Still kicking even more

Hello!  An update….

The book contract went into the mail as planned….postage cost…surprise surprise…only $3 to the UK.

When I discovered how rapidly I am gaining weight (I have an accurate scale) I panicked.  Obviously, I don’t need to eat as much as I had been.  I cut back.  My therapist said no exercise, because this would prevent weight gain.  Clearly, this is not the case!  I have increased the length of Puzzle’s walks, and am doing a little freeweight stuff in my apartment.  I am eating enough to support exercise now, and I have lots of energy!  I would go stir-crazy, like I did in the hospital, and feel awful in my body otherwise.  It just isn’t natural to be sedentary.

Of course, I did make a deal with my treatment team, and I plan to keep up my end of the bargain: weight gain every week.  Period.

Love it or hate it, this is my life.  My new life.  Hello, world.

Still kicking

I got weighed and gained the one required pound.  Actually, I gained a pound and a half.  So I don’t have to go to the ED hospital, not this week, anyway.

I’m getting more used to eating.  I still don’t like it.  I managed to get to the library today, though, to work on my manuscript.

I can’t really write.  I can pretend to write, but I don’t really write.  It sucks.  Eating takes up all my writing energy.  But I can’t write if I’m dead, either.

I have been told that the writing will come back.  I told my therapist that maybe I’d been relying on starvation to get my creative juices flowing.  She said she didn’t think it worked that way.   I don’t think it’s like telling an alcoholic that they don’t need booze to write.  I guess she was trying to tell me that starvation doesn’t enhance one’s creativity.  I wonder if maybe she’s wrong about this.

Whatever you do, don’t try it.  Please.

I’m signing the book contract tonight, and I’m going to put it in the mail tomorrow.  I wonder how long it will take to get to the UK.

It’s the weekend

It’s the weekend, and I’m tired of eating.

I am not saying that I am going to stop, only that this is wearing on me.  It is harder to do this than it is to restrict.   It would be so easy to just give it all up and go back to not eating.

All this eating, cooking, shopping, doing dishes, planning…it is tiring.  I can’t concentrate on my life.  I am taking a class and I can’t concentrate on the work I’m doing for it.  I haven’t a clue how I’m going to even make it to the next class at the rate I’m going.

And I’ve got my manuscript to worry about!  The manuscript, for godsakes!   I’d been working on it the day the ball was dropped on me last week, then abandoned it and started eating, eating, eating.

This sucks.  I wish I didn’t have to gain all this weight.

I wish just eating once would satisfy them, instead of having to eat day in day out, for the rest of my life.  What a waste of time, money, and energy.  It’s just like sleeping.  A waste of time.  I wish I could just write and not be bothered.

I am so relieved

I found out earlier that all I have to gain this week is a pound.  I am so relieved, given that it is so hard to eat and gain weight.  What I had planned to eat today turned out to be way too ambitious!  I was overwhelmed by lunch.  It was mostly vegetables, actually.  It was delicious and I ate it all, but way too much for me.  I was still full when it came time for snack, so I skipped it.  So having such a big lunch wasn’t the best idea.  I’ve cut back on everything for the rest of the day, figuring that I was getting way too far ahead of myself, too far too soon, maybe pressing the panic button about the hospital.  I still have three more days to gain this pound.

After this week, they will be easier on me than they were at the hospital.  I have to gain .5 to 1 pound per week.  That’s not so scary.  At the hospital, it was 2-3 pounds per week.  Unreal.  No wonder my back and knees hurt.

Surely, this is the better way!  I am not “disappearing” for several weeks to a month, and then “reappearing” a totally different, “healthier-looking” person!  How embarrassing is that?  I had always wondered how I would explain sudden weight gain to my neighbors and acquaintances who didn’t know I had an eating disorder, and just thought I was skinny.

There is nothing worse than telling someone with an ED, once they gain weight, “Oh, you look so healthy now!”  Because that actually translates in our sick minds as, “You gained weight and I notice it and you look fat!”  In fact, if you know someone with an ED or have a family member with an ED, it’s best not to comment on that person’s body or clothes at all.  Don’t even comment on the person’s “healthy-looking” face, because this translates to “fat face.”  There is a fine line between saying, “That’s a nice manicure you got!” and saying, “Wow, you got great new jeans!”  The latter is definitely a no-no, because what it translates to is, “I notice you had to buy a larger size because you gained weight!”  Because most people haven’t got a clue what’s okay to say and what isn’t, it’s best to stay away from commenting about the person’s body or clothes.  Just my opinion for what it’s worth.

