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.

 

 

 

 

 

What I learned from a Runcation

 Runcation: noun. A vacation centered around running. 

 

At least, that’s usually what it means. In my case, however, runcation has taken on a different meaning.

Runcation: noun. A mandatory break from running instituted by medical professionals.

 

It’s been about 7 months since I have run consistently and in that time frame I have only run a handful of times. I used to run everyday, or at the very least 6 out of 7 days a week. I was a distance runner, my short runs consisted of 5-7 milers with my long runs being anywhere between 13-20 miles. Running was my time to be free, my time to be happy, my time to just be alone and process the world and life surrounding me. Running brought me into this amazing community of people that I never knew existed before I dared to start considering myself a “runner.” For over 3 years I worked up my goals: a 5k, 10k, 10 miler, half marathon and finally, conquering the full 26.2 mile marathon. I crushed it. I fell deeper in love with a sport that I had once despised and tried to get out of at every opportunity in PE during high school, it was ironic to me how I could have gone from hating something so much to cherishing it, having my life revolve around it and feeling sort of confident doing it.

I ran, a lot. I ran through rain, snow, unbearable heat, humidity, bad runs, good runs, birthdays, family dinners, nights out with friends, early mornings, injuries (and there were a lot of them), pain, hunger, tears, blood, astonishment from others, overexertion, concerns, and even through my own common sense trying to scream loudly enough to get me to hear it.

Thinking back on it, maybe through isn’t the right word, maybe it should be from. Maybe I was running from all that. They say sometimes the only way out of the storm is through it, I guess in this case that was kind of the truth.

 

See, the thing is that the running wasn’t the primary problem. Running just exacerbated the problem in a lot of ways, but despite what everyone else has said to me, I think running also helped me accept the problem quicker than I would’ve otherwise. Most of the proponents of my “runcation” can’t understand that, they see the running as part of the problem, the disorder, and the belief that you can love it that much a distortion. I think that’s a lot of the reason I have a hard time fully believing them. But I can agree to disagree on that, because despite disagreeing with them on it in it’s entirety, they do have a point; in some ways the running became an obsession, an obligation, a chore and a compulsion. And not just running either, exercising in general.

After the medical effects got entirely too severe to continue to ignore, after passing out daily for almost 2 weeks straight and having such severe chest pain most days I thought I was having a heart attack I knew I had to end it. The moment I had to jump out of an airplane for the first time was nothing compared to the fear I had when I set foot in my doctors office that afternoon. Ultimately the words came out, the questions were posed and a plan was established. My runcation was enacted with a two word diagnosis:

 

Eating Disorder.

 

See, the running wasn’t the only issue. The running perhaps would have never been an issue if there wasn’t a bigger problem lurking underneath it. Masking all the “strength” and “endurance” was a demon inside myself one who progressively restricted food further and further. At first it was just meat or just pasta then whole groups of foods were out: protein, sugars, fats, carbohydrates, fruits, until just one food remained and until a day consisted of 200 calories. No more. Ever. If I ran 15 miles on top of that, it didn’t matter. 200 calories, the same vegetable; Every. Single. Day.

 

I ended up starting treatment, being too severely ill for it and being transferred to an inpatient facility prior to being sent for residential care and to somehow regain “normalcy” with my eating habits. To say I was “onboard” with this whole process would probably be the biggest overstatement of my life. I was compliant but, as my treatment team often described it “extraordinarily ambivalent” toward the notion of committing to recovery.
For the 3 months I lived in Wisconsin. A new state, new treatment center, new “normal” and in all honesty, I learned a lot. Exercise was off the table indefinitely aside from a turtle-speed walk around the hospital campus once a day with supervision and my set diet and meals were quickly replaced by supplements and more substantial diet than anything I had done in years. After I got back home treatment continued, I am in no way “recovered”; I am not even sure recovered is a true state of being for someone with an eating disorder. I feel like being in a solid state of recovery is possible but I am not sure that these thoughts, feelings or other voice in my head will ever truly go away. Heck, some days I am not even sure staying in some sort of recovery is possible. Either way, there is still a lot of work to do.

