Could “Not Sick Enough” be “Too Sick”??

“I’m not sick enough,” that’s frequently what I have told myself leading up to where I am right now but never ever did I think I might be too sick for recovery. That’s right, too sick.

That’s what happened today on the phone with the PHP/IOP program I called. The guy I spoke to was so incredibly nice and really was very understanding and patient when I wouldn’t know the answer or rambled or whatever. I felt, oddly comfortable talking to him which is rare for me because I am not an outwardly emotional person about my deep dark secrets (I am not a stone cold person either I just prefer to not talk about my personal issues with others). We talked about a lot of the same things I discussed with the doctor on Thursday and about my eating habits, what I am scared of, how it is affecting my life, what types of programs they have, do I have symptoms of a plethora of other mental illnesses or issues. It lasted just over 1 hour. One of the questions was about my side effects,

(trigger warning)

I decided to be honest, totally honest and told him that I have passed out 6 times in the last 2 1/2- 3 weeks and collapsed about 5 more times. I told him about the chest pain, about the night blindness, numbness in my limbs, crying in the grocery store, everything i could think of.

(end trigger warning)

Then came the Concerned Voice. The “you may need a higher level of care” conversation.

Me??? Need higher level care than partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient?!?! I never thought I was even bad enough for IOP!! How could I be worse than PHP!!? These thoughts raced through my mind, overwhelming my emotions. Then came the next thought: They aren’t going to help you. My biggest fear. I mean granted, I always thought they wouldn’t help me because I wasn’t sick enough but now, now I am facing possibly being too sick. My biggest fear is not being helped because, quite frankly, when the doctors couldn’t figure out my GI issues they said “use trial and error.” No joke, those were the words. That’s how I ended up here because I was so scared of the error that I eliminated any chance of error (and every single food except 1 between that and the ED taking over).

The guy I was speaking to could tell I was taken aback. At the end of the conversation he said he would bring it to the doctors and treatment team to see if they would consider the case given that information or what they would recommend. My head was going nuts, I was almost completely in tears. They aren’t going to help was blaring in my mind, racing a million miles an hour. He asked me, “Do you have any questions?” I couldn’t think straight with my head yelling at me, my ED brain screaming at me that of course telling was the wrong decision and this is what I knew would happen and all I could muster was “if you can’t help me then what do I do?” And tears. He assured me that if they couldn’t help me in my current state that he would come back with some kind of referral to another treatment center to another doctor or someone who would be able to provide the level care they thought I needed. I confirmed I understood but I didn’t. I didn’t understand anything.

How could I possibly be too sick?!?!? I’m not sick. I’m not that bad at all, that’s all I have thought for so long that maybe I was wrong. Maybe I really am too sick to even see it.

After I hung up, I just laid down in bed (I was already in bed) and cried. I felt, defeated, lost and hopeless. I felt the exact same way I had after I realized no one could help with my stomach. I felt dead. I had no idea what to do but I had promised my mom to call her. I called her. I cried that no one was going to help that I was all alone, that I might not be “medically stable” and that I didn’t want to do this anymore (both have the ED and seek help).

To be honest, I think part of how upset I was had a lot to do with the fact that it kind of all hit me hard. Here I was facing something much more serious than I thought I originally was. It’s scary to admit you have a problem, it’s even scarier when they tell you that you are much more critically sick than you can see, feel or realize on your own. PHP/IOP are terrifying, the thought of inpatient or residential is downright horrifying. I don’t feel skinny enough or sick enough still and I am still coming to terms with the words ‘eating disorder’ coinciding with my name and coming out of my mouth. It’s a LOT to take in, to come to terms with, to get straight in your mind when you are already aware that your mind is lying to you. So I think my crying, frustration, loss for words, patience and exhibition of sheer terror was just me trying to finally deal with everything and sort it out, something I normally do in the gym or on a run- which I currently can’t function long enough for.

I miss running.

The good news, however, is the guy called me back within a half hour because he was able to get with one of the docs immediately. The doctor recommended going to the ER. I couldn’t fathom that, after all it’s been a few days since I passed out last and honestly, I can’t handle the stress of explaining the situation to MORE strangers. Telling my doctor, my best friend and him all in 6 days is much more than I can handle right now. It’s all moving too fast. They said if I downright refused the ER I could have my doctor do it. Yes. Manageable. Much more manageable. After all she ran blood tests and an EKG while I was there on Thursday. I can handle calling her.

