Some comments on binge eating, starvation, inpatient treatment and my life before and after…this is kind of heavy

While I was in eating disorders treatment, nothing was discussed about bingeing.  Nada.  Zilch.

We’re talking about state-of-the-art treatment.  They do state on their website that they treat binge eating disorder, but they don’t address this behavior in the groups or talk about how to stop this behavior.  No one talks about bingeing.  Ever.  The focus is on purging behavior.  The staff go to great lengths to prevent patients from purging in the bathrooms after meals and snacks.   Patients are watched during meals and I assume that hoarding behavior is generally prevented, because patients are not allowed to wear garments with pockets in the dining room.  To accumulate enough food for a binge, at least a binge that is big enough to qualify as the kind of binge that I would do…it would be impossible.  There are no drawers and no space to hide items.

I finally inquired about bingeing after I’d been at the Alcott Unit of Walden Behavioral Care, the inpatient unit where I was staying, for over a week and nobody had even mentioned what the heck I was going to do about bingeing once I got out.

Of course, I have talked to you guys a zillion times on this subject and I had told the doctor why I was on, specifically, Topamax and Imipramine.  Actually, I have barely had the opportunity to discuss the whole Imipramine ordeal with you over the past couple of weeks…it was beyond the point of toss-up…let me back up and explain….

I have been on Imipramine since November.  It is a fabulous drug for binge eating.  This is the original drug used to treat binge eating, believe it or not.  This research was done by some shrinks in the early 1980’s and was written up and published in a book calledNew Hope for Binge Eaters. I own this book.  It is a very, very important book and I am angered, actually angered on a very deeply personal level that the research was dismissed by so many people…maybe because it put therapists out of business or made binge eating using treatment using Imipramine, as some called, in protest, “male doing to a female behavior” which is very bullshit because of course binge eating is not a female behavior and research on “chemicals” that influence brain activity is not done by only males…(this research and knowledge is something that is passed on not only in the pharmaceutical industry but in traditional “folk” cultures and within family units since the beginning of the species and is written in the earliest recorded history).  I latched onto this book and after all these years still buy into the notion that binge eating is a brain response.  I know this in my gut of guts.

I say this with tears in my eyes, not tears of sadness or joy or anything judgmental on myself certainly, but feelings of observation only.  I also say to you, beg of you not to take this away from me or judge me or conclude that this is a bad thing or a sad thing or tragic.  There is nothing tragic about it and I am not dying any more than anyone else is dying.  I am getting older.  Each minute, I am a minute older.  So while I am typing this, each letter passes by.  So let me establish that before I say the following about my eating disorder and let me say again do not take this special knowledge and experience and love and ownership in my body and soul of my eating disorder or judge me as immoral for saying this:

I have unique knowledge of my eating disorder that no one else has.  I know it better than anyone else.  I am the only one who has lived with my eating disorder for 32 years.  No one else has lived with it.  I have lived with it in secret for just about all of this time.

My eating disorder is not a living entity, does not have a gender, and does not and never has spoken to me and I have never given it a name, such as “Ed” or “Ana,” nor does it have a “voice.”  Because of its non-entity as living, I have never been married to it or in any kind of personal or social or sexual or abusive partnership or codependent relationship.  I don’t talk to it either lovingly or defiantly, ever, or refer to it as “you.”

As a matter of fact…let me say further that those books out there that tell you to think of your eating disorder as some kind of person called “Ed” are completely lost on me.  These books sorely disappoint me.  It is so…cliche to call it Ed.  I mean, how fucking over-used.  Even my therapist disappointed me and called it Ed.  I told her that in calling it Ed, in giving it a name, a name normally given to humans, I am giving it way, way too much power.

At the same time, in giving it this name, I am acknowledging that this so-called Ed is actuallynotme, that this Ed isseparatefrom me.  However, let me state right here that according to the laws of logic, in which I was trained way, way back in high school math class and I think junior high as well, and yes, I was on the brainy side and loved logic and still love logic in all its forms on all levels and yes I do believe in God I feel God in my heart and know that there is a God and to me this makes all the logical sense in this Universe that I live in as I type these words that pass by, letter by letter….according to the laws of logic, just because I do not call my eating disorder “Ed” and just because I insist on not thinking of “Ed” as a person, because doing so would empower my eating disorder..does not necessarily mean that I am integrated with my eating disorder to the point of it being me and my living as it and doing eating disorder behaviors automatically, not by choice.  I don’t know the logic symbols for this equation but trust me I am right.  This implies a certain largeness of the eating disorder within me to the point of robotic takeover.   I did not state this at all.

There have been times that I have felt taken over by my eating disorder on an emotional or spiritual level.  There have been times that I’ve felt that my eating disorder behaviors have taken over so much of my time that I have time for nothing else.  There have been times that my eating disorder has rendered me unable to do daily tasks or take care of myself on a very basic level.  There have been times when I have struggled to stay alive and have nearly died because of my eating disorder.

There have been times that I have only lived due to sheer luck.  Some people may say that that God kept me alive.  Some people may say that there was a reason for this.  I don’t think there has to be a reason why I am alive.  I am alive.  Did God play a part in it?  Does God “play parts”?  Did God want me alive?  Does God “want” things?  I don’t really think God has a “plan” for me.  I can pray and pray and pray to have this “plan” revealed to me.  But in so doing, what would I expect?  A list?  Do this, do that?  Adam’s wife Sarah wanted a child.  God told her to expect one.  She was old and well beyond childbearing age.  She laughed at God’s plan for her.  She bore a child, Isaak, which means “laughter.”  I absolutely love this story and I don’t know why I love it so much.

“Plans,” are up to me at this point.  Before I was in the hospital, I knew that I would die.  I did not merely plan for death.  I knew that I would die without question, so I had no future plans for myself.  I knew that this would happen very, very soon…within days…it didn’t happen and didn’t happen.  I made it to Sunday…then would go back into the dark of the weekdays and disappear, only to re-emerge on Sunday at church…on time every Sunday.

This was my life and this was  how I lived it.   I am alive now.  I have the memory of having lived the way I did for those months.  I have the memory of the sensation of my soul walking away from my body, then returning, on a handful of occasions, possibly three times.  Yes, three times, I think.  These went unrecorded.  I did not physically die.  My heart did not stop and I did not stop breathing to my knowledge.  To my knowledge.  I was not asleep or even close to it and I am absolutely positive that this was happening.  In my heart I have no belief in an afterlife or no feeling on a gut level that there is an existence for me after death in any way or consciousness or continuance of “soul” as entity.

