To T, my biggest influence.

T,

I have debated writing something like this for a long time.

  • Couldn’t quite get my thoughts together.
  • Thought it might be kinda pathetic.
  • Might think I’m weak.
  • Or didn’t have the time.

Whichever option you choose to pick.

Quick question:

-Do you ever feel like a glorified babysitter?

-A ring leader at a circus?

I can see it now, standing in the middle of a flaming clusterfuck, head spinning a thousand miles an hour. Holding a flaming ring you are expected to jump through. Being torn in a thousand different ways.

                                                                                The dietitian needs you.

          Sally is refusing to eat.                                                                   Jill just threw up.

The director (what is her actual title anyway??) needs to see you.

                                                                                                                Phone is ringing.

                                Sue needs to talk to you.

Let’s reminisce for a second, because there was (more specifically) all of the hell I put you through.

Remember the time(s):

-You stood up to my mom for me?

-Sat on the kitchen floor to therapize me?

-The multiple times I threw up.

-When I would go hide on top of the shed, or on my perch.

-When I was gone for like an hour on my run.

-The time you thought I just left, because I missed snack and was on my perch.

-The night I called you crying over pizza.

-My self harm issues.

-Come to Jesus meeting(s).

-My smart mouth.

That could be it’s own post.

-Having to take me to the hospital.

-Watching you cry.

-The night B and I snuck out and stole that flamingo.

-(Oh, btw, the crayon splatters in the downstairs bathroom, to the right of the mirror. That was me too. I was trying to be artsy fartsy….)

-All of my ungodly honesty.

-Let’s not forget my concealed.

Also, some of my journal excerpts:

                12/11/14

                                “I hurried to the kitchen where I was told T was looking for me. “Oh Shit.” I thought.”

                12/16/14

                                “Then came group with T. We talked about feelings and safe places, she seemed to focus in on me for a while. I avoided and deflected for as long as I could.”

                12/23/14

                                “So, that’s about it. I had a melt down in T’s office about how everything is being taken away from me.”

                12/24/14

                                “After yoga I was informed I had to call T before snack-shit! The phone rang and rang I was so nervous. She answered, my heart dropped, she said she heard I had a rough breakfast and refused an Ensure.”

                12/26/14

                                “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.”

                12/27/14

                                “I was up tossing and turning at 2:30. The conversation between T and I played over and over in my head. ‘If you aren’t ready for you, do it for your sister.’ ‘Crying would have been better than purging.’.”

                12/31/14

                                “T began to cry. I began to get mad. ‘K 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!!’ I cut in between sobs.”

                1/10/2015

                                “The next thing I know, I’m eating my left over, clenching a frozen orange, and hearing the words: Talk, T and Consequences. Strung together in an anxiety provoking sentence.”

                1/11/2015

                                “T complimented me on what I did do right over pass. I began to cry and looked away. I admitted I went on a run, she had known something was up.”

                1/16/15

                                “T is so freaking great, she works her ass off for us and is just such an amazing lady.”

                1/28/15

                                “Shopping was just awful- some young vegan telling me what to do, then a brand new girl disrespecting T and talking down to her…Oh hell no!”

                2/5/15

                                “Feeling guilty. Skipped dairy with lunch, didn’t add extra fruit since I ran. Skipped fat with snack.      Came clean about the restriction, T made me drink an Ensure.”

                2/9/15

                                “I felt so discouraged hearing T’s motherly tone come out when I said I went to the guy for 2 hours. ‘What part of you thought that was ok??’”

                2/18/15

                                “T grabbed the letter from the back and began to read it silently. She rolled her eyes and I could tell she wasn’t exactly thrilled. T read the very last bit to me out loud and told me I didn’t need to read that shit. I bawled and bawled.”

                2/19/15

                                “I cried a lot today. I went to T’s office to read the letter from mom. I called A too for support. I’m so thankful that T and A were there when I read it.”

                                “T hugged me and wouldn’t let go. I felt, well, loved and cared about. She whispered how she didn’t want me to live like this- I said me either.”

                2/20/15

                                “I got told today I was being transferred to the hospital. I bawled and bawled. I got my phone, called A and went upstairs to pack. T tried to help, I didn’t want any help. She came back up and told me she would be the one to take me to the hospital, that was the only time I felt slightly relieved. I packed everything up, told the girls bye, cried with T in her office and headed out.”

                                “T just held me as I cried, she cried, she told me this was no way to live. After arriving to the hospital, T helped me get checked in and came with me to the unit. They took my b.p and weight. T was beside me the entire time, holding my hand. They took me to my room, T sat down with me and we both began to cry.

                                3/1/15

                “T,

                I’ve written you a note before, but this is different. I can never express enough everything you have done for me. With your humor, patience and intelligence, you are an amazing person.

                I walked into Tap feeling worthless and like a complete failure from our kitchen talks, to you holding the flamingo and watching me cry.

                As much as I hate being here, I still appreciate everything you have done. I look up to you and admire your strength, determination and love.

                Having someone during this time that is practically my motherly figure and supports me, means the world to me.”

 

Anyways, these are just blips of how much of an influence you have had, not only in my recovery, but in my life.

You do so much for not just Tap in general, but for each and every woman who walks through that door. Even a year later, I have no idea why you took me under your wing, or what you saw in me, but I am forever grateful, that no matter how much I tried to push you away, you just weren’t having it.

I genuinely believe you are my biggest supporter and believe in me and what I can accomplish. Lovingly pushing me to try neurofeedback, and our amazing breakfast outtings. I admire and respect you so much and all that you do. I also know, whole heartedly, that I wouldn’t be where I am today without your love and support.

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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.

