Waking up with an eating disorder for the zillionth time

Good morning, world.

I woke up not wanting to face the day.  I didn’t want to shower.  Didn’t, in fact.  This is an ongoing issue.  I had slept in my clothes and didn’t bother to change them, just kept the ones I had on yesterday and am wearing them today.  I know that is disgusting but I showered yesterday at least.  If I were running, I would gladly take a shower right now.  Guess that’s what’s so depressing about the whole deal.

I walked six miles yesterday.  I was desperate to–yes–burn calories.  I went to the track while the sun was setting.  This was the first time that I have gone late in the day.  Many people were there, mostly young folk, mostly walkers. I saw a group of young runners, laughing and talking among themselves as they ran, ponytails flying this way and that.  I never ran as a young person.  My self-esteem was so low that I felt that I couldn’t run.  And I never would have run in a group of people.  I always exercised alone.

I saw a mother teaching her child to use a bicycle with training wheels.  I didn’t think that was right, using the track for that purpose.  I nearly injured myself (again) trying to pass them.   I considered saying something to them, but didn’t want to interrupt my stride.

I walked fast.  I walked furiously.  My ankle didn’t hurt.  I played the music loud.  It felt good.  And I wished that I was running.

I seem to be on some mailing list for 5k runs.  So I received a mailing for a run recently in Boston that I can actually get to on the T.  There is a “walk” option.  I considered it.  But I wonder: why pay to walk 5k when it’s not a race, and I can walk over 5k at home on the track?  Sure, it’s for a good cause, but my 5k walk time is likely to be something very depressing.

My eating disorder is running rampant right now.  Mostly, it is the obsession.   I engage in some weird, weird behaviors as well that I do not admit to anyone.  My itch to exercise is at an all-time high, and coupled with this sprained ankle, I am very, very frustrated.  I’d go to the gym, but I’m just too skinny, and I don’t want to be seen there for fear of embarrassment or being “found out.”

I worry that although I have committed to my T to work toward wellness, my eating disorder is worsening.   I don’t think my weight is dropping but the obsession seems to be taking over my life, now that It is gone, and I am equally miserable with this preoccupation as I was with It.

So I woke up with my eating disorder for the zillionth time this morning.  Hello, world.  I woke up and said to myself, “Oh, shit, another day.”  I realized what an ordeal it was going to be to deal with eating and not eating and food shopping and not food shopping and exercising and not exercising today.  The daily grind.  What’s on my shopping list so far for today or tomorrow: #2 coffee filters.  Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain/snow.  Another day I’m not going to worry about until I wake up tomorrow morning and realize I can’t exercise.  The way I am now, though, knowing me, I’ll trudge through the snow to the gym and walk on the treadmill.  Yes, I am crazy.

Maybe, though, tomorrow, I’ll wake up and not have an eating disorder.  Maybe I’ll wake up and be normal weight and not be obsessed.  Maybe I’ll wake up and not have a normal, healthy relationship with food and my body.  Maybe I’ll want to shower and take care of myself.  Maybe I’ll have really, really good self-esteem.

I guess I want those things more than I want a car, or a driver’s license, or money, or a larger, warmer apartment, or walls that aren’t paper-thin, or nicer neighbors, or a next-door neighbor who doesn’t sneeze so loudly.  I want wellness more than I want to erase my ugly past and the embarrassment that comes with it.  Wellness would somehow smooth over those bumps, soften the edges, at least enough to move onward and forget about my losses and look to the future.

But I’m not going to wake up normal weight tomorrow.  If I did, I’d be mortified.  So forget that idea.  I’m not going to wake up with a normal relationship with food.  I’m also not going to wake up with the ability to drive a car.  But I could wake up with a more positive attitude than I woke up with today.  I could wake up and enjoy brushing my teeth.  I always enjoy brushing my teeth and having my delicious cup of coffee to start the day.  Maybe, there will be an e-mail from a certain special person in my Inbox who has come back into my life at last.  Maybe, I will hurry through my shower so that I can answer that e-mail before walking Puzzle.  It’ll be nasty tomorrow.  I’ll brush Puzzle’s teeth, throw on one of her lovely sweaters I made for her and am very proud of, and take her out in the cold, rainy, snowy April Fool’s weather.