I had read about this happening to people who were near death.  I read it with fascination, mostly because I have this curiosity about death.  Many people are curious about death.  As for “body leaving soul briefly,” had I ever thought it would apply to myself, I would have thought it might be a bit of a bullshit notion.  But I truly believed that in my soul, the life-ness in me, had died, or was slowly, slowly dying, and might as well be dead, and that my body…it was this useless, dry, pale, flaccid thing.

“God’s plans”?  Somebody might tell me to pray for God’s plans.  I don’t think it’s anyone”s business what I pray for.  What I pray “for,” that is, what is uttered in prayer is between  God and me and is not up to another person, though sharing a prayer is awesome…that is not the same thing as religious persecution.

I am strong.  I am 54 years old and suddenly, suddenly I am so assertive and I have a voice and never in my life have I ever had such power.  I am able to speak for myself.  I am able to think my own thoughts and think for myself.  No one controls my thoughts.  I am a writer.  Through my writing, I have a voice and I tell my story through written and spoken word.  I have a story to tell and my story is worth telling.  My story should be told and needs to be told and will not go untold and I will not be forgotten and my story will not be forgotten.  I am a person with an eating disorder experience and that experience will be told in words and so that experience will be shared with the world so that others may know what this illness is and is not.  I will give other people with eating disorders a voice.  I will give people with eating disorders rights and an end to discrimination on all levels and an end to invisibility and an end to ignorance and fear and misconception.

As soon as I entered the hospital, I began to eat.  I was surprised that I did this.  Or shall I say I was beyond the feeling of surprise and not surprise by anything I said or did, at that point.  I consumed a bite of this thing now and then.  Please do not judge me.  I was not “restricting.”  I was not “counting calories.”  I was way, way beyond that point.  I was extremely weak and at survival level.  I was mentally disoriented.  All I could do were bites.  I focused on what was in front of me.  I concentrated very, very hard.  I needed to be in the hospital.  I say this without question.  In the very physical and practical sense, I was completely unable to do this without being in this setting.  A person who doesn’t have an eating disorder can argue, “You can do this because you are physically able to put fork to mouth,” but they do not know the actual condition that I was in at this time.

Not only that.  I was not “losing my relationship.”  I was not “losing my wife and kids.”  I was not at risk for “losing my job” or my “reputation.”  My problem was not a “feeling of ‘out of control of my life'” and my parents were not kicking me out of the house and therefore I was not knocking on the doors of the hospital out of having no place else to go.

I had no relationship to lose.  I had no wife and kids.  I had no “job.”  I had no reputation at risk.  I did not live with my parents and had no family to speak of…my family (mother, two brothers) didn’t and doesn’t give a shit about me anymore, and there was no life left in me to feel out of control of.  I called the hospital and asked to be admitted because I had stopped eating altogether and was about to drop dead.  I was and am 54 years old.

Somehow, a starving 54-year-old woman got on a bus with barely any luggage, stumbled into a cab, over-tipped the driver, and made her way to the third floor of the Admissions office of Walden Behavioral Care on February 8, 2012, and lived.

I wonder if the cab driver bought a Diet Mountain Dew with the extra money.  I wonder if the cab driver double-checked the label to make sure that there are actually zero calories in Diet Mountain Dew.  You never know.   Sometimes, those labels are weirdly printed, and a zero can look like an eight.  When you are 54, you sometimes have to take off your glasses to see how many calories are in things because the print is so small.  This can get embarrassing out in public because it looks obvious that you are reading the calorie count on labels.  It is a dead giveaway and when I do this in public I worry about strangers suspecting that I have an eating disorder…or thinking “funny” about me or scrutinizing what I buy…like judging me because I don’t buy, for instance, frozen French fries.  I can’t believe how many people waste money on frozen French fries.  Wow I am having fun with this.  On the other hand, maybe the cab driver saved up the extra tip money and put it in a jar, and it went toward paying the bill for his family’s health insurance.  Cab drivers have to pay for their own health insurance.  I feel sorry for those guys.

So I’m going to swing way, way back in subject matter here.  I was talking about Imipramine and bingeing and how well I know and own my eating disorder.  I went on to say something that highly relates, and this is that I own the experience of my eating disorder.  I own all 32 years.  I own the right to tell the story.  I own the duty to myself to tell the story.  I feel that I am doing others a huge favor by having This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness published in paperback at last.  I feel that I am doing other people with eating disorders a huge favor to tell the story of my eating disorder.  I feel the need not to tell a “recovery story.”  I feel the need to tell an “experience story.”  I feel that telling an “I lived happily ever after with wellness” is doing the world a terrible injustice.  I did not show up at Walden to recover.  Duh.  I showed up to live.  If you have gleaned anything from this article by now, you know this already.  You don’t come out of there recovered.  You leave and you’re only at the beginning.

I’m going to be straight with those of you with eating disorders right now.  At Walden, they did not want me to be straight with people about this.  Well, bullshit.  Look up the statistics online.  You deserve to know the facts.  Statistics vary because each organization collects data a little differently, but they will all tell you a few basics that are the same: Anorexia nervosa is the most fatal of all mental illnesses.   A majority of people with anorexia do not, I repeat, do not make full recovery.  By this I mean definitely fewer than 50% fully recover and no longer struggle with these issues that people with anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders struggle with.  The earlier you start, the lower your chances are of full recovery.  The longer you have the disorder, the lower your chances of full recovery are.  Relapse is very, very common.  I believe the “recovery period,” or shall I say average “rehabilitation period” is nine years.  Yes, nine years.

The following statistics I did not read in all sources but did read in several sources regarding adolescents and I’m not certain that I am wording this properly so I’m going to be very cautious about how I say it.  Eating disorders and adolescent suicide are highly linked.  Bulimia is found…I think in 50% of female adolescent suicide attempts.  The figures on males are probably difficult to ascertain and I imagine the data is poorly researched and poorly gathered and  inaccurate due to gross ignorance regarding eating disorders in men and boys…but I’ll bet it’s also 50% as well.  In adolescent suicide attempts the figure likewise for anorexia and binge eating disorder is 30% equally.   The figures were not all the same exactly…don’t quote me…but let me say that all the figures were extreme and they were all shocking and they were all very, very clear.

What these figures do tell me now…now…now…is that these kids…these beautiful, unique kids that I met in the hospital need to speak and live and act and think and be their own person and have rights and have a voice and be listened to.  Many of them were stifled by their parents and by their friends and by their schools.  Many of them were force-fed by society and told by society how to live, act, and think.  Most did not have their own voice.  Most had lost that voice along the way.  Many spoke in a whisper.  Many spoke literally inaudibly.  Some spoke in a mumble, not due to malnutrition but out of habit.  Many of them had taught themselves to be givers and had given themselves to others and not allowed themselves to be loving to themselves.

But I am getting off track of what these figures do tell me.  They tell me that people with eating disorders need to have a voice.

