Thankful

I am not so much a “What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving” kind of person…But….What am I thankful for?

Okay…first of all, I am thankful for myself and the fact that I am even alive right now.  I did not kill myself this year.  I survived the worst points of my eating disorder.  My Hilltop dietitian pointed out to me recently that before I went into treatment in March (at the other facility) I was not eating enough to sustain life.  She pointed out our bodies are resilient and do anything to stay alive, but that the cost is high.  I am thankful that despite hitting some ultra-lows with my depression that I did not kill myself.  Yes, I am just plain thankful that I am alive to write this blog post.

I am thankful to dh for his unwavering support, for keeping our household running, for missing me every day but never asking me to come home, for telling me that as long as it takes and whatever I need, we will make it work so that I can get better.  And I am thankful for his unconditional love.

I am thankful for ds who has been willing to pick up slack at home and step into a role of much responsibility.  I am also thankful for his love and support and flexibility with me being gone.  And I am thankful he is doing it all while juggling a job and a full semester.  He is an amazing kid…errr…man.

I am thankful for my friends,

  • Donna who has kept me in her thoughts and prayers and has kept me in a steady stream of postcards and notes and love.
  • SS for taking good care of my special little friends and for supporting and encouraging me.
  • A., who was invaluable at keeping me in one piece all spring and summer.
  • L., who has been a loving and supportive friend.

I am thankful for my treatment friends who are constantly supporting me, loving me and deeply understanding my pain and how hard it is to heal.  And who remind me that I am worth recovery.

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And I am thankful for Team Heidi. Really, I cannot thank them enough for their support which has gone above and beyond anything I ever expected.  Team Heidi held me up when I had nothing left to keep myself up. Team Heidi kept me safe with persistence and commitment.  And Team Heidi gave me the support to pack myself up and travel across the country for treatment.

I am thankful for Hilltop Team Heidi.  The support of this team has helped me learn things about myself that I never knew and showed me I have strength I didn’t know I have.  Trauma work is a bitch, and I have had multiple teams here that I have trusted enough to do the work and keep focused on my recovery.  And even though I am one of many people they treat each year, I feel like they actually care about me.

I am thankful for the first treatment center I went to this year, for re-feeding me and getting me medically stable.

I am thankful for the woman who took me into her home and lets me stay here for very little “rent” thus helping me be able to stay for treatment as long as I need to.  I also appreciate her kindness and companionship.

I am thankful for the UU I found and the support of my Pastoral Care person (whose house I am going to for dinner today.)  It is so nice to be taken in by strangers and treated like I am an old friend.

I am thankful for the little things.

  • This puppy, that makes me absolutely crazy and that give me much joy.
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  • The little magical bits of nature I find:
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Oh! And I am really thankful for finding my way into a yoga studio where I feel safe and cared about and supported with trauma sensitive instructors and financial accommodations.

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Truly, my list could go on and on.  I have much to be thankful for this year.

Now…If I can get myself out of my anxiety and mood funk, which is still following me like sticky dark shadow, I might be able to make it through today without falling apart.  However, I am still really struggling and I am not looking forward to going to programming today (Yes, we have programming on Thanksgiving day) and I am anxious about the dinner I am going to later because I really won’t know anyone there.  But I will try, just for today, to cut myself some slack.  And if that’s too much, then I will just try 5 minutes of grace at a time.  And if that doesn’t work….well…I can only do the best that I can do.

Wrapping Things Up

What do you do with yourself when you are leaving in 48 hours and will be gone for weeks?