So that’s tomorrow.  I’m going to deal with today first.  Wish me luck.

What I know is true

Today is Monday.  I don’t have a record of this, but I think it has been just under a week since It has bothered me.  I experienced It in the library.  I probably shouldn’t have gone to the library because I was dealing with It, but I went, anyway, armed with a bottle of Haldol.   I was uncertain as to whether what I was experiencing was actually It.  But as soon as I was certain, I took a Haldol.  When the medicine kicked in, It was gone.  It has not bothered me since.  It was a daily occurrence while I was in the hospital, often severe.  It is possible that this may be due to the fact that I only allow myself maybe six hours of sleep at most per night.  Less sleep means less likely to get It. If I get a full eight hours, I yawn all day, and am sleepy or groggy even.  And I think getting say seven and a half hours will put me at risk for getting It.

Today is Monday, and I’m working on making my life with It a thing of the past.  Tomorrow I have an EEG, which stands for electroencephalogram.  It’s a sleep-deprived test.  I have to stay up all night before the test.  They want to see what my brain is like in a very sleep-deprived state.  They are going to put little sensors on my head and test electrical signals.  The test will take about an hour.  It should be interesting if It shows up on the test.  Something tells me that this should have been done months ago.

Today is Monday.  My eating has sucked for months.  I am coming to realize, more and more, that I have a long, long way to go with my eating disorder.  Before It began, I thought I was doing okay with eating.  Now, I realize just how much work I have to do.

For a couple of months, It overshadowed my eating issues. It became the focus.  I could not manage my daily life.  I could not think straight.  I didn’t shower and didn’t know how to hold a toothbrush properly.  I couldn’t dress myself.   I had to wait for It to go away before walking the dog, and this sometimes took hours.  Slowly, I put my life back together.  Now, I have to deal with what remains.

But eating and weight are just on the surface.  There is a lot under there.  Yes, I don’t eat right and don’t take good care of my body.  Granted, I now brush my teeth a lot but that’s the extent of it.

Somewhere in there I made a choice to live.  Maybe it was several times.  Maybe one of those times was when the cops came and I went with them willingly.  Maybe another time was when, rather than begging people to set me free, I begged not one person, but a number of people, to stop me from doing what my thoughts were telling me to do.

So you would think that now, I would make that choice again, fully.  But taking care of myself means so much.  Like I said, there’s a lot under there.  I’ve gotten the daily tasks down that were tough because of It.  But now, I am faced with more long-term challenges.

I have not eaten normally since two days after the race.  I have mostly restricted.   I have lost weight.  I have done stupid things to my body.  I have not loved my body.  I have not cared for my body.  I have not treated my body with respect.  This has been since December 21st.  I need to wise up.  I can no longer use It as an excuse.  I can no longer use depression as an excuse, because I am getting over my depression.  I may have funky teeth, but there are plenty of foods that I can eat.  So I have nothing to blame now except what’s raw and inside me: my eating disorder, and it’s my eating disorder that I now have to face.

We’ll see how it goes.

Six miles–what was I thinking?

I think I walked six miles today.  That includes walking to the library and back.  That includes the seven laps I did at the track this morning, and the long walk with Puzzle, too.   This is not unusual.  Recently, I have walked more like ten miles in a day.  But after an injury?  Damn stupidity.

Yes, stupidity.  That sums it up.  I did all the right things for my ankle.  Except I didn’t rest it.  By the end of today, it was swollen.  I suppose it may have been swollen anyway, given that it is sprained.  I took some ibuprofen just now, and iced it, and have it elevated somewhat, as elevated as I can get it and still type here.

It doesn’t hurt.  It didn’t hurt all day, pretty much.  I had to be careful with it, but then again, slanted sidewalks have always bothered me.

