So much to do.

i have so much to buy and get before leaving Sunday morning. First, I have been living in the same 10 clothing pieces for forever bc I hate shopping right now but at the same time none of that is conducive to WI weather soooo I have been buying new (cold weather) clothes and getting things we are allowed to have. 

Top on the list: a cell phone WITHOUT a camera 📞📵 That was a struggle but I got one so at least I can text my family and friends since I’ll probably only see them once or twice during treatment due to the geographical challenges- unlike most of the other patients. 

Also an iPod without a camera, easier to get but still a pain in the butt. I have to talk to Admissions later about a few other things but those two things have been worked out so at least I feel connected to the normal world and not so isolated.

I told my bosses too. They were shocked but since there’s not really any notice I can give they can’t exactly complain to me. And I actually told 2 friends who I work with (and am friends with outside of work) the real reason I am going to be out and they’ve been sooooo supportive. 

My friend at PHP has evil insurance and moved her to IOP yesterday quite unexpectedly so I am scared that’ll eventually happen to me. She doesn’t feel ready to be on her own for meals for that long each day and has been having a rough couple days but thankfully we’ve developed a good friendship in the short time at PHP so we are staying in touch and I think it helps both of us 😊

Other than that I am at a couple doctors appointments and then headed to my last day at PHP. 😔😰 I am terrified. I can’t believe I leave at 6am on Sunday. It’s surreal and the panic comes more frequently as I get closer to it. I haven’t slept and last night went to the gym for 2 hours at 1:30am to work out bc the compulsion was tremendous and because I was wide awake. The whole time I knew I should stop but I couldn’t, it was compulsive not desired it was like I wasn’t myself there. It sucked. 

I just got done seeing one of my doctors, I told him about the exercise and the exercise on Sunday too. He said he thought residential was a good idea before just based on my blood tests showing evidence of purging, but he definitely is on board unquestionably after hearing about my late night gym escapades and running 😔.

I’m scared. I need to do this but it doesn’t change the emotions. 😰

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Going to Residential…

I am officially too sick.

That’s a thought I never once had before seeking help for my eating disorder.

It only became a faint thought when I talked to the admissions officer at PHP and then once I got in, I figured I was good. But starting with my tears over a pineapple cup and the realization that I wasn’t lying about my food intake they instantly began to raise concerns while simultaneously raising my calorie count as rapidly, safely and efficiently as possible.

To get me to the minimum 1000 calorie amount per day I am on 2 Ensure Plus’ a day and they let me bring my own safe food for lunch and dinner (which is the same 1 thing) and they work with me to get my snacks and other intake up higher. I purge too. Which has caused an abnormality on my EKG that is consistent and is requiring me to get EKGs every single week along with getting my blood drawn. The purging is scaring them, in addition to everything else, because they fear it will cause me to have a heart attack. I am scared but I can’t stop, I’ve lost control of everything. I can’t see what I look like, comprehend what I am supposed to eat or how much, know what’s normal and not about feelings toward food, know how to stop the instinctive purging and restricting. I just don’t know how.

So with that, they have officially recommended residential treatment.

I am too sick for PHP, I need more advanced care at a place with a doctor 24/7 and a full time staff to keep me from purging and restricting while I am not at the clinic like I am now. I have to uproot my life, go to Wisconsin (probably) and give up the “freedoms” I have (really they are my ED’s freedoms) and give them to someone else to try and save my life. It’s odd. I am technically not getting rid of my freedom since I guess I don’t really have any while living under this ED but still, it feels like I am giving up everything whereas right now I at least have the pseudo feeling of control and freedom.

My medical director at PHP has called the medical director at their residential facility in Wisconsin to see about getting me in ASAP. They will have a timeframe on Monday so I’ll know when I’ll be flying up. This will be an interesting flight. Instead of going on vacation to Chicago and DC in 3 and 5 weeks like I was supposed to, I am going to be in Wisconsin and not exactly on vacation. I guess that’s life.

Until then, I am on watch. My little sister is staying at my apartment. My therapist and dietitian and psychiatrist have all talked to her and my mom about how much I eat and how I am not allowed to use the bathroom for 30 minutes after meals and for the 30 minutes after that if I do, I have to talk to her the whole time (so she knows I am not purging). I have to eat multiple times a day (I eat small meals due to my GI conditions and because I have less urges to purge when I never feel full) and drink 2 Ensure Plus’. We try to keep me on the same time schedule as at PHP because they are trying to make this easy on me transitioning between weekend and weekday.

I feel like a newborn that they are trying to get on a schedule.

On top of that I went shopping today with my sister after lunch to distract me from food thoughts. I tried on a sweater that is long like a dress and would look good with leggings and I was showing my sister in the dressing room and she looked taken aback. I asked her if it looked okay and she said that you could see how skinny I was in it. She said to get the larger size, much to my EDs hate and the negative self talk went wild, but I did because she said the other one was scary how thin I was. The saddest fact is that I don’t see it. And she knows I don’t so she didn’t fight it but just said that they are supposed to be looser and it’ll be more comfy in residential and in winter so I did.

I wish I could see what she sees though.

So that’s how it is right now. Residential is my fate. I have both come to terms with this and not.  I waver back and forth but feel a lot better than I did Thursday when I deduced that the psychiatrist was recommending residential  after they asked if my mom could come to a session. That, I didn’t handle well because there were still so many questions. But I talked to a friend, we will call her M who has been to residential before we met and J, who is currently in PHP with me and who I’ve become friends with quickly, and she has also been to residential in the past and they both really made me feel better about it. So for now, this second, I am okay with the prospect of residential. Maybe it’s a chance for me to reassess my life and live somewhere new for a bit. I’ve been wanting to move up north for a long time now anyway.

