Chicago is better when you don’t arrive for ED treatment

I’m nervous but not all at the same time. Right now it feels like I am here for a vacation to see my family. Really though, it’s odd to be here so close to the marathon and not running it. 

More of my family knows now. Idk how I feel about it yet but whatevs it’s better than lying and they’ve been great. My aunt and uncle are stellar at keeping my secret and I love them for it. 

Tomorrow’s the day. Ugh already freaking about getting weighed. I feel like I’ve eaten a ton of food. I just don’t understand how if I eat x ounces of something how I don’t gain that instantly forever. I get it, but I just don’t too. 

I want to go home but I can’t. I’m really thankful for my aunt and uncle though they’ve been life savers and I wouldn’t be this calm if not for them. 

I’ll check in tonight or tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to suck. 

Airports smell the Best…usually

Typically the air is full of adventure, fun, excitement and travel dreams; today, however I am filled with dread and regret that I am trekking to Il and then Wi for these reasons rather than in 2 weeks for the marathon like planned. It sucks. I hate this. 

Flying out Sunday,

residential begins on Monday.

๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ˜Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ถ

That pretty much sums me up.

I am thankful I am flying to Chicago on Sunday, a place that feels like home, and then my aunt is driving me to WI on Monday for treatment. I think it’ll make my transition easier, less stressful, and less sickening. At least, I hope. 

Right now, I alternate between being okay and being frozen with fear. 

I am still just astonished that I am this sick. Inpatient was mentioned by the doctors today in the event residential isn’t enough. I hope it’s enough, this is terrifying enough. 

Anyway, wish me luck today I have to tell my bosses beginning Monday I’ll be out continuously for 6 weeks probably. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

How did I get to this point?!?

A Little Luck and a Guardian Angel

A residential spot opened today. I start Monday.

I am flying 1500 miles away to be treated for my eating disorder at a well respected hospital for EDs.

I am lucky. I am blessed. I am terrified.

But I should be terrified; this is life changing and more importantly life saving.

************

I was surprised to get a spot so darn quickly. I mean when my psychiatrist estimated he said 2-4 weeks, finding out I can start in a week (which is more likely due to my logistically improbability of getting there sooner rather than availability) is a miracle. Ironically, I also go to a hospital that shares the same name as my dad, who passed away when I was younger. My aunt pointed it out Sunday but I had long realized it, since the beginning of finding the program actually. Now, however, it’s like he is really with me, helping me get through recovery and stick with it long enough to find myself again.

It’s comforting. Whether you believe in angels and God or not, it’s comforting, reassuring and makes me feel like this is possible.

So now I am searching flights, making arrangements and making phone calls tomorrow morning instead of going to work. I need this to be as seamless as possible and in order for me to feel like that I need to finalize plans.

I hear back from the residential facility tomorrow on if Monday is okay (or if they need a few extra days for the insurance, etc.) So, until then I am thinking, praying and semi-excited all while being terrified.

Also, today I tried 3, yes THREE FEAR FOODS!!!! #recoverywin

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.ย  I waver back and forth but feel a lot better than I did Thursday when I deduced that the psychiatrist was recommending residentialย  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.

The Real Reason No One Talks About Day One:

Because it IS THE WORST THING ON EARTH.

So, yeah.

I’m finally home and honestly, I took a sleeping pill and am going to bed. I don’t even care that it’s 7:15.

I wish today never happened.

I have no idea how I am supposed to actually will myself to go and survive tomorrow.

Dreading this.

its here. I need to leave in 15 minutes.

I’m not dressed. Haven’t gotten my stuff together, haven’t brushed my hair or teeth (both of which are taking longer since I broke my hand Sunday), nothing.

I have cleaned my apartment. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

I know I have to get up and get dressed and do this but honestly, I can’t just yet. I’ve gotten 6 texts since I woke up from family/friends telling me how strong I am and that I can do this but honestly, they have no idea how incredibly weak I am. 

I put on a good front, and yeah perhaps I was once strong but right now, I am weak, terrified, isolated and vulnerable. And I’ve said countless times how I HATE feeling vulnerable. I am sure this therapist will have something to say about that ๐Ÿ˜

I seriously wish I could just go to my regular doctor, have them mediate this transition. At least I have become somewhat comfortable with them knowing. These people are different. They see countless people fighting this and I am positive I am not nearly skinny, sick or deep into this to even get their help. They are going to think I am joking. 

Besides I am not keen on losing all independence. Like I get you need to keep an eye on me but I am still an adult.

And I am not keen on eating. What if they don’t take into account my GI issues and what if they start up again? What if the food is gross? How will they really know how much I need? How can I trust them?

The answer: I CAN’T.

I feel like I would like this better easing into it. Like if I had met them before and then come back to start today. Why do they not do this?!?! The reason going through my head is because they are horrid, it’s awful, torture and not safe at all to trust them. And that, is just making me guard myself more. 

And has me planning my escape route. No joke. 

I have 5 minutes. (10 if I am pushing it) 

I really don’t think I can do this. I seriously wish I would’ve been able to talk to my dr this morning, she would’ve made me feel better about this and quieted the run away aspect that’s consuming me. 

I’ve got to decide to go. I have to. I’m just not sure how to do that. 

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,ย  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.