Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about whether I need to be in treatment right now or not. I mean, I think I am doing okay. I still struggle - but we all struggle, right? I can't always use treatment as a crutch. I can't move on and let go of the anorexia if I am always in treatment, always talking about it, and always surrounded by it. Right?? Yesterday, I had a day off from work, (yippee!) so I went over to my parents house to go grocery shopping and prepare for the family bbq we were having that night. My little sister and brother-in-law are in town from New York and staying with my parents so I was excited to see her too! I mentioned to my momma, when she asked how my looking for a new treatment team was coming along, that I felt like maybe, I didn't need treatment right now. That maybe, just maybe, I am doing okay for once. She just looked at me and rolled her eyes. Then, after the bbq was over and I was ready to leave and go home, my momma pulled me aside and started talking to me about some of the reasons why she feels that I still do need to be in treatment. Some of those reasons being my eating behaviors at the bbq - or any time she sees me eating. I am trying to gain weight. I am eating. So I don't understand why people are still on my case so much about my eating habits. I don't understand. And it upsets me. a lot. I know that I still have severely distorted eating habits, and beliefs towards food. I am still hesitant, very hesitant, and sometimes downright fearful of certain foods (or certain amounts of foods). But I am still in recovery. These things don't just go away. But can people at least give me credit for trying? For eating some of these foods even though they cause me a lot of anxiety & fear? I am eating. Yes, it's limited - not much variety. Yes, I still have a lot of food games I engage in when I eat. Yes, I am still focused too much on my food. But. And this is a huge but... I am eating! I am pushing myself to eat more than I am comfortable with. So why are people still not satisfied?? Why are people still saying that I am not eating enough!?!? I started to get upset and I felt super discouraged. That is not what I wanted to hear. I really thought that she would agree with me. I mean, she is the one who thought that I needed to try to distance myself from treatment and not rely on it so much - so, if she is saying I still need treatment... wtf? I really don't see it... I don't. Am I in denial? I don't think I am. And, it's been nice not being in treatment. It's nice to not always feel like I am getting in trouble, getting lectured, not doing enough in my treatment plan and recovery, ect. It's nice to not have to feel (and delve into) the yucky feelings...
I have been in therapy on and off since middle school, and in intensive treatment for the past three and a half years. When is enough enough?Some people think I need to be in treatment, some people think I am doing okay on my own. Who is right? Or am I just doing a good job of pulling the wool over some people's eyes - and hiding behind the facade of "I am great!" while other people are not being fooled and can see right through it? If that's what I am doing...I must be deceiving myself too. Because I think I am doing okay. I don't think I am doing great(!) - but I think I am doing okay. I have been trying to self-study a bit lately. I have two huge binders overflowing with notes, assignments, workbooks, ect. from the two treatment centers I have been in. Plus other stuff from groups, workshops, other therapists and dieticians I have been to. I have been looking through them, here and there, and pulling out assignments that I think could benefit me at the moment, and I am working on them again. I figure, we have spent a bazillion dollars on my treatment - why not use the resources I have, you know? I think this is working for me right now. I think maybe, it would be good to see a therapist like every other week or something. And maybe a support group... but that is it. I don't want to go back to seeing a therapist, doctor, & dietician every single week again, like people are suggesting. I am tired of treatment. I am tired of the emotional rollercoaster. Because I am not someone who can go to these appointments and talk about the hard stuff and then leave, and go back into the real world without taking those feelings with me. Because I do take it with me. I try not to, but I don't know how to push them back in so quickly after I leave a session or appointment so - those feelings, insecurities, fears stay with me for a while once I open up and let them out -therefore, affecting & disrupting the other parts of my life. When you are inpatient or in hospital - you only focus on your recovery. You don't have to alsocope with and deal with the stress of everyday life. And that makes it - not easy - but easier to work through the illness. I am not saying that I want to go back to IP or hospital. I am just saying that for me, and I know for a lot of others, outpatient can be a lot more intense and difficult because of that reason. And I can't deal with all that comes with treatment right now. I just want to breathe. I just want to be.
Yesterday one of my roommates (Sarah) and I switched bedrooms! Sometimes, this girl likes and needs change - and this is one of those times! I am excited about the new room. I have been in the old one since I moved into the house a little over a year ago, and so this change will be refreshing!
