A Skeleton and A Skiff

Dear ED,

I’ve been thinking a lot about the decision I made to jump ship last year and take my chances against the torment of the ocean and storm; to watch you go down while trying to be rescued by those desperately trying to save me. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, to let go of everything I knew, and abandoning you at the helm and casting myself overboard. You’ve always been a perfect ship, like a yacht among a fleet of ratty old skiffs.

I painstakingly watched you slip further and further beneath the crashing waves and torrential rains as I tried to get to those coming to save me. But they were farther than I thought and the storm was worse. When I relayed my SOS calls they promised it would be okay, promised they’d be there for me, promised they would get to me. The life preservers are in the water, their spotlights are pointed towards me yet I’m still not getting any closer. I’m treading water. I’m retreating in the rip currents, and getting torn apart by the wrath of the storm.

I look out to them and I see the sun. I see ships that are steadfast, strong, and stable, like you once were. Why can’t I get to them? Why am I still sinking?

I feel like all I’ve done is thrash about as the waves collapse over me.Sometimes, I’m more skilled and can catch the wave before it breaks; but most of the time I don’t even see it coming getting pulled down by the undertow until the wave settles or until I realize I’m still grasping their lifelines and manage to resurface. I gasp for air, gasp for life, gasp for hope. More often now I want to let go of the ropes tossed out to me, the ones being tugged on with every ounce of sweat, blood and tears that those in the distance have in them. I hear them calling out on their loudspeakers but usually the sound is drowned out by the waves and emptiness in me since you sank. I look around at the bits and pieces left. I feel like I caused this, like I killed you. I’m guilty. I’m hurt. I’m scared.

I keep thinking I should just let go, let the waves overtake me and lose sight of the ships once and for all. I could surrender myself to the undertows and the serenity of what will be when I am shielded by the storm and at peace in the beauty of the ocean’s depths. Yes, letting go is scary. Yes, I know those on the ships will be disappointed. Yes, I know they will scream out to me and send out rescue missions, calling out my name in a desperate search for the soul they once knew or the glimpse of the one the see for my future.  And yes, I know the search might kill them. I’m inviting them into the storm, I’m letting them watch me give up and yet, sometimes I still feel like it would be better than making them continue holding onto that lifeline indefinitely. I’ve tortured them, exhausted them, failed them. They’ve finally seen bits of the real me. They’ve seen me fight against them, they’ve seen me betray their trust. They are battered and bruised from trying to pull my body back to them. What if I do managed to get to them and they see how damaged I’ve gotten through the storm and after years on the ship and cast me off anyway. I can’t blame them. I’m not deserving of their ship’s safety or to walk among them in the harbors.

I imagine what it’ll be like, when I’ve reached the ocean floor. After all the rain, all the currents and all the screams are gone. I imagine my magnificent yacht at rest and wonder how scarred and depleted you are from trying to stay afloat after I bailed on you. What it’ll be like to be reunited, to be free and able to lay in peace with you beside me. I know that I’ve left you for quite some time and I wonder if you’ll recognize me and I, you.

So I let go of the rope. I stop fighting the currents, the waves, the false promises of my rescuers. I am overtaken by another wave. I feel the water drowning me from the inside out. I want to scream, everything hurts but the pain is nothing compared to what I’ve been tolerating since I jumped overboard. I relax my body, think about the safety of returning to the ship I’ve lived on for so long. My eyes close and finally I can really relax. I feel free for the first time since I was a kid. The streaks of sunlight casting through the millions of water molecules dim until everything is just still and dark.

Finally I see you. My Protector. Your stern is leaning against in the ground, a crater in the once unruffled sand. The silt is glossing over your once sparkling body. In our solitude, without disruption of the storm, of the other boats or the thoughts that once raced in my mind I look at you. I really look at you.

You’re a skeleton.

You’re not the yacht. The one that once safeguarded me from the dangers of the world and made me indestructible in the worst of the storm.

You’re the ratty old skiff. You always were, I just never could clearly see.

But it’s too late, I can’t get back to the surface. I can’t grasp the lifeline any longer. I imagine what would’ve happened if I had just held on. Would I have made it? Would they have reached me? Would the storm have calmed? But I’ll never know.

