The Middle

Why is it that no one tells you how bad the middle really is?

How the pain and feelings you’ve buried for so long will begin to resurface with a vengeance that can be far too strong. 

How you’ll begin to feel happiness again, smiling and laughing with family and friends

Despite the near constant exhaustion of battling your inner demons.

 

Why is it that no one tells you how long the middle lasts?

How you trudge through the hours and minutes of each day contemplating whether you did the right thing.

How you’ll feel like you have come so far and feel like you might make it to the end

Only to start going back to your old behaviors, steering towards complete relapse.

 

Why is it that no one tells you how the middle changes you?

How you’ll be unsure of who you’ll become and what will be left when all is said and done.

How you’ll feel relieved when the person you were meant to be is cautiously allowed to be seen

Yet petrified that the person you’ve grown into cannot coexist.

 

Why is it that no one tells you how hard the middle is?

How uncomfortable and painful it is to battle your thoughts and behaviors relentlessly.

How you’ll begin to conquer your fears and break all your made up rules

Only to realize your mind has formulated dozens more.

 

Why is it that no one tells you how lonely the middle is?

How you’ll be surrounded by people trying to help and still feel like your just out of their reach.

How you can be in a room full of people who understand sharing your struggle with them

Yet feel like you’re still hopelessly alone.

 

Why is it that no one tells you how agonizing the middle is?

How your formerly corpse like body begins to show signs of life so you pretend to be as okay as your body now seems. 

How you’ll be able to tell some of your most shameful thoughts and tattle on yourself when you engage in behaviors

Even though you’re still in agony behind your no longer lifeless eyes.

 

Why is it that no one tells you how bad the middle is?

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Outcasted at IOP

Last night I felt attacked at IOP.

Like verbally attacked, judged, misunderstood, alone, and invalidated.

Newsflash: I hate feelings. They make me HIGHLY uncomfortable, I don’t feel like it is acceptable to showcase them in front of others and I have spent the majority of my life since I was 8 hiding them, numbing them, burying them. In essence I am hypercontrolling my emotions. Like to the extreme. Like didn’t cry in front of anyone for over a decade.

Here’s the cliff notes version:

  • Ate dinner, felt like I had to eat too much, took plate to kitchen, really urged to purge into the trash or the sink because no one was watching
  • Went back into group, therapist asked if anyone needed to say anything.
  • FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER went out on a limb and just said “I really want to purge like now, like almost just did”
  • Therapist and the other girl who needed to process something (we’ll call her B) were like let’s process that first. Which I thought was really nice of B because I didn’t feel like I deserved to be able to do that and felt like I had robbed her of getting help (even though we still processed her thing too).
  • I say I just needed to say it out loud to give it less power (keep in mind our entire first group was about purging because a girl that has now been moved out of IOP purged the previous night during dinner)
  • Therapist asked questions about my feelings (which I hate) and this is what came out:
    • I felt guilty, like I was harming my body, like I was failing, ashamed of what I ate and how much, ashamed of how my body looks, afraid of what others thought of me and what I ate, and like a fraud.
  • Another person we’ll call them, L, then said we should all want to feel like frauds because we had gotten so much better and didn’t need to be at IOP. I explained that’s not what I meant, that I felt like I was both not sick enough and too sick for IOP and that I was a fraud within my own self– I really don’t know how to explain that part any better but it’s like I feel like there are two parts of me and I get really conflicted when they are at such odds with each other.
  • L then said that she thinks I should want to get better more, and I’ve been in treatment for a long time, and it doesn’t seem like I want to get better and how can I have all these downright delusional thoughts about caloric needs and food (which is actually a problem I have and I am on medication for it because even my dietitian and treatment team realized they are automatic and not made up) and that she thinks I “revel” (and yes, that is the word she used) and just went ON AND ON.
  • Another girl then chimed in about how I never used to (which is a lie because I ALWAYS do this except when my depression is so bad I can barely function) smile when talking about my behaviors and all this stuff.
  • Our therapist (THANK GOODNESS) realized what was happening and has known me long enough – she was a therapist of mine in another outside group m before I started at this program and she became our therapist at this program after I had been there for about a month or two- to know that I have INCONGRUENT FEELINGS. So she started to talk about those.
  • Another girl, P, then came to my defense and was like yeah that’s what was happening with me earlier (because it did, she laughed when talking about something really painful for her).
  • But honestly, I just felt completely alone, judged, invalidated, outcasted, tormented, lied to, like a failure, a disappointment, unsafe, unlikeable, ugly, evil and worthless. 
  • Our therapist brought up that the group doesn’t really know everything that has happened in the last month with me- which has been A LOT. And asked me to share, which at this point I was like EFF NO because I just been attacked for sharing my feelings in the first place but I trust our therapist so I did.
  • Fun Fact: I automatically numb out to feelings that are hard for me. Like kind of disassociate in a way. It’s like I am almost talking about someone who isn’t me. I get quiet and monotone and I don’t look people in the eye when I talk about these things.
  • So that’s what I did. And even though P and B felt way closer to me after I shared, I felt like L and the other person and everyone else were still just judging me.
  • When asked if I was okay I said “yeah” but inside I was like “OKAY? AM I EFFING OKAY? NOT A CHANCE!!! My biggest fear is being rejected and people making fun of me and judging me for how I act,what I look like, how I handle things, my life, etc. And now i am in a “SAFE” place and it happens here WORSE than ANYWHERE else in my life!??!?!! NO I DON’T FEEL OKAY, I FEEL LIKE I WANT TO CRAWL OUT OF MY SKIN, NEVER COME BACK AND JUST GO BACK INTO THE ISOLATED SHELL WITH THE FACADE OF BEING OKAY LIKE I USED TO.” but I still said “yeah”.

