My Faith mixed with the Food and Fear

It’s a question I have been asked several times, but I’ve never actually stopped to dig deeply and dissect the answer.

The question may differ slightly,

“How did I get into Christianity?”

“Why did I choose to stay involved?”

“Have you always been a Christian?”

but the answer inevitably brings me back to a certain time in my life.

I can vividly remember being somewhere around 6 years old. I remember our apartment, the glass table, the beanie babies piled high, the kitchen bar, the stained bathroom floor from when I spilled red nail polish. I never remember church. I remember the park, my neighbor upstairs, my cat, the statue of the panther in the living room. I never remember praying.

Around 7 years old I was dragged along with mom who moved to North Carolina with some strange man who would later become my stepfather. I remember my bus stop, my dog, my teacher. Still no church or praying.

In 2000 my brother was born. At some point, unsure of exactly when that was, it was decided among my parental units that my brother, in order to keep him from being damned to hell for reasons I was unsure of at the time, was going to be baptized/saved/christened. I guess by default, I was volun-told that I was to participate in such religious ritual as well. I remember the smell of vegetable oil on my forehead and how I was sickened that I had some greasy oily stuff smeared on my face by a stranger. Up until that point that was the most religious experience of my life.

In 2004 my sister came into the picture. Somewhere between moving and the birth of my sister we began to make an appearance to a church. We stood up, knelt, sat, knelt, it felt like a bad version of Simon says. I watched as my parents introduced me to people that could be my grandparents. We showed up, smiled, and left. One Sunday morning I was getting ready for the perfunctory routine, I had decided to put on mascara and was instantly ridiculed by my step dad.

This is also when their religion seemed to be found more frequently at the bottom of a bottle than in a church pew.

Being under 13, I remember one night, after they had been praising the bottle again. A fight broke out. I gestured to my brother to go to our room and that I’d be right there. I grabbed my sister from her high chair and was going to take her with me to our room. Immediately, I was spun around by a slurred patron saint of the bottle. “You don’t EVER take my child away from me!” With that, my sister was ripped from my arms.

Another move, and another sibling later, I was in middle school. My parent’s religious worshiping of the bottle increased as did my self-hatred. I wasn’t allowed to speak up, have an opinion that was different from my mom’s, or stick up for myself. I turned all the feelings inward. Turning to self-harming, purging, anything. I was already hurting with all of the screaming and fights, which I was convinced was my fault anyways, so it made sense to punish myself, and simultaneously release some of the built up angst. I was blamed for why my parent’s argued. This logic made sense in my world since I had introduced the two of them by accident. I wasn’t sure if they hated me because of it, and if only I was thinner, better behaved, made better grades, maybe they wouldn’t hate me and their marriage would get strengthen.

Eating less, cutting more, purging when I could.

I had the opportunity to go to Ireland on a student program. I was threatened by one of the leaders that if I didn’t start eating I would be sent home.

A family friend invited us to church with them. We reluctantly began to go. I had learned from my past experience with church that it was time to put on my nice clothes, put on a smile and pretend everything was amazingly awesome in my picture perfect world.

Behind closed doors my family threw stuff, screamed, hated each other. My mother would wake me up at all hours to clean my room, clean the kitchen, whatever. Digging her nails into my arm and screaming, as my brother cried from behind her, “Don’t hit her mom!” My parent’s would scream and fight until the church door. With that, the name calling was suddenly, “Oh sweetie, I love you.”, “I love you too honey.” With controlling displays of affection to show to the church how great our family actually was.

I began to question what I was told about God, and even the very existence of God.

“God doesn’t love me, if he did why would he allow this?” I would question.

My own mother would push me against walls, dig her nails into me, and throw stuff at me. The next morning she would say “I love you, have a great day at school.”

I doubted the very word of “love” and it took years for me to be able to tell her I loved her back.

I continued to put on a happy face when we went to church, and was criticized by my parent’s when I wanted to go to church on Wednesdays for youth group, being asked, “Don’t you have anything else you could do besides go to church?”

I went into High School, from moving so much I knew almost everyone in my class. I told myself I would never drink or smoke weed, I didn’t want to be anything like my parents. I began to drink, and would smoke during the off season of sports.

I don’t remember a lot during this time. I went to school, did sports, was on student government, had a job, didn’t eat. Did anything I could to not go home.

Being told that what happens in this house, stays in this house.

My math teacher is the reason I actually became involved and plugged in. During Senior year I moved in with my pastor and his wife. Being told once again that I am the reason their marriage is so rocky, so if I moved out for a while…..

I changed my number, paid my own bills, went to church. Pastor and his wife actually gave me curfew, and I was thrilled someone actually cared about me and where I was. I was diving deep into Christianity, my devotional, and church in a way I hadn’t. We talked, like a family, prayed, like a family, went on trips. There was no yelling, and I realized what I had lived in wasn’t normal.

My parents left the church, I was eventually forced to move back home, and continued to stay at that church for as long as I could, refusing to ever go to church with my parents again.

