I am eating more now

According to my records, I am eating more now than I was before entering the hospital.  I have been eating up to 75% of what I’m supposed to be eating according to the meal plan set out for me by the nutrition staff at the hospital, which is a good percentile.  I may have gained several pounds, but it’s hard to tell.  My weight seems to vary from day to day more than it used to.  I’m not certain as to why this is except that I have been drinking copious amounts of water at times.

So far, I kind of like it.  I like the meal plan because it is very simple and easy to follow.  It is the same meal plan they had me on in the hospital–no surprises there.  Frequently, I eat a meal and find that I am way too full, but this is to be expected, I have been told, after one has been restricting one’s intake over a long period.  I tend to skip the next meal if this happens, though.  I don’t like feeling way too full.

There are two allotted snacks, one in the afternoon and one at bedtime.   This makes sense because breakfast and lunch are larger than dinner.  My experimentation and experience tells me that contrary to popular belief, it will not give you any ill effects to eat late in the day.  It doesn’t matter when you consume your food–intake is intake.

You should not go to bed on a completely empty stomach, and whoever told you to do so was simply misguided.  If you do, you’re likely to a) wake up in the middle of the night starving, and eat, b) wake up starving and weak first thing in the morning, or c) who’s kidding whom? you might eat anyway, or binge, before you even hit the sack.  I have not binged since getting out of the hospital, and feel the reason for this is that I am eating more, not letting myself get hungry at night, and having a structured, planned snack at night, instead of grabbing the first thing I see in the refrigerator.

What has caused this change in me?  Why am I eating now?  Have I turned the corner?

I don’t know.  I might be going through a “phase.”  But today I went to the gym and felt very strong and secure in my body.  I didn’t feel like I was using up the last reserves of fuel that I had, and I didn’t feel like I immediately had to go out and get an energy bar to replenish myself.  That’s a start.  I know I’m not supposed to be exercising, but I am.  At least I’m not overdoing it.

Eating rocks.  Try it.

Watertown Housing Authority maintenance screws up again

Before I left for the hospital, I believe it was Tuesday the 12thof January, I called maintenance about the leak in my bathroom that I believed was coming from the toilet.  When I stepped on the floor, water came up from between the linoleum tiles, in little puddles.  It may have been the 12th that I made the call.  Meanwhile, I had already slipped and fallen twice from the puddles.  They came the next day and looked at it, and said they’d send the plumber, Sean, who also works for the Watertown Housing Authority. They said the toilet was leaking.  Then on the 14th at 9am I left for the hospital, and expected that the work would be completed within a day or two, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about it while I was gone.

Wrong-o, wrong-o, wrong, wrong, wrong.  I arrived home on the 22nd to find that the leak hadn’t been fixed.  Every time I stepped on the floor, a puddle came up.  I felt like the bathroom was a swamp, and it sickened me to go in there.  I couldn’t bear to brush my teeth in there, and instead brushed them in the kitchen sink.

Finally, on the 25th, after I had nagged the maintenance lady, Debbie, several times, Sean came and looked at the situation.  He said he’d be back on the 26th, yesterday, to take the toilet off the floor and re-do the seal.  He came in the morning while I was out.  The procedure worked.

Problem was, because the adjacent bedroom parkay wood floor had been soaking wet for so long, when it dried up it buckled up and expanded, and now it’s in bits, and a mess, and hazardous to step on.  There’s an area 3 x 3 feet that’s formed a big bump in the floor.  Because of Housing’s negligence, it’s going to have to be redone.  It is unsafe for me to walk barefoot there now.  Here’s a photograph of the part of the damage that I could capture in an image:

I called maintenance today, and Debbie said she’d send Sean to “look at it.”  I wasn’t home, so I don’t know if he came.

Living in a run-down apartment is a negative influence on my mental state.  I don’t need this, especially not now.

Hospitalization: My journal entries

Thursday, January 14

Well, today I went there.  I’m here.  It looks like [the psychiatric unit I was last in].  Too much.  Locked unit.  I don’t like that.  I do not intend on gaining weight or cooperating any further than I have to.

Scared.

I miss Puzzle.

Friday, January 15

They treat you like a child in here with stupid rules.  I fucking hate it here, and want to be discharged as soon as possible because it’s not helping.  It was a mistake to come here.  I’m pushing for discharge Tuesday.  It’s true that the staff here are very nice but I can’t stand it any longer.

Saturday, January 16

I put in a “3-day” this AM.  Not sure it was the best idea.  My friend and everyone else plus my brother want me to retract it.

