Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An angel in disguise

Yesterday I went through SO MANY emotions all in one day. It's like testing all of my emotions in a short period of time - and I don't like it! I had a pretty good day at work. I was feeling okay - dare I say even a little happy? Then... BAM! 

Let's be honest. I WAS a little nervous about my appointment with my dietitian. She comes to get me from the waiting room...we walk the long walk to the room with the scale...I take off my coat and shoes (believe me, I really would have preferred to leave them on)...I walk over to the scale and nervously stand on it (I HATE that scale with all of my heart and soul!)...I look at her face and reaction trying to figure out the verdict because of course, I am not allowed to see the number...she, of course, shows no emotion...we walk the long walk to her office...I have no idea if I gained, maintained, or lost...we get to her office and I sit on the couch, she sits in her chair...she looks at me and asks how I did during the past week. That is pretty much the routine every single week and it gives me so much anxiety and it's seriously so nerve-wracking! Here is how the session went: she "says" I lost the weight that I gained last week, PLUS more. I say that can't be possible! I ATE last week! But there really is no use arguing with her...so I sat there quietly with tears running down my cheeks as she lectured me about the seriousness of my current weight and health, how I NEED more intensive out-patient treatment than I have right now OR get admitted as an inpatient. NO NO NO! Those are NOT options! I am not going inpatient - I feel like that is a step backwards and I am trying to move forwards! Besides, I've already done the inpatient and the residential thing and look how well THAT has worked out for me... But I just sat there feeling horrible, feeling like a loser and a failure, feeling VERY discouraged. I left the session PROMISING to eat more and to gain weight.

NEXT up was my session with my therapist. So I go back into the waiting room and I was feeling so TERRIFIED to meet with him - because he is harder on me than my dietitian is. I think, "great, I am really in trouble now." He comes to get me and we go to his office. He can tell that something is wrong (I'm not good at hiding things like that from him). So he asks how my session with the dietitian went (because he doesn't get the paper work from her until a day or two later, I always have to update him on my status. And of course I have to be honest because he will find out in a day or two anyway). So I start BAWLING! And not just tears - all the emotions I was feeling just overwhelmed me and came pouring out! But they came out in tears, not words - those are harder for me to get out when I feel so horrible. So he gives me a minute, and talks with me, trying to get me to open up. He starts to get concerned because I am so upset and I am not really telling him what is going on. So he says "Jenn, it's time for you to really be honest with me and tell me what's going on." So I tell him everything that happened with the dietitian. I was truly expecting him to lecture me, like he is so good at. But he didn't. I think he saw the fear, discouragement, the faith in myself and my ability to recover slipping out of me. Because he told me something that makes me truly feel like I am not a complete failure and disappointment.

He said "Jenn. I NEED you to know that even though I am super hard on you most of the time, I am NEVER EVER going to give up on you. EVER. I am here for you no matter what. The reason I am so hard on you is because I see you start to give up, not give yourself enough credit, let your eating disorder thoughts take the front seat. So I'm hard on you to try and get you to find that fire inside of you, that fight, that girl that I know is in there! But I think you are doing AMAZING considering the battle and the illness you are up against! I KNOW and I UNDERSTAND just how hard what you are doing is. And I am here for you every step of the way until you are able to be free of all of this. I am not going anywhere and there is NOTHING you can do that is going to change that! There is no failure unless you give up, and you and me, WE are not going to give up! So you slipped this week, and yes, the weight thing is pretty serious. But you can start again this week - recommit and re-charge - and keep fighting the fight! Don't be SO hard on yourself and give yourself the credit you deserve for ALL of the amazing things that you ARE doing right!"

WOW. I felt all of the pressure on my shoulders and in my heart start to slide off of me. I really needed to hear all of that because I feel like I am always disappointing him, or I worry that I am not working hard enough and he won't want to "deal" with me anymore. But I know and I BELIEVE now that he IS here for me. So I left the session feeling SO MUCH BETTER than when I went in. I felt my strength slowly starting to come back.
Then I had my Balance and Mindful Eating group. I LOVE that group so much! And out of all the groups I go to during the week - that one is my favorite!

