What Dr. P said

She didn’t mince words.  She commented on my weight/appearance right away:

“You look sick.”

“You look emaciated.”

“You look gross.”

“You look like you just came out of Auschwitz.”

When she said, “You look gross,” I put my head down and giggled.  She asked me why I was laughing. She said that this was an unusual response.  I said, “No one ever said that to me before.”

She said, “Why is your voice like that?”  I realized that I was speaking in a tiny voice.

I don’t recall my response to this question.

I don’t know if her comments were rude, or if she was trying to wake me up.  Once, Dr. P said to me, “People stare at you, you know.”  So this kind of comment has come from her lips before.

If anyone else had said it, I would have been shocked.

Or maybe not.

When people say anything, anything at all about my weight, I feel like saying back to them, “Keep your comments off my body.”  My T thought that was a great thing to say.  My ex-neighbors, when I see them, talk about my weight every time.  Every time.  Geez.  I know it’s out of concern, but I really, really am sick of hearing it.

Just yesterday–actually, I think it was the day before–I overheard my current neighbors saying, “She’s so ugly!

Another thing Dr. P said was that she was driving home from work one day and saw someone that was obviously anorexic walking a dog.  She drove closer, and saw that the woman was me!  I asked her if she got a good look at Puzzle, and if I looked happy to be walking Puzzle.  Dr. P said that she didn’t pay attention to these things.  She said she was alarmed that it was one of her patients.

I don’t know how I feel about Dr. P’s remarks about my weight.  They were blunt.  I recognize that I am extremely thin.  I see my reflection in windows.  I make no attempt to hide my thinness anymore.  If my appearance makes people feel uncomfortable, well, so be it.  I don’t think it does.  People are too busy texting to think too hard about the skinny lady walking a dog that they see twice a day zooming around town.

I admit it.  I admit that I like looking anorexia.  I admit that I don’t want to change.  Even looking “gross” won’t change my mind, Dr. P.

I have never been one to care about my physical appearance.  One of my father’s biggest gripes about me was that I never cared for my hair.  It was a “rat’s nest.”  I always thought my mind was more important.  Well, ended up losing my mind….

I don’t know what to tell you, Dad.  You never understood my eating disorder.   Usually, you simply didn’t notice the weight changes.  When you did, you thought something was wrong with my metabolism.

Mom, you look at me and you don’t see it.

Brothers, you are mistaken and you think I’m doing great.

Last night, I cried while doing the dishes, wondering what would happen to Puzzle if she outlived me.  I thought I might want to contact the vet, or ask the vet when Puzzle has her shots in August, what kind of arrangements people make for their dogs if they don’t know anyone who can take care of their dogs “just in case something happens.”  I have vague instructions written in my refrigerator for her care.  These instructions are too vague.  I am 53 years old.  Puzzle is 4-1/2.  One of us is healthier than the other. One of us is normal weight: 15.1 pounds.

One of us could live many, many more years if only she would EAT.

It’s just so hard right now.

 

Readership of this blog has more than doubled in the past year

Readership of this blog has more than doubled in the past year.  First of all, I have my subscribers who receive my entries via e-mail.  Then there are people who drop in out of cyberspace either daily or, more likely, once every few days, to see what I’m up to.  I suspect there are 50 to 100 of these people.  There are people who are directed here from other sites such as sites that list interesting blogs to check out.  There is a site that lists one of my dog sweater patterns among other dog sweater patterns to check out.

However, many readers Google me!  The topic that brings in readers daily is dog sweaters.  Some people have contacted me to tell me that they came here to look at the dog sweaters, then got interested in the other things here, and stuck around.  Other topics Googled include refeeding edema, which brings in readers daily, my sprained ankle saga, my trileptal ordeal, my knee injury, tardive dyskinesia, and of course, many eating disorders issues.  If you want to read the story about my anorexia/eating disorders history, click here for the page.

As the time approaches, I will be discussing the release of my memoir in paperback form.  The timing of this depends on how quickly I’m able to get my act together and do the necessary work that the publisher (Chipmunkapublishers) requires me to do before the paperback is processed.  Right now, I’m dealing with so many problems with my anorexia that it’s really difficult to get this work done.  I get to the library to work about every ten days or so.  However, when I get there, I get lots of work done.  So things in that area are progressing.

