Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thank You!

I just wanted to write a short little message to everyone who writes on my blog. Whether it be through my actual blog, or the imports on Facebook, I really appreciate them! I also want you all to know that I read every single one, and they all really help me get through tough moments during the day! Sometimes, when I am feeling discouraged or just need a little "pick me up" I just have to get on my blog and read through some of the comments. It's nice to know that there are people who care about me enough to take time out of their busy day to not only read my blogs but comment or give me words of wisdom :) - especially in those moments when I am struggling to care about me.

Anyways, I will stop rambling now. I just wanted to let everyone know how much I love and appreciate every single one of you! And how you all are helping me through your love and support and words as I struggle to find myself and find out who Jenn really is through this battle. Because I am NOT my anorexia! I just don't know who that girl is yet, but day by day, I am slowly taking off the layers of this illness and addiction to find that girl!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

health update for the week

w/ doctor
- potassium still very low (got a prescription for a specific potassium supplement).

- got lectured about the fact that I am still losing weight (although it's not my fault this time, it's my metabolism! Because I AM eating) and was not only threatened but promised hospitalization if I continue to lose weight... she doesn't believe that I am eating everything that I say I am "because my weight would show otherwise." She even had the nerve to ask me if I would eat a sandwich there in her office if she gave me one. Of course, I said "Yes!"

- got an appointment with the physical therapist to help me with my muscles and joints, because they hurt!
w/ dietician
- obviously concerned that I am still losing weight, but a little more understanding because she believes that I am eating and she understands that my metabolism is working against me right now (meaning it's speeding up). But still had to increase my food intake again because I have to start gaining weight!

- still working on trying to add more variety into my meal plan, and allow myself choices instead of being so rigid!

w/ therapist
- blah, dee blah, blah. Also concerned about my weight...big surprise. :(

- still working on trying to get angry at my eating disorder! But it's hard to get angry when you are just so tired. Tired of anorexia, tired of fighting, just tired... And it's difficult because I still have such a hard time separating the me from my ed... I still mostly think ed's thoughts are "jenn's" thoughts.... I mean, I have thought this way soooo long that it's going to take a good amount of time and hard work to undo my thought process. But I am working on it! Every single day! :)

-working on not letting myself get overwelmed so dang easily and not letting one mistake or setback snowball into many mistakes or setbacks!! Because I seem to be really good at this! And working on being patient with myself and not getting discouraged when I do make mistakes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

why anorexia? why me??

I developed anorexia at a time in my life when I was feeling very vunerable. I was very insecure and needed something to numb the hurt, the fear, the emptiness, the worthlessness...It was something I could control in a world that felt very much out of control! On the outside, a lot of times it seems like anorexia IS just about food and weight...but the truth is that when you uncover the outside layers, you discover the true underlying reasons for your eating disorder. It also slowly started to become my identity, it became "me." It was something that was mine and no one could take it away from me. The longer I was able to hide my anorexia from everyone, the deeper it absorbed itself into me. People knew I had a problem, they knew something was wrong with me - but i used all the excuses I could: "I am a picky eater, I have a fast metabolism, it's just depression, my period is just really irregular, I have insomnia, I am just really shy, ect."

I remember my mom taking me to doctor after doctor after doctor, and therapist after therapist after therapist, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I mean, all of the signs were there, but for some reason, people believed all of these excuses. So I started to believe that what I was doing was okay - because no one was telling me it wasn't...

Well, fast forward 10+ years to when I really spiraled out of control. I developed my anorexia by needing to feel in control of something, but anorexia had in fact taken over and was controling me! I was 25 years old, and I was very much near death at this point. People around me couldn't ignore the severity of it anymore, even I couldn't ignore it anymore! I was in a really bad place and if I didn't get help soon - I would die.

I wish I could say that this was when I was able to let go of anorexia, but it was only the beginning of this long journey to recovery. Even though this illness has nearly killed me many times, there is a reason why I developed it, and those underlying issues are the things I need to be able to work through (as scary, frightening, overwelming, painful, and broken they might be) before I can truly let go of this.