So, what’s the reason why I was so stupid?  Why was I so anxious to exercise today?  I gained weight, and couldn’t deal with it, and still can’t.  I don’t know why I gained weight, and I’m panicking.  So I hit the track and burned calories, like I did last week.  It’s the nature of this illness to fall apart over things like this.  It’s the nature of this illness for the sky to come crashing in over every pound.  It’s the nature of this illness to find oneself praying the the scale each morning as if it were the one who decided whether one lived or died.  And many do die.

Will my body ever forgive me for the cruelties I have laid upon it?  I have starved it. I have put it at risk.  I have worn it out.  I have scared it.  I have threatened it.  I have poisoned it.  I have made cuts in its skin, deliberately, years ago.  I have beaten it in so many ways.  Never mind what I have done to my mind.

The body forgives.  The body heals.  I do think the body remembers, though, but to what extent I am not certain. You hear about people who recover from eating disorders and live normal lives afterward.

Some things do not heal.  You can’t bring back the lost years.  You can’t replace the energy and effort  you spent fighting this damned eating disorder.  And you can’t bring back the relationships you ruined.

What can I bring back?  I don’t know.  When was the last time I was okay?  I’m not sure.  Maybe 1979.

You can’t go back.  You can’t undo it.  Once you start the journey, you can’t turn around, because time always moves forward.

I don’t remember ever being okay, actually.  My parents force-fed me when I was a child.  I remember this.  I’m not trying to get weird by saying this, only that it wasn’t right from day one.  I remember food being shoved into my mouth when I was in a high chair.  Spinach, spinach, spinach.  Lotsa that.  Open sesame.  In goes the spoon.  Swallow.

I’m surprised I actually like cooked spinach.  Probably the only reason I don’t mind it is cuz it’s low calorie.  Maybe it was creamed spinach they were giving me.  Now that I do not like and will not eat.

The only kind of frozen vegetable I have in the house, actually, is frozen spinach, so that was what I was using to ice my ankle until I bought the ice bead thingy the other day.  Frozen spinach worked fairly well, but not as well as frozen peas would have worked.

So while I sit here and type, it seems that the swelling has gone down.  My body has forgiven.  For now.  Let’s see how it goes tomorrow.  And tomorrow, I hope that I can forgive myself, too.  I hope I can accept my body at whatever weight it’s at.

I get weighed tomorrow at the doctor’s.  I hope I can just step on the scale and not make an issue of it.  I hope I can be cooperative and stand facing away from the scale so I won’t see how much I weigh.  That is the agreement.  I hope I am honest.  I know I will be.  Because that, too, is the agreement.  And I got tired of lying.  That got old real fast. My T has told me that she will not hospitalize me because I have a decent attitude.

Those weren’t the words she used, though.  But I think she has faith in me.  I think I have faith in me, too.  I may be totally stupid, but at least I recognize my stupidity.  I even laugh at myself a little.  Laughter is a good sign, or so I’ve heard.  I suppose there’s someone, the God of Eating Disorders, who really gets a kick out of people afflicted with ED’s, and has a good laugh all the time.  And if I can see through that god’s eyes, I can laugh, and laugh, and laugh.  Because if you can’t laugh at yourself, how on earth can you laugh at anything, anything else?

So really, walking around the track seven times this morning, injured, was that dumb or what? I must have looked silly to the God of Eating Disorders, walking around the track in the freezing cold this morning, burning calories because of what the Scale God has told me over the past week.  While walking around the track, was I laughing at myself?  Well, sorta.  I did see the humor in the situation.  My body probably didn’t find it funny, though.

Body, forgive me.  Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me.  I wish I could love you again.  I wish I could comfort you and hold you like you were my child and feed you–not force feed you–but feed you lovingly and with care and respect.  I wish I could dry your tears and tell you how much I love you and reassure you that no harm will ever come to you, ever, ever again.   I am not the best at this but I can try.  At least that.

Please, body, give me another chance.

Sprained ankle–what am I thinking?

Okay, so I sprained my ankle yesterday.  I could walk on it but not all that well.  I wasn’t sure I could make it to therapy even.  Today it was improved.  I had to be careful but I could walk just fine.  By this evening, I could walk full speed on Puzzle’s walk.  I still have to watch the bumps in the sidewalk and it still feels funky, though.