Welcome to my blog, readers.  I hope you are continuing to enjoy yourselves.

Julie

Something else I will mention to Dr. P

My sleep hasn’t been so good.  I wake up frequently in the night.  This isn’t because I have to pee.  This isn’t because of noise or anything else.  I just don’t sleep well.

Maybe she will recommend that I take Benadryl at night.  This helps me sleep and it’s safe to take with my other meds.

I might say that when I had my knee injury, I slept well.  I needed a little more sleep during that time, as well.  Maybe I needed it to heal.

Occasionally, I sleep well.  I still get vertigo.  I still get swaying.

Ideally, I get 6-1/4 hours of sleep.  Ideally, I sleep through the night and wake up no more than once.  Sometimes I get 5-3/4 and I’m fine.  If I get seven, I’m groggy, except I got seven during the knee injury.  Occasionally, I take a 10-minute nap.  This is very effective.  If I sleep a solid 20 minutes, I’m extremely groggy for hours and hours.

I think I won’t read this list (the previous post also contains the first part of the list).  I’ll skim.  This is ridiculously lengthy.  Just for the Notebook.

Just for You.

What I will discuss with Dr. P today

I will be seeing Dr. P today.  Hopefully, she won’t spend the entire session lecturing me about my weight.  I think we have been over that a zillion times.  I will start the session by saying, “I have a list,” and hopefully this will start off the session without the lecture!

First of all, I will mention the vertigo I have been experiencing.  This is how I will present it to her:

When I wake up, I feel just okay.  I’ll tell you about that in a minute.  I shower and walk Puzzle.  Then, I feel fabulous.  My mood is really high.  I feel absolutely terrific.  I have a smile on my face.  I even feel good when I pick up the poops.  [I have more to say about this that I’m going to not say here–not about poops but about something else.]  Then, I come home and have the first morsel of food of the day.  Within ten minutes, I get vertigo.  Dr. K has confirmed that this is vertigo by the way I have described it to her.  I even feel dizzy while seated.

At this point, my mood rapidly drops.  Recently, the vertigo has started to become extremely distracting, and I have started to become mentally confused.  Fifty percent of me suspects that the vertigo is a sign of the return of “It,” given that so much of “It” was physical.  At this point, my day is ruined.  I can’t do anything for at least 2-1/2 hours, often more, waiting for the vertigo to end, and even after that, I feel crappy for hours, usually into the afternoon.  Every now and then, the vertigo has lasted all day.

Here’s what I want to say about the bingeing:

I have had maybe three bingeing episodes since I last saw you.  These happen two or three nights in a row, then I stop.  I’m not talking about two sandwiches.  I’m talking massive binges.  I do not throw up.  I repeat, I do not throw up. The binges have to do with self-destructiveness and sudden dip in mood.  As you know, I do not binge voluntarily.  They cause really bad edema.  I am extremely concerned about the health consequences of these bingeing episodes.  My list of physical consequences, in addition to the edema, is something I want to get into with Dr. K, but it’s serious, and I’ve got to stop.

Here’s what I’m going to confess about that Trileptal:

I cut back on the Trileptal back in April.  I halved it.  This immediately stopped the swaying.  I had to do this to enable me to run on the treadmill.  As you know, I have been diagnosed with arthritis in my right knee and have been advised to stop running and walking for fitness.  The treadmill is a thing of the past.  I chose to bring the Trileptal back to its original dose as of nine days ago.  The swaying returned.  A couple of things about the swaying that might interest you include the fact that if I don’t sleep well, the swaying is worse, and if I take a nap that’s too long and I’m groggy, the swaying is extreme.

She will ask, “How’s your eating?”

I will say, “Good and bad.”  Bad, actually.  “Mixed.”  Of course, my response means nothing.

I don’t know what she will say to that, except, “Your last weight wasn’t good.”

I will probably hang my head.  Not so much in shame but in hiding the fact that I am hiding the fact that I am hiding something.  Well, I am not hiding but leaving out the facts.  I am not ready to tell her.  I am not ready to tell any human all the details of my food problems.  Maybe, I will write them down and let it all spill out in this Notebook.

The session will end there.

