Lots o’ things

Yoga

I did survive yesterday, though it was hard.  You wanna know what got me through and improved my day?  Yoga.  I sooo miss my regular yoga.  I was actually wondering if I could convince Mac to let me do a little YouTube yoga video I like.  I would only do it once or twice a week as sort of a grounding thing.  And it is not very long at all…It wouldn’t be like real exercise.  I can guess what she will say, but it might be worth asking.  But then I was looking at YouTube for the video I wanted to do so I could show Mac but I can’t find it.  I suppose it doesn’t really matter, she will say no anyway.

Purging

Our newest peer is really struggling with purging.  It kind of throws me back to the anxiety of Renfrew where there was way too much “Public Purging” as I used to call it.  I know it is pretty much a compulsive behavior, but sitting at my station in the common area and listening to someone purging in the bathroom is beyond disturbing.  Plus she talks about purging all.the.time.  I find it triggering and I don’t even purge! I also walked into the kitchen dining room and she had clearly just purged (which means likely in the sink, but I don’t even want to contemplate that).   I got my laptop and sat down at the table with her because she was alone.  I didn’t do anything, didn’t try to caretake or anything, I just sat.  She told me she had already purged 4 times.   I hate the way eating disorders consume my peers.

Homework

I had a backlog of homework to work on yesterday.  In the morning, I finished two assignments that I started over a week ago.  Then I did two assignments that I had been procrastinating on doing for the anxiety therapist.  After that, me and Mel worked on a menu and grocery list for this week’s dinner we are doing (cooking for the group of residents here).  I was going to start some of my new homework from Meg after dinner, but honestly, I was just plain tired.  That homework can wait until when we have free time today.

Dinner

I had to supplement last night at dinner.  I am not really happy about it.  We had tofu (again) for dinner and it was served as a giant flaccid slab.  The chef cooks it so the sides are somewhat browned, but most of it is jiggly inside.  And when I say slab, I am not kidding.  It is a giant chunk of tofu.  I cannot eat it when it’s served like that.  Actually, Mac and I have discussed it.  I can’t stand the texture served like that and it also brings back some really negative memories of how the tofu was served to me at Renfrew….Over and over again Renfrew would serve me lukewarm, unseasoned, soggy tofu. It made is so now I just can’t stomach it. <shudder> Usually, my preference is accommodated and they cut the tofu into slices and then cook it, but it didn’t happen yesterday.  So…last night, I tried one bite of it, and just knew I wouldn’t be able to choke it down.  And that’s okay, I just opted for the supplement and thus completed my dinner.

I don’t like Monday Mornings

It is Monday again and that means a blood draw.  I hate this part of Monday.  It means that I have to hustle and make sure I get weights and vitals done right when they start (not that I don’t always get them done first thing) and then drink as much water as I can, so that I am super-hydrated and my veins will be easier to find and skewer.  I can’t hydrate more slowly because drinking before being weighed is a no-no. Unfortunately, the rapid consumption of lots of water makes me feel kind of sick, and then by the time breakfast comes, I feel kind of queasy.  It’s not really great.

And actually, speaking of breakfast, it is oatmeal day, which I also really dislike.  We have a set amount of time in which to eat breakfast and oatmeal day is really stressful because after we sit for breakfast they cook the oatmeal (it is instant oatmeal so they microwave it) which takes a while because they are cooking 10 oatmeals. Then I have to wait for my oatmeal to cool enough to eat it.  Plus, my oatmeal tastes like nothing.  It is gluten free and has no flavor what-so-ever.  And I don’t think it has anything in it for a sweetener.  It’s kind of like eating paste.  Mac said I can put some spices in it to help with the flavor, but I think it is just going to end up tasting like spiced paste.

I am not looking forward to the next couple of hours.

Things That Feed My Spirit, Social Dynamics

Things That Feed My Spirit

I actually had a good day yesterday.  It’s true.  Partly it’s because Meg has been gone since Wednesday.  I am not happy that she is gone, as a matter of fact, I am pretty unsettled by it but it is the weekend so I wouldn’t see her anyway and tomorrow is Monday and we can return to our normal schedule.

The ‘partly’ part though, that’s because with the break from the trauma work, I have stopped spinning out of control and I feel balanced again.  Trauma work exacerbates everything, ED symptoms, self-harm urges, suicidal ideation….It makes it all hard to manage.  Of course, that is how I got here…So I can do the trauma work with the support that I need to stay safe.

But I have digressed.  Yesterday was a good day because I basically go to do art ALL day.   I haven’t done anything that feeds my spirit since I got here.  And without using my creative energy, I have been pretty lost.  But yesterday, we had open art and I started a project that encompasses 3 of my assignments.  I am quite happy with how it is coming out and will put it on the blog when it is done.  The other art project we did was in group and we were handed stacks of magazines and told to put together collages about who we are outside of our eating disorder.  My collage took its own spin and ended up being much more about my spiritual side than anything else.  And it reflected all that I am lacking and missing here in that respect.  I get my spirituality and comfort by being outside and walking around (not exercise-wise) and seeing nature…Wait…I wrote an assignment that touches on it,  lemme find it and post it.

