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?

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.

The REAL feelings I hide

My therapist is back in town (thank goodness) and I saw her today for the first time in 3 weeks which was a longgggg time considering I see her at least once a week typically.

I have a hard time with feelings. Like a really  hard time, in fact it is nothing short of hate toward feelings. Today, Dr. B asked me what feelings I am trying to avoid so much. After attempting to get around that conversation I reluctantly answered with two (of the many) feelings I try and avoid sadness and anger.

The truth is, those are only two of the feelings I am trying to avoid. And not even the top 2. The real emotions I hate, the ones that I am so embarrassed to really say out loud, I have yet to tell her, to tell anyone. Why? I don’t know. I guess it’s because I am so incredibly ashamed of the feelings and thoughts I have that I have a hard time bearing the idea of actually saying them out loud. I mean they are bad, really bad. Like think of the worst thing you’ve ever thought about yourself and then repeat that in your head 24/7 for dozens of years in a row.

The truth is, I have hated myself since I was 9.

The truth is, the feelings I harbor for myself are horrendous. I am self-loathing, hateful, spiteful, ashamed, embarrassed, appalled, disgusted, angry, sad, depressed, uncomfortable and anxious about my body.

When I was 9 I began picking on myself, self-bullying I guess it can be called, the first thing was about my epilepsy. I hated myself for it. I felt defective, like a freak and convinced that people would make fun of me at school if they ever found out. I wanted to keep it a secret, I was so ashamed of it I didn’t even want my teachers to know, couldn’t look them in the eye because they knew and refused to go to meetings with them and my mom where it was discussed.

Things only got worse when the medication I was on caused weight gain, a lot of it. Couple that with the changes of puberty and it was a firestorm for a disaster. I was shy, uncomfortable, insecure, self-hating and refused to acknowledge my true feelings about myself.

Time continued. The hate grew. Even after I was taken off the epilepsy medication and told my seizures and resolved and medication was no longer needed I still was highly insecure and mortified, disgusted and appalled at what I looked like, weighed, my personality, style, everything. Nothing escaped my self-hate. College brought tremendous growth in my personality. I became extremely outgoing, friends with everyone, involved in everything, willing to try new things and put myself out there. But the hate I harbored for my body and my intense shame about my past, my weight and my entire self was still there.

Festering. Growing. Being buried by myself. Forcing itself into every crevice of my soul.

And then came life, my eating disorder and everything finally had an outlet. But even in treatment, those 3+ months I spent with 24/7 care I couldn’t bring myself to really truly, honestly express how absolutely deep and bad my self-hate is.

Treatment now, at IOP, has touched on it recently. Forced it out of me. It makes me want to quit. It makes me feel SO awfully insecure and embarrassed. But maybe they are right. Maybe it’s time to deal with it. It is after all, as I identified it, the one thing that I know will 100% cause me to relapse.

The thing is, sometimes I am not sure I want to recover.

Still, after months and months of treatment. I am still ambivalent. And that, that just makes this self-hate infinitely worse.

So when my therapist asked me what feelings I want to hide from I said saddness and anger. I have other reasons why I don’t like those but I don’t know how to say it out loud. How to tell her how BAD it really is, what I am REALLY afraid of. I feel like a failure, an idiot, someone who is weak, can’t handle emotions, is overly conceited and like a loser. A loser. Something I have always considered myself to be. How do I admit that? How do I tell someone that out loud and not expect them to judge me. Or for me to judge myself so bad that it becomes unbearable. The truth is I can’t, which I guess is why I haven’t.

Just add that to the reasons why I hate myself.

Flying out Sunday,

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?!?

PHP Recap: Week 1- So much doubt.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The Real Reason No One Talks About Day One:

Because it IS THE WORST THING ON EARTH.

So, yeah.

I’m finally home and honestly, I took a sleeping pill and am going to bed. I don’t even care that it’s 7:15.

I wish today never happened.

I have no idea how I am supposed to actually will myself to go and survive tomorrow.

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.