As we speak, I am experiencing the vertigo I experience almost daily.  It’s pretty bad at the moment, and has been going on for about an hour and a half.  I am sitting here typing at the computer.  I am sitting here, discouraged.  As usual, except for Puzzle’s walk, it’s not a good morning.  I wish there were answers.  Maybe Dr. P will have some.

A link for a friend, and an open letter to her

As many of you know, I’ve been losing friends lately.  Here’s a link I’m sending to someone I lost:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2325293/tollie_schmidt_video_blog_teenage_anorexia_friendships/

What’s true about friendship is true at any age.  Friends should stick by each other.

**************

I have never talked about this on here directly before, but I will.  In February, my best friend left me.  She left me at a time when I needed a friend the most.  It was February 7, and I was in the throes of It.  I had just been released from McLean Hospital.  Her departure came as a shock to me.

I think my initial feeling, for the first few months, was sheer heartbreak, anger, and grief over it.  She did send a letter of explanation, weeks later, that stated that basically she hasn’t felt good about our friendship for a while.  I recalled seeing it in her face the last time we skyped.

I did a lot of work in therapy about my grief over this loss.  I had to.  Losing my best friend wrenched me apart.

Sure, we stayed in touch.  But our relationship is just a shell of what it used to be.  Whenever I receive an e-mail from her, I feel like cyber-tearing it up.  But I don’t.  I write back.  And hate myself for it. Everything feels so fake now.  Sometimes, I think about ending the relationship, because it breaks my heart too much to keep e-mailing only, when we had done so much together before.

Until tonight, my feeling was that the relationship was beyond repair.  I felt that the horror of what she had done–left me at the moment that I needed her the most–had permanently damaged our friendship and that it would never heal.  I felt that her feelings toward me would not change, that I had said certain things or done certain things wrong, and had fucked up the friendship somehow, and that the situation was irreversible.

I thought for a while, “Maybe she is saying to herself, ‘I will go back to her when she gets rid of her ED.'”  But L, it is beneath you to put a condition on a friendship like that.    I tried getting rid of the illness just to get you back, but couldn’t.  I also tried hiding the illness from you in our e-mails.  That didn’t work, either.   It’s hard when you have something that just won’t go away.  It affects relationships and that’s reality, but I know we are strong. We are adults.  All friendships have challenges and we have dealt with this in the past.

Maybe I’m totally off my mind tonight.  But L, if you’re reading this (if you are, it’s tomorrow), I challenge you to simply forget about your anger toward me.  Just let it go, and I’ll let go of mine.  Just let it fall to the floor under our computer desks and into the dust bunnies.  We invested too much in each other to say goodbye when we did.  We’ve been silent and apart long enough.  I dreamed last night (or tonight, before I suddenly woke with a start and wrote this) that the phone rang and it was you.  So I challenge you to pick up the phone and call me.  You have my number.  Just do it.

I’ll be waiting.

I have taught myself continental knitting…at last…no more need for the "Julie method"….

I don’t know what happened.  I’ve been wanting to learn Continental knitting for a while now.  Suddenly, I can do it!  I’ve been using the “Julie method,” which I invented, for years, because I knew no other way.  The “Julie method” is slow, but I make very few if any errors.  Like Continental, I hold the yarn in my left hand.

About an hour ago, my hands started doing Continental knitting.  Just like that.   I’ve been trying to do this for years.  Right now, I’m working on the ribbing for a hat.  So I’m doing K1P1 in Continental.  I’m using two strands of yarn at the same time.  You’d think this would be really, really challenging for a beginning knitter in Continental.  It is.  But I’m doing it.

I have never been able to do the “conventional” method of knitting that is done in the US, called the “British” or “English” method, I forget which.  It is also called “throwing.”  For this method, you hold the yarn in your right hand.  To me, that seems…well, backwards!  People watch me knit and go cross-eyed.

People look at me cross-eyed, anyway.  I know I look like a freak, zooming around Watertown with Puzzle, who herself looks like a freak right now with her scraggly fur (she needs a groom).  I am just a crazy skinny girl walking a little scruffy white dog a mile a minute around town, blasting the headphones, paying attention to no one (including traffic).  Sometimes, she and the dog wear matching knitted outfits.  Crazy.  You wonder what she is laughing about.  You wonder what she is talking to herself about.  You wonder why tears are in her eyes.  But she keeps on zooming with that crazy dog, that happy little dog, telling her not to pee on the flowers, but that darned dog pees on them anyway, just like a boy dog.