People with eating disorders need to have a voice.  When I went into the hospital and realized very shortly afterward that I had a future, this weird thing called future, I vowed that helping people with eating disorders have a voice was something that would be in my future.

I am not saying that I am committed to do this.  I am not saying that I plan to do this.  I am saying that this will happen.   Maybe I should add something to this because nobody can predict the future.  Nobody.  You can’t and I can’t.  This will happen if I live to see it happen.  And yet I am doing it right now as I type these words, letter by letter.

And so, I have my new book in the works.  I am working on it and I am writing it.  I have more plans and these I will get into soon enough.

Again, I have drifted away from Imipramine…I got on it in November…as I said, I know my eating disorder and after 32 years, I know in my heart that this “binge” behavior is brain-based.

If ever I am “taken over” by my eating disorder it is during this behavior.  I do not plan this behavior.  It is pure reflex.  It only happens at certain times and is not a response to hunger.  It is not a “coping skill.”  It doesn’t seem to be an “addiction.”  Sticking to a “meal plan” does not work and never has.  It has nothing to do with “crisis” behavior.  I don’t do it to “numb emotion.”  I do not do it as “self-harm” behavior although the English word “destroy” runs through my head while performing this act.  No therapy has helped.

Ignorant people, both ignorant professionals and ignorant lay people, have said, “Don’t do it.  You probably are weak-willed and need to go on a diet.  Just binge on fruit.  Don’t take the first bite.  Why don’t you just binge ‘a little’ and not ‘a lot’?  I wish I had anorexia…I need to lose weight.  You are doing it to control your parents and need years of family therapy and day treatment.  You obviously don’t have an eating disorder, but are doing this as a way of manipulating your therapist and are trying to get controlled substances from the psychiatrist.  You must be lying because I don’t see any weight gain.”  I still do hear quite frequently the line, “I wish I were anorexic.”  Don’t jump to conclusions on this one.  People say this for many reasons.  Many people say this because they want to lose weight and say it for very stupid superficial reasons out of ignorance and think it’s fun to be this way and that it’s a disease of vanity and fashion.  But many people who say this already have serious eating disorders and wish to “trade” their eating disorder for anorexia and change their weight.  I am not one to judge.

So in November I got on Imipramine.  Dr. P didn’t tell me the side effects but I read up.  Not good.  Not good at all.  The Imipramine stopped my bingeing so this was good.  But immediately my breasts got huge.  No eating disorder thinking here they were huge and only two days ago…I have been completely off the drug for a week now and they are diminishing…finally I am noticing a positive change, some size reduction…finally.  It was ridiculous and I was so miserable over it, not to mention hormonal danger.  I wasn’t worried about breast cancer, just whatever hormones were possibly messed up, this plus whatever overproduction of breast milk was happening.

This plus ridiculous vital signs.  Borderline very high blood pressure, diastolic near and sometimes above 90 ALL the time when normally it is either 80 or 70 or so…completely normal…pulse always running 90, generally above 90…this is ridiculous.  Risk of heart attack on Imipramine no question…the insert stated that this is doubled.  I am not kidding you…risk of heart attack is doubled.  This and 1/3 chance of permanent, I repeat, permanent movement disorder.  I did not want to stay on this dangerous medication.  Just couldn’t.  This plus perpetual dry, dry mouth and perpetual thirst.  The headaches started when I got on Imipramine and no doubt it was contributing to increased need for water.   I am off Imipramine, by choice.  I asked for my Topamax, the other med I’m on to control bingeing, to be increased.  Unfortunately, I’m at the maximum dose.  I’m on Lamictal.  Lamictal increases Topamax availability by 15%.  I’m on 350 Topamax and the max is 400 so essentially I’m close to that dose considering I’m on Lamictal.  Topamax alone might not help without the Lamictal and this I can’t explain fully it has to do with a long history I have…regarding the effectiveness of Lithium for bingeing…etc etc.  I ended up figuring out that taking Lamictal at night is by process of elimination and careful examination of my records THE cause of insomina that I am experiencing, so I am moving it to morning. Technically, I need to divide it up into a split dose and I have no clue why this wasn’t done in the hospital.  I hadn’t split it up myself before the hospital because I was taking meds by habit and only did them in such a way that I would most likely not forget them.

They didn’t discuss bingeing in Alcott.  Nada.  Why?  I asked.  About five minutes of private discussion with the nutritionist and that was all I got.  Nothing in groups.  This was all I got.  All the help I got.  No suggestions.  Nothing.  I guess treatment for binge eating…where is this treatment?  Does it exist?

I don’t really know what to do right now.  I asked for help and didn’t get it.  I am off Imipramine.  I binged.  It was automatic.  I did everything the nutritionist suggested to “help” the Topamax do its thing by using food to help my meds work well.  This did not help.

I binged yesterday afternoon.  I am bloated still.  My ankles and calves are huge from it. My wrists are enlarged and my hands also have edema in them though they are not bubbling or anything scary like that.  My stomach is enlarged quite a bit still and will remain so for a long time.  Never mind my face…I touched it once for less than a second…that was enough.  I am so embarrassed by this that I cancelled therapy.  Or shall I say that this is one of the reasons.  I don’t want my therapist to know that I binged.  She will say, “Told you so.”  She will say that I should not have left the hospital, that she was right and that I was wrong and that I am the sick one, etc.  I refuse to show up for an appointment with my primary care doctor like this even if it means waiting for a week for the resulting edema and stomach enlargement to go away.

No.  I typed something and then deleted it because I thought you would think, “How tragic it is that Julie has not”…I say this with disgust in my heart…”How tragic it is that Julie has not recovered.”  Well, fuck you.  If I have to fast for a week…yes, I did type, “a week” and I will not apologize for having typed this,  I will do so to rid myself of the horrible edema and swelling that has resulted from this binge.  I refuse to show up at my primary care physician’s office looking like this and I refuse to show up for therapy looking like this.  I am not going to show up if I have to cancel appointments for the next month and a half.  And no, I am not planning to fast for a week, simply because I don’t think it’s going to take a week.

No one, no one no one no one no one at Walden told me what to do if I binge.  Not one person.  So yesterday I was in the kitchen and it came over me.  I boiled up maybe six or seven cups of dry dog food and gulped it down.  Then I went out and bought food.  While I made this trip I was in a complete trance and gobbled up food while I was traveling on foot.  I kept the food in my pocket secretly.  Well, you have read in my blog many times about these binges and you know how I have lived and lived and lived with this misery.

Not one person told me what to do after a binge.  I feared stomach rupture.  What is the thing to do?  What is the safest thing to do?  Should I lie down? On my stomach or on my back?  Is it really safe to allow myself to sleep?  I generally pass out…I honestly don’t know how much is known about the combination of long-term severe starvation, underweight, and severe, chronic, difficult-to-treat bingeing combined with complete inability to vomit and suppression of gag reflex.  How many cases of this do they really run across?