 

Despite my ongoing war with myself I have come to realize that there has been some, and I repeat some (but not all) good that has come from the mandatory runcation:

  1. I was able to heal enough to be permitted to finally have my foot surgery (which not only has gotten me out of perpetual pain- or will eventually do that- but also will hopefully allow me to run more comfortably once I am able to do that).
  2. When you don’t run during all of your free hours, you get to see your friends more
  3. I have found new hobbies that I also enjoy doing and had time to plan my best friend’s bridal shower and bachelorette party
  4. There’s more to life than running, racing, sneakers, time trials, fartleks, and beating your own PRs
  5. I don’t have to run dozens of miles a week to be a Runner, to be “healthy” or to be fit (I’m still working on continuously believing this one but today I sorta can believe it)
  6. It’s nice to sleep in sometimes. It’s also nice to stay up late sometimes too and not worry about the early morning gym wake up call.
  7. Not running all the time makes the races I can do feel more special (not that I am allowed to sign up for anymore since my little 20 mile running escapade in February…)
  8. Running doesn’t have to kill me.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to run. I want to do marathons, I want to sit in a van with random strangers and relay race 200 miles through random cities, I want to race, I want to PR, but I have kind of come to realize that sometimes the thing you think is helping you hold on to everything you have, might actually be drowning you further- at least in this case it was.

I miss it. Every. Single. Day. When I go on walks my body instinctively gears up to shorten my stride and pick up the pace, I envy the other runners I see out there on my trails, my sidewalk, and posting their race sign-ups and finish times but I know that I’m not ready to go back quite yet. Not to the extent I was. I am still addicted (remember the aforementioned 20 miler…) still using it to not only be a fun hobby but also because it has the added benefit of burning those pesky calories I fear so much and to combat the weight gain I hate that the treatment team has forced on me.

I know they’re right. I’m not ready. It will cause a relapse. Heck, I’ve nearly relapsed many many times without running having to do anything, it’s too slippery of a slope and I don’t want to go back to the days when I couldn’t stay awake for more than 2 hours, couldn’t remember anything, cried on the floor because I was hungry but couldn’t pick myself up after passing out because I feared the kitchen so much and because I wouldn’t let myself “break the rules”. My life had to stop for over 3 months because things were so bad I needed 24/7 care by trained professionals.

So for now, I guess I’ll stay on my runcation. The definition of this runcation is not one I wish to be using but I’ve succumbed to the fact that it’s the one that must be used…for now, at least until I can get back to the real runcations.

 

 

I’m Back.

Well, it’s been a LONG time. The last post I “posted” I wrote as I was sent up north to Wisconsin for residential treatment. Long story short:

I got there.

Went to get medically cleared.

Failed.

Was sent into an inpatient lock down 24/7 medical unit.

Eventually transferred to residential.

Lived there for 3 months.

Came home.

Left PHP because the treatment method sucked for me at the time.

Did outpatient treatment.

Started relapsing.

Went into IOP in a different treatment facility.

Decided to start blogging again.

 

And here we are 🙂

My first post back will be up in a bit.

Side note: Eating disorders still suck but I am a LOT better than I was when I went to Wisconsin. Also it wasn’t as catastrophically bad as I pictured it and I even miss my “family” up there.

 

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?!?!?!

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.

Running Thoughts

The click of the lock, that’s where it begins. The rest of the world is slightly deafened by my headphones as I walk down the three flights of stairs fidgeting with my app and figuring out what playlist I am … Continue reading

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.

Questions About Recovery….

Ever wonder what goes through someone’s mind when contemplating recovery? In addition to the “voice” in my head screaming at me that even thinking about recovery is bad, not okay and that I don’t have a problem and telling someone … Continue reading

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