Thursday, December 31, 2009

the fear deep inside...

Am I powerful enough to master a disease that is stronger than any force or person I have ever met? If indeed, I am strong enough, why have I been so obviously beaten down by it? These complexities engulf me every day and night.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

being job-less isn't so great anymore

When I was laid-off from my job last May - my family, friends, and my treatment team kept telling me how it was a blessing in disguise. Because at the time, I was in a really bad downward spiral with my ed (and had been sent to the e.r. twice in one week shortly before losing my job) and that since I wasn't working full-time temporarily, I would be able to get the intense treatment that they all thought was crucial at the time.

How did I feel about losing my job?? Honestly, at the time, I was relieved. I was barely functioning and my energy was so low at the time - I was exhausted. Don't get me wrong, I was pretty devastated to lose that job because it was one of the few jobs that I have had in my life that I have really really loved. I loved that job - even though it was stressful beyond belief and I worked myself way too hard, and I didn't know how to set boundaries, and I wanted to please everyone at work - I did love that job, and still to this day, I would run to them and beg them to hire me back!!!

But I have to admit that it was nice to not have to worry about work while I did the IOP program over the summer - It gave me more time to work on recovery. I also got a really great severance package from my job and then filed for unemployment after the severance ended - so most bills were still able to be paid (even if it was extremely tight). Then, after IOP, I was going to start looking for a new job but, a couple weeks after IOP concluded, I ended up in the ICU in really really bad shape and was in the hospital for a week. Then, I needed to recover from that and get strong enough to be able to not only work, but function and get through the day. Again, it was nice to be home and not have to worry about a job while I recovered from that.

Well, the past little while, it has not been so nice being unemployed. These are the reasons:

* I am struggling beyond belief to pay all of my bills.
(and that is why I am not getting the treatment I need at the moment)

*I am home all day and all night and have way too much free time.

*I feel like I am losing motivation at a rapid pace.

*I am watching the people around me getting up and going to school or work and really just watching as life is going by without me.

*I need a reason to get up in the mornings, I need something to keep me distracted and occupied.

*I can't go back to school until I have a good stable job.

So, for the past few weeks, I have really been trying to find a job... but thanks to this stupid economy that is in the gutter... this is a nearly impossible thing to achieve these days. Also, I don't want to get a job that will trigger my anorexia in any way because I am already struggling so much with it - that could be a deadly combination! Not to mention, I am really horrible at looking for jobs - it's something that I struggle with because I am not the most outgoing and happy person right now. But I am trying to stay positive and trying to keep the faith that I will find something. I just hope that it is soon!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

powerfully honest, real, and accurate

I started reading a memoir last night called Kid Rex, and I think it is very very well written and honest. And when I read this part last night, I felt like I was reading something from my own personal journals, which was kinda crazy. So I wanted to post it on here because I love the way she has written thoughts, feelings, and fears that I somehow have a hard time expressing. Also, because I know there are many others out there who feel this way too.

"What am I supposed to tell people when they ask me what I do for a living? Am I really supposed to say, "Well, actually, I am in the process of recovering from anorexia"? If I go that far I might as well delve fully into the discussion. Why not give people a more complete view of what my life has been like these past few years, trying to recover from an illness I've had for so long? I may as well tell them every day is like an eternity, full of fear and trepidation about being left alone in a cold, shadowy world where winter is always approaching, without my greatest source of solace: my anorexia. I may as well tell them I have seen over twenty psychiatrists, therapists, doctors, and nutritionists in the past few years, and have often been feeling more stranded, frustrated, and secluded. I may as well say that some mornings I wake up and think that without my anorexia I am at risk of vanishing into a sea of faceless, anonymous people, as though I never even existed.

How are you supposed to describe what you do for a living when what you actually do is struggle to live? Many years of my life have consisted of attending doctor's and therapy appointments in a maddening attempt to unscramble my mind and ease the disquiet in my soul. Any "accomplished" individual would think I'm crazy, pathetic, or simply disposable...

... I have not yet found a way to make peace with all my troubling memories. I must relive them, over and over, until I can build some sort of life for myself again. So perhaps the next time someone asks me what I do, I should just boldly declare, "I am waging the war of my life!" After all, shouldn't that be considered an accomplishment on par with beating cancer or surviving a plane crash? Then maybe I could also tell them, if they cared to delve a little deeper, that no one truly chooses to live in a ghost world. This was a burden that was placed upon me."

(excerpt from the memoir Kid Rex)


I saw my doctor twice at the beginning of the month.
She sent me to see a cardiologist because of concerns she had.
I saw my therapist once at the beginning of the month...
...that's pretty much been it

And let's just say that the only way I have gotten through the holidays and this past month... well, I would rather not say but I am sure you all can guess.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Memoir

For the past couple of years, off and on, I have been writing a memoir/autobiography. It all started when I had to write one as an assignment while I was inpatient at a treatment facility. And since then, I have been writing more and going deeper into my life, my past, my recovery, ect. It has been an emotional but very eye-opening experience for me. 

Whether I keep it for myself, share it with family & friends, or maybe try to have it published (though I am not sure why strangers would want to read about my life...) I haven't decided yet, but either way this process has been very healing for me. There are still things from my past that I am having a hard time letting go of or forgiving - but I have been able to understand and forgive myself and others for a lot of the things from my past. And I believe that through writing, whether it is through my personal journals, this blog, poems and songs, and my memoir/autobiography - it has been a very therapeutic way for me to heal and understand my past, my emotions, my feelings, and events that have happened in my life.

I love writing and I am so thankful for this gift to write because it has truly helped me to understand why the things in my past happened the way they did, but most importantly, it has helped me to understand...myself!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

-- Sweet Christmas Memories --Christmas 1988
Kimberly, Michael, Jennifer, Ashley, & Crystal

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I have decided to embrace it...

I have been dreading this day because I hate getting older - especially when I feel like I haven't accomplished hardly anything - BUT, after talking about it with a few people, I have decided that I need to embrace this year. Because this could be an awesome and wonderfully exciting year...right??? This could be the year that I am finally able to break the chains of this illness and regain my life, my dreams, and my soul. So, I refuse to dwell on this post about all of the reasons why I regret my 20's, and how I feel like my hopes and dreams have all passed me by... and how I am still single, not be married with children, graduated from school, in a career I love and am passionate about, ect... 