Orthorexia or Veganism

 

Where is that line between health conscious and orthorexic? Where does that line become crossed?

Yes, I am a huge animal advocate, I believe in not being cruel to animals. The way they are treated, mishandled, neglected and abused is awful. The hormones that are not only in the food, but that are also given to the animals (such as cows).

I also know I suffer from an Eating Disorder and have many fear foods, some of which are cheese meat. I have an issue with knowing what is in my food and the ingredients in it. When I was eating meat, I would lean on the side of caution, and was cautious of what went into the products. I was finally beginning to eat some certain cheeses, until I read “Whitewash”. It made me think, as well as a new perspective on dairy products and the dairy industry.

It really made me think what the intention behind this decision is. Am I doing this out of a disordered mindset, or for health conscious reasons? So I began to explore the internet for articles. One of them is called Mindfully Bliss, and she says, “Even some healthy foods frighten you and it takes up most of your time thinking and stressing about it.” Which is so true, then she says, “I know I am fine because I can eat raw vegan one day, then have vegan cupcakes and cookies the next.” (http://mindfullybliss.com/veganism-or-orthorexia/).

Then, my favorite, which I have probably read four times already, it is on neontommy.com. Titled, “Orthorexia is more than vegans gone overboard.” Find it here and see for yourself! http://www.neontommy.com/news/2014/11/orthorexia-more-vegans-gone-overboard

“Orthorexics may even eliminate foods from their diet that aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but are blamed for weight gain, such as fats or carbohydrates.” It states,

Sorry, but this entire paragraph is just too good to not use:

However, there are many major differences between the two eating styles that people fail to note. One, is that there are many products that are vegan that are not necessarily “clean.” Companies have created vegan chocolate bars, vegan ice cream and many vegan baked goods. In addition to this, numerous “junk” foods were made vegan unintentionally, such as Cracker Jacks, 7-Eleven snack pies, Fritos, Lay’s potato chips, Swedish fish and even Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili flavored chips. Vegans who choose their diets for ethical reasons will have no problem indulging in guilty pleasures, as long as they weren’t made at the cost of animal wellbeing. A person suffering from orthorexia would not touch many of the foods that are fair game for vegans. Likewise, there are some things that an orthorexic person may deem okay, like nonfat milk, cheese and low sodium meat that a vegan would decline.

I hate to admit this, but this entire paragraph didn’t just speak volumes to me, it screamed, yelled, sent off smoke signals and even fire alarms. I definitely understand the ethical reasons and making sure that they weren’t made from animals, because of the way they are treated. At the same time though, I also have an enormous fear of “Cracker Jacks, snack pies, Fritos, Lay’s potato chips, Swedish fish…” you get the idea. “A person suffering from orthorexia would not touch many of the foods that are fair game for vegans.”

This is what I ultimately aim for, “It was bad, but it wasn’t until I discovered veganism that all these negative thoughts and obsessions went away and my mind could finally be at peace.” I can eat, be mindful and enjoy what I eat, without all of the stress associated to meat and animal products. Does this mean though that I am just using this as an excuse for my orthorexic tendencies? Or am I merely a vegan who is recovering from an eating disorder?

Recovering Through Veganism

 

The problem is black and white thinking for me. It is all or nothing. I have the hardest time trying to distinguish healthy patterns from disordered ones.

I try to ask myself what my intentions behind my choices are, but sometimes that doesn’t even seem to be clear.

I am reading “Whitewash” by Joseph Keon, and am in love with it. It is an awesome book, and I highly recommend it. He talks about the dairy industry, dairy products, and its effect on the body. Being educated in various topics is a key goal of mine, especially if it is something that sparks my interests. I am lactose intolerant anyway, and wanted to enlighten myself on the facts of dairy.

During this time, I also visited my aunt, who is vegan. We began to talk about plant based proteins and what she eats.

So, at this time, I have been vegan for about a week. Still, I wonder if this is because I am being health conscious and learning the facts, or is this disordered/orthorexic? When does health conscious become orthorexic? Like I mentioned, I am lactose intolerant anyway. I bloat very badly, get extreme gas, diarrhea, it’s not pretty.  As far as the meat eating, I usually only ate ground turkey or chicken, that was it. Lunch meat scares me (this is a fear food, and I will own it that my ED does not like it!), cheese grosses me out (also disordered though, I will admit), and would only eat feta or parm if I did eat cheese. I sure as hell would never eat that tofurkey or meatless meatball shit. I have no clue what is in it, or the ingredients (yes, disordered).

Overall, I haven’t really cut out anything that I would typically eat, with the exception of Greek Yogurt. Which I found alternatives to anyways. Still, I fear telling my OP Team. Is it disordered or healthy?

I find it fascinating, yet disgusting, what is in our milk, the processes, the bacteria, the hormones. Not just these facts, but the claim that we need milk and calcium for strong bones, when we get calcium from many different foods, including broccoli and spinach, (with a higher absorption percentage, and lower calories). The amount of fat in one glass of milk is crazy, and as Americans’ we consume the most dairy products and also have the highest rate of fractures.

So, as of recently, I have not eaten any meat or animal products. I have eliminated ground turkey, feta, and that is about it. I think another reason I am doing this is to become more conscious of what I am eating. I can find safer alternatives to scary foods, while still hitting exchanges, but not having the overwhelming fear and dread flood over me when it is consumed.

The only exceptions I am making as of right now is honey. I am using honey in my oatmeal and tea, but I also make sure it is local honey. I am still on the fence about eggs, it is a good source of protein, and I know it is an animal product, but I also get them from my parents who treat them very humanely, don’t have roosters, and would be considered organic.

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