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.

The Food On My Plate and Meg and It Is Happening

The Food On My Plate

Every time I sit down to a meal here at Hilltop I am reminded of my body size and my shame and my awkwardness.  And unwanted attention is drawn to me.

I don’t eat the same amount of food as everyone here because I am bigger than everyone else here.  Of course my body image sucks and the last thing I want to do is draw attention to my body…But every meal does.  My portions of food seem comparatively tiny…dinner is the worst because they serve the food on huge dinner plates and all that space around my food makes my portions glare.  Mind you, I am not complaining about the size of my portions, I would gladly eat less. But my food does not look right on my plate.  As a matter of fact, when served on a dinner plate, it looks like restricting portions.

And to make matters worse, my food doesn’t even look normal.  If I have a sandwich ¼ of it is cut off.  Yup, they don’t accommodate for the calorie difference by juggling around the calories, they just cut my fucking sandwich by a quarter.  And it looks stupid and it glares and I feel so, so ashamed.  It just kind of screams, “Everyone look, Heidi is fat.”  Ugh…I just want to crawl under a rock.

But…It even gets worse.  I have a peer who has severe issues with comparing.  She talks about it frequently and I know she really struggles because she has large portions for restoration of her weight.  And I feel for her.  But she is always talking about how some people have smaller portion sizes (it used to be me and someone else, but the other person was discharged yesterday, so now it will be just me) and she gets really upset.  Monday night, I was seated across from her and she looked at my plate and burst into tears.

I know it is about her and not about me. And I know I shouldn’t care. But OMG…She looked at my plate of food and burst into tears!!!!  I just wanted to disappear.  And I felt so ashamed and so awkward.

I guess my discomfort is two-fold.  I feel obviously fat and ashamed of my body because I have small portions that are cut weirdly and I feel embarrassed and ashamed and awkward that someone would look at my plate and burst into tears.

I am not sure how any of this is actually therapeutic.

Meg          

I am really frustrated with my therapist.  I am starting to trust her and that makes me really angry.  I don’t want to trust her…especially since I haven’t known her very long.  And yet, here I am feeling trusting inclinations towards her and it makes me mad.  The other thing is that she is empathetic.  I hate that.  I don’t want her to be empathetic.  I don’t want her to be nice to me. It’s not supposed to work that way.  I have also figured out that no matter how much I try to push her away, she isn’t going to budge.  She calls me out on avoidance behavior, she points out things that I don’t want to acknowledge and she remembers everything I say.  Basically, she is really good at what she does.  And I like her.  But every part of me screams that I shouldn’t put myself out there and trust her.

It Is Happening

Meg and I are pushing a little harder in therapy and the harder push means we are touching on things that I don’t want to address….So, I am freaking out.  Mind you, no one would know, because I freak out internally except for when I just break and then burst into tears.  But I have started the over-obsessing about my weight, I need to know numbers.  I looked in the mirror this morning and I body checked feeling for my bones and I can tell that I am bigger.  I am clearly gaining weight and it is causing me lots of anxiety.  I am also obsessing about my meal plan and how many calories I am eating.  I tried to ask the nutritionist what the goal of my meal plan is and she gave me a very non-answer. I appreciated her effort of not engaging, but I need to know.  I have restrained from calculating it out…but only just barely.

And my self-harm urges are high.  If I can’t have control, can’t restrict, can’t know anything about numbers, then the only thing I can control is the self-harming.  Of course, along with that is lots of wishing I was dead and just being tired of the fight and wishing I didn’t exist.

So, now I have to figure out how to manage this struggle without engaging in my maladaptive coping strategies.

I Hate Eating

How bad is my eating disorder?

Yesterday morning, breakfast was awful. As part of my safety contracts, I am supposed to eat all my food as per my meal plan, i.e. not restrict.  I was crying before I even sat down to eat.  And I cried while I ate. I kept feeling like I was going to throw up.  And eventually, I gagged as I forced myself to eat and just about threw up on the table. (Thank goodness no one was home, except me, so I didn’t have witnesses to this.)

The only solution for eating breakfast was to exercise after breakfast. (Which is a form of purging, not restricting, so is not in violation of my contract.)  So, me and the dogs went on a long walk and up a big hill.

Then I spent the rest of the morning crying on an off and feeling jittery and agitated and just crawling out of my skin wanting to use maladaptive coping skills.  It was ugly.

I had a lunch date with a friend that I desperately wanted to cancel…but she needed my help with picking up a rental car and I had told her I would give her a ride.  And I also kind of knew that I needed to get out of the house…So, I went.

Lunch was okay…Eating was the last thing I wanted to do and I felt kind of ill looking at the food on my plate.  Mid-meal, my friend got up to use the restroom and I thought to myself, “I could just hide some of this food in my napkin and not eat it and she wouldn’t know.”  I have never had those kinds of ED compulsions.  Never.  It’s the last fucking thing I need right now.  Anyway, I did not hide the food.  I ate it.

So, my friend and I spent a few hours together and then I dropped her off at the rental car place.  I got into my car and within about three minutes, my thoughts went right back to their dreary darkness.  It’s like I just can’t get a break.  I can be distracted (mostly) but as soon as the distraction ends, I am right back where I started.  So, I drove home wishing I was dead and trying not to use maladaptive coping methods.

And I think I have figured something out…I can’t handle alone time.  I kind of knew this before…but today just highlighted it.  And I am furious at myself for needing a babysitter. And for not being able to cope on my own. I am a grown adult, I should be able to be by myself and be safe.  I am soo angry that I am so weak right now.

But…back to food. Dinner was hard.  I got most of it down, but towards the end, I really had to keep from gagging on the food again.  It’s like my body just is rejecting the eating process.

And with all the food I ate yesterday, I feel disgusting.  I am obsessing over the calories and I just want to make all the calories go away.  However, I did meet my meal plan.  Or at least the B meal plan. Technically, I did not restrict, but I am really skirting the boundary.  How come I can recognize that, but am not able to fix it?

I really wish I hadn’t signed that safety contract with the AT and that I didn’t have the one with my PNP.  The pressure of the contracts is killing me and I am really afraid of the repercussions if I fail.  I don’t want the AT to fire me for breaking my contracts.  But I know that at some point, he (and my PNP) are going to get sick of me breaking contracts and not doing things right.  And I don’t know what will happen then.

Overwhelmed

  1. FML
  2. Renewed safety contract with AT. Written vs. oral.  And I had to sign it.
  3. AT is backing off on therapy intensity. I view this as a fail on my part for not coping better.
  4. The Nutritionist wants me to eat more food to compensate for my activity.
  5. Had dinner in a restaurant last night that turned into a meal disaster in terms of gluten free and meal plan.  I was not able to make up all the exchanges before bedtime (I did try) and thus am already in violation of the written contract.  And trying isn’t good enough. It has to be perfect.
  6. All I want to do right now is use maladaptive coping skills.  And I am not allowed.
  7. I am not sure how to manage my feelings.
  8. I don’t know how to live like this.

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.”