Why I Haven’t, Won’t, and Don’t Plan on Keeping my Eating Disorder from my Little Sister.

Involving family in your recovery is probably a good idea if it is beneficial, but what if that family is your little sister who is 12 years younger than you? Is that too young to involve your sister in your eating disorder and your recovery?

I didn’t keep the fact that I have an eating disorder secret while in recovery.

My sister came with me the day I was admitted, she came to two of my family weekends, and after meals she would sometimes accompany me to the bathroom, where we would sing songs and laugh.

Why would I involve my 12 year old sister in something that could be so raw and vulnerable you might ask.

Her life currently consists of pointe, competitions, and teaching ballet to little kids.

She could very well be in my shoes in a few short years and is susceptible to also struggling with an eating disorder.

If there is the possibility that she could struggle, I want to be honest and open with her about my struggles so she can acknowledge it before it consumes her. That doesn’t mean she won’t hide it, or is sheltered from it, but knowing that it is okay to talk about it and seek help if her eating or thought process becomes disordered.

I reassure her that eating when you are hungry is great. That it is necessary to eat before and/or after practice. That there isn’t “good” or “bad” foods, that regardless if our mom eats, or what she eats, we need to eat and be okay with it. When your sister makes comments like, “Mom can eat whatever she wants, and always stays so tiny.” You know it is crucial to reinforce the thoughts that it doesn’t matter and you need to fuel your body.

Rather than silently suffering for years like I did, and denying I ever had a problem, I want her to be able to speak up, allow me to help, and attempt to nip it in the bud before it overgrows inside of her.

That is why I choose to involve my little sister in something that could be considered taboo or shameful. I want my sister to realize there is not guilt or shame in suffering, and being open with your struggles, and an eating disorder is nothing to be ashamed of or silent about.

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Trusting The Process With a Trust Problem

If not now, then when?

The question was enough to fuel my morning drive to work.

Recovery has been filling my mind and thoughts, probably more than it should.

Life is going great, I have no more stress than the next person,

A good job                                          an awesome dog

A warm apartment                          a running car                      supportive friends

Coffee                                                  benefits                               paid time off

The ability to run

Why does my recovery want to take a sudden stop?

I don’t think it was sudden, it never is, but the restricting became more and more, until my list of foods was as depleted as my ability to fight ED off.

I’ve begun seeing a nutritionist, after months and months of putting it off, not wanting to go, etc. I like her, she is a believer and advocate of HAES, believes in intuitive eating. Overall, I have enjoyed the experience.

Yet the battle in my head is still raging.

It isn’t as easy as the “talking back” that I hear others talk about so frequently. No, for me, it has to be factual.

Which kinda fueled the internal dialogue this morning.

On more than one occasion I have been in a room of people struggling with their Eating Disorders, whether it be in treatment, support groups, wherever.

I look around, (and no, this is not going where you think it is going), and sometimes I am almost the oldest in the room, sometimes I am practically the youngest. When I am at the upper range of age I remember being their age, being so filled of denial, and so full of my eating disorder.

When there are people much older than me, I think of that is how I want my life to be at their age?

Should my life be focused on my body and eating disorder when:

I have kids

Get married

Start another job

My kids are grown up

My siblings get married

So, if not now, then when?

I also have “Trust the Process” tattooed on my wrist, to remind me of recovery.

I’m struggling with following my meal plan given to me, and it is so difficult to listen to my body when I am hungry and not feel the need to run first in order to “earn” the food that my body needs.

I am telling myself that I wouldn’t want someone to tell/question me on how to do my job, so then why am I questioning and fighting her so much?

She knows what she is talking about and is on my side, so why am I fighting her?

I need to focus on Trusting the Process.

I may not always enjoy it or find it easy, but I’ve been here before.

Hershey- Not the kisses

Hey guys!

It’s been a while. Life has continued, the dog and I are still getting settled, and not sure where I left off on the blog.

So, I think I officially have a boyfriend, he is super great, super supportive. Also good looking. We talked about ED, figured I’d give him time to jump off the crazy train, but he hasn’t. We will go out to eat, he has spent the night. I really like him. He went to Florida this week, but will be home soon.

I found an ED support group and have been going to that once a week. Life has been great, my eating- not so much. After going to the group a few times, and enjoying it, I checked in with a few people, and didn’t think the group was enough support and accountability for where I am. My restricting got worse, my purging became the worst it has been in a long, long time.

