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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 😰

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?!?!?!

When “Eating Disorder” becomes a description

Maybe it’s a double standard or me being overly dramatic (a word that has never been used to describe me) but on Tuesday I picked up a letter from my doctor to clear me medically for an ED treatment program and as I read the letter it was like being punched in the gut. Why? Not because the letter was mean or harsh or anything like that but rather it was because of the words ‘eating disorder’. They were used as a description and it was like this whole thing went from “an eating disorder” to “her eating disorder”. My eating disorder. MY. MINE. Like it is officially a part of me and honestly, I am not sure how I feel about how raw and real that is.

Now, I have (countless) times written on here I have an ED, used the words and typed them into Google but until 2 weeks ago I hadn’t ever said the words out loud and actually, when I came clean with my doctor I didn’t even say “eating disorder” I just described my actions and thoughts. Telling my best friend on Monday (last week) was the first time I ever said “I have been diagnosed with an eating disorder” but even then it was an illness, an invader, a foreigner. But “her eating disorder” just makes official that this is my disease, I have this, it is inside me, tearing me apart. It’s no longer a third party but rather it is ingrained in me, has become part (or most of) who I am, and is officially no longer something I can just brush off as me being a “hypochondriac” or “not sick enough for”.

And that’s a hard pill to swallow ( and worse than that terrible liquid potassium chloride I had to take yesterday bc of my terrifyingly low potassium levels). I mean it’s not like I wasn’t expecting those exact words in the letter because tbh, of course I was. I mean I have an eating disorder I’m not delusional about everything but still I still feel scared, raw and vulnerable. Vulnerable is the worst.

I think seeing it also solidified that I am going to have to start using it to describe myself in relation to my health. This will have to start sooner rather than later too and not just with the treatment center (who I have also managed to only say those words out loud to once as well) but also because next week I have to go to my fave doctor (totally serious). He is my amazingggg podiatrist and seriously I am a bazillion percent sure my feet would’ve been goners a longggg time ago if not for him, especially since I took up running lol. But he entertains all my wacko thoughts and ideas, like when he put me in a cast and I told him how I was going to finagle it so I could still skydive 8 days later (which I did successfully!). But I trust him enough to do surgery once and treat all my injuries well enough to keep running and now that I am facing surgery again for a different issue I know he needs (and deserves) to know. Plus, some of the extra issues I’m having are things dealing with my feet (constant numbness and my mom thinks the heel agony is bc of my calcium deficiency). But still I hate feeling vulnerable and I am still not comfortable with sharing that with anyone much less being the person saying the words eating disorder to describe me. But I have to because I know I need to and my appointment is next week.

I also have an appointment (again) with my primary doctor on Tuesday just to check in, do more lab work and make sure I am making headway in the admission to a treatment center (which I am). I am going to ask her just in case she says I don’t have to tell my foot doctor (which I doubt more than anything in the world) but still, I’ll ask. And hopefully, seeing her and being able to talk everything over will somehow help me get to the point where I am comfortable with telling another person about what’s going on (even though I know it is for the best, he will help too and that it is “okay” to ask for help).

So yeah, that’s where I am at. Not really sure where the post was supposed to go but I guess it was more of a ‘talk it out’ post since I can’t run right now and that’s normally where I have my ‘talk it out’ time within myself.

Confession

I am really scared for this evaluation tomorrow 😕  I feel like it’s about to get very real again whereas the last 5 days I’ve kind of been just being “normal” me except that my family knows.  

One Week…

I am going to get help in one week but not if my ED has anything to “say” about it.

Trigger Warning for anyone with disordered eating or an eating disorder.

It’s almost worse now that I have an appointment at the doctor, kind of like now that I anticipate coming clean and opening Pandora’s Box that the part of me controlled by this thing is louder, meaner and harder to ignore than ever. The thoughts I have when I eat are telling me that I am going to get fatter, if I gain any weight between the last time I was there and this time that I am a failure, not going to be believed and have to come up with a back up lie or go with the safe route: cancel the appointment.

I have been trying SO HARD though to eat more. I have some decent mileage on the schedule this week and ran 9 on Tuesday so I have been hungrier than usual but it’s such a challenge. If I even go over my preset limits 200/500 (200 on days I run anything less than 8 miles, 500 on days I run greater than 8 miles) I will start to eliminate the extra food via purging. It’s not even hard to do anymore too, I just contract my muscles and it’s back. That also makes my ED mind scream it’s normal and not harming me and while I know it’s harming me, the normal part is hard not to believe because part of me kind of thinks everyone vomits their food sometimes.

I’m also not convinced that 500 calories a day (which is so hard to admit I eat that much) is too few. Sometimes, yeah, I feel run down but I am busy, a runner and have a lot going on. People get run down and 500 calories a day is a LOT of food, 200 I know is a bit low but 300 just feels like too much especially because I eat 500 some days and it averages to 300 in the end.

See, and yet I read what I just wrote and part of me feels like it is wrong that 500 calories is too few especially when I am running and 200 is unfathomable for most people. But yet, the feelings that I am okay still prevail and I am not sure what will happen next Thursday. I am not sure how to keep overcoming them because even when I “win” and eat a tad more, I feel infinitely more unjustified in asking for help  because I don’t think I have a problem because I ate a bit more. Even when I purge that, I am so convinced purging is normal that I feel stupid thinking I have an issue.

I’m not sure. There is no real point of this post other than to try and organize my thoughts,try to convince myself to keep fighting to get to that appointment next week and to not cancel or lie. I’m not sure what will happen. 1 week from now seems so far and so sickeningly close.

Maybe I should just cancel.

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.