Life doesn't always work out as we thought it would when we were wild-eyed dreamers in high school with the whole world ahead of us. And I am not going to compare myself to everyone around me (well, I will at least try my hardest not to!). Because we all walk different paths and this was my path - for reasons I don't understand but hope and pray someday I might - and all I can do is move forward. I don't want to be constantly living in the past, living in my regrets, and most of all living with this illness in my head and controlling my thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behaviors 24/7!!! Because those are the things that get in the way of your dreams, your passions, your hope, your laughter, your peace, your relationships, your spirituality, your life!

Because those are the things I so desperately long for!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

my fingers are crossed!!

I have my first appointment with my new medical doctor tomorrow morning. I did end up firing my doctor before she fired me - which was inevitable. But when my therapist found out about it, he was not feeling too comfortable with the situation. He told me that I had to find a new doctor that week because he was not going to be, and I am quoting him, "my death therapist". Geez, isn't that a little harsh??? : ( 

Anyways, I did find one and she happens to be one of the best e.d. specialists in the state so I am both excited and extremely nervous to see her tomorrow. This was the soonest appointment I could get so it's been a month since I have seen a doctor - and that also makes me nervous to see what my vitals and blood work are going to be, ugh... But I hope that she won't reject me too because I have had enough of that for a while. But I am really struggling right now with my behaviors and therefore, my health. I know I need a good doctor who is going to be able to help me reach and maintain a healthy body. That is the goal and I am trying to stay positive about this whole recovery thing right now!

I hope that this doctor will accept me as a patient without trying to force me into inpatient or the hospital. I am tired of everyone continually telling me that is where I need to be! I just need a good doctor who will help me and support me on an outpatient basis!!

"Sometimes, people can go missing right before our very eyes. Sometimes, people discover you, even though they've been looking at you the entire time. Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves when we're not paying enough attention. We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander farther and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger, or the sadness preventing us from returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering; sometimes it's easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found."

(from the book "There's No Place Like Here" by Cecelia Ahern)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a brief update

I am struggling a lot with my ed thoughts and behaviors. I am having a tough time trying to allow myself to see and live in the reality of the situation before I quickly retreat into my world of denial and disassociation and also try to find the motivation for my recovery, and my dreams that still seem lost somewhere out there. But I am working on trying to find these things again. It's one of my main focuses right now.

I had a horrible argument with my doctor yesterday. She told me that for the past little while (more often than not) my weight and labs/blood work have been too unstable for her to feel comfortable treating me. And that I either need to go inpatient or make very drastic improvements in a very short amount of time or she will have to stop seeing me. And I think yesterdays appointment was kind of a breaking point for her after she saw my weight and test results. So... she basically fired me.

I don't want to get into all the feeling and emotions that this appointment has caused me because I am trying to not let it affect my recovery too much - but let's just say I am feeling a lot of guilt, shame, sadness, fear, hopelessness, & abandonment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

can I do it on my own???

I am starting to wonder if maybe I am relying on treatment too much and not enough on my own ability. It is true, I don't trust myself and therefore, I do feel safer when I am in treatment knowing that there are people who are supervising me, monitoring me, counseling me and helping me process thoughts and feelings, ect. But am I depending on them too much??? When is it time to start decreasing the amount of time in treatment and to start focusing on other things in life? Am I still lost in this disease because I am still in treatment and it's such a focus in my life? Or is this my ed trying to trick me into lowering my level of care so I become more vulnerable for it to regain complete control over my life again??  

I need to start focusing on other things and put all this all behind me. But what if I do start to have more of the responsibility of my recovery and I crash & burn - what if I leave and am not ready to leave? Will ed completely take over and will I lose any ability I have to fight this and to recover? I don't know! I wish I could see in the future and know what I was capable of. My therapist always tells me that I need to be more patient with my recovery. He always says to me "Jenn, how long have you had your ed?" And I say "Since I was 13." And he says "So, it's going to take a lot longer than a couple years to get over something that is so ingrained in you and has been a huge part of you for so long!" And I understand this - I don't like it - but I understand it. But at the same time, am I using treatment as a crutch? Am I depending on my treatment team and the other girls more than I should be?  Or am I just panicking because of what happened a few weeks ago?

Friday, October 30, 2009

such a slow and frusterating recovery

It has been two weeks since I discharged from the hospital. I am getting better but the past two weeks have been horrible and frustrating! The first week was really bad! I could barely walk around without getting winded and have to lay back down. So I pretty much spent that first week on bed-rest. This second week has been a little better. I have been able to do more but I still get exhausted and tired from normal everyday activities like showering and washing my hair, walking up the stairs, cleaning up my room or doing laundry, ect. So that has been super frustrating because I feel like such a useless and lazy person. Also, with all the meds and anti-biotics I am on, I am super nauseous all the time. And I am still having a hard time swallowing (from the breathing tube) so I have been really really struggling with eating. I know I am not eating enough, but I am trying to eat something every couple of hours. I am eating things like soup, bananas, pudding, yogurt - things that are soft and easy to swallow. I also have my breathing exercises that I have to do every hour and it's so hard because my lungs are not doing well and I can't get much out of them - but they are slowly getting better.

My roommates have been so supportive and so great with all of this! I love them all so much for all the help and the love they have been showing me. I hope they know how much I appreciate them. Also, my mom - bless her heart - has really helped me a ton with things I need or can't do myself. I love my mama! And all of you who have called, texted, or visited me and gave me words of encouragement or just to talk. I love you all too!

Last week I had a follow-up appointment with my urologist. And things were looking good as far as the kidney infection and everything go. He just reminded me that my body has been through a lot and I need to take care of it and be patient. I will have another follow-up with him in December. He is really cool, I like him a lot.

This past Monday, I was finally able to see my therapist for the first time since the hospital. It was really good to see him and be able to process everything that happened. But he was very concerned about me and is very worried about where I am emotionally and physically. He asked me if I had seen my dietitian yet and I told him that I see her on Wednesday. But I wasn't able to drive down and see her because I was too sick - so that is not good and I know my treatment team is not going to be happy about that. The only treatment I have gotten in the past three weeks is one session with my therapist... which is not good considering I am crumbling in that area of my life.