One of the reasons we decided to switch is because my room is downstairs and her room is upstairs. So I am always freezing and turning off the air conditioner - and Sarah is always hot and turning on the air conditioner. So we thought... why not switch rooms? I did have the biggest room in the house so that is another perk for Sarah (LOL), but her room (well, my new room) is the second biggest, and it's actually not that much smaller - so it's still good :)
I am excited to be upstairs where it will be warmer and the bedroom windows are bigger so more sunshine will shine in, and I love that too! So... change can be good! It can!!
Yesterday was craziness! I worked from 6am - 2:30pm. I was going to try to leave earlier but I had so much to do and didn't even get it all done, so I had to come in today too (for a few hours) to finish everything. Then I came home and spent the rest of the day moving and unpacking. Two guys came over to help us move the heavy furniture (which was very much appreciated!) and another one of Sarah's friends also came over to help. It was so tiring because we had to move up and down two flights of stairs over and over and over... I was so tired before we started - and exhausted by the end of the night.
But I am happy and excited about my new room, and I hope Sarah is too! My goal is to have everything unpacked and organized by tonight because this girl hates messes and things being out of place. But I got a ton done yesterday so I think I should be able to finish by tonight. Yippee!
There is one thing I need to confess... My food intake yesterday was not good at all! (it's usually not that great anyways, but struggling to eat combined with all the energy/calories burned yesterday from being so active - aren't good for a girl who is trying to gain weight...note to self: jenn! you know better & you have been in recovery loooong enough - so stop it!! ") And the thing that bugs me the most is that I was loving the fact that I was burning calories and that addicted feeling was seriously out of control! I was getting my endorphins from all the running around and restricting. It was dangerous for me mentally.
Also adding to it was the fact that since I have been gaining weight, I have been struggling so much with my body and body image...a ton!!! So, I welcomed the exercise and the "I'm too busy" excuse when it came to eating... I hate when the ed takes over like that. Seriously. I know I should have eaten. I know I messed up yesterday. I know I mess up most days... But I alsoknow that oneday like that isn't going to really cause any weight loss, and besides, there is a family BBQ on monday that I gots to go to - so I can try to eat a bit more there, maybe. I am not as worried about the weight loss as I am about where things like this put me mentally... does that make sense? But in an attempt to fight off those ed thoughts - I did have an oreo cookie (the new strawberry milkshake ones) at my sister's house when I went over there for a few minutes last night. It tasted pretty good actually - but one was more than enough for me!
Anways, I did have a good day. Despite the stress of work & moving (the stress was mostly from work). And I socialized and talked with my roommates more. Which is something I am trying to work on. I am really good at being by myself and in my "own little world" and I am trying to break out of that. Which reminds me, that is another thing that I am going to like about being upstairs. I won't be as isolated and I will be around my roommates and people more. Less hiding = less opportunity for the ed to tempt me with harmful behaviors. I better go, cause I have got alot to do today, and my break at work is over. But, I have the next two days off from work so... yippee for that!!!
(the reason our house is called "the cottage" is because: the church I attend did a service project there the summer before I moved in. They cleaned up the yard and did a lot of work outside. It's a long story, but somehow it got nicknamed the cottage from the singles ward. There is always a bunch of single girls living in the house (there are six of us!) and it started as a joke and just kind of stuck. Anyways, that probably confused you more so... sorry! LOL).
Now, I just need to say... do not, I repeat, do not tell someone who is recovering from an eating disorder that she is "looking a lot better!" that she "looks better with the extra weight" that she "looks healthier" because as these might be compliments to everyone else - they are not to us. When we get further into recovery and more emotionally stable - those comments sometimes become easier to hear - and understand - in the way that they are intended to (instead of the ed filtered versions). And then there are those lucky ones (whom I hope to one day become!) who have reached those healthy places in recovery (mentally & emotionally) who can take those comments and embrace, love, and appreciate them. It's a natural thing to say. We all say it. Because when people do start to get healthy and regain the weight - they do look a lot better, happier, healthier, ect. But... it can be very very damaging if the person is not ready (emotionally strong enough or healthy enough) to hear these kinds of comments. It can be very damaging to that person and their recovery. All throughout my recovery, as my weight has gone up and down in my attempts to maintain a healthy weight - these comments have always been so triggering and hard for me. We know that they are said with the best of intentions and I don't want anyone to feel bad if they have said these things. I just want to educate and inform people. Because I think people don't realize that for a person with an eating disorder, those kinds of comments get twisted & distorted in our heads and the way we "hear" it is that you are calling us fat. And it's just reaffirming our fears. It's not y'all's fault. You are just the innocent ones in this crazy land of ED madness - but it really is triggering. Because when I already think I am getting fat and I am very aware (probably tooaware) of every pound I gain, and I am struggling with the weight gain...the ED somehow, (that sneaky little bastard!) is so good at twisting things people say... I would actually prefer no comments at all about the way I look. None. But if you feel you must say something - just say it once. Please. Please don't say it over and over... and OVER!! Because the more you say it - the more the ed convinces me that I am getting fat. I know it's irrational and I am working on trying to change these thoughts (logically, I know they are distorted - but emotionally I still tend to believe the filtered (ED replaced) meanings behind things people say...) I am very very sensitive and fragile right now and I don't need everyone around me adding fuel to the raging fire that is my ed. You can comment on my mood or things like that, no problem! For example, one of my roommates the other day said "You seem happier lately." Things like that are great! Just no comments about my body and the fact that it. is. growing. People are always asking how they can help me and support me... this is one of those ways. I hope this made sense and didn't confuse some of you even more... I know that ed's can be confusing, frustrating, & irrational (because they are to us too!) to people who aren't struggling with them. It's really hard to make sense from an illness that doesn't make sense...