After IOP I just left. I didn’t talk to anyone on the way out, didn’t say goodnight. Didn’t anything. Just left. I got in my  car, got on the interstate and was so mad and ashamed and insecure and alone that I quietly cried the whole 40 minutes home.

Our IOP therapist texted me later and I was honest (for once) about what I was feeling so she called (DBT therapists for the win!) and we talked it out so that I didn’t have to wait almost a week to hash it out and I felt better but today I just hate myself again. I feel like everyone hates me too and I want to give up.

I see my outpatient therapist tonight and also the dietitian from IOP (who is also my outside dietitian) Saturday and she was filled in on everything after group on Wednesday by the IOP therapist but idk, I still want to discharge. Leave and not go back.

I’m a failure.

 

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Do This

I can’t. The treatment center called. I asked the question I shouldn’t have asked “what’s it like?” And holy heck I am crying under a desk right now. I can’t. I don’t want to go. I can’t do it. I’m so sick thinking about just going near there and I can’t function. Top it off with I have to get re-medically cleared which just means more scales more doctors more telling people, more trusting people and I just can’t. It’s too much. I am too overwhelmed.

My mom says “I know it’s scary” and all I want is to scream NO YOU EFFING DON’T KNOW. It’s not scary it’s so damn terrifying that the prospect of slowly killing myself my starving to death seems like the obvious and clear right choice. You don’t know how that feels or to feel so out of control that the fear has you curled up under a desk, crying. 
I can’t do this. Telling was the wrong decision. It was bad and now this is my punishment. I can’t go. I HAVE to find a way out. OMGosh what have I gotten myself into.

At A Loss

I just don’t have words anymore.

I feel empty. Pure emptiness.

I don’t want to be with people; I don’t want to be alone.

I’m not happy; I’m not sad.

I don’t want to be awake; I don’t want to lay in bed.

I’m not lonely; I’m not overwhelmed.

I want to cry; I don’t want to cry.

I want to confide in someone; I don’t want to confide in someone.

I want to live; I don’t want to live.

I don’t feel anything.

original

I just don’t know what to do. I have to go see my doctor on Tuesday but I feel like I shouldn’t say anything because I don’t want to be a burden and I already have enough issues for them to worry about. I don’t even know what’s causing it, I mean life has just become so unraveled since I spoke up about my eating disorder. I have had to officially give up my marathons and completely stop running, drop my fall semester classes because PHP will prevent me from going to classes and the doctors said to medically withdraw from the term, I have had to tell people, i had to stop going to the gym. dealt with the stress of getting into a treatment program, go to the doctor weekly, start new medications and deal with the stupid side effects.

It’s a lot.

Maybe I am just over stressed. Maybe it’s the new medicine that is making me feel like this. Maybe it’s just in my head. Maybe it’s anything. Maybe it’s nothing.

I’ve just never felt like this before. Ever. Not even when I was alone in my struggle with this eating disorder but now I can’t get rid of the emptiness and I don’t know what to do to make it stop.

The one thing I do know: I am losing myself. I am barely inside anymore. I am just a shell of who I used to be but the fire inside me, my soul, my self is smaller and farther away than ever; and I’m not sure I can get it back.

Body shamed.

To the lady who just called me “scarily skinny” and told her daughter I “need to eat a cheeseburger”:
EFF YOU. 
If you think I am not aware I am sick, I am. I may not be able to see what I really look like in the mirror but I am trying.