My math teacher would pray for me and with me. I had convinced myself that if I don’t talk about what’s going on at home, then it’s like it doesn’t happen. After the cops were called, I began to open up to my teacher who invited me to her house, prayed with me, shared books and articles with me, and invited me to Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She spoke of her mistakes, I told her about mine, but it was never from a criticizing or demeaning place, but one of hope and love.

After graduation, I moved out, again. Found a church which I attended regularly, as well as a girls college bible study that my teacher led up. It was a safe environment. Learning about mistakes, love, forgiveness for not only ourselves, but others. There was something peaceful about the entire thing, a sense of belonging and security. How faithful God is and all He has in store for us and our future.

During all of this, my self-harming would come and go, and I was consistently struggling with my Eating Disorder. I was told by several people, that someone must have been looking out for me.

Deep in my eating disorder I would eat under 100 calories a day, and was running and lifting. I was taking diet pills, laxatives, and going to the gym. I have sustained injuries because of it, but when I look back, it is crazy to me that nothing severe happened. There is no reason that I shouldn’t have collapsed during a run, or seriously damaged my body.

I can only think that God has something in store for me, for keeping me around.

I continue in my faith for many reasons. It is one step further away from becoming my parents, every person I admire and look to are strong in their faith, and just the pure honesty that is spoken and how I feel after digging into my devotional.

Trust the Process!!!

College and Eating Disorder

First, I wanted to apologize.

The days of class I skipped.

The days I couldn’t pay attention.

Or, the days when I would skip your class, and you would catch me running around campus walking back to your office.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care, it was that I was just more consumed with burning calories and making my Eating Disorder happy that I didn’t want to sit in class.

I didn’t want you to take my struggle as apathy or anything like that, and for the professors that did know about my struggle, I’m thankful for all that you did.

It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to go to class, I physically didn’t have the energy to be there. I was freezing, exhausted, and all I wanted to do was go out and run this anxiety off. Running was more important to me than school, studying, or any sort of life.

Classmates would comment on how athletic I am, and how impressed they were at the distances I was running and how often I went to the gym. (Little did they know I had eaten an apple in maybe two days, and the violent shakes were from the Hydroxycut, not the coffee like I told people.) They didn’t see the girl who laid in her bed crying because of her electrolytes and her legs were locked up again, or the girl who ran to the toilet at 2 am because I had taken the laxatives too early and was up in the middle of the night.

College just seems like one big blur to me. Life was a half-hearted perfunctory routine of get up, run, go to class, run, go to work, maybe go to the gym, and start all over again.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with one of my professors. I had her class during the semester that I left for treatment. We sat outside, laughed and caught up on all that we had missed. She told me that I looked happy and she was so proud of me. That, was what I needed to hear. That I didn’t disappoint her, or had somehow failed at being a “normal” college student.

She went on to say that she talks about me frequently, how I never asked for special treatment, and did continue to show up and do well in her class. The only thing I ever asked was if I could take my final early, (I was admitted on finals week).

I was honest and told her that while I was in her class I was consuming more diet pills and laxatives than actual food, she shook her head in a concerning way.

The most difficult was a male professor, only because my senior research also included a food log, which I was sure would lead to me failing my senior research if I didn’t have any data to actually document. He was very understanding, and I missed half of the following semester since I was still in treatment. Returning in March to his Biostatistics class, he was shocked and surprised to see me walk in the door. I had three tests to make up, multiple practicals, and I was determined. He was willing to work with me and said I could take an incomplete and finish the semester when I was feeling better. I told him I was supposed to graduate this semester, and I wanted to catch up.

I did, I finished school on time and graduated on time, missing half of a semester of Biostatistics, Virology, and Biochemistry.

I am very thankful to have the support I did through my academic career. Both of those professors actually wrote me letters of recommendation. They believed in me, even when I didn’t think I could.

Eating Disorders Impact Loved Ones, Not Just the Individual

I’ve been told, more times than I can count, that I need to “get mad at ED.”

The crazy thing is, I just can’t get mad at his impact on my life. It helped me cope, for years! Gave me something to cling to.

Would I go back in time and change it all? No, I’ve learned a lot.

Would I voluntarily go through it all again? Not Likely At All.

I am annoyed though. For the hell and havoc it put the people close to me through.

Unable to go out to eat with my best friend. Her standing outside the bathroom door while I puke on the cruise. Her concern for me and watching me day in and day out run and abuse her best friend. Watching me pick at the salad during our family dinners, or the look on her face when I make eye contact after I come out of the bathroom, ashamed of what I had just done. On our beach trips, when I would still get up and force myself to run, or would leave the hotel room at ten at night to go to the gym in an attempt to burn off what I had consumed.

To my brother, who no longer went on sushi dates with his sister because I was no longer able to keep it down. Fear of rice, cream cheese and by this point, foods in general. I never meant for this to get to you. You would ask me when we would go out, I would make up any excuse in the book. Please know, I was never avoiding you, I was avoiding food.

My dear sister, I hope you learn from my mistakes. Our 5k races were the highlight of our weekends. Do not run and work out because you “have to”, I want you to love and enjoy it. I hope and pray I never pushed you too hard or too far.

Mom, we had our ups and downs, many downs. You didn’t want me to go to treatment, I know this, you made it clear. ED became more important than you, or even life. I skipped Thanksgiving this year, and it meant a lot that you were understanding of it. Knowing I was in a good place, but didn’t want to put myself in that situation.

