Schnoodle Puppies – A Schnoodle breeder in Lawrence, MA

Here are some cute Schnoodle puppies!  Duchess is technically Puzzle’s sister (not from the same litter) and Malcolm and Lightning are Puzzle’s half-brothers.

Duchess
Duchess
Malcom and Lightning, twins
Malcolm and Lightning, twins

These puppies were bred by Puzzle’s breeder, Elaine Galen.  Elaine is located in Lawrence, MA.  She can be reached at 978-793-1084.

New photo – Puzzle has two new beds!

My Schnoodle, Puzzle, has two new beds!  At first, she turned up her nose at them, and she still won’t use one of them, but the other, the firmer one, she now loves!  Here is a photo of Puzzle in her new bed:

Puzzle, new bed

When I am having trouble coping, one of my ways to deal with my difficulties is to pet Puzzle.  Then, everything seems okay again.  This is on the top of my list of coping skills.  The second include calling my friends (or e-mailing them and asking them to call me) or writing.  Sometimes, this writing involves writing in here!

This list of coping methods differs sharply from the list I used in years past.  On the top of my old list was to take a “PRN” (extra medication).  The second on the list was to take a shower.  Now, PRN is on the bottom of the list, or not on the list at all.  The last thing I want to do is to dope myself up.

It is good to have a coping list if you have a mental illness.  I think it’s good for anyone to have a coping list!  Here’s the old list:

WAYS TO COPE

PRN
Take a shower
Exercise
Write
Read
Clean the apartment

Make a list of what I’m going to do and do it
Structure my time
Stick to my routine

Focus on something real
Don’t listen to anything in my head that’s negative or intrusive
Do head tricks to get rid of bad thoughts

Try to figure out what’s bothering me, write about it or talk it over with someone
Ask for feedback
Do something nice for someone

Eat right and get enough sleep
Drink only caffeine-free beverages

I pretty much disregarded the last instruction on the list, after a while, but the other instructions are pretty good, don’t you think?  It was only recently that I decided to revise the list.

There is something magical that happens when I pet Puzzle.  Maybe it’s her fur, maybe it’s that she’s a dog, maybe it’s that I love her so much, maybe it’s that she loves me.  All I know is that it works.  When I sit on the couch, she comes to me, and puts her two front paws on the couch next to me, presenting herself for petting.  Then I have no choice: Pet Puzzle, pet Puzzle, pet Puzzle.  It works.

I lied

I did it.  I told a pack of lies.  I told her how horrible it was to be eating again.  I told her that I felt full all the time.  I told her what I had supposedly eaten.  She asked me what I had eaten for lunch, and I made up something and told her.  That was scary, because I stumbled for a minute on “carrots” and it must have looked like I was trying to think them up.  I was.  I distracted her by telling her, and elaborating: they were baby carrots, I said.  I didn’t want to sound like I was doing super well, so I told her I was having peanut butter on rice cakes for breakfast.  She scolded me for this.  I knew she would.  We talked at length about food.  I tried to elaborate on what I’ve supposedly been eating.  I think I sounded truly interested in cooking good food.

At the end of the session, my therapist asked me how the “ED voice” was.  People with eating disorders have an ED voice that tells them to lose weight, restrict food, exercise, etc.  I was honest with her, partially, on this one.  I told her the ED voice was incredibly powerful right now.  I did not tell her that the ED voice was saying to me, “Great job, Julie, great job lying!”  When my therapist asked me what it was saying, I refused to tell her.

The approach that my treatment team is taking right now isn’t working very well.  My psychiatrist, Dr. P, is spewing threats, and that just makes me rebel.  My therapist seems to be less action-oriented than I need. But do I really want to “get better”?  Obviously, I don’t.  What a tightrope this is!  I can’t blame my treatment team, but on the other hand, I didn’t ask for this eating disorder.  And if I could live again, I wouldn’t choose it.

Lying to my therapist

I plan to lie to my therapist today.  It is an understanding we have that she will not read my blog, so I can safely say this.  It has been a while since I have lied to her, so it will probably be difficult.  I’m not proud of this.  And I’m out of practice.  But people with ED’s are great liars, particularly those with anorexia.

I’ve got to tell her that I’ve been eating.  I’ll tell her how difficult it has been.  I’ll complain about how full I feel.  I’ll tell her that eating small, frequent meals helps.  I have been eating small meals–ha ha.  I’ll tell her that Dr. K’s scale must have been off.  I’ll tell her that although I haven’t weighed myself, I know I’ve gained weight.  My face, I’ll say, feels puffy, and my body feels more fleshy.  I’ll specify places that have filled in (like my armpits).  The truth is that I have lost weight, but all this should convince her that I am eating and have gained, and am doing well.  Then we can talk about other things, such as my successful stand-up comedy class.  At least I am no longer bingeing, and that is a huge plus.  About that I can at least be honest.