Yep, that crazy girl has a secret today.  Wow.  Wow wow wow.  She can do CONTINENTAL KNITTING.  What a treat.

It Notebook, Part Two: Strange Sensations

This is a part of The Starvation Transformations: How hunger befriends me, nourishes me, and betrays me,  a new section called “The It Notebook Part Two.”  It might take me a while to write this entry.

Strange Sensations

I suffer from vertigo.  I get it in the morning most of the time, and I find it crippling.  It lasts for a number of hours just about every morning.  Every day, I plan to go out, but more often than not the vertigo comes, making going out impossible, so I cancel my plans.  Apparently, I get the vertigo whenever I take the first bite of food in the morning.  If I don’t eat, I’ll faint.  So I eat, get the vertigo, wait until the vertigo goes away, then I may go out, or maybe it’s simply too late, so I stay home.  Welcome to my life.

This morning I experienced strange sensations in my body.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  I was frightened.  I didn’t know what to think.  I was afraid that I was losing my mind.  I was afraid that I was becoming psychotic.  I was afraid that I was losing control.  More and more I am afraid that It is coming back.

It is a psychosis that takes control of my mind and manifests itself in my body in very distinct ways.  One part of It is dizziness very similar to the vertigo that I am experiencing.  The vertigo started May 24.  Was this the beginning of the return of It?

I am also beginning to notice some confusion along with the vertigo.  The vertigo is extremely distracting now.  I cannot concentrate.  I have started doing things that don’t make sense, like throwing things out that shouldn’t be thrown out.  I am putting things in the wrong places.  I am noticing some sensations in my lips.  When I get It, my lips tingle.  The lip tingling has been going on for maybe two weeks.  Another similarity is that It was always present in the morning, and as the day went on, It diminished.  I had a grand time in the wee hours, knowing that at least for a little while, I was free of It.  Welcome, welcome to my life.

I just got over being crippled from a knee injury–an arthritis “flare-up,” actually.  I was told to stop running.  That alone changed my life.  I told myself this morning how happy I was to be able to walk normally again, how happy I am to be able to give Puzzle her full walk.

And then the vertigo starts up.  And then the confusion, fear, and strange sensations.  Now, it is my mind that is crippled.

It is gone now.  I waited, incapacitated, just doing nothing in particular, and after a while I was okay.

Is this the return of It?  Is it?

Vertigo….again…and fighting my eating disorder

Yes, this vertigo I am getting is from my anorexia…day after day….Yes, I can stop it.  I can stop it if I can get my nutritional state back to normal.  All I have to do is eat…all I have to do is eat…all I have to do is eat….

So why don’t I?  It is so simple.  Toss my illness out the window and eat.

I wish.

Maybe, though, I don’t wish.  Because it is the nature of anorexia to hold onto it and hold onto it so tightly that you will die rather than drop it, let it fly away, let someone take it from you, or throw it off a bridge.

Maybe I should just open the window a bit.  Open the screen as well.  Peek out at the grass–or asphalt–below.  Consider everything I can throw out there.  Wouldn’t it be fun?

At the ED hospital, we had “keeps and throws” instead of “wrap up.”  Well, it was “wrap up,” but it was also “keeps and throws.”  You would say what you wanted to keep about your day, and you said what you wanted to throw away.  I kind of liked that.

Actually, I’d like to have thrown the ED hospital.  I’d like to throw every hospitalization I’ve ever had.  Or maybe I’d like to throw being in such a bad state that I require hospitalization.  I have been in this condition more times than I can count.  This truly sucks.

What do I want to keep?  What do I really want to keep?  When I think about it, what I really want to keep is my love for Puzzle, and my joyful walks with Puzzle, too. I want to keep the days that I feel like my life is worth living.  I want to keep the happiness I feel knowing that my special friend is in my life.  I want to keep sunshine on a summer day.  I want to keep the melting of the snow at the beginning of spring. I want to keep the crispness and newness of frost in December and the memory of running on the track at sunrise, this memory that I can cherish for the rest of my life.  I want to keep my blog.  I want to keep solitude.  I want to keep on keeping.  I want to keep…myself?

Do I?  Can I challenge myself to keep myself going?  Can I?

