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?

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.

 

Confession:

When I eat and the hunger goes away even a little I  always feel like I have overeaten, like a failure and then when the hunger comes back I am always relieved and more relieved the sooner it does. This is one of the things I hate the most. 

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

Dear Mom, I’m Sorry.

Momma Bear,

I just need to put this out there just in case you never find out in person from me: I’m sorry. I’m sorry I turned into this girl, sorry I didn’t ask for help sooner, sorry I am destroying my body in an attempt to protect it, I’m sorry I didn’t confide in you, I’m sorry for it all. Please know that it wasn’t anything you did or didn’t do. I’m not really sure when this started but it was some time after they told me to figure out how to fix the chronic pain and nausea with “trial and error”. After a year of error and hospitals and pain I couldn’t do that anymore so I eliminated the error but it’s like when I did that, this other person took over, took me hostage, protected me and cursed me all at the same time except I didn’t realize how bad it was until recently. I didn’t realize who I had become or what I had turned into.

I couldn’t ask for help. I tried so many times and I just couldn’t. I never thought you would turn your back on me or hate me so please don’t think that. In fact, I have many times thought you suspected something but didn’t know or wanted to believe the best in me. You stood by my side when I got sick initially so it wasn’t that I thought you couldn’t handle it, it was all me. It was this other person inside my mind.

I know there are two outcomes to this letter: I told you about this blog or you found out about it after I died. I hope it’s the former but everyday I feel closer and closer to the latter. It’s why I am writing this, just in case the worst happens, just in case you find out after I’m gone. If that’s the case know that you are the best mom in the world I’ve never once wanted a different mom or thought you weren’t enough. You were both a mom and a dad, a friend and role model and I’m so sorry for what I am putting you through whether it is the first or second outcome.

I hope one day i can say I am recovered and stable. That I can eat what a normal person would call a meal, that I won’t purge everything I eat, that I don’t live in constant fear of being in excruciating pain again and that I also don’t fear getting fat or being judged for my food choices. I hope one day I am strong enough to find love, get married and give you some rockstar grandkids.

I am scared to death that I won’t survive this- the side effects have been really bad lately- but please know I am trying so hard to fight back and live and that I am so so so sorry. I hope one day you forgive me.

Love,

(Your favorite) Baby Bear

Chest Pain

It’s 5:30am, my normal wake up time. Except today wasn’t normal because today instead of waking up to my alarm, I woke up to the feeling of severe chest pain about 15 min earlier. It was sharp and horizontal across my chest; It felt deep and almost like a stabbing cramping feeling. It woke me up from my sleep. What have I done to myself. Maybe I should go to the doctor? Lies,  I know I need to go to the doctor whether it wears off or not but I know I’d have to tell. Maybe this is my out?

Yesterday was a severe restriction day: 200 calories. No more. I know that’s bad but I felt okay yesterday aside from the lightheadedness and weakness after shopping all day. I wasn’t even hungry most of the time. But last night I couldn’t sleep. I was uncomfortable. Like I could feel my muscles cramping but never having them enter a full blown cramp. I’m not sure what was going on. Maybe I was just too hungry to sleep, maybe it was a precursor, a warning. Either way, I should really listen.