If my weight continues to be low, what about my next weigh-in with Dr. K?  I’m going to have to schedule it eventually.  I plan to put two rolls of quarters in my pockets.  That should alter the reading considerably.  And drink a LOT of water beforehand.

Of course, the alternative–most of you would say–is a lot easier, logical, healthier, etc etc etc: eating.  I don’t know what got me to sway from my course.  Maybe my anger at Dr. P for treating me like a textbook case.    Maybe my wish to avoid “life after Goddard,” avoiding the “next step” of facing myself as a “real writer.”  I am facing a blank slate.  I am facing the world of professional writing, which scares the shit out of me.  The truth is that I’m already immersed in it.  All I have to do is to take the next few steps, and then the next few, and then the next.  It’s that simple.  But something is very, very scary about doing that.

Skipping doses of meds…not a great idea

I accidentally missed two morning doses of medication on two consecutive days, yesterday and today.  This resulted in two missed doses of Abilify.

I must say, I felt rather speeded up during the day yesterday, and I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning last night.  I stayed up all day today, and couldn’t sleep tonight.  I’m still not asleep, and seem to have a “second wind.”  Dr. P had me take some extra Risperdal, otherwise I’d be flying all over the place by now.  Looks like I’ll be asleep for a good couple of days.

Don’t miss your meds.  Just don’t.

A long weigh to go

I got weighed today at the doctor’s.  Only up a half pound.  I thought it would be more but I guess not.

Dr. K will call Dr. P.  Dr. P will call my therapist.  They will “discuss” what to do next, I imagine.

I wrote a list of pros and cons of a “program.”  Here it is:

“My reasons for not going into a program include the following:  I have been in mental health day programs.  They tell me a couple of months and it ends up being years.  They tell me “We’re different!” and they’re no different from any other.  Every time, I ended up worse than when I started.  They make you dependent on the program to the point that “clients” fall apart on the weekends.  At one program, my primary therapist repeatedly, long term, sexually abused me–not physically but verbally.  I realize that this is exceptional.  I totally lost my independence.  I would be leaving Puzzle by herself for an incredible amount of time.  Transportation to and from would be difficult to arrange–incredibly unreliable medicaid cabs.  The program would probably “forbid” me from going to my graduate school reunion, and not excuse me from the program, and would result in my being kicked out of the program when I do go–and I will go.  End of story.

“Advantages: After years and years of being in the program, a slim chance that I may get a little better, then relapse.”

So there you have it.  No program. I don’t need to write all this to convince myself.  No program.  No program.  No program.

I did stop bingeing.  I am much relieved.

But I am left with a lingering depression that visits me at night.  It seems to start in the late afternoon and linger into the evening when I go to bed.  I don’t know why.  It is a comfort when I can call my friends at night.  That way, I am not so alone with my dark mood.

Uh-oh

I have been bingeing on and off since Wednesday night, which is when I wrote about the binge here.  Thursday I did not eat at all; Friday I ate sparsely until I got home from Dr. P’s, then I binged, and I just had a binge now.  Okay, so I binged three times since Wednesday.

This is not good.  If the trend continues, I may become suicidal.  The bingeing life is not a life worth living.  I have lived with bingeing and I do not wish to live with it again.

“IF the trend continues….”  So.  If I tell my therapist about this, it’s like I’m threatening suicide, isn’t it?  She can hospitalize me just for saying this.  So I’d better keep it to myself, eh?

But I need the bingeing to stop immediately.  So that I don’t have to die.  I guess I’m all alone with this.   If I tell Dr. P or my therapist just how desperate I am to get the bingeing under control, I’ll be hospitalized.  And the hospital is DEFINITELY not the answer.

Dr. P reads me the riot act

I did not have a good appointment with Dr. P today.  All she wanted to talk about was my weight and my eating.  Nothing else.  Nag nag nag.  I told her I had started eating again and apparently that wasn’t good enough for her.  She said I had to GAIN.

Well, I told her, at least I hadn’t lost.

This, apparently, was not good enough for her.  Not losing wasn’t enough.  I have to gain seven pounds, or else.  Seven.  I already panicked when I got to 99, I told her, and now she wants me at 105?

What’s so scary about 99, she asks.

It just is.

Well, see, Julie, that’s why you need a program.  I really feel that a program could help you–

No program.  I’m doing this on my own.