If you think I should just “eat a cheeseburger” as you put it, I wish I could but I cry sometimes just being in the parking lot of the grocery store.

If you think your comment was funny or “constructive criticism”, it wasn’t. In fact it just made my eating disorder thoughts stronger by pointing out that people do judge others based on appearance and reinforcing my Eating Disorder’s belief that I need to be skinnier.

If you think you can use the excuse “I didn’t know you had an eating disorder” to pardon your behavior, you can’t. It doesn’t matter if you knew or didn’t it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. If you were truly worried about me you could’ve more discreetly and kindly “crossed the line” to express that. 

If you think your mental satisfaction was worth more than my mental health by commenting on my body, I sure hope it was because I have been crying since. 

If you think you didn’t do anything wrong or haven’t even considered what your little comment may have felt like on the receiving end, I hope you read this and stop yourself next time because regardless of if someone is “scary skinny”, “normal”, or “morbidly obese” it is still NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS and you never know what that person may be battling.

Admissions and Deferrals

10b40aca81f526f1a0945e315101192aThe call came on Friday afternoon, there treatment facility is recommending their highest level of care: Partial Hospitalization. I am both thankful and horrified. I know I need to get better but since when did I get sick enough to barely get medically cleared enough for the most intensive outpatient program available to ED patients?

The obstacles now: figuring out my work situation (I work full time) and get everything sorted out with FMLA and time off and money and insurance and admission dates, oh and the most challenging obstacle: figuring out some kind of plausible lie so that my whole (very gossipy) office doesn’t get into my business. That last one is by far the most challenging. But, I have to do what is best for me no matter what.

My ED has been just positively TERRIBLE the last few days since I heard from the treatment center and it doesn’t help that my body is almost screaming for food (it’s in one of its cycles where after I have been restricting for so long that my body starts to tear me down mentally to try and get food) but I can’t give in because my ED is just so much stronger than normal. I think it has something to do with knowing it is about to have to eat that makes my ED stronger, just trying to prove that I need to retreat from this “recovery” and run to save myself and it is taking every ounce of my being to keep going and keep seeking out treatment as the admission process progresses.

With this also came the very real realization: I am going to have to forfeit my marathons- Chicago and Marine Corps. I am so depressed I don’t even want to get out of bed when I think about it, I just want to sleep forever. I know for non-runners it’s impossible to understand why someone would want to run or run 26.2 miles for fun but for me it’s a huge part of my life and I feel broken and dead knowing I will have to defer those in the next few days. That’s all I want to say about that right now; maybe later I’ll post more about the process, training, what I look forward to about next year but right now I just don’t feel anything other than grief and numbness.

Maybe I should talk to my doctor, maybe the lows have something to do with the meds I am on but this blow of losing my marathons just feels like the last bit of me has been killed by the ED and honestly, I am starting to feel too tired to fight it anymore even though I am closer than ever to treatment.

So that’s where I am at. I’ve been quiet on here lately just because everything has kind of been in a standstill until I found out from the center and because I just haven’t wanted to deal with people in person or online as I processed this marathon thing, still just feeling numb and isolated but I’m trying to make the effort. My doctor is checking in weekly so I think she is set to call tomorrow or Tuesday but since i need some paperwork for her to fill out for treatment and my marathons I have to call tomorrow either way. I am going to go to HR first thing too about my benefits and time off for treatment and then call the Center. I guess I also have to deal with Chicago and Marine Corps Marathon organizers, idk.

Confession

One day I’d like to be able to go to the doctor without crying about it for a week because I am so scared of getting on the scale and what I’ll do if it goes up. 

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!

All Hope is Gone.

That was the WORST. I never want to go into recovery. This sucks. The guy was super nice, got my trust, I told him the same stuff I told the doctor, then…

He asked more about the side effects. I mention I have passed out 6 times in the last 2 1/2- 3 weeks and collapsed about 5 times on top of that and he then says (with a very unhopeful disposition) that they may not be equipped to handle that and he’ll have to run it by the doctors and basically long story short: NO ONE IS WILLING TO HELP.

Remember that ounce of hope I had. GONE. I’m done. Defeated. I don’t care anymore. I promised I would tell the truth and I did and see where that got me? No where. 

He said he would call me back in a day or so after hearing from the team but I am not expecting it to be a good call. I hate this. I hate me. I hate my life. I hate that he made me gain some trust to tell him everything and then yanked that carpet right out from underneath me just like the doctors did last time with my stomach. Lesson learned. 

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.