Lorazepam Makes It All Better

Yesterday was pretty close to the most miserable, awful day I have had since I got here.  I spent the morning having an anxiety attack and crying.  (This started within minutes or me waking) and basically having an anxiety attack with ranging severity for about 6 hours.  It was. not. fun.  I will spare you the details because it is sort of a long saga and too complex to explain. Plus, I don’t want to re-trigger myself into more anxiety.

The end result of my day of angst was that by bedtime last night I felt completely unsafe and just wanted to go stay in a hotel.  I just wanted to have a night of no worries, of safety and of actual sleep.  Since going to a hotel was not an option, I used better-living-through-chemistry to manage the night.

I have not taken any of my as-needed lorazepam (anti anxiety med) since I got here.  And usually when I have taken it at home, I take 1/2 to 1 whole tablet.  Last night, I asked for whatever the max dose was.  It turns out my max dose is two tablets.  I have never, ever needed to take two!  But I figured the only way to get through my anxiety about the night was to numb my nerves and be oblivious to the world.  So, I gulped down my two pills, while wishing that I could have taken a handful.  Then I got into my pajamas, turned the volume on my soothing-noise/white noise app up all the way to drown out anything that i might hear, and I turned so that I was facing away from the door-side of my room.  And I burrowed under my blankets.

I still didn’t feel safe, but pretty quickly I could feel the smoothing calm of the lorazepam wash over me and with the roaring of the white noise app, I was able to cocoon myself to sleep.  I don’t know what, if anything, happened during the night…But I had rendered myself oblivious.  As a result, I slept pretty much straight through the night, only waking up maybe once and again when my alarm went off.  I felt a little groggy from the meds, but that wore off pretty quickly once I started moving.

So, the night in which I was feeling the most unsafe turned into one of my better nights of sleep thanks to lots of anti-anxiety meds and nearly deafening white noise.  I can only imagine how much better my night would have gone if I could have taken more of the lorazepam and just completely deadened myself to the world.

Today is another day.  Most of my angst about yesterday is gone, though I still have a reminder on my arm where I self-harmed.  That will take a while to heal.  Maybe it is a good representation because even though I say my angst from yesterday is gone, it will take me a while to feel safe here again at night and a while for me to heal from the emotional trauma of the day.

 

I Want To Feel Safe

The thing about having a trauma history is that I get to have trauma dreams (some are just disturbing/upsetting dreams and some are outright nightmares) all the time.  There is never any rhyme or reason as to what dreams will be most upsetting.  Sometimes, the sexual danger is just implied and the dream has me wake-up in heart-pounding terror.  Sometimes, the sexual danger/violence is more overt and I wake up feeling disgusting and dirty, but not in terror.  And sometimes it flip-flops.  I don’t know how my brain decides what kind of dream it will be…but it doesn’t really matter.  Terrified or disgusting, it is not the way I want to feel when I wake up.

Yes…Last night, I  had one of those dreams.  I woke up feeling disgusting and used and super depressed.  I hate being tormented in my sleep.  And I don’t want to take that stupid nightmare medicine.  I hate medications.

Lately, I have having dreams where I am kidnapped and/or held against my will and raped.  And in my dreams, the raping is not always penile penetration…Nope, my nightmares are taking me into darker territory.  And I hate it.  I told the AT that I was having kidnapping/rape dreams and he got his super compassionate look and said something to the effect of, “I am sorry you are experiencing that.”  And I was annoyed.  I don’t want him to be sorry.  I don’t want him to care.  My response was a shrug of, “It doesn’t matter.”  (Of course, if it really didn’t matter, I wouldn’t have brought it up.)

I never have dreams that are literal re-enactments of my trauma. I don’t know if such dreams would be better or worse.

So, this morning when I woke up, I just wanted to be dead.  I didn’t want the feelings I was having after the dreams.  And I wanted to self-harm.  But I have the triple safety contracts…Which makes me feel trapped and without options.  I distracted myself by spending probably 15 minutes body checking over and over….Feeling for the bones on my hips and my ribs and my collar bones, taking comfort in the fact that they are more prominent.  And then when I finally dragged myself out of bed, I restricted what I ate.  (Which, as everyone keeps pointing out, is self-harm, but I don’t think it counts.)

