Little Victories

Did I sleep well last night? Nope.

Was my PTSD in crazy over-drive last night? Yup.

Am I still depressed? Yup.

But………….

I made it to yoga today.  This alone is an amazing victory.  I can’t say I used kindness to get myself there, but I did get there and I enjoyed it once I was there.

Maybe there is hope for me yet!

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Struggling with Behaviors

I still feel plagued by the depression.  It is all I can do to get out of bed, shower, dress and function.  Today, I stayed in bed a long time, hoping to not have to see the woman I live with.  It’s not that I don’t like her or anything, I just didn’t want to interact.  That probably smacks of isolating.  Unfortunately, I didn’t time it right and I got upstairs just as she was leaving, thus I was forced to interact.  I made social pleasantries while deciding what to eat. And then she went off to work and I was relieved by the quiet.

I struggled with breakfast.  I made myself oatmeal and counted the calories (this behavior just keeps hanging on).  2 packets oatmeal + approx 2/3 cup of soy milk = about 372 calories.  And I panicked a little bit.  372 calories in one meal was more than I was eating in one day back in February.  Okay…so I soothed myself by saying that I don’t want to be that sick again and I can eat it.  But it was one of those meals where I just was choking it down and my stomach was rebelling.  It is so hard to eat when you feel like you want to throw up.  And I know the nausea is psychosomatic, so I tried really hard to force myself, but I couldn’t eat all the oatmeal.  I am pretty sure I ate my required minimum amount, so there is that at least.  Oh, except that (according to the PHP meal routine) I am supposed to have fruit and nuts with my oatmeal and I didn’t.  I’ve been skipping components regularly at breakfasts.  I did drink my Gatorade though. (Another 140 calories, not that anyone is counting.)  Actually, if I am totally  honest, I am skipping components here and there across all meals.  It’s such a slippery slope.  I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want to lose control.  At the moment, I am finding a “middle ground” but it is not a functional or healthy middle ground.  I need to stop the restricting.  And I need to accept that I won’t always have control and that I can find other ways to manage my feelings that aren’t hurting my body.

And then I feel so depressed.  Like, “Why bother to go to yoga this morning?” And now I am back on my bed, still in my pajamas, feeling like bursting into tears and just wanting to go back to sleep and ignore the day. FML, FML, FML.

And speaking of FML…I have been really worried about a friend who is struggling and totally skipping meals….Does that make me look like a hypocrite for restricting?  <sigh>  Now the self-judgment is creeping in.  But my answer would be no, I am not a hypocrite.  She is struggling. I am struggling.  But I haven’t given up, I do, for the most part, accept help.  And I am still eating. I think what is most significant is that I haven’t given up.  Is this fucking hard? Yup.  But I can put on my big girl pants and push myself harder to not engage in calorie counting and restricting.  Ugh…except my immediate thought, like even as I type this? “If only I knew how much I weigh, then I would know if I am doing it right.”

Sometimes, I feel like I am banging my head on a wall.

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.

Yes, I AM Alive!

For today’s blog post, I am posting the summary that I sent home to my outpatient team this morning:

Okay…After a horrible week, and two days nonstop of crying, Thursday evening, I decided that what I was doing to adjust to being here was not working.  And so, I woke up Friday morning, and decided it was time to do something different. And yesterday went much better.  I don’t know why I can flip the switch like that….But I finally feel like I am settled in the partial hospitalization program, I don’t hate it anymore, I don’t have uges to run away anymore and I have realized that PHP will be what I make of it.  It took me three weeks to get to that point, but I am finally there.