Okay, I’ll shut up now.

My progress

I am trying to gain three pounds by Monday.  You wouldn’t believe how incredibly difficult this is.  I increased my food, which was a good thing, then weighed myself and found that I’d dropped half a pound.  Damn.  I need to weigh 92 pounds without clothes at 11am Monday to meet this goal.  I weighed 87 yesterday morning, without clothes, 88.5 later in the day.  I couldn’t get an accurate reading this morning for various reasons.  I will weigh myself at 11am today.  I think I gained.

Here’s what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: thick-cut rolled oats cooked with milk, with raisins and sunflower seeds.

Snack: Egg salad on Ak-Mak crackers.

Lunch: Veggie burger cut up with vegetables sauteed in garlic-flavored olive oil, over brown rice. Vitamins.

Snack: A slice of cheese and raisins.

Snack: All-Bran cereal with milk.  A spoonful of peanut butter.

Dinner: Broccoli soup with bacon, walnuts, scallion, and cheese, all mixed in.  Milk.

Snack: A smoothie made of milk, walnuts, raisins, and banana.

Total calories: about 1600

I am still full from yesterday.  Or so I think.  Breakfast will be difficult to eat, for sure.  Today will be a long day with class, but I will be busy.  I generally try not to repeat days, but tomorrow I’m having about the same thing as yesterday, except I’m adding to it–a lot.  I’m adding butter and juice to breakfast.  I’m adding more oil to lunch, substituting hulled barley for the rice and adding milk.  For snack, I’m having cheese and crackers, and pina colada juice.  Dinner will be the same as yesterday, because it’s quick, and I’ve got to rush to class.  At class I’m eating a bit of gorp I mixed up for the occasion: raisins, chopped organic dried apricots, and sunflower seeds, washing it down with Gatorade, then when I get home from class I’m just going to have a spoonful of peanut butter and going to bed.  Total calories, believe it or not, 1865.

I can’t believe I’m actually going to eat all this.  I’m accustomed to 600 calories a day.  I know I will feel very, very full.  But I won’t feel the way I felt at the ED hospital, no way, because I’m eating healthy food at my own pace, not rushed, no pressure to finish if I really can’t, and I can put off what I can’t eat until later.  I can split meals into two, or just eat a bite at a time.  At the hospital, you had to wolf down your meal in a half hour, and if you couldn’t finish your meal, you had to drink Boost.  All I did was fart there.  The food wasn’t all that good, and they made you eat stuff like Oreo cookies and Doritos and other junk food.   You already read what it was like for me there.

After this week, I will have to keep on gaining, and definitely not lose, to stay out of the hospital.  My goal is three pounds for this week, but I doubt I’ll make it.  I’m sure they’ll accept two for this week.  At any rate, I have to keep on eating.  I accept this.  It sucks.  It’s my new life.  But the alternative is much, much worse.

The proposal I told you about

Here is the proposal I wrote to my therapist.  I’ve “edited” it a bit to keep names out of it.

June 7, 2010

PROPOSAL

As you know, Dr. K was alarmed about what I weighed today, so she called Dr. P immediately, and then Dr. P called you immediately and left a message or something, and then she called me immediately and left a totally inappropriate message on my machine (as anyone could have been in my apartment at the time–maintenance men as well as management personnel are frequently in my apartment even when I am not home, with or without my prior knowledge) stating that I was at an unhealthy weight and malnourished, and should go to the ED hospital immediately.  She left the ED hospital number, with instructions to call them.  I was at the library all day, and then went to my knitting group, and returned home after 8pm.  I picked up the message then.

I refuse to go to the ED hospital.  My decision is final.  What they do there is cruel and unusual punishment and an assault on my body.  It is an assault worse than what the Seroquel did to me and an assault worse than having broken my leg in 1999 and an assault worse than having been raped, and I have been raped more than once.  Like rape, it is a physical assault, but because I have an eating disorder, it is, like rape, also a mental and emotional assault.  I choose to not undergo this horrific trauma again.

I choose not to be treated like a child.  I choose not to be in a prison-like environment.  I choose not to have my rights taken away from me.  I choose not to have my privacy taken away from me.  I choose not to have every bodily function monitored by authorities.  I choose not to be constantly watched.  I choose to have access to my belongings and not have them taken away from me.  I choose freedom.

