I got a text last night from a peer that she is being discharged today.  I think I mentioned her a few days ago, and said that I was frustrated because she was re-engaging in ED behaviors. Well, she made herself sick enough that she needs a higher level of care and Hilltop wants her to go somewhere else.  I think this is probably a good choice on their part, because she has moved through the levels of the program twice this year already and now is back to needing residential care again.  Clearly, the program is not working for her right now.

I have really mixed feelings and also no feelings about her leaving.  I have gotten to know her pretty well and I have spent a lot of time with her.  I have both enjoyed her company and been driven crazy by her.  I will miss her companionship and support and I won’t miss her constant push-pull and attention seeking behaviors.  So those are the mixed feelings.  And as to no feelings; I will not cry when she leaves.  I am sooo burned out on feeling anything anymore when people leave…It’s just pointless.  I will hug her and say nice things and be hollow and emotionless.  I won’t feel and I won’t cry.

And when she goes, it will be pretty much the end of our relationship.  I will keep her as a facebook friend for a while and text her some, and eventually it will taper off and I will stop texting and unfriend her and after a longer while, I will delete her from my phone.  No…this is not some maladaptive grief process (that would be the not feeling/not crying I mentioned above).  This peer is a treatment friend, but not a recovery friend.  I am very particular about who I keep as recovery friends and so far, I only have two that I have kept and they are both from Renfrew.

What is a recovery friend?  It is someone who is interested in her own recovery.  And being interested in her own recovery means that she is interested in mine.  Rather than having our eating disorders collude, or feed off each other, they exist separately.  My recovery friends don’t even have to be in recovery.  As a-matter-of-fact, Beibs is not at all in recovery, and her ED may well kill her, but she wants to recover and is open and honest and thoughtful about her struggles.  What she needs more than anything is to come to Hilltop for treatment.  I truly think she could get the help she needs here.  But I digress.  She doesn’t hold my recovery back, she helps me move forward.  And the same is true of my other recovery friend.

Treatment friends? Are just that.  Friends I have while in treatment.  Treatment isn’t a vacuum, I need support and friendship here, but those friendships can stay within the confines of the programming.  I haven’t connected with anyone here who I plan on keeping as a recovery friend.  Wait!  That’s not true.  I can think of someone I will keep as a recovery friend….

Oooh…I just thought of something.  I was kind of thinking as I was typing, “Why have I not made any recovery friends here?” And I kind of scrolled through my Renfrew friends in my mind and I got to Sarah.  I think I know part of the reason that I don’t want to take the risk of recovery friends at Hilltop.

Okay.  I am not in the mood for dealing with Sarah right now, so I am just going to shut this down.  Fuck, Meg made such a big deal out of this when I came to Hilltop.  And she even brought it up when I transitioned to Kyla. What if she is right? I had this pushed way back into the recesses of my mind…I didn’t mean to dig it out again.

Ohhh…Fuck again!  I am not liking the connections I am making.  Since I am on the tail end of the program here and so is everyone else in IOP, what if I am struggling staying connected in the group because I am already trying to break off emotionally to protect myself from them and me leaving?  And trying to keep emotional distance to avoid more Sarahs?

Sometimes, I hate my introspection.

Suicide (Not Me) and Monday


Being part of a community of mentally ill/fragile people is challenging because you never know how close to the edge anyone is.  Last night, I saw a Facebook post from a friend (who I have kept in regular touch with) from my previous treatment facility.  Friday, she tried to kill herself, and it sounds like she almost did.  She had to be intubated, was in the ICU and was in a coma.  Strangely, I have no emotional reaction to this.  But it makes me want to keep all my current peers a safe distance away.  I don’t want to connect with people who are just going to disappear out of my life.

Or who disappear and then pop back in.  I am still Facebook friends with my friend who killed herself earlier this summer.  I don’t know why…I just haven’t had the heart to unfriend her.  Every now and then, someone posts a message to her and so I get a notification from her page.  It is unsettling and kinds of jolts me into feelings that I don’t want to have, so I just ignore it all.