When I was in my thirties, they told me this bullshit, “Go right back to your meal plan.”  I immediately canned this idea.  They deemed me uncooperative.  Obviously, they completely lacked understanding of my disorder and thought that what I was doing was overeating.  I was not overeating.  I was bingeing.  You can’t eat three gallons of ice cream and two large pizzas and finish them at 4pm and then at 5pm get out your freaking fork and knife and eat three proteins, one starch, eight ounces of milk, etc etc etc…it is fucking stupid and illogical and they expected me to do this?

What I need to do after I binge I need to teach myself.  Walden provided no answers whatsoever.  They did not tell me how to handle it emotionally or on an eating level.  I do know that if I resume eating way too soon, I will automatically trigger another binge.  It is a brain thing and it can’t be helped.  So I know to stay clear of food, any food, for a certain amount of time.  Actually, this is not so much an amount of time but an amount of fullness.  I have to wait until my stomach is emptied a certain amount so I have to wait before resuming eating.  Try to explain this to a therapist.  Well, fuck you.  I know my body and I know my brain after 32 years of dealing with this.  I have learned to save myself from yet another Hell.

But…I do need nourishment.  I have to evaluate this situation.  I have some serious thinking to do.  I am not going to show up at my primary care doctor’s like this no way, even if it means canceling for a month.  Even if it means canceling for six fucking months.  I refuse to show up at therapy like this.  I refuse to be weighed like this.

I refuse to be weighed at a weight that is elevated due to bingeing.  I will tell you exactly why.  The time I went to see my primary care doctor…this I explained to you out loud but I will tell you again.  I had just binged the night before.  She weighed me.  She said, “I want you to stay at this weight.”  I was at the time ten pounds heavier than usual due to the binge.  Well, fuck you.  I fasted and within an extremely short period, like about 24 to 36 hours or maybe 48 hours, I lost all the weight.  I told her in the office, “What you are weighing is the food in my stomach, the crap in my intestines,  and water weight.”  She said, “I can’t believe you have ten pounds of that.”  I said, “After 32 years, I know my body.”

After 32 years, I know my body.

I know my body more than you do.  I know my body better than any doctor or hospital.  I know my mind and my eating disorder better than my therapist does.   I have lived with this disorder, this unique disorder that I don’t think these treatment centers see very often, and no one else has lived with my disorder in my body for these 32 years so no one knows is and knows what it feels like to be me better than I do.

It is not your place to judge me or make conclusions based on my eating behaviors as to the extent of my so-called “recovery.”  It is not your place to pass moral judgment on me.  I made a stern statement while in the hospital that how and how much people were eating in the dining room said nothing about how hard they were trying or what their attitude was or why they were there.  This hit hard but I had to say it.  Please, dear readers, do like they did in the dining room.   Keep your eyes on your own tray and I will keep my eyes on mine.  I will write in here about my life, though, and give you a window, a peephole, into it.   I hope you enjoy my peepholes.  I enjoy pecking them out.

 

 

Audio Post created from home discussing the struggle I had in eating disorders treatment trying to obtain adequate drinking water for myself..I was medically dehydrated….

In this post, I ramble quite a bit, but the basics are here.  I get at the heart of the issue toward the end.  I don’t recall what I said exactly but I remember reaching some sort of conclusion at that point.

While I was speaking into the phone, I paused at regular intervals to sip on some water.  Now, my headache seems to be gone, and I’m feeling better.

I feel like an anger machine today.

I feel like an anger machine today and I also came to a realization about anger.  Yes, anger is a feeling.  But just because anger is an unpleasant feeling doesn’t mean that what you are feeling angry about is bad or good or anything about it has anything to do with anything else.

The truth is, the fact that the a person came into the treatment center, that is, the fact that I came into the center clinically dehydrated, was denied water when I reported physical symptoms of extreme thirst as I described in this audio post time after time after time, was put on water restriction and denied water repeatedly even though my blood tests repeatedly showed dehydration and I showed no evidence of “water-loading,” and I gave repeated evidence of the fact that due to my medical history and history of need for extra fluids due to medication history and habit and having done extensive research….I was denied….When the restriction was lifted, this information took days to get fully communicated to all staff, though it was documented it had to become official and I had to deal with “politics” and their schedule and their rules.

When my food cramped up on the bus on the way home from the hospital, it was a huge wake-up call for me.  I was not a well person.  I had been treated in a hospital for nutritional issues and I was leaving there fucking dehydrated.

I told them over and over, “I am thirsty.  I need water.”

They did not believe me.  They said, “You are sick. You have a mental illness.  You are a liar and can’t be trusted with water and this is more important than your medical need.”

Today, this is my response: Bullshit.

I am angry.  Angry feelings are fine and have nothing to do with the fact that….

WHAT THEY DID TO ME…THEY IGNORED MY MEDICAL NEED.  THEY DID NOT TREAT MY MY BODY’S NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY IN FLUID AND INSTEAD DENIED ME FLUID BECAUSE OF MY MENTAL CONDITION.

WHAT THEY DID WAS WRONG.

I am not going to “cope” with these feelings.  This will not erase what they did.  I do not need “coping skills” for this.  I do not need to “stay in the moment.”  I do  no need “stress balls” and I do not need a “deep breath” and I do not need a “PRN.”

Wrong is wrong is wrong is wrong is wrong.  I do not want to forgive.  I suppose I can pardon in some legal way if there is a lawsuit but I have no need to go that far.

This is what I do need.  I need to use my anger to self-propel.  I need to remember.  I need to remember to drink water, maybe even keep a water bottle with me so that I can have water with me when I am out.  I was dehydrated for months and this isn’t going to go away overnight.

I canceled therapy because I don’t want to go through this with her yet one more time with her.  I can take care of myself, thank you.

And to those of you ex-friends who “justified” what treatment centers did to me, who told me to blindly follow rules that made no sense, that there was some “logic” to what these treatment centers did, that surely there was “research” behind the way they were treating me, that I was the “sick one” who needed treatment and should do what these treatment centers told me and give up all control to them….

I think you know who you are….I think you need to ask yourselves some basic questions about your own need for control.

Okay, I am going to hop into my shower now.  Later today, I will talk about “junk food” at treatment centers and how  it is used, specifically how it was used in my situation and my opinion of the situation, now that I am out.

 

End of a friendship: a story out of my distant past, 1982, 1983, 1984

I slept for quite a bit this afternoon and this evening and have awoken and have a lot to say about “treatment” right now.  I need to gather my thoughts on this issue, though, and will return to it momentarily.  I was out with Puzzle a bit ago and started thinking about ex-friends.

