Sick

I’ve been sick.  All day Saturday.  I guess you heard about that.  I don’t know if you heard how it all worked out or whatever happened.  I was worried about making it through the night, actually.   I had this huge debate in my head but then came to the realization that if I sought medical care, the same damn thing would happen:

I would call my PCP and tell her what was going on and she’d undoubtedly tell me to go in.  At the ER, they’d take my vitals, which would be what they always are, say, 130/85 and pulse of 90.  They have been running like this ever since I started taking Imipramine.  They would ask me how Imipramine is spelled and ask what it is for…antidepressant….well, it would be all over from then on.  I would tell them what I have and have not eaten, and that I have anorexia nervosa, and hopefully they know how to spell that.  But they wouldn’t really care about my eating, or, rather, not eating.  They would send a shrink to run a quick suicidality screening (I know how to pass these tests when they’re done by idiots), barely examine my body, and send me home as quickly as possible, saying that I had anxiety and maybe that’s why I didn’t eat for a couple of days.

Oh, they also may have done a tox screening.  My guess now, looking back, is that I appeared intoxicated, or perhaps that I had taken an overdose.  Bullshit.  This is what happens when you don’t eat enough, you assholes.

So, this scenario played out in my head, and I chose not to seek out medical help.  I went to bed knowing it really would have been preferable to have an IV stuck into my arm all night long.

I awoke in the morning…alive anyway.  I hadn’t slept well, having woken up about once an hour all night long.  It would have to do.  I struggled to get dressed.  My mind wasn’t working well.  I got there, though, on time.

My concentration was completely, completely shot.  Words moving, coming at me, swirling around, fading, gone before I could grab them and keep them.  It felt totally fantastic to sit in the sanctuary and be there and feel peaceful and pray and be part of a community, but in my brain I wasn’t the same.  Just not there anymore.

Yesterday afternoon I had some stomach trouble and it hasn’t quit.  I lay down to make it go away.  I lay down because it was really all I could do as sitting or moving around or doing anything else was rather uncomfortable.  I’ve been lying down not sleeping all night long.  It’s 8:30 Monday and still I feel like crap, and can’t go to therapy like this no way.

So I e-mailed my T.  What choice do I have but to cancel?  What a freaking basket case I am.

I'm having some serious difficulty right now

Not sure what to do but here’s the scoop:

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

Okay, apologies, I haven’t got the energy to re-tell the story.  I’m going to copy and paste from the e-mail that I sent to the minister.  At this point, my mind, everything is totally shot.

Anyway, this is the situation I’m dealing with at the moment:
I can’t tell the whole thing in too much detail it would take too long and I have been trying at least to organize myself.  I woke up.  Well, that’s obvious.
Okay.  I don’t at this point remember when that happened.  Then, I felt not so good so I thought I needed more sleep and went back to sleep.  Repeat of this, then repeat again.  Woke up at 10:15 feeling like I could sleep all day, then said to myself I really need to get up this is ridiculous Puzzle needs to get out.  She was out wicked late last night so that’s a very good plus at least.
Okay, next thing.  I couldn’t figure out what millennium it was. Just writing down the date at the time.  Then, attempting to make coffee it was like Alzheimer’s and telling myself at least I’m not really losing it totally like before.  Then, suddenly, I’m slipping into that.  Well, only slightly.  I seem to be sliding in and out of it.  I’m going to attempt to finish making my coffee.
Oh, and I tried speaking aloud.  You wouldn’t even recognize my voice.  It comes out drunk or very, very asleep.
Well, I wrote this okay, and it didn’t take very long.  Other than that, I’m completely non-functional.
I don’t know what to do, but, I’ve got some serious thinking to do and I have to do something about this, take some action if I can.  First, think.
*****************
That’s about where it still stands.  I sent that e-mail off 45 minutes ago.  You guys take care.

On our walk: January 13, 2011, midday

Last night I  joked with myself, figuring that
If I live another month
Within that month
Surely I’ll lose a tooth.
It’ll come out by itself
And hopefully this won’t happen in church.
Maybe more than one tooth.  Maybe several.

I felt each of my teeth, wiggling each
With my fingers, trying to guess
Which one of them would come out
But none seemed to give me any answer
Any peek into the future.