I have gained a few pounds in these past few weeks!!(Deep breath jenn, it's okay! You need to be gaining weight!) I am trying so so so hard to stay positive about this whole situation because I realize that this needs this to be happening - but I don't think that the fact that I already want to lose these recently added pounds is a good sign... I am weighing myself. I know, I know - let the lectures begin, but I feel that I have to, at least until I start up with my new treatment team because if I don't, then I will think I am getting fatter and gaining more weight than I really am - because that's the way my troubled head seems to work :(
I have been able to gain these pounds from a combination of trying my best to:
1- Pushing myself to eat more than what I was eating.
plus trying to drink liquid satan's when I feel brave enough (a.k.a. Ensure)
(Along with the occassional meals with family - immediately followed by nervous breakdowns, anxiety, & panic attacks afterwards for feeling like I ate too much(!) when really... I ate a "normal" amount - oh my poor family who have to endure this, bless their hearts! And even though it's still not enough it's more than I am comfortable eating.)
2- The current status of my metabolism - which is... freakishly s l o w thanks to the ed.
3- And my attempts at trying to stay as sedentary as I can.
(I do still "fidget" and move around a lot, but I am trying to tone down the exercise)
And with all of these things...the weight is staying on my ever expanding body. I am going to be honest about this whole situation. I hate it. I have a ton of anxiety. I am feeling fat(ter!). I am uncomfortable. I am self-conscious. But I am trying my best to stay numb and distracted from the emotional issues so I don't lose these pounds. I don't even want to think about the fact that according to the "professionals" I still have quite a bit of weight to gain before I am at my body's natural set point (meaning the weight my body wants to be at naturally - without me trying to control it with the ed) because this girl knows how much her "body"wants to weigh and if they want me to get there.... well... let's not talk about that right now.
Let's just say that my body's "natural set point" is a little over XX pounds from where my weight is currently - and a little less than that to get myself back into the lower end of my weight range and BMI...(still?! How is that even possible!?!? I don't know how I still have that far too go even after this recent weight gain... will this cycle ever end???)
My body might want me to be at that weight... The professionals might want me at that weight... I know the numbers don't lie, BUT -when I look in the mirror, it's a different story... --- Note to self: STOP focusing on the numbers Jenn! Stop, stop, stop it!!! --- :(
I am trying to be proud of myself for actually gaining these few pounds and for being able to maintain it so far (without a current treatment team, may I add) - but it's hard because I just feel fat and uncomfortable. And I feel very overwhelmed with knowing I still have more to gain. But I am trying. I am scared though, that once I start up with the new team - they are going to want to increase the weight (and the food intake) and I am not sure my fragile emotional state can handle that. I will be honest here, again, and say that I am trying my hardest to distract, be more social, and put on the happy face for everyone around me (and myself) because I don't want to feel those "feelings". Emotionally, I came crashing down about a month ago - (as a lot of you witnessed as I was falling apart on my old blog...sorry about that everyone...), and since then, I have numbed myself from all that emotional yuckiness that is trying to drown me. It's how I am coping. It's how I am surviving. It's how I am gaining weight. I have tried to talk about certain feelings here and there with people (like my mom and my sister-in-law) but I always start crying and can't control the emotions so I pull away and retreat again back into that happy go lucky - "I'm fine" world of not dealing with my feelings...