I do NOT want to gain weight!!!!  I hate this fucking place!!!!

Sunday, January 17

I am so sad.  I don’t know what to say.  I hate it here.

Monday, January 18

Today I found out that my outpatient treatment team won’t see me anymore unless I gain weight during this hospitalization.  They didn’t say how much (of course they wouldn’t) but I have to eat and gain weight otherwise they will stop seeing me.  It sucks that they are telling me this now and didn’t tell me before the hospital.  They tricked me!!!!  Bitches!  The weight gain has to be by the end of this hospitalization or they will cut me off.  But I must verify this with them before I retract the “3-day.”

I fucking hate it here.

Prison.

Sleep deprivation–they don’t let you sleep enough hours in the night.

Fucking cunts.

Tuesday, January 19

I am getting sprung on Friday AM.  Am I the least bit better?  Probably not.  I will start restricting as soon as I get home.  I am not “recovering.”  I am not even on the road to “recovering.”  In fact I am resistant to treatment, maybe?  I feel like an old, burnt-out, ugly anorexic.  I feel like I’ll never get better.  I need to get home, get my life together again, get Puzzle back, get back to the gym, get writing again, get busy, get into a routine, get through winter.  I need all these things.  I can’t stay here where it’s doing me no good except a temporary band-aid fix.  I am so happy to be leaving, but sad that they did not give me a reason to give up my eating disorder.

Wednesday, January 20

Friday discharge is official, and I am picking Puzzle up @ 4pm.  I have my therapist @ 11, right after I get discharged.  Not sure what I’ll say to her.  I feel kinda depressed about all this.  She and Dr. P got what they wanted: I gained weight.  Or so they think.  I did not pee before weigh-in this morning.  I know that was kind of a stupid idea but I need them to think I’ve gained a lot of weight.  Plus, I think I have indeed gained a little bit of true weight.  Today, I ate all my meals and one snack.  Tomorrow I will not eat all that.  No way.  I don’t want this eating business to become habit.  Or is that what THEY want???

Maybe if I stayed here longer, eating would indeed become a habit.  That’s something to think about.  Maybe I’m just not ready now.  But maybe this hospitalization has given me a glimpse into what is possible.

Thursday, January 21

I am a liar, cheater, hypocrite, fool.  What am I doing here?  It has been a waste, this treatment.  I am not even being honest anymore.  And when honesty is lacking, treatment is ineffective.  That much I know.  My therapist would say that I have wasted my time here.  But the truth was that I came here for the wrong reasons, and I was not ready.  What have I learned?  Have I learned anything at all?  I have learned that there are anorexics out there more deserving of recovery than I am, because they truly want it, because they are working for it, and because they are honest and good people.

The AA Big Book talks about people who are “constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves…naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.”  Perhaps I am one of these “unfortunates” and there is no hope for me.

Friday, January 22

Well, I’m home.  The first thing I did after setting down my luggage was to step on the scale and assess the damage: It is not too bad.  It will take me about three weeks to lose the weight, maybe more, depending.  I did not gain as much as they think I gained.  This morning not only did I not pee before weigh-in, but I drank a fair amount of water in secret.

I am bad.

I’m back!

I’d just like you all to know that I have returned from eating disorder treatment.  I cannot say much about what the treatment center was like for the sake of confidentiality.  But I can say that it was an excellent facility and the staff very kind to me.  They were also well qualified and behaved very professionally.  The facility was very comfortable considering it was a hospital.  Even the food was good.  I learned that in eating disorders units there have to be some very strict rules, otherwise there will be complete chaos, and treatment will be compromised.  I tolerated the rules but complained frequently.  The staff, in turn, tolerated my periodic discourteous remarks about “protocol.”  Once, I gave a staff member the finger.   There were no consequences worthy of note.  At first, I saw the place as prison: we patients were “prisoners,” and staff were “guards.”  I retained this attitude for nearly the entire hospitalization.

I was sad every day while I was there.  I cried nearly every day.  When I get up the energy, I will share my journal entries.  I did quite a bit of writing, which the staff encouraged.  We were required to write down our thoughts and feelings after each meal.  I did so, with zest.  I wrote freely about my feelings about the food itself, about how uncomfortable I felt in my body when I ate, how I planned not to eat certain foods next time, how angry I was about a particular rule, and random thoughts and feelings, in particular my sadness, that never seemed to go away.