I can pretty much lump ex-friends together.  This may sound like a huge statement except that at one point in the early 1980’s when I first had the opportunity to speak with another person with a psychiatric diagnosis…let me back up.  It took a long time before I first had the opportunity to have an actual conversation with another person with a psychiatric diagnosis.  I didn’t know anyone, first of all. When I did meet some people with what I thought of, at the time, as psychiatric diagnoses, we did not converse.  The opportunity wasn’t there.  We didn’t cross paths and when we did, one or the other of us or both of us were too ill to converse properly or just didn’t feel like talking.

But finally, such a conversation did take place.  It was a historic event.  We introduced ourselves.  We were the same age, early 20’s.  We talked about what we’d been doing when our lives were interrupted.  Going to school in my case.  And then, the big, universal question:

“Did you lose all your friends?”

“Yep.”

“So did I.”

It didn’t take long before I found out that “losing all your friends” was a universal, I repeat, universal experience.  People with mental illnesses were not losing their friends because something was intrinsically wrong with their personalities or that there was something morally with them.   People with mental illnesses were losing their friendships because these ex-friends were scared by mental illness.  They had no knowledge and ignorance breeds fear.  People got fired from jobs and kicked out of school.  People were collecting unemployment and the unemployment was running out and they couldn’t find new jobs due to discrimination, rendering them completely unhireable.  School loans had to be paid off and people ended up defaulting.  Then a few years into this is the application and automatic first-time denial for federal disability payment.

1982, 1982, 1984.  I was friends with…I think I will give her a fake initial just so I can call her something…it is the friendship I want to talk about and not her.

Y was friends with me initially because I had a car and she didn’t.  She wanted rides places and would call me up and ask me.  She would “invite” me places only so that she would get a ride there.  This had been done to me before and I was very familiar with being “used” like this.

My arithmetic tells me that I was 24, 25, and 26 then.  I am 54 now and no way would I ever, ever allow a person to treat me in this manner.  I do not own a car.  I have not driven or owned a car since age 27.  I got used so badly for my car, that is, I was such a terrible pushover that in fact one of the biggest reasons why I became a non-driver and got rid of my car entirely was because of being used repeatedly and having these poor quality friendships and my complete inability to say the simple word, “No.”  It is sad that instead, I went to such extremes.

Y used me badly for my car but I started to like Y and enjoy her company.  I thought she was a caring person.  She had some eating issues and we talked about this sometimes.  Y was younger than me, a bunch of years younger than me, but I can’t really recall.  She was all over the place emotionally…up and down…believing one thing one minute, another thing another…trying out different things…this is true of every single young person there is.  She was a student but her heart wasn’t in it, and ended up dropping out of school to find a new direction in life.  I assume she found it.  Most people do.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know the reason for my massive overdose in January of 1984.  Since August 1981 I had been going to the mental health establishment and asked for help with binge eating, begged for help, and gotten none.  The bingeing had worsened and I had gotten no treatment, inappropriate treatment, or bad treatment.  I was told I did not have an eating disorder or told I did not need treatment.  I was told that I did not binge or that it was not possible that I binged because I wasn’t fat.  I was told that I was lying about it.  I was told that it wasn’t serious because I didn’t throw up.  I was told that I did throw up and was lying about this.  I was told that medication would not help even though I told them about new publically-available research on the subject that I myself had read.  I was told that I was not depressed.  I was told that I was doing great and making great progress.  This was the beginning of 1984.  I took an honest look and saw nothing but a life gone downhill not worth living.

Apparently, Y called my roommate, “Irene,” a few days after I took the pills and I assume I was on a medical floor at the hospital.  Y was trying to reach me to say hello or whatever.  Irene told her I’d taken the pills and I don’t know what else.  Irene called me and said that Y sounded tearful over the phone.  Irene said that Y was going to call me.

I don’t know what kind of shape I was in medically when Y called, but I believe I had already been transferred to the shit psychiatric floor where no one listened and no one cared…in other words, more or less solitary confinement…completely alone, not cared for, shunned, no one understood, no one listened, no one gave a shit at all about me.  I just wanted my life to be over.  Here is what my so-called friend said:

“I can’t be your friend anymore because of what you did.  I hope you understand my feelings.”

Her feelings?  Her feelings?  She is asking me, me, to understand her feelings?

She had plenty of people to understand her feelings.  She wasn’t the one locked up with untrained nurses that watched TV all day and didn’t give a shit about the patients.  Y had done nothing but use me and use me and use me for my car, be my fake friend, and then dump me.

Maybe ten years ago I got duped into buying one of those “where are they now” books that those organizations sold for colleges.  At the time, I remembered Y’s correct first and last name.  “Y” is a fake initial.  I no longer remember Y’s last name at this time.  But at any rate, I looked up Y.

Y, at the time that I looked her up, was still living.  She was employed.  Her employment was “Therapist.”

My body and its quirks over the past few days

I am adjusting to being home, and so is my body.  It’s a bit tough.  I’m adjusting to a bunch of things right now, as is the case for anyone who has spent a fair amount of time locked up and then returns home a free person…at last.

My life is very, very different right now than it was before I entered the hospital.  My priorities are so changed that you just can’t compare.

First of all, I am not “picking up the pieces from where I left off.”  Let me make this perfectly clear.  I do have the same   dog, my dear Puzzle, and I attend the same church down the street from where I live.  And I guess I sleep in the same bed, too.

For now, I have the same apartment, but I will be requesting a floor change to another floor where I can be warmer and I hope in a quieter area.  The ground floor, with all the activity, living directly above the uninsulated garage, just isn’t for me.  I’m not sure how soon I’ll be requesting a transfer, but I can’t imagine I’ll wait all that long.  My relapse began more or less when I moved here.  It’ll be nice to get away from the memory of the days that I first moved in, collapsed on my futon bed adjacent to windows that for months and months lacked shades or curtains, and in the presence of all my spying, prying neighbors on the porches, bawled my eyes out.

