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.
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. 😰
residential begins on Monday.
That pretty much sums me up.
I am thankful I am flying to Chicago on Sunday, a place that feels like home, and then my aunt is driving me to WI on Monday for treatment. I think it’ll make my transition easier, less stressful, and less sickening. At least, I hope.
Right now, I alternate between being okay and being frozen with fear.
I am still just astonished that I am this sick. Inpatient was mentioned by the doctors today in the event residential isn’t enough. I hope it’s enough, this is terrifying enough.
Anyway, wish me luck today I have to tell my bosses beginning Monday I’ll be out continuously for 6 weeks probably. 😳😰😰
How did I get to this point?!?
A residential spot opened today. I start Monday.
I am flying 1500 miles away to be treated for my eating disorder at a well respected hospital for EDs.
I am lucky. I am blessed. I am terrified.
But I should be terrified; this is life changing and more importantly life saving.
I was surprised to get a spot so darn quickly. I mean when my psychiatrist estimated he said 2-4 weeks, finding out I can start in a week (which is more likely due to my logistically improbability of getting there sooner rather than availability) is a miracle. Ironically, I also go to a hospital that shares the same name as my dad, who passed away when I was younger. My aunt pointed it out Sunday but I had long realized it, since the beginning of finding the program actually. Now, however, it’s like he is really with me, helping me get through recovery and stick with it long enough to find myself again.
It’s comforting. Whether you believe in angels and God or not, it’s comforting, reassuring and makes me feel like this is possible.
So now I am searching flights, making arrangements and making phone calls tomorrow morning instead of going to work. I need this to be as seamless as possible and in order for me to feel like that I need to finalize plans.
I hear back from the residential facility tomorrow on if Monday is okay (or if they need a few extra days for the insurance, etc.) So, until then I am thinking, praying and semi-excited all while being terrified.
Also, today I tried 3, yes THREE FEAR FOODS!!!! #recoverywin
I am officially too sick.
That’s a thought I never once had before seeking help for my eating disorder.
It only became a faint thought when I talked to the admissions officer at PHP and then once I got in, I figured I was good. But starting with my tears over a pineapple cup and the realization that I wasn’t lying about my food intake they instantly began to raise concerns while simultaneously raising my calorie count as rapidly, safely and efficiently as possible.
To get me to the minimum 1000 calorie amount per day I am on 2 Ensure Plus’ a day and they let me bring my own safe food for lunch and dinner (which is the same 1 thing) and they work with me to get my snacks and other intake up higher. I purge too. Which has caused an abnormality on my EKG that is consistent and is requiring me to get EKGs every single week along with getting my blood drawn. The purging is scaring them, in addition to everything else, because they fear it will cause me to have a heart attack. I am scared but I can’t stop, I’ve lost control of everything. I can’t see what I look like, comprehend what I am supposed to eat or how much, know what’s normal and not about feelings toward food, know how to stop the instinctive purging and restricting. I just don’t know how.
So with that, they have officially recommended residential treatment.
I am too sick for PHP, I need more advanced care at a place with a doctor 24/7 and a full time staff to keep me from purging and restricting while I am not at the clinic like I am now. I have to uproot my life, go to Wisconsin (probably) and give up the “freedoms” I have (really they are my ED’s freedoms) and give them to someone else to try and save my life. It’s odd. I am technically not getting rid of my freedom since I guess I don’t really have any while living under this ED but still, it feels like I am giving up everything whereas right now I at least have the pseudo feeling of control and freedom.
My medical director at PHP has called the medical director at their residential facility in Wisconsin to see about getting me in ASAP. They will have a timeframe on Monday so I’ll know when I’ll be flying up. This will be an interesting flight. Instead of going on vacation to Chicago and DC in 3 and 5 weeks like I was supposed to, I am going to be in Wisconsin and not exactly on vacation. I guess that’s life.
Until then, I am on watch. My little sister is staying at my apartment. My therapist and dietitian and psychiatrist have all talked to her and my mom about how much I eat and how I am not allowed to use the bathroom for 30 minutes after meals and for the 30 minutes after that if I do, I have to talk to her the whole time (so she knows I am not purging). I have to eat multiple times a day (I eat small meals due to my GI conditions and because I have less urges to purge when I never feel full) and drink 2 Ensure Plus’. We try to keep me on the same time schedule as at PHP because they are trying to make this easy on me transitioning between weekend and weekday.