Friday, April 17, 2009

i need to give up the control...

Two years ago I was admitted as an in-patient at a treatment facility. Even though I have struggled with my eating disorder since around middle school, this was a turning point in my life because while I was at the Center, I decided that I did want recovery and I did want to let go of anorexia. I was severely in denial up until this point in my life. I was very much under weight and was put on weight restoration. It has been the hardest thing in my life to overcome and there were many many times when I just wanted to give up and throw in the towel, and say "I can't do this!" But I was able to push and fight my way through, and I was able to restore my weight to a healthy weight. The only problem was...my weight kept going up and up and up...(a lot of times in anorexia, when a person has starved themselves for so long, and then once they have restored their weight and allowed their body to have food regularly, the body will keep adding weight because it's afraid that you are going to severly starve it again!) I gained a ton of weight, and even though I was never technically overweight - I sure felt like it because I was a good 20 pounds heavier than I had ever been in my entire life!! And not only that, but since I had gained around 50 pounds in the Center, I did not recognize myself at all. My body looked so different, even my face looked different! I felt uncomfortable and out of control! And this is one of the things that contributed to my free-fall into a dangerous relapse that I am currently working on climbing out of. So, this time around, I have been SO afraid of that same thing happening and it really scares me. I hated the feeling of having no control over my body - IT was in control! That is why I have been going around in this cycle of everytime I start to gain weight, I freak out and restrict - because I am worried that once I start gaining a lot of weight, I will keep gaining and never stop! And this is something that my treatment team has been trying to help me overcome. Because according to them, I was never overweight, I just looked like a healthy 26 year old woman instead of a 13 year old little girl.

This is part of an email that my therapist sent me yesterday and I wanted to share it with you:

"...Sorry about the weight thing and for pooping on your good day. That was really not my intent. I was simply trying to impress upon you the fact that your e.d. will do its best to align with you. What I mean is that it morphs to fit what ever you will accept at the moment, but will never stop there. For example, you realize that you cannot lose any more weight so it will align with this and say "Yeah, you're right, lets just not gain any." Then it becomes very critical as time goes on and starts to say, "You are messing this up! See you are gaining! Quick loose some now!!" See the weight thing is a trick. You tell yourself you want top know the number, but the healthy recovery side says, looking is a really bad idea. When pushed Jenn, you make the right decisions, but it is the gentle and calm seduction that you seem to fall for. If I would have very calmly asked if you wanted to see your weight you might have said "yes". Sooooooo, the message is that you are way stronger then you give yourself credit for. You just need to be on your game more. Make sense? Seriously, I know this is almost impossible, but you need to turn the weight thing over to the dieticians and just do what you need to do. It is kind of a higher power surrender thing...."

He describes perfectly some of the internal struggles I am dealing with. And anorexia is a very sneaky little devil! I know I need to surrender to my treatment team, and stop trying to control my weight. I need to do it...I am just terrified...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I am in T-R-O-U-B-L-E

I have had a rough week. I have had a really tough time eating and I panicked about getting weighed yesterday. Last week, my weight dropped significantly and they have really been concerned about my current weight and the fact that I can't lose anymore weight, and I was worried that it had dropped even more and I didn't want to get in trouble, so... I purposely missed my appointment with the dietitian. I still went to see my therapist, and when he asked me how my session with the dietitian went, I thought about lying but knew he would find out later that evening that I didn't go...so I told him the truth. He was disappointed which made me feel even worse, because I knew I should have gone and faced the music (or in this case the scale!) and I knew my dietitian was going to be upset, and NOW he was upset...Blah! Sometimes, I get so frustrated with myself! So, he told me that he was going to weigh me - but somehow, I was able to talk him out of it.

