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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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. 🙂 ❤

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. 

Surprise Family Reunion….

Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders. I mention some safe/unsafe foods for me specifically, if you are easily triggered please use discretion.

Ugh. so on Friday night my mom sprung on me that my aunt and uncle are in town (the ones that actually know about the ED). They are about an hour and a half away staying with my uncle’s family but wanted to get together and see us. Now, normally this would be an inner struggle for me but since everyone knows I told my mom that meeting “for lunch or something” is making me wayyy nervous and stressed out- which she kinda figured. I do want to see my aunt and uncle though and luckily meeting at my house as opposed to my mom’s is more convenient for all so that’s what we are doing today.

But here’s all my issues with it:

  • It’s going to be through the time I normally eat first (1:30) so I am not sure what to do.
  • There will be people here when I normally eat.
  • People will be eating very VERY unsafe food (I can’t blame them that I only have 1 safe food)
  • I have to order said unsafe food (granted, I volunteered because I know where it is but still it makes me anxious).
  • I am going to have to talk about my ED.

Here’s the good things:

  • I get to see my aunt and uncle (MEGA YAY!)
  • It’s at my house and not a restaurant which is less anxiety filled for me.

Here’s what I am conflicted about:

  • I don’t want to make my normal food because it’ll be awkward to be eating something different
  • I am panicking over eating around other people.
  • I bought strawberries and grapes (2 unsafe foods that used to be safe(ish)) for my family to also snack on and if I try to eat those instead of my safe food I know they will be watching and judging and it is too much for me but that would be easier and more discreet than making my safe food.
  • The food they are having is super delicious lol but so unsafe it makes me uncomfortable to even smell it.

So, yeah. There’s that to look forward to. I was so stressed last night I took a sleeping pill because I was making myself sick over this. I have no idea where this girl came from, I never used to be like this but it’s like so much worse these days and even going to the grocery store to pick up drinks and salad was difficult for me because I didn’t want to touch the foods and because there were so many people there watching.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Why can’t I just be normal?!?!?!

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.