What Do I Envision a Healthy Relationship with Exercise to Look like?

What is keeping me stuck/preventing me from achieving balance in my ED?

Right now, I use exercise as punishment, a weight loss tool, a way to achieve a “high” and occasionally I exercise just because I like it…Meaning without an ulterior motive.

My two main forms of exercise are yoga and walking.  I have 1:1 yoga sessions at studio near my home.  It is amazingly beautiful there, overlooking the north face of the mountain, with a spring fed pond beside the studio and flowers and trees or snow and ice…No matter what the season it is gorgeous there.  My instructor is gently supportive and though it took me a long time to be comfortable with her (because I am so uncomfortable in my body) I really find the yoga to be restorative and soothing.  It never fails that no matter how depressed or anxious or tired I am when I go to yoga, I walk out feeling calmer, more balanced and relaxed.  It just has a magical power.

That relationship with yoga where I always leave feeling better than when I started is what I would like my relationship with walking to be like.  I love being outside…And by saying I love it, I am truly understating the importance of it.  I find being outside refreshing, restorative and centering.  I am an observer by nature and soak in all that surrounds me when I am outside, trees, leaves, slug trails, red efts, the sky, insects, flowers, duckweed…I just take it all in and it feeds my mind and soul.  I also am very in touch with the smells and sounds when I am outside, cut grass, snow in the air, pungent skunk, soft fluttery floral scents from wildflowers in the fields, brush crunching as deer run into the woods, birds calling, the wind rustling leaves, tree trunks rubbing together and squeaking.

Plus there is the feel of being outdoors, the rain on my face, the crisp cool morning air and the biting winter air.  My favorite is when it is crisp and cold and I can feel it on my cheeks…not quite cold enough to feel uncomfortable, but cold enough to remind me that I am alive and that the world is vibrant around me.

I get to soak all of this in when I am walking.  Every little bit of it is important to me.  Maybe it sounds kind of hokey, but being outside in nature is my Zen.  I love, love, love it.

But….I see and feel almost none of this when I am in amped-up over-exercise mode.  In that mode, I lose all of the soothing/calming/restorative aspect of being outside.  And when I am in exercise-as-punishment mode, it is all lost.

I would like to be able to walk for the fitness and physical-well-being aspect of it to keep my heart and lungs healthy, to have strong muscles and to keep my body at a healthy weight for me.  I also know that I get significant psychological benefits from exercise, helping manage my depression, stimulating my cognition and giving me a chance to roll thoughts over in my mind.

I know I mentioned keeping my body at a healthy weight and I don’t want that statement to send up red flags.  I would like to be able to not over-exercise in an obsessive pursuit of weight loss, I would like to exercise to support what weight is good for me.  This would be reflected in having moderation with exercise either in frequency or duration.  Or increasing calorie intake to support my body for the level of exercise I am doing.

My exercise ideal sounds wonderful.  Exercising for health, pleasure and renewal.  It’s practically too good to be true.

I can see this healthy relationship with exercise in my head…But when it comes down to brass tacks, I don’t trust myself to do it.  I am totally stuck in the ED compulsive exercise mode.  I actually knew this would be an issue when I was discharged from my previous res treatment and I actually delayed starting exercising again and I even started with “supervised” walks (by my choice to keep me on track).  But once on my own, I quickly got sucked into exercise as a way to ‘negate’ the calories I was eating in my meal plan.  I just couldn’t get past the ED thinking.  And that same thinking turned the exercise into a compulsion.  I couldn’t not exercise. I got all wrapped up in calories in/calories out.  I understand this is ED thinking and related to poor body image and self-esteem and body shame…But that didn’t really ease the compulsion part.

I guess the real reason I am stuck in my ED exercise thinking is because I hate myself and my body.  Which is a result of injury/trauma to my four-year-old child part and then subsequent re-injury to other parts.  And the only solution to that is to work with those parts, ask them to step aside so that I can try to find Self and make decisions from the Self perspective rather than the distracting Parts.

I think that does a good job of explaining what I get from being outside.  And here at Hilltop, we are not allowed to exercise.  Eventually, we get approval to do so, but it’s yoga and NIA and not outside.  All I want is some time outside where I can walk around the driveway a little bit and have some time a little bit with just me and nature.