So, with a loving push, I made an appointment at the Hershey Penn State ED facility. I wore my heaviest boots, three shirts and a hoodie, and walked into the office. We talked for a while about the usual introductory stuff, my family, my eating disorder, the behaviors, treatment, etc. She thought I needed to stop running and eat “at least add a tiny bit more…”, stop taking the diet pills. You have othostatic hypotension….. yeah, that was fun.

I finally thought I was about done. ED was still sitting in the front of my mind reminding me of how fat I was, how I didn’t, and shouldn’t, be here. The doctor turned to me, handed me a gown and asked me to change for a blind weight.

Ah, FUCK. Nobody said anything about a gown.

So, did that.

I was expecting some kind of nice rejection speech, “You don’t fit the criteria.” “I am sorry, but…” Anything that would reinforce the fact that I’m not sick nor skinny.

“Just curious, what was your lowest.” Uhh, I don’t know, probably between xxx and xyz.

“Ok, well you are sitting at xxx right now.  I don’t think outpatient will be enough. I’d strongly suggest PHP.”

Oh hell no, I thought. I don’t have time for that shit. I moved to PA to start a life and career, not go back into treatment.

I explained that my work schedule would not allow that.

“Well, I think IOP would be a good start. They have dinner together, group….”

 

Sorry guys, I’m getting bored and stressed writing about this…. I start IOP tomorrow.

On my fun-o-meter, IOP is sitting somewhere between Dentist and Gynecologist….

Besides ED, my life is great. Support group, making friends, boyfriend. I feel kinda useless at work still, but I love being a BioChemist…. Dang, so nerdy. Love it.

 

Anyway,

Trust the Process!!

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.

 

I FEEL

I don’t want to be snarky.

I want to be real, raw, authentic.

To let my guard down and be honest.

Not laugh, shrug everything off, or just get snarky.

I laugh because I don’t want you to see the real me.

In my weakness, being snarky, is my strength.

 

I don’t want you to worry.

It isn’t fair.

Being called a burden for as long as I can remember.

I strive to be independent. Not have to rely on anybody for anything.

The ability to be strong, quickly became my inability to ask for help.

I don’t want the attention.

It’s selfish.

Conceited.

I’ve heard it all.

With attention comes criticism, punishment, names. This is what I’ve been taught.

 

It isn’t fair.

You have a family, a life.

It shouldn’t revolve around me.

I feel guilty. I feel selfish. I feel needy and weak.

 

You want to draw near.

You are concerned, caring, loving.

I want to push it away, but I still appreciate it.

I laugh, I sass, I get defensive. You don’t deserve that.

I’m still glad you care.

It isn’t fair.

 

I feel undeserving.

I feel hatred.

Hating the very thought that you know I’m slipping.

You see my struggle.

You feed me love, strength, hope, guidance.

You are unable to feed me food.

 

Expressing concern for me.

I shrug it off and make a joke.

I don’t want to admit.

I feel fear.

 

What if she is right?

 

How could I let this happen again?

 

What am I afraid of?

Food

Failure

Rejection

Vulnerability

Emotions

Being fat

Relapsing

Recovering

Not recovering

Eating

Not eating

Crying

The hospital

Going back to treatment

Disappointing others

I live in this world if invincibility.

Nothing would happen to me.

I feel strong.

How do I feel strong when my legs are trembling and my head is spinning?

I feel scared.

Scared I won’t get better. I will never be in a relationship.

My longest relationship seems to be the one with ED.

Scared there will always be this barrier between me and a normal life.

Scared that maybe one day, I will no longer be invincible.

 

Yet, it isn’t fair.

It bothers me when you worry.

I don’t mean to worry you.

Feeling conceited, selfish & snarky.

 

 

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.

More Than Just a Job

It is so crazy to look back and read my journal entries from last year. I was admitted into treatment on December 6th, 2014. I did not want to be there, I didn’t even want to acknowledge the fact that I had an eating disorder, or that I needed help.

It is also amazing to look back on all of the progress I have made. I am no longer crying over food, I have a love for peanut butter. Praise God, I am no longer involuntarily puking after I eat. The nutritionist and T have had such an amazing impact on my recovery and my life and can never thank them enough. It was the most terrifying and rewarding experience of my life.

 

12/13/2014

            Today has been rough. Struggled through breakfast and snack. Had DBT which was actually hard. For snack I had granola but didn’t even want to touch food so distracted myself with making a bracelet. Told Michelle I didn’t want to eat and nicely threatened me with an Ensure. I finally ate the rest of the damn granola.