YOU, on the other hand, I’m not sure if I can ever forgive you. As long as I can remember you were my life, I was your princess. Grandma, you supported me when, at the age of 5, I wanted to be a vet. You believed in me at 13 when I wanted to become a lawyer. Thrilled, when I decided at 19 to pursue dentistry.

Then, practically disowned me at the age of 21, when I went into treatment. That was when I needed your love and support the most. We still haven’t talked and I’m not sure if our relationship will ever be the same. I think you hated ED more than I ever could. You were angry with my eating disorder and took it out on me.

To my professors, I never meant to worry you. Commenting on how I’m getting smaller, passing me on campus while I’m running, even though you just left the class of yours that I skipped- again. Some of you went so far to physically drive me to a restaurant for lunch just so you could watch me eat and help. I picked at the veggies. There was the time you offered me your lunch, “as long as you’ll actually eat it.” I declined your offer. Your support to keep me on track while doing school while in treatment. The shock some of you had when you realized I hadn’t dropped my classes, and was still scheduled to graduate on time. Yet, you guys believed in me and sing my praises to current students.

T, the times I was doing well, and the times that kicked my ass, you were there. You are so supportive, encouraging, and my biggest advocate. Sometimes it’s all I can do to not call you just crying, so unsure of myself and decisions. I fear you will think I’m too wishy-washy for recovery. ED has dug his claws into our relationship too many times. I visualize you doing the dance and cheers when things are good, and a disappointed lowering shake of the head when it’s bad. It is scary to question you own (well, seemingly own) thoughts and doubt your own capabilities.

You’ve seen the scars, the tears, the successes. We’ve gone on walks, gone to breakfast, lunch, given me reading material. ED still wants to fuck with you and I’m sorry.

There comes a time where you have to want recovery for yourself and your life- I’m there. I want a happy, fulfilling life, without an eating disorder. I’m scared to be given up on, lose faith in me. One day you will wake up and no longer care. ED will pipe up and blame my weight for the reason you left.

I can’t even write down the words, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cover it, and guilt doesn’t fully describe it.

When I take a step back, it hurts me to see how much ED has impacted you all.

That is what bothers me the most.

I was unable to hide it and protect you all from the ugly wrath of ED.

Left only to my imagination of the exhausting feelings you are left with after an encounter with my eating disorder and I. Being annoyed and hurt by my blatant snarky sass. Wanting to help while simultaneously wanting to throw your hands in the air in defeat. The uncertain feeling of helplessness. Wanting to help, to make it better, wishing it to go away for me. Yet, unable to do so. Knowing that through it all, it is left to me and my decision.

When your support and influence impact my next decision, I hope you feel a glimmer of hope, knowing I’m still under there.

 

Christmas of 2014

12/24/2014

I threw up a mouthful of coffee and raspberries, the RC caught me leaving the bathroom.

I refused to drink an Ensure and after everyone left for their pass home, I headed to the group room for yoga, just me.

After yoga was snack, the RC informed me that I had to call T before snack- shit! The phone rang and rang and I was so nervous.

She answered, my heart dropped, she said she heard I had a rough breakfast, I said not really, and told my side. “I ate, went upstairs to change for yoga and the RC saw me come out of the bathroom.”  “Well, what happened in the bathroom?” “Some raspberries came up.” “And you refused an Ensure?….”  “I didn’t refuse, I just didn’t let her get that far.

T continued, I told her I didn’t think my stomach was handling the coffee well, so gave up coffee…

T also mentioned how we might have to sit down and revisit if this is the level of care for me. Of course that freaked me out….

 

12/25/2014
                I had breakfast, watched Water for Elephants, snack time, did a puzzle.
                Showered, lunch time, took a nap, went outside and kicked around my soccer ball.
                Painted my nails, snack time, watched Frozen, watched Muppets.
I hate having “special treatment” no dishes because I may involuntarily hurl in the sink, tally stairs so I’m not exercising. This not moving thing is killing me! ERGH!
                I get so annoyed I’ve also been put on cleaning restriction too b/c I’m the only one who can manage to clean and take the damn trash out.

12/26/2014

We got a new person today, she is 33 and just came from the hospital. I’m discouraged and conflicted. I still believe I’m not sick enough to be here. I want to go outside, run, feel the sun on my back, breeze in my face.

Am I too young to be here?

                                                                                Am I too young for recovery?

Part of me wants to throw in the towel say fuck it, pack up and go home. Go back to treatment after I’ve hit rock bottom, when I’m actually sick.

T is probably so sick and tired of me. I hate feeling like a lost cause and I’m just waiting for her to say screw it about me as well and give up.

Honestly, I think I just want to pack and leave before I end up disappointing all of Tapestry.

Well, I fucked up, again. I’m not sure why I’m even here. I got so upset and stressed about snack and I threw up, and got caught.

I know in order to quit involuntarily puking, I definitely need to keep my fingers out of my throat.

What the Fuck is my problem?!?!

I don’t want to be here anymore, I want to go home, but I am so tired of throwing up.