I bent over and picked up Puzzle’s poops
With a flip-top Baggie.
This I did twice on our walk.
I am thankful for such simple tasks.

Where does this surge of energy come from?
Not a calorie in sight.
But today
The sky, the moment.

This morning, I know
I must try to keep my mind sane.
My insanity protects me.
But today I am going to send an e-mail
To my favorite undergrad instructor
Whom I went to hear read
Not long ago.

I’ll tell him how much I cherish his words
The influence he had on me
Just thank him
And tell him that whatever happens
Well, you know, mixed
There will always be mixed
But basically I am okay with it.

Before leaving on our walk
I checked weather dot com
Power lines may be down
Well, so be it.
I brushed her teeth.
I brush her teeth every day.

I hooked up her leash.
I had a thought.  A fleeting notion.  I knew
There doesn’t need to be any logic to it
It doesn’t need to make intellectual sense.

I put on my headphones.
Just for old times’ sake, Bruce Springsteen
Louder than I could stand.

Down the hallway.
Puzzle is eager to get out and sniff.
She tugs on the leash.
The front door opens and I pass through.
I step into the strong, strong wind
And at that moment I know for certain
That my feet still carry me
That although I thought that I had lost my faith
God has been in my heart
And held me tightly
All along.

 

Fever-breaking

Because I am not the religious zealot type, I do not hold some claim to special knowledge of the nature of God or anything of spiritual nature.  The only exception to this is that my late boyfriend, Joe, has appeared to me a few times in dreams telling me that Heaven is a rather decent place.  He spoke of it enthusiastically, saying I had to see it for myself, and said the food was “terrific.”  To see that boyish smile on his face I knew so well, and his voice as if he were describing the highest point of a baseball game, convinces me that every meal every meal is truly delicious, served on the best dishes.  Is there an afterlife?  I’m going to butt out of it and stick to things that are a bit more concerning to me, but I do know that Joe right now is really doing okay.  Is this is a delusion my inner mind has created to comfort me?  I don’t care.  Delusions, after all, are correct in the heart.  Boy, have I learned this over the past couple of weeks and months.  Maybe I have always known it.  Maybe I should also add that I do like to think that there is a Doggy Heaven in my tears.

But this is all.  I grew up Jewish.  We  were told there was a God.  Sometimes, yeah, God.  Sometimes, the existence of a God made no logical sense to me.  It didn’t add up scientifically.  It never, never, never made any sense to me to assume that God was male.  This was a resentment that began in me as a sudden jolt when I was booted out of my brother Ned’s bris simply because I was a girl and not a boy.  It made no logical sense in my six-year-old mind that a bunch of old guys wearing scarves would sing Holy songs in a language I didn’t understand to an invisible Holy Male God in the sky, and these old guys in scarves were crowded around the crib of my baby brother, whom I owned and was given by my parents so that I could personally protect and care for, and these guys–these men–in scarves were going to seriously harm my brother.  Yes, I was only six, but I knew from that very moment on that the world was male-dominated.  Especially in my given religion.  So, like I said, I have, at this point in my life, no real right to make any real claims about the existence or non-existence of God as any entity or being whatsoever, or to instruct you as to what you should think in such matters.

However, I do know what I truly believe in my heart right here right now.

Tonight, I do not know what time, I noticed that I was developing a fever.  It began kind of in my jaw area, and then spread around to my eye sockets, and then to every single tooth, and my entire mouth.  My head had that all-around ache you get when you have a fever.  My body had that bone-ache, but not a lot, not to the point of discomfort.  I decided to have a bit of water, not a lot, and then head off to bed.  Who knows.  I had a flu shot.  The flu, though, you can get anyway.  On the other hand, it could have been some result of malnutrition.  I often feel kind of weirdly sick.  It comes and goes.  Sometimes, I feel this overall crappiness and want nothing but to stay in bed.  I headed off to the sack as quickly as possible.

I lay in bed.  I found that I wasn’t all that tired.  This sometimes happens.  I had a lot on my mind.  I have mentioned someone I fancy, in my craziness, hanging out here in my apartment that I have named Michael the Man with Wings, to whom I carry on a one-sided conversation at times.  Well, I began one such lively conversation while I lay in bed.  It went on and on.  I began to laugh.  It was getting hilarious.  I imagined developing Compulsive Square-dancing Disorder temporarily, burning shitloads of calories, going to bed, waking up, and then weighing myself only to discover I’d lost a whole bunch of weight.  I began to completely crack up.  Then I settled into a deep satisfaction and warmth of feeling, a natural curve of smile on my face.

