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.

An incidence of It I experienced while hospitalized recently

I wrote this by hand on March 13, 2011, and am copying it over now.  I think the neurologist will find this incident very interesting and relevant, so I will mention this to him when I see him.

3/13/2011

My experience of It this morning 3/13/2011 Sunday

I am so shook up.  My experience of It a while ago was so intense, so Other….

It started with the usual numbness in my lips and up-and-down dizziness.  Lately, I have had an increase in vertical diplopia while experiencing It.  (This diplopia began in April.  The diplopia went away in December when I became ill but returned recently, now chiefly during It and them continuing for about an hour after.)  My thoughts were wrong, and I had some incidences of intrusive thoughts.  Au usual, I was fully aware that this was happening.  At the time, I thought that It would pass; it usually does.

Suddenly, It traveled from my lips to my shoulders to my arms, down my chest, down my legs and into my feet.  The numbiness was no longer in my lips, but all over my body.  I felt tingly all over, like teensy needles.  Alarmed, I stood and tried to walk to the door.  I don’t remember where I was planning to go at the moment.  I was unable to walk because I had barely any feeling in my feet and ankles, an no feeling whatsoever in my toes to my recollection.  I sat and waited, aware that I needed assistance from staff.

Finally, my roommate came into the room.  I asked her to get staff.  The staff took a long, long time to come.  One staff came and took my blood pressure: normal.  I waited some more.  A staff came.  He was one of the ones that I do not like or trust. I couldn’t tell him a thing, so I asked for my nurse.  I trust her.  I waited.  And waited.  The doctor came, whom I no longer trusted.  I could not tell her t thing, but she did relay to the nurse that I needed Haldol.  Bingo!  This guaranteed that the nurse would come.  But I ended up waiting for what seemed like forever.

The nurse brought the Haldol.  By then, It had begun to fade somewhat.  I knew I was on the mend, and that the Haldol would further improve the situation.

I am writing all this down around an hour after I took the Haldol.  It hasn’t completely left me yet.  But I needed to record all this immediately, while the experience was fresh in my mind.

Two days from now, that is, Tuesday the 15th, I am scheduled to see the neurologist at McLean.  I need to reschedule, because I am here.  It is obvious to me that I need to have this appointment.  Something very weird is going on, very, very weird.

I’m home!

…and feeling good about being here.  I am currently cleaning up the messy apartment I left behind.  The best part of coming home  was reuniting with Puzzle and bringing her home.  She had a great time at Pooch Palace.  The bill for boarding cleaned out my bank account and I’m going to live on my already sky-high credit card for the rest of the month.  (I can’t use that as an excuse not to eat, because I have plenty of food stamps.)  April can’t come soon enough.

But despite all this, I seem to be in a fairly good mood, and I feel positive, and ready to face the challenges ahead.  I had a good talk with Dr. P this afternoon about my willingness to face my feelings instead of hiding behind my eating disorder and acting out by restricting.  I explained to her my fear of gaining weight and what a challenge this was going to be for me.  She asked me if I was willing to take on this challenge.  I am not sure.  But I said that deep down inside I very much want to have a strong, healthy body.  She asked me if this time I will stay out of the hospital for good, or at least for a long, long time.  I said yes, that I would.   This was not a promise.  You can’t promise the future.   Rather, this was a statement that I had confidence in myself.

Like I said, I feel pretty good right now.

I am improving

I seem to be feeling better lately.  As I have stated, I started feeling better Thursday evening.  This I told the doctor this morning.  I told her that I had not experienced the plan of discharge since Thursday evening, and that I had become aware of this Saturday night.  I also told her that I had continued to experience relief from the absence of these suicidal urges and that there was no presence of the suicidal image in my mind.  I told her that I sensed “discharge” in the future.  In fact, for the first time I had a fair amount to say to her; however, because of the presence of It, my thoughts were not well organized, and because of this,I apologized.

As it turned out, she said it would be best to wait until we were completely certain that I was ready for discharge.  We do not want to make the mistake we made last week!  She doesn’t want me leaving too soon, and to tell you the truth, I don’t want to go through another weekend like the weekend before last–ever!  That was hair-raising!  So both of us want to be certain that I am ready.