So…while on Puzzle’s walk, I was promising myself that tomorrow I’d go to the track and walk seven laps.  With not only a sprained ankle on my right side, but a shin splint on my left.  The latter has improved as well, from resting the past couple of days.  But….

WHAT AM I THINKING?  Does my eating disorder have that much of a grip on me that I have to go out there and possibly re-injure myself?  Or am I…”rehabilitating” myself?  Who am I trying to kid?

However, I really, really, really want to go to the track tomorrow morning.

My therapist talks about the 3 D’s and SOS.  The 3 D’s are Discern, Disagree, and Disobey.  SOS stands for Send Out for healthy Support.

Discern means to discern between what is my eating disorder and what is me.  Disagree means that I am supposed to disagree with what my eating disorder is telling me.  Disobey means that I am supposed to not do what the eating disorder wants me to do.

I told my T, first of all, that I wanted to do these things, that I didn’t want to disagree or disobey.  She said that I was still immeshed in my eating disorder and wasn’t yet able to Discern.  She said my survival was dependent on being able to do this.

Well, who wants me to go to the track?  It sure feels like it’s me.  Who wanted me to only eat one meal a day for the past three days?  It sure felt like it was me.  Who wants me to lose weight?  Well, that, I know, is my eating disorder.  So now, I’m confused.

My T wants me to tell her the things that my eating disorder told me last week.  I told her that I had a particularly hard time with it.  I’m going to tell her that my eating disorder didn’t tell me anything.  My eating disorder isn’t a person.

I have had the experience, in the past, of having thoughts that I felt weren’t my own, thoughts that I felt were put into my head by someone else.  I think it’s called “thought insertion.”  But this doesn’t feel like that.  It feels like I am the one thinking the thoughts.

In 1980, I was the one who stepped on the scale and declared myself “fat.”  I was the one who, July 1st, 1980, started my first diet.  I was the one who chose what to eat and what not to eat.  And that was the beginning of what has turned out to be a nightmare.

I have been choosing ever since.  Or, should I say, the choices have been made for me.

No, I don’t feel like I have control anymore.  I don’t feel like I have choices.  I don’t feel like I have chosen this path.  I don’t feel like I woke up one day and said, “Gee, I think I’ll develop an eating disorder,” and “I think I’ll keep this eating disorder,” and, “I think I’ll keep this eating disorder for a long, long time,” and….It seems like I have no choices anymore, not now, not ever.  Because once I stepped on the scale, and started my first diet, there was no turning back.

When I left the hospital, I was feeling fairly certain of my willingness to work toward recovery.  This past week, I had a really, really, really hard time, and I wavered on it.  I am scared of “recovery” because it means “gaining weight.”

Today, I told my friend that I had gained three pounds.  I told her this over the phone.  It sounded like she was jumping out of her seat for joy.  This made me feel like shit.  I wish people wouldn’t jump on it like that.

Whenever I tell people that I eat now, which I sort of do and sort of don’t, they want to talk with me about food.  They want to talk about recipes and various cuisines.  They want to talk about what goes with what and what tastes good and how to cook different things.  It is almost like I have sparked other people’s addiction to talking about food.  We just go on and on, and I get kind of bored talking about it.

Food it just food.  There are deeper issues.  I didn’t realize that in 1980.  One of the problems, I thought, was that I was getting selfish.  I was concerned that I was praying to God for the wrong things.  I was literally getting down on my knees and praying to God to help me lose weight.  After a while, I replaced God-obsession with weight-obsession.  I think I stopped praying to God and started praying to the scale.  “Please, please be one pound lower, please!”

Weight-obsession was just covering up what was deep inside that I couldn’t face.  Some of these things I have yet to uncover, even now.  Some of these things are best left covered, I think, just smothered in the past and forgotten.  But I do know, partially, what these things are.

In my old T’s office, there was a duck-lamp.  This was a lamp which had a bottom that was shaped like a duck.  Where I sat in her office, the duck looked right at me.  One day, I decided to move.  I especially didn’t like the way the duck looked at me.  I didn’t like the duck’s face.  I moved, and asked my T to cover the duck, so that it wouldn’t look at me.  From then on, my T obliged, and covered the duck’s face with a book every time I came into her office.  I didn’t look at the duck.  The duck didn’t look at me.

