When I was a little girl, up until age 11 when I got my period, I was not fat.  I was healthy and active and while not boney skinny, I was not by any means fat.

Puberty is a cruel thing.  As soon as I got my period, I started gaining fat. And I was mercilessly taunted by my classmates for it.  But worse than that, my body started developing and I wasn’t quite ready for it.  I remember that the boys used to find it high entertainment to hit us girls in the chest…Laughing as we flinched in pain from being hit on our tender developing breasts.

And then I had one of those sort of momentous growth spurts…The kind where you go to bed flat chested and wake up the next morning a C cup.  (Okay…it wasn’t quite that fast, but it sure felt like it!)  Talk about body betrayal!  And I was the first girl in the class to sport breasts like that.  If being teased for getting fat wasn’t bad enough, I was ogled and tormented and teased for those grown-up sized breasts on what I still saw as a little girl body. (I am sure my body was not little girlish anymore, but my brain had not caught up with the puberty, I still felt like a little girl.)

I spent grades 6, 7 and 8 burning with shame and being exposed to unrelenting teasing every day.  I hated my body.  I hated my breasts, I hated being fat and I was ashamed…So overwhelmingly ashamed.

Eventually, the other girls’ body development caught up with mine and I wasn’t the only one with breasts.  Nor was I even the fattest girl.  But it didn’t matter at that point as the damage had already been done and I had already learned to be ashamed of and to hate my body.

I still hate my body, which you already know.  But I also feel that betrayal of my body too…The body that developed too fast and left the little-girl me behind and pushed her into the ogling limelight.  The body that (long before it developed) was enticing to a child molester. The body that subjected me to torment in high school.  Even in adulthood, I feel like my body has betrayed me.  It has just been one betrayal after another.

How do I ever reconcile all of that? How do I ever grow to like my body? Can I even do it?

You Matter and You Don’t Matter

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You Matter

The Art Therapist hurt my brain yesterday.  He is trying so hard to get me hear and understand his message that I matter but it just flies in the face of all my experiences and subsequent conclusions.  But he is so sure, I mean so, so, so sure, that I just plain get confused.  I even said to him, “You are confusing me!”  I forget his exact response, but I think he was happy that I was/am confused because that means that my steadfastness might be wavering.  That’s what hurts my brain.  It’s like the new synapses that are trying to be born hurt.

You Don’t Matter

And we got to talking about my parents and the messages that I got from them growing up.  I hate talking about that stuff.  It is too painful and if I think about it too much, I will just crash.  Or another way to put it is that I can’t think about that stuff because it will just open a big ol’ can of emotion worms…I don’t let myself feel any feelings about it because it would just hurt too much. Ugh…even writing about the idea of letting myself go towards those feelings is too much.

Another thing we discussed was that when I was a little girl and upset or sad or having strong feelings, my mother would always say, “You must be hungry.” or “You must be tired.”  The feeling I was having was never addressed.  So, I felt invalidated.  I also didn’t learn how to handle big/intense feelings (other than with food).  And I was left alone and overwhelmed and ultimately found it easier to just turn off feelings (which actually served several purposes) than to have/feel them.  This is also part of the reason why I don’t cry (except now I seem to cry every time in therapy.)  Crying was never responded to, so I just shut it down.  Again though, there were other reasons I stopped crying too, all of this is very complex!

Another message I got from my mom was something she said to me a zillion times, “Pretty is as Pretty does.”  If I had a nickel for every time I heard that….<sigh>  Now imagine, if you were a tomboy, you would have a rat’s ass chance of ever meeting the bar of “Pretty does.”  So…what kind of message does that give?  The message I heard was that my behavior (and thus me) was never good enough…And there was no way I could ever be good enough…Square peg/Round hole.  Behaving “pretty” was not part of my genetic make-up.  Being curious and active and boisterous and messy and opinionated…All those traits were hard wired, but evidently not acceptable.

And being pretty?  Well, if I could never meet the bar of “Pretty does” then there was absolutely no way I could ever be pretty.  Think that’s why I never look at myself in mirrors?  Talk about a way to undermine a little girl’s self-confidence!

Oh yes, and what if that little girl had already had some pretty significant trauma that had screwed up her sense of herself and her sense of the world?  Well…Probably what she really needed was to be supported, not to be invalidated and torn down.

Okay…I gotta cut this off now.  Talking about all this is treacherous emotional territory and I don’t really feel like going any further.

Internal Family Systems Model

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I was cleaning in my art room yesterday afternoon and I cleared off my desk (at least enough to reclaim some functional space) and my eyes landed on my mandala book.  Even though it wasn’t the usual time to draw a mandala, I decided to open the book and the above drawing is what wanted to be put on paper.

Internal Family Systems Model

Last week, the Nutritionist gave me a book to read called Parts Work: An Illustrated Guide To Your Inner Life. She had mentioned it at the prior session, so I took a look at it on Amazon and I already hated it by the time she lent it to me.  However, I tried to read it.  It isn’t the content of the book that bugs me, it is the writing style and the illustrations.  It feels dumbed down and annoying to me.  Or maybe I am just a snob…I don’t know.

However, I didn’t want her to think that I was unwilling to do the work, and I was kind of curious about the premise of the book (though I found the book muddy in terms of presenting a foundation for the content).  On the back cover there was a reference to “IFS”.  So…I Googled it.

