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.

Twas The Night Before Treatment

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

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

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

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

So yeah, tomorrow is the day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insurance Sucks…Sometimes

AND THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES!!!! (*knock on wood*)

I just found out my insurance will cover my Partial Hospitalization Treatment in full. That’s right IN FRICKIN FULL. 100%.

I am crying. 

Thank you God. I have hope again. 

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.

Dear Ed, You. Were. Wrong. (Telling dr #2)

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. 🙂 ❤

MEDICALLY CLEARED for Treatment!!!

This GIF pretty much sums up my feelings: a touch of relief/excitement mixed with sheer horror. One hurdle down and closer to getting into a program. My doctor (or rather, Nurse Practitioner since that is who I see) is the bomb dot com and called me back and said although my labs are consistent with being malnourished and she is concerned that they are still stable and she can clear me! I am both terrified and relieved.

I am going in tomorrow afternoon for another set of follow-up labs to check my potassium and other levels (because they are pretty out of whack) and I can get the letter and paperwork I need too. It’s all getting so real again whereas the last 10 days have had me living in a neutral state where I have been allowed to exist with my ED. Not that I mean anyone supports the ED, but where they are just trying to be supportive toward me while I get everything sorted out and they’ve been trying to encourage me to eat more but haven’t given much push back when I struggle or give into my ED brain. But now, now that I can get medically cleared it’s one step further. Now, I am going to have to talk to the treatment center again, have the case re-reviewed by the medical board, hopefully get this cleared by insurance (that’s my next major hurdle that I am freaking over) and then beginning treatment. But tomorrow, tomorrow is the next step and it feels horrifying, scary and slightly relieving at the same time.

Eating Out…

(Trigger warning: eating disorder; specific mentioning of foods)

Freaking Out!!! I am at Panera with my mom and sister. I am so nauseous today and don’t want to eat (moreso than my normal desire to not eat) but really can’t stomach the thought of cauliflower which is my only food normally. My mom said to get soup. I can reason chicken broth and I love Panera but I am so scared of the noodles and chicken being in the soup and I am so so so so so scared. I HATE eating out but Panera soup is only 80 calories so it’s a little better but still I am anxious over the bad parts. My mom said she’d ask for it to be mostly broth (thankfully) so we will see. Plus it is REALLY REALLY BUSY. Lots of people and that makes everything worse but I’m glad we got a table near the back where there’s less people. 

I’m waiting at the table while my mom and sister order. I can do this. I think. Ugh the anxiety is NOT helping my nausea and everything smells delicious. I used to study here daily and now I am on the verge of panic attack. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I am scared of frickin soup. 

Oh well, I am just going to make this as big of a #recoverywin as possible considering I wouldn’t have dared come unless my mom and sister convinced me and they only did that knowing about my ED so they were super supportive.

Post-meal update: I survived. I only drank the chicken broth but still I haven’t had anything other than my one safe food in months and I didn’t cry or freak out. Still, I wish I could enjoy the food and being at a restaurant. 

One Week Anniversary

This exact time last week I was crying in the exam room. I was confessing my biggest skeleton in the closet, my long held secrets, fears and spilling the beans on everything I have come to know in my life.

The first time the words eating disorder were associated with my name, the first time I heard the words treatment center uttered in relation to who I was, the first time in my life I was unable tell my mom something.

What has changed in the last week?

Nothing, really. I still abide by my ED habits the only difference is now my mom, 2 sisters, best friend, doctor, random guy at the treatment center and (as of this morning) one of my aunts and uncles knows. I have also had an emotionally charged week, at least that would be putting it nicely. For the first time in a longggggggggggg time I have expressed my feelings to my mom (ending in a MAJOR blow up last night after I posted). I know everyone is trying to help but sometimes telling me that I need to do something (try harder, change my thoughts, etc.) is just not helpful especially because that is WHY I asked for help.

I still am waiting on a call from the doctor today about what I am supposed to do to get medically cleared for treatment in PHP or IOP. I am praying that I actually can get cleared and I don’t have to do inpatient. I don’t even want to think about that right now.

But ultimately, the last week has been this odd place to be. It’s like living the life of an ED without the secrecy. It’s strange, really. People encourage but don’t push me. I don’t think they know quite how to help and I certainly have no idea what to do so I just keep trudging along.

Hopefully I hear soon. I want to be done already. I’m tired of wandering around between the world of eating disorders and the world of recovery, I am scared the eating disorder one is pulling me back in by the day, slowly suffocating me back into the depths of the disease and far away from those trying to help me.