It was an ugly start to my day and though my day has improved some, and at the encouragement of my PNP, I did eat more (but still restricted) I am still tearful and stressed and feel pretty disgusting, which would be almost tolerable, except that we have to go over to my mother-in-law’s for a barbecue this afternoon.

I am so sensitive about who I eat with and what I eat and my eating schedule…This meal at my MIL’s will be super painful.  I am taking my own food so I know it is gluten free/vegetarian and that it meets my meal exchanges for lunch.  And if she is put out by that, she can piss off.   But of course, I won’t tell her to piss off.  I will smile and be the perfect daughter-in-law and endure until it is time to go home.  Let me tell you, after 20+ years, I have the perfect-daughter-in-law act down to an art.  It sucks every bit of energy out of me, but it is how I keep myself safe and deflect the selfish narcissism of my MIL.

Ummmm….I have no idea where I am going with any of this.  I guess I just needed to do a brain-dump.  Anyway, I am tired and emotionally raw and now I have to go be social and perfect for a few hours.  I just don’t feel up to the task.

 

 

 

 

Mired

I have been having some issues this week.  First of all my PTSD has been heightened and I am edgy all of the time.  Lots of things set off my startling and after a while, it is just exhausting.  Yesterday, every time my cell phone chimed to let me know I had a text or an email or whatever, I literally physically jumped.  Other little noises set me off to.  I really don’t like days like that (and I have had several).

I have been having a hard time sleeping at night.  I wake up over and over and then sometimes when I am awake, I am awake for a while and just can’t fall back asleep.  Last night, I slept better, but had stressful dreams.  And I had one of those episodes where I woke up on the night and had no idea where I was.  I was so confused…and scared.  I was looking at the walls in the dark and just couldn’t orient myself.  I am not sure what clued me in that I was here in my home (both physically and in terms of time) and in my own bedroom.  Come to think….Some of my dreams last night were  about being in the house I grew up in.  I guess my brain got all confused.

One of the most damning issues I have been having this week is super-negative body image and body shame.  I can’t stand my body because it is disgusting.  I hate being seen. I don’t want to eat because I hate how my body looks and I want to change it.  I don’t want to take the new medication my PNP has prescribed for me because I hate my body and am desperately afraid the medicine will make me gain weight.  And my thoughts are pretty extreme, like so much so that I am embarrassed to say what ultimatum rattles around in my head regarding weight gain.  I know it is extreme, illogical and dangerous…And I know to anyone else, it would sound ridiculous and dramatic.  And nope, I am not going to share it as I can’t bear the shame.

Let’s see, what else this week?  I don’t feel worthy of the support of Team Heidi.  I feel awkward and ashamed that they care so much (ashamed because I don’t deserve the help and that I take up their time and energy.)  I am struggling with social isolation.  I don’t want people to see me (see above body shame topic) and I don’t have the energy to be social or make plans.  I am struggling with eating (that’s probably not a surprise).  I don’t know, everything is hard right now and I am exhausted and overwhelmed.

I wish I had some sense that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Sometimes, I don’t even know what I am working towards anymore.

 

 

Stress

I am sooo stressed about my meal plan right now.  Everyone is watching me so closely and I have had some tough days with my plan.  I’m not restricting (really, I’m not).  If I was I would say so (like about the Gatorade.)  But I have had schedule irregularities and restaurant trips and I have missed some of my exchanges.  And I will be under the scrutiny of Team Heidi, not to mention the scrutiny of myself.  Eating is so, so stressful right now…The pressure, the need to do it perfectly, the consequences if I don’t.  I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

I am just so stressed.  Oh…I already said that.

And I find a stressful irony in the fact that I am stressed for missing exchanges and I am stressed for eating all my exchanges.  Yet again, I can’t find that middle ground.  And maybe I have lost some of my perspective.  Not that I had much to start with.

I feel like I cannot do this anymore.