 

While sitting outside on top of a shed T came out. She stood on the ground looking up at me and asked what I wanted to do, I told her, “cry”. “Well, that would have been better than purging.”  I began to cry and told her what would make someone want to throw up cashews and cherries??!!

I told her I knew it was a bad idea, and how discouraged I am.

T asked me to come down off the roof, I tossed my journal and watched it fall, then climbed down.

T handed me my journal and I followed her to her office.

 

12/27/2014

I was up tossing and turning at 2:30. The conversation between T and I played over and over again in my head.

“If you aren’t ready to recover for you, do it for your sister.”

“Crying would have been better than purging.”

My leash around here is just getting shorter and shorter, now on top of no running, no showers at night, sit down after every meal, no climbing the stairs, no coffee, but I don’t want all of this to be for nothing.

 

12/29/2014

I was being artsy fartsy last night, after snack. The RC came in and saw my glass    full of throw up on the table….

So, this morning was weigh in. I hid my Nalgene and Mason jar, full of water, in my room. So at 6:30, before the RC came in to wake us up, I sat on my bed and chugged the Mason jar. Sat with it, then started on the Nalgene.

I feel so conflicted about it. I don’t want my weight to go up, but it can’t stay the same, I hate being so stationary. Maybe if my weight goes up, I won’t have to sit after every meal, but I hate lying and being dishonest.

Dinner, well, I didn’t eat it. Unfortunately, I had an Ensure, but figured it was the safer bet.

T again mentioned that she wasn’t sure if I could stay. I feel so conflicted. I have had so much taken away and all of my Christmas break, I don’t want it to be for nothing. I’d go back home, run and starve.

When will I put my foot down and find that spark I need?

I almost came clean to T.

                The guilt is too much.

She said there was a positive change in my weight.

After threatening to see if I would be able to stay and her saying, “Your weight is the only ace I have right now.”

What was I supposed to say?

“Oh, that’s great, I mean I only chugged an enormous amount of water this morning to water load.”

Yeah, that totally wouldn’t get me kicked out.

 

12/31/2014

Around 12:30 this morning I got really hot and nauseous. I headed to the bathroom where I projectile vomited on my hand and the toilet. I woke up the RC to tell her, she got me some water, I swore up one way and down the other it was the bean burger I ate for dinner.

Everyone went grocery shopping after lunch today except me, because I thought I had a therapist appointment.    She came and got me…then we headed to T’s office. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, a “come to Jesus” meeting perhaps?

They both sat down and faced me and asked why I thought they wanted to talk to me. Oh shit, I thought and a stomach sinking feeling came over me. “We are thinking about discharge.” Oh fuck, what?! I began to cry. They went on and explained they were trying to have me referred to UNC. I just bawled harder.

“I won’t go.” I thought, I can’t! I have school, it was hard enough to get my ass here. I was still crying when I explained I felt like a failure, and explained how I had gotten physically sick.

The two of them didn’t really sound like it was an option. I was stuck between getting on my knees and begging and throwing my hands up and saying fuck it as I walked out the door.

“You can always come back here after Chapel Hill.”

“I don’t want to ‘come back’. This isn’t a vacation, I don’t want to come back, ‘Oh hey guys, missed you all.’” I mocked between sobs.

They told me this wasn’t a failure, I just needed a higher level of care. That scares the shit out of me. I was still crying, T began to cry.

I just began to get mad.

“KW goes to the hospital, she gets to stay. M refuses to eat, she gets to stay. C practically gives you the finger…”

“You have made amazing strides and progress…..”

“…not good enough apparently.” I cut her off

T was still choking back tears when she looked me in the eyes and said,

“you don’t have to do this anymore, you don’t have to purge anymore.”           I just looked at her and asked, “Why?”

T went outside to get the head honcho director, (can we call her Madame Shit Storm? I think that’s appropriate).

Madame Shit Storm and T came in, I was still bawling. They explained the medical benefits and capability UNC has that would be helpful to me if I was referred.

I admitted I got sick last night and that I’m still sruggling with the stairs but I’ve been honest. They mentioned I needed to be behavior free for so long, I was still crying when I explained that I would have gone 4 days if it wasn’t for physically getting sick.

My Worth Is Based On My Performance

It has always been something. It may be grades and my academic performance, sports and how many shots I blocked in the goal, or how many times I ran the bases. It may be dependent on how I scored on a test.

My worth is directly correlated with how I performed or succeeded. When I talk about something I accomplished, it is always in a way that makes sure people understood I could  have done better, just in case what I did isn’t up to their standards.

“Yeah, I tore my meniscus and ran the 15k. My time was a hair over an hour and a half… could have been better.”  “Yeah, the average on the test was a 74, I got an 89. Wish it would have been an A.”

I need to work on this. By who’s standards?  If running a 15k in the pouring rain was easy, more people would have been there. If everyone could get an 89 on the Biochemistry test then 74 wouldn’t have been the average.

I am my worst enemy and harshest critic. I’m not even sure who I am comparing myself too, besides everyone, and I can’t be everyone simultaneously… I can barely handle being “me” whoever that is.

But I immediately relate my performance and success to what I deserve and what I am worth. I want to be better, faster, smarter, thinner but stronger.