Today, on the other hand, was not so lovely. I had an appointment with my regular doctor whom I have been avoiding all summer because if you remember, the last time I saw her she called the paramedics to take me to the e.r. - she has not been my favorite person lately. I was so nervous to see her - especially because I know I haven't been eating well and was worried that I had lost even more weight. She (like everyone else) was very concerned. When she walked into the room she said "Jenn! How are you feeling? We almost lost you a couple of weeks ago!" Geez, thanks doc. Anyways, she said that my weight did drop and that I need to be eating more even if I am feeling sick because I am in a danger zone with my weight and I need to stabilize it. I am trying!! Honest I am!!! We talked for a while, she lectured me for a while, took a lot of tests, and let me go home! No ambulance this time - and that seriously made my day!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

journal notes from my hospital stay

(Friday October 9th) - I had to go to the E.R. today because I was in severe pain and all night yesterday and this morning I have been throwing up (or dry heaving) almost every single hour! My sister drove me down there and my mom met me at the hospital.

I had been feeling kinda sick - but then on Wednesday night the left side of my stomach and lower back were hurting so bad I couldn't move. I have had kidney stones and kidney infections in the past so I knew the pain and I knew that's what it was. My mom picked me up and drove me to an InstaCare and they said that it looked like I did have either an infection or a stone. So they gave me pain medication (thank God!) and anti-biotics and sent me on my way. Then we get to Thursday night and today. So I went to the E.R. and we found out that I had a really large kidney stone.  They said that it was impacted and there was no way I would be able to pass it on my own. So, they admitted me to stay overnight and I am going to have the surgery in the morning and then go home. I've never had surgery so I am kinda nervous. 

(Sunday October 11th) - Well, things took a unexpected turn and really scary turn yesterday.  I am still not sure what's going on.  I am in the intensive care unit with an oxygen mask on because I am unable to breathe on my own.  I don't have very much energy but wanted to write in here about what's been happening.  Yesterday morning, I went in for the surgery. My urologist was there and they told me to relax and just breathe... The next thing I remember is waking up and the doctor was saying "Jenn, breathe for me! Come on, take a deep breathe! I need you to breathe for me! Jenn, do you know who I am? What is my name? Breathe! Come on Jenn, you need to breathe! Look at me - do you know where you are? Can you breathe for me? Come on Jenn!" The doctor and the nurses were all around me and I was shaking so bad and I had an oxygen mask on and I started to cry (well, tears running down my cheeks was all my body was able to do). Then I remember waking up again in the ICU. The doctor came in to talk to me and he seemed pretty worried. This is what they told me happened. When they went in (through the urethra) to get the stone out, it turns out it had been blocking the kidney from emptying which caused the kidney to swell and become distended. So there was a lot of fluid and stuff in the kidney which caused a pretty nasty infection. Also, from all the throwing up & dry heaving I somehow aspirated and when they put me under the anesthesia and put the breathing tube down my throat it made that worse and I developed aspiration pneumonia. My body wasn't strong enough for everything that was happening and my blood pressure plummeted and I went into septic shock and acute respiratory distress. Anyways, the official diagnosis was...

nephrolithiasis (or kidney stone)
hydronephrosis & kidney infection
pneumonia due to aspiration & other septic bacteria
acute respiratory distress

So in other words, I am pretty lucky to be alive right now considering what had happened. My body was already in very poor condition due to my eating disorder and that's why all of this stuff happened... My body wasn't strong enough. So, now I am in the ICU. I am feeling pretty horrible, weak, tired, you name it - I am probably feeling it.

(Monday October 12th) - Today is my third day in the ICU. I am doing a little better. My oxygen levels are getting a little higher but are still dangerously low. I am on so many iv medications & oral medications it's crazy! and they keep coming in to take blood tests & other sorts of tests. I have a catheter in so I don't have to worry about attempting to get up and go to the bathroom since I can barely sit up anyways. They are moving me to a regular room today and out of the ICU!! That means things are slowly getting better!

(Tuesday October 13th) - I am in my new room now. I am so weak and have no energy and I hate just laying here all day long, everyday but I can't do anything else. I have had a few visitors yesterday and today and that has been nice. My mom comes and stays with me as much as she can but my dad is at home recuperating from double knee surgery and so she is trying to juggle being in two places at once. I told her that it's fine for her to not be here with me and to be at home with dad because I have nurses and doctors watching over me. My therapist found out I was in the hospital when my mom called this morning to cancel my appointments. He called me on my cell phone this evening but I was not in the mood to talk so I let him talk to my mom. She updated him on what happened. It was really nice of him to call. I know he cares about me, but for him to make that extra effort just shows that it's true - especially since he has been super tough on me lately (well, to be fair... he has been tough - even mean - but it's been necessary because I was slipping and he knew it a lot more that I did because I have been living in my world of denial & disassociation and not wanting to accept how bad things were and he was trying to stop something like this from happening).

(Thursday October 15th) - The past few days, have pretty much been the same. Doctors and nurses coming in and out all day long to talk to me, give me meds, check to see if I am eating, giving me breathing treatments, taking x-rays, ect. (and by the way, they have really turned into the food police with me!) Since they knew I was suffering from anorexia, I guess they feel like it is their duty and their job to get me to eat. I mean, I am used to it because that's how most people in my life are right now...but it doesn't make it any less annoying. They took the catheter out on Tuesday so I have been able to get up and use the bathroom. But I have to push my IV pole in one hand and my oxygen machine in the other and then slowly waddle into the bathroom. By the time I get there I am already tired and out of breath! The nurse tries to help me but I guess I am too stubborn and tell her I am fine. I should let her help me though. I got in trouble last night because I really had to pee and I was tired of waiting for the nurse to come help me because it takes them so long, so I decided to just hurry and take off the oxygen mask and just take the IV pole and hurry into the bathroom. When I got out of the bathroom, the nurse was in my room and I got in so much trouble for not taking the oxygen with me...oops! Also, I finally got to shower and wash my hair today!! I was so excited but I almost collapsed in the shower because I didn't have the energy or breath for it so I had to stop and my mom had to help me back into bed.   It's so scary to not be able to breathe very well.  This whole week has been really scary for me and I keep having nightmares about those moments when I came out of the anesethia and couldn't breathe and everyone was around me frantic.  I can't get it out of my mind.