In the transition meeting with Meg and Kyla, Meg brought the suicide of my friend up.  Honestly, at that point, I had buried the suicide so deeply inside of me that I had practically forgotten about it. Although my memory of the transition meeting is a bit sketchy, I think Meg said that I had not grieved the loss of my friend.  I don’t know what to think of that.  Have I grieved? Do I want to grieve?  Does it matter?


I am so anxious about today, that pretty much as soon as I woke up, my hands were shaking. I don’t know how to get my shit together and not lose it at PHP.  Well…I can almost guarantee I will lose it at PHP, but I don’t want to.  And I will probably have to face Kyla today and I sooo regret that email that I sent her Saturday in which I told her how I was feeling because she forgot me.  I don’t know why I wrote it or what benefit I thought I would get about stating my feelings and showing a bit of vulnerability by doing so.  What the fuck was I thinking?!

I cannot do this.  I can’t do any of it.





Up and Down But More Down Than Up

Up and Down But More Down Than Up

Yup. Today was emotionally brutal.

This morning, one of our peers graduated to a lower level of care.  It was so exciting! She has worked hard, seems so grounded and really is on the right path for recovery.  I couldn’t be happier for her.  And I am excited that when I make the same step down I will get to see her again in that program.  She is a vibrant person…I will miss her until I see her again.

This morning, one of our peers gave up on her recovery and checked herself out against medical advice.  She is very, very unwell and there is very little chance that she will have a positive outcome without further treatment.  It is beyond discouraging.

We were in one of our groups where we do Monday check-in and were asked how we were feeling about the departure of our second peer.  No one said a word.  I final spoke up and said, “She is going to die.”  Everyone was thinking it, I just was the one to say it.  Of course, then my therapist (who was one of the co-facilitators of the group) wanted to know how I was feeling.  <eye roll>  I hate those damn feelings things.  But eventually, I ‘fessed up to some feelings.  Partly, I was scared.  Scared for the peer, scared for me as someone who also has and ED and feels like the battle is hopeless, scared for the rest of my peers.  I realize too that it brought back the pain of Sarah, the friend of mine who killed herself earlier this summer.  That connection with people who are compromised might lead to more death and more loss for me.  Ugh…Too much.  I hate feeling scared. I hate feeling sad.  I just hate feelings.

The group prior to that was also horrible for me.  One of my peers shared some of her trauma history (which we frequently do as part of our group therapy) and as she talked about it, I started to feel like I was going to cry.  But it was odd because what she was saying is not something that I would ordinarily be bothered about.   I felt worse though, and dissociated and I furiously stretched and twisted and folded my putty.  (Lots of us have stress putty).  And when the group ended, I couldn’t stop with the putty.  I actually couldn’t get up.  I was frozen.  Everyone left and I couldn’t move.  My favorite Direct Care person was in the group and she came over to check on me.  I don’t really remember what she said, but it was a comfort just to have her near me.  I remember saying that part of me felt unsafe (that four-year-old part) and the rest is kind of a blur.  That experience threw me for the whole day

Actually, the whole day was just crap for all of us.  That peer who gave up on herself really depressed and discouraged the whole group.  Even in the afternoon, the community room just had this of hopelessness.  We are all afraid.

I don’t have much else to say about today.  I am ignoring my homework, ignoring my feelings and just letting the numbness carry me until bedtime.

Tomorrow will be a hard day too as it is my insurance review where they determine what level of coverage I will continue at.  The anxiety will be painful.  But the contingency plan is in place…I just hope I won’t have to use it.

Fitting In

I had a really hard time breaking into the group socially when I got here. At first I realized it was because Sarah’s suicide.  I got close to someone at Renfrew and I really liked her and then a bit over a month ago, she killed herself.  I was really upset after she died (obviously!) and what I didn’t realize is how her death still shadows me.  Like little things set me off and I get really upset.  So, when I got here, I totally distanced from my peers.  It took me about a day to figure out that I didn’t want to get close to them because I was feeling very guarded about putting myself out there and then being hurt.  (I have several side notes about other things that have triggered my sorrow/grief about her suicide here, but will tack that into another post.)

