Three potatoes.

*Quick note: this post will go more into ED thoughts and behaviors than I typically have. Please do not read on if that sort of talk would trigger you.*

I have been eating with my therapist every single Monday this entire semester (and twice a week for the last month). The point of these meals is for me to challenge myself in an environment where I’ll have support and, hopefully, be able to handle it better. That definitely has not been the case every week. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that the meals have including pleading, justifying, a few flat-out refusals, lots of bargaining, and supplementation when I just couldn’t handle the challenge.

I look back and wonder why I would spend so much time fighting my therapist rather than just doing what I’m supposed to, but it really isn’t so simple. The eating disorder is manipulative and it will find any opportunity to take over, even if it’s a seemingly minuscule way. That brings us to yesterday.

Like every other Monday, I had my dietitian check my meal before our session ended, then spent the next 30 minutes trying to focus on anything but the food I had to eat. This meal was still a challenge to me, not in content so much as amount. I felt semi-okay about it at first. I managed to eat a pretty good portion before something in my brain flipped. Suddenly I needed to stop, throw the rest away, and run out of therapy. While that didn’t happen, I did do something I’m not the most proud of: when R wasn’t looking (or who knows, maybe she could have been?), I quickly covered up the three pieces of potatoes I had left and continued on to a less scary portion of my meal. I still had more to complete after that, but it was like a calm came over my thoughts for a little while. I had gotten away with restriction right in front of my therapist, a huge win for ED.

It wasn’t those three tiny potatoes. It had zero to do with the negligible difference they would make in my life had I consumed them. It was solely about control. I am certainly not able to flat-out refuse meals when I’m in treatment, but this felt almost the same high as if I had. Another recent example was choosing not to try a new yogurt that sounded good because it was a whopping 10 calories more than my “safe” choice. Is that honestly going to do a damn thing?

While the glaring, logical answer may be “heck no!”, I’m not convinced. Part of me still believes these lies that the ED shouts at me each day. Life seems easier/”better” when I follow ED rules.

Some behaviors such as these ones trend towards being a bit ridiculous. They in no way will end with me magically staying thinner or losing weight or whatever other promise ED makes up. I can often notice my eating disorder manipulate other people, but truly isn’t it just doing the same to me?

I’m not sure if I want to change things, even knowing that I am the one being manipulated, too. For now I will keep fighting, and try to eat those potatoes next time.

My “broken leg”

It has been a rough week, both with ED/treatment things and personally. I am starting to process it all and (attempt) to look at it all with a clearer mindset.

Monday started out pretty fun with our picnic at IOP. It was different in a great way from what I’ve been used to at meals there. We all brought some typical picnicy foods and went off to a cute nearby park. One of the two silos had a rock climbing wall, so I was just a little pumped for that. The meal was definitely challenging for most of us, but being outside made it feel lighter. Once we got back to treatment and reality, I started to shut down. I didn’t say more than a few words in the 1-2:30 group because I was too terrified of the dietitian appointment following.

I wasn’t entirely surprised with how hard it was, but I also didn’t fully anticipate what was coming. I drew up plans for a more wait and see approach. I wanted a few steps between now and partial. I wrote my excuses reasons, some legitimate, why PHP isn’t possible and asked a lot of questions. Part of me figured that she wouldn’t necessarily buy everything I offered, but I also wasn’t ready to hear what their plan was.

K put it right out there in the first couple minutes: her and R think it’s best for me to go to PHP, and I should actually set up an assessment and tentative start day ASAP. That was pretty much my worst fear confirmed. I fought back right away, of course, even once she brought logic into the equation.

She asked me what I would do if I broke my leg right now. Would I continue to work in housekeeping, ignore any doctor’s orders, refuse a cast, not do anything to reduce pain and swelling? Would I be mad at myself for not being able to just get over it with no help? Obviously the answer here is no. As a nursing student especially, I know how important medical intervention, rest, etc is when healing from an injury or illness. I’ve talked time and time again about how mental illness should be treated like physical ones (in terms of making it valid, deserving of help, etc), yet I am being a hypocrite and not applying that concept to myself.

I feel guilt, shame, frustration, anger at myself and the world, hopelessness, uncertainty. I have refused help this whole time, barely reaching out to any supports at all. I admit, I’m just not taking care of myself. As cheesy as it is, I think I do need to treat this relapse (yep, I said the R word) as if it were any other illness. I deserve and am allowed to ask for help when I’m no longer able to do this on my own.

Right now the plan is pushed out a week or two. I agreed to talk to my parents about supporting me and share about my struggle if we could wait out contacting FV. I know they didn’t want to at all, but my team agreed. Maybe they’re just doing it to appease me or maybe they’re hoping I realize that it isn’t a viable option in the end. I honestly don’t know. I’m not fully sure if I can do this or not, I just know that I have to anyways.