            Had lunch, well, let me rephrase that… I had a mental breakdown during lunch. Today has just been a really difficult day. I wanted NOTHING for lunch, but decided to make a salad, sweet potato and cottage cheese. I sat down at the table and just began to cry after staring at my food. The RC asked me if I wanted to go outside, breathe, collect myself and come back.

            So, I went outside and cried. One of the outpatient girls saw me and came over to give me a pep talk. I told her, “No worries, just a mid lunch breakdown.” She told me, “It will get better, I know you’re so fucking sick of hearing that, but its true.” The RC came outside for a minute to check on me, then went back inside. I told her it was just an extra hard day and she gave awesome advice on it’s a step by step progress. Then she gave me a hug and went inside. A few seconds later my roommate came out and I began to just cry. I wasn’t hungry, didn’t want to go out tonight, no hunger cues, so don’t want to eat. The RC came out at about this time. I was crying, and just really didn’t want to eat. I told her that I think it finally hit me that I was really here, and really doing this.

            After some hugs, coaxing and talking, I went back inside, sat at the table and took a bite. The nutritionist did second table while everyone else watched me struggle.

Second table ended and everyone got up except the nutritionist and I. Slowly but surely I made it through lunch. Then, after doing my dishes, I was antsy and swept the kitchen. That was when the nurse came and got me, and said Dr. T wanted to see me.

            I went in and sat down, we talked about my vitamin D levels, and I told him about the involuntarily throwing up. He said that was not ok, and I explained the “swallow your vomit” motif and my logic of, “Eat what I’m comfortable with and get punished, or eat until I throw up.” He was not happy with that at all and said he would talk with the nutritionist about it.

            Oh God, I didn’t want to start anything, but I told him it was so much food…and the puking….

So, I went back to the kitchen, picked up the air vent and scrubbed it. As I squatted on the floor the clinical director, T, came in to fix her lunch and commented on me being a cleaner. Two residents came into the kitchen both bitching about how the nurse and Dr. T were taking forever. I looked up and told them, “They were talking to the nutritionist about me because I’m a pain in the ass.”

T looked down at me and inquired, “Talking about you? Why? What’s up?”, I replied with, “Nothing.” She squatted down nearly eye level with me. I told her I was really struggling today. She said, “You aren’t a pain in the ass. Your eating disorder might be a pain in the ass, but you aren’t.” I really, really, appreciated that.

            I sat down and began to cry. I told her I’m still throwing up. I had a meltdown during lunch, but she probably already heard about that, she shook her head, and had a seat on the kitchen floor facing me. I told her the story, me crying, going outside, etc. I told her it’s the fine line between eating quickly feeling full and sick or not wanting to eat at all. I feel anxious when I am the last one, but don’t want to hurl. I told her that I threw up again and was embarrassed and discouraged.

            She was understanding about this being my first week and tough as shit, she asked if anyone else knew, I said no. She expressed how she wanted me to share at process group about how I’m struggling. She said she was glad I was here and I told her about my very supportive roommate.

            I’m not sure I can express to T how much I appreciated my therapy session on the kitchen floor. I used to think this wasn’t bad, I wasn’t sick and I didn’t need to be here. Yet, I’m the one on the kitchen floor having a meltdown. It really meant a lot to me for her to take the time to talk with me and be supportive. T told me it’s a big jump going from not eating to eating so much.

I’m just so discouraged and embarrassed that I’m puking and don’t want to get caught or in trouble.

Guys, always trust the process. Sometimes we are way to close to realize what we need. It is so much more than a job to these amazing women. I am not where I want to be, but I praise God that I’m not where I was. Sure ED likes to knock, (pretty damn hard sometimes) and I may even periodically let him in when I think it may be helpful. But even these days are better than my laxative abusing, running obsessing, purging oriented life I was “living”.

Trust the process guys!!

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…. 😉

*Caution Slippery Slope Ahead*

I have received so many inspirational comments, encouraging words, reassurance.

I’ve seen comments such as, “You’re brave and curious.” “I don’t know you but I am proud of you because in my own journey you give me hope and inspiration.”, “You are showing such strength and determination.”, “Wish I was as strong as you are with your decision to recover.”, “Gives me hope :)”,  and one of my favorites:         “I saw a comment you left on someone else’s post and I found my way to your blog and before I knew it, I had read your entire archive. I’m so inspired by your story. Thank you for being so honest, for baring your soul to the internet – I feel like I can relate to a lot of what you said.”