Hydration, that is, getting enough water into my body, was a huge issue while I was in the hospital, and it remains an issue.  In late November my doctor tested my blood and my kidney levels were way off.  As time went by, it was getting more and more drastic.  I could feel some very strange body sensations when I drank water.  I was also beginning to get headaches.  These headaches began when I started Imipramine and were increasing exponentially as my mouth dried out as well as my nose and sinuses, a side effect of the medication.  My eyes and lips were entirely dry as well.  I experienced intolerable thirst.  No matter how much I drank it didn’t matter, I was still dehydrated.  My kidneys didn’t process fluids.  Had it gone on much longer, I don’t know how long, I would have damaged my kidneys and god knows what other organs.  I don’t know the extent to which my electrolytes were off and I don’t know the other associated dangers but this was very serious.  My blood sugar was also very, very low due to not eating anything at all.  In the last couple of weeks before my hospitalization I was well aware that I was dehydrated, and in desperation I looked online to figure out how to hydrate myself without actually consuming calories.  It’s not possible.   Children and babies can get dehydrated and this can be very serious.  I looked up government sites on what to do if your baby gets dehydrated.  Both US and UK sites suggested simple remedies involving water, salt, and sugar in a very specific ratio.  I watched videos showing how to slowly, slowly spoon this special hydrating solution into your baby or child.  I was fascinated with these videos but would not hydrate myself with calories.  This is because in my drunken, eating disordered state, I refused to nourish myself with anything that contained calories.  These sites said that “sports drinks” do not replace electrolytes adequately nor do they rehydrate.  There are rehydrating solutions you can buy and I saw ads for these.  It was assumed, though, that dehydration happens in an emergency and no one is going to have time to buy these items.

In the hospital, getting adequate water was very, very complicated.  Of course, my blood tests indicated that I was dehydrated every time I was tested for quite some time, according to the nurse practitioner that treated me.  But the staff denied me water, saying that I would “water load.”  Water loading is something that people with eating disorders do.  Was I water loading?  No, I was not.  I was freaking thirsty.  I was desperately thirsty.  I was like a zillion, trillion Sahara Deserts thirsty.  I think it took at least a week to get the water limit lifted.  Meanwhile, my headaches became a daily occurrence.  They even got a neurologist up there to examine me for these headaches, when all it was was simple dehydration (the nurse practitioner later verified this to me).  I begged and begged and begged repeatedly and consistently for water and complained of thirst, dry mouth, dry sinuses, dry eyes, and my lips were visibly dry and extremely cracked.  My voice was also hoarse for the first few days that I was there, and every morning until I received the water I requested.  I believe it took a week to get the water restriction lifted.

On the final two days of my stay, for whatever reason I was unable to secure my usual water.  The headaches I had on the last two days were severe and so intolerable that my entire body was affected.  I am not a person who normally experiences headaches or any kind of pain, and certainly not chronic pain of any kind.  I’m not used to this.  It’s not surprising that when I received adequate water, I mean, a couple of glasses at least, and drank them down, my headaches would dissipate to a tolerable level.

I wasn’t exactly aware of just how dehydrated I was except in hindsight.  I thought I had lost weight mysteriously.  This I noticed in my face.  It was extremely sunken in.  I noticed it in the shower.  It was a bit alarming those last couple of days because I feared that they wouldn’t let me go home.  It wasn’t weight loss but probably body fluid loss of some sort.  When I finally hydrated, my face returned to normal, but it took quite some time.  What alarmed me further was that on the bus ride home, my foot suddenly cramped up.  I couldn’t get it to uncramp.  The bus was very, very crowded.  I kept on trying to flex it.  I had learned in the hospital that muscle cramps like the one I was experiencing, and had experienced over and over before coming into the hospital, were the result of dehydration.  Then I walked into my apartment, put down my stuff, and started to make a phone call, and suddenly I got a really, really bad uncontrollable nosebleed.  Thankfully, I control my own water here!  I’ve been drinking steadily.  Not a lot, just making a point of having some every time I wake up and not going for long periods without hydrating.  I have not had a headache since coming home.  My face filled back in.  I had some facial swelling for whatever reason in the wee hours this morning briefly and naturally I went berserk over it, but this was very brief.

Once I stepped off the bus, I had a 24-hour period of belching.  This is not a pretty subject, of course.  It was an annoyance and it was easy to over-analyze it and get really, really upset over it, especially when I tasted tuna fish a zillion times over and over and over and over when I was no longer supposed to be tasting tuna fish.  My mind went everywhere and I feared that I would have to miss church because the belching was yes, that bad, but it stopped in time.  I over-analyzed…was it digestive?  What had I eaten?  Was it milk?  Egg yolks?  Imipramine withdrawal?  The fact that I was finally salivating again?  You know, saliva has enzymes in it.  Saliva is powerful stuff.  You take it for granted when you have it, and when you don’t have it, you run the risk of dental problems and all sorts of other nasty things such as bad breath and inconveniences and discomforts.   Needless to say, I cut down on the milk and I cut down on the eggs, and I seem to have stopped belching…and I’m very happy that I’ve been off Imipramine for a week now and I am, am, am, yes, salivating again…normally.

Sleep…not.  I only got home Friday.  I didn’t sleep in the hospital either.  Right now I’m just too excited.  I’m going to give it some time.  I need to settle in and be patient with myself.

Okay, you probably want to know the big question…how am I eating.  I am eating well.   Very.  It means I’ve been picking up groceries every day.  I’m trying not to let anything go to waste and I’m trying to save money and I’m trying to buy in small quantities and I’m trying to get variety, all at the same time.  I’m doing really well at it so far.  We’ll see what happens.  Tomorrow I’m going to the coop and buying yet more groceries, just a couple of more things.  Today was my third day.  I’m about to prepare a snack in a little while and get some water for myself.  I think I will cook some rice for tomorrow.

I have yet to weigh myself.  It is unnecessary.  I didn’t come home ashamed of myself.  I brought a huge coat with me in case I gained an unbelievable amount of weight in the hospital.  Well, I didn’t gain an unbelievable amount of weight in the hospital.  Case closed.

 

Another post on the subject of edema and self-esteem and eating disorders

There is no particular reason why I am writing this now except for the fact that it needs to be discussed.  This topic isn’t discussed enough in treatment centers.  Period.

Patients should be told about edema.

Edema is one of those things that is kind of hush-hushed because it’s a little ugly, like a bodily function that you don’t do in public, or body hair other than what’s on your scalp, or anything that’s classified as so-called “triggering.”

Well, things that are “triggering,” in my opinion, you need to desensitize yourself to.   Let’s face it, when you go to the supermarket, those tabloids with “LOSE 40 POUNDS IN A WEEK” articles are going to be sitting there right in the checkout aisle whether you like it or not.  WeightWatchers will be around forever.  Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer do you hear me?  If you don’t want to be triggered, move to a vacuum, but there’s no air there.

So while I was in treatment, I said something to one of the staff about refeeding edema in my normal speaking voice.  No, we weren’t speaking in private or anything.  We were just hanging out and chatting.  Well!  It was like I’d sworn or something.  I said that patients should be warned about refeeding edema.  I said that if I’d been told before April of 2011 that I might get it, and had it explained to me, then maybe all that domino effect that happened last spring, summer, etc (look it up here in my blog…end of April, May, June, July, August 2011 etc) could have been reduced or softened somehow or maybe even avoided.