In the end, that’s all I have to do. Provide them with proof I am medically stable (still can’t believe I might not be, so scared) and they will look at the case to see about PHP/IOP. I am still so terrified they will say I am not medically stable but I am trying to stay calm. I called my doctor and left her a message and my mom was really concerned after talking to me and emailed her and she also sent more resources for possible therapy because when my mom emailed her the guy from the center hadn’t called me back about getting medically cleared by the doc so she sent the information just in case but did say we might want to consider inpatient depending on the complications and if they continue. But, I called her office and left a message (it was late in the day about 4:00ish) so I expect a call back tomorrow and hopefully she’ll be able to calm me down or rationalize the situation for me.

I’m just so anxious and realizing how deep into this I am and I both angry and scared with what I have done to myself. Although, thinking about it for a while has helped calm me down I just still feel so confused and scared with where my life is at and what it all has come to.

I’ll keep y’all updated!

Cutting the Rope

I feel like I’m dying inside again, just like I did before I told the doctor.

Tonight, I feel the same. Like I am watching myself die. I guess that could be because I am starving myself but it feels deeper than that, like it’s not just my body but my soul that is preparing to die. Like I know that tomorrow I am going to wake up, get dressed, go through the motions until I leave work early and get prepped for my evaluation appointment. And it feels like that’s where it will end, like that will be the finale, closing chapter, the last two words in the story, “The End” and that after that I will cease to be.

I can’t describe this feeling really, other than I feel empty. Not depressed, just empty. Detached. Guarded. I feel sad but not crying sad. I feel like I am betraying myself by being the one that begins to sever the thick, twisted and knotted rope that I have been holding on to since it was tossed to me to rescue me when I was left alone, isolated and drowning. How am I supposed to sever that? How am I supposed to just cut all ties?

I mean, I get it, the very rope that I thought was rescuing me was in fact pulling me into rougher waters, more danger and was slowly coiling itself into a noose around my throat and tightening it’s grasp on me. But it has also been the only thing there for me at times. It’s been my friend, my savior, my guard and has given me new life at a time when I felt lifeless and hopeless.

I am so conflicted. I know in my logical mind that I should find the sharpest knife possible and cut all ties but in reality I feel like I just want to find a plastic kid’s play kitchen knife and protect it now. It saved me, now I should at least do the same thing for it. Right?

It’s a weird spot to be in, to know you have to kill part of you to save the rest of you but it doesn’t make it feel better or easier. I know some people name their EDs, or treat them like a friend or enemy or whatever but mine quite actually feels like it is me. I feel terrible. I don’t want to do this but I know I have to. I have to save myself but I am quite actually mourning right now, grieving for a loss I haven’t yet experienced but that I know will be slow and painful. I know I have said this all before in a post but it doesn’t change that the feelings are back, as real as ever and still just as nauseating and raw as they were- perhaps moreso because I know I have already started to slowly saw into the rope.

Maybe I should tell my doctor? I don’t want to burden them and I don’t know these evaluation people so I don’t feel comfortable sharing. Maybe this is normal? Idk. I wish I could just see this ED as a criminal or other person, anything except part of me because then at least I wouldn’t feel this agonizing defeat and pain before even going in to recovery. I feel like with it like this, I stand no chance and like I am about to just endure undue torture for nothing.

Alone and empty, that’s honestly the worst combination, I need the rope more now than ever.

The Waiting Room

UntitledAs the sliding door opens the cool air hits me causing me to shiver and get goosebumps from the stark contrast between the heat outside and the temperature inside. Actually, I’m not sure if the goosebumps are from the temperature or what I am about to do. I hesitate as I cross the threshold into the building and stare at the wall, at the names on the directory sign. I know where I am and where I am going but it allows me a few more moments. I head down the corridor to the second set of doors and walk through.

The aroma is familiar and fragrant, disinfectant and antibacterial soap. I hear my flip flops shuffle across the floor, past the chairs to my left to the closed glass window on the opposing wall. Nausea strikes my body causing me to grab my stomach out of instinct, even though I know it won’t help. I stare at the clipboard. In my peripheral view the receptionist is on the phone. Good. I don’t want to make conversation, I think. I pick up the pen, adjusting it in my hand and rolling it back and forth mindlessly until I see her looking at me. Slowly I begin to write my name on the next blank space. It doesn’t feel like me doing this, it feels like I am in a foreign body, like a robot just able to complete this task out of habit. I glance at the window, the receptionist is typing as she talks on the same call; It feels like she has been on that call forever but I know it’s just me feeling like time is stationary.