IFS=Internal Family Systems which is a psychological model that I am totally unfamiliar with.  Here’s an excerpt from the website, The Center for Self Leadership

  1. BASIC ASSUMPTIONS OF THE IFS MODEL
  2. It is the nature of the mind to be subdivided into an indeterminate number of subpersonalities or parts.
  3. Everyone has a Self, and the Self can and should lead the individual’s internal system.
  4. The non-extreme intention of each part is something positive for the individual. There are no “bad” parts, and the goal of therapy is not to eliminate parts but instead to help them find their non-extreme roles.
  5. As we develop, our parts develop and form a complex system of interactions among themselves; therefore, systems theory can be applied to the internal system. When the system is reorganized, parts can change rapidly.
  6. Changes in the internal system will affect changes in the external system and vice versa. The implication of this assumption is that both the internal and external levels of system should be assessed.

So, I get this for the most part.  For example, if anxiety is a subpersonality, with the goal of protecting us from danger, it will “pop” up and try to keep us safe.  In and of itself, this is not bad, but when the anxiety overpowers other subpersonalities and the Self such that one cannot make a trip to the grocery store, then it becomes an issue.  The Self (whoever that is) needs to be strong enough to manage the subpersonalities when they get overbearing.

Further into the theory, it is pointed out that the subpersonalities (which they oddly call “parts”) interact and are broadly divided into three different parts. Again, an excerpt from that same website.

  1. GENERAL GROUPS OF PARTS
  2. EXILES
    1. Young parts that have experienced trauma and often become isolated from the rest of the system in an effort to protect the individual from feeling the pain, terror, fear, and so on, of these parts
    2. If exiled, can become increasingly extreme and desperate in an effort to be cared for and tell their story
    3. Can leave the individual feeling fragile and vulnerable
  3. MANAGERS
    1. Parts that run the day-to-day life of the individual
    2. Attempt to keep the individual in control of every situation and relationship in an effort to protect parts from feeling any hurt or rejection
    3. Can do this in any number of ways or through a combination of parts — striving, controlling, evaluating, caretaking, terrorizing, and so on.
  4. FIREFIGHTERS
    1. Group of parts that react when exiles are activated in an effort to control and extinguish their feelings
    2. Can do this in any number of ways, including drug or alcohol use, self-mutilation (cutting), binge-eating, sex binges
    3. Have the same goals as managers (to keep exiles away) but different strategies

I understand this section, though I am so unfamiliar with the terminology that it is hard to wrap my head around.  And I am not sure that I buy the whole concept.

Now, she gave me this book because somehow it is related to eating disorders.  Maybe the super-controlling eating disorder is a part (subpersonality)? And I am supposed to strengthen my Self to control that part?  I am going to attempt to look at the book again now that I have some understanding of the theory behind it….But I am still not sold on it yet.

I am working hard to be compliant with her request to read the book (I am a people-pleaser, after all!) but I feel like it is a big set up for failure.  Luckily, I don’t see her until Thursday, so I have some time to try to get my head into the book.

Thursday is going to be a yucky day.  Art Therapy in the morning (not yucky, just hard) then Nutritionist (yucky) and then my Primary who is going to weigh me and then talk with me about my eating problems again (yucky).  I am also kind of scared to talk to my Primary, because one of the things she had mentioned when I saw her last week is that if I don’t change my eating habits, they might have to hospitalize me.  I kind of dismissed it as being part of her education on the impact of eating disorders…But then I asked them to email me a copy of my Nutritionist summary from last week, and they emailed me the wrong thing…It wasn’t the summary for me, it was the summary with the Nutritionist’s notes and write-up for my records.  She mentioned inpatient treatment in her note too.  The prospect of inpatient treatment has caused me a lot of stress…I don’t even know what to think about it.  <sigh>

Okay, I don’t have to be anxious about it right now…It is Monday, so I get my hour of security with the AT, which I am really looking forward to.  I feel like need that safe zone right now and I am glad to be going.

Angry? and Off Probation

I had intentions of drawing a mandala today…But….Clearly, I didn’t.  Maybe tomorrow?

Angry?

Yesterday, I ran into my friend, L, who is also a blog reader.  She commented that the last post she read was, Breaking, and that the post came from an angry place.  I had to give this idea some thought.  When I wrote the post, I wasn’t feeling angry…Or at least, I didn’t think I was.  Now, when I look back at the post, I can see that the first sentence is kind of angry sounding.  It’s interesting how that came across…Really, I was feeling overwhelmed.  And maybe that did make me feel mad.  But mostly I just felt overwhelmed in an intense crushing kind of way.  And though I didn’t say it in that post, I was also kind of stewing in some extra vile self-loathing.  So…there was anger in my being…I just didn’t realize I was spilling it onto “paper”

Off Probation

Where did I run into L?  At the doctor’s office.  L is my friend who works at my doctor’s office as their PNP.  I was there because I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor.  I am happy to report that my Primary Physician is now off of probation!  She is back to her regular old self and I am very relieved!

The visit with my PP was about my tachycardia.  Evidently, my tachycardia is being caused by my sustained calorie restricted diet. As a matter of fact, my sustained calorie restrictive diet now has a diagnosis and a name, anorexia nervosa.  I am not sure what to say about that.  Like I said the other day, I am not sure that I have a problem, but everyone else thinks I have a problem, and I meet the diagnostic criteria for a problem…But I just don’t see it.

Anyway, my PP explained that my heart is working extra hard (by beating extra fast) to compensate for lack of nutrients and energy and that this is a bad thing.  Then she talked with me for a while and did some education with me and also expressed some sincere and personal concern for me.  She asked me to go back next week for another follow-up and she also is going to be calling the AT.

This version of my PP is the one that I have known and really liked…I don’t know who she was for the those rocky appointments I had with her last year. She seemed back to “normal” when I saw her on that first ER trip day and she seemed herself again yesterday.  I am glad too, because I really didn’t want to have to find a new doctor!