The duck represents many things to me.  In part, it represents the issues I don’t want to deal with.  I suppose I use my eating disorder as a way not to deal with these issues, because it hurts too damn much.  The duck made me very, very uncomfortable.  I couldn’t bear to look at it and I couldn’t bear to look at it looking at me.

My current T wants me to talk about the duck–or, rather, I told her I’d talk about the duck a little.  I never told my old T what the duck meant, or why I wanted her to cover it, just that this was my request.  I have told my new T that the duck was very important.

I see my T Monday, two days from today.  She will expect me to tell her what my eating disorder has been telling me.  Will I tell her that today, the eating disorder told me, on Puzzle’s evening walk, to go to the track tomorrow and walk seven laps?  But this was not my eating disorder, this was me, of course, my desire, my desire to cut back on food the past few days, my desire to abuse laxatives a few days ago (I told her I did this–the first time since 1997 to my recollection), my desire to pretend everything was okay when it wasn’t.

And deep inside, I need to keep the duck as far, far away from myself as I possibly can.  Maybe I have been putting my eating disorder between myself and the duck for a long, long time now.  I think I have been doing this for survival.   So when I want to do these things, like going to the track with a sprained ankle and a shin splint, it’s for my survival, because I simply don’t know any other way to keep the duck away.

Survival….You can look at it so many ways.  An abused child does certain things to ensure survival.  Locks doors.  Listens carefully.  Hides.  Stays alert.  Always on guard.  This is survival.  You learn certain patterns and you stick with them.  And it’s hard to unlearn those patterns.

It’s hard to unlearn those patterns I’ve learned to ensure my survival, even if it means I need to unlearn them to stay alive.  I know this makes no sense, but it’s true.

Actually, this is one of the many reasons why eating disorders make no sense.

So when I go to the track tomorrow and walk my seven laps, will I be thinking of all this?  Will I be thinking of the three D’s–Discern, Disagree, Disobey…and SOS?  Maybe.

Who knows what I’ll be thinking of.  I could be thinking of anything.  Anything at all.  Maybe I’ll be swept away by the music I’m listening to.  Or maybe enjoying the fresh air and the sun rising over the track.   Maybe I’ll be thinking about nothing.

Maybe, on the other hand, I’ll be promising myself better days to come.  Maybe I’ll be remembering that I am striving to have a strong, healthy body.  Maybe tomorrow, I’ll eat three meals and treat myself well.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember that I am on this path, the only path I can possibly be on in order to survive, the path of wellness.  Maybe tomorrow, I’ll treat my body with respect, and cherish it for all that it’s worth.

Ankle update

My ankle kind of turned blue yesterday, but doesn’t hurt very much. I was able to give Puzzle a 20-minute walk this morning. We didn’t go very fast.  I had it wrapped.  I iced my ankle afterward.  I took ibuprofen this morning.  It felt kinda funky going down the stairs in the front of the building.

I did get a call back from my doctor yesterday afternoon, but I wasn’t home at the time.  She left a message saying that I was doing all the right things, and that it should heal quickly.  She hoped that by the time I saw her, it would be a lot better. I hope so.

Sprained my ankle

I sprained my ankle today.  No, I wasn’t doing the “no-no” I mentioned in the previous entry.  I was out walking Puzzle and stepped on a funky part of the sidewalk.  I guess I wasn’t looking where I was going.  My head was turned in the other direction.  I knew this was no ordinary ankle turn as soon as I did it.  I was totally pissed at myself.  Soon, I experienced pain.  It wasn’t all that bad, though.  We finished our walk.  It still isn’t too bad, but definitely a sprain.  I can walk on it okay, very little pain, just resting it, icing, wrapping it, taking Ibuprofen, and elevating it.  My ankle is blue a little bit, no swelling though, but of course I’ve been wrapping it, so it’s hard to tell.  It’s very distracting dealing with this.  I see Dr. K anyway on Monday.  I left a message for her but she hasn’t called me back yet.  Maybe she isn’t in today.