But honestly, I never thought I would ever be too sick for treatment, I always thought I wasn’t sick enough to even complain about my situation but I guess, that’s all part of the illness.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Could “Not Sick Enough” be “Too Sick”??

“I’m not sick enough,” that’s frequently what I have told myself leading up to where I am right now but never ever did I think I might be too sick for recovery. That’s right, too sick.

That’s what happened today on the phone with the PHP/IOP program I called. The guy I spoke to was so incredibly nice and really was very understanding and patient when I wouldn’t know the answer or rambled or whatever. I felt, oddly comfortable talking to him which is rare for me because I am not an outwardly emotional person about my deep dark secrets (I am not a stone cold person either I just prefer to not talk about my personal issues with others). We talked about a lot of the same things I discussed with the doctor on Thursday and about my eating habits, what I am scared of, how it is affecting my life, what types of programs they have, do I have symptoms of a plethora of other mental illnesses or issues. It lasted just over 1 hour. One of the questions was about my side effects,

(trigger warning)

I decided to be honest, totally honest and told him that I have passed out 6 times in the last 2 1/2- 3 weeks and collapsed about 5 more times. I told him about the chest pain, about the night blindness, numbness in my limbs, crying in the grocery store, everything i could think of.

(end trigger warning)

Then came the Concerned Voice. The “you may need a higher level of care” conversation.

Me??? Need higher level care than partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient?!?! I never thought I was even bad enough for IOP!! How could I be worse than PHP!!? These thoughts raced through my mind, overwhelming my emotions. Then came the next thought: They aren’t going to help you. My biggest fear. I mean granted, I always thought they wouldn’t help me because I wasn’t sick enough but now, now I am facing possibly being too sick. My biggest fear is not being helped because, quite frankly, when the doctors couldn’t figure out my GI issues they said “use trial and error.” No joke, those were the words. That’s how I ended up here because I was so scared of the error that I eliminated any chance of error (and every single food except 1 between that and the ED taking over).

The guy I was speaking to could tell I was taken aback. At the end of the conversation he said he would bring it to the doctors and treatment team to see if they would consider the case given that information or what they would recommend. My head was going nuts, I was almost completely in tears. They aren’t going to help was blaring in my mind, racing a million miles an hour. He asked me, “Do you have any questions?” I couldn’t think straight with my head yelling at me, my ED brain screaming at me that of course telling was the wrong decision and this is what I knew would happen and all I could muster was “if you can’t help me then what do I do?” And tears. He assured me that if they couldn’t help me in my current state that he would come back with some kind of referral to another treatment center to another doctor or someone who would be able to provide the level care they thought I needed. I confirmed I understood but I didn’t. I didn’t understand anything.

How could I possibly be too sick?!?!? I’m not sick. I’m not that bad at all, that’s all I have thought for so long that maybe I was wrong. Maybe I really am too sick to even see it.

After I hung up, I just laid down in bed (I was already in bed) and cried. I felt, defeated, lost and hopeless. I felt the exact same way I had after I realized no one could help with my stomach. I felt dead. I had no idea what to do but I had promised my mom to call her. I called her. I cried that no one was going to help that I was all alone, that I might not be “medically stable” and that I didn’t want to do this anymore (both have the ED and seek help).

To be honest, I think part of how upset I was had a lot to do with the fact that it kind of all hit me hard. Here I was facing something much more serious than I thought I originally was. It’s scary to admit you have a problem, it’s even scarier when they tell you that you are much more critically sick than you can see, feel or realize on your own. PHP/IOP are terrifying, the thought of inpatient or residential is downright horrifying. I don’t feel skinny enough or sick enough still and I am still coming to terms with the words ‘eating disorder’ coinciding with my name and coming out of my mouth. It’s a LOT to take in, to come to terms with, to get straight in your mind when you are already aware that your mind is lying to you. So I think my crying, frustration, loss for words, patience and exhibition of sheer terror was just me trying to finally deal with everything and sort it out, something I normally do in the gym or on a run- which I currently can’t function long enough for.

I miss running.

The good news, however, is the guy called me back within a half hour because he was able to get with one of the docs immediately. The doctor recommended going to the ER. I couldn’t fathom that, after all it’s been a few days since I passed out last and honestly, I can’t handle the stress of explaining the situation to MORE strangers. Telling my doctor, my best friend and him all in 6 days is much more than I can handle right now. It’s all moving too fast. They said if I downright refused the ER I could have my doctor do it. Yes. Manageable. Much more manageable. After all she ran blood tests and an EKG while I was there on Thursday. I can handle calling her.

In the end, that’s all I have to do. Provide them with proof I am medically stable (still can’t believe I might not be, so scared) and they will look at the case to see about PHP/IOP. I am still so terrified they will say I am not medically stable but I am trying to stay calm. I called my doctor and left her a message and my mom was really concerned after talking to me and emailed her and she also sent more resources for possible therapy because when my mom emailed her the guy from the center hadn’t called me back about getting medically cleared by the doc so she sent the information just in case but did say we might want to consider inpatient depending on the complications and if they continue. But, I called her office and left a message (it was late in the day about 4:00ish) so I expect a call back tomorrow and hopefully she’ll be able to calm me down or rationalize the situation for me.

I’m just so anxious and realizing how deep into this I am and I both angry and scared with what I have done to myself. Although, thinking about it for a while has helped calm me down I just still feel so confused and scared with where my life is at and what it all has come to.

I’ll keep y’all updated!