I don’t mean just refeeding edema per se.  I mean any edema.  Let me reiterate what I’ve said before in relation to edema: Edema isn’t an illness or a disorder in itself.  It’s a signal.  Kind of like clenched fists are a signal that you might be tense or angry inside.  This edema signal can mean different things for different people.  It can mean something serious is wrong or it can mean something less serious.

People with eating disorders can get edema.  Not everyone does but many people do.  This edema can come for a variety of reasons.  Any time you seriously muck with your nutrition a la eating disorder, you are being very mean to your body, and your body might react by getting edema.

Okay, what this means is this:  Edema is swelling of tissues.  It’s excess fluid in tissues where fluid isn’t supposed to be.  Often, this means your ankles are swollen.  You may have seen people with swollen ankles before, especially people whose ankles are exposed, that is, not covered by pants or dresses that reach all the way to the floor.  Maybe you’ve seen ankles that bulge out over the person’s shoes.

But it can be more than just ankles.  Edema can also be in your calves.  It can be your whole legs, too.  Edema can be all over your body.  You can have edema in your stomach or in your face.  You can have swollen hands and wrists.  One side can be more swollen than the other.

Okay, I think you see the picture now.  The more swelling means more volume means, yes, you are bigger.  This means, yes, you weigh more.  Do you hear me?  Trigger trigger trigger trigger trigger.

So in April, specifically the end of April, I woke up one day and I was like six pounds heavier and I had (excuse me!) legs that were a lot thicker than they had been only days previously.  No, I had not just binged.  It just happened to me because of excess fluid in my tissues because I have an eating disorder and had been mucking around with my nutrition for years and years and years.

Not only was I in absolute shock and devastated but I felt like my life was over and my body was completely ruined.  I don’t know how long it took me to shake this feeling but I think I am over it now.

I think I am over it now because I suddenly realized today that I have always had a little bit of sock edema for years and years and years, not just since April of 2011.  By this I mean that my socks have always made a bit of an imprint in my legs.  Socks aren’t supposed to make that much of an imprint as they do.  Big fucking deal.  At least it’s just my socks, right?  Why it took me until today, February 25th, to realize this, I don’t know.

Anyway, what I am saying is that edema is a psychological issue for people with eating disorders.  It shows up on the scale.  It shows up in what clothes you can wear.  It shows in the mirror and you can see it when you look at yourself.  The worst of it is trying to get your feet into your shoes when your feet swell.  When it gets that bad, you can’t even tie them.  People who don’t have eating disorders have a psychological reaction when they see and feel their bodies swell up from excess fluid and can relate.  Tell them to imagine this feeling only a zillion, trillion times magnified and a zillion, trillion times more distorted and…a whole bunch more things that simply can’t be described to someone who doesn’t have an eating disorder.

Or can it.  Let’s begin to describe these things to people.  Let’s begin to tell others how it feels to have these disorders.  The world needs to know our story.  We need to open up just a tiny bit more than we’ve been doing.  People with eating disorders are a neglected, forgotten, hidden population.  You’d think this wasn’t the case, but it is.  Yes, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and all kinds of out-of-control eating issues are on the covers of magazines these days, but the people behind these articles are forgotten as is the daily suffering we endure.  What’s on the cover is how to lose those 40 pounds and the huge piece of cake and the ad for the great recipe inside the magazine, and the seductive photograph of an emaciated celebrity on the way to rehab yet one more time.  This, of course, used to be the photo that would sell the magazine, the one that the drooling public loved to hate.  But I’m not so sure now.  The skinny celebrity photo is losing its shock value.  One thing is sure and that’s that if you want to make money, I mean really, really get rich wicked, wicked big time, lie real bad to people and sell them some pill that will make them lose, say, 100 pounds overnight, sell a bunch of these pills, collect the money, then split the scene, and for god’s sakes, enjoy your vacation and don’t ever come back.

I'm home and have finally turned on the computer

Hi everyone!  Wow!  I’m home!  Whew!  What a day!  Sorry I was “absent” for a few days.  It couldn’t be helped.  That was something beyond my control.  They asked me not to blog…so I didn’t blog.

I can only speculate on this and I won’t do so at the moment but I will get back to this issue on “blogging while inpatient” eventually…it is not what I want to focus on right now.

These were the highlights of my hospitalization….

First of all, I got there.  Well, no, let me back up.

First of all, I lived long enough to make it there on Wednesday.  I wasn’t sure that this would happen, and I’m damn lucky that it did.  When I walked into the Admissions Office, carrying a knapsack and a canvas shopping bag I could sort of keep my balance and sort of stand up.  What I thought in my head…let me say I wasn’t really thinking.  Thoughts happened and they were in my head but you couldn’t really call that thinking.  I guess in two weeks I’d “eaten” once and that had been a week previously.  Since then, no calories.  I overheard people saying I was “confused and disoriented” but this didn’t register with me.   My voice was hoarse for a few days and I only spoke in my normal voice (the one I usually have) for a few seconds following a glass of water, then I returned to a hoarse voice again.  But my dry, dry lips improved rapidly after only 24 hours.

In the first couple of days, it was animal instinct that drove me.  A few bites at each meal and that was it.  Not hunger really.  Just animal instinct for survival.  I drank sips of juice and ate bites as my body could absorb teensy crumbs of this and that.  This was Wednesday that I came to the Admissions Office.  By Saturday,  I was able to eat the full tray, slowly, but it would make me extremely uncomfortable, and my body was not okay with doing this meal after meal every few hours and also doing snacks, too, as you can imagine.

To reverse the body’s tendency to lose weight or maintain a very low weight, some people have to eat a very, very large amount of food.  Some people.  Not others.  It varies tremendously.   I learned quickly that it was to a patient’s peril to look on another’s tray and “compare” amounts and types of food and “calories.”  Some people’s trays were so loaded with food that you’d think it was enough to feed a family.  Other people were fed three or four items and that was it.  It was just plain dumb to try to analyze it or say that such and such person’s metabolism blah blah blah…everyone’s body is different and it’s all science and none of my business what happened in everyone else’s past experience with their body and how much they weigh and need to gain or not gain or how much they are eating off their tray (or doing whatever with afterward, though staff are rather mindful of this kind of “behavior” nowadays).

They have this “percent” thing.  The goal is to eat “one hundred percent” of your tray.  If you do this for twenty-four hours, you get some privilege.  I think this is that you get to go on fresh air break.  It’s incentive.  I think you have to do 100% for three days straight to get a Green Band, which is this huge deal reward because then they don’t go peek at your piss after you go to the bathroom every time you go.  The bathrooms are kept locked anyway, but they won’t peek if you have a Green Band.