Is there a point to therapy? And meds? (I have been trying to decide if there is even a point to taking any of my meds.)  And the Nutritionist and everything else?

It’s not that I am whining about this.  I really do wonder these things

FML

That shift I was talking about on Friday?  All gone.  No more shifting.  I am just tired and frustrated and sad.  I feel like I can’t get enough sleep. And I hate eating.  And I am sick of talking to people about my food intake.  At this point, I just want to say what will make people happy vs. what is going on in my mind.  To that end, I dumped the rest of my last Gatorade out.  No more of that for me! (This is kind of flying in the face of an agreement I made with my Nutritionist that if I don’t meet all of my meal plan requirements in a day, I will supplement with a Gatorade…This is how I knew she was counting the calories and how I knew that I needed to stop drinking it. Plus she asked me if I was drinking the diet or regular Gatorade which wouldn’t matter unless the calories matter.)

Of course, my doctor was telling me that if I don’t meet my meal plan requirements then I should take the Seroquel daily to decrease my restricting urges. I told her that it was a great motivation to eat (so I won’t have to take daily Seroquel) but….I just don’t know.

I feel really pressured by everyone to do everything right.  I don’t want to drink Gatorade. I don’t want to take Seroquel every day.  I don’t want to fill out my stupid food log.  I don’t want to eat all that food.  I don’t want any of it.

Oh and I am having one of those I-am-going-to-gain-weight obsessive spells. I ate in a restaurant with a friend yesterday and I forgot my food journal, which really threw me.  And I didn’t have my list of exchanges, which really threw me. And I think I fucked up the exchanges (ate too much) though I have no data to support that.  And all I want to do is restrict to make up for it.  And since I can’t/am not supposed to restrict, I am now obsessing about my weight.

Hmm…And maybe the online bathing suit shopping isn’t helping any either.

Ugh…and I have a splitting headache.

FML

Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those shifting kinds of day. I would feel my perspective shifting a bit more towards the positive.  Of course, I was excited that I would wake up this morning and be “all better” so I was kind disappointed when I woke up this morning feeling depressed.  But I will roll with it and give time for the shifting to happen.

A lot happened yesterday (amazing what can transpire in one day) and rather than write it all out, I am going to bullet-point it.

  • I saw the AT, my Physician and the Nutritionist and texted my PNP
  • I was honest with all of them about restricting (a few minor bobbles over the past week)
  • I told my doctor about the self-harming (AT and PNP already knew)
  • I showed my doctor my self-harm wounds….I was so ashamed.
  • My doctor is really supporting me and I am really comforted by her genuine concern. She hugs me at the end of every appointment now.  And they are “real” hugs, not just cursory hugs.
  • My doctor got to see (and call me out on) some of my distorted/illogical thinking
  • Seroquel. Prescribed by my PNP and my doctor had strong opinions about how I should/could be taking it.
  • My doctor doesn’t trust me to take as-needed medications when I need them.
  • I realized that my Nutritionist is always asking me about my Gatorade consumption because she is counting the calories. Therefore, I am going to stop drinking Gatorade because I had thought the calories didn’t really count.  If she is counting them, then they must count as “real” calories.  Since I don’t need the Gatorade (or its calories) I am going to stop drinking it. (Is this restricting behavior? Yeah…probably.)
  • My Nutritionist is too damn optimistic. Seriously.
  • The AT was weird yesterday. Something was off with his affect and it really threw me.  I wanted to leave.
  • The AT had me do an interesting project yesterday (I may have felt uncomfortable with him yesterday, but I still did my work.) and it was a good representation of a negative thinking pattern I learned about at Renfrew called the Downward Arrow. Basically, it is when your thoughts get more and more negative, kind of whirlpooling you down into a miserable pit.  I didn’t make the connection until just now about the Downward Arrow.  I will have to tell the AT about it on Monday.
  • The AT told me that I am healing.
  • I told the AT something that had been really bothering me…I only glanced across the topic, though the AT was able to fill in lots of the gaps. I am sure it will be the source of much more discussion.
  • Dh saw my self-harm wounds for the first time.
  • Dh and I have spent the past several days putting up a new clothesline for me (I haven’t had one in a couple of years.) Yesterday, the cement had set and I got to hang laundry. I LOVE hanging laundry.  Seriously, it is totally a Zen kind thing for me.
  • I was asked to go camping with a friend and her family and extended family Memorial Day weekend. I said yes despite my immediate panic of social anxiety, food anxiety, recovery anxiety and body shame.  (What the fuck was I thinking?!)
  • I made a plan to have a good weekend instead of the crash-and-burn weekends I have had for the past couple of weeks.
  • I realized that I need to buy a bathing suit for the aforementioned camping trip. This is a topic that I will have to blog more about another day.  Suffice it to say, body shame and bathing suit shopping?  Sounds like the makings of nightmares!