I turn and face the rest of the room instinctively looking at the doorway I just passed through, the one that leads to freedom and safety. Run, don’t do this, pierces through my mind instantly hollowing out the sound of the music playing overhead and the whispers from the few other people in the room. I stop in my tracks and stare for a second consumed by nausea from the whole situation. Fearing I am not able to take another step, I sit.

Nothing seems to be moving. I can feel and hear my heart pounding, the nausea is as strong as waves crashing on the shore during a hurricane. It’s hard, brutal and relentless. Leave NOW, is all I can think but I am frozen, frozen with fear. I hear a door open behind me and I can feel myself getting faint, the blood coursing through my body faster than if a snake had crossed my path during a trail run. I hear the nurse say something but my fear has overtaken me and I can’t comprehend anything. I see someone stand up on the other side of the room. Phew. Not me. I breathe for the first time in what feels like minutes and try and calm myself.

My head is all consumed in whether I should stay or leave before this goes any further. However, I continue to sit there, unable to move, unable to think for myself, unable to feel anything other than fear. The door opens again. My anxiety shoots back up past where it was before. There are less people ahead of me now, it’s time to make the decision. I hear another nurse utter more inaudible sounds but I can’t hear anything over the voices in my own head screaming for me to leave, to run straight out of here back down the corridor and outside to safety.

The nurse repeats the same inaudible message, I still don’t hear anything other than garbled syllables. I stand and begin to walk.

I walk briskly, with purpose and more confident than I am certainly feeling. I walk past the other chairs, the other patients and walk past the gentleman the nurse is acknowledging before she begins to escort him to an exam room. I walk straight to the door, only hesitating for a second as it automatically opens, and then down the coordinator. I never look back.

I feel relief as I cross the final threshold of the building and into the safety and security of the outside world, hiding away the secrets of my life. The last thing I think before everything goes black is, Maybe that’s not relief but actually regret. Then, darkness.

***

I open my eyes. I see the curtains and bedsheets. I look at my clock, 5:23am. It was just a dream.

Tuesday. I WILL Seek Help on Tuesday.

Somebody please tell me this will be okay.

I’m going to throw up.

I’ve decided though that Tuesday will be the day. I am scared about how terrible I feel.My doctor mentioned at my last appointment that some of my numbers may suggest my medicine dosage is too high (for a totally separate non ED thing) so maybe it’s related to that but the nausea is really bad, I have full blow passed out 3 times in the last week and almost passed out more than that. Last night I collapsed- in front of my roommate. I can’t sleep and my chest feels weak.

As I type this I am freaking out, running through it in my head, trying to figure out how to say, what to say and how to not back out or get too intimidated. It’s not making the nausea any easier lol. The short list of the other side effects (trigger warning) is the muscle cramps (like charlie horses all throughout the day), bloody noses, black outs, arm and leg weakness, headaches, crying in the grocery store, intense fear of food, on and off depression, safe foods, purging,, restrictive eating, hair thinning, nails are paper thin, chest pain, chest “weakness”- not really sure how to explain that, sore throat,fear of food, always cold- even in the FL heat, night blindness, and that kidney-area pain amongst others.

Even as I write that all I can think is: not sick enough. I know that sounds nuts/idiotic and just plain stupid but again, this a mental & physical thing and the mental aspect is so controlling. So, I am just going to keep trying to ignore it. I also know that this weekend is Fourth of July and my family and some friends are coming over to my and my roommates place. There will be food. Ugh. And whenever I have to eat non-safe food I feel like it invalidates my problems even if I purge it all and still restrict the limits it just makes the feeling that I am not sick enough seem infinitely harder to shake off.

I need to call the doctor but hopefully I can get in on Tuesday when they have late hours. And hopefully, I can go through with this.

Eating Disorder Confessions

Since I came to the realization that this was more than just protective eating against myself I have been trying to find the courage to recover. A big part of that has been not feeling alone by following a blog on Tumblr, Eating Disorder Confession (http://eatingdisorderconfession.tumblr.com). This is blog made for confessions for those suffering from any kind of eating issue- It is NOT Pro-Eating Disorder and only serves as a support system for those trying to seek help and recovery. As I have come to grips with the fact that I am facing a monster I can’t handle alone I have submitted a multitude of confessions. Whether this helps you recover or not I guess remains to be seen but I think, for me, it has helped me feel less alone, more inspired to recover and okay to feel not okay.