I never got fresh air privileges and I never got a Green Band.  I never really wanted either enough to find it worth it to stuff myself to that extent.  I don’t like to go outdoors while I’m inpatient.  Never have.  To me, it’s fake freedom.  Supervised.  Like I’m in kindergarten or something.  Kid on a playground that has to be monitored.  It royally sucks, actually.  I’d rather wait, and I did, and today when I got out I knew it was totally worth the wait.

As for the Green Band, hey, piss is yellow.  Piss is piss and shit is shit.  There are variations here and there but those nurses and counselors have seen it all.  Mine is not going to surprise them in the least and they will not post on Facebook what mine looks like or talk about it on their dinner breaks.  I’m sure they hated looking at piss and shit as much as we hated their looking at ours.

I’m going to do a lot of talking about what it means to tell it like it is in the coming week while talking about my experience at Alcott, by the way.  It is very important to see this illness for what it is and not beat around the bush and avoid talking about the fact that people die from it for fear of “triggering” people.  Everyone should read the statistics.  You deserve to know the facts about this illness.  No one should hide facts from you to keep you from getting “upset” because knowledge is actually power.  Knowing these facts is very often a very important catalyst.   If someone is withholding knowledge from you (about medical facts or facts about medications or medical procedures, etc) then you are suffering under oppression.  I am quite serious about this.  Learn about your illness.  Do it on your own.  Read greedily and hungrily.  And encourage others to do so as well, including your family and friends.

Okay, I have rambled.  Back to 100%.  I generally didn’t eat everything on my tray.   There is a lot to be said about the concept of “100%” and what it means and why people do it.  I wrote a lot on this.  One of the things that I said (I will probably go look it up and find the exact quote at some point) is that first of all while I was there I made a point of focusing on my own tray and no one else’s.  I was fastidious about this.  I think this was one of the most positive choices I made while there, to focus on my own actual food that I had in front of me.  One thing I didn’t write about but had in my head was that the tray itself had a physical boundary.  It was rectangular and was kind of a boundary of me and separated me safely from the others at my table.  I generally kept all the dishes inside the rectangle to keep them “safe.”

I have just looked at the time and it’s late.  You know, before when I used to blog, I would go on and on and on, and insist on getting to some sort of “conclusion” to my article and it would get ridiculously late in the night.

Let me contest this, because first of all, I have barely begun to get going with all this talk about my treatment here and could go on and on for hours tonight with you all!  I am so happy to be back here!  I could sit here and write forever and ever!  But listen: I need sleep.  That was one thing I didn’t get while I was there.  Not one night of decent sleep.  I’m talking bad, bad, bad sleep night after night, not because of anxiety or anything wrong with me per se, but because of practicalities…bad luck mostly.  I expect to sleep tonight.

 

 

A brief audio post explaining that I am no longer allowed to post until after discharge

I am speaking from a hall phone in this audio post. If I recall correctly, I am using the phone near the outer “locked” door, the “way out” of the unit.  For the entire sixteen days, I stayed on the unit, within the locked doors.  In this brief entry, I am saying a temporary goodbye, explaining that for now, I am not allowed to blog.  Future entries give further explanation as to what was going on with the whole telephone rights issue.  I was discharged Feb. 24.  On Feb 21, there was a huge blowout between me and staff when I found out that not only was I no longer allowed to blog, but my word was not trusted.  I said I would not blog, but now, I couldn’t even make a phone call to a friend in privacy.  My telephone rights were completely suspended.  Not only this, my social worker didn’t even have the guts to tell me this to my face.  She let the other staff tell me.  That evening, they were cold and hostile to me.  After several days…there were no several days.  I had had it.  I couldn’t tolerate the disrespect.  I couldn’t tolerate being treated like a child.  I was getting worse and worse.  I was going to have to nurse myself back to health on my own.

Audio post on censorship, empowerment, and my writing, February 18, 2012

I awoke in tears that morning thinking about my ex-friends, and so I wrote my goal for the day around this.  I wrote three goals.  We are supposed to read our goals aloud in Goals Group.  When it came my turn, I began to read my goals.  I had written them so carefully, and spent a lot of time on them, and gotten them to my liking, but it had taken a long time.  The last thing I wanted was to be interrupted and told that what I was saying was “inappropriate.”  I was in a shitty mood to begin with.

Here’s how my goal began:

1. This morning, I awoke in tears realizing that every friend that has left me has done so knowing without a doubt that they were leaving me at a time that I needed them most.  This has been happening over a period of not months, not years, but decades.  I have been wondering for quite some time if this says something about human nature.

This goes on to state that people I have known who have had cancer have had similar experiences.  When the going gets rough, your friends split.  As soon as I used the words, “Stage Scary,” the group leader told me to stop reading.  She said I was upsetting other patients.  Triggering other patients.

Well, damn.  Eating disorders are fucking Stage Scary if you ask me.  But I didn’t say this.  I walked out of group.  In doing this, I made one helluva statement.

There is part of this goal that I have never read to anyone, and it doesn’t appear on this audio portion.  Here it is:

I remember all the excuses my friends gave for ending our friendships, the most honest being “I can’t be friends with you anymore because I’m afraid you’ll die and I’ll be heartbroken,” and the most inexcusable being, “You do not dress like a typical anorexic.  Therefore, something is wrong with you.”  I can pray as hard as I want but I don’t think I have it within me to magically erase the anger and hurt I feel from decades of this BS.  Nobody wants me anymore.  Not even my family.  But I am happy that I have my church and I have God.  Today I will cope with the feelings of anger and hurt that I woke up with.

Goal #2, which of course I never, never had the opportunity to read, was the following:

2. Pull out the figurative feeding tube that was put into me by my parents, all the kids that teased me and laughed at me, the teacher that called me fat, mean friends, women and men, men, men, the way society looks down on me and puts me on display as “mentally ill,” the way I look down on myself and put myself on display as “mentally ill”–I repeat, the way I look down on myself and put myself on display as “mentally ill”–for today, I will pull out this figurative feeding tube and replace it with an everyday voluntary forkful of nourishment of my choosing.

Goal #3 of course was, “I love everyone here,” and this, too, I never had the chance to say.

So Feb 18 was my day to fight censorship.  And I did.

I read a “Mood Monitor” and a journal entry as part of this audio post.  At the end of the day, I felt confident and I was proud of my strength, good self-esteem, and ability to express myself.  I felt empowered like never before.

Audio Post – February 17, 2012 – mostly read from my journal

I am just going to let this post speak for itself.  I am reviewing it today March 5 and I am in awe of what I hear…a strong, empowered woman….Just have a listen.

Most likely I will bookmark this page and listen when I am feeling down in the dumps, and remember the way I felt when I was reading all this stuff to you over the phone.  Just hearing this brings it all back for me.