And now all that’s left is a skeleton and her skiff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I’m really done

Like done, done.

Done with treatment.

Done with depression.

Done with anxiety.

Done with perpetual constant self hate.

Done with thought of self harm and SI.

Done with feelings.

Done with meds.

Done being tired all the time.

Done with people.

Done with myself.

Facing My Fear of the Scale

Got my weekend homework for IOP: Bring my scale to IOP on Monday.

Anyone with an ED can probably figure out why: we are getting rid of it.

Thing is this isn’t hard for me because I am getting rid of it, it’s hard because, well, I haven’t touched it in over 2 years. I haven’t weighed myself on it. Haven’t turned it on, haven’t anything.

Why?

(Trigger Warning Begin: Suicide, Depression, Self-Harm, Eating Disorder)

Because the last time I touched that scale I almost attempted suicide.

The number had gone up. I was a failure. I hated myself. My life. My body. Everything. I couldn’t live with myself anymore. I had to die. I wanted to die. I had failed and I deserved to die.

I prepped everything. I was in the bathroom, I figured it would be easier for them that way, easier to clean. Plus, there were no pictures, no reminders of what there was left of my life. I got the pills, I got the razors. I was done.

I didn’t go through with it. As I laid out the pills and brought the razor closer to my flesh I thought about them- my 4 year old niece and nephew. What would my family tell them? Would they remember me? Would they be at the funeral? Would they forget me eventually? Would they hate me for what I had done?

Touching the razor to my wrist and seeing the faces of those two little “babies” was all it took. I looked down at the razor, looked at myself, at that scale 2 feet away, at the pills in my palm and then fear surged through me, my thoughts racing through my mind so fast. It was like my mind was trying to get out everything that was rational before the depression, before Ed took back over.

(Trigger Warning End)

What are you doing? This is not okay? You need help. Don’t do this. They need you.

The fear coursed through my entire body so strongly that I threw up out of fear. I flushed the pills, I flushed the razor and then I turned and looked at that scale. I was hysterically crying at this point. Terrified to look at it, to touch it. Half of me was scared I couldn’t withstand the screaming voice in my head to stand on it, the other half was terrified that I would see the number again and not be able to stop myself against the suicidal thoughts.

I flipped the scale over with my foot, fumbled with the battery component because I was shaking so hard that I couldn’t steady my hands enough. I tore the battery out violently and flushed that too. And then I put the scale away, in the back of the closet. The “junk” closet. The one with the stuff we never use. And I NEVER touched it again.

Now, one of my IOP therapists wants me to bring it on Monday. Wants me to touch it during treatment and then get rid of it for good. I’m not even sure I can touch it to put it in the car so she said to have someone else do it for me and she’ll come get it out of the car.

That’s how bad my fear is.

Even getting weighed at the doctor’s office, daily in treatment and weekly now during IOP causes such anxiety that I have to take my anxiety medicine beforehand. And if it’s a scale that makes noise (like ones that aren’t digital) it’s almost too traumatizing to handle. (Case and point: Tuesday when I had to be weighed at IOP because my therapist wasn’t here to weigh me and it took my dietitian 15 minutes, music, stepping on the scale to hold it steady and a double dose of anxiety medicine to get me to even comply.

So that’s my homework. Bring my scale. Touch it on Monday. Getting it into my car will even be a challenge so I have to ask someone to do it for me- which is also hard because I feel like that’s embarrassing to admit and I hate asking for help but at least I have a few days to figure it out.

But oh gosh, I have to touch it. I don’t want to do it, I really don’t want to do it.

What I learned from a Runcation

 Runcation: noun. A vacation centered around running. 

 

At least, that’s usually what it means. In my case, however, runcation has taken on a different meaning.

Runcation: noun. A mandatory break from running instituted by medical professionals.