(Friday October 16th) - I get to go home tonight!!! Last night and all day today I have been breathing without the oxygen. I am still very sick and very weak but I am stable enough to leave the hospital. I am going to stay with my parents for a few days to make sure I am okay and then I am going to go home. It will be nice to be out of the hospital. 


This past month has been so frightening for me.  My body is still struggling to recovery from everything that happened while I was in the hospital.  I still have a hard time walking around or exerting any type of energy without struggling to breathe and feeling worn out.  But slowly, I am getting better day by day. 

Throughout my eating disorder, I have had a lot of close calls with my eating disorder - but this has been the worst one by far!! I am NOT invincible and my body WILL shut down if I continue to let the eating disorder control my life.  This whole experience was a wake up call for me.  I can't keep living the way I am.  I know this.  I need to find a way to fight this and beat this illness!  I hate my ed and everything it has done to me and taken away from me.  So why can't I let it go!?!?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A big thank you!

I just want to thank everyone who came to visit me (and those who wanted to but were unable to, and the ones who did stop by but were unable to see me because I was asleep or not able to have visitors) while I was in the hospital. And all the people who wrote to me and texted me! The love and support meant so much to me and was a big reason why I was able to make it through this past week and a half. I am glad to be home and out of the hospital but I still have a loooooong ways to go before I am "out of the woods" but your support and love mean the world to me! : )

Sunday, October 4, 2009

trying to find my strength

I will not give up! I can't give up!! I deserve more!!! I don't want to be held captive by my mind anymore - it's no way to live (if you can even call it living. I don't - I call it merely surviving). But how do I do this?? I have been working SO hard and fighting for recovery and fighting to change my irrational & distorted mind...but I seem to be failing at it. 

Sometimes, especially lately, I feel like maybe this is the best my life will be and I just need to learn to accept that... But I don't want to accept that! I don't!! I have dreams and I want to be able to achieve them! I have hopes and plans for my future and I can't have my e.d. and all of these things - believe me, I have tried!
I know that I just need to keep on going, especially during the horrible, painful, & scary times. I can't give in to this illness - because this illness wont stop until it has taken my life and put me in the ground. Anorexia is a slow suicide. I can deny that fact all I want, or refuse to let myself believe it - but it doesn't change the fact that if I continue the way that I am will kill me. I am not going to let it! I'm not!! So, I just need to continue trusting (such a scary word for me) my treatment team, my family, & my friends to help guide me and support me through this until I am able to stand on my own. Sometimes, I might need their help more than other times, and sometimes I might need them to carry me - but that's okay because they love me and want me to get better. I can do this. I can be strong!! I can find that strength inside of me to beat this!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

just trying to keep my head above the water

I feel like I am being punished for being more open and honest with my treatment team. I was able to open up completely with them and admit to behaviors that I am still very much struggling with - without "sugar coating" it like I tend to do. But it's been pretty difficult dealing with the consequences. Which is a big reason why I have been absent from my blog...

I feel like my emotional state is already so fragile right now - and now the pressure I feel that my team is putting on me is pushing me over the edge. At first, I very much regretted being completely honest about the behaviors I am still struggling with & allowing them to see my "true" weight (meaning I didn't manipulate it at all before getting weighed) because I felt like I was being punished, but now I am realizing that they are not trying to be mean or hurtful towards me. They are trying to help me and they are very worried about me. I think even more worried about me that I am (which isn't good. I should be worried too). My therapist thinks the reason why I am not realizing the "seriousness of the situation" is because I have been disassociating from my feelings a lot lately and just trying to numb everything out. I have just been feeling very overwhelmed and...I don't know...maybe I need a break to just...breathe...But the problem with that is, that when you disassociated from things - you let ed creep back in and take control over your life and your mind again.

My treatment team is threatening inpatient or hospitalization if I am not able to get back on track in the next two weeks. I mean, even before I started IOP, they were telling me that they wanted to me go inpatient but since I could only afford IOP then we would have to do our best and work hard with that. And then these past few weeks they have been mentioning inpatient a lot more lately and telling me how much they wish I could be admitted. Then this past Monday, my therapist threatened with having me admitted and he was pretty harsh with me in our session - really harsh and it made me feel horrible. He said that he was trying to scare the e.d. out of me - but I think it backfired because it just made ME feel horrible, not my e.d. And then on Thursday when I saw my dietitian she said that in their treatment team meeting - he had mentioned the two week deadline to everyone. 

And they also talked about how they don't think that I am medically stable enough to NOT be in inpatient & that my weight has dropped to a very dangerous low and that they are very concerned about my health. She said that he said, "I don't know how she's going to pay for it but that is where she needs to be." And I guess that really frustrates me because I feel like just because I have had a rough few weeks does not mean that I need to be thrown into the hospital!!! I feel like they are getting a little carried away here. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I need to NOT be afraid to be honest!

Yesterday was rough. While I was sitting in therapy, I was forced to admit to myself and to my therapist (who already knew by the way & just wanted to hear it from me) that I have not been completely honest with everyone about my recovery. I do tell the truth, but I tend to exaggerate that truth to make it appear that I am doing better than I really am. Do I do it to protect others? To protect myself?? I think it's both of those reasons.
The reasons why I have felt like I needed to exaggerate:

I feel like:
- I am letting my friends and family down
- I am letting my treatment team down
- I don't want people to keep worrying about me
- I am horribly weak
- I feel guilty that I am STILL struggling so much
- I don't want my roommates or others who DON'T know about my ed to find out
- I feel like people won't like me if they know the REAL ME
- I don't want to be a a greater burden (than I already feel like I am)
- I want people to be PROUD of me
- I don't want to be judged or labeled because of my ed
- Maybe if I pretend I am doing better than I really am... IT WILL COME TRUE