Another thing that is hard for me to cope with when it comes to weight gain is the fact that for 85%-ish of my life, I have been underweight. That's how most people recognize me and know me. That's how I know me. My family, some friends, and a few others have seen me at higher & healthier weights but I have never stayed there for very long before I would start to lose the weight, once again. So most people, have only seen me at low weights. They haven't seen me at my body's set point and I am terrified of that. I bring this up because a huge fear of mine is that when I do get myself back to a healthy weight - I am going to feel embarrassed because I am afraid of what people will think of me. Will they think I lost control over my body?? Will they think that I am fat???
And that's only what other people will think... what about me? What about what I will think?? I have had a really tough time accepting, coping, & loving myself at those "healthier" weights. I don't recognize myself or feel like myself at all at those weights. I know that a 29 year old should look like a woman with curves(!) and not a 14 year old boy... - I have heard this a gazillion times, but what do you do when you are only used to (and comfortable) with that smaller body?? All of these years that I have spent drastically controlling my weight... it's who I am. It's how I cope with feelings, with life!
But I want this to change. I do, I just don't know how - or why it hasn't yet. Maybe I haven't let myself be at these weights long enough to get comfortable with them(?)... I don't know... I just know that weight gain terrifies me on so many levels! And because I have had to gain weight so many times, you would think that I would be used to it by now - but I'm not.And I am afraid. Afraid of losing the control. Of my body being in control. But I know that a big part of recovery is achieving and maintaining a healthy (and happy) body - so as scary, uncomfortable, & overwhelming as it is... I gots to do it!! SoI am trying to push through and keep the weight gain going (and going and going...)
I want to walk into my appointments with my new treatment team as a girl (no as a woman!) on her way up the recovery ladder instead of in a free-fall falling down into that anorexia hole like I usually am - Because it's so damn hard to climb out of. I am not saying that I am out of the hole, But I am (at the moment) out of the hole of being medically unstable with my weight. And I want to keep it that way.I want to learn to love my body. To embrace and accept my body. I want to love the fat (er... I mean curves...) that are finding residence on my ever expanding body. I want to learn to cope and control other more important things in my life than weight and food!!
That's what I want. That's what I am striving for. I want a life - and I know I need a healthy body to acheive that. When I am feeding my body and the mental clarity starts to come back - it's amazing! I don't feel like a walking zombie. I actually have more energy to do things, I am more present in conversations with other people, my personality starts to come back! And that's what I want for everyone else who is struggling too. I want us all to find that peace inside of us to allow us to be happy & free! And to be able to live a "life worth living!"
I apologize in advance for yet another negative post but...I ambeyond frustrated and irritated with myself right now! And I really need to write this out and process it because... my ed thoughts are telling me one thing while the healthy jenn is telling me something else - and right now, I am leaning towards believing the ed thoughts because they are stronger and more intense than the quiet (and lots of times- hard to hear) voice of recovery. Here is what happened:
Today I had lunch with my mom.
She called me last night and asked if I wanted to have lunch with her.
And that is when the anxiety & fear started.
Because I knew I wasn't going to be able to just eat my "safe foods."
I was going to have to eat real food, and lots of it!
She made lunches from her house to bring for us to eat at my work.
I ate more than I am comfortable eating at one time.
I didn't over-eat... technically.
It was a regular, well-balanced meal.
The problem here is: the amount of food that I am comfortable eating at one time is not very much right now
so, a regular sized meal is too much food for me -
Or at least that is what the ed has me convinced of.
But I pushed myself.
And my mom supported, urged, & pushed me to eat every single bite.
She kept urging me to finish all of my food
despite my many attempts of trying to convince her that I was full and didn't want anymore.
My mom is not dumb. She is not fooled by the ed.
And I got through the meal. (go me!)
I was feeling really anxious,
like I always do when I feel like I ate too much
I thought I could just go back to work and distract myself until all those horrible feelings past...
I was wrong!
I had so much anxiety - I couldn't concentrate or focus on my job.
The ed thoughts were super fierce.
I was shaking and I was starting to feel hysterical.
So I talked to my mom about how I was feeling.
And of course, I started to cry and had to go out in the hall.
My mom tried to calm me down.
She is like other people - they tell me to "just eat and don't think about it."
But the problem with me is... I can't not think about it!!
My rational mind is so distorted and screwed up
that food and emotions are so intertwined into each other.
I struggle so much with separating those two things.
And it really becomes a problem for me when it starts interfering with things, like my job!