laundry

violets

Things Are Hard and March Journaling

Things Are Hard

This whole transition home and early recovery thing is hard.  You probably guessed that after the messages post on Saturday.

The biggest two issues I have right now…Wait, there are three…The biggest three issues I have right now are an overwhelming urge to restrict, an overwhelming urge to over-exercise to make up for the fact that I am not restricting and an overwhelming urge to say “fuck it” to my psych meds and stop taking them.

The most concerning of these three for me is the med issue.  I have never, ever had this issue with meds and I have been taking my psych meds for 8 years.  But on Saturday night, I intentionally did not take my meds.  I don’t know what this is about or why I am doing it. Or is this is some new form of self-harming, or some new way to feel like I have control….I just don’t know.  What I do know is that it is bad.

I did email my PNP for support yesterday…More really to tattle on myself so that I had some accountability.  She asked me to commit to taking my meds as prescribed until I see her next.  I told her I would try.  My confidence is low that I will succeed, but I will make the attempt.

In other news, I am desperately trying to find an eating disorder support group or therapy group to augment my current therapy and nutritionist appts.  So far, it is going very poorly.  I have found three possibilities after spending literally hours Googling.  I have put out calls/inquiry emails to each place, but have not heard back yet.

I am working hard to keep myself from falling apart.  I don’t want to go back to where I was at the beginning of March before I had to go to Renfrew.

March Journaling:  March 10: Night

This was a hard, hard day. 4:00 a.m. vitals, tachycardic, orthostatic, Gatorade.  Also blood draw (2 tries and I got rally nauseous) and blood sugar.

Lots more crying today.  I must look stricken/overwhelmed/scared rabbit as the nurses kept asking me if I was okay.  Everyone wanted to blame my HR/BP on anxiety.  Maybe they were right. Of course, I felt prickly about it.

Had to report a girl for purging under my window this afternoon.  I realized that probably what I heard yesterday was the same girl purging in the same place.  I feel sad for her.

Eating is incredibly difficult.  I cannot physically get all the food in my stomach.  It makes me feel incredibly over-full.  I am soo stressed about this it is not funny.  I feel like I am failing. And most of the crew I started with has moved into the next dining room.  I know I shouldn’t compare, but I feel left behind.  Why can they do it and not me?  Of course, if they do it and then throw it all up under my window, I guess they aren’t necessarily moving on for the right reasons.

Therapy was hard today. I was mad and bitchy and felt kind of embarrassed about it.  We also ran way over session time (we only get 30 mins/session, we went closer to 50) and I felt bad for taking up her time.

A wonderful thing today.  I was resting before dinner and the girl next door started playing her harp.  The birds were singing, the harp was playing and I felt drowsy and calm.  It was a good half hour of Zen.  It was also what I needed today.

**Had Art Therapy activity today. It was the first hour here that I felt safe and comfortable.  I ❤ Art Therapy.  And I miss the AT.**

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

One Year Therapiversary

One Year Therapiversary

About fourteen months ago, I realized I was totally losing my shit.  My depression was winning, my anxiety was out-of-control (I was taking lorazepam daily to make it to work.) and honestly, I was hanging on by a thread…A thin, fragile and fraying thread.