Well, now I have to get ready for my final presentation.

Practice being human & Trust the process

Namaste

Is there an “I” in Team?

I feel forever stuck in the middle of being consciously aware that what I am currently doing to my body is not “healthy”. I know making myself throw up isn’t normal or healthy. Or going days without eating. Or running miles upon miles on nothing but a cup of coffee. Trust me, I am aware of this.

I am also stuck thinking I am not “sick”. A sick person wouldn’t be able to run 5 miles. A sick person wouldn’t be going to class. If I were truly sick, I would have already been in the hospital by now.

This is where my mind stays. Forever in an eternal conflict.

I’ve been to my therapist this week, my dietitian- twice, a doctor, and I’ve been scheduled with an eating disorder therapist person tomorrow. This week has been ridiculous.

I’m not sure if my dietitian was testing the waters and trying to light a spark, or just giving up. I’ve heard from many different angles the term “inpatient”. I’ve heard how thin I am. I was told that someone died from this, and S believed they were physically doing better than I am. I’ve been told that it is very likely that my esophagus could rupture.

My dietitian told me today: I’m not sure if it is worth it for you to even see me.

Wait… say what?!

Monday, she gave me the task of consuming a spoonfuls of yogurt throughout the day. She also said she would prefer I not run until she saw me Thursday as well. Today I admitted I had continued running, but I had been doing the yogurt. I felt very discouraged and rejected that she had so plainly pretty much told me that there was nothing she could do.

We talked about how I have to want to change and recover. I explained I wanted to get better but was terrifying to me. I still feel torn. Nobody wakes up in the morning and just says, “Oh, hell yes, give me a burger I want to get better.”  I figured it was like the Christian idea of forgiveness…. Just do it even though you don’t FEEL like it, and the feeling and mindset will come.  I figured I would go through some very unsure, questioning, uncomfortable time, but stick with it, and at some point maybe I would be more willing and mentally understanding. Then to feel shot down.

I asked her, “So then what? Is it just a waiting game until I “feel” like recovering?”

I would have liked a structured plan, short term goals, something… instead I just felt shot down and defeated, pushed away, discouraged. Both my Dr. and S thought a dietitian would be the way to go.

I’m not sure if the dietitian was just trying to get a spark and wanted me to feel motivated, or was having a rough day, or just genuinely believes that she won’t help or what it is.

Are there some magical steps I am missing?  Everyone else sees me and my size. I see a whale. I don’t know if I just continue to wait, but then what? I told her I’ve dealt with this for so long that if I don’t choose to recover now, then when?

Do I see if S can help me with the dysmorphia and self esteem thing first? Then if I can truly see my size and body hope and pray I realize my size and that I need help…then go back to the dietitian?

I honestly appreciated the “team” I had going. From the therapist, to doctor, to dietitian. I felt like that was what I needed. Having people from all sides trying and being on my side, willing to help.

I’m obviously trying, otherwise I wouldn’t have forced so many spoonfuls of yogurt down my trap, and continued to show up to all of these appointments. I understand I need to be motivated, I am trying, step by step. It is so hard to want to try though when I feel like I keep getting knocked down or pushed away.

“Skip the dessert.” Recovery Shock

“Skip dessert.” “Order a salad.” “One cup of whole milk has the saturated fat of a Snickers.”

I read these “tips” as I sit in the dietitian’s office for the first time for my eating disorder.

If you have read my previous “Fucking Monday” post, then you are right where you need to be. I got done running, missed my doctor appointment, but made it to my dietitian appointment. I sat there, signing my life away, fees, privacy, no show policy. It was the spot light effect, I felt like I was in a bad rip-off scene of Juno. 

My back facing the entrance, that way nobody would recognize me. In my head everyone who walked in knew immediately, “Fat ass is here for an eating disorder.” It was plastered on my face, it was sewn into my clothes. A small wooden box sat on the receptionist’s counter held an enticing assortment of colored condoms with a scribbled sign “Only take 2.” with a printed sheet of “How to use a condom” beside it.

I began to feel panicky and nauseous, feeling light-headed. What had I done. Why was I here. My name was called. Time seemed to freeze and speed up simultaneously. I saw her, but she didn’t see me. She towered over everyone and I saw her eyes scan the waiting room of college kids with a sore throat, getting a flu shot… then me, not moving. I hesitantly got up and made my way to the door she was holding open. I made it to the room where one couch bench thing was, and a chair. I put my bag down next to the rickety scale and immediately thought, “Oh hell no.”  and had a seat in the chair.

She began by introducing herself, we will call her N, and explained that she didn’t have any of my information yet, that it was up to me to start from the beginning.

I tried to keep it as brief as possible. “I went to the doctor, she referred me and set me up with a therapist, S, and I guess S set me up here with you.”

She began to pry and attempt to lure me in. “Why were you at the doctor to begin with?” “Leg cramps, chest pains. I’m fine. Was my gallbladder, the cramps are ok.”