I’ve had a few moments since Monday where I considered the possibility and need of treatment. I was relatively close to emailing my therapist and asking if it might be a good idea to get an assessment at FV just in case. This wouldn’t be waving a white flag, mores so looking at my options. When I wrote and considered sending my email, I was a bit scared. My mom knew/knows I need support. It’s been okay. The thing is, I might need more than what I’m asking for and I am terrified of doing anything else. I guess partial could be some sort of safety net? I’m not sure why I am somehow about 3% okay with this. Maybe it’s my effort to fix my “broken leg”?

Whatever the case, I think I need to consider what recovery means, what steps I am committed to taking, how I can get there, where I want to be… I need to do this. I’m running out of time to get ready for fall semester. I want nothing but to graduate on time. Letting go of the ED (even just some parts initially) will be difficult, but maybe the future without it is worth the fight. I am trying to believe that an steps needed to get me to a healthy place are just like someone getting a cast, resting, and taking medications.

In vs going through: the power of wording

I often pay special attention to words and how the choice of them can easily change meaning. I love writing, so this makes sense of course.

I’ve heard many ways others and treatment providers talk about recovery. Some say they are recovered, working on recovery, trying to recover, in recovery, and, most recently, a girl mentioned going through recovery. Those last two seem very different as I’ve thought more about it.

Being in recovery brings a picture of someone running a marathon. There may be twists and turns, hills, valleys, areas where they’ll need to walk, stations to fill up with water or go to the bathroom. What they’re doing takes tons of energy. They have to care for themselves in order to continue. Sometimes they feel like giving up, but they persist anyways. The end is a celebration, whether they PRed or took way longer than expected.

Going through recovery sounds like someone stuck in the woods and trying to get out. Maybe they have a guide or GPS, or perhaps they’re all alone. The ending isn’t defined. They may not have prepared for this at all, but they’re stuck and trying anyways. If not, they could be in the woods forever.

As I think of these two situations, I can dissect where I am. I’ve said many times that I’m in recovery. It doesn’t necessarily feel right, especially not when I’ve been specifically asked how long I’ve been there. Technically I’ve spent nearly 4 years in varying levels of treatment, but does that mean I was in recovery the whole time?

At this moment i think I’m much closer to the “going through” option. I feel so lost at times. I know there is a life outside the woods, but I don’t always fully believe it. I have tools, skills, supports, my team, IOP, etc but I choose not to use these things much of the time. It also makes me think of going through the motions of recovery which I certainly am. Therapy, challenge lunch, dietitian, work, IOP, work, repeat. Sometimes it feels like I’m just waiting for the next day of treatment and doing no work in between.

I want to be more in recovery, not just going through it. I am tired of being where I’m at. To me, taking that active step would mean choosing to work hard, putting (real) effort in, and remembering what life I’m fighting for.

So a few questions for anyone who reads this: what do you think about my interpretation? Have you considering what wording with recovery changes? Where do you feel you’re at? Also if you have other explanations/meanings I would love to hear your insights!

Hair

I’ve been debating typing out this post. I haven’t really talked about it much either, because I feel like I’ll be seen as vain. If not that, maybe that falsely stereotypical perception of people with eating disorders – that we’re all obsessed with our looks in a way that’s self-absorbed. Yet here I am, writing it anyways. My blog is a place of authenticity and vulnerability. I think it’s important that I stretch myself and share how I’m feeling. Maybe it will even help connect to someone else.

The main part of my appearance that I’ve ever liked is my hair. I love how long it has been for the last 7 or 8 years. Mine is unique in my family since it’s much lighter than my parents and brother. It has a nice wave to it. I don’t think it’s the most fabulous hair ever or even close. I certainly don’t like some aspects, like how it won’t hold a curl. I pretty much have no clue how to style it. I still get caught in the comparison game, just like many other aspects of myself and appearance. This is simply one of the few parts I can look in the mirror and feel okay about. That’s changed now.

I want to cry every time I go to put my hair up or brush through it with my fingers. Looking in the mirror is hard for a whole new reason now. My hair is falling out more than it has in my entire time battling an eating disorder. In the mirror I see the thinnest hair. When I make a bun it’s incredibly small considering my hair comes halfway down my back. If I put it up, I watch it separate apart some so you can see my scalp. All of this has truly brought me sorrow lately.

know my hair can and will grow back over time; however, it’s not going to happen until I provide my body with enough nourishment. No amount of biotin or special shampoo is going to fix it. I’ve tried to do damage control this way but it just isn’t working anymore.