What is the difference between the ED hospital and being on the outside, then, given that I plan to eat?  Even if I did go to the ED hospital, I would definitely refuse the tube.  So all they would do would be to feed me.  So eat there, or eat at home?  Honestly, which is better?  Which makes more logical sense?

Going to the ED hospital would totally ruin all the progress I have made here at home.  I have added prunes, ham, bacon, veggie burgers, All-Bran cereal, green pepper, minute white rice, quick brown rice, low fat cottage cheese, celery, mushrooms, radishes, garlic-flavored olive oil, walnuts, and scallions.  In addition, as of tonight (June 7, 2010) I have purchased, and plan to eat, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, thick rolled oats (I plan to eat oatmeal tomorrow before I see you), hulled (whole) barley, Kashi pilaf,  creamy broccoli soup, Ak-Mak crackers, split pea soup, bananas, and cheddar cheese. That is, I have added 25 new foods!  Many of these I am storing in my refrigerator, and they will go bad if I end up in the ED hospital.  This is no trivial matter.  Think of what spoiling all this good food will mean to me!  I have created new recipes of my own using the foods I have purchased in quantities that I can tolerate.  I season my food to my liking.  I actually cook foods that I like.  I sit at my table and eat.  This is something new.  I used to eat standing up, if I ate at all.  I do my dishes every night, also something new.  I used to not have dishes to do.  I keep my kitchen clean.   Surely, an interruption in my new-found routine will ruin all this progress I’ve made.

The ED hospital will ruin my progress because the place breaks my spirit.  The ED hospital makes me want to restrict.  The ED hospital makes me want to lose all the weight they make me gain, and more.  The ED hospital, because of their strict rules, makes me want to break out and rebel against them.  I refuse to give in.  I refuse to sign myself in this time.  I refuse the tube.  I refuse to eat their horrible, unhealthy, institutional, badly cooked food.  The ED hospital is for children.  Indeed, most of their patients are children, and the unit is designed for them.  I refuse to go there.

I hope that you are convinced by what I am writing here that my going to The ED hospital is a poor choice, especially now of all times.  I hope you can convince Dr. P and Dr. K likewise.  I know Dr. P will be very stubborn about this.  I know my lab work may have irregularities, and I will have to deal with some consequence of this, but I’m sure whatever needs doing can be done outpatient.  Perhaps nothing will be wrong after all.  I hope that you and Dr. P and Dr. K will agree to continue working with me.  I’m sure you will.

Eating is eating, after all, and it’s better and easier done in freedom, in one’s own environment, in a natural environment, not forced upon one, don’t you think?  That is just like the concept behind low-residency colleges: that one is writing at home throughout one’s schooling, which is no different from one’s life after graduation.   That is why graduates of low-residency schools are more likely to keep on writing than those in regular MFA programs.  See what I mean?  It is more natural to learn to eat at home.

Furthermore, there are a lot of girls at the ED hospital who have given up on themselves, who have accepted the fact that they are going to die.  I honestly can say that I feel this myself.  The ED hospital will not help me with this.  Those girls rub off on me too much.  Almost all of them are into the routine.  Many are repeat offenders.   I have already told you that you are a very good therapist for me who can help me out of this.  In a way, both the maddening phone call from Dr. P and the actual writing of this proposal are helping me to want to live again.

So, what do you say?  Will you work with me?  Or will you give up on me?

Julie

I almost ended up back at the ED hospital

I got weighed at my primary care physician’s office yesterday–in a gown.  I guess she was alarmed, because she called my psychiatrist, Dr. P, immediately, who called my therapist immediately, and then called my answering machine, all within only a couple of minutes.  At the time that she was leaving the message, I was still putting my clothes back on at my PCP’s office!

The message said something like this:  You don’t weigh enough and you are extremely malnourished, so you have to go back to the ED hospital.  I want you to call the admissions office immediately and arrange to be admitted.  Here’s the number.  I will allow you to see your therapist tomorrow before going in, to tie up loose ends.  You can resume working with her after your stay at the hospital.

I didn’t receive this message until after 8pm, when I came home from the library, even though Dr. P left the message at 1:08pm.  At first, I was very upset.  I called my friend, but she wasn’t home.  Then I called my brothers, very upset, and talked to both of them.  They helped calm me down.  Then I decided that since I was seeing my therapist today, I would write her a proposal letter, in attempt to convince her that the ED hospital was not the answer.