These words, your words, your encouragement, has meant so much to me. I have to be honest though, I don’t want to come across as “Oh, I left treatment, everything is rainbows, sparkles and sunshine.”  I never want to come across phony and fake.

Honestly? I am struggling, but I don’t want to admit it to myself let alone anybody else. I don’t have an outpatient team, I keep putting it off and considering it “not important”. School is the most important thing to me… ok, and attempting to stick to my meal plan.

But here I am again, acting on urges and thoughts…THOUGHTS. Feelings, emotions, guilt, FOOD AND ED.

Over Easter break, my friends and I took the boat out, went out to an island on the lake and had a cook out. It was terrific, I hadn’t hung out with them in forever. It was so much fun. We ran around the island, played around on the beach, climbed trees, watched the guys be guys, laughed, started a fire. It was terrific. Then came dinner time. I helped cut stuff, and start the grill, played with fire.

After the burgers and hot dogs were done being cooked we all gathered around to eat, talk, and laugh. I attempted to make a plate and be “normal”. Ok, I’ll have a bun for starch… oh God, no, no bun… nevermind… but I’ll have cheese for fat…. ok… and lettuce and tomato.. and pickle… ok.

“What? Got something against buns?” One of my friends teased. “Hah, oh yeah, I do, I just have bun envy so I refuse to give in.” I joked back.

Then, as they passed around homemade chocolate chip cookies I reluctantly took one. “You didn’t have a starch or your second fat, so this is acceptable.”  I took a cookie, ripped it into pieces, and got about 3/4 of the way done with it when the familiar face of guilt and regret came back full force.

“You don’t know how much fat was in that. You have no idea what was even in that patty you ate. Oh God, you can just taste those calories. What did you do?”

Unfortunately, my glance went all around the circle. Everyone else was laughing, still enjoying the food. I was mentally body checking. Perfectly aware of my pudgy stomach, my touching thighs. Yet, as I looked around, I was the smallest one out of our group. You would think that would be comfort that it was okay to eat. Oh nooo. ED took what I saw and ran with it. “You saw what they ate… HOW they ate. You are going to look like that. You are going to be bigger than them.”  It had nothing to do with my friends. I love them all and they are terrific, but I am so insecure and so paranoid and irrational.

I snuck away, took a walk around the island. There I stood, my toes in the freezing water line in the sand. I looked out at the lake…. and stuck  my fingers down my throat.  My fingers were sappy and bitter from climbing the trees earlier. I got done, wiped away the running mascara, snot-faced self, on my sleeve, and stuck my vomit-covered hand into the sub-zero temperature of the mountainous lake.

“How embarrassing” I thought… not this again….

I enjoyed the rest of the day, returned to the group, snacked on a piece of pineapple for dessert and tried to laugh with the rest of my friends.

Yesterday, I needed to study, I went to Starbucks to get coffee. I was feeling ballsy and decided to try something new. I’m not into the foo-foo girly sugary drinks, and ordered something that sounded up my alley, but different. I got in the car and headed home. I took a sip of my drink and wasn’t sure- I was immediately taken back by how sweet it was, but decided to try one more sip of the $5 drink.

It was awful. It wasn’t what I expected or wanted.  I got so worked up, convinced I could taste each calorie. On the way home I was freaking out, going from a 0 to 10.5 mentally. Not sure what to do, how to handle it. I got so flustered and worked up that I gave myself the hiccups. Which led to me involuntarily throwing up in my Starbucks cup as I’m driving in my car on the way home.

So, now here I am, headed home, with a Starbucks cup full of some God-awful sugary substance drink and vomit. Awesome…. *sarcasm* -_-

So, now what do I do? I thought. There is no way I can get this drink inside and dump it out without my best friend seeing. Shit Shit Shit.  Oh, the shit ED drives us to do…. In my mind, the logical way out of this was to roll down the window and throw my cup out of it.

Okay guys, hear me out. I swear, I have never done something like that before. The worse thing I ever threw out of my car was an apple core.  I knew it was an awful idea, but in my mind what was I supposed to do. I didn’t want to get caught coming in the house with a cup full of vomit… I couldn’t just put it in our outside trash can, someone would see.

So anyway. It’s been a slippery slope and I am struggling. ED is just currently raging, which sucks.

Trust the Process

XOXOXO

Making an Omelet, Touching Your Toes and 11 Other Things I learned in Treatment.