And because of all these reasons, I have been exaggerating about how well I have really been doing. I am NOT proud of it and my therapist totally called me out on it yesterday during IOP. He is not upset, him (along with my treatment team) are just very concerned about me and how this is affecting my recovery. Because I am - in a way - living in secrecy. I am struggling with recovery and I am so afraid to admit to people just how much I am struggling because I don't want to let anyone down. I just put on my smile and act like I am doing well and getting better, while on the inside I am falling apart and breaking down.
It's so hard and scary for me to be completely honest with everyone because of all the reasons above. But I made a commitment yesterday to work on trying to be more honest because that is the only way I am truly going to get better. I just don't want to disappoint everyone. I just want people to be proud of me. And I am so sick and tired of being the "girl with the eating disorder". But by pretending that I am doing better than I really am doesn't change any of those things. All it does is push me further away from true recovery and back into the arms of anorexia. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

I don't know what happened

It's scary how the e.d. can creep up behind you and push you into a hole without you even being aware of it. And the next thing you know, you are struggling desperately trying to climb out before you fall or get buried any further. And the worst is those times when you are in the hole and you don't have the strength you need to pull yourself out. You want to ask for help but you are so fearful that you will upset people or let them down, that you try to climb out on your own - but the walls are too unstable...

I don't know what happened. I have been doing well (for the most part) these past few weeks. Of course I have had my ups and downs but I think I have been handling everything as well as could be expected- and even over the weekend when I went on a road trip with some friends (which was so incredibly fun!), I think I did pretty good (especially in the eating department. I didn't get close to my required calories on my meal plan but I think I did really well considering the huge struggle that is for me right now). So, how did I get to the place I have been these past few days? It's like it came out of nowhere and is attacking me with frightening force! I am confused and worried about where I am mentally and emotionally and I don't want these feelings and this "zone" I am in right now to ruin all of the hard work that I have been doing, especially these past few months. It's just scary because this isn't something I can just "snap" out of - and I don't know what to do or how to regain the control back, because these past few days, I haven't been the one in control...

Friday, September 4, 2009

4 more weeks of IOP

For the past few months, most of my time has been spent either at Center For Change (doing IOP), at home reading or working on assignments, and ...eating! My recovery has been my number one priority. And I have been delving into emotions and feelings that I have never wanted to talk about or think about before and I feel like even though it's been really really really really really really really rough and stressful and horrible and I have cried and been an emotional wreck almost every single day- I feel like I am making a lot of progress and that has made all of this worth it!!!  

I feel like during this round of treatment, I have been able to work through a lot of stuff but... I still have a long ways to go. My treatment team has wanted me to go inpatient or do the full day program (they think that is what I need to really get a handle on this) but financially that isn't possible because we have already paid SO much for previous inpatient & hospital stays... so my parents and I, along with my treatment team, have decided to extend my IOP for another 4 weeks. This was going to be my last week - but since I am still struggling with a lot of stuff (especially the eating and weight gain part) My treatment team thought it would be the best option for me to extend my treatment. And I am so grateful because I was really starting to freak out about having a huge drop in treatment care when I don't feel like I am at all ready for that responsibility...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love

One of my favorite books is a book called Eat, Pray, Love. I bought it a year ago and loved it, and now I am reading it again - it's that inspiring! I am not going to go one and on about how much I love this book or how I "dog-ear" certain pages that mean a lot to me, but instead I am just going to let the book speak for itself. But I will say that it has had a part in changing my life (for the better)! I think everyone should read this least once!

"By the time she turned thirty, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern, educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want— a husband, a house in the country, a successful career. But in-stead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love and the complete eradication of every-thing she ever thought she was supposed to be. To recover from all of this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, left her loved ones behind and undertook a year-long journey around the world, all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Gilbert's aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature, set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well.

In Italy, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life.

India was for the art of devotion, where, with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise Texan, she embarked on four months of austere spiritual exploration.

Finally, in Indonesia, she sought her ultimate goal: balance-namely, how to somehow build a life of equilibrium between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. Looking for these answers on the island of Bali, she became the pupil of an elderly, ninth-generation medicine man and also fell in love in the very best way—unexpectedlyAn intensely articulate, sensible, moving and funny memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment. It is also about the adventures that can transpire when a woman stops trying to live in imitation of society's ideals This is a story certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change."

Friday, August 21, 2009

My (therapy) goals and HOPES for the future!

Here is the list of goals that I am currently working on and seriously hoping to be able to achieve!!

1- After I finish IOP - I am going to continue doing "partial IOP" (meaning still see therapist, dietician weekly, see all my doctors on a regular basis, and take some of the classes that are open to out-patients at CFC.)

2- Look for a full-time job and start working again (or two jobs or whatever I need to be able to pay all of my bills, help pay off some of my medical debts, and save money for school!)

3- Start school again!!! I want so very very very much to start in January...but depending on the finances...summer at the very latest. And yes, I want to go back to fashion school! I feel like I am in a better place now and I feel I would be able to handle triggering or hard situations a lot better than before.

4- I want my social life back! Have fun again! Go out and do recreational things with people! I don't want my eating disorder to keep preventing me from this!

5- I want to start going to church regularly and get more involved in my singles ward. I want to work on regaining my spirituality (because I know it's in there - I just need to find it!)

6- I want to become more independent and believe in myself more and believe that I can do it! "I am strong and able to do things! I am confident in myself and my abilities!" And one way to achieve this is to be able to set healthy boundaries with people...

7- I want to start dating again!! I want to believe that I am worth being loved and cared for by someone.

8- I want to write a book! A memoir, a novel, a book of poetry...maybe all three???

9- I want to continue getting stronger and getting healthier!!!

Wow! That is a lot right?!?!? But I am not going to let myself get overwhelmed. I am going to take it one day at a time, one meal at a time, one hour at a time, one step at a time. I still have a long ways to go recovery wise - but I am getting there, it's just taking me longer than I would like or thought it would..., more like SUPER rough week

It's been a seriously rough week for me. It seems like I have been struggling in pretty much every area of my recovery - sometimes, when it rains it pours!!! But it's okay because I made it through the week and I am determined to pick myself back up and keep on going! It has been really tough to get back on track "behavior wise" and "thinking wise." (which might only make sense to those of you who are struggling too...) But I am taking one step at a time and trying to not get so upset with myself when I continue to make mistakes - recovery is a process! You will have good days and bad days, ups and downs, slips and steps forwards! But despite all of the struggling (and shame and guilt I have felt because of it) I have been able to be honest with my treatment team and admit everything to them. 

