Grocery Shopping From Hell

If you have read anything about Eating Disorders it is typical for the person to mention something along the lines of, “I wasn’t able to socialize.”, “I isolated myself.”, “My eating disorder took away part of my life.”. Something to that extent. Announcing, in one way or another, that somehow their ED impacted their daily life beyond just the food aspect.

Typically, what I also find in regards to people with eating disorders is how quiet and reserved they are. Well, let me just say first of all, that was not me. I did sports, the play, student government, was voted most unforgettable; I just hated myself and eating. Yes, ok, as time went on I began to excuse myself from social events surrounding food, but besides that I was still a friendly, outgoing person. So I always thought I was the exception to this unspoken “rule”; another reason why I always thought, and continue to think, I wasn’t “bad” or “sick enough”.

One aspect that ED did stick his obnoxious self in was grocery shopping. I could barely manage it. Some people can’t stand grocery shopping, the people, the crowds and crying kids, spending money, whatever. For me it was so much more than that.

I would immediately be flooded with a sense of dread, anxiety, nausea. It was the thought of foods that I might actually eat and not just waste or let spoil, it was the thought of maybe buying something my ED deemed “unacceptable” for consumption, then what if I ran into somebody I knew and they stared in my cart with a judgmental chip on their shoulder.

It was a never ending game of grab it, look at it, contemplate if I would actually eat it and if I needed it, put item in cart, freak out, put item back. Sometimes it was several aisles later, “Oh God, I don’t really need to get sweet potatoes, they are so big anyway. Shit.” This was continuous with literally everything. “No, I don’t need graham crackers, I won’t eat them with peanut butter anyway and they will go stale… plus the calories!”

I would have panic attacks, unable to catch my breath, I would become flushed and sweaty, even dizzy. There were countless times I would make it half way through the store and become so overwhelmed I would just leave my cart, full with whatever I had finally made my mind up about, and attempt to make my sweaty mess of a self, back to the car.

When that began to happen I would either have my best friend come grocery shopping with me, not only for the support, but to help with my indecisiveness. When that failed I would just ask her to pick stuff up for me from the store and avoid going completely.

Part of treatment was going on weekly grocery shopping runs. I was able to get out of quite a few of them, scheduling my sessions during the time they would leave for the store. When they began to catch on I had to go shopping. The first couple times were very anxiety provoking, I didn’t say a word, just followed the group and pushed the cart.

I have been out of treatment since March and am able to grocery shop with almost no problem. Sometimes the fear is still there, the deciding on which foods to buy and I get increasingly anxious, but I just walk away. If I want it I’ll go back for it. Plus that can be avoided if I always made a list out beforehand, but who has time for that anyways 😉  but, so far, I haven’t abandoned ship…or cart… and left. It’s the little things, but I’m glad I can grocery shop again without the flood of intense fear and anxiety washing over me every time.

Trust the Process!

xoxoxox

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My Best Friend is more important than Ed

Words can’t express it. Pictures don’t show it. Stories and memories barely begin to cover it.

My best friend and I have been friends for over 13 years. Meeting around fourth grade and now currently being college graduates. We were never that stereotypical prepubescent whiny, petty, girl drama indulging type. It was the two of us, that was all that mattered. While other girls were getting in trouble for popping others’ bra straps and all the girls had to stay after class; the two of us were excused to go back to gym. We have never “broken up” or gotten into a blow out fight, and I mean never, I feel like that is impossible.

Yeah, we get annoyed sometimes, but give us fifteen minutes and we will be laughing. I have been part of her family for as long as I can remember, and as the years of friendship increased, so did my status as family. We’ve sneezed on each other, slept in the same bed, cried together, become increasingly intoxicated together, and get incredibly pissed off/enraged and defensive when the other is hurt.