There are so many things I learned, and skills I obtained while being in treatment. Some are just silly and enjoyable, others are deep long lasting skills and opinions and mindsets I acquired.

1. How to make an omelet

Ok, this one is just kinda silly, but I had been doing it wrong for years. Now, I can make beautiful omelets, that taste amazing and hit all of my exchanges. It wasn’t only learning how to make an omelet, but the bonding over meal prep and meal time. It was always a stressful time for all of us, but being able to bond, teach, learn, and make cooking something more than just a chore, was great!

2. Yoga and how freaking kick ass it is

I am very, very competitive and very into sports. Of course, I was denied exercise privilege for weeks. I was going completely insane, I would workout in my room, doing crunches on the rug, step ups on a chair. It got to the point where I was climbing the stairs almost 20x a day because I felt so cooped up and antsy.

We had yoga twice a week, I always figured that yoga would be dumb. I had no clue what the hype had been about that my aunt had told me. At first I walked into yoga, skeptical, expecting this to be a crock-a-shit. I unrolled my mat, and attempted to breathe, “sit tall”, “lead with your heart”, “clear your mind.” I could not get into it, my mind was going a thousand miles a minute. I even attempted to do six-inches while we were supposed to be doing Shavasana. She came by and gently pushed my feet back to the ground.

After a week or so, I began to really enjoy it. It wasn’t competitive, but I enjoyed challenging myself with different poses. I wanted to see how far I could go into forward fold, which eventually turned into the teacher showing me scorpion pose and letting me try that and dancer pose. Part of my disorder was definitely over exercising, so being able to do something challenging and that demanded some sort of muscle, was amazing.

3. DEAR MAN the hell out of people

You need something? Have a problem with something? Dear Man the hell out of them. I also thought this would be a crock of shit, for the first month or so of DBT I was not very receptive at all. Once I began to listen though, I realized how absolutely amazing and helpful it really is.

Describe the situation

Express feelings and opinions clearly

Assert your needs

Reinforce you are listening and being receptive to their ideas

Mindful of the outcome you want

Appear Confident

Negotiate

4. Get off the train

The director is one of the greatest ladies I ever had the chance to meet, and I am so grateful she has had such an amazing impact in my life and my recovery. During my stay in treatment some of my family enjoyed attacking my progress and and making me feel like a terrible person. I received phone calls that left me in tears for hours afterwards, practically “Fuck You” letter, blaming me for everything and how I screwed up our family.

It was so ridiculously difficult for me to hear all of this and not let it effect me and my progress in my recovery. Hearing so many negative things directed at me. The director taught me to “get off the train.” Whether it was allowing all of the negative, hateful, nasty comments just float down the river and out of sight; Or getting caught in the negative comments and being trapped on my family’s bull shit train. I was taught to “get off the train.” and work on letting it continue to just fly by while you sit there and just watch.

5. Support isn’t always family

Kinda ties in with #4. Between letters, calls, texts, even emails, from some family members, I quickly learned they were ignorant, and not supportive. “You do realize walking in there they thought your mom was the patient and not you.” “How much longer do you anticipate on being here?” “You treated me better when you had an eating disorder.” “You shouldn’t take this ‘disorder’ so seriously.” “Is it because of school, you are probably just stressed out…oh, but please tell me you still plan on graduating.” Being told, once again, that what I do is nothing more than an inconvenience, selfish, etc.

It hit me hard that sometimes the people you want to be supportive, aren’t the people you NEED to be supportive. While my blood family was not advocating my recovery, I had amazing support from people. First of all, the clinical director. I cannot say enough amazing things about her. My best friend, she was there during my struggles, completely supportive of me going into treatment, and she continues to be one of my biggest cheerleaders through everyday in recovery. Her parents too, were both amazing, and continue to be there for me. They know how my family have been treating me, and try so hard to reassure me that what I have been doing is worth it and is my life.

6. Self care is not selfish

Growing up practically everything I did was selfish. If I did my own laundry, trying to be independent, I would get yelled at for only doing my laundry and not everyone else’s too. If I did anything for myself it was always selfish, get myself a drink before anyone else? Selfish. Didn’t ask if my brother needed to shower before me? Selfish. I would have to call my parents for a ride home after a soccer game? Selfish and inconvenient.