One thing that my therapist told me yesterday was "I am not upset that you were keeping things from me, I am upset that you had to obsess about it and feel all this guilt about what you were doing (or not doing) and feeling like you couldn't tell anyone." Wow! I was not expecting that! I was expecting to get lectured or him to get upset about the behaviors, but instead he was more concerned about the effect it was all having on me! I really appreciated that because it did take away some of that guilt and shame I was feeling about the past little bit.

We also talked about how I am still obsessing and comparing myself to everyone else. Not only body wise but I also compare my level of success, happiness, personality, ect. I compare myself to others because I don't feel good enough about myself, I don't feel like I am "enough," I don't like who I am... And I need to stop!!! But it's so hard to stop something that has been so automatic for so long. We did come up with something for me to work on. Even though I can't stop the thoughts from coming in (right now in my recovery) I can stop how I react to them! So that is what I am going to try to work on.

We also talked about my struggles with body distortion. Because one of the things that happened this week was me finding out what my weight was... Yes, it was disaster because that is a huge trigger for me!! Especially because I am on weight restoration and I am always so worried about gaining "too much" weight! Because I feel like I gained way too much weight after being inpatient at NLC where I was forced to gain weight - which is one of the factors that triggered my relapse, not the only one but one of them! And I think that is why this time around it's been even harder for me to gain the necessary amount of weight, because I am doing it on the "outside" Not inside a hospital like before. 

But I know rationally that I need to gain weight to be healthy! There is just another voice screaming in my head (good ol' ed) all of the time telling me not to gain weight...and telling me a crap load of other lies as well! It's a total control thing for me (I can't control "A,B, or C...or D, or E, or........" - but I can control my weight and what I eat or don't eat) and it's scary to let go of that control because it's been my way of coping for sooooooo long... So, I am just having a really hard time accepting that - and it is stalling my recovery, but I am working on it! I am working on it every single day! That's what the recovery process is all about right? Anyways, where was I? I kind of got off track...

Oh yeah! Body distortion is something that I still have a hard time believing is really true! Yes...still!!! I told him that the number couldn't be right because when I look at myself I see someone who is a lot heavier than that number!!! So we did one of those lovely body tests that therapists and dieticians love to do so much. He didn't have a measuring tape or string in his office so we used tape instead. He had me pull off how much I thought was the size of my waist. And then he told me to put it on the floor in a circle and show me what I thought my waist was. I told him that his plan was going to completely backfire because I was so going to get this right! Then when I was satisfied with the size, we cut off the extra part so the tape would be the exact size I thought my waist was. Let me just say, I was pretty dang confident about this! I have done zillions of different "body tests" like this throughout treatment (remember body tracings gals??) Then I put the tape around my waist... I was really really off! I couldn't believe it! We put the tape back down on the floor and arranged it in a circle again but this time it was the true size of my waist - but all I was thinking in my head was "There is no way, that can't be the size of my waist!!!" But then he said, "See - this is just more proof that you are unable to see your body accurately, so stop comparing and stop judging!!!

Anyways, like I said - it has been a rough week "behavior wise" and "thinking wise" because of the above topics but also some that I didn't mention in this post. But, I am on the upswing, and I am working hard to get back on track! Because I want recovery and I want life!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

meeting jenni

When I began my recovery a few years ago, one of the things I received the day I went inpatient was a book called "Life Without Ed". I highlighted in that book, I underlined in that book, I circled parts in that book, I wrote some of my thoughts and feelings in that book - it's pretty much graffiti'd! But in a good way. I have read that book SO many times since then, and have found so much inspiration and comfort from it. So, I was super excited when I found out that Jenni Schaefer would be speaking at the All Day Conference at CFC last Friday! The whole thing was really really good, and there were a lot of great speakers, but I felt very grateful, lucky, and blessed to have the opportunity to meet someone who has touched me so deeply in my own recovery!

She was even nice enough to bring advanced copies of her new book "Goodbye Ed, Hello Me" for us and it doesn't even come out until next month! I really loved listening to her speak because she has such a positive attitude and is such an amazing example to me! And by the way, I am LOVING the book and I hope everyone goes out and buys it!!! 

Monday, August 10, 2009

treatment update

Things have been going well for the most part lately. I have definitely had my ups and downs, but I think I am kind of, sort of coping better with the emotions, feelings, all the yucky things I like to numb away!

The bad news is that I have dropped in weight over the past couple of weeks. I was doing really well for a little over a month with consistent weight gain (it wasn't much but it was still technically "gaining"). So it is a disappointment. I see my dietician tomorrow and I am hoping that I have gained this week. I need some good news in the dietary part of my recovery because I feel like I am not making as much progress as I should be...

Therapy is tough as always, but I think we are really starting to get down to the core of why I developed and have maintained my ed. But as we all know, I hate feeling my feelings with a passion so it is pretty intense!!! But necessary!

I have a lot more I want to write about, but because of time, I need to be going! I will write more later, promise!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I live for the moments when I feel the HOPE!

Lately, CRAPPY is how I have been feeling - because my e.d. is so freaking loud in my head. And this latest round of treatment has been the most difficult because I have been the most honest and have been working the hardest. And it really takes a lot out of me...
I feel like most days I don't have the energy for anything else.


The days when I feel happy, excited, & hopeful - those days are when I am able to see recovery and I am able to see my life and what it could be without my longtime companion, anorexia. These are the days (though they may not come around as often as I would like) that I feel like all of this blood, sweat, & tears is truly worth it and that I can have a happy and fullfilling life ahead of me, and I don't need to take my e.d. along on the journey anymore!!!
And my hope and my prayer every single day is that the closer I get to recovery - the more of "these days" I will have! I feel so grateful that that glimmer of hope is starting to claw its way through all of these dark clouds that have hung over me. It gives me the motivation I need to be able to continue fighting this demon. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Did I want the chocolate covered pretzel??