I am just really struggling with wanting to believe my treatment team and friends and family, but ALSO feeling confused because the thoughts in my head that are so strong tell me & make me feel things too - and I am confused! I don't know who to listen to... This is probably not making very much sense, but I just feel torn all of the time because I feel like I am being pulled in different directions all the time and I don't know which way to go and I get overwhelmed and scared and end up running back into the arms of my ed because it's my "safe" place. But he says that I NEED to start trusting him and everyone on the team MORE than I am. And that frustrates me too because I feel like they don't understand just how confusing and overwhelming and impossible that really is! It sounds like such a simple thing...but it's not!!! But I told him that I would keep trying, but I just feel super discouraged and I feel like all of this is causing me to slide further and further into my behaviors because my ed is what I turn to when I am feeling anxious, confused, scared, overwhelmed, sad, hurt, ect.

I don't know...I am just going to try to stay positive and somehow force myself to keep pushing and keep fighting - because that's all I can do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

rough day

I have had a rough day. This post is not purely to complain but to help me process and try to understand the complexity that is my ed.

I have been struggling lately with eating...it's always a struggle but I seem to go through periods when it is harder than other times. Especially, with the amount I am supposed to be eating at the moment. Today, has been a difficult day and after not eating much during the morning and then lunch time approaching, I went into the break room at work and proceeded to fix myself a plate of lettuce (what I call a salad...but in truth- it's NOT, it's just lettuce, jenn!) with a bit of dressing on the side to dip the lettuce in. That is one of the foods that if you see me eating it, it means I am struggling mentally and emotionally. As I am making it, there are two male co-workers in the break room drinking their coffee and chatting to each other. One of them looks over at me and says:

"so that's why you are so skinny, you eat lettuce."

umm, didn't really know how to respond to that
because:
a) I don't "see" myself as too thin at all.
b)I felt uncomfortable because I don't want people at work to find out about my ed .

So, I just laughed it off on the outside (while crumbling on the inside) and hurried and finished putting my "salad" on my paper plate and walked back to my desk. I knew that I was severely restricting from my meal plan but feeling the way I feel today...I just didn't care. I am struggling with my ever-growing tummy (yes, thanks to the re-feeding process my tummy is starting to look a bit like I'm pregnant. And those of y'all who have gone through this know EXACTLY what I mean!)

Then I remembered something we talked about in therapy this week and ALSO in Process Group last night: you need to REACH out and LET others help you! you can't do it alone! So, I messaged a friend on MSN chat and told her what I was eating for lunch. She is someone who was locked-up in in-patient with me two years ago and who I LOVE dearly. We talked for a while back and forth and she was able to help me realize what I was doing and that it was just pushing me further and further away from recovery. I KNEW that deep down inside, but sometimes you just need to hear it out loud. So I went and got my mp approved lunch and started to eat that. I will say that I wasn't able to eat ALL of it, because it's a crap load of food, and I still have so much to eat today!...but I am trying. Eating is so overwhelming for me right now, and it sucks but I HAVE to do it unless I want to end up back in the hospital or have a feeding tube again (which is NEVER fun).

So I made the decision to eat, and I am going to continue to eat because right now that is my number one focus. I need to eat to live and to be happy!

50 Ways To Start Letting Go Of Your ED

1. Find a therapist who "gets" you (even if you have to go through a few retards who never should have gotten their psychology degrees).

2. Consult a psychiatrist if you or your therapist think meds may help with any depression, anxiety, etc.

3. Start to eat all "regular" food. This means no "light" or "reduced fat" or "fat free" versions. Note: I think it's probably ok to go back to these if you really prefer them, but when first embracing recovery and freedom, I think it's essential to have regular ice cream and mayo and cheese and all that...just to show yourself you can.

4. Eat snacks between meals. Keep your blood sugar even to keep your sanity.

5. Buy things at the grocery store without looking at the nutrition info.

6. Go to a restaurant and order something on the menu that you really want, as opposed to the "healthy" option.

7. Say "yes" to a sponanteous social invitation involving a snack or meal.

8. Invite someone to a social outing involving a snack or meal.

9. Say "no" to something you really don't want to do. Disappointing people and sitting with it is really important, I think.

10. Speak your mind. Express what you want, what you don't want, etc.

11. See how it feels to not exercise for a week or two. Again, I think exercise can be healthy, but if it's been abused, I think it's important to show yourself that you don't HAVE to do it.