So…The women here are intense.  Most of them are emaciated…Just super, super thin. That, of course, is intimidating to me because it makes the fact that I am fat just glare.  And several of them are so pre-occupied with having to find something to have control over that they openly obsess about random things.  It made approaching challenging.

Plus, they are so obsessed with their weight/size (and please note, I know that I am obsessed with my weight/size too, I just do it differently) that they judge each other and I am sure that they judge me.

I have been walking around the social scene on eggshells.  It has been brutal.  I have felt lonely and like I don’t fit in and very left out.  Those feelings hit on lots of my social fears.  Plus I have felt judged and body shamed.  Like body shame that has been so intense that I have been just mortified to exist here.

And while the women have made small talk with me, I only connected with one, and even then my approach has been guarded and closed.

A fucking rough first week.

So, Sunday afternoon, I talked to a recovery-friend about some of my struggles and when I got off the phone, I had a couple of realizations.  If I want to make friends and not feel socially isolated, I need to behave differently.  I need to engage and be friendly.  I realized later that in my anxiety about feeling body shame and not fitting in that I was probably giving off some pretty defensive vibes which were probably off-putting to my peers.  It was kind of one of those moments when I was able to get out of my head enough to look at myself and see what I can do to make things better.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a new attitude.  I approached peers and felt much more relaxed and open.  I engaged in small talk and at times, worked to connect on the next level with some of my peers.  And I found some responsiveness on their part and I just plain felt better on my part.  And more relaxed.  Which is good, because the energy I spent being on guard around my peers is better spent in other ways here.

Plus, I have made a friend…Sometime mid-week last week I connected (guardedly for sure) with a woman who I have some things in common with.  And she is nice and I like her.  That relationship has kept me from feeling completely like a social pariah.  Yesterday, we connected some more as I let my walls down some.  And then she did something unexpected.  I ate my snack late as I had had an appt during snack time.  So, it was me and a person from Direct Care at the table.  Hmmm…I’m gonna need a name for this new friend…Ummm…..Polly.  Okay, so Polly came over and sat at the table to visit with me while I had snack.  She was partly waiting to ask the woman from Direct Care a question, but really she sat to chat with me.  And her body language was open and relaxed.  I felt kind of surprised (you know…the, “Why would she go out of her way to come to the table and sit and chat with me?”) and I also felt kind of happy.

Yesterday was totally a turning point socially for me.  This may be a hard group of people to connect with as we are all pretty damaged and guarded and inter-personal relationships are not really our talent (understatement of the day) but….I can do it.  And getting to the point where I don’t feel like such and outsider is a huge relief to me.

Suicide. Who Will Be Next?

Found out this morning that one of my treatment peers tried to jump off a bridge on Friday night.  Luckily,  the police were called and got her off the bridge, but she somehow talked them out of taking her for a pscyh eval.

Then she deleted her Facebook account.


The Wisdom Of Biebs

I don’t really have much new to say today.  I keep thinking about my friend who killed herself and what led her to that decision. And I keep thinking about her wake and the peers of mine that went to the wake.  I have stopped a lot of the feelings I had about her death…The ED has taken care of the feelings for me.  Right now, my ED and I are playing tug-of-war, but I am not winning.  It pulls me a lot, I pull back…But right now it is a lot stronger and I am losing too much ground.

Anyway, I was texting with one of my Renfrew peers, Biebs, yesterday. She always has amazing insights and she is very eloquent. I thought I would put some of her words here so I can remember them.

 I read something on your blog about you feeling like dealing with the abuse from 40 yrs ago shouldn’t be such a big deal. Or whatever you said, it was minimizing it. Friend, you have great dignity, worth, value, and grace. Many years ago, your dignity was attacked. Your dignity as a person is part of who you are. It was violated and thus taken. You are dealing with effects that stem from the deepest pain and scarring. I don’t understand all this pain. I don’t understand much. But I know it mustn’t be minimized.
This is such a hard time for you and I know I wouldn’t know the half of it. And I know it doesn’t just seem like a hard ‘time’ or season. But it is. This season will end somehow. And next season, the one of healing, will look different. Who knows what the pain will feel like. Or the scarring. But it will be different and I’ve got to think somehow different. Who knows. Oh, press on, dear friend. This too shall pass. Kate and I love you very much.