I don’t remember if I blogged this, but after my last nutrition appointment, I did float the idea of mini walks by the Dietician.  She said we could talk about it more (maybe I did blog this, it sounds familiar).  I wonder if I show her my collage and read her the above assignment (she was the one who assigned it) that she will understand more my reason.  She did say she wanted to talk to me about why I didn’t want to do yoga or NIA.  I told her because that isn’t what I want.  I guess the truth is that it isn’t what I need.  Yes, yoga fulfills some of my needs, but it is not the same as being outside.

 Social Dynamics

I have been struggling over my reaction to the two new admits and how I perceive the difference in the vibe around here…..And I thought it was just me being socially challenged and I have been frustrated with myself for not being more flexible.  Yesterday, I learned that it is not just me.  After one of our meals, I walked into a conversation where one of my peers was expressing how upset she is about the new dynamic and the other people in the conversation agreed.  As a matter of fact, I think I have now heard 6 other people say (which makes 7 out of the ten) that they are really uncomfortable with the dynamic (Being an observer has its advantages, I can hear everything without necessarily being dragged into the muck of things).  The new women are “colluding” (a term they use here when people are feeding each other’s EDs) and it can triggering and it is disturbing and just plain annoying.  I should clarify, that this is all about these women’s process and where they are in their process and I don’t judge them because of it, ED recovery stinks and I have my own process and barriers…I really try not to judge anyone here.  But we are not in a vacuum here and we are on top of each other pretty much 24/7, so it is almost impossible to get space from new “feel” of the group.

Tomorrow, we have our ED process group and on Mondays, it is always a check-in group.  We will see if anyone has the courage to speak up about the new dynamic.

And lastly, as posting that assignment has turned this into an epic blog…Polly.  I kind of gave myself some space from Polly after she moved from the table, but I am over the surprise and feeling sad, so we are back on track.  I spent a long time talking with her last evening, just kind of chatting.  Of course, it wasn’t about anything not-ED related (I hate that seems like it’s the only thing I have in common with folks here) but it was nice to chat anyway as our conversation varied between light and serious but was relaxed and a nice way to end a nice day.  Actually, I even hung around for evening snack before going to be (which I usually don’t do because I don’t have an evening snack) and chit-chatted pleasantly at the table with folks.  It’s times like that that I can see ghosts of my old self and the person I would like to be again.

Moving Slowly

Today is one of those days…Like I really am surprised I even bothered to get out of bed.  I am drained and don’t feel like putting up the fight today.  As it is, I delayed getting up by an hour and a half.  But the Big Dog and Little Dog expect their morning walk (which is now about an hour late) and so I am at least making an effort to function.  Honestly, they may not actually get their walk…But I am not sure hiding in my bed all day is the best solution for my brain.

Plus of course, I have my Appointment of Shame (Nutritionist) this morning and then therapy this afternoon.  I would be more than happy to skip this morning’s appointment, but I do want to go to therapy.

 

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.

Easy Come, Easy Go

And then my mood drops like a rock.

Last night I had nightmares.  One of them jolted me awake and I tried to keep my eyes open so that I wouldn’t fall back asleep and slide into the same nightmare.  The nightmare was about trying to keep bad guys out of my house and trying to close the windows and lock them, but of course they wouldn’t close. And there was stuff about the bad guys and my dogs getting loose and all sorts of weird and scary things happening.(This is the one that really jolted me awake.)  Another nightmare involved hanging onto rocks that were absolutely vertical, but craggy and right above some really deep and murky water.  I was terrified of falling in the water and I was clinging to the rocks and couldn’t move.  The dream transitioned to me on top of the rocks on the sandy beach and I knocked over a guy’s motorcycle, which made him really mad and he chased me.  I ran into buildings and tried hiding and then ran into some place with piles of clothes and blankets on the floor. I was going to try to hide under them, but suddenly my dog was with me and I couldn’t get us both covered in time.  There was no resolution, the dream sort of ended with the menace of being found.

Another nightmare was much more scattered and included a part about me helping a woman with her babies.  I was washing them in a sink because she didn’t know how to.  I couldn’t get the water warm enough and it was spilling and sloshing over the edges of the sink.  The littler baby slid under the water and I didn’t notice right away, I pulled him up and he sputtered a bit, but was okay.  Then I was drying them off  and dressing them and handed the little one to his mom and while I did that the bigger baby pooped, but was diaperless because I hadn’t gotten to dressing him yet. And he was playing in his poop and just covered in it. So, I had to bathe him again, but the water still wouldn’t get warm enough.  At this point, I had a huge mess of water and poop and towels around the sink and on the floor.  I had to take the baby back to his mom, who at that point was somewhere else….Which meant I had to leave the mess and I knew I was going to get in big trouble for leaving the mess. I tried explaining (not sure to who) that I would be back to clean it up…But I was terrified of getting in trouble.

Lovely, eh?  And baby dreams….I haven’t had “save the baby” dreams (in this dream, educating their mom how to bathe them was saving them, as well as keeping the little baby from drowning) in a really long time. It was one of my constant nightmare themes for years.  What is going on in my brain?