12. Ban fashion and celebrity magazines for a while. I don't think pictures of models in bikinis cause eating disorders, but they're triggering. If you're really into fashion and style and all that, you can come back to the magazines later.

13. Change up your breakfasts, lunches, and dinner to make sure you're not getting into ruts.

14. Follow a meal plan.

15. Stop following a meal plan when you and your treatment team think it's not necessary, or even inhibiting.

16. Don't worry about what everyone around you is eating (or not eating).

17. Get enough sleep.

18. Stop body checks. I don't know any easy way to do this, aside from just stopping.

19. Don't get on the scale. There's no weight that will make you feel good for any length of time.

20. Stop counting.

21. Make a list of fear foods and start adding them back in, one at a time.

22. Read
Carrie Arnold's blog. In general, join the blog community.

23. Keep a journal. Even if you don't consider yourself a "writer," getting out feelings on paper (or computer screen) can be therapeutic.

24. Try not to give a shit about clothing sizes because they don't make sense.

25. Create a playlist of songs that make you feel good.

26. Spend some money. For some reason, food restriction --> money restriction. Buy something you want.

27. Do nice things for yourself -- a manicure/pedicure, a massage, a long bath, a hair cut, a book binge, whatever you're into.

28. Keep a list (mental or actual) of things you're looking forward to in life, whether it's a movie release date for this summer, or a vacation you daydream about, or children you want at some point.

29. Accept yourself as you are. When you do that, all those things you wanted to change will probably change on their own.

30. Cry.

31. Know you're not alone.

32. Don't be ashamed. You have an illness.

33. Open up to people in your life you can trust -- even if it's just one particular friend or family member.

34. Forgive yourself.

35. Take a trip (big or small) just to see how it feels to be out of your element for a while.

36. Do whatever it is you need to do during stressful times (i.e. holidays with the family) to stay healthy, whether it's bringing your own food, or making a deal with yourself to eat what they eat, or just not going at all.

37. Make a list of your food rules.

38. Break rules, one at a time.

39. Keep in mind certain mantras: "Your body is a temple" or "You only live once" or "It's just food" -- things like that.

40. If you have a significant other, do your best to educate him/her, but also know another person can't "fix" you. It's your battle to fight and win.

41. Have several favorite DVDs on hand to watch at a moment's notice.

42. Love an animal. They'll love you back, no questions asked.

43. Do absolutely nothing for an entire day (aka tell the productive perfectionist in you to shove it).

44. Think about some comfort foods from childhood and let them comfort you again. For me, it's cookies dunked in milk so long they're soggy, and mac-and-cheese.

45. Fill in the blank: "If I didn't have an eating disorder, I would _______." Then, ask yourself why you can't fill in the blank NOW.

46. Write a letter to your body, acknowledging damage you've done and how you plan to treat yourself well.

47. If you find yourself in front of a mirror for longer than 45 seconds, step away.

48. If you find yourself surrounded by women discussing diets, step away.

49. Keep a sense of humor about it all.

50. Go for walks when you feel delirious or anxious or upset or whatever. While doing so, listen to Paul Simon and come up with weird blog ideas.

(I got this from someone else, but I really like it!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"feeling" my feelings


therapist: you need to be able to "feel" your feelings. I mean really feel them, be able to sit with them and be okay with it.
me: What?...no...
therapist: you need to!
me: NO!... I'm scared... I can't!
therapist: jenn, you can and you have to!

This was the calm part of our session. It got very intense after this point. The fear and anxiety of "feeling my feelings" is a HUGE part of what is keeping me sick, and continually avoiding it instead of facing it is a big reason why I have remained "sick" for so long. I think in our session yesterday - we kind of, sort of made a break-through. Which is SO great because I feel like I have been stalling the past little while (even moving backwards a bit with everything). So I agreed to start working on this. He warned me that it's going to REALLY REALLY suck...probably for quite a while...but, if I can hang on and surround myself with people I can talk to and people who will support me - things will be so much better once I have faced this horrifying obstacle. I sure hope so...