This isn’t some easy fix. Replenishing my body could happen in a short amount of time (like in residential), but I won’t see any change for a long while after that. I can’t just eat well for one week and expect it to make this better. That’s terrifying.

Oddly enough, this is a reason to recover. I want to feel good about how I look in one small way. Feeling more disgusted than usual when I look in the mirror is only hurting me. It’s also the one way to like my reflection in the mirror that comes from recovery, not staying in the ED.

Thinking about this situation has given some insight. I tend to ignore many of the physical symptoms most likely associated with the eating disorder, but my hair is not one I can escape. It is proof every single time I see my reflection. It is a reminder that things seriously need to change. I want to be disgusted by it because that means I’ll have motivation to change. Hair may seem trivial compared to everything else I need in recovery, but it counts. At this point, any way possible I can get inspired to fight the ED is a good one.

Intention assignment

It has been a crazy two weeks. I was pretty busy during spring break (treatment 2 days, recovery book club, trip to the butterfly exhibit/GR, movie, shopping x3). I also ended up with a sinus infection and lung infection of some sort. I got antibiotics called in Wednesday and then actually went to the doctor Friday (more on this soon) and added steroids. Also, Thursday I went to treatment even though I felt like I was half dead… I’m still on the mend from that but I feel a ton better. Now that I’m not so exhausted I’ll definitely be posting again 🙂

Yesterday I was at (basically) IOP. We had experiential group which has always been a favorite of mine. The focus was on intention. We went to the library and each chose our own little area to sit. There was an article to read and then an assignment with 4 questions to think about. I kinda loved it. I was able to get some good insight. I don’t often think of these things. Here are my responses, although I probably will expand on them at some point:

Who am I? I am a human being who has value and purpose in this world. I am a daughter, nursing student, writer, Christian, animal lover, and friend. I struggle greatly with my mental health, but I am not defined by it and I will not allow these struggles to hold me back. I am resilient. I have overcome many hard things. I am stubborn, which can be used in positive and negative ways. I am a dreamer. I have plans for my future. I can imagine a healthy and fulfilling future for myself. I am going to be a nurse. I cannot wait to combine my love of medicine and caring towards others into my career. I strive to help and support others, especially my friends. I try to see the best in others. I am learning more about myself every day and I know this is a lifelong journey. I believe in God and lean on Him because I cannot do this on my own. I am a survivor. I will not let my past hold me back.

What do I want? I want freedom. I am held back by my struggles now. I don’t want this to define my life anymore. I want to explore my passions fully. I want a family one day. I want to be a wife and a mother. I want to be the best nurse possible. I want to be an inspiration to others. I want to rescue animals.

How can I serve? I will be a light others who have similar stories of struggle as I have, and I want to be able to show them that things get better. I will give them support and be someone to lean on. I will be an advocate for mental health and EDs. I will fight to decrease stigma and encourage others to seek out help. I will share my story. I will care for my patients and provide them with the best possible care. I will help to save and foster animals. I will use my voice to fight for causes I believe in. I will be Jesus’ hands and feet. I will strive to show empathy and compassion towards everyone I come across.

What does the universe want from me? What is my purpose/God’s plan? To be authentic and honest, so I can encourage others to do the same. Using my story as a testimony. Fulfilling my vocation of nursing to the best of my ability. Raise my future children to be the best little people possible.

A note: in being authentic, this is exactly how I wrote and isn’t the most grammatically correct/best word choices ever

TFHR 10/25/16

Today I’m bringing back my old favorite post series. I really enjoy the TFHR format because it updates many different aspects of how I’m doing/what’s going on/etc. I plan (hope) to do one either every week or every other week. For now, the goal is writing it Tuesday night (so it will be Weds-Tues on the post) which will really show up early Wednesday.

Thoughts

  • The semester is half over! I do like my classes for the most part, but I am ready for it to be done. The living situation is out of control. I really don’t want to go into it but I constantly feel the need to pull out my hair. Ugh.
  • I am not enough, a core belief that has been a catalyst to what now consumes my life. That phrase has come and gone over the years but right now is growing louder.
  • I cannot wait to be a nurse or even start core nursing classes! My passion for nursing only grows as learn more about how my life will be. There are options in all fields, and I specifically want to work peds or NICU. I know I will make a great nurse one day, but I want that day to be soon!
  • I have been in a cycle of ED thoughts. I go from urges/I am so fat to restriction to seeing my body as better  and finally back to the beginning. It is a ////////////vicious cycle which only ends in death. I work hard everyday to keep myself from getting any closer.