Overall, I feel more positive about this hospitalization than the the one at McLean.  I am doing a LOT of writing here.  The presence of It has not stopped me from writing.  As I have stated hereearlier, I am able to write while experiencing It. Even though my thoughts are very disorganized, my writing isn’t, for some reason!  I have sorted things out through my writing.  I have gone to very, very few groups.  I do go to the “goals” group occasionally, if I have a goal that I want to state (usually one tha has a “double meaning”), and if I am not plagued by It too much.  I also sometimes go to “wrap up,” the last group of the day, which occurs at 8pm.

Okay, no more time at this computer.

See ya.

My progress

I have decided that I am making progress here, mostly through my “writing group,” that is, my private group that meets in my room.  This group is run by me and has one member: me.  The other day, a staff member asked me if I’d been to any groups besides computer group, and I replied, “Yes, writing group!”  Well, of course!

Through my writing, as I have stated before, I discovered the cause of my suicidality: my fear of gaining weight and my panic over the “medical contract” that my T imposed on me February 17th.  My T did not allow me to talk much about my feelings about weight gain.  I was in such a panic over it.  I felt that I was losing the one thing that I had left: my thinness.  I had lost everything else (except, of course, Puzzle).  Of course, part of this was my own fault for not bringing up my feelings about weight gain in my sessions.  Much of this was due to the fact that I wasn’t feeling my feelings, maybe due to the presence of It.

As soon as I realized the cause of my suicidality, the picture in my mind of the method of suicide, _______ and _______, faded ever so slightly.  I no longer cringe from it.  I no longer see it clearly.  I no longer panic that I will do this deed.  It seems morally wrong.  I no longer feel that I need to beg people to force me to stop me from doing the it.  This began Thursday, as soon as I knew the cause.

That saying, the main reasons I entered the hospital, plans of suicide, are fading.  This is progress.  Through writing, I will make it out of here improved.

More later.

Today so far…I’m copying this over and don’t know if I’ve got time to finish

3/12/2011

Today so far

I ate very little for breakfast at 8;30, and felt weak and faint by 9:15 or 9:30.  I know that I have lowered my intake due to intense anger regarding my situation here.  By 10:15 I felt more and more confused due to starvation.  I began to shake all over.  I had chills all over my body.  I could no longer blame It, because It had faded.  I was not hungry and had no desire to eat, yet I know that I needed juice or ginger ale–soon–or something really, really bad would happen.

Later:j  11:15–I can’t wait till 12:30 lunch.  I’ve decided to swipe my roommate’s ginger ale.  She’s got one bottle of diet ginger ale and one bottle of non diet.  Problem is getting to the door, closing it so the staff won’t see me stealing, and then getting the ginger ale without fainting.  Plus I must do this right after “checks” so that I don’t get caught.

Okay, “checks” was just here.  I’m going to go for it.  Wish me luck, Notebook.

Done!  Drank a half cup and feel infinitely better.  I checked the calorie count.  Eighty calories is all I feel comfortable with.  This will last me till lunch I think, but best to take another half cup and then return the bottle before she wakes up, and save the half cup in case I need it. I will most likely not be able to carry my heavy tray from the cart to the dinig room table–about 15 feet–so I’ll have to go into the kitchen, which has been locked since breakfast but will be unlocked for lunch, and get some juice from the refrigerator to give myself enough strength to carry my tray.  Thirteen minutes till lunch, up to 43 if the kitchen is late.

My talk with J, the nurse.  She asked me, “What can you do to help yourself while here?”  I did not say “Go to groups,” which is what I believe she wanted me to say.  I could barely stand up and walk to the little room where she wanted to meet.  I told her emphatically that writing helps me immensely.

Lunch.  Finally.  I just drank the second half-cup ginger ale.  Need a half cup juice for strength to carry my tray, but not really certain about this.

Lunch–they did not send up my “main course”–plain kidney beans, cottage cheese….I drank the chocolate milk, which I usually order “just for show,” just to keep up my strength (140 calories).  I am very, very full as a result.  I hadn’t planned on eating the kidney beans anyway, and possibly not the cottage cheese, either.  I had two crackers, peanut butter, salad with no dressing, and green beans.  After I was finished, I put someone else’s menu slip on my tray, so they wouldn’t know which one was mine.  I’ve been doing this ever since I caught them spying on my food.