Through treatment, I learned that not everything I do for myself is selfish. Taking care of myself is necessary. Without self care I would end up right back where I was. Feeling selfish, worthless, all of the lies I was fed growing up. Yes, it is polite to see if anyone else needs a drink, polite to ask if someone else needs a shower. It is NOT your responsibility to ALWAYS look out for everyone else and their needs. Taking care of myself is something that has to be done. I cannot take care of others and help them if I am not willing to care and help myself.

7. You are worth it

You may not think you are, you may not feel like you are… feel again. I believed I wasn’t worth it, wasn’t worth the time, effort, attention. I walked into treatment because others were much more concerned about me than I was. I didn’t believe I needed help, or to be totally honest, I didn’t think I deserved it. My self worth and esteem were practically non existent. I was told, “If you aren’t ready to do recovery for yourself, then do it for your little sister.”

Honestly, that worked. Every time I wanted to give up, or not take another bite, or just walk out, I pictured her. In my mind my sister was right beside me asking me what I was doing, why I was quitting. I visualized telling her I was coming home and her responding with such excitement, “Yay! Are you better now?”. I would have to look into her young, beautiful face and tell her no. Even if you don’t feel like you are worth the shit to be shit on, there is somebody out there who has faith in you and believes in you.

The director sure did. She believed in me on a daily basis, even when I wasn’t able to believe in myself, she was there for me.

8. Hugs are pretty great

I hated hugs. I had a bubble. Nobody was allowed in it. Hugs were for the weak, the sissy, the girly. I didn’t want to mentally, emotionally, or physically allow anyone close to me.

That too changed, I would receive two or three hugs a day. They meant a lot to me. A demonstration that they cared. Even those few seconds of embracing, that was time they could have been answering their phone, meeting with a resident, typing an email. That time was time they agreed to allow me interrupt their schedule and acknowledge me.

9. Be open, honest, and vulnerable

One of the only saving graces I was able to stay in treatment so long was because of the honesty I possess. I was known around the facility as the honest one. I despise lying, hate being sneaky, plus, if I am going to treatment to get help, I need to be honest. Upon admission and for the weeks to follow, I was involuntarily throwing up food because my body wasn’t use to the amount I was consuming. I was throwing up at the table. I would receive a text from family, I would voluntarily purge in the bathroom. I would come clean, express aggravation, discouragement, regret. I felt like a lost cause with all of my slip ups. I was honest though. I told them when I made a mistake, I wasn’t being sneaky, and there was still a part of me that wanted to recover.

Being vulnerable was something I was never good at. The director looked my mom straight in the face when she came once and told her, “It has taken us nearly 5 weeks just to get anything out of her. We weren’t getting anything besides sarcastic comments and snarky replies.” Piece by piece though, I was being chiseled away, opening up about my family, assault, my disordered behaviors. I was ready for help and guidance.

Once I left treatment, I continued to be honest and open. Telling my best friend when I skipped, if I purged, she would check in with me. Honesty is key.

10. The sky is not purple

Growing up, if my mom said jump- I jumped.

If she said we had a yellow dragon named Frank. Then by God, we had a yellow dragon named Frank.

I defended her and my family, regardless.

The problem? You can only be told the sky is purple for so long until you begin to believe it. Whether it is being told you are stupid, lazy, selfish, fat, etc. It begins to stick with you.

I am learning that if my mom says the sky is purple, I am allowed to politely disagree and have my own opinions separate from her. Pretty sad it took me 22 years to realize this.

11. Trust the process

You may not understand the process, you may not WANT to believe in the process (I sure didn’t.) No matter how many times you fail or fall though, just continue to trust the process. It never set me astray, or messed my progress up.

Was eating 6x a day really necessary?

Not being allowed to work out, are you kidding?

I didn’t believe in any of it. I quickly learned that it isn’t my place to understand it or question it, but to just accept it and trust it.

12. Stick to the meal plan

This is so ridiculously important. I am still eating 6x a day even though I have been out of treatment since late February. It is a struggle everyday and I still fight the thoughts of restricting. I tell myself that the meal plan didn’t fail me for the past 3 months, why would it start failing me now?

I still don’t WANT to eat so often, and stick to ALL of my exchanges, but I do it because I want recovery and refuse to let 3 months go down the toilet.

13. Do the next right thing

I will slip, I already have. The key, is to not let one slip snowball into relapse. Recovery isn’t a poof situation, it is a process and a journey. When I purge, spend too long at the gym, or restrict. I don’t allow that one circumstance to impact my next day, or even my next meal.

Get up, dust yourself off, do the next right thing. Eat the next snack, meet your exchanges. A slip isn’t a relapse sentence.