I think that I finally have started to develop an attachment and trust to/with my therapist (as much as I don’t want to admit it.)  I am pushing myself really hard in therapy and she pushes me hard too.  She also calls me out on every single therapy interfering behavior I use during out sessions, it is painful and annoying and I have a hard time not letting it trigger my core beliefs (that she is criticizing me vs. helping me and that it does not mean I am a bad person).  I can see myself getting a lot of work done with her.  That said, I think it is going to be a slow and excruciating process.
They have a level system here and I am still on Level One.  It is hard not to compare and judge myself about it as there are people who have come in after me and are already on Level Two.  It makes me wonder what is wrong with me… I am guessing it has a lot to do with my rocky transition. Oh, and I have had a couple of episodes of engaging in behaviors (calorie counting and 5 days in a row of “invisible restricting”). I did eventually hold myself accountable for both behaviors and have not calorie counted since, but am still struggling with high urges for both.
I am up to 5 solo walks a week.  This is something that I don’t mess around with.  Getting a chance to be outside and have a half hour to myself is very motivating to not abuse the exercise.  I do not want to lose the privilege!  I am also supposed to go to a yoga studio twice a week, but my social anxiety has prevented me from getting there.  I need to make a plan with my anxiety therapist about it.
Speaking of my anxiety therapist, I did my first social anxiety/food exposure this week.  I would tell you it was horrible, she would say it was good.  I can say that I survived and my anxiety did come down after it peaked.  But I didn’t like it.  And…we get to do it again a few more times. 😦
Yesterday, I moved out of the off-site apartments and into the home of a friend of a friend of a friend.  I hated the apartment because it was dark and dreary and dingy.  I need light and brightness. Also, the woman who owns the home is charging me about half of what I was paying the treatment facility for the apartment (finances are my main reason for moving), which will extend the amount of time I can spend in treatment, although I really want to be home at the end of October.
I continue to work hard on on my “homework.”  I have assignments such as, “If I wasn’t judging myself, would I think others were judging me?  And would I even care?”, “Why do I respond to sadness with self-harm?” and “What do I want to change about my relationship with food?”
Okay….I think this about covers the past week.  I am glad I finally got myself “unstuck” and am moving forward again.

Lots o’ things

Yoga

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

Purging

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

Homework

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

Dinner

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

I don’t like Monday Mornings

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

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

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

Regretting Choosing From Fear and Friends and Knitting

Regretting Choosing From Fear

It was cold here yesterday. Super cold.  I had yoga scheduled and I could not wait to go because the yoga room is always toasty warm.  And since it was sunny, I knew the sun would be pouring in making it warmer…And I knew the floor would be warm because the room has radiant floor heating.  Since, I am always cold these days, I was excited to go to yoga. Of course, I wanted to go for all the usual reasons too…But I really wanted the warmth yesterday.

And yoga was deliciously warm and my Instructor was her usual supportive and kind self and I was actually pretty relaxed and still feeling pretty present (leftover from Thursday).   It was all good.

And then we got to the end of our session…And I made a choice based on fear and ended up feeling a bit disappointed.  It was time for our Savasanah and ever since the flashback, my Instructor lets me find whatever place/position I want to be in to do Savasanah. And I have been choosing to sit on the floor with my back against the wall.  Which I did yesterday.  But it was not what I wanted to do.  What I really wanted to do was to lay on the hardwood floor (not even on my mat) and feel the warmth coming from below it.  And I briefly considered it as I slid my hands across the smooth, warm wood as I made my way towards the wall.  But…I was afraid.  I was afraid to lay on my back and open myself up to the possibility to another flashback.  While my body hungered for the comforting warmth of the floor, my mind just couldn’t allow the possibility.  <sigh>  It wasn’t until later (like a few hours later) that I felt the disappointment…That I really wished I had just let myself follow my  instincts and relax on the floor.

Ah well…regrets are regrets.  I will have the opportunity to make a different choice another time.

Friends

I spent the afternoon at J’s house with her and her baby.  I enjoy J’s company, she is very sweet and it was nice to see her.  When I was driving there, I realized the last time I saw her was when I had the tachycardia at work and had to go via ambulance to the ER.

Of course, J wanted to know how I am doing.  And I didn’t know what to say. I sort of answered vaguely and broadly.  She asked if my symptoms were improving any…How do you say to someone, “Well…not really.  I am kind of doing it to myself since my symptoms are caused by my eating disorder, which I have been unable to curb.  Until I get the calorie restriction under control, I won’t see an improvement in my symptoms.”? It seems kind of heavy for general conversation.  Although, I am guessing J would be a safe person to actually share that with, I feel very self-conscious about all my psych stuff and chose not to share.

We just hung out and chatted and admired her baby.  I love J, as she likes to share her baby, every time I go, right after I take my shoes off, she asks, “Do you want to hold him?”  Of course, I always say, “Yes.”  So, I held him and walked him to sleep and then held him in my lap while he was sleeping.  We talked about cloth diapers and when her baby was awake again, I showed her how to diaper him with a cloth diaper and then we tested the soaker.