This writing was the essence of my hospitalization, but it was only half, the half I dared to share with staff.  The other half I kept to myself, and didn’t share with anyone, including my friends, with whom I spoke (on my cell phone) every day.  There was no private place to talk, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was failing at treatment, that I wasn’t really ready to receive the healing that the hospitalization was supposed to give me.  I especially didn’t want the other patients to know that I lacked the enthusiasm that they seemed to have, and that I didn’t plan to follow the meal plan after I left the hospital and plan to exercise as well, against the nutritionist’s recommendation.  I didn’t want them to know what a hypocrite I am.  But I believe my self-hatred was apparent in the way I appeared to them.  The girls there didn’t really like me, and I don’t blame them.  I am ugly.  I feel ugly, wretched, horrible.

About 98% of me wants to stay anorexic and lose the weight I gained in the hospital.  There is 2% that cried out for help while in there, that threw little hints to staff that maybe I should stay longer, that maybe a few days more, even a week longer, would change the channels in my brain to the point that I might even like eating.  Maybe someday I’ll hit bottom and be ready for treatment.  I know I can always go back there, and I wouldn’t hesitate, if only I were ready to take that next step.

click here to hear my voice.

Am I really ready? Tomorrow is the day

I don’t know about this recovery stuff.  I don’t want to gain weight.  I don’t understand how I’m supposed to feel good about it.  Am I supposed to be looking forward to this?  Cuz I’m not.  I am NOT looking forward to gaining weight.  I have no desire for it whatsoever.  I dread it.  I can’t believe some people come into recovery looking forward to eating normally again and being like a “normal” person.  I don’t want to be normal.  I want to be me.  I’m not normal.  Never have been, never will be.

Some say that the ED covers up who we really are.  If they take away the ED, it will make me plain, like a “normal,” without personality, flat, lifeless, hating myself for being fat.  Because once I start gaining, I won’t stop.  I know myself and I know my body.  Even though I have discipline, “they” will do something to ensure that I gain extra weight, because this is what “they” want.  I will hate myself and want to die.  I will hate my new, fat body and I will want to escape from it.  I will no longer be me.

So, should I stay home tomorrow?  I’m going.  I have made this promise to myself and I’m going.  I won’t like it and I can leave if I want, I suppose.  I fear that I will hate it there.  I fear that I will be very angry.  But I will give it a chance, one chance, anyway.

All my friends are behind this move.  Everyone is, except for one brother who says, “The solution is simple.  All you need to do is to cook food, and then eat it.”  I gave him my therapist’s number.  She has my permission to talk to him.

A Hat to Match

Do you recall the Patchwork Pastel Sweater I made for Puzzle?  Click here to view it.

Well, I’m working on a hat to match, and I’m just about done with it.  I’ve made it in a similar manner to the way I made her sweater.  First, I made strips:

I made nine of them.  Then, I sewed them all together:

All that I have to do now is to figure out what to do with the hole in the top, and to figure out how to bind off the bottom of the hat.  I was thinking of preserving the scalloped look, but you know something?  You can’t even tell it’s scalloped once it gets on my head.  So I may bind it in a few rows of ribbing, not a lot.  Lastly, I must weave in the zillions of ends that are on the inside of the hat.  It will be a very warm hat, and it is 100% merino wool.  Puzzle and I will be twins!

Getting ready

Of course, I am very nervous about this possible hospitalization.  Mostly what concerns me is that for whatever reason, I’ll get placed in a psychiatric ward instead of the ED hospital.  But I shouldn’t dwell on that.  I haven’t had psychiatric symptoms for over a year (since I got off Lithium, really) so I don’t think I have much to worry about.  I don’t meet the criteria for psych hospitalization, and if they suggest it, I can simply refuse.  They have no grounds to commit me.

And it is because of this concern that I must not show any hint of psychiatric weakness, no mania, no suicidal thoughts, etc etc because these would be grounds for them to send me to psych.  It is okay to feel hopeless; it is quite another to threaten to jump off a bridge, which I have no intention of doing, anyway.  I am already on shitloads of meds, and for that reason alone they may want to ship me off to psych.  But I have my argument, and if they don’t listen to me, they’ll listen to Dr. P and my therapist at least, who would not approve of a psych hospitalization for me.

And so, being afraid I would not be adequately prepared, I packed for this hospitalization, all the things I would need.  Basically, I was packed already because I am already packed for a trip I’m taking in February.  I like to pack way, way ahead of time everywhere I go, for fear that packing at the last minute I would forget something vital, or I wouldn’t pack “perfectly,” or whatever.  I have never forgotten anything really important, or anything, for that matter.  I think once I left a mitten behind.