  • Pull out all the perishable gluten free food (not that there is much less, as I had bought lightly last week as Friday was a possible departure date ) so it gets consumed and not wasted.
  • Waffle some more about clothing packed….The grey and white striped t-shirt or the soft teal and grey striped t-shirt? One more pair of capris or not?
  • Double check stationary and stamps and addresses.
  • Soak up time with the family.
  • Finish outdoor chores (though with the steady rain today, that may be limited).
  • Sign-up for automatic checking account withdrawal for the fuel oil company so mailing that bill is one less thing to worry about.  This also officially makes all of our bills, except the mortgage, electronically paid.
  • Think of 100 things I wish I had said to/discussed with the the AT in the past couple of weeks.
  • Re-inventory packed items.
  • Decide what I am going to wear on travel/admission day.
  • Wash my stuffed rabbits so they are fresh and clean to take with me.
  • Snuggle dh.
  • Make a couple of last phone calls to family and friends and/or text friends.
  • Decide at the last minute that I need, “just one more thing” to take with me.

You get the idea….

I was texting my PNP last night about going to treatment.  I told her that I am good with going.  I really am, but it will be harder this time around to leave home and family and my home treatment team.  This is partly because I am not as sick, so I struggle a bit with whether or not I actually need the ED treatment (but I know I do…and I really need the trauma stabilization).  And because I like the security and comfort of what I know…my familiar world.

But, I know that I need to go and I do so in a very different place in terms of my physical and cognitive self than when I went to Renfrew.  This is to my advantage. It means I can think clearly enough to really engage in the psych work. My body is not being consumed by intense physical healing, which allows for energy to be distributed emotionally and cognitively.  I will have fewer distractions from the therapy work.

At this point, I am less worried about the travel.  Leaving here will be easy as we have a small (very small) airport and navigating it is straightforward. Though I have not flown out of our airport in decades, I have dropped off dh often enough that it is familiar and safe feeling.  My lay-over airport is in Atlanta.  I have had lots of coaching from my e-friend, Donna, about that airport and general flying/TSA kind of stuff.  That has helped ease my anxiety.  And dh will give me a run-down too of what to expect.  I also scheduled a flight with a longer lay-over so that I am not scrambling to go from one gate to another.  I have time to figure things out, not panic and do what I need to do.  Or more to the point, I have time to fuck it up, get lost, get confused, cry a little if I need to and still make my connecting flight.  However, I don’t anticipate the second scenario…But it is good to not have the time pressure.

I also have a full awareness that my anxiety about the travel will be much worse than the actual travel.  That’s how anxiety works…gets me all worked up and stressed over things I can actually handle.  So, with all this awareness, I can say, “Yes, I am nervous and anxious about traveling, but I am fully capable of doing it and have made allowances for myself to not feel rushed and overwhelmed.”

Now….I think I need to pluck Kaloo and Tooloo out of bed and send them off for a bath.  Did I ever mention that dh (good-naturedly) fusses at me about the stuffed rabbits in the bed? <giggle>  He calls them “Cabbage Rats.”  And yet, every time he makes the bed, he tucks my bunnies right against my pillow with the covers tucked up to their chins.  ❤  I bet he will miss them when I am gone!  He might even miss me! 😉

Kaloo is green, Tooloo is pink.

kaloo Tooloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reunion and Food and More Dresses

Reunion

It has been a crazy-busy kind of weekend with definite goods and bads.

Reunion was great.  Getting to see my alumni friends was the highlight. There were lots of hugs and smiles and laughter.  But the friend part of reunion was far too short.  I think they should end reunion with an open social, so you can just stay and hang out with friends for a while…It is friends who give me the real support and strength and motivation.

The programming for reunion was okay. They had a couple of interesting speakers and then a morning workshop, lunch and an afternoon workshop.  The workshops were not as inspiring as I had hoped for.  The morning one was dominated by three women who just dumped their life stories and issues on the group and just never stopped talking.  Even with the facilitators trying to get the women to let other people speak, it didn’t happened.  I could barely get a word in edge-wise, and really, that says a ton. So…that group was kind of disappointing.  The afternoon group was better.  It was kind of helpful, but not what I had hoped for.  However, I did make a connection with a woman who had “graduated” form the program in 2014 and had some really nice perspective about recovery.  That was great!

My friend, Biebs was unable to attend. However, I texted her highlights during the whole day.  It also worked as a way for me to record salient points.  Here are things that struck me as meaningful.