I knew I was in trouble, and I decided I needed help.  Actually, I was pretty desperate to get help.  And so I started googling to find a local therapist.  And I wasn’t really finding anything inspiring. I ended up looking at a practice in the City and scrolling through the providers. And that’s when I found the bio for an Art Therapist.

Now…I had done years of talk therapy and it only got me so far.  Being a crafty, hands-on, creative kind of person, Art Therapy appealed to me.  I asked around about this Art Therapist, who was new to the area.  No one had heard of him.  But, I googled him and read his bios on various sites and looked at his picture and…Well, there was something about him and Art Therapy that appealed to me.

And soooo….after an initial meet and greet appointment where the AT passed muster with me and I with him…I began my journey into Art Therapy.  That was one long year ago.  And what a hell of a year it has been!  But you know what?  I am in a better place than I was a year ago.  With my hard work and the support and direction of the AT, I feel like I am finally on the right path.

One thing I have learned is that the work with the AT is a lot harder than I expected.  This is in part because Art Therapy is super hard. And also because I am letting the AT take me to places that I have never gone before. And it is just plain painful.

And yet, I feel like I can see a purpose to the pain…And I have felt something working with the AT that I had not felt in a very long time….Hope.  Now, I lose sight of that hope pretty frequently, but the undercurrent of, “Maybe this can get better” is still there…I think that me and the AT can get me back on my feet, moving in the right direction and ultimately meeting my goal of being a real person again.

It makes me think of a dream I had last summer. Here’s the summary of it I wrote in my blog on August 23:

I dreamed that I was a little girl and the AT was himself, like he is now.  I think I was wearing a bathing suit with a dress over it and the AT was dressed in maybe athletic clothes…It was a little confusing, I think he started off in work clothes, but then switched to casual athletic-y kind of clothes.  Anyway, we were outside and I wanted to show him a trail or a vista or something and we had to do a lot of climbing to get there. The hills we were climbing were super steep and overgrown with plush moss with grass spikes shooting out from it.  Under the moss, the ground was really wet, like squishy wet, and if you looked down at it, you could see standing water under the moss.  The AT was having an easy time climbing the hill, his legs were longer and he seemed more stable as he climbed.  I was having a really hard time climbing the hill and had to grab clumps of grass to pull myself up, so I was using all four limbs to climb.  Except…that the moss was sliding out from under my feet and the grass clumps were pulling out in my hands, so for the amount of effort I was putting in, I was not making much progress and at some points was actually sliding backwards.  However, I kept on going because I really wanted the Art Therapist to see our goal.

At some point, the trail was flatter, and the AT was on the trail and I was beside the trail going along a water ditch.  I was slowed down because I was trying to negotiate the ditch by straddling it or going on the narrow band of grass beside it…But then things evened out and it was less wet and more flat and grassy.

The Art Therapist asked me if I wanted a “___”  (I cannot remember the word, it didn’t make sense in terms of the item he offered me, but he used it a few times to describe it.) He had these clear plastic packets that were hand warmers.  He said his hands were cold and so he got out two and handed me one.  You had to squeeze it to make it work and as I squeezed it, I could see little white balls of what looked like styrofoam in the packet. Suddenly, there was a “pop” sound as I burst the internal capsule that caused the chemical reaction.  The pop really startled me.

Eventually, we were hill climbing again, and the hill was almost hands-and-knees steep (though the AT was able to pretty much stride up the hill).  I was again slipping and sliding grabbing grass clumps to get up the hill, but we finally reached the top.  And the hill’s apex was very sudden and severe as the ground just dropped away from the other side. And we stood there and looked….And the dream stopped, so I didn’t get to see what was on the other side of the hill.

When I look back at the dream now…it seems so symbolic of the relationship I have with the AT!  I think the dream really highlights the steady presence and support of the AT.  As I have been slipping and sliding and struggling, he has been right there with me, accompanying me and being there for me, even demonstrating genuine caring towards me.   I don’t think I could ask for much more.

So…I guess its Happy Therapiversary to me and the AT.  It will be interesting to see what this year brings!

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.

DSCN1623

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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