I even went to Village Inn with my mom for dinner when I got home. I had a sandwich and fries and I ate quite a bit of it! And THAT my friend, is a step forward!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Keep On Truckin'

My therapist told me that the most important thing to do at moments like this, when I am really struggling with the mental and emotional part of my eating disorder is to follow my meal plan NO MATTER WHAT! I absolutely have to make sure I am eating - and not just eating but eating enough. I said "But what if I can't?" And he told me that I just HAVE to do it. These are the times in my recovery when I start to slide backwards, because my head gets too loud. And he wants that to start to change, and have me be able to take bigger steps forward. He said that he totally understands that is easier said than done, but he told me that he believes in me and he KNOWS that I can do it! Geez, no pressure...right?

And distraction is a big thing too. He wants me to come up with a list of things that I can do at work, in the evenings, and on the weekends, to distract myself from those thoughts and urges. Then we will talk about my list and ways that I can really use distraction right now in my recovery. But it's hard. I am staring at a piece of paper on my desk at work and it's pretty much blank... I do have a couple things written down though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weight GAIN

After almost 3 months of being on "mandatory weight gain."  I finally gave everyone what they wanted. Instead of hearing "you've lost weight, you can't keep losing!" or "you maintained this week but you are supposed to be gaining." I heard the words “you gained a little!” from my dietitian when she weighed me yesterday. I immediately felt a great deal of fear and panic – but after talking with her, and then talking to my therapist later in the afternoon – I started to feel better...kind of. Of course they are THRILLED and so happy that I gained weight this week... my dietitian said "I knew you could do it!" and my therapist said "I'm so proud of you!" 
So why am I not happy? Why am I not proud of myself?? Why do I feel like I did something wrong, or why wasn't I more in control of things this week??? And it's so completely frustrating because I KNOW that it is the eating disorder voice telling me all of this and making me feel SO guilty about "giving in" this week and gaining weight. I don't know... I thought I was getting past the whole "weight" thing and I thought that I was moving forward in my recovery but maybe I am not.... I am pretty discouraged right now.
Because I KNOW this is so much deeper and more powerful than food and weight. And I have been put on weight restoration (mandatory weight gain) over and over and over - so WHY does my weight still affect me so much? WHY does food and weight still have so much control over me??

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I need to let go of the rope!

Yesterday in my therapy session, we talked about recovery as an in-patient vs. recovery as an out-patient. I talked to him about my deep frustrations with myself about not being able to maintain a healthy weight for very long or eat "like a normal person" before I slip when I am on my own (meaning not in the hospital or in-patient treatment). He told me that he thinks it's because I am too afraid too really do it on my own. He said, "think about when you were in-patient or in the hospital. You had people forcing you to eat (my servings alone were enough to feed a small family) and if you refused to eat - they made you drink Boost, and if you still refused - they put a feeding tube down your throat! Remember that Jenn??" I said "Of course, I remember that mr. therapist! That is not something a person forgets. Are you trying to make me feel worse than I already do that I have relapsed in a major way and am headed back in the direction of all of those things..."  

He says that I rely on other people to make sure I am eating, and to TRULY recover from this I have to do it on my own. Or I am just going to be in this cycle of in and out of hospitals and constantly struggling with my eating disorder. I told him that it's SO scary because I don't trust myself and I feel guilty when I eat (what I perceive as) too much food! It's easier for me to have someone else forcing me and making sure I am eating the proper amounts each day. But that needs to change, and I understand and realize that. He said "Of course you won't be all on your own because you still have your treatment making sure you are eating enough - but you can't rely on and expect others to do it for you." And what he says is true. I need to find that strength inside and I need to do it for myself.

He says that I have been holding onto the rope with one hand (sometimes both hands) for too long, and I need to let go of it! I said "What if I fail? What if I "freak out?" What if I am not strong enough?" And he said - that's what him and the other people on my treatment team are for. To help me when I feel like that. He said that it won't be easy at all. He said it will be the hardest thing I have ever done. He said there WILL be slips and steps backwards but I need to focus on the positive things that I am doing and let the people around me help. And in our weekly sessions he said that I am allowed to freak out - and he will help me figure out ways to cope - since I am starting to truly let go of my coping skill (which is my eating disorder). I said "But what if I let go of it completely and then realize that I NEED it?" And he said that we will figure out other coping skills (healthier ones) for me to have and cling to and "need". 
I also talked to him about the "voices" in my head (I realize that sounds like I am crazy - and sometimes, I feel like I am) and how the "voices" or my eating disorder thoughts seriously consume my mind! It's truly like a battle of good and evil going on in my head - and it's overwhelming and it's exhausting!!! He said that the more I fight those thoughts and feelings and the more I focus and work on recovery - the quieter those voices will become. But it's going to take a ton of hard work, persistence, and time. And he promised that he would be there every step of the way right beside me. And I am SO thankful for that!!! 