Last Saturday, I went with some friends up to Park City to play. While we were on Main Street we went into the Chocolate Factory and got some chocolate covered pretzel sticks. Well, I didn't want mine... or did my eating disorder not want it...or did I really want it??? I didn't know! So, I did what I do most of the time - I went over to a trash can and quietly slipped mine in.

Then when I saw my therapist on Monday, we talked about this and he asked me what thoughts were going through my head as I contemplated whether I should eat it or not. I said:

"Don't eat it!"
"It will make you fat!"
"You will lose control and eat too much!"
"You don't want it!"
"You shouldn't want it!"
"Think of all the guilt you will feel if you eat it!"
"You are stronger, show me your self-control!"
Those are the thoughts that my e.d. kept screaming in my head, and even though I do try to talk back to it and think rationally - sometimes I feel like it would just be better to not eat the food in question and therefore, not have to endure all the intense guilt and negative feelings I would have afterwards. Then, he asked me the question: "Did "jenn" want it??" I thought about it for a minute and then said, "Yeah, I think I did want some of it." My therapist and my dietician have been trying to teach me about something that is so impossible for me to grasp and understand right now which is ... intuitive eating! 

But it's hard for me because most of the time I don't know the difference between what I want and what my e.d. wants. But I just have to keep challenging those e.d. thoughts and start to re-learn what foods I really do like! (which is SO scary!) But honestly right now, I feel like this is something I will never acheive - maybe it's because all these thoughts have been my "truth" and my way of thinking for soooo loooonnnng - but I really want to believe that there will come a day (soon I hope) that I will be able to be an intuitive eater because I think that would be so awesome!
Then this morning, I went to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House and they had cookies in the reception area after you went through the tour. Well, instead of just by-passing the refreshments like I tend to do, I took one of the cookies. I was trying to figure out if "jenn" wanted it or not. They announced at the beginning of the tour that there would be cookies afterwards so they whole time I was thinking in my head and trying to figure out if I wanted a cookie or not. But I didn't know! I don't know what foods I want - especially, when they are "fear foods" or not on my meal plan.  

My treatment team keeps trying to encourage me to eat something if I want it even though it's not on my meal plan - like the cookie or the pretzel. But I feel guilty for eating "extras". Especially when my meal plan is as humongous as it is right now!!! Anyways, now I am rambling. I am just frusterated and confused because I don't know what I want, so I get afraid to eat things... I hope this is making sense to some of you, because it isn't quite making sense to me at the moment. But I just gotta keep on truckin! Fight the e.d. thoughts and move forward in recovery!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

"feeling" painful feelings hurts!!!

Sorry I have been absent on my blog for a little bit. There has just been SO much going on with IOP and recovery, and I didn't even know where to start talking about it all. There is so much "static" in my head. In past treatment programs and therapy I have allowed myself to go only "so far" before I would stop and shut down when it came to the feelings, emotions, and events that have led to my development and continuation of my eating disorder. And I know that is one of the biggest reasons why I have remained so sick for so long. But, this time - I am going as far as I need to and feeling all those feelings that I have tried to avoid or minimize in the past. Because I know I won't get better unless I am willing to dig deep down.  

But it's been so incredibly difficult, I can't even explain how hard it has been this time around. I feel my emotions are all over the freaking place, and I have cried and had breakdowns every single day for over a week now! I hate it and I feel out of control - and it is making the urges of wanting to use my "behaviors" to help cope and numb all of this out SO MUCH STRONGER. But I can't, and I won't.

My therapist keeps telling me that it's good that I am feeling this way because that means that I am really starting to heal -- I really hope he is right... He also keeps reminding me that because I have struggled since I was 13 years old, and the eating disorders thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors are SO ingrained deep deep within me - it is only going to get worse before it gets better. And that the thing I need to do is hold on and push through until I am able to make it through all of this! And I have him, and the rest of my treatment team (and now IOP) right there with me and they are not going to let me fall and they are not going to leave me alone or give up on me. And I am so grateful to my treatment team and to all of my family and friends who love and support me!!! I wouldn't be able to do this without any of you!

I will update more later! I really do miss writing on my blog the way I used to because it's been very therapeutic for me and it helps me process things, but I have just felt so emotionally drained from IOP that it's hard to get on here and write about everything... Does that make sense??? But I will try to write on here more because I love reading all the comments you post on my blog and I love reading your blogs as well!! It really does give me a boost and a little push forward when all I want to do is stand still (or fall backwards).

Monday, July 20, 2009

There was once a time when you were not a slave, remember that.
You walked alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare bellied.
You say you have lost all recollection of it, remember!
You say there are no words to describe it; you say it does not exist.
But remember!
Make an effort to remember! or failing that, invent.
-Monique Wittig, (Les Guerilleres)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

a new psychiatrist, and the gastroenterologist

Last Friday I had an appointment with a new psychiatrist, who specializes in eating disorders. She is going to help me find the right meds and the right combinations (because honestly, medical doctors don't really know when it comes to ed's unless they are very knowledgeable when it comes to them, and the one I currently have doesn't really know but she wants to learn MORE about ed's so I am kind of like her experiment???). So I was put on new meds and I am really feeling the side effects - but hopefully they will start to go away soon! My body tends to be more sensitive to drug side effects than the average person. Our session was two hours long, because it was our first time meeting and she wanted to really assess me.

Then, I had an appointment with my gastro doctor. We talked and he checked out my chronic bloated and distended tummy since I have started to eat again and stopped the l's & d's, and he increased my dose of the meds he is having me take. I REALLY hope they work!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

determination is alive and kicking!

The verdict from the "team" about me doing ballet again was an "absolutely not! But we can reconsider it once you are healthy again and able to maintain that health." I think I knew deep down that was going to be the answer but... I don't know if I didn't want to accept it or maybe it was wishful thinking? It doesn't matter though because it's not going to happen for a while. But, thanks to those of you who gave me suggestions - my team is going to let me work on stretching and things like that (as long as I don't lose weight). So that makes me happy!!! It's not much, but I'll take it! Considering for the past while, they are always frowning over any physical activity I am involved in. But since I am finally starting to gain weight (consistently) they are starting to give me more privileges. It's really nice, I hope the privileges keep coming!!!