That’s all I wrote so far today.

My meeting with the doctor following this morning’s meeting with the SW and my T

It didn’t go so well, but she gave me some time.  We discussed the fact that I’d spent the entire morning in my room.  She asked me if I felt that writing in my room was a good way to help myself.  She said that writing at home wasn’t working for me.  I told her that writing in my room helped me discover a key issue last night (that my T and the SW refused to hear, I told the psychiatrist) and that I wouldn’t have discovered this without writing.

Writing is survival for me.  At the state hospital in 1986, writing was the only way I could survive.  This is not the state hospital, agreeably.  But in my writing, I can discuss It.  In my writing, I can discuss my sadness.  In my writing, I can discuss suicidality.  I can talk about anything when I write.  In groups, I am totally squelched.  I can work on my issues in my writing.

Is the psychiatrist a writer?  Does she understand my drive to write, the satisfaction a writer gets from writing?  No, probably not.  How can she possibly, possibly understand…me?

WRITTEN YESTERDAY, THE DAY BEFORE I AM TO MEET WITH THE SOCIAL WORKER AND MY T TOGETHER

As I sit here right now
missing group
I suffer with It
Not one staff person asks me
What is wrong
Not one staff person
Approaches me
I cope by writing
Which is the only thing I can do right now
It is senseless to go to groups
Even when I am feeling well
There is no opportunity to talk about It
Not one
No opportunity to discuss suicidality
Not one
No opportunity to discuss my sadness
Not one
No intelligent, truly
meaningful discussion whatsoever
As I wrote in the memoir
That is being published
which was my master’s thesis
“Coping skills, my ass.”
I made this statement in 1997
I was a very bad way
Suicidal, hopeless, no friends, extremely thin,
The equivalent of It, which I called
The Thing, forever torturing me
This started in 1996
By the way, a year after I said
“Coping skills, my ass,”
I was finishing my first novel
Going back to college to finish my degree
And thrilled to be alive
But I was profoundly ill for a year and a half
With a similar set of difficulties
That I have at this time
And right now I am going downhill
And although there is a chance I may,
At some point, get better,
I can’t wait a year and a half
Time is running out.
I did have hope this time, in 2011,
The doctors believed me, took me seriously–
now, they don’t.
I thought, “It’s different now”–
well, it isn’t.
To them, I want to say,
“Hear me, see me, believe me
this time–I beg of you–
In 1997 I literally got down on my knees
and said, ‘The Thing is REAL!’
They smirked, saying, ‘What Thing?’ and
said I’d never make anything of myself,
misdiagnosed me, made me worse,
sent me to the wrong specialists,
gave me the wrong medication, etc,
said I was making it all up.
Please, I am not inventing this.  I will
not stoop so low as to get down on my
knees again and make you laugh.  I have
studied stand-up comedy.
I know laughter.
This isn’t funny.”
Yes, this isn’t funny.
It wasn’t in August, 1997, when I attempted
suicide, and it isn’t funny now
The Thing was real and nobody took me seriously
They thought The Thing was a game
They thought my overdose was a game
Well, if this is a game then ther are no winners
only losers
Silkworms, gasping, robbed of their silk cocoons
dead fish, dead beached whales
deer struck on the road
skunks sprayed their last goodbye
and dead livestock strewn everywhere
That’s what it will be like for me
I think
The whole world blown to bits
my world
Not that anything will be any different
Because my life is almost
already shattered
Just ______ and _______
and I’m gone.
You see, It is real
I miss groups because It is unbearable
Whatever help is being offered to me now
Isn’t helping, and I don’t know what will
See me, hear me, believe me
See me, hear me, believe me

My writing 3/10 that I wrote here at the hospital

3/10/2011

My goal for today
Be on time for computer group
When people upset me, turn my back on them

I don’t think that the doctor here cares one bit about me
She has no clue about It
I believe with all my heart that she and many of the staff here think that I being It upon myself
I do not.
I do not turn It on and off at will
Most of the staff are ill-informed and haven’t a clue what It is
I wonder if It is even in my chart
Only one nurse takes me aside and speaks with me individually, gives me time–she is precious to me–
I don’t think she realizes that she is the only one
Today I feel more bitchy
More hopeless
By the minute