 

It’s been about 7 months since I have run consistently and in that time frame I have only run a handful of times. I used to run everyday, or at the very least 6 out of 7 days a week. I was a distance runner, my short runs consisted of 5-7 milers with my long runs being anywhere between 13-20 miles. Running was my time to be free, my time to be happy, my time to just be alone and process the world and life surrounding me. Running brought me into this amazing community of people that I never knew existed before I dared to start considering myself a “runner.” For over 3 years I worked up my goals: a 5k, 10k, 10 miler, half marathon and finally, conquering the full 26.2 mile marathon. I crushed it. I fell deeper in love with a sport that I had once despised and tried to get out of at every opportunity in PE during high school, it was ironic to me how I could have gone from hating something so much to cherishing it, having my life revolve around it and feeling sort of confident doing it.

I ran, a lot. I ran through rain, snow, unbearable heat, humidity, bad runs, good runs, birthdays, family dinners, nights out with friends, early mornings, injuries (and there were a lot of them), pain, hunger, tears, blood, astonishment from others, overexertion, concerns, and even through my own common sense trying to scream loudly enough to get me to hear it.

Thinking back on it, maybe through isn’t the right word, maybe it should be from. Maybe I was running from all that. They say sometimes the only way out of the storm is through it, I guess in this case that was kind of the truth.

 

See, the thing is that the running wasn’t the primary problem. Running just exacerbated the problem in a lot of ways, but despite what everyone else has said to me, I think running also helped me accept the problem quicker than I would’ve otherwise. Most of the proponents of my “runcation” can’t understand that, they see the running as part of the problem, the disorder, and the belief that you can love it that much a distortion. I think that’s a lot of the reason I have a hard time fully believing them. But I can agree to disagree on that, because despite disagreeing with them on it in it’s entirety, they do have a point; in some ways the running became an obsession, an obligation, a chore and a compulsion. And not just running either, exercising in general.

After the medical effects got entirely too severe to continue to ignore, after passing out daily for almost 2 weeks straight and having such severe chest pain most days I thought I was having a heart attack I knew I had to end it. The moment I had to jump out of an airplane for the first time was nothing compared to the fear I had when I set foot in my doctors office that afternoon. Ultimately the words came out, the questions were posed and a plan was established. My runcation was enacted with a two word diagnosis:

 

Eating Disorder.

 

See, the running wasn’t the only issue. The running perhaps would have never been an issue if there wasn’t a bigger problem lurking underneath it. Masking all the “strength” and “endurance” was a demon inside myself one who progressively restricted food further and further. At first it was just meat or just pasta then whole groups of foods were out: protein, sugars, fats, carbohydrates, fruits, until just one food remained and until a day consisted of 200 calories. No more. Ever. If I ran 15 miles on top of that, it didn’t matter. 200 calories, the same vegetable; Every. Single. Day.

 

I ended up starting treatment, being too severely ill for it and being transferred to an inpatient facility prior to being sent for residential care and to somehow regain “normalcy” with my eating habits. To say I was “onboard” with this whole process would probably be the biggest overstatement of my life. I was compliant but, as my treatment team often described it “extraordinarily ambivalent” toward the notion of committing to recovery.
For the 3 months I lived in Wisconsin. A new state, new treatment center, new “normal” and in all honesty, I learned a lot. Exercise was off the table indefinitely aside from a turtle-speed walk around the hospital campus once a day with supervision and my set diet and meals were quickly replaced by supplements and more substantial diet than anything I had done in years. After I got back home treatment continued, I am in no way “recovered”; I am not even sure recovered is a true state of being for someone with an eating disorder. I feel like being in a solid state of recovery is possible but I am not sure that these thoughts, feelings or other voice in my head will ever truly go away. Heck, some days I am not even sure staying in some sort of recovery is possible. Either way, there is still a lot of work to do.

 

Despite my ongoing war with myself I have come to realize that there has been some, and I repeat some (but not all) good that has come from the mandatory runcation:

  1. I was able to heal enough to be permitted to finally have my foot surgery (which not only has gotten me out of perpetual pain- or will eventually do that- but also will hopefully allow me to run more comfortably once I am able to do that).
  2. When you don’t run during all of your free hours, you get to see your friends more
  3. I have found new hobbies that I also enjoy doing and had time to plan my best friend’s bridal shower and bachelorette party
  4. There’s more to life than running, racing, sneakers, time trials, fartleks, and beating your own PRs
  5. I don’t have to run dozens of miles a week to be a Runner, to be “healthy” or to be fit (I’m still working on continuously believing this one but today I sorta can believe it)
  6. It’s nice to sleep in sometimes. It’s also nice to stay up late sometimes too and not worry about the early morning gym wake up call.
  7. Not running all the time makes the races I can do feel more special (not that I am allowed to sign up for anymore since my little 20 mile running escapade in February…)
  8. Running doesn’t have to kill me.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to run. I want to do marathons, I want to sit in a van with random strangers and relay race 200 miles through random cities, I want to race, I want to PR, but I have kind of come to realize that sometimes the thing you think is helping you hold on to everything you have, might actually be drowning you further- at least in this case it was.

I miss it. Every. Single. Day. When I go on walks my body instinctively gears up to shorten my stride and pick up the pace, I envy the other runners I see out there on my trails, my sidewalk, and posting their race sign-ups and finish times but I know that I’m not ready to go back quite yet. Not to the extent I was. I am still addicted (remember the aforementioned 20 miler…) still using it to not only be a fun hobby but also because it has the added benefit of burning those pesky calories I fear so much and to combat the weight gain I hate that the treatment team has forced on me.

I know they’re right. I’m not ready. It will cause a relapse. Heck, I’ve nearly relapsed many many times without running having to do anything, it’s too slippery of a slope and I don’t want to go back to the days when I couldn’t stay awake for more than 2 hours, couldn’t remember anything, cried on the floor because I was hungry but couldn’t pick myself up after passing out because I feared the kitchen so much and because I wouldn’t let myself “break the rules”. My life had to stop for over 3 months because things were so bad I needed 24/7 care by trained professionals.

So for now, I guess I’ll stay on my runcation. The definition of this runcation is not one I wish to be using but I’ve succumbed to the fact that it’s the one that must be used…for now, at least until I can get back to the real runcations.

 

 

I’m Back.

Well, it’s been a LONG time. The last post I “posted” I wrote as I was sent up north to Wisconsin for residential treatment. Long story short:

I got there.

Went to get medically cleared.

Failed.

Was sent into an inpatient lock down 24/7 medical unit.

Eventually transferred to residential.

Lived there for 3 months.

Came home.

Left PHP because the treatment method sucked for me at the time.

Did outpatient treatment.

Started relapsing.

Went into IOP in a different treatment facility.

Decided to start blogging again.

 

And here we are 🙂

My first post back will be up in a bit.

Side note: Eating disorders still suck but I am a LOT better than I was when I went to Wisconsin. Also it wasn’t as catastrophically bad as I pictured it and I even miss my “family” up there.

 

Chicago is better when you don’t arrive for ED treatment

I’m nervous but not all at the same time. Right now it feels like I am here for a vacation to see my family. Really though, it’s odd to be here so close to the marathon and not running it. 

More of my family knows now. Idk how I feel about it yet but whatevs it’s better than lying and they’ve been great. My aunt and uncle are stellar at keeping my secret and I love them for it. 

Tomorrow’s the day. Ugh already freaking about getting weighed. I feel like I’ve eaten a ton of food. I just don’t understand how if I eat x ounces of something how I don’t gain that instantly forever. I get it, but I just don’t too. 

I want to go home but I can’t. I’m really thankful for my aunt and uncle though they’ve been life savers and I wouldn’t be this calm if not for them. 

I’ll check in tonight or tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to suck. 

Airports smell the Best…usually

Typically the air is full of adventure, fun, excitement and travel dreams; today, however I am filled with dread and regret that I am trekking to Il and then Wi for these reasons rather than in 2 weeks for the marathon like planned. It sucks. I hate this. 

All packed. 

Taking a huge leap of faith tomorrow. I’m getting on a flight, heading to Illinois and well, going to residential treatment Monday.

I’m a bit stressed over the situation but it’ll be okay. I think. 

I’m going for the right reasons, my behavioral specialists at my current center trained with those ill be working with up north; I’ve got the inside scoop on the treatment center, I’ve been through some treatment so I kinda know what to expect and yet, I have no clue what it is really like. That scares me.