Last week sure had it's share of rollercoaster emotions! There were days when I felt okay and was like "You know, this recovery thing, I think I CAN do it!!!" But then there were days where I felt like I was emotionally going to flip out! And I know, this is all a part of recovery but "feeling my feelings" is still such a foreign and scary thing for me - so when I can't numb them out with my behaviors I struggle a ton with being able to deal with them rationally. But the good news to report is that I was able to get through the week with only a small amount of e.d. behaviors! But it was so hard! It was painful and terrifying to sit through the emotions, because they don't go away, they last and last and last... - I don't like it at all!

But I did it and I am really proud of myself!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm trying to be okay...

Two weeks ago, I re-commited to follow my insane meal plan. And the verdict from the dietician today... I am finally starting to gain some weight! I have been eating a lot better during these past two weeks, but is it getting any easier?? NOPE! Listen, I am just being honest.

I want to be okay with eating all this food, I want to be okay with gaining weight...but I am not right now, and I would be lying if I said I was okay with it. But... I know that it is what needs to happen, so I am white-knuckling it and I am doing it, despite the negative & loud voice that is constantly in my head! I am trying to distract myself and focus on other things - but it's still such a challenge for me. But I will get there, I know I will!

I'm doing okay, I think. I am really trying to be okay. I am starting to pull myself out of that deep dark hole that I fell into and couldn't get out of for a few months there. It seems like when I crash...I really know how to crash! And that is something that does concern me, and it concerns my treatment team, and my family, and my friends. I need to learn how to stop the relapses before they completely consume me! But I haven't seemed to figure that out yet...

Something I am working on with my therapist is learning how to dream again. I had dreams when I was younger, I was a big dreamer! First I wanted to be a gymnast or ballerina, then I wanted to be a singer in a girl group, then I wanted to be a songwriter in Nashville or New York, then I wanted to live in Manhattan and work in the fashion industry. But unfortunately, my e.d. has been involved too much in my life to ever allow any of these dreams to become a reality. In my early twenties, I wrote songs for aspiring singers and loved to be in recording studios - it was my whole world. But e.d. took it away from me. Then in my mid twenties, I decided to give that up and focus on my other passion. So I went to fashion design school and loved it! And I had dreams of moving to New York and working for a fashion magazine or owning my own clothing boutique. But once again, e.d. took that away from me also and forced me to drop out.

So, my therapist is working with me on discovering my passions again, and trying to get me to believe that it's not too late for me to reach out and follow my dreams! He is helping me learn to believe in myself again, and helping me to take the steps and make the decisions that will help me get to those dreams. But first, I need to be healthy! I can't have these dreams and accomplish what I hope to accomplish if e.d. is still in my life. I can't! So, I need to be strong enough to let that part of me go, and let it go forever...and to be completely honest - that really terrifies me right now, because as much as my e.d. has hurt me throughout all these years, it has been the only constant in my life. And it's hard to let that go.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Ballerina

I have decided that I really want to do ballet again. I haven't taken any classes since college, and I miss it so much! So, I have made a list of reasons & benefits for taking ballet again and hopefully when I show it to my treatment team - they will give me the go ahead. Fingers crossed!

* It makes me happy!
* It will help strengthen, tone, & heal my body!
* It helps relieve stress & tension from the body!
* It helps promote creative expression!
* It develops poise & body awareness!
* It helps give you better posture!
* My e.d. shouldn't be allowed to take away everything I love...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I have come to my decision!

I had a meeting with my therapist and my parents yesterday. yeah, that's always nerve wracking! We all came to the agreement that I am going to do the IOP program (plus extra therapy sessions). I have to say that I am relieved that I am not going back into inpatient - but I am really nervous because there are a lot of conditions and requirements I have to follow & achieve to stay out of inpatient. But I am determined to work my "you know what" off and really really try harder than I ever have to recover and move on with my life!

I understand and realize that I really have an enormous battle in front of me, because where I am at mentally and physically - inpatient really is the ideal place for me to be... So it's going to be rough - it's going to seem impossible - but I have an amazing therapist and treatment team, plus amazing family & friends! So, I know that I can do this! I will do this!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Feel the fear and do it anyway."

My number one focus right now is following my meal plan as perfectly as I can. Gaining and stabilizing my weight is the biggest factor that will keep me out of inpatient. But... I wish it was as easy as just saying "okay, I am going to eat all this food, every single day, and be okay with gaining a ton of weight." But if I am being completely honest - that statement really scares me! But I am going to do it! I have to do it! 

I am just trying to take it one day at a time, one meal at a time... and I am trying to not think about all the food I have to eat (six times a day) and the impossible amount of weight I have to gain to get to my "goal weight." But I DO think about try to distract myself and I try to keep myself busy. I know I have a humongous obstacle in front of me, and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't completely terrified of the eating and the weight gain. But I know that with the support of my family, friends, and my treatment team -- I will be able to keep pushing forward!!! My therapist always says "Feel the fear, and do it anyway!" And that is something that is so scary for people with ed's. We feel safer and more comfortable when we numb our feelings. "Feeling" our feelings is so incredibly scary to us and something that we have tried to avoid for so long. But a huge part of recovery is learning to understand our feelings and being able to sit with our feelings and still be okay. So, that is what I am trying to do. I am trying to "feel the fear, and do it anyway." But it sure is a terrifying and unnatural thing for me.

Also, this week I have re-committed to following my meal plan 100% and my body is really really not agreeing with this! I know that I need to be patient and give my body the time it needs to accept that I am going to allow it to have food, a lot of food all day long... But I am really having severe stomach and digestive issues (and the fact that I am trying so hard to not use laxatives & diuretics is making the stomach and digestive issues SO much worse because my body has forgotten how to work properly without these things...) So, my body is kind of hating me now, and I am kind of hating my body. And it's only week one... I know it's going to get worse before it gets better, but I hope that I am strong enough mentally, emotionally, and physically to hang on until it starts to get a bit easier. Because I am really doubting myself right now.