The letter took about three hours to write.  I was up till midnight writing it!  By the time I was finished, I was rather pleased with the result.  I thought I had something that was convincing.  I have a million reasons to stay out of there that I am too tired to go into now.  You have already heard many of them; there are more.  Perhaps I will share the letter at some point.  I happen to think that it’s pretty decent.  I’ll have to “edit” it to get the particulars out of it, but I could conceivably share it with all of you.

The result: I shared the proposal letter with my therapist today.  It must have had some effect on her, because we were able to work out a compromise: I have one week to get my act together.  I have to gain weight in a week.  I have to eat up to quota all week.  And hopefully, by eating right and gaining weight, my blood levels will improve.  She said she didn’t know if the other two–my primary and Dr. P–would agree to this, but she said she would call them, and if I didn’t hear from them it would be good news.  I haven’t heard from them.  If I still haven’t heard from them by tomorrow noon, I’ll assume I’m free for now.  My appointment to get weighed next week is Monday at 11.  The verdict.

Yesterday: new plans

As it turns out, I saw my therapist yesterday.  Ever since I’ve decided to be totally honest with her, which was a complete turnaround, we’ve been meeting twice a week instead of once a week, generally on Tuesdays and Fridays.

At any rate, I’m not going to be seeing my nutritionist anymore.  I don’t know if I told you all this or not.  My T and I made this decision a couple of weeks ago.  The reason for this is that I have been lying to my nutritionist since day one!  I have told her some very, very creative lies, in fact. Lie: I told her that I was following my meal plan.  Lie: I told her I was eating all sorts of food that not only I wasn’t eating, but I wouldn’t eat in a million years.  Lie: I cheated on the scale, putting things in my pockets and drinking water, and not peeing before I was weighed.  She never made me take off my jacket.  I had stuffed the pockets.  She didn’t even make me take off my huge sun hat, which was hanging around my neck.  The first two times, she weighed me without shoes.  The third time, she forgot, and weighed me with shoes.  Sucker.

So, my T, yesterday, bargained with me.  She wrote down what I was supposed to eat, right up to the time I see her next.  She wants me to write down what I eat, and my feelings afterward.

Well, since every day is honesty day at this point, in order to save my own life, which was in fact my own decision a couple of weeks ago, I had to be honest when I wrote everything down, and I was.  I let it all out.  I wrote down all my “anorexic tricks.”  Even stuff I’ve never told anyone.  Some of it she’ll probably have guessed by now, and some of it will simply pique her curiosity.  Other things will get her very, very concerned.

Sometimes, when I write stuff for her, which I’ve been doing ever since the honesty days started, she has read these letters aloud.  I hope she doesn’t read this one aloud, because it’s wicked long.

For some reason, I actually look forward to therapy these days.  I used to dread it, especially the part when I had to talk about my eating.  Now, if I want to tell her something difficult, I write it down beforehand, or I draw a picture of it.  I’m told by my artist friend that my drawings look like those of Paul Klee.  Cool.

Further updates to www.juliegreene.name

Today I did some more updating.  I replaced old versions of the first chapter of This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness, called “A Forgotten Line: Emergence,” and the chapter, “Hunger: Arrows” with the newer versions.  This I did just a little while ago.

I also simplified the navigation buttons.  To access writings not part of This Hunger Is Secret, just click on “Writings not from THIS.”  This will bring up links to all the writings you have previously seen on the site.  The Breakdown Lane, Traveled material is still all there.

To see the site, click here.

I have updated www.juliegreene.name

I am gradually updating my home site.  As of right now, I have a new home page announcing This Hunger Is Secret, a new bio page with updates regarding what’s been going on in my life, and a new page containing a summary of my book.

I have decided to have a page for each of a handful of the characters in the book.   Most important of these are the main characters: Irene, my roommate; Maria, my camp counselor, and Cat, my “best friend.” These characters appear in multiple chapters.  Other less important characters who appear less frequently are Hilda, a nurse; Dr. Mitchell, a shrink, and Jackson, another patient.   They, too, will each have a page.   Of course, my parents are included.  They are presented together, as a single unit.  Interesting.  The Thing, an Evil Being who was present in my life in 1996 and 1997, will also have his own page, as a character.

Go take a peek!  Click here.