It will be scary. It will be hard. But I am going to TRY to let go of the rope a little more! So wish me luck! Because it's time to practice letting go of the rope and I am terrified...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I did my best, but it STIILL wasn't good enough

At the moment, I don’t weigh myself because I am trying to be compliant with my treatment team. And every week when my dietitian (or the doctor) weighs me, it’s a blind weight (meaning I get on the scale backwards). I HATE that everyone on my treatment team knows my weight – except me. It makes me feel SUPER anxious every time I step on the scale! But I know that this is the way it has to be, because it would just be TROUBLE if I knew my weight! It would add another log to the fire that is my eating disorder. So, I am trying to accept the fact that I can’t trust myself (or trust my e.d.) to know my weight. I am getting there... very very slowly... but I am getting there.
In my session with the dietitian yesterday, she told me that I had maintained my weight this past week. And I just have to say that I feel like that is an accomplishment(!) because for the past few weeks I have been losing weight. But apparently no one else sees this as an accomplishment because my calorie intake was increased again! : ( 

Even though they don't tell me my weight, they WILL tell me whether I've gained, lost, or maintained. But won’t give me any numbers or tell me by how much (that would pretty much defeat the purpose of a blind weight). So I said, “That’s good right? So we can keep my meal plan the same this week!” She said "Well, it's good that you didn't lose weight - but it's not good because you are supposed to be gaining weight!" So, once again, she has increased my calorie intake! It’s SO frustrating! I am having a hard enough time right now following my meal plan 100% and they keep pressuring me to eat MORE food and gain MORE weight... Sorry, I just had to vent a little because I am feeling very anxious at the moment.  

And it's not just that - it's my head too! I feel so guilty for disobeying my eating disorder but I also feel so guilty for disobeying my treatment team. So what am I supposed to do??? My rational/healthy side tells me that... I am supposed to TRUST my treatment team and let them be my voice of reason until I am strong enough and healthy enough - mentally and physically - to do it on my own. So, that is what I am trying to do.  

But it gets tiring fighting this voice in my head all day long, every single day. I AM doing it - but there comes a point where I'm like "I can't do this anymore!" And those are the times that I need to lean a little more on my treatment team and let them help me a little more until I get out of that feeling of exhaustion... 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Finding happiness in the present!

A lot of times, we think "When I graduate, then I will be happy." or "When I get married or start a family, then I will be happy." or "When I recover, then I will be happy."

Yesterday in Process Group one of the things we talked about was the importance of finding happiness in your life NOW - not waiting for the future to make you happy. Especially in recovery. Because you don't have to be RECOVERED to be happy. Yes, recovery sucks and is hard and is COMPLETE & TOTAL HELL! But one of the keys is to focus on things that make you happy and things that can take you and your mind away from the eating disorder.
You don't have to wait until you are recovered to be happy!

Also, a lot of times we live in the past (the bad and painful memories of course) but we also live in good and fond memories of the past. Those are good to hold and keep in your heart -- but don't focus on them! Focus on the NOW.

And so we all had to go around the room and say something that makes us happy currently in our life. This was hard of course, considering most of us gals, at the moment, seem to have a STRONGER negative mind than positive mind. But we were all able to come up with something. The thing that I said was : My friends make me happy. I love to laugh and be silly with my friends (or family or co-workers, or anyone). I just love to laugh because there is no room for my eating disorder at that moment!

So that is something that I want to work on and apply more and more into my recovery and MY LIFE! I want to live in the present - not in the past or the future. So I will keep you updated on how this new goal of mine is going!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's about time!

I finally gave in and started a blog. I swear, it seems like everyone has one except me! This blog is going to be more like a journal - documenting my ups and downs in my recovery from anorexia. But will also include the other things that are going on in my life (of course!)

I hope that people will be able to relate to things I write in here, or maybe give them some comfort or understanding into this terrifying and REAL illness. It's going to be raw and intense - but I hope that not only will it help others but I hope that it will help me as well, as I struggle to rediscover my life and find my way out who jenn REALLY is.