Over our friendship we went to space camp in Alabama together, played sports together, I moved to a different school where our softball teams became rivals (she was a pitcher, pegged me in the leg when I went up to bat- glorious moment), we talked on the phone nearly everyday since we were still too young to have a cell phone and her mom would drop her off at my house. She was there for me, and I was there for her, when we could drive we would spend the weekends together and meet up. Then, when my home life began to go even more downhill her parents gave me a room. I moved in with my best friend. We all went on family vacations together to Florida a few times, then on a cruise. I spent many holidays with them and she was there when I met my biological father for the first time.

At this point, we worked together, went to school together, and lived together.

You know how they say don’t work/live with your best friend if you want to keep the friendship?

Well, as you have probably realized, we aren’t your average friends. We just became even closer. Without even having to exchange any words or utterances we knew what the other was thinking. With just a look, we knew. To the outsider, some of our conversations were so vague they were unfollowable.

“Oh, you mean at that thing where we saw her?”

“Yeah, but not that time, the time before that.”

“Wait, when I drove or you?

“You drove, but you let me drive to that other place afterwards.”

Instantaneously we both knew the situation, time, place, person. Our thoughts and half sentences didn’t have to make sense to anyone else because we understood.

She supported me going into residential treatment when my eating disorder was getting the best of me and there seemed to be no other option. She drove me there, helped me with my room, and came to visit more often than my own mother.

After college graduation she moved about 9 hours away. It has been difficult, but we still talk, or text, everyday. We still have our verbal banter back and forth when our life is rough. After about 4 months of not seeing each other we had had enough. Our half way mark was West Virginia. We decided on a random town, a random date, and were setting this in stone so that we could see each other.

Weeks leading up to the trip I was thrilled, life was going well. Work was uneventful, I didn’t seem to be going from 0 to 10, emotion wise, at the drop of a hat, neurofeedback was going well, I was killing my meal plan and recovery was looking bright.

While with her, we had an amazing time. We met up, hiked and walked around, decided to have pizza and beer for dinner (this in itself was absolutely terrifying, I knew that my best friend would support me, never judge, and would cheer me on) we split a pizza, did more hiking, were there for some gulley fest, went to a wine festival. It was an amazing time, and we had missed each other so badly. Without even skipping a beat our half uttered, half put together thoughts and sentences were right back in normal conversations. We had never realized how sporadic and even jumbled our thoughts were sometimes because we had become so accustomed to having the other one around all the time.

When our trip came to an end I tried so hard not to cry, and succeeded in avoiding this emotion. Eating became so difficult, and I was conflicted and torn. I had an amazing time, but I wouldn’t see my best friend again until Christmas, this thought was unbearable. I got home finally after the drive and laid down on my bed, unable to talk myself into eating. The next morning I got up and went to work as usual, didn’t pack any food, had no intention of eating. Ed was royally kicking my ass. Telling me everything from “You need to restrict since you ate that shit over the weekend.” To “You do realize that T (therapist and most amazing women ever) doesn’t even like you. It is just her job to care. It’s more like babysitting than anything else.”

T found out I wasn’t eating and checked in on me. I tried to ignore the messages but that wasn’t happening. Wednesday I went to neurofeedback with a lot of push from T, because Ed sure as hell didn’t want me to do anything that could even possibly help or lead to me getting better. So, after coaxing, and some tough love from T, I showed up. I went to OP Thursday and struggled as well, but I am trying to get back on track with not only eating, but also “emotional regulation”

whatever that is…. 😉

Taking the Whole Package

I’ve been mentally struggling recently with my self perception, body image, and comparisons. Lately though, I’ve been doing really well with sticking to my meal plan. It’s different, challenging, scary, but slowly becoming the new norm for me.

I no longer have to justify eating that one apple based on how far I ran. Or mentally weigh out the consequences if I drink soy milk instead of water. It has been relieving yet slightly unnerving.

So today, rolling around in my head, I was fighting with myself about my body image and the daily struggle. How fat I am, how I need to lose this that and the other, how I want to be as skinny as ________.