Feelings

  • Blessed. I have a wonderful church family, therapist, support people, and my mom. I try not to take these things for granted.
  • Lonely. I haven’t stepped out of my dorm room (other than eating, groups, driving places) really all semester. I know that ‘s bad, but I keep telling myself that isn’t true.
  • Relieved. My adviser appointment went wonderfully last week. I am right on track for nursing and will apply sometimes before January. She feels good about where I stand, and if I keep this up I am very likely making it in. I’m nervous and stressed sill. God is in control and I will do my very best.
  • Sad. In the sane appointment decided ti drop my rock-climbing course. I’ve only been a few times this semester. With my EDS flaring up and several subluxations, I know it would only hurt me. I love rock-climbing but also realize my limits (something I never would have acknowledged last year).
  • Anxiety/fear. A ton of things make this list, grades being one of them. The largest contributor now is Milo. I take him to the vet Friday. The only symptom that may be wrong is a little gunk in his eyes. I’m talking a tiny amount, kind of like we get randomly. In chinchillas this can be a sign of a really deadly disease, and of course I already expect the worst.

Happenings

  • Today was a really great ED bible study group. We went over truth v lies , which was applicable to other parts of your life as well. These women have been a godsend. I am finally being understood and that is amazing.
  • On Friday I see my dietitian for the first time. I need this more than ever. I’m praying that we can work out a way to get me back on track and (unfortunately/disappointingly) follow a meal plan. And I hope that meal plan is from CFD because I can’t handle emotional attachment.
  • Right now I’m on advising break! We have today and tomorrow off which is so nice. Somewhat sad they don’t just schedule it as a long weekend but oh well.
  • I have a car! My parents gave me my dad’s old car. It’s convenient because I can go to the store, support groups, drive home, etc
  • Speaking of driving home, I now do so every weekend and on Wednesday.
  • I am rewatching Private Practice and it’s making me all kinds of happy!
  • I got to meet my old childhood friend’s baby and he is the cutest squirmiest little nugget.
  • A happy anti-ED behavior: Mom and I have dollar tacos together on Fridays. We have the best Mexican place near our house and I pick them up when I drive home.
  • I’ve slowly shopped for more clothes, since I do need them. Definitely not an easy task, yet I know this will take me out of this way I feel about my body once i get better fitting clothes.
  • Work work work all the days of the weekend (not thattt long but still)

Ramblings

  • I am so freaking annoyed with election season!!! Okay the memes are pretty funny, but everything else makes me want to throw up. Politics aren’t something I enjoy to begin with, and having people spew their thoughts on social media (and argue with people) is the worst. The presidential election definitely takes the cake with how much it’s in the media. Local elections here are also ridiculous. There are campaign ads and stupid signs everywhere. We receive approximately 10 pieces of mail a week. I realize that we are given the right to vote in our country and I am voting for the first time because I honor that privilege. Currently just counting down the days until it’s all finished.
  • Not to be the old grandma who kills all the fun, but why to adult college girls get the idea that it’s okay to screech obnoxiously at all hours of the day? They are sadly worse than middle schoolers with the intensity, volume, and lack of maturity. College is meant to be fun; however, you are finally an adult and need to act like one.
  • My nutrition prof is so understanding and cares about my well-being. We have 3 diet analysis activities and he is allowing me to do other small projects instead. He is well receptive to my needs as someone in recovery. Profs like him make college much better for everyone.

And that’s all folks! This is a day late but not lacking much of what the last few weeks were like!

Good & Bad

I thought this was my 50th post this year so I wanted to do something fun for it, then i just realized its the 51st. Anyways, I am doing a list of things I’m good and bad at (mostly sarcastic/funny). I really enjoyed coming up with these! Also it kind of lets you get to know me more 🙂

Things I am good at:

  • over-packing
  • fitting a huge amount of stuff into a small suitcase
  • carrying all the pens (currently 13 in my purse)
  • overthinking to the nth degree
  • playing out every single possible scenario in my head
  • spelling words wrong and mixing up q/d/b/p
  • racking up medical bills
  • pill box filling
  • forgetting
  • being painfully awkward
  • golf cart driving
  • sarcasm, sass, and stubbornness
  • making my bendy joints into creepy arrangements
  • acquiring random bruises
  • assessing and analyzing any type of medical stuff
  • getting injuries
  • sharing gross medical things
  • obsessing over TV shows
  • logic puzzles and brain games
  • leading (!?!?!?!)

Thing I am not so good at:

  • learning through visuals
  • being “mean/authoritative”
  • self confidence
  • taking time to rest
  • surviving without a ton of blankets
  • letting go of memories
  • avoiding dairy and taking lactaid
  • wrapping injuries solo
  • resisting teal
  • directions