There is a chance I won’t be admitted.  My insurance may not cover it.  Or I won’t meet their criteria.  My treatment team, in that case, will be fit to be tied.  I don’t know how I would react if it came down to that.  I guess I’d feel sort of lost and abandoned.  And I wouldn’t be certain where to turn.  Would I have to tough it out on my own?  Figure out some sort of way of magically getting better?  Or just keep on the path I was/am on?

Bodies are strange.  They put up with all kinds of crap from us.  I don’t know why mine has survived all the things I have done to it over the years.  It has certainly done me many favors.  It’s time I repaid some of those.

Crappy birthday to me, crappy birthday to me….

On the days leading up to my birthday, which was Friday (January 8), I made phone calls about treatment.  After a while, I wasn’t so concerned about the food bingeing as I was about my continued restricting of caloric intake over the past ten months.

I hit brick walls again and again.  On Monday, I made about 20 calls, and another 10 or so on Tuesday.  No place took Medicaid and Medicare.  On Wednesday, I called my therapist and reported this, and she told me to wait, and stop making calls, and we would see to things when we met on Friday.  Over the next couple of days, though, people returned my calls with the same result: either they didn’t have what I needed or they didn’t take my insurance.

My only choice is inpatient care, which is kind of ironic since it is the most expensive.  This is what our tax dollars (Medicaid and Medicare) are paying for?  Anyway, on my CRAPPY BIRTHDAY, Friday, I finally made the call to an inpatient facility and got the ball rolling.  They asked me a lot of questions.  I have an appointment for Thursday to go in.  Whether they will accept me I don’t know, but they told me to bring my things and board the dog.   That tells me something.

Naturally, I am quite frightened about all this, but a great feeling of relief came over me once I made the call, and scheduled the appointment, and all the tension came out of me, and for the first time in about a week I was able to think straight (or so I assume).  All my friends support this move.  Of course, my therapist and psychiatrist are happy about it, and my psychiatrist called me and said she was proud of me.  I told her it wasn’t so much her and my therapist who drove me to this decision, but my own craziness.

Now, all I have to do is wait, and try to survive, and eat enough to get by.  I have to concentrate on getting there, and not let the ED talk me out of doing this.  I know that the ED is very powerful and will try to stop me from doing what’s best for me.

It has been four years since I have been hospitalized, but this is not psychiatric hospitalization, it is ED.  So that is different.  No plastic silverware.  No restraints.  And hopefully, the doors are not locked, but welcoming.

New Problems, new fears

I started bingeing (on food) right after I finished my Nano book on November 21.  It hasn’t happened too many times, just a couple of times in November, then three times in December, then tonight.   The binges come in pairs, and then I’m able to stop and return to my usual eating pattern.  I have fasted after bingeing.  I have no desire to eat for the entire day following a binge.   I do not eat sweets when I binge.  My last binge was about five cheese sticks and nine English muffins with peanut butter.  Tonight I had about two cups of oats, which I cooked.   I added peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal, and then ate the mixture.

I haven’t gained any weight from this, probably because it hasn’t happened all that much, and I go so long without eating afterward, and because I’ve been otherwise eating okay.  Sometimes, I eat very little.  I am simply not hungry, or I feel like restricting.

BUT, the big problem is this: Bingeing makes me suicidal.  If this ever increases, and I think it is already, I will get to the point of wanting to kill myself, and it will be very serious.

I know I will not die from being underweight, but I will die from suicide from bingeing if I am not careful.  I must do something about this, because I want to live.

Think: This problem started right after Nano ended.  I had nothing to do at night all of a sudden.  I felt purposeless, directionless.  If I’m going to add an activity, it should be at night, because this is when I have had trouble with bingeing.

Maybe I should consider one of those “evening programs” for people with eating disorders.  I want to stop the bingeing before it kills me.  I wonder if they will admit me to stop the bingeing and not deal with the weight issue.  I feel that the bingeing is more important than the weight issue, because it is the thing that will kill me.

I realize all of a sudden that it is the anniversary of my suicide attempt: January 3, 1984.  I took a massive overdose because I could not live with bingeing anymore.  I was about to turn 25 years old.  I think at the time I weighed about 115 pounds.  After the overdose, I was hospitalized.  I only wanted to die even more.  I realized I could not live outside of a protected environment because I would surely kill myself.  I was sent to a “work farm.”  It was horrible there, but they had a good doctor.  The doctor there put me lithium carbonate, a drug which stopped the bingeing, so I was saved.

Maybe there is something to be said for “treatment.”  But I don’t want to almost die in order to get it.