By “program,” she was referring to an eating disorders day program or evening program, where they serve you big meals and expect you to eat them.  They weigh you and give you nutrition counseling, and they have stupid groups and expect you to go to them.  Some people benefit from these programs, but I think I’d find it just babysitting for people with ED’s.

You say you’re doing it on your own, but you haven’t gained.  You can’t keep doing baby steps.  You have to eat regular meals.  It’s going to feel like too much for a while because you’ve been restricting, but you have to do it.  So I really think you should be in a program.

No program.

We went on like this for a while.  I flat out refused to go into a program, and there wasn’t a damn thing Dr. P could do about it.  You can’t be “sectioned” (court ordered) into a program, I don’t think, only into a hospital, and I don’t meet the criteria for hospitalization (or a “program,” for that matter, I don’t think).

I just plain and simple have no desire to gain weight or cooperate with Dr. P any further than I already have.  Dr. P wants me to throw out my scale, and I refuse to do this.  I have no desire to increase my calories back to where they were a week ago.  I have gained enough weight and I don’t want to gain any more.  So long as I don’t lose, she can’t hospitalize me.  And that should be good enough for everyone.

Laughing – the next day

I spent yesterday licking my wounds and recovering from what happened, yes, but I also spent time doing my writing assignment for the new adult education class I’m taking: Stand-up comedy with Bob Gatreau.  I wrote it about “family therapy” with my parents.  What a joke that was.  I’d post the text except the routine is full of gestures that can’t be seen when you read it.

I laughed at myself, and that helped some.  I noticed that in the scene, I was completely absent.  My parents did all the talking and the therapist mediated.  I didn’t talk at all or make any gestures or even appear present.  I am talked about as though I am not in the room.  The therapist has to remind my parents to address me and not each other.

In real life family therapy, I did talk and I was noticed, but my parents steamrollered over me.  They sometimes took up the entire session screaming about my smoking and drinking coffee.  The therapist had a hard time explaining to my parents that communication and listening were more important than my personal habits.

So yesterday, I made a joke of them.   I made a joke of myself.  I made myself laugh at them and myself and a past situation that shouldn’t have happened.  It helped me cope with the present situation that shouldn’t have happened, and laugh at it–but only for a little while.

What I did last night that I am ashamed of

A man did something rotten to me and I reacted badly.

I met a nice man and we hit it off well.  For two days, we conversed via e-mail and telephone in an excited manner, telling each other about ourselves, in hopes that we would continue to become closer and possibly meet.  Then late yesterday after I called him–he did not answer–he sent an e-mail explaining that an “old flame” had contacted him and he could not continue with me while he was “working things out” with her.

Typical “dear Jane” letter, I thought.  If he was being dishonest, it sucked.  Even if he was being honest, it sucked.  I was hurt, and wrote back telling him that I was “sad and disappointed,” and if he wanted to get rid of me, why didn’t he just come out and say it?  Then I wrote a PS saying “the door is always open.”  In a way, I question my judgment on the latter but I wrote in case there really was an “old flame” that didn’t work out.  He was, of course, a nice man, and it looks like my “single” status isn’t going to change anytime soon.

But the devastating part is what came afterward: I binged.  I haven’t done this in three years and it happened to me last night and I hate it.  I wanted to keep it very private, but my therapist told me to write about it, and if I’m going to write about it I might as well write about it here.

I am unable to purge.  I never learned how.  I hate myself for this.  I wish I could just get rid of what I ate so I wouldn’t have to live with the consequences of my actions, but instead, I must carry it around in my belly all day today and into the night.  In my history I don’t eat after a binge for a long time, and I feel guilty and ashamed of myself.  It feels like the whole world can tell by looking at me what I have done, by my belly, my disheveled look, and my bloated face, but in fact it doesn’t show.

My girlfriend called this morning and I didn’t have the heart to tell her what happened.  I wanted to, but I was so ashamed that I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth.  I did tell her I was devastated over the man, and perhaps I sounded a bit too shaken, as if he had ruined my life for the next several days, when in fact it was the binge that had taken over my thoughts.  He was incidental.  No man has that kind of power.

The truth is that I’m terrified.  If I go back to bingeing, my life will be ruined. If I gain weight again, they might as well not even bother putting me on suicide watch, but allow me to kill myself, because when I was grossly overweight, life was not worth living.

Of course, I am only stating my biggest terror.  I have only binged once, and I have no reason to assume it will ever happen again.  But the incident has frightened and shamed and shaken me so much that the taste of suicide is on my tongue, and all over my guilty body.