  • Courageously approach your emotions
  • I can do hard things and I am not alone
  • Through connecting with others and strengthening your relationships, you learn to connect with yourself
  • What does it mean to give Grace to yourself?
  • Give yourself Grace..That Grace for yourself that allows you to say, “I need help.” and ask for that help
  • How to move forward through trauma? A lot of help. A lot of support, a lot of therapy.  A therapist that specializes in trauma.
  • Repeated residential admissions treatment helps refine recovery
  • How much am I ruminating on my eating disorder thoughts and how does that effect my day?
  • Make recovery a priority and fit other things around it
  • Recovery is a full-time job and that’s okay

I am glad that we came down for the reunion and I will definitely plan to attend next year’s.  It may not have been exactly what I was hoping for, but it was important to me that I attend.

Food

So….here’s the downfall of the weekend: Food. And I am super anxious about this because I know that Team Heidi is going to be all over me about this.  <sigh>  I try to do things right, but some things this weekend were just out of my control.

The first food disaster happened when we were driving down on Friday.  I was driving and I had a headache and felt kind of over-tired.  I figured I was just over-tired as the past few days had been busy. But as I was driving I felt progressively worse and my stomach started to feel really tense.  And then about 2.5 hours into the trip, I had to vomit.  I pulled the car over to the side of the road and immediately threw up.  Did this deter my plans of going to reunion? No way!!  But the whole rest of the trip (dh took over driving after I threw up) was me trying to sleep (which didn’t work) and trying not to throw up again.  It was a looong 7 hours.  I ate nothing for all that time. Once we got to the hotel, I felt a little better and after a while managed to lightly eat.

Breakfast yesterday morning was also really light as my stomach was still not happy.  It was nothing like Friday, but it was not interested in food.  However, by lunchtime, I was feeling much better and at that point I was even feeling hungry.  Lunch was provided at the reunion….And….There was nothing gluten free except the fruit salad.  They had hamburgers and tuna sandwiches and pasta salad and fruit salad and cookies. And since I eat vegetarian, it wasn’t like I could dissect a sandwich to just eat part of it.  So, I was screwed.  Dh offered to take me some place for lunch, but finding places that meet my gluten free/vegetarian needs usually involves some internet research and often a phone call to clarify a restaurants menu….Spontaneous restaurant meals are nearly impossible.  So, my lunch consisted of fruit salad and Gatorade.

When we had dinner, I tried to pack in extra exchanges, but it didn’t really work. There is only so much I can fit in my stomach.  I couldn’t even eat all the food I had ordered…not that I even ordered a ton of food…I just couldn’t eat it all.  I did the best I could, but between Friday and Saturday, I missed the equivalent of a whole day’s worth of food. I am okay with it (of course!) but I have to face the Team and they will be less okay with it.  I already got push-back from my PNP about it. <sigh>

More Dresses

So, I was super excited because there is a mall here in Philly that has a bricks and mortar store of the place where I bought my blue dress.  It was on my list of things to do and dh and I went last night.  It was soo much fun!  I tried on sundresses, fancy dresses, light and airy summer tops..  Dh was wonderfully patient while I experimented with different styles and colors.  Honestly, pretty much everything looked really nice on me.  I didn’t love anything enough to buy…Well, maybe I did…I really liked a particular sundress, but could not figure out how to manage the dress straps and a bra. And no…going bra-less is not an option!  But still, the whole experience was fun and positive.

But…I left the store feeling something.  I am not sure what. (It’s that damn inability to label feelings again!)  I felt sort of empty and sad?  I just don’t know…Maybe it was because everything I tried on was feminine and that is scary for me?  And I liked the feminine even though it makes me feel vulnerable?  Maybe I didn’t feel worth having nice dresses?  Maybe it is too much of a shift too fast to be trying on so many things?  I don’t know…I just felt hollow and confused and sad.  But…I still feel good about the shopping experience, so that is even more confusing!

Sometimes, I wish I did a better job of understanding and expressing my feelings!