While doing laundry

My self-esteem has been somewhat restored over the past couple of days.   I’ve been doing a no-no:  I went to the track and walked 16 laps for the past three mornings.  It felt awesome, and I’d do it tomorrow except we’re due for some wicked slushy weather tomorrow until noon.

I need to stop, stop, stop before I get hooked.  There’s nothing like the track at sunrise.   Sometimes, I even have the whole space to myself.  Just me out there doing laps with the music blasting.  Walking is slow going compared to running, but I keep at it.  I don’t get into The Zone like I do with running, though.  Shucks.

I walk with Puzzle, too.  Every day, twice a day.  We walk everywhere, just zooming around town, the two of us totally in synch.  She is fast, fast, fast.

I am definitely not supposed to be doing this.  I am supposed to be eating, eating, eating and not burning off all the calories I consume.  I am definitely getting into a problem here.

I started pounding out my frustrations at the track because I didn’t know what else to do to cope with the depression I was feeling that was creeping back up on me.  I didn’t know how to cope with the confusion and despair and loneliness and grief and anger.  I am so afraid of going back into the depths of it.  I am afraid to stop exercising for fear that the whole shebang will come crashing down on me again.

At least spring is here.  At least that.  And at least I’m not drinking and drugging.  I’m super glad I never got into that.  I smoked for about nine years and gave that up.  Can’t believe I ever did it.  So the grass is greener right here, right now, and April will come real soon.

I went downstairs to put my wash into the dryer, only to find that the washer hadn’t operated at all after I had started it.  It took my quarters, started up, ran the cycle, finished, but hadn’t done a thing, hadn’t even gotten my clothes wet.  So I had to remove my clothes and put them in another washer.  Thankfully, there was one free.  I told a fellow who was down there who knew the machines well, and he said he’d call the folks that serviced them, and he said I should call them myself to get my money back ($1).  So I will call them tomorrow.

Input leads to expectation leads to results.  I put in my wash and money, and I expected results, clean clothes, but the necessary link, the washing machine, was broken.  If I continue to exercise in attempt to maintain mental health without necessary fuel, my body, the machine, will break down.

In the case of my wash, there was another washer for me to use.  I have only one body.  Period.

Clean clothes give me a more positive attitude.  I feel really, really good after my laundry is done.  I feel like I’ve accomplished something, even though it’s short-lived and I’ll have to do it again in a week or so.  Laundry is a continuous cycle.  It has to be done again and again to maintain a clean wardrobe.  Eating has to be done over and over, not just once, but every day.

Okay, self-lecture over.  My timer went off.  I’m going to go put my clothes in the dryer.  I wonder how many calories I’ll burn walking to the laundry room and back.  Only kidding.

Tuesday morning, 2am

I can’t sleep.  I’ve been mulling things over and mulling thing over, and it’s doing me no good.  I’ve got to stop.  People, places, things…can’t let it all get to me.  I’ve been out of the hospital a week, determined to life life perfectly, and life hasn’t been perfect.  Far from it.

The good part: I’ve gotten tons done on my novel revision. I worked over five hours straight at the library yesterday and I’ve been able to work just as hard every day since I’ve gotten out.  I’m nearly caught up on my assignments for my novel revision class.

The bad part: My depression is returning.  I’ve binged a couple of times, and fasted and overexercised in response.  Yesterday, I walked ten miles.  The temptation to break into a run would be irresistible if I weren’t so fatigued.  I haven’t changed my clothes for a couple of days, and have slept in them and not taken them off or showered.  Bad sign.  I just can’t bear to do so.

I have this horrible fear of losing all my friends.  A horrible fear of everyone, absolutely everyone leaving me for good.  People who have promised me they would never leave me have left me.  I do not believe such promises anymore.  How can I trust anyone now?  How can I trust humans?  The only one I trust is Puzzle.  I called one of the few friends I had left tonight, feeling like begging her not to leave me, but what would have been the point?  It is offensive to do such a thing, I suppose.