Ok guys, I just want to take a moment to set the scene for you. Here I am, had gone running this morning, I’m wearing my running leggings, two long sleeve shirts, and my thirteen year old brother’s hoodie over top of it. I was freezing, yet comfy. We are in this small room, very small, institutionalized vibe, with plain walls, one window, very high up, these two rickety looking seats, and a shelf of nutrition books. There is something that might possibly be a full length mirror, but it is covered with a sheet, one small coffee table to my left with a lamp, and a sink on the “far” end of the room. I say “far” because I could probably spit further than the wall.

“So, you’re here for….disordered eating?”  She asked, her long legs stretching and crossing her arms over her.  “Yeah…..” “Anorexia?”  What the hell, I’m not even small, plus I am wearing three long sleeves! “I’m not sure. My weight isn’t super low, but that’s the term that I keep hearing get thrown around.”

I briefly went on about Dr. M, how I was in outpatient, but quit going, Dr. M scheduled my appointment with the therapist, and low and behold now I’m sitting in a dietitian’s office.

We begin to talk about my running. I explain how far I run, she asks me if I lift, I say I used to more. She comments on how tiny I am and I just shake my head. I explain that unless I just completely quit lifting I don’t see my weight drastically going down. We briefly hit on the topic of antidepressants, and talked about the neurotransmitters, and receptors, I understood and was following. I asked if she thought they would help and she thought so. N asked me if I was really depressed or thought about killing myself. I told her, “Depressed? I guess a little, but not suicidal. I have little siblings and I would never do something that selfish to leave them.”

One thing N was concerned about was that she didn’t have a “starting point”. I explained I thought I was apathetic, S disagreed, but I just didn’t really care. I mentioned the oh shit moment, even though I had already had small issues with my body. I shared that I didn’t feel “sick”, but knew what I was doing wasn’t healthy. N was/is a runner, she understood. She was really patient and tried to reassure me that it isn’t necessarily “apathy”, but now my eating disorder had become more of a lifestyle. I agreed and said that I didn’t want to be stuck in this hell hole rut, but was scared of letting go of this.

After talking for quite a while, she sat up, elbows meeting her knees, her fingers laced together sat against her chin and lips. “I think it would be a good idea for us to work together. I have a lot of experience with eating disorder patients and I think this could be very beneficial.”  I nodded and agreed.  She asked about getting weighed and I said no. “Even if you step on backwards?” I repeated my first answer. I asked her a question that had been bothering me, “Is BMI reliable? S told me my weight and BMI, and I wasn’t happy with either.”  “Oh really? Well what was it?”  Hesitantly, and with a coaxing look being thrown from the lengthy dietitian, I told her what it had been a couple months ago.  She explained that it really wasn’t and was based more on stereotypical body types. She told me that my BMI would technically be considered “low or undernormal”.

I expressed irritation that others were more concerned about me than me. She agreed and also said, “Well, I don’t care. Why should I care about you if you don’t?” Trying to make a point. With that she also said in the same breath, “You are in a serious place though, and are very very close, if not should probably be in, inpatient right now.” N then said she wanted me to see a therapist there and was going to schedule me for that, I guess this one’s name is K, and is a runner too….

N also asked me what I wanted from her and that, “You’re in control here.”  I was brutally honest and said I am scared, I’m not sure how much you are going to try and get me to eat, I don’t want my running taken away. I don’t smoke or party, running is my outlet. I want to get better, but I am scared and nervous. When I was finished she gave me a small goal of, “Well, if we can plan on you eating, let’s say half a banana…” I began to frantically shake my head, “I don’t eat bananas.”  “What do you eat?” “Fruit, besides bananas. Greek yogurt, spinach, I don’t know.”

“Ok, how about this. I don’t want you running between now and Thursday, but I don’t really see that happening.” I gave her a reassuring look that said “Damn straight that isn’t going to happen.”

“How about a spoonful of Greek yogurt six times a day.” (no question mark, because it was said in more of a telling tone than questioning.)

Oh sheezus, I thought to myself. That is more than I eat in a fucking week.  With a disinclined look, and a reluctant tone I agreed. “Don’t say ok if you don’t plan on doing it.”  “It isn’t that. It is just scary and a lot. 6x a day?” “Yeah, two in the morning, two at lunch, you know.”  “I’m……I’m willing to try.”  “Is six overwhelming?” “Oh yeah.” “Ok. How about 4x.” “Deal.”

First appointment with my extremely tall dietitian, N, and I am practically being put on a:

“Eat. to be taken 4x a day” regimen with a side of,

“I don’t want you running.” to be taken as needed.

Refills Available.

There Goes My Week.

As I sit here, I think, “Fucking Monday.”

Cup of tea fastened tightly in the gap of my thighs,

flickering candle in my peripherals,

Evolutionary Biology staring at me from the floor needing to be read,

Organic Chemistry screaming for attention that it needs, yet doesn’t deserve,

Cell and Molecular “Exam 3 Study Guide” patiently waiting, peering out from the textbook pages.

Instead. I’m throwing “Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies- Baked Snack Crackers” at my dog, who is lazily enjoying the raining cracker snacks and seems undisturbed by the rhythmic pattern of my fingers along the keys.

“Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies.” Like anyone gives a flying fuck…homegrown… hah

“Fucking Monday” I think again, as another orange-tinted silhouette bunny leaves my fingers.

