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.

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Ahimsa, Mindfulness, Yoga, and ED

I can’t remember a time where I enjoyed something, in the past few years. It was the same perfunctory routine, wake up, run, class, gym, home, maybe run again, throw up if I had eaten anything. I prided myself on going a thousand miles an hour. I ran longer, quicker, more frequently. Went to school, work, home, etc. Never sitting still, never wanting to be with myself long enough to feel or acknowledge myself.

There was a time, a long time ago, I had fun. I enjoyed doing things. I would go out to eat with friends, go shopping, soccer, etc. As the years in my eating disorder progressed, the things I once used to enjoy began to diminish. I enjoyed running, but it had also become something that I NEEDED to do in order to feel any bit of accomplishment- it was no longer just for enjoyment. Then I was introduced to yoga.

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There have been several people in my life recently who have asked how and why I got involved in yoga. What am I supposed to say? “Oh, when I went to residential treatment for my eating disorder they took running and exercise away, but I got to do yoga twice a week….” For some reason, I just don’t think this is the answer they would be expecting.

I soon found my passion and love for yoga. Breathing, being still, sitting with myself (something I never would have done months ago). When I left treatment I found a yoga studio close to where I live. I hesitantly walked in. Almost a month later, I am still going, I love it and learn more and more everyday.

Being the youngest in the class, I am in such awe of the women in the class. They may be older, but I have such respect and admiration for them, the way they move, how they embrace their self and how they even push themselves while in different poses. I admire them so much and even hope I can strive to be like that in 30 or 40 years.

The body dissatisfaction I still have is ridiculous. Feeling like the fattest one there, trying to hide my body in large t-shirts, sometimes even hoodies. I sit on my mat, completely aware of my lumpy, rolley stomach. Going into Adho Mukha Svanasana (or downward dog), obvious to the fact that my thighs are touching. Bringing my hands to Anjali Mudra I am coached to set an intention for the class.

This concept was entirely new to me. I had brought my hands to heart, and bowed to my instructor, in residential, K numerous times, but an intention? The first couple of classes I went to my brain froze. Setting no intention for the class. Sometimes briefly I would decide last minute to focus on doing “yoga on my own mat” as to focus on myself and not compare myself with others. Eventually, my intention became to be more comfortable in my own skin in class. I began to wear a tank top and leggings, being so self conscious about my arms and body. My intention was to try and be comfortable, not be so self conscious, self critical.

Ahimsa is one of the lessons in the study of yoga, meaning non harming. When I read about this I immediately thought of the literal term of being non-violent. Is there more I thought? To not cause harm, I would be included in that statement, self harm, is still harm, and does not follow the idea of non-harming. It teaches us to not act, think, or speak in harmful ways. This would also include samskaras, or negative feeling and thought processes that can also be very harmful to ourselves. Which also ties into the cocept of Niyamas, or our attitude towards ourself.

While I am still extremely far from reaching self love or even acceptance, I have found something that I enjoy doing again. It doesn’t involve running my body into the ground when I haven’t eaten in a week. It doesn’t involve isolating myself.

ED is still with me on the mat, but even if it is only briefly, it is amazing to sit quietly with myself and be ok with it. To have him be silent.

I am able to challenge myself on the mat, in ways that aren’t self destructive or harmful. I have a growing respect for my body, the strength is possesses, the asanas it is able to hold, and the inversions my body can contort to. Yoga isn’t about how fast, how far, how much, but while you are all in a room together, it is what you, as an individual, can accomplish on your mat within yourself.

Iokah samatah sukhino bhavantu

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

Namaste & Trust the Process

Sitting With Myself 10.5

For as long as I can remember I kept busy, I was a doer. I stayed occupied and went from one thing to the next, constantly. It was another way to numb out life.

Being perfectly content in the perfunctory routine of: Wake up, gym, class, work, gym, home, repeat.

Staying busy, never slowing down or stopping, I didn’t want to sit with myself, didn’t want to deal with myself, going 100 mph was my life. It was a way to not deal with life. Continuing on to the next goal or task at hand would get me through another day of avoiding food as well as myself.

One of the first times in treatment someone said just to sit with myself. Oh.My.God. the discomfort was ridiculous. No. I didn’t want to. I wanted to go outside, go do something, color, clean, anything.

I would scrub the air vents, the fridge would sparkle, the stove top- immaculate, sweep the floor-several times, windex the doors and windows, wash the kitchen sink. The smell of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner and a clean bathroom was the highlight of my day. I couldn’t sit still long enough to be with myself.

Stopping, or even slowing down, long enough meant I would FEEL. Overtime, everyone caught on that I was cleaning to stay busy and move around, and they tried to redirect me.

I laid in bed one day attempting to read my packet I had been given, reading about DBT, affirmations, all of that good stuff. That was how the staff there that day tried to get me to “sit with myself”. That lasted maybe 20 minutes. I ended up doing crunches in bed, then went downstairs to make tea.

After a while it became easier to sit with myself. I’m not sure if it was partially from yoga, art therapy, or having to sit after meals, but something worked. It wasn’t EASY, but it got EASIER. I would sit outside on the upper deck, or my “perch”, and just people watch. I would sit and paint.

I began to feel- yeah, I know, cliché…..

The emotion I was used to was anger- always. I wasn’t sad, I was pissed, I wasn’t uncomfortable, I was mad. Everything came down to anger. I was snarky, sassy, snippy, and barely responded or contributed in group. “On a scale from 1 to 10 on how uncomfortable something is, how are you FEELING?” “10.5” That became my answer, I didn’t know, I didn’t want to open up, and I sure as hell didn’t want to take about “emotions” and “feelings”. I spent years of my life stuffing it down, hiding it, ignoring it, why in the hell would I want to deal with them? I would mock the director… “Oh great… feelings… my favorite.”

Somewhere along the way I began to answer honestly, my 10.5 washed to the side. When asked how I was or what I was feeling I wasn’t deflecting and saying 10.5 anymore. I don’t even remember when that happened. I remember the day I was sitting in the office, overlooking the front yard, crying. I looked up and admitted I felt hurt and sad.

Trust grew, my walls came down, I became more vulnerable. Opening up about me, my life, going further than scratching the surface. I cried. Being hurt, upset, nervous, excited, scared, loved, annoyed. The emotions were there, my mantra soon changed from “Stupid feelings.” To “Stupid, I don’t know how to handle these feelings.” I was still anxiety filled, but I started to be able to acknowledge it, and learned how to deal with it and what to do. Using a yoga forward fold (or green horse pose, is what I referred to it as) became beneficial when I was feeling antsy and anxious.

My bed was tucked in a corner in my room, behind a little wall, so only the end of my bed was visible from the door. Having a difficult group one day, I retreated to my room, where I sat with a box of tissues and just bawled and bawled. Of course, it was snack time, and within a short amount of time I had been located, box of tissues to my right, pile of used tissues to my left.

Even dealing with the hard emotions, Feeling and expressing them was one of the most freeing things. Admitting I needed help, or was struggling was something that took a lot of getting used to as well. I was able to sit with my emotions, figure them out, and attempt to correct them in a healthy way.

I can proudly say that even through with anger, sadness, anxiety, I feel ridiculously happy. My future is undetermined, my family issues are still present, I’m attempting to graduate college even though I missed half of the semester. Overall though, I am happy. My life isn’t where I want it to be, but it sure is a hell of a lot better than how it was.

Trust the process.

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.