Then, I remembered something that T had told me while I was in treatment, “If you want to be as small as _______, you can’t just pick and choose, you have to take the whole package.” She was right. Maybe I wanted to be thinner, smaller, whatever, to look like somebody else. At the same time though was I willing to accept the whole package, to be like her? Taking on not only their body shape, but everything else, whether it is their quirks, annoyances, whatever it may be. Would I completely give up me to look like that?

To not be able to run as far as I can, or lift what I am able to and squat, in order to trade to be smaller, more fragile looking. To give up the relationships I have in order to not be as big as I am? Would being smaller and thinner be worth that trade to me?

Would you give up your boyfriend, dog, hair, legs, friendships, relationships, laughter, whatever it may be, just to look like someone else and lose more weight?

I’m Doing Recovery and Neurofeedback

The past few weeks have been strangely different, in a good yet confusing way.

With some coaxing, reassuring, and love I gave into a few things and quit whole heartedly resisting.

My team of K & T were feeling stuck, as was I. I was half ass doing a meal plan of what I deemed acceptable and not so much of what they wanted. We felt stuck… ok now what… she is eating…kinda… still working out…. Not really following a meal plan…..

So, after talking for a while, I finally hesitantly agreed to try neurofeedback. T told me she would come with me and I was ridiculously thankful for that, otherwise I would not have gone for sure. I showed up the next morning, nauseous, pit in my stomach and knot in my throat, thinking to myself, “This is going to be the damn reason I throw up this week.” During the drive over there I received a text from T, pretty much checking that I hadn’t changed my mind last minute (Oh man was that tempting).

Honestly, I’m not even sure what kept me driving to the appointment. I didn’t have to get up that early to drive an hour for something, Why was I even going? T and I had briefly talked about this once or twice and I was not a fan. Skeptical. Nervous. Unfamiliar… I also didn’t want to go on any meds…. Once again, feeling stuck, even with K & T on my side. I didn’t want to go, I had already decided if I got there and T was nowhere to be found I was peacing out without a second thought.

Not even a mile from the appointment I got a message from T. Just a few simple words that meant so much to me, “I’m here for you… always.” The reassurance that she was supportive, cared, believes in me. I pulled into the driveway and saw T. We went into the building together and sat in the waiting room and talked. She then began to talk about regulating my mood and how I should call my doctor. Well, I did the neurofeedback, I was exhausted. It lasted maybe 12 minutes, but by the end of the day I felt like an infant, unable to keep my eyes open or my head up.

I called my doctor, had an appointment, asked about medication.

So, here I am, almost three weeks later from the first neurofeedback appointment, and almost two weeks into my medication.

When put on the spot and asked if I feel any different I curl up, shut down and just say, “I don’t think so.” Because I’m really not sure.  Lately though I’ve begun eating more in an attempt to stick to my meal plan.

I’ve noticed the relationship between some of my coworkers and I have become better (I largely think it’s because of this emotional regulation thing).

I ate at Moe’s!

I’m eating eggs again!

I’m working out still, but usually eat something afterwards.

I’ve been getting better with hitting my starch and fat exchange.

And, I’m really trying to work on this whole “normal” thing, because it is something I really want.

I’m still struggling with my body issues, and feeling like I’m a beached whale. Repulsed by my stomach and thighs. Unhappy with my weight and BMI, but I also try and remind myself I deadlifted 105 lbs and squatted 120lbs the other day.

My gratitude and love for K & T can never be fully expressed. I have some major control issues, especially when ED is raging, but overall I love and trust those two and need to fall back on that. They want to see me succeed and the unknown is terrifying, but their support is remarkable. I’ve gone from a person who couldn’t even acknowledge her emotions, never wanted anyone to come inside my space, and couldn’t muster up the courage to eat peanut butter, to somebody who looks forward to hugs from T, talks about how I’m “feeling” –whatever that is, and eats pb sandwiches to get in the starch and fat.

I’m really struggling right now with wanting to eat though, which is an unfortunate turn of events. Feeling stressed out by so many unknowns in my life. Hoping I’m just tired, or possibly hangry, but always feel like evening is the worst for me. Struggle is real!

Trust the process!