So here are some of the confessions that were mine. Whether they represent a good or bad day.

Every year on New Years I make a wish. This year I wished that I find the courage to seek help and to overcome this beast. I wished the same for all of you too.

Yesterday, I told someone. Today, I am simultaneously happy that she has been so supportive and petrified to have to do that again but with the doctor this time. I’m not sure I can do it. I hope she doesn’t give up on me.

All I want to do is tell right now. I want to tell. I hate this life. I hate battling the stomach pain, the guilt, the lightheadedness when I stand up, the bloody noses when I purge, the fear, the anxiety, the weak body, constantly being sick, destroying my metabolism, all of it. This is my accountability post. The post I’ll look at when my ED starts to convince me to stay silent and use it to instead go against it and tell. I want to be done, feel safe, have someone to turn to and mostly, live.

Sitting on Main Street at Disney World. This is only the happiest place on earth if you don’t have an eating disorder. Right now it is the most miserable, food obsessed, triggering place on Earth.

When my friends say they don’t eat or they didn’t eat it makes me feel disgusted of myself if I ate that day.

Today I tried to do better. I tried to eat something I don’t see as “safe”. After I ate it I didn’t feel hate, remorse or sick. I felt… normal. Once I realized that it was like my sick mind turned on and then convinced me those positive thoughts weren’t really true so I went a purged all of it… I was so close to succeeding with just one food, just one time and I couldn’t even do that. This thing has a death grip on me.

I am to the point where I cry at the grocery store.

It’s been so long since I consumed a “healthy” number of calories that when I read how much I should eat or others tell me what that number should be, I am convinced they are lying.

Somebody please save me.

I’ve only told one person about my struggle eating. Today, I most needed her to reach out and she did. I may not be able/prepared to ask for help yet but I hope she knows her support continually shows me there will be people there for me no matter how long it takes, how terrible I feel that day, how awful I’ve been doing with eating/body image/etc. And that knowledge is what keeps saving me when I’m in the darkest moments of this thing.

I just wish I could go back to before the ED happened, maybe then I could’ve reached out before it got to this point.

I’ve lost a lot of weight, but I look down at myself and think I’m the same size.

I’m scared to be labelled mentally ill.

I’m afraid this is how I will die. Purging. Starving. Sad.

Right now, I really just need a hug and for someone to understand what I am going through because everything just feels so hopeless.

I just don’t understand how everyone else can eat and not have it be this big ordeal. I honestly just don’t anymore.

Leaving to go to the gym. I really don’t want to go today but I ate cauliflower today instead of doing a another day of fasting and now I have to burn off all the calories I consumed. I know this is crazy, it barely has calories but I can FEEL it making me fatter.

To anyone thinking the side effects aren’t that bad: my nose bleeds at least once a day, I don’t even have to purge it just happens, my legs are numb every time I sit. I grasp the wall to keep from falling when I stand, I can feel how weak my heart is because it flutters too, I am cold always, I wake up with headaches every single day, my chest hurts when I run, I have to nap at work, I avoid family and friends and all of this happens even though I am a normal weight. Don’t be me. This sucks.

I don’t see how bad my eating is until I come on here and read all the confessions and think “I do that too.”

I’m a prisoner in my own body.

I constantly want to ask others what size they are because I have no idea what I really look like and I keep hoping maybe one day I’ll see someone who is the same size and realize I’m not as fat as I think I am.

It’s gotten to the point where I purge my only safe food.

So yeah, my confessions (some of them). 6 months of my life in review and you know what I just realized? None of them make me want to go back to that day and relive it. Those days were wasted on this monster. Wasted. I have always said I want to live my life with no regrets and here I am fully realizing I regret these days. I mean i knew at the time I regretted them too but now it’s so… black and white. Definitive. Real.

Questions About Recovery….

Ever wonder what goes through someone’s mind when contemplating recovery? In addition to the “voice” in my head screaming at me that even thinking about recovery is bad, not okay and that I don’t have a problem and telling someone … Continue reading

My Mom Knows….