 

 

Consumed and March Journaling

Consumed

The truth is that I am a good faker.  Because for the most part, unless I have told you, you would not realize right now that I am being totally consumed my my depression and pulled to dark places that I have not been to in a long time.  Everyday is a struggle. Being alive is more painful than seems worth it.  I have to drag myself out of bed in the morning, I have no initiative to run errands and I am close to tears most of the time. And…while I have now described here a bit of what is going on, I cannot properly describe how badly and how hopeless I feel.  Luckily, I am on increased therapy and Team Heidi support right now, because I really, really need it.

However, even though life is pretty bleak at the moment, I have to report something awesome that happened yesterday.  Yesterday, Biebs and I finally connected via telephone and we talked for two hours.  Yup, two hours!  I have missed her so much! It was really good to connect.

And this morning, another Renfrew friend is supposed to give me a call. It is nice to keep my friendships going.  Especially now, when I am having such a difficult time.

March Journaling

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[This journal entry had a very dismal and graphic picture that I drew of my ED]

The ED has me tight in his grasp, but I am trying to reach myself so I can pull myself back to me. The ED is hurting me and is going to molest me and make me do things I don’t want to do. But I just can’t reach myself and pull me back to safety.

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Morning vitals/bloodwork are a challenge.  I can get up and usually around 4, and I stagger down, less awake than seems possible for actually being moving and thinking.  Of course my BP and HR continue to be off so I keep having to get Gatorade.

My bowels are a wreck and I am so, so, so uncomfortable.  Partly because the constipation protocol takes a few days.  But, I am on day 6 with only two tiny BMs and I am miserable.  Today, I am getting the 1, 2, 3 punch. Milk of magnesia, prune juice and Miralax (which I started yesterday).  The nurse, S, says I have hypoactive bowels.  Yup, I kinda knew that.  However she is kind and caring and I like her.  Bloodwork is a nightmare—can’t get blood from a stone, or from me!!!

Saw the psychiatrist yesterday.  It was good. He seems really nice, seems safe/trustable.  Funny thing though, he observed something that the AT had commented on recently, that I have a distancing way of interacting, keeping him a bit off balance and using humor. The psychiatrist says it is typical of trauma folks.

Speaking of trauma, I start the trauma track sessions today. I am both nervous and excited. I am ready to do the work.  Trauma track just meets 1x/week and you increase frequency as you progress through the sequence (3 levels).

 

Stressful and Knitting With L.

Stressful

I started with Art Therapy yesterday.  I did some painting, which felt really good. We talked about my eating and at the end of the appointment, I left with this summary of what we had covered.

  • My eating disorder is rampant right now
  • It is directly related to my sexual trauma
  • I don’t have any control over the eating disorder right now

As well as Art Therapy, I had an appointment with my Primary Physician yesterday.  My doctor’s appointment was pretty stressful. First of all, I had to share with her my therapy summary.  Then my doctor began talking more seriously about inpatient/residential treatment for my eating disorder (which I will admit has gotten more restrictive over time, especially in the past week or so)  She was going to call and consult with Team Heidi, namely the AT and my PNP.  I left the doctor’s office at about 10 and already had a call back from my PNP at 10:50, so evidently my doctor got right on her phone calls.  (Though I never connected with my PNP yesterday, I will do so today.)

I don’t know if my doctor got hold of the AT yet.

I left my doctor’s office nearly in tears.  The idea of inpatient/residential treatment is really stressful to me…For lots of reasons, but the  one that really scares me is that I would have to go far away to get such treatment.  As a matter of fact, what my doctor said she really wants for treatment for me is Intensive Outpatient (IOP) treatment.  That’s when you just do a day day program of several hours for treatment while still living at home.  The problem is, my state doesn’t have any eating disorder treatment centers.  None. Zip. Zero.  No place for IOP, no place for inpatient.  Thus, if I had to go for inpatient treatment, it would have to be some place far away.

My doctor did mention the hospital as an option, but not one that she is at all in favor of. She said she doesn’t think hospitals do a good job treating eating disorders.  As a matter of fact, I think (if it comes down to inpatient treatment) she is going to be somewhat fussy as to where I would go.  And I mean fussy in a good way….She acknowledged that for a couple of reasons (my age being one) it would really be important to find a place that would be prepared to work with me/a good fit for me.

