Insomnia Means Means More Time to Blog, Right?

Howling coyotes (if you can call the sound they make howling) woke us up at 3.  They must have been very, very nearby as they were so loud.  As suddenly as the howling started, it stopped.  But I was awake.  I thought for a few minutes about the wild rabbit we have seen the past couple of mornings, or as we like to call him, the Yard Rabbit.  But 3 is early for crepuscular animals such as yard rabbits, so I am hoping he is safe.

I tried to fall back asleep, but the room was too quiet and too dark. And dh was snoring.  And I just didn’t feel sleepy anymore. Then I started thinking about chores and laundry….I know I will  be miserable later because I started my day at 3 (well…technically 4:06 cuz that’s when I got out of bed.)  We are due for some nasty weather later today, so being home and napping in the afternoon is a definite possibility.

The question I am being asked is, “How are you doing?”

I am overwhelmed.  And I am surviving.  I have had a lot of anxiety over doing this all perfectly…Yes, I know.  The last thing I need is perfectionism right now, so I am really trying to cut myself a LOT of slack.  Basically, re-integrating the first couple of days, I just felt kind of stunned and numb.  Yesterday was much better. <phew>

I am eating.  That’s the first and most important thing, right?  And despite a lot of anxiety about it, I am pretty sure I am eating my meal plan correctly.  I won’t know that for myself, I need to wait to be weighed and then someone will tell me how I am doing, but they only will if there is an issue.  So…I will keep doing what I think is right and see where it leads me.

I saw the AT yesterday.  I was soooo glad to see him.  Despite me feeling pretty anxious and worrying about reconnecting with him, it went well.  We actually had a bridging phone call last week when I was still in the program. My program therapist, the AT and I talked for an hour.  I think it was key to re-building my trust with him.  And I wrote a self-assigned piece about what he needs to know about me now.  So, yesterday I felt a little awkward at the start, but slid easily into safe comfort with him.

I have reconnected/connected with half my team now.  (I mean of the clinical team…Dh is always part of the team, even if I don’t mention him outright every time.)  I met the new dietitian Saturday.  She seems okay…I have a couple hesitations but I am going with it for the moment.  I saw the new Couples’ Counselor (CC) with dh yesterday.  He seems really nice and I think seeing him is going to be really helpful.  As I just mentioned, I saw the AT.  I also had a phone “interview” with an OCD therapist.  At the end of the interview, he accepted me as a client and I will be starting with him next week.  So, that’s contact with 2/3 of my clinical team in my first 3 days home.

Today, I see my primary physician.  Tomorrow, I see my Psych NP and the AT (again).  Then the rest of the week, I get to relax and recover and catch my breath.

Between all of Team Heidi, I will have 7 appointments a week to start.  The AT commented yesterday that it is like I will be having a job and that it is exactly what I need to be doing right now.  I felt relieved when he said that because I worry that all of my appointments are selfish, or like I am taking too much from all of my clinicians.  Or that I should be getting a real job and diving right back into the world of employment (which would be a bad idea at the moment.)  I like it when my therapists say things that actually make me feel better.

Tomorrow, I will write about my/our (dh is on board and helping with this) project of changing the physical environment of our home to help me not fall back into old habits and patterns of behavior.

And I will write about my plates.

 

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.

Polly Moved From Our Station and My Four Year Old and Hard

Polly Moved From Our Station

I spoke too soon.  Just when I was getting comfortable, Polly left the table.  Her reason for leaving is valid.  So, I don’t know why it makes me sad, but it does.  I just kind of feel abandoned and rejected.  And I wonder if I did something wrong or if imposing myself on the table was actually bothering her.  I don’t know…But now I feel awkward and alone.  I am trying to decide if I should leave the table too…I just don’t know.  I hate social dynamics.

Really, all I want to do is withdraw.  I put myself out there with Polly, it didn’t work out. Now I should just put my guard up and retreat.  And not try again.  I had no idea how hard the social dynamics would be here.

My Four Year Old

I have discovered something.  A lot of my emotional rules and fears come from when I was four.  Clearly, I don’t operate on a 4 year level emotionally…Sort of anyway.   But it is fascinating to see that trauma from when I was four has had such a profound influence on my life.  I suppose that statement that comes from minimizing or denial…I guess I figure as long as I don’t have to think or deal with it, then it didn’t really happen.  It’s too bad that it doesn’t actually work that way.

Hard

Everything is hard right now.  I am just crashing and burning.  And I am not ready to be flexible enough to have Meg be gone for a couple of days.  That said, I don’t really have much say or input in the matter, nor should I.  But here it is…Me being reluctantly flexible. Ugh.

Meg being gone makes me miss the security and safety of Team Heidi.

I don’t know…I am just overwhelmed so I don’t have anything useful to say right now.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

When My Eating Disorder Gets In My Way and This Blog

When My Eating Disorder Gets In My Way

Yesterday, the AT said, “I can’t work with you anymore on your trauma until you get your eating disorder under control.”  He said this at the end of February/beginning of March…Part of what led to me going to Renfrew.  He also told me yesterday that he thinks I need a higher level of care.  Which I have heard in one way or another from most of the rest on the team.  It’s not that I don’t agree, because I do.  But it is disheartening.  And….there is a piece of me that is relieved.  I know I need more support right now.  I know I need some way to reign in my eating disorder craziness and I just am not in a place to do it.

I asked the AT yesterday if we could just pretend that I had never had trauma and then we wouldn’t have to work on all this stuff.  I want to feel safe by grasping onto the slippery straws of denial.  He said, “So, you want to be where you were before you started seeing me?”  Ummmm….no. I really don’t.  I was on the verge of a real break-down and had given up on everything, including living.  I don’t want to feel that way again.