When I woke up this morning, my thoughts went pretty much immediately to suicidal ideation, urges to self-harm and intense self-loathing and shame.  Looks like everything is back to normal in my world.

And this is why I never count on my good mood lasting.  Because it never does.

Today, I see the nutritionist.  After the weekend I just had, I would rather crawl under a rock than go see her.  And then in the afternoon, I see the AT.  I am not sure I am up to emotional upheaval today….Or I suppose, I already have the emotional upheaval, I just don’t want to deal with it or really deal with anything today.

FML

 

 

Quadruple

You know about those triple-decker appointment days?  Today was a quadruple-decker appointment day.  I started at 12:30 and by 4:00 I has seen everybody on Team Heidi.  <phew>  I am tired!

Highlights?

  • Nutrition:  We discussed Invisible Restricting (as described in that blog a few days ago.) Plus over-exercising.  Evidently, hour long walks on hilly terrain is too much exercise for my calorie intake  Then when you add 1 1/2 hours of heavy yard work after the walk…Well…then that is way too much.  Of course, I am good with it…But the Nutritionist? Not so much.  Her solution?  Either limit my exercise to 45 mins a day. Or increase my meal plan.  Ummm…..No, increasing the meal plan is not gonna happen. I think that falls under, “Ways to give Heidi a nervous breakdown.”  And limiting exercise?  Welllll……Let’s just say, we’ll see about that.  I like negating my calories by exercising.  Why would I want to change it?
  • Primary Physician:  Was pleased to see me in better spirits this week.  Of course, I am pretty pleased to see me in better spirits too!  Also, Thursdays are my weigh-in day.  And you know what I figured out?  If I want to know my weight, all I would have to do is watch the nurse type it in.  This thought dawned on me as she sat down to enter it into the computer. And I quickly looked away.  Somehow, as desperately as I want to know how much I weigh, I am also really afraid because I might have gained weight.  And I know this is potentially an irrational fear….But, it is what my ED tries to tell me, that I have gained weight and therefore need to restrict it away.  Of course, knowing that I have lost weight is a trap too because my ED will be sooo excited and want more.  I guess not knowing is the safest thing for me right now, even if it does lead to obsessive fits of wanting to know my weight.  Overall, the appointment was good.  My doctor was thoughtful and empathetic and and we talked about the blog (she had mentioned it a couple of times recently) and I asked if she wanted to look at it and she does.  So, now enters another member of Team Heidi into the crazy, complicated and uncensored version of what is in my brain.  In for a penny, in for a pound…..
  • PNP:  For some reason my PNP concurs with the Nutritionist about the over-exercising.  Go figure!  And she spent a lot of time trying to appeal to my logical side. And I spent a lot of time trying to say that I am good with the calorie imbalance I have created.  And she tried to point out the long-term implications of restricting and I ….Well, I don’t really know.  Thus is the ED conundrum.  Restrict and control and feel good at the expense of my health.  Or don’t restrict, be out of control and maintain my health.  See…when I type it, it seems a bit simpler, health is good.  But then…Restricting is so appealing too. And around and around it goes in my head.
  • Art Therapy:  Have I ever mentioned that I hate feeling things? And really, feelings themselves kind of suck! (And come to think of it, feelings came up with my doctor today too…It’s like feelings are important or something!)  The feelings part of the  AT appointment, I will save for tomorrow’s blog.  Aside from feelings we looked at some art I had done since my last appointment. And then we looked a bit more at some of my art from Art Therapy at Renfrew.  Of course, it was one of those pieces of art that gave me a little emotional melt-down. <sigh>  Everything is so hard.  I wonder what it would be like to have an uncomplicated life…Well, it’s probably not worth thinking about, I am pretty sure I drew a short straw when it came to having a “normal” life.  Pining for one will only lead to disappointment.

 

The Same

I am not really sure what to post that will be new and different….I am definitely in a rut right now.

Today is a triple-decker-appointment day.  I start with my physician (and that means a weigh-in), then the Nutritionist and then the AT.

The AT is going on vacation tomorrow and won’t be back until after Memorial Day.  I am going to be really lost without the routine and support of the AT.  I am barely holding myself together now, I don’t know how I will manage the next ten days.  Honestly, I am afraid, really afraid of how I will manage myself while he is gone.

And speaking of therapy, after Tuesday’s awkward session (where I inadvertently over-shared), and the shame I felt/feel, I am feeling kind of anxious about today’s session.  I don’t know if I can even look at the AT.  I just kind of feel sick about it.

I suppose if I have three appointments today, I will actually have to make myself presentable by showering and changing out of pajamas.  I’ve kind of been slacking lately…It’s just hard when I just don’t care.  But, I know that clinicians look at appearance, so I need to pull myself together and at least look like I am functioning.