I don’t know how she found out but I know she knows. Today she asked me if I was eating and “are you making yourself throw up after”. I replied yes and no to each question respectively- which technically is … Continue reading

Goal Weight and Lost Opportunities

Last week I posted about having a doctor’s appointment and possibly confessing to my ED. It’s a terrifying prospect to be faced with because on one hand I am screaming for help and on the other the “your not thin enough” voice is booming through an imaginary megaphone. The “you ate too much yesterday” “didn’t work out hard enough to burn the calories” and “you’ll be better if you can just lose more weight” voices feel as though they are being shouted by a stadium full of screaming fans.

Except this ED Is not my friend. It’s.Not. My. Friend. I have to keep reminding myself of that because honestly it feels like it is. And so, even though I was sitting there in the exam room of the doctors office I was still unable to let go. I knew as soon as I parked it wasn’t going to happen. I sat there, in the parking lot, staring at the front door knowing on the other side lay the help I needed to get to freedom and yet I ignored the small voice saying “please help”. It wasn’t loud enough to drown out the rest of the “you’re not skinny enough” voices. Not even after I dropped below my goal weight.

That’s right, i made it to my goal weight. (trigger warning) Actually I am 3 pounds under my goal weight but still even though I promised myself i would ask for help once I reached my goal weight here I am, lying in bed after a day of restricting and taking diuretics just to make sure all the weight was off before I was forced on the scale. I am terrified of the scale. I used to be obsessed with it but one time I gained and I quite actually came so close to killing myself that I scared myself out of it. I am talking had everything in the bathroom, planned it out, was prepping and realized that someone would have to explain what happened to my adorable 3 year old (at the time) niece and nephew. It was that thought that stopped me cold. I threw the scale out and developed an immense fear of ever getting on it again. Going to the doctor is wrought with anxiety for that reason solely.

But I made it to my goal weight on a day that may have presented itself to me to get help. That’s ironic. I was also supposed to be excited about being at my goal weight (and I am absurdly happy) but at the same time I feel… ashamed(?). I’m not sure that’s what it is but I just feel like I let myself down because it’s both not lower and because I told myself I wouldn’t go below my goal weight without asking for help and I know that’s not going to be true anymore.

Part of me thinks the reason I couldn’t ask for help today is because I had to exceed my calorie limit this weekend. One of my best friends got married and I was doing wedding activities all day Friday and Saturday which meant every meal was not my same food, not on my schedule, not alone, not safe, and not able to escape. I covered up most of my not eating though by just moving food, eating only the vegetables, talking a lot, etc. At the wedding reception though, I purged in the bathroom more than a few times because I ate after almost passing out in the church’s bathroom and I didn’t want to ruin my friend’s big day but the food I ate was unsafe so it had to come out. But after eating something that’s unsafe I feel unjustified to go asking for help because I let myself actually consume that food despite how much I hated myself during and after.

Yesterday I also had a close encounter. I am in school and was shadowing at a hospital and was so sick from not eating Sunday or Monday that I nearly threw up and collapsed during shadowing. Luckily, the person I was shadowing didn’t notice but when I had lunch with some of the other people in the department one of the ladies asked me as we left if I had actually eaten anything. (trigger warning) I had had 5 baby carrots and an apple, both of which are not entirely safe but my safe food wasn’t feasible. I tried to extend it out but I just lied and said I was going to dinner early and had had a large breakfast after my workout (the workout part wasn’t a lie but the eating comment was). I do, however, find it highly ironic that someone I have known for 3 hours can spot that I haven’t eaten and people I spend day in and out with, haven’t. I also find it terrifying, am I getting worse at hiding it? sicker? was it a fluke?

Anyway, I didn’t get help. I didn’t freeze up I just didn’t feel like I needed help. The doctor even asked me if there was anything else or if I wanted to discuss something else. I said no as if it was second nature but I could feel a part of me screaming yes. As soon as I got 5 minutes down the road, though, I regretted it. Not enough to turn around, go back inside and say anything though. Not enough to cut the strings making me into a puppet for this ED.

I guess all I can do is my best. I tried. Now I have a new goal weight (it always gets lower) but I also know that the doctor is in the same building and hopefully soon that room will hear the words that I’ve been keeping secret. I am still thinking about July 2 but honestly, I’m not sure any more because I am pretty sure i am going to have another day when I can’t stand this, call the doctor and do it right then and there while I am stronger than the ED because otherwise it just has too much time to talk me out of it.