I feel like a newborn that they are trying to get on a schedule.
On top of that I went shopping today with my sister after lunch to distract me from food thoughts. I tried on a sweater that is long like a dress and would look good with leggings and I was showing my sister in the dressing room and she looked taken aback. I asked her if it looked okay and she said that you could see how skinny I was in it. She said to get the larger size, much to my EDs hate and the negative self talk went wild, but I did because she said the other one was scary how thin I was. The saddest fact is that I don’t see it. And she knows I don’t so she didn’t fight it but just said that they are supposed to be looser and it’ll be more comfy in residential and in winter so I did.
I wish I could see what she sees though.
So that’s how it is right now. Residential is my fate. I have both come to terms with this and not. I waver back and forth but feel a lot better than I did Thursday when I deduced that the psychiatrist was recommending residential after they asked if my mom could come to a session. That, I didn’t handle well because there were still so many questions. But I talked to a friend, we will call her M who has been to residential before we met and J, who is currently in PHP with me and who I’ve become friends with quickly, and she has also been to residential in the past and they both really made me feel better about it. So for now, this second, I am okay with the prospect of residential. Maybe it’s a chance for me to reassess my life and live somewhere new for a bit. I’ve been wanting to move up north for a long time now anyway.
But honestly, I never thought I would ever be too sick for treatment, I always thought I wasn’t sick enough to even complain about my situation but I guess, that’s all part of the illness.
I have mixed feelings about recovery and treatment right now. I know I’ve been MIA the last week (sorry!!) but adjusting to being open and honest about my eating disorder is almost as difficult as hiding it.
2 things I would love advice on:
- If anyone knows/has experience with CBT focused on ERP (Exposure Response Prevention) treatment, please tell me I am on the fence as to if it is going to help (I don’t have any co-existing disorders). Do you find group therapy and more talk therapy helpful? Or no? Idk.
- I hate hate hate hate my psychiatrist.
Here’s my life since beginning treatment in a (quickish) recap:
Trigger Warning: calorie and food specifics. (I don’t want to trigger anyone but part of it is needed to make sense, and the other reason I am doing this blog is to remember it for myself so I want to be able to look at how far I have come. Please do not continue if you are easily triggered or pro-eating disorder.
- I started Partial Hospitalization (PHP) on 9/3, two days after my birthday.
- My program runs 8 hours a day. 8 *jaw drop*
- I have cried every. single. day.
- Day 1 I actually ate less than I typically eat in a day and they are now letting me bring my safe foods to make sure I am eating enough while they reintroduce food.
- They think they want to send me to residential
- I only had 1 safe food going into treatment, and ate 200-300 calories per day.
- PHP requires we be at 1000 minimum *jaw drop* and they are trying to get me there ASAP
- My therapy is CBT with Exposure Response Prevention being a BIG component of it I am still now sure how I feel about it, any advice is greatly appreciated.
- I DESPISE my psychiatrist. I told my therapist and I am praying they let me see a different psychiatrist because this one is evil, mean and honestly I would trust a murderer before I trust him. Some perspective on this: I’ve only ever said I flat out dislike 4 people in my ENTIRE life. He is #4 so it’s not just me clouding my judgment.
- I LOVE my dietitian!!! She has been so STELLAR about getting me adjusted to more than one food and up to the right number of calories and really doesn’t judge anything.
- I wish there was more group therapy. If I go to residential I will need to find somewhere with more of this because I am a very, VERY social person and I feel like I am able to come to terms with my situation when I can talk it out with others.
- I have had 2 EKGs and so many vials of blood drawn in the last week but the new medical doctor they make us go to was super nice and very trusting. I was petrified to go but I really liked him and in 20 minutes of talking to him I told him more about my ED than I revealed to my psychiatrist in 2+ hours.
- Did I mention I have cried EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. !?
- I have a family session tomorrow. Eek! My family is amazing but I am very unaccustomed to being vulnerable and sharing my feelings with them. I don’t like it.
- I have lied about how much I purge and restrict out of fear of going to residential.