This upsets me and frustrates me so much -
because how am I supposed to recover and move past this
when I can't separate these two things??
I am feeling overwhelmed and disappointed in myself.
I wish my emotions weren't so affected by what I eat or don't eat...
And all I could think about for the rest of the day
- and I am still thinking it now -is:
"This is why I don't like eating at work. Because I can't cope with all the emotions and therefore, it affects my job performance. It's easier for me to cope with the hunger & exhaustion than it is to cope with the guilt, anxiety, and fear."
I am feeling overwhelmed and disappointed in myself.
I wish food could just. be. food.
I wish I could eat like a normal person and then move on with my day.
But I don't know how to not let the feelings consume me.
I don't understand
and I am feeling pretty discouraged that
it's starting to affect my job performance.
And if this is happening when I eat just one proper meal
How am I going to cope with following a meal plan again
when I get my new dietitian
One of the main reasons why I stopped going to my appointments
was because I couldn't cope with the amount of food
she expected me to eat without letting the emotions take over my mind.
But if I can't eat enough - how am I supposed to recover!?!?
It's my third week of working full-time again and I just have to say...
I love my job!
The job is demanding & stressful - but it keeps me super busy and this girl loves to be busy ;)
And I have to say that it's really nice to be back in the "real world" again and socializing with people rather than stuck at home with just me and the ed thoughts all day. Plus, there are really cute guys at my work and maybe soon - when my self-esteem and self-confidence are a little less broken, I might just get the courage to start dating again.
Now, we all know by now, that my first week back at work was... well...let's just say it was rough and leave it at that. But these past two weeks have been... better(?) I guess it all depends on how you perceive the word better. So let's break it down for a moment:
The positive things about these past two weeks are:
* I have been trying to eat more
* I have been trying to exercise (and move around) less
which isn't too hard because I am exhausted by the time I get home from work so the only times I am struggling with trying to not exercise are in the mornings when I first get up and on the weekends.
* I love my co-workers and we have a good time together at work and laugh a lot. I love being there!! I love that it is a great way to distract myself from all the crap in my life. Did I mention that I love my job! lol.
* The water-retention & bloating has not been any worse than it usually is
meaning there has been no freak attacks like what happened that first week...
* The healthy jenn has decided that she doesn't want to give up on and let go of recovery!
it seems like every time I feel like giving up - that healthy girl inside of me won't let me give up, and I am so thankful for that part of me! I am thankful that I am able to realize that I do want more in my life than the ed and that there is a life out there waiting for me to reach out and grab onto! If only I can not only grab onto it but hang on to it and not let it go!!!
*I am relieved and excited that I am making my own money again(!) and not having to rely on government assistance anymore...
which means that I am going to actually be able to have a life and go out with friends because I won't be broke anymore! Yippee!!
The negative things about these past two weeks are:
*Even though I am trying to eat more, I am still not eating enough
not only to gain weight but to even just make it through the day : (
* I am so exhausted by the time I get home that I don't do much in the evenings other than watch tv and sleep... lame, I know
*I have completely cut off all my emotions (and all the things that have happened recently) and I refuse to acknowledge them
because I am afraid I will fall apart like I did that first week - and it's the only way I am able to cope right now. I need to focus on my new job without worrying about falling apart or crying over the emotional feelings that are trying to drown me and suffocate me.
* Last week I completely and totally fell off the wagon when it comes to my caffeine abstinence (oops!)
because I need the caffeine and energy pills to have enough energy to get me through the day.but... this week I have tried to do better at that - because I know that if I keep it up I am just setting myself up for some more wicked health problems. I keep trying to remind myself that there is a reasonwhy not just one, but two of my doctors told me I had to stop drinking my beloved caffeine. They aren't just banning me from caffeine to be mean - there is a reason and I need to accept that!
*I haven't done much to find a new therapist and dietitian. And I haven't made any recent appointments with my primary doctor either
because work keeps me super busy all day and I am playing the "I don't have time" card right now with this whole situation...
*I feel so behind on everyone's blogs and I feel out of touch with everyone because I am so busy during the day and then too tired at night to drive out to the library to get online. I try to catch up on the weekends... but I apologize that I haven't commented on people's blogs lately : (
I really need to get me a new laptop!!! And now that I have a job again, hopefully I can get one soon! Fingers crossed!!
And finally, I am going to end this post by saying... thank God for the weekends because this girl needs them to rest and re-charge!
And to show you just how tired my mind is by the end of the day - it took me two & a half hours (!) to write this post!