If I could get down on my knees and pray right now, I would.  But what would I pray for?  For a day of eating sanity?  That seems kind of selfish to me.  That I stop losing friends?  That, too, seems a selfish thing to pray for.  Maybe I could pray that I am a strong, healthy, giving, loving person.  But I don’t really believe in God anymore.  I wish I did.  I wish I had a capability to pray.

I am not a strong, healthy, giving, loving person.  Not according to anyone.  Period.  I suck.

Okay, self-hate fest over.  Tomorrow, I plan to (sorry) go to the track and walk.  It isn’t on my schedule, but that’s what I’m going to do.  Then I will walk Puzzle and then I will head off for the library eventually, work like crazy, and then come home.  I’ll pretend everything’s okay.  And everything really, really, really is okay.

Committed to R.E.C.O.V.E.R.Y.

Okay.  So far, so good.  I have only been out since Wednesday morning.  But I feel good.  Really good.  Positive about life.  I felt good about leaving the hospital.  I knew it was time to leave and I knew I was very much ready and prepared to face the outside world.

I definitely am committed to staying alive and living as joyfully as possible.

No, there wasn’t a turning point.

Yes, there was.  The turning point was when I recognized that I am just plain terrified to gain weight.  I realized that I had been so scared in my gut that I had been driven to make myself die rather than gain even one pound.

The surfacing of the fact that I would die for thinness shook me to the core.

Of course, hadn’t this been the case all along?  Didn’t I know that if I kept all this up, I would eventually collapse?  Such idiocy!

So, boom.  My therapist had slapped a contract on me February 17th.  I had flown into a panic.  Realizing that this was the reason for it all was a huge relief for me.  I wasn’t a bad person after all, just a person who reacted in an extreme manner to something that had to be done to preserve my health.  I had panicked.  I had stuffed my feelings inside.  I had not allowed myself to feel them.  They pushed their way out.  I had expressed them in a grossly inappropriate manner.  And I realized this a week ago last Thursday.  I have been on the upswing ever since.

Progress does not happen in a straight line.  Progress does not happen in a straight line.  Progress does not happen in a straight line.  Notebook, I make no promises.  I cannot promise the future.

Once I got out of the hospital, I felt excellent.  Getting Puzzle back was fabulous.  We zoomed home.  We’ve been zooming around on our walks and listening to loud music.

I’ve resumed work on I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul, the novel I wrote for National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) in November.  It took me 17 days to write that first draft.  It’s damned good for a first draft.  I’ve been spending long hours at the library and long hours here at home.

Here are the details:  Calhoun, the villain, is the strongest character to whom I want to make the fewest changes.  May, my protagonist, however, is a weak character who doesn’t do as much as I’d like.  She’s too passive.  I’ve planned out things for her to do.  Exciting things.  She’s going to get bold and shock the reader.  She’s going to have guts.  She’s going to express herself in a more active way from now on, in every chapter.  Like when Susie, her sister, goes into Starbucks to get coffee and leaves May alone in the car, May is going to get into the driver’s seat (she has never learned to drive) and drive the car by pure gut instinct down the street.  I haven’t decided just how far she’s going to get or the consequences.  Each character’s role is going to change slightly.

And like my characters, my role in life is shifting, slightly, gradually.  I am committed to recovery, weird as it sounds.  I am actually eating more now.

Yeah, Notebook, you’ve heard it all before.  You’re probably damn skeptical.

I have set up a strict schedule for myself.  Very strict.  Down to the minute.  It’s incredibly difficult to follow the schedule perfectly so far.  I did this before, though, my last  couple of semesters of graduate school, and it worked.  Right now is my It Notebook/blogging time.  I am approaching the end of my It Notebook session.  At 1pm I will arrive at the library to work on my novel.  The library closes at 5.  My finish time at the library is flexible.  Puzzle walk time is sunset-dependent and weather dependent.  “Telephone time” is 7:30.  I have set strict limits on when I can use the computer.  It must be shut off at other times.  Period.  Bedtime is 10:30.

Okay, It Notebook session over.  Tomorrow.