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?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Confession:

I realized today that part of the reason I am so darn reluctant to give up my eating disorder is because there is a part of me that, deep down, just wants to die already.

 

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.

Defeat

Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating

I can’t run like I used to. I’m not strong enough. My head starts pounding my body shaking like when you have the flu and your whole self feels like jello. My legs begin to buckle after just a few miles. I know it’s because I eat less than 200-300 calories right now. I can’t even talk myself into 500 like I used to on distance days. I know it’s because there is 0 carbs in those calories but I can’t I physically can’t grab the food I need. I know this happens when you drop almost 30 pounds in less than 2 months but still.
I just want to run my list of reasons to get help were:

1. So I can run better again 

2. To not die.

In that order. Running is so much to me and helps me so much in other ways and I am losing it. The marathons are approaching and I am losing grasp of them day by day. 

I wish someone understood someone could make me do this, force feed me, anything. I wish I could call my mom but idk, I’ve been so burdensome lately since she found ou that I don’t want to stress her out more (& I’m scared to be lectured). I just don’t know what to do so I am sitting on a bench on the side of the trail, crying. And watching other runners, too weak to get up and run home, too dizzy to get up and walk. 

I hate myself for this. 

 Ps. Please ignore how fat I look here, I had my hydration belt on and all my trail gear with me. 

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.

One Week…

I am going to get help in one week but not if my ED has anything to “say” about it.

Trigger Warning for anyone with disordered eating or an eating disorder.

It’s almost worse now that I have an appointment at the doctor, kind of like now that I anticipate coming clean and opening Pandora’s Box that the part of me controlled by this thing is louder, meaner and harder to ignore than ever. The thoughts I have when I eat are telling me that I am going to get fatter, if I gain any weight between the last time I was there and this time that I am a failure, not going to be believed and have to come up with a back up lie or go with the safe route: cancel the appointment.

I have been trying SO HARD though to eat more. I have some decent mileage on the schedule this week and ran 9 on Tuesday so I have been hungrier than usual but it’s such a challenge. If I even go over my preset limits 200/500 (200 on days I run anything less than 8 miles, 500 on days I run greater than 8 miles) I will start to eliminate the extra food via purging. It’s not even hard to do anymore too, I just contract my muscles and it’s back. That also makes my ED mind scream it’s normal and not harming me and while I know it’s harming me, the normal part is hard not to believe because part of me kind of thinks everyone vomits their food sometimes.

I’m also not convinced that 500 calories a day (which is so hard to admit I eat that much) is too few. Sometimes, yeah, I feel run down but I am busy, a runner and have a lot going on. People get run down and 500 calories a day is a LOT of food, 200 I know is a bit low but 300 just feels like too much especially because I eat 500 some days and it averages to 300 in the end.

See, and yet I read what I just wrote and part of me feels like it is wrong that 500 calories is too few especially when I am running and 200 is unfathomable for most people. But yet, the feelings that I am okay still prevail and I am not sure what will happen next Thursday. I am not sure how to keep overcoming them because even when I “win” and eat a tad more, I feel infinitely more unjustified in asking for help  because I don’t think I have a problem because I ate a bit more. Even when I purge that, I am so convinced purging is normal that I feel stupid thinking I have an issue.

I’m not sure. There is no real point of this post other than to try and organize my thoughts,try to convince myself to keep fighting to get to that appointment next week and to not cancel or lie. I’m not sure what will happen. 1 week from now seems so far and so sickeningly close.

Maybe I should just cancel.

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.

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

Down and Out… Passing Out.

Passing Out- 1 : Me- 0

Last week I mentioned in a post about how I am doing shadowing for school in a local hospital. Well, today I went back for a half day and I was super excited about it because I am really interested in the field and finally being in that setting and learning in the field is amazing. So today I went, as usual, without eating anything and we got to the first patient after I had been there about an hour and all of a sudden my heart started racing. It wasn’t nerves but it was just racing, then I got more nauseated than normal, then my hearing went out and I don’t remember anything else until I heard one of the ladies I was shadowing say “are you okay” and grabbing me and I’ll I could do was say “pass out” and collapse. Luckily, patient rooms have chairs and they were able to get me into it before I totally dropped.

Coming up with an answer to the “did you eat today” question  came with too much ease and felt way to normal. Me? Eat? at 9:30 in the morning. Heck no. I eat at 1:30 and 7:30. All of these went through my mind but “yeah I think I just worked out too hard and didn’t get enough to eat after” were the real words that left my mouth. Then I had to eat. Again, thankfully I was in the hospital where food is plentiful even if none of it is safe. I had apple juice and graham crackers (as safe as unsafe gets) and prayed I wouldn’t pass out again although I felt woozy the rest of the morning.

The lady who I shadowed was so kind and I think she thought it was because of the patient and seeing them sick so I let her believe that because, well, it was a safer cover than anything I could come up with. And they were super nice about it and told me stories of when they passed out and have seen others passing out so it was really not nearly as traumatizing as it could have been and they said as long as I felt up to it I could keep shadowing the rest of the morning (I only scheduled a half day today) so I stayed.

But here’s the thing: I passed out. I passed the heck out. THAT IS NOT NORMAL. And worse, that is not something I can prevent from happening if I keep this up which means my dreams are going to be shattered. I can’t go into the field I want if I am not able to help care for people because I am malnourished, starving my body, deteriorating away and too weak to function. When I was in the process of passing out it was almost like dying. One thing at a time started shutting down sense by sense. First, my legs got tingly, then my hearing went out, then my balance, then my eyesight, and then my ability to communicate. It was like my body was dying even though I was still living. I guess that’s kind of what it really is, you pass out when your body sort of needs to “reset” because it cant’ handle what is going on. And, even though it is by no means the first time I have passed out, it was the first time it happened in front of others and there was something different about this time. It was like I knew I was going to pass out and I knew this was going to be a major shutdown not just one of those times I force myself to collapse out of caution because I feel like I am going to pass out. It was like seeing what was going to keep happening if I do this much longer.

I need help. Soon. Very soon. The instances of people almost finding out or my body experiencing the scariest side effects ever has been increasing exponentially the last few weeks. And now, I am beginning to to fear how capable I am at destroying my own body.