Struggling So Much

I feel like a failure.

I am not going to make it to  yoga this morning.  Saturday morning yoga is my favorite part of my weekly routine and the class has my favorite instructor.  And I am not going to make it because I spent 45 minutes trying to will myself out of bed to shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and be ready to go….And I couldn’t do it.  And now, it is too late to get my shit together and go to yoga.

What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I shake this depression?  It is not helping me at all right now…Although I don’t think depression ever actually helps.  But really, it is impeding my recovery process.  I suppose it is a good sign that I still care, because when it gets to a point that I stop caring about recovery, then I will know the depression is out of control.

I didn’t struggle with the PTSD episodes last night.  Last evening, I went grocery shopping with a peer.  I didn’t have a good time.  Last time I went out with this peer, I didn’t have a good time.  I think I will stop doing things like that with her.  She just is always distracted, texting, doing her own thing.  I mean, that’s all fine, but if you are going to do something with someone, it would be nice to actually spend time together, iykwim.

We were out through dinner time, a tactical error for me.  She didn’t care because she isn’t eating right now. I cared.  By the time I got home, it was over two hours after I usually eat.  I was fascinated by the fact that I wasn’t actually hungry.  (When you mess up your body with an eating disorder, you mess up  your body’s ability to cue you about hunger.)  I did eat.  I made myself some quick mac n cheese and had tomatoes dipped in salad dressing.  I am guessing my friend went home and ate nothing.

After that, I video chatted with dh for a while.

I don’t know if it was the being with people, or chatting with dh, or change of routine, but the Friday night PTSD torture did not happen and I am sooo relieved.

But now, here I am, in the depression hole. I have self-harm urges, passive suicidal ideation, emotional pain and no energy for initiation of anything.  I haven’t even gotten out of bed to pee.  And…now, I am going to miss yoga.  F.A.I.L.U.R.E.

I have spent some time this morning, as I have been trying to will myself out of bed, asking myself why I feel so depressed, why I feel like self-harming, why I feel suicidal ideation.  What purpose is this serving me right now?  I can’t come up with much.  The last two days of programming this week were kind of tough.  Yesterday, I did that me-in-the-group check in.  I also checked in about the use of eating disorder behaviors I have had this week.  That was hard…and didn’t really make me feel better.  We had a really hard discussion in our sexuality group on Thurs about trauma effects on sex and masturbation.  I shared something I had written about it on my trauma timeline, which was really hard to do.  (And despite my shame about what I had written…I had several peers thank me both during and after group for my candor and putting words to a hard topic and opening it up for people to talk about it.  Because as ashamed and embarrassed as I felt, I was in a roomful of people who had the same experiences and felt the same way.)  Sharing that probably pushed me farther into trauma stuff than I should have gone.

I don’t know…I feel scrambled as I am blogging…and there is so much more that I want to say, but I feel like I am not making much sense and this post is going to get too long if I say it all.  Wait…this is a time for bullet points.

  • I am still reeling from my therapist saying I probably need to be here another 8ish weeks.
  • I am concerned about our finances and how we will afford to keep me here that long.
  • My anxiety therapist did the Y BOCS II with me yesterday (an OCD assessment) and I scored really high…I am still trying to process what that means for me.
  • I think my PNP is worried about my depression.
  • I am supposed to go meet with peers at Starbucks this morning and I don’t want to go
  • I have started to lose my boundaries with the peer that I wanted to keep distance from because our relationship is unhealthy.
  • I am furious at my friend who is not eating.  I am trying really hard to be compassionate, but why does she get to not eat?  And why does she smirk and look pleased every time someone asks her about it/confronts her about it/or clinicians talk about it?  And is she just trying to kill herself? Is it attention getting behavior?  And when she restricts at our group meals, why aren’t they following their protocol about it?  WTF.  Everything about it makes me mad. Which probably means I need to just ignore it so it doesn’t interfere with my process.
  • My PNP really wants me to do something “sweet,” as in finding something I enjoy for self-care and lifting my mood some.  I don’t feel like I enjoy anything.  How can I find something “sweet”?

Okay…now I know I am rambling. I am going to drag myself out of bed and take a shower, take my meds, get dressed, eat breakfast and try not to crawl back into bed.

Actually, I think I can hear water running which means the woman I live with is showering.  It gives me an excuse to just stay in bed for a while longer.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

To Be Invisible

Yesterday, I was on social anxiety overload.  We took ds shopping for his birthday downstate to a specialty shop that also had a cafe.  Because it is a holiday weekend and because the specialty shop is well-known and right off the highway, it was pretty busy.  The store itself was tolerable, if a bit overstimulating in terms of products and lay out.  But the cafe was hopping and it was loud and crowded and had food….And I was anxious.  While waiting for our food, I finally told dh and ds that we needed to find a place in the outside seating to eat.  Which we did and it made things much better for me.

Then in a lapse of, “I can handle it.”  We decided to go to another destination store.  It was really crowded and busy and by design, crammed full of products, floor to ceiling and table after table, think of the way an old country store would be crammed full of stuff.  Yup, it was pretty much a visual assault.  And it was crawling with people.  By the time we left, I was fried!

There was a woman in the second store who was just emaciated.  I passed her several times and had to work hard not to stare at her.  Although there are many reasons she could have been that emaciated, I assumed it was anorexia.  And I looked at her and sort of pondered…The both of us have the same eating disorder.  Clearly, her eating disorder is winning the battle.  My eating disorder is putting up a huge fight and is certainly in control of me  My PNP asked me the other day if I had a weight goal, a number or something that would be when I decided that I could stop losing weight (it was one of those questions meant to get me to think).  I didn’t have an answer.  Do I want to be like that woman in the store?  Where every bone is defined on my body?  Do I want to be a half-step from just withering to nothing and being swept away by the wind?  What do I want?