Vertigo resulting from anorexia nervosa and in addition to this "swaying" from ataxia side effect of Trileptal–both at the same time–oy!

Yesterday I ended up getting my usual vertigo about 10 minutes after my first morsel of food for the day.  This is always a glass of skim milk.  That’s all I generally have for breakfast, anyway.  From my research on the Internet, people with anorexia nervosa can get vertigo after eating.   Mine comes only after the first bite of the day, consistently 10 minutes later.   I think it’s from malnutrition.

The vertigo is bad, bad, bad.  I can’t really go out when I am experiencing it, not safely.  Everything kind of swirls around, or, more accurately, I get this intense wobbly-dizzy feeling totally unlike the “swaying” feeling that is more physical and not dizziness at all.  The vertigo comes from my head and is more of a feeling.  I experience it even when I’m sitting down.  I feel like I’m going to fall over.  I kind of stumble around and feel clumsy.  Yes, like It.  Also, the vertigo is extremely distracting.  I find it hard to concentrate on anything. It’s very disturbing to go through this.  It’s definitely nutritionally related.

The “swaying” is from ankle weakness.  This ataxia is a side effect of Trileptal.  It came back when I returned the Trileptal dose from 150 to 450 to the original dose of 600, which was what I was supposedly taking all along.  Dr. P never found out that I had halved it and then halved it again.  I will tell her what I did.  I will tell her I was a “good girl” and brought the dose back up again.  I need the Trileptal to prevent binge eating episodes.  I will tell her that I realized how stupid I was.  But I will also say that the “swaying” disturbed me, and that it made running on the treadmill impossible, and this was a damned good reason to lower the dose!  But due to the fact that I have now been diagnosed with arthritis and won’t be on the treadmill, I have decided to raise the Trileptal back up to the original dose. So now…ataxia…”swaying.”

Agreeably, the “swaying” isn’t really that bad.  It’s only a problem if I’m sleep-deprived.  But yesterday I awoke from a nap, really out of it, and the ataxia was bad, bad, bad.  And I still had the vertigo!  Now, the vertigo is 10 times worse than the “swaying,” yes, but the combination…that and being sleepy and groggy and weak from not enough food…well….It sucked.  I was completely non-functional.  You could say it was kind of a nightmare.  An anorexic nightmare.

You know, all I have to do is eat.  Get some food into me.  At my last weight check, my blood pressure was pretty low.  The systolic was okay, but the diastolic was something like 54.   This isn’t what’s causing the vertigo.   Vertigo is not the same as postural hypotension, which is a lowering of the blood pressure upon standing.  (Sometimes, postural hypotension can be caused by medication.  I used to get it from my meds.  It’s a very common side effect.)  If my nutritional status was okay, I wouldn’t get the vertigo and the host of medical problems I now have.

I don’t eat because I don’t want to gain weight.  Period.  I have anorexia nervosa and I am scared to gain weight.  I am sitting here at the library and I am scared to gain weight right here right now.  I am sitting here at the library weak and starving.  All I have to do is to go down to the cafe and buy a nice sandwich.  Oh, I’ll eat in a bit…lunch…vegetables mostly.  An hour later, I’ll be weak and starving again.  This is my life.

When will the insanity end?  Will I ever get so fed up with the medical problems that I experience–daily–to want the insanity to end at last?  Because all I have to do is to eat a decent amount of food and that will fix a lot of what I go through.

I really, really, really don’t know.

Vertigo somewhat improved…I am leaving shortly for therapy

I think I’m going to be okay to go.  The vertigo is finally fading.  I should be okay in a little while.  Yesterday, it lasted five hours.  Today, it seems to have been just as much of a trickster.

Meanwhile, I have a bit of ataxia from the Trileptal that I just raised to help with bingeing.  This causes “swaying” on my feet separate from the vertigo.  I also have some edema from the bingeing I did right before I raised the Trileptal.  I haven’t binged since the increase.  I had to lace up my shoes very loosely this morning.  That didn’t help my walking any.  But I was just now able to tighten them adequately.

This really sucks.

Two things don’t suck:  1) my knee injury is vastly improved.  I am off crutches completely.  They are back in my closet.  2)  I don’t feel depressed today.  Just wicked annoyed.

I’d like to close this entry with some kind of funny remark.  But right now, I don’t feel very amused by all this.