- I am not sure what to do because part of me is realizing I need residential (one of the other ED patients even said she thought I needed it)
- Part of me has no desire to get better even now that I am in treatment.
- Part of me really wants to get better, especially now that I am in treatment.
But, things got better than they were day 1; however, I am still not sure about everything. Is it weird that I am more motivated to recover when I am there and not so motivated at home?!
I’ll be sure to write more now that I am semi-acclimated. Plus, I definitely will need to after my family session.
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.
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.
To the lady who just called me “scarily skinny” and told her daughter I “need to eat a cheeseburger”:
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.
The 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.
Yesterday I was worried, immensely worried, about telling my podiatrist about my eating disorder (I feel so old having a podiatrist hahah). I am still really, REALLY uncomfortable saying it out loud to people who don’t already know- probably has something to do with the perfectionist part of me which also helped ingrain this beast in the fibers of my being. But, I had to tell him because my feet are almost always numb, my injuries have been less than healing and I get oddly injured a lot. (Part of getting injured a lot is just the real me, I don’t really always stop and think when I am deep into my bazillion of activities but not all the injuries are accountable from that).
Fact: I told him.
Fact: I was nervous as all hell
Fact: The nurse said my drop in weight was “definitely drastic and noticeable”
(all I thought was “well, to one of us it is”)
Fact: Dr. C (we will call him) was really concerned when I told him I had to stop running because of “other things”
Fact: Dr. C was even more concerned when I was quiet and nervous (two things I am never when I am there)
Fact: When I told Dr. C, he looked at me and said “you know, that’s actually a LOT more common than you think” and told me if he knows anyone who can beat this and get better it’s me.
Hey, ED: YOU WERE WRONG. He didn’t judge me, he didn’t even flinch, he cared, he showed compassion, he didn’t think I was crazy, he didn’t treat me differently, he didn’t do anything other than be immensely supportive. He told me to call if I needed anything even if it wasn’t related to my feet, he told me that if the treatment center needed anything to just call and he will get it done, he told me I CAN SURVIVE THIS. He joked with me, he made me feel comfortable and you know what, ED, YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT IT ALL.ALL of it, ED, because you know what? HE PROMISED HE WOULD STILL FIX MY FEET SO I CAN RUN.
Although he said I need to continue to take the time off that I’ve been doing, especially when he realized how sick I am and when I told him the complications I am having. But he promised he would still get me back to my marathons. And I trust him. I trust him more than any other doctor (although my Nurse Practitioner is an angel and I trust her too now, Dr. C was the only doctor I trusted for a very very very long time).
Deep down I knew he would be supportive, I mean only a Grinch would be rude to your face. Plus, seriously, Dr. C has known me before I was skinny, before I started running, before a lot of things. He has never once made me feel crazy (and seriously, I have had crazy injuries), stupid, ridiculous, or anything negative. He fixes the issues, he jokes with me, he thinks my running is amazing and he said “You run more than any person I have ever met”– BEST. RUNNER. COMPLIMENT!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
So moral of the story: My ED is NOT always right, and I’m starting to think maybe it’s wrong more than right (?) Dr. C and my Nurse Practitioner are medical professionals and neither have taken my fears and dismissed me or them, they’ve done the opposite and have both showed genuine human concern, not just the your-my-patient-I-have-to-“care” disposition. And telling Dr. C was a HUGE relief, I trust him enough to know that no matter what I can count on him to support me, get me back running and to not treat me differently (my biggest fear). Also, My mom and sister were right (PS. Totally making a post later about my AMAZING little sister, we are best friends and she was texting me when I was nervous yesterday and made me feel infinitely better).
Still, you never know how people will respond but what I am starting to learn is the people you have in your life that are worth telling also think you are worth enough to be alive, happy and healthy and when they realize you need help and support it is instinctive for them to stand beside you and help you get there.
So, Dr. C. if you ever read this: Thank you. You put the awesome in awesomesauce and are perhaps the best doctor I have come to know. Best runner compliment ever: made. my. day. but your reaction to my eating disorder was exactly what I needed and for that there are no words that can express my gratitude. PS. When I make my running comeback: get ready because I am aiming for… an ULTRA and a Triathlon!!!!
And mom and little sis: *mumbles* Youwereright. SSsshhhhhhhh. 🙂 ❤