Twas The Night Before Treatment

It’s officially here; my admission to the partial hospitalization program is tomorrow. 10:30am.

To be honest, nothing feels different, scary, intimidating or anything like that when I think of treatment tomorrow. It just feels surreal. But, I know that once my alarm goes off (assuming I actually sleep tonight) that will all be different. I sit here, not nervous but the thought of tomorrow starts to stir up the fears.

It’s normal to be nervous. I know. That’s what everyone says. But there is nothing normal about this. There is nothing normal about having to drop out of school this term, to be going to a treatment center, to be going to one where I will be there 8 hours a day and be supervised during the entire time, there is nothing normal about having to stop working to go to treatment, there is nothing normal about crying around food, nothing normal about having side effects all the time, nothing normal.

But crying around food, not eating, the side effects all of that ED related stuff, it’s what I know. It’s normal to me. And I guess that’s precisely why I am dreading tomorrow,  because when normal is yanked out from under you it’s never an easy landing, never a flawless execution, and nothing ever ever goes like people plan.

So yeah, tomorrow is the day.

On top of that I am beyond stressed about not knowing what will happen, what to expect and what the whole situation will entail. I just wish someone could be like this was my experience “i did x first and y next and z then and blah blah blah.” But I can’t find anything online like that so I am stressing about that. And of being weighed. I am extra stressed about that part.

The anxiety over the minute details and new situations is so much worse these days. Since these stupid anti-depressants were prescribed I am always stressed. Always worried, always feeling like I am overwhelmed and on the verge of panicking. I hate it. I need to talk to my doctor about it but I just haven’t really been able to get there- because I am nervous about it. Go figure. Plus they make me not want to be around anyone. Not even myself some days. Whatever. I have good days too so maybe those will start to outweigh the odd ones.

I did drive to the center on Saturday- when they were closed. I parked in the parking lot and tried to piece together and mentally prepare for what is going to happen tomorrow, how I am going to get the confidence to go in, how I am going to open the door, say the words, and well, actually just go through with the whole thing. I’m still not sure I can do it.

I wish I could’ve gone to see my ARNP beforehand. She always says something that makes me feel like I can do this, like I am not alone, like it’s okay to be freaking out and honestly, I trust her so I can tell her and plus, I know it’s told in confidence which is relieving. These people at the treatment center, I don’t know them. I sure as heck don’t trust them and I can’t just open up to people about feelings. I’m not that kind of person. I’m not comfortable with that. I’m not going to do that tomorrow.

Secretly, though, my absolute biggest fear is that they are going to give up on me. Or, that I am going to trust them and then have their help yanked out from under me for one reason or another.

So, tomorrow. 12 hours, actually. 12 hours until this really becomes…. real.

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Grapes & Gratitude

I made it through my doctor’s appointment and survived the encounter with… The Scale. Seriously, words cannot express my anxiety around scales and knowing my weight. On one hand, I want to know (but really, I think it’s the ED part of me that wants to know because I want the number to be lower); on the other hand, I don’t want to know (this part I think is the real me because it is the part that is scared of the self-hatred and self-harm thoughts if the number goes up). So yeah, it’s a complicated relationship and it won’t end well either way because either the ED part of me gets stronger and more satisfied or the real me gets beat up and bullied by it.

Today my ED was happy. VERY happy. I, however, was more than a bit ashamed of the happy thoughts flooding my body after seeing the drop in weight again. I could soon reach underweight status, my potassium is so low my doctor looked me in the eye and said “you are at risk of heart failure”, I can’t run off my anxiety, frustration or fear, I am too tired and disoriented to carry on conversation after a few hours of being awake. I am dying and yet, I feel happiness for losing weight but I also feel guilt for feeling the happiness. I am infinitely messed up, trapped and terrified.

However, I did actually have some REAL ME happiness today too. The kind that makes the ED part of me angry, loud and mad but only because it means that part of me is slowly being attacked by the old, happy, me. Today, I experienced two things: Grapes and Gratitude. Let’s start with gratitude.