S told me Wednesday that on campus they have a dietitian, health center, etc. She told me “Monday at 9.”  A little encryptic I thought. All weekend I was consumed with those words… Does that mean I have an appointment? Was that just a suggestion? Was that when the dietitian was there? What the fuck do I do? I, as usual, was up by 5:30. Pondering, wondering what to do.

My doctor had made me the appointment with S, the therapist. She knew that otherwise I wouldn’t go. So, in my mind, it also made logical sense that S or my Dr, had just gone ahead and made me an appointment with the dietitian as well….knowing I’m a pansy ass. I figured, in all honesty, that is was more of a suggestion than an actual appointment, I mean the clinic on campus was walk in-right? S wouldn’t make me an appointment and just leave it with, yeah, “Monday at 9.” Would she?  After much internal turmoil I relied back on the same logic I had when first going to see S.

“If S had enough concern or initiative to make me an appointment, then I should at least have the respect to show up.” Plus, if I really did have a set appointment I didn’t want to be THAT bitch that just doesn’t show up.

So, I started this morning with a nice long run in freezing temperatures. I was unsure if my rapid heartbeat was directly correlated to the run, or was also anxious about the clinic. At around 8:48 I made the long trudge to the Health Clinic and up the set of stairs. I apologized for being ignorant and that I wasn’t actually sure if I had an appointment or not, just that I was told “Monday at 9.”

The lady, peering at me with a mixed expression of polite patience and annoyance, told me that there was nothing so far today. I explained it was for a dietitian and another lady looked up and said my name in a more questioning tone. I nodded and said, “Yes ma’am.”

“Oh… here it is…. your appointment isn’t until 10.” said the patiently annoyed lady- maybe I should have offered her my coffee.

So, I sat around campus and waited. At about 9:40 my phone rang and I answered it… long story short I was supposed to have a Dr. appointment at the clinic at 9, and dietitian appointment following at 10. What the fuck people, really. She asked me if I had forgotten or what. I explained I had stopped by and was told 10… so that was fun.

I made it back to the clinic, signed my life away, and got called back to meet my dietitian. She towered over me and had an intimidating, yet empathetic smile. Neither the doctor nor S had sent over any of my papers. So the dietitian told me that it was up to me to explain everything to her. (This will probably be a separate post). Talking about everything from brain receptors to greek yogurt to my running… https://faithfoodfear.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/skip-the-dessert-recovery-shock/

TO FUCKING EXERCISE RESTRICTION

After the talk that seemed to last eternity, she wanted to have me set up with a therapist there, and wanted to see me back again this week. I explained I was waiting for an “Oh shit” moment to really need help, when she told me that I was very close to having to go into inpatient.

So, my week so far:

Monday: Dietitian

Wednesday: S and Dr on campus

Thursday: Dietitian

SHEEZUS.

Look out for flying orange bunnies.

Doctor and Therapist Gossip Time.