And we spent a long time sitting on the floor while baby climbed on us and over us and around us, while dribbling drool and occasionally gurping spit-up on us.  It was heavenly! (I love, love, love babies!)

Here is Mr. Cutie Pie in his soaker.  Of the three different sizes I ended up sewing for him, the largest fit the best. (Sorry the picture is blurry, cell phone camera+moving target does not lend itself to the best pictures!)

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I told his mom that I would happily make him some more covers and she invited me back to her house to make some there and then she could help me make them.  It sounds like a plan to me!

Knitting

Since I spent most of the day out of the house, I didn’t get a ton of knitting done, but I did get two and a half or so more stripes done on the blanket square.  I am not a super fast knitter to start and since I started back up again, I seem a little bit slower and my hands get tired pretty fast.  I imagine in a couple of weeks, that will improve…For now, it means the knitting is somewhat slow going. It feels like it will take me forever to get four squares done! That’s okay though…I am a process knitter, not a product knitter (it is the same with most other handcrafting I do) so I don’t mind the time spent.

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Bitter Disappointment and Yoga and Hating Myself

Bitter Disappointment

Yesterday had a rough start.  I was really upset that I couldn’t go help SS with the nursery set up and stuff.  I had been looking forward to it and I really wanted to help her and then I had to bail.  I was angry (with myself) and frustrated and I ended up being grumpy all morning about it.  I threw myself into baking (pumpkin bread for ds, biscuits for the dogs) and working on my Art Therapy homework to dull the emotions I was feeling.

Yoga

By the time yoga time came around, I was still having tachycardia and I just plain felt crummy…Some days the low calories catch up with me and I just feel fatigued and weak and blah.  Yesterday was one of those days.   But I was not going to miss yoga.  I am a stubborn sort of person and I was going to yoga come Hell or high water.

And I did go. I started off by asking my Yoga Instructor if we could talk for a couple of minutes before we started.  I have only seen her once since before Christmas and so much has gone on over the past month, I felt like it was important to touch base.  I mentioned the tachycardia episodes and the low calories as the cause and also that I was currently feeling tachycardic and tired/low energy and just not myself.

You know the nice thing about my Instructor?  I told her all that stuff and she didn’t even bat an eye.  I am always prepared to be judged or rejected…But nope.  She listened, thanked me for talking with her and then did a yoga session that perfectly met my needs for the day.  It was not super strenuous, which was good because I was tired just doing the poses we did.  My Instructor has a knack for that…somehow (even when I don’t express a specific issue) our sessions are always just what I need at the time.

While we were doing yoga today, I was watching my Instructor and I was struck by something. It looks like she is really comfortable being in her body.  You can just tell by the way she moves and the way carries herself.  I almost asked her about it…but let the impulse slide.  But as I was watching her, I was wondering what it would be like to actually be comfortable in your body…And more specifically, what would it feel like to me to be comfortable in my body?

Hating Myself

My relationship with my body is one of pretty vile self-loathing, criticism and judgement.  I probably cannot adequately express how much I hate my body.  Part of it is an extension of my general hatred for myself and part of it is being disgusted with my body and therefore hating it.  I am not sure I will ever like my body.

As part of my Art Therapy homework, I made a representation of myself.  Any time I do this, I am just filled with an intense self-hateful rage and overwhelming urge to destroy whatever the representation is.  The hate is so vicious that I just want to shred or smash or scratch out the Me figure.  Lots of times, I represent the feeling with a big red X over the Me.  I don’t know why making Me representations triggers this.  It also triggers quite the nasty spiral where the urge to shred transfers to my physical body.  And that intense loathing and body hatred just spikes to pretty much unbearable levels.

I wonder how this self-hatred plays into my eating disorder, cuz I bet it does.

The Art Therapist and my PNP have both told me that my minimalist eating counts as self-harming behavior.  I am not sure what I think of that.  I am not doing it to hurt myself.  I am doing it to #1. Not gain weight, #2. Have control over something before I lose my shit, #3. Lose weight to be healthy. None of those reasons have anything to do with self-harm. In fact, they all seem to be the opposite of self-harm.  Now, maybe the AT and PNP would point out that the extremeness of my calorie reduction is bad…But really, I don’t care.  I am pretty sure I am fine…Just as long as no one asks me to increase my calories.  That would make me un-fine.

Now…You might think that me saying that I am fine directly contradicts what I said about feeling crummy today.  I choose to ignore that contradiction.