I wonder if people with anorexia are invisible.  When you are fat, you are invisible.  The bigger you are, the more invisible you are.  I know it seems like a contradiction, but people ignore fat people.  Men ignore fat women, women avert their eyes, no one sees you.

That emaciated woman….Was she invisible too?  I saw her.  But at the moment, my ED is wiring me to see such things.  But other people…I doubt anyone was going to see her and feel like she was healthy.  I probably wasn’t the only person who wanted to stare and yet knew it would be the wrong thing to do.  I guess if you look sick enough, you become invisible too.

So, do I want to lose enough weight to become invisible again?  Is this what my PNP is getting at? (Or as she asked me recently, am I trying to lose enough weight to kill myself?)

I don’t have answers to these questions, only some ponderings and then more questions.

What does it mean to be invisible?

 

This And That And The Other Thing

This

So, every morning and every evening I have Check-Ins with my PNP via texts.  It helps to keep me on track (and even though I fall off track regularly, the accountability does help) and it is part of my safety contract with her, so I do it.

Here in an example of what I would write for today:

Met breakfast exchanges. No food journal. Yes meds.  Lots of body checking already.  

No Self Harm urges or Suicidal Ideation yet. 

Won’t be alone today.  

Am safe.

Have plans to head down to [specialty shop] today for ds’s birthday.  Will have lunch there.

Will check in this evening as per routine.

And good morning! 🙂

This accountability thing has now turned into triple safety contracts.  Yesterday, my doctor gave me a contract too.  <sigh>  That’s what I get for admitting contracts help keep me safe(r).  I also find myself under huge pressure from the contracts…I feel like the only thing I have left in the world is my integrity and every time I fuck up a contract, I put a stain on my integrity.  It kind of leads to a cycle of shame and self-blame….But I have that shame/blame about pretty much everything…So, whatever.  Plus, as I said, the contracts to help keep me on track.  So, shame/blame or not, they are worth having.

That

Yesterday, the AT pointed out that I am attached to him.  This observation was really threatening for me because I thought it was going to cause him to suggest and/or implement some distancing.  He tried to reassure me that my attachment is about trust and it is okay…But I really felt like there is something wrong…That having an attachment is a bad thing.  It kind of unglued me.

Later on, I got to thinking about it more.  Here’s what is starting to come together in my brain.

  • Being attached to people is risky because it means I care about them and the relationship and usually that puts me in danger of being hurt.
  • Pointing out attachment  makes me panicky because I fear being abandoned.  Ignoring the attachment is safer.
  • Attachment makes me feel super vulnerable.
  • Attachment has not always gone well for me in the past.
  • People I have been attached to have hurt me.
  • Attachment means I am emotionally clingy.
  • Attachment is a weakness on my part.
  • When I feel attached, I let my guard down and am at risk.

I dunno.  There is a lot there about not wanting to be hurt and not allowing myself to be vulnerable to avoid hurt.  And not wanting to need other people…

I also realize that my issues with attachment are part of the colliding of times, the then/now paradox.  Then, attachments led to violations.  Now, attachments are building healthy relationships/relationship skills.

The Other Thing

Wednesday, I found out that the new facility has accepted me for admission at the residential level.  This is good and I am relieved that I can get more support and will be closely supervised (as in 24/7 to) to keep me safe.  Especially because as I work on hard stuff at the facility, my ability to be safe will be really challenged.

I don’t have an admission date yet.  I need to do the pre-admission medical stuff, for which I have an appointment scheduled late Tuesday afternoon.  I get the impression that once all the medical and insurance ducks are all in a row, the admission date will come quickly and with relatively short notice.  My goal for this weekend is to get all my stuff organized and set out so I am ready to throw in my t in a suitcase.

Oh…And this new place is far enough away that I will have to fly.  And since we are so strapped financially right now (since I haven’t been working for months and months) I am going to have to fly out alone.  😦   I haven’t been on a plane in over 25 years.  I am not afraid of flying, but I am anxious about the travel stuff and new airports and figuring out stuff.  I am capable of doing it, but I just wish I was more familiar with the process.

 

Next Steps

It looks like I am going to be getting the help that I need. My team has been collaborating as to what will be best for me. At this point consensus (and this includes my opinion too!) is that I am in need of residential treatment again, this time to address the trauma and the eating disorder.  While frustrating for me because I want to do everything by myself, or at least with the help of Team Heidi, the relief I feel is significant.  My thoughts and actions have been disturbing to me…Well…at times just plain scary to me.  And I cannot pull myself together.  Getting intensive treatment will help keep me safe and give me a solid foundation to continue recovery work (both trauma and eating disorder) at home.

I do get really mad at myself though.  I tried to ask the AT about this yesterday…Like how come I am such a wreck?  My sexual abuse should not be such a big deal.  It should not have shaped me into this devolving mess.  I should not be struggling with it some 40 years later.  What is wrong with me?

I guess I want to minimize what happened.  If I can convince myself it wasn’t a big deal, then I don’t have to address it. And maybe all my symptoms will go away.  But denial and minimizing across the decades is exactly what got me here.  If I don’t address it, will I even make it until another birthday?  How long can I deal with all of this before I hit the end of my rope?

Luckily, I wont have to find out since I am going to be getting more intensive help.

So, the where and when of the treatment is still up in the air.  I am researching a handful of places and my PNP will be calling them soon.  I am sure the goal is to get me in ASAP, so I don’t lose my shit in the mean time.

I don’t want to be too hopeful about all of this, because hope just leads to disappointment. But relief…Yup.  I will admit to that.

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.