Really, I don’t want to feel anything.  But perseverance on the part of the AT and the support from the rest of my team has made me feel safe enough to start feeling.  Only, feeling is terrifying, so my brain is constantly sabotaging the work I am doing.  And at the moment, the sabotage (eating disorder) is totally winning.  I want to push it aside and be me-Heidi again instead of eating-disorder-owns-Heidi.  But I can’t.  I just have this constant compulsion to engage in eating disorder symptoms.  Even when I try not to, the eating disorder over-rides me.

This is why I need extra help and a higher level of care.

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This Blog

The purpose of this blog is for me to dump stuff out of my brain and work my way through it in hopes that I will become a healthier, stable and happy person. My brain is a whirlwind of trauma, depression, ptsd, anxiety and eating disorder.  It is exhausting and frustrating and discouraging to have this constant spiral of mental illness in my head.  I am working my damnedest to sort through my trauma and the subsequent confusion and pain caused by my past colliding with my present.  And I am looking for the me that I buried years ago to keep her safe and away from further damage.

Yes, I have been talking about my eating disorder a lot lately…because it has become a pressing issue which threatens my mental and physical well-being.  And yes, I have been tagging my blog with “eating disorder” and “anorexia nervosa.”

But I want to be clear about two things:

I do not want my eating disorder.

This is not a pro-Ana blog.

There will be no tips, encouragement, tricks to lose weight or methods to deceive medical providers, family and friends on my blog.  I may discuss how my eating disorder is managing me, or urges it makes me feel or compulsions I have.  I may talk about ways in which my eating disorder is a step ahead of my recovery.  I may discuss symptoms I have and symptoms I engage in. But I am not writing any of that to encourage or support the active pursuit of eating disorders or engaging in eating disorder symptoms.  If that is what you are looking for, you will need to look elsewhere.  And if you are at a point in your eating disorder where you are seeking pro-Ana or pro-Mia information, then I really encourage you to seek help before you damage your body in a way that cannot be repaired.

And in case it wasn’t clear enough the first time:

I do not want my eating disorder.

This is not a pro-Ana blog.

Okay, that just had to be said.  Hopefully, I won’t have to say it again.

Barriers

Yesterday was pretty much a horrible day.  I did much better with the restricting and was only short by 2 exchanges.  This is good, I guess.  But as often happens, not being able to restrict made another maladaptive coping skill pop right up.

Have I ever mentioned that I suck at asking for help?  Yup.  I can tell people after the fact about maladaptive coping, but can’t reach out for help before I do it.  What is wrong with me?

When I was at Renfrew, there was a rule about how far you could walk.  Over-exercising was a no-no and so you could only walk from the edge of a parking lot, across the sidewalk in front of the residential building and then to the speed bump on the driveway.  The speed bump is short and squat and is not actually any sort of barrier.  And on our rebellious days, we would step over the speed bump just because we could. (But we never walked past it.)  Basically, the speed bump was an invisible barrier, it couldn’t really hold us back, but it did.

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Sometimes, I feel like my life is full of these barriers.  Most of them are from my own head.  I let them hold me back because I am so afraid of the repercussions of stepping over to the other side.   And I will do anything to not have to breach the barrier.  On occasion, I do step over my “speed bumps” but I can’t bear to see and feel what is on the other side, so I quickly step back to the safe side before I get myself in trouble.

And I manage all this with my maladaptive coping.  Hmmm….maybe my maladaptive coping is my speed bump.  I don’t know…Feelings, fear, anxiety, depression, restricting, self-harming, compulsive behaviors, dissociation, denial…It all feels like an insurmountable barrier.

Every afternoon at Renfrew, there was a supervised walk and under the watchful eye of an evening counselor, we could walk over the speed bump and allll the way to the end of the driveway.

Maybe, I should let my Team help lead me over my speed bumps.  I know they are watching to keep me safe.  I just have to trust myself to take the longer walk.

I don’t know.  I am just sooo tired and frustrated and depressed.  That stupid speed bump may as well be a huge brick wall, because I cannot get past it.  And I don’t know how to acccept help to get over it.  And I don’t even know what help I need.  So, I end up trying my own management skills, which we know hurt me more than help me.

Today, I see 3/4 of the team.  And I am pretty ashamed to see any of them.  After yesterday, I just want to crawl into a hole and fade away.  I don’t want to have to deal with myself.

Sliding Backwards

Yesterday was the worst day since I got home from treatment in terms of my eating. I restricted like crazy.  And  I couldn’t snap out of it. And I was wholly prepared to skip dinner completely, but a friend kind of nudged shoved me in the right direction and asked me for accountability.  I did eat dinner, but not nearly what I was supposed to.

Today is worse. I have no idea how to even start to eat today.

Yesterday was horrible and intense for me emotionally, so I guess it makes sense that restricting would be worse today….I just don’t know how to overcome it.  My ED is just screaming at me and it is all I can hear.

And I slept horribly last night.  I stayed up late (I think I was procrastinating to avoid more nightmares) and then I slept fitfully all night.  I remember dreaming…but not what I dreamed about, which is perhaps good.  But when I am super over-tired, I tend to not make the best rationale choices, and that is the last thing I need today.

Today, I need structure and firm support.  And I don’t know that I can give it to myself.  Nor do I really want it from anyone else.  Except that I really need it.

My Team is going to hate me.  Heck, I hate me.  I’ve got to do recovery better…Because right now, I just am utterly failing.