As I walked into meeting #2 with my new therapist, she grabbed a stack of something and sat down. I was thinking the stack was just something to bear down on while she wrote…then it dawned on me… she had my fucking medical records. Already feeling quite fractious at this, I hesitantly sat down and buckled up for what was to come. 
Last time she told me that I looked “healthy”, and this time told me my weight as well as BMI. To me, I think these things were slightly ignorant and had me upset and aggravated. BMI in itself bothers me, especially since I am an athlete, run, lift, etc. Unless I just quit working out completely and my body relies fully on muscle consumption, I don’t see it drastically changing- unfortunately. At the same time she told me, “I’ve never really had any eating disorder patients, I usually have addiction patients. What I have been reading and researching though says this…” To me, that meant a lot. It means she actually took interest, or enough shits, to give a damn and look into what she is dealing with and what to do; I really appreciated that.
So, as mentioned, she also had my charts, files, etc, which to be totally honest, I am not sure how she acquired access to all of that. I am well aware that my doctor was the one who referred/scheduled me to be seen since, “I know if I don’t make the appointment you won’t. So I’ll go ahead and call the clinic and make an appointment for you to be seen.”  Maybe that was enough grounds/permission, for S to get all of my files, maybe it wasn’t, not sure. Anyway, She had my weight, charts, bloodwork, cardiologist tests, etc from God only knows how far back. S asked if I wanted to know my weight from a while back, “Um, hell no, I was even fatter then than I am now.” Still stuck on the imperceptible fact that she had a long talk with my doctor about me and God only knows what else. 
“Dr. M and I both agree  that getting you plugged in with a dietitian is probably the best route to go at this point.”  listening incredulously at the fact she had talked with my doctor. S also told Dr. M something I had said. I had expressed that my main concern was my teeth and the rupturing of my esophagus, not so much electrolytes or heart since I am so active. To that, Dr. M told S (I feel like this is all code, sorry.) “Rupturing of her esophagus is very likely, especially with all of the purging. I didn’t stick anything down her throat to check, but it is very very likely at this point.”
Everyone is so much more fucking concerned than I am.
She and I were both shocked that my body has done so well given the little nutrients I put in and how much I work out. “You must really be on good standings with someone, or have someone looking out for you.” S is also setting me up with a nutritionist on campus. She said a few things that really kinda resonated with me.
>“I hope this bloodwork doesn't give you a false sense of security.”
Well, to be honest, it did/does.
This started a kaleidoscope of explanations, false hopes, how I felt like a failure for not even having an eating disorder the “correct” way.  S explained to me that the bloodwork she had ordered both times was just to skim the surface. “These results tell Dr. M that you don’t have diabetes, cancer, or an infection….Congratulations…. That’s about it. So I really hope this bloodwork doesn’t give you a false sense of security that you think you are so ‘healthy’.”
>“You think you’re so healthy, but your body is trying to tell you something. Your leg cramps. What about your period? Do you have that regularly?”
“Dr. M never asked me about it, I didn’t think to bring it up….no.”
“Maybe I know more about eating disorders than I thought. I was looking through your chart and didn’t see it anywhere.”
I told her I rarely, rarely get it.
This began a long session of “Your body is trying to tell you something, even with ok results, what is it going to take?” talk… which spiraled into a snarky off the cuff, “a feeding tube in a hospital bed probably.”
……Which, led to…….
>“Would it really be worth it to be, I don’t know, say 90 lbs, if you weren’t able to do the thing you love-like running?”
This one really had me thinking hard. This is such a valid point. When I was laid up from my surgery I was climbing the walls and so antsy, I can’t imagine not being able to work out whenever I want, even if I ever hit my UGW. Granted, There have been multiple occasions where I could barely stand long enough to get my shoes on, and I was so weak and tired I was barely to trudge through a couple of miles, but I was still ABLE to. 
S mentioned possibly having me consider taking antidepressants, not sure what I think about that. I don’t think that I need them, but if it would help ease the anxiety of eating in public, or grocery shopping, I’m not really sure… any opinions?
All of this happened Wednesday. Today, I ate for the first time since last week-ish, It hurts so bad. I missed class Thursday because I felt so weak and sick, Friday I had a test, but missed my workout. Thursday was awful, I could tell that I was so drained, felt absolutely miserable, could barely stand or stay awake. I managed to trudge through only three miles, but had to go home because I began throwing up stomach bile. 
Today, I felt better after attempting to eat something small for energy. During my run, I look up, and who drove past me, but S. She made a quick glimpse, as did I, unsure if we were both seeing each other for that split second. Then, I am not completely sure, I looked up about a mile later and she had driven around campus (or so I’m assuming) and was now driving toward me. Maybe she really wanted to make sure that it was me, or wanted to check that I wasn’t on the verge of passing out along my run.
Either way, I just heard her voice in the back of my head, “Running is your Prozac, so that way you don’t have to take it. It is your happy place.” 

People Not My Age

Ever since I can remember I have gotten along with the elderly and the very young. People my own age? Not so much.

Halloween night approached. I sat on my bed watching my favorite movie ever, My Cousin Vinny, drinking green tea and knitting. Somewhere between, “What are you, a fucking world traveler?!” and “It’s me or them, you’re getting fucked one way or the other.” I received a text from an old friend:

"Hey, a bunch of us
are getting together
tonight for Halloween
if you wanna come party." 

I read the message and thought about it for a few minutes. Finally I decided, “I am a college student, legally allowed to drink, on Halloween night, when did I become 60?” So I came up with a costume, grabbed a 6 pack and headed to his house, unsure of exactly where he had moved to.

Long story short, I got lost, he didn’t answer his phone, I hated what I was wearing. An hour later, I was home, with a six pack, watching NetFlix, hating my life, body, self, and enjoying an Angry Orchard.

Pity Party-1
Me- 0

The next morning I jumped up, ran to the mirror and did an immediate body check. I have an irrational fear that eating or drinking will cause a massive explosion and I will swell and immediately have gained 20 lbs over night. To my disgust and excitement, my ribs were still visibly protruding, and yet my gut was still there, pudgy bastard. My family was going out of town for my grandmother’s funeral. The beloved devil step-child offered to stay behind and watch the animals and the house. I hate my step-dad’s side of the family anyway. So, I packed a bag, and headed to my house which would have long been empty of parental units and siblings.

I took the dog on a run, bought a vest, and got back to the house and scrubbed, and scrubbed. I wanted to keep busy. The thought of being a loser, not fitting in, the fact that my eating disorder is fucking with so many aspects of my life. To say the least, the bathrooms in my parent’s house is spotless, along with the kitchen.

I distinctly remember all of the years I hated bringing in firewood, the jabs in my arms, going outside in the cold to go grab it, getting flakes of wood everywhere. My step dad, I was positive, found such joy in giving me this task. It seemed like forever ago. I took care of the chickens, fed them, gave them hay, water, collected eggs. I made homemade bread. Carried in a plethora of wood and made a fire. Then, I sat on the couch, enjoyed my steaming tea, my cabin socks.

I realized how much I loved it all. The dogs sitting with me, the quiet of everything, the loudest thing being the crackling of the fire. Enjoying my tea.

I’d rather play board games with kids, or sip tea with the elderly.

I’m not a partier. That just isn’t me. I mentally can’t consume all of those calories. I’ll take my fire-starting, bread making, dog walking, chicken feeding days anytime.