Kate is her cat. 🙂

The one thing I will say about Biebs comments is that although she is not me and does not have my pain and trauma, I think she has a better understanding of how I feel than she gives herself credit for, because I think she experiences very deep pain too. As a matter of fact that deep pain was really a shared pain of all of us in ED treatment.  Yes, we all had different causes and different ways we expressed the pain (except for the ED) but we all had deep and intense pain and really, we all still do.

I like the idea that I am maybe on the cusp of the Season of Healing.  I am sooo hoping that is what the trauma treatment will open up for me….Overriding my self-vitriole and self-destruction with growth and healing.  This is what I am holding onto at the moment, that maybe a positive end is finally coming.  But it is a hesitant hope, because often when I hope for things, I end up disappointed.  And it is not enough hope to kick my ED out of the driver’s seat.

I Know What I Am Feeling Is Wrong

Rough evening last night.  It was the wake for my friend who killed herself.  I didn’t go to the wake, nor did I want to.  But yesterday, I was having a hard time processing her death.  And last evening, I was really upset.  My feelings are conflicting so  I am confused and I am sad.  And I am even jealous, for which I feel incredible shame and guilt. I am jealous that she is no longer in constant pain, but I still am.


So Fucking Tired

I am just emotionally spent.  The news that one of my friends from treatment killed herself is disheartening in a way for which I have no words to express.   And when you are in residential treatment with someone, you get to know them on a more intimate level…You see them at four in the morning, half asleep, teeth not brushed, hair gone wild as you wait for morning vitals.  You see them putting on their make-up in the morning, making their way through their days with laughing, crying and determined perseverance, fighting for recovery at meals and watching as they face their inner demons one forkful at a time…And then ending the day, exhausted, spent, waiting with them in pajamas in the med line before you both stagger to bed and crashing for the night, only to repeat the whole process the next day.  There are not many people you get to know on that level and with that kind of personal intensity.

It is painful to me that her mental illness took her life.  I wish she had felt like she had other choices, other options, other anything than to kill herself.  But I understand the feeling of wanting to do anything to make the internal pain and turmoil stop.

This is a real blow to the recovery community of which I am a member.  We are all so close to the edge and emotionally unstable already…A suicide just adds to the overwhelm.

I was lucky enough to get an extra appointment in with the AT yesterday morning.  I sent him a one line email first thing, “Woke up to find out that one of my Renfrew friends killed herself Monday.”  I don’t know what I wanted from him….Just acknowledgement or support.  But he had an opening in his schedule, so I got to go to his safe office and work on my feelings.  He had me do a piece of art as a tribute to my friend.  And we talked a little bit and I cried.  And my feelings just wanted to consume me.

After that, I had a quiet, numb day.  I didn’t exercise at all, I didn’t garden, I didn’t really anything.  And that was okay.  I needed a “light” kind of day.  I even took a little nap (good escapism) with the Big Dog snuggling me on one side and the Tabby cat snuggling me on the other.  It was good.

But.  I didn’t eat.  I skipped breakfast. I skipped lunch.  I did eat some fruit at 2:00…not because I cared, but because I knew that the Team cared.  I did have dinner because dh and ds would have noticed if I didn’t.  But I didn’t make much of an effort to eat my normal kind of dinner. The eating disorder is always there to help me manage my feelings and make me feel better.  I love that.  And I hate it.

Today, I am a bit more balanced. I made myself eat breakfast.  I am still numb. I expect a quiet morning.  I might walk the dogs, I might not.  I have appointments all afternoon.  Hopefully, I will be less engaged in ED symptoms.  I already have a good start since I ate breakfast.