The whole conversation had me kind of reeling.  However, my doctor is doing an amazing job working with me right now.  She is sooo understanding and supportive and genuine in her concern. It’s almost like I matter!

In the evening, I talked with dh about my appointment and the idea of inpatient treatment somewhere.  His response was basically, “Whatever it takes to get you better. We will make it work.”  He also asked me what I felt about the idea….But I didn’t have an answer.  I am soo lost about the eating disorder right now….I don’t know what the right thing is to do.

I don’t have very many options given the lack of resources in my state.  I already see the AT twice a week…Would it matter if I went three times a week? Would I get better faster? Would I be able to do harder work?  Would he even consider the possibility?  Other than increasing frequency with him, I don’t see any options for additional support.

It all boils down to this, and I know I have said it before….Will I be able to get my psych shit together (and thus put the eating disorder to rest or at least loosen the strangle-hold it has on me) before my body gives out?  And yesterday was a crappy body-day for me.  I felt really awful in the morning and then just crummy the rest of the day.  Today, so far, I just feel kind of crummy.

Knitting with L

The good thing about yesterday was that after my morning appointments, I went over to my friend, L’s house for a few hours and we knitted and chatted.  I really like L and enjoyed getting together with her.  We chatted a lot about my doctor appointment as well as about our kids and of course, about knitting. 🙂

I got a few more stripes done on the blanket square (I am still undecided about that new baby sweater, so I am ignoring it at the moment) but I was moving really slowly and my brain was not at all cooperating to be productive.  I also tried to repair a project her daughter had done that had a couple of places where she had dropped stitches.  Now, I have dropped many stitches in my years knitting and I know exactly how to ladder them up to the edge to be fixed.  But yesterday?  It was just baffling to me. I kept doing it wrong and then redoing it wrong and redoing it wrong.  I just could not get my brain to work and I could not get my problem solving skills kicked into gear to see what I was doing wrong. Eventually, I just gave up.

L, on the other hand, made some real progress with finishing a sweater she is making for her daughter.  It is gorgeous. The yarn she chose is beautiful, the pattern on the chest is beautiful…The whole thing is just gorgeous! She has been working on it for years and now all she has to do is set in the sleeves and seam them up.  She’s nearly done!

Today, I will knit some, but I have declared it a sewing day and I am going to start (and hopefully finish) the little dog’s coat.

 

 

How Few Is Too Few? and Knitting

How Few Is Too Few?

Some days my body complains a bit about the eating.  I suppose it’s possible that my recent calorie reduction has pushed my body a bit too far.  And I suppose losing just shy of 4lbs since Thursday might be a bit aggressive…At least, so says my body.

I am hoping after breakfast (which I will eat at about 6) I will feel a bit less shaky, tachycardic and weak and a bit more perky.  I am a little bit worried about that long flight of stairs at the AT’s office, at the moment, it seems like a mountain.  But again, I haven’t had breakfast yet, or my B vitamins and I haven’t kicked myself into high gear…Ummm….of course, I am not sure I have a high gear this morning.  <sigh>

This sucks. Everything about it sucks.  My body, my mind, my justifications, my skewed thinking, my denial….It is all a bit too much.

Okay….Next topic. (this is gonna be a short and sweet blog today…I have no energy for thinking or typing.)

Knitting

The green kimono sweater is finished. Buttons are on!  I did some 2 stitch I-cord and made loops to go over the buttons to fasten the sweater.  It is an experiment, as I am worried a wiggling baby might wiggle the loops off the buttons, but it’s worth a shot, right?

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And I have started my second blanket square and I have started a new sweater. However, I am not in love with the new sweater pattern…I am trying to decide if I will just frog it (rip it all out, “rip-it, rip-it”) and start over.

Doctor Appointment and Knitting

Doctor Appointment

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

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

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

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

Art Therapy

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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