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?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confession:

I realized today that part of the reason I am so darn reluctant to give up my eating disorder is because there is a part of me that, deep down, just wants to die already.

 

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.

Confession

One day I’d like to be able to go to the doctor without crying about it for a week because I am so scared of getting on the scale and what I’ll do if it goes up. 

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?!?!?!

Best Friends and Biggest Secrets…Revealed

best friend

I met my best friend the day after I moved into my dorm, on the bus to a leadership retreat about a week before our freshman year started… we’ve been best friends ever since, roommates and we are sisters at heart. If I want to do something, I tell her. If I messed up, I tell her. If I have to confess my biggest fears, I tell her. I tell her everything. Well, told her everything. Until this ED took over my life I would tell her everything, now I just mostly tell her everything, except the stuff related to the ED. We’ve been roommates for the majority of time since we’ve known each other and currently still are.  (begin trigger warning)

When she asks “wanna go to dinner” I say “yeah I guess,” when she says “it’s raining lets order pizza,” I say “okay,” after a rough day “wanna grab froyo” I find a way to drive myself so I can take a different way home and purge on the side of the road.. Recently, as I restricted my calories even more, thankfully, we have been on weirdo schedules or I have been able to come up with an excuse to get me out of this debacle. I feel like a terrible person for it too, but honestly I don’t feel nearly as bad as I should, what I mostly feel is frustration that I have to actually eat and then figure out how to vomit it all without her figuring it out. (end trigger warning).

I promise I’ll work on that in recovery.

Untitled bff

Anyway, she is my  best friend. I’ve trusted her with some of my deepest secrets, but not this one. Until today.

Today, I have to tell her. My doctor wanted to tell her (or my mom, I chose my mom) but she was out of town and honestly, I didn’t want her to find out while she was with her family and from my doctor. She is my best friend, I need to tell her myself, explain it to her myself, somehow convince her to not blame herself.

Tonight is Monday and we have a not-so-guilty pleasure show to watch: The Bachelorette (lol). I mentioned to her when I saw her briefly (on Thursday night after I had gotten home from the doctor actually) that we should have Roommate Night tonight (Monday) and she instantly agreed and said she would pick up some snacks. I instantly felt queasy. I still need to get out of this because well, in the past we have shared getting snacks. (begin trigger warning) I’ve occasionally eaten some of it (which admitting makes me feel like I should kill myself and like a failure) and even though it is pretty low calorie, non-fat and overall not a bad snack for you but it’s NOT SAFE. And so every time I have it with her I go in my room and purge instantly. (end trigger warning) 

So, tonight I need to convince her to not by snacks (I think I am just going to tell her I don’t want any/not in the mood for it… which is actually not a lie) and somehow figure out how to come clean. While I don’t think this will be as hard as telling my doctor (the first time is always the worst…right?), she is going to be the first family/friend that I have to tell myself in person (remember, I also told a friend who has dealt with this but doesn’t live near me).

While I know she will support me and not end our friendship, or gossip to other people, or alienate me or anything that unfortunately a lot of younger kids with this kind of issue probably have to deal with I am seriously worried about hurting her feelings. I don’t want her to think I couldn’t tell her because while it’s true it’s not for the reason that I didn’t trust her, it’s because I couldn’t admit it to myself for forever and telling her is going to be hard because maybe I’m not ready to fully own up to this yet, I don’t know. All I know is I am about to change our friendship forever. I know she’ll stand by me and support me but part of me is terrified of this, of being so accountable and honestly, of all this being so real.

The up side? At least I don’t have to pretend to like food anymore. Which is totally my ED side talking but also my real side. I don’t have to pretend I am okay, enjoying things, wanting to eat. I can be real, be me, be scared. I also know that no matter what she’ll help me through this, stick by my side, worry with me, reason with me, goof off with me, not judge me for good/bad/in between days, have TV show marathon days, obsess over London days and just keep me alive and (almost) sane days. And for that, I know I’ll feel grateful.

17bf242bcac9556328e21c521bcd9fb2

What if the Truth Kills Me?

They say the truth will set you free… so why do I feel like the truth is just going to kill me?

Tomorrow. Tomorrow is my last day as I currently know it.

I know I should be happy about this but I am not because truthfully, even though I am not actually going to commit suicide (I’m not back to that depressed) I feel as though when I let go of this secret on Thursday I will, in essence, be killing a part of me. Like I am voluntarily putting myself in the line of fire and killing myself.

I know I have sat here and tried to explain it, like there is two of me (at least) inside my head. The “voice” that tells me to get help vs. the one that is screaming obscenities when the thought crosses my mind and promises to keep me protected. I am also aware of how psychotic that sounds- to have “voices” in your head. I can only explain it as sort of two subconscious, kind of like the devil and angel cartoons sitting on your shoulder except I never really know which one is the devil.

And tomorrow, Wednesday, will be the last full day I let myself be like that. I should be elated, hopeful, excited. But I am not. In fact, I might be experiencing every emotion ever, except the ones dealing with happiness, positivity and relief because NONE of those are how I feel. Not even in the slightest. Instead, I honestly feel like I am a murderer. Like I am crucifying myself, harming myself and making a mistake. In my heart I know and feel I cannot continue like this any longer- I can actually feel it, my chest hurts every.single.day. But, I feel like I am in mourning and like I am the one who is dying all at the same time. If it was possible to mourn your own death, I am fairly certain this would equate to the same emotion.

Simultaneously I feel an insane amount of fear and anxiety over not only telling someone about my secret life but also over: the scale. I fear it will go up and then I’ll just look like an idiot. I fear what it will say because one time I got on and it went up and I actually almost went through with trying to commit suicide until I looked around and realized someone would have to (1) find me and (2) tell my little niece and nephew and that scared me out of it and scared me to the point of never EVER wanting to get on that thing again. I fear the response of the doctor. I fear they won’t believe me. I fear they will believe me too (go figure). I fear the looks I’ll get as I walk out. I fear they won’t let me ever go home afterward (I know this is totally irrational but still, I worry I will wind up in a hospital and be forced to stay until I eat and I am petrified of the thought of eating unsafe hospital food). I am petrified they will make me eat at the office. I am scared they will run tests and think nothing is wrong. I am scared I will have to continue to live like this. I am scared I will have to give this up. I am just plain scared.

And you want to know what I am most scared of: What if, when I do this,  what if I lose this “evil” part of me….and what if it’s replaced by something worse?