On top of that I went to the doctor on Friday, asked the treatment center if he needed to run tests and was told no, last night they called and said yes. Ugh. So now I have to go to the local ER by the center and get those done on Monday before I admit to the actual center. It’s really not a big deal just I would rather be at my doctors office when they do it. Oh well, I’m considering it an introduction into my new life in an ED residential facility 😏.

Anyway, after Monday I’ll be MIA for who knows how long. I’ll be finding myself, unplugging and getting better. So hopefully soon I’ll be back. I’ll try and post tomorrow and Monday before check in but I guess it depends on how overwhelmed I feel. 

Until then, my bags are packed, I’m all checked in to my flight (with an upgraded seat because, well, something should be extra comfy), I said goodbye to my niece and nephew who think I am on “vacation”, and to a few others who know about my ED and tomorrow my sister and mom will take me to the airport and drop me off. 

I’m not thinking about that part. 

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my current treatment center. The hardest was to the 3 teens who are like little sisters to me. One was being discharged for good-for which I was psyched- the other 2 will go back on Monday except we won’t get to catch up and bond we will instead be separated by half the country. It sucks. They cried, I held it together until I left and cried the whole way home. They are so sweet, they don’t deserve this disease, they are fighters though and they will conquer this, they inspire me. So T, S and B if you ever read this I hope you are well, that you stayed on recovery’s sometimes bumpy path and I hope you know I cannot thank you enough for being the brightest part of my day in treatment. 

And J, my friend in the adult program, got moved to IOP but she was really my guardian angel in PHP. I have no clue how I would’ve survived without her or have been strong enough to accept my fate and come to terms with going to residential. J I can’t wait to get back bc we are so going to catch up at the cafe our EDs have kept us from ☺️☺️

But to do all that I have to go, my behavioral specialists say the center is stellar and like a family,so while B, S, T and J and our behavioral specialists S and M and dietitian C are all back here, I’ll be thinking of them and working hard to get home to them. I am going to make the most of it though, I actually do like unplugging for a while and I have wanted to live up north for a while so this is sorta like a trial run, sorta. 

Until then, I am excited to see my aunt and uncle tomorrow and have a mini sleepover with my mom and sister tonight before they take me to the  airport 

So much to do.

i have so much to buy and get before leaving Sunday morning. First, I have been living in the same 10 clothing pieces for forever bc I hate shopping right now but at the same time none of that is conducive to WI weather soooo I have been buying new (cold weather) clothes and getting things we are allowed to have. 

Top on the list: a cell phone WITHOUT a camera 📞📵 That was a struggle but I got one so at least I can text my family and friends since I’ll probably only see them once or twice during treatment due to the geographical challenges- unlike most of the other patients. 

Also an iPod without a camera, easier to get but still a pain in the butt. I have to talk to Admissions later about a few other things but those two things have been worked out so at least I feel connected to the normal world and not so isolated.

I told my bosses too. They were shocked but since there’s not really any notice I can give they can’t exactly complain to me. And I actually told 2 friends who I work with (and am friends with outside of work) the real reason I am going to be out and they’ve been sooooo supportive. 

My friend at PHP has evil insurance and moved her to IOP yesterday quite unexpectedly so I am scared that’ll eventually happen to me. She doesn’t feel ready to be on her own for meals for that long each day and has been having a rough couple days but thankfully we’ve developed a good friendship in the short time at PHP so we are staying in touch and I think it helps both of us 😊

Other than that I am at a couple doctors appointments and then headed to my last day at PHP. 😔😰 I am terrified. I can’t believe I leave at 6am on Sunday. It’s surreal and the panic comes more frequently as I get closer to it. I haven’t slept and last night went to the gym for 2 hours at 1:30am to work out bc the compulsion was tremendous and because I was wide awake. The whole time I knew I should stop but I couldn’t, it was compulsive not desired it was like I wasn’t myself there. It sucked. 

I just got done seeing one of my doctors, I told him about the exercise and the exercise on Sunday too. He said he thought residential was a good idea before just based on my blood tests showing evidence of purging, but he definitely is on board unquestionably after hearing about my late night gym escapades and running 😔.

I’m scared. I need to do this but it doesn’t change the emotions. 😰