I have from the get-go had so much respect and gratitude for my Nurse Practitioner at the doctor’s office. I always see her and have since I started going to this practice and she managed to get my trust (something that is very hard for medical professionals to do since my whole stomach debacle) enough to make me feel like I could trust her with my deep dark ED secret. And when I did go and tell her about it, she was nothing short of absolutely amazing, caring, concerned, trusting and non-judgmental. As I progress toward getting into treatment she has been so supportive and continues to be both honest but caring at the same time, never blaming me but instead working with me to try and figure out a solution for now until I can get to the psychologist, psychiatrists and other therapists. And perhaps what I am the MOST grateful for, she has never once made me feel like I did this to myself, never once made me feel like anything she said was condescending and never once made me feel like I am not sick. So yeah, complete and utter gratitude for her. I am, however, petrified because next time I go… I have to see the Physician Asst. instead because my amazing NP is going on maternity leave. She promises to be back soon and that the PA is stellar (she said this at two different appts so I am taking comfort in that she reiterated it) and said that she really likes her, herself. I, however, am scared to death. But still, I am so gracious for my NP and grateful that she warned me and talked to me about it before it happens so that I am not overwhelmed with surprise next time and she let me know she would talk to the PA about everything before she leaves too. Woo!

Also at the appointment she scared me to death when the ER, hospital and my horrifyingly low potassium levels were brought up. I don’t want a heart attack or to go into heart failure. I don’t want to die, that’s why I asked for help. Yet, I am on the verge of death. We had a very critical and terrifying conversation about eating more. I explained all my fears and we decided that trying to get  more fruit and veggies would be easier (she said she prefers fruits because I need more nutrients they offer and my 1 safe food is a veggie 😉 ) Until about 4 months ago there was one other vegetable and one fruit that was “semi-safe” but only in very limited quantities to ED. Today, I promised I would try and eat more and I am so gracious for all my NP’s help and support (in addition to my family) that I really did want to try and overcome my horrid ED thoughts which brings me to: grapes.

Seriously, I have been CRAVINGGGGGG grapes for weeks now. So after my appointment I went to Publix (best grocery store ever!) and the anxiety was so bad I had to call my mom on the way in and ask if grapes really were healthy and okay to eat. After she confirmed that and we talked about the appointment I knew the anxiety was only going to get worse. It’s kinda like when you skydive, the longer you sit on the edge of the plane the harder it is to convince yourself to jump so I went in, got a small produce bag (buying the whole thing of grapes like my mom suggested made me cry just thinking about it) and I just opened one of the bags and took a stem of the grapes and put it in the produce bag and tied it shut. I think I only tied it so I couldn’t put them back haha.

I am sure I looked like a crazy person, I called my mom and asked if grapes were healthy. I am a twenty-something grown-up lol I should know this; but when your brain lies to you for so long it gets to the point you don’t know what’s real and what’s not. Then I got in the car with my “unsafe” grapes. I knew I couldn’t just go home and eat the grapes because I knew my ED would get the best of me so I took a handful and as I drove I ate the first one. It was SO. DARN. GOOD. Cold and crisp on the outside and juicy and delish on the inside! The taste was seriously the best grape I have probably ever had! ED me was having a FIT and berating me but I ate a second one and eventually finished the whole handful! It’s not a lot- I know- but I was feeling full and didn’t want to make it worse. Also, I had arrived at my location– the make up store. I needed some new make up so I went in, went to the lady and asked her to demo the kind I wanted to try and it worked. Omgosh at first I could barely hear her over the ED thoughts but after a bit ED me gave up on getting me to purge the grapes AND I bought some new make up after I had a fabulous make over.

And that, even though it’s not a lot,  is my first REAL RECOVERY WIN!!!!

But seriously, my NP is the bomb dot com. LOVE her and I am still freaking out over her leave of absence but she hasn’t led me astray yet and I have to  believe the PA will be just as good.