Then it hit me.  I had a fever.  Laughter.  True joy like a rare gift I had not felt in a long time.  Even an effortless smile.  So many people would give anything to die like this.  Laughing and with a smile, just simple joy.  It could happen.  I felt  thankful that this moment had now come to me, almost like a gift.  It could be a few hours, and I was very aware of the possibility that I could be way, way off base.  But I felt close to prayer.  Fever.  Hot waves rose from my forehead, almost like I could see them, though my eyes at this point were closed, a smile still on my face.  And I knew now that if I uttered a prayer, whether silent or aloud, I would ask God to take my life from me.

I began to weep.  Just a bit at first.  Then, sobbing.  How can I do this?   There are people I would hurt.  I want to be in church on Sunday.  It’s only Thursday night.  Only today, I reached out to my college friends on Facebook.  They wrote back.  What am I doing?

Then I thought of one specific person who had written: my final semester advisor, Darrah.  Dang.  I had worked just so hard that last semester.  I remembered all the hours at the library, toiling over my thesis.  I remembered the trek to the post office, wondering if all those thesis pages would fit into a flat rate envelope.  Every packet I received back was like a birthday gift I opened with the suspense I felt as if I were a little kid untying magic ribbon.  Then I remembered: Darrah always called me “Kiddo.”  That made me feel so wanted.  Darrah, of all people…How on earth could I do this to Darrah?

I cried for a long time.  Fleeting thoughts and emotions mixed with my tears and wrapped around and around me.  Mostly, I was sad.  I asked myself if everyone who was dying, in their knowledge of their own impending death, was saddened by it.

I felt something, a change just then, an urge in me, to kick off my blanket.  I was still weeping, crying aloud.  I was lifted, or rather, was helped to lift myself, from the bed, and stood.  The fever was gone.

A bunch of hours have passed since then.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with what had happened.  I didn’t know if I would tell anyone.  I didn’t know if I was going to record what happened, but then I decided that it needed to be told.  I am telling you now.  Maybe it all sounds like it was written by a very deluded soul in a feverish, starved state.  This is in fact true.  But it is written.

I thought I hadn’t prayed at all.  But you know, I think that in fact, at that moment, I did.  When God is in my heart, God is in my heart, right there.  I was answered.  I was put where I needed to be.  Maybe not for much longer.  Maybe just for a few more hours.  But I didn’t die in bed.  I’m one step closer to tomorrow, one bit nearer to staying right alongside those that care that I stay right here with them.

You can’t predict when you’re going to die.  Some die with a smile on their face but most probably don’t.  After all, it’s not scientifically likely.  You’re not born smiling, or so they say.  As to whether I smile in Heaven, like I said, I don’t really believe in any afterlife, and it’s not what I’m worried about right now.  I guess I am thinking that I want to write one word after the other, keep on writing,  and not write too much about God.  Rather, I’d like to keep God very quietly and passionately in my heart.

 

Milk and bones, part four

Now sometimes, it gets strange.

I mean sad.  I did say sometimes I do eat.  Usually, well, I don’t know.  A bit of vegetable.  I do count calories.

One evening, not too late, I had an unusual meal.  I was in a trance and ate a box of Milk Bones.  Milk Bones are dog biscuits.  You can buy them at the supermarket.  They are a common brand.  You may have tried to eat them, perhaps when you were a child.  Maybe, you were curious about how they tasted.

Recently, Milk Bones Brand Dog Biscuits celebrated its 100th year anniversary.  It said so on the box.  I stared at this written statement while I consumed the entire box of Milk Bones.

I have missing molars that make it impossible for me to eat hard or crunchy food.  If I try to eat extremely hard food by chewing it with the teeth I have left, I get huge gashes in my gums and all over my mouth.  Milk Bones are extremely hard food designed to be that way for dogs.  These biscuits are not intended for human consumption.  It even says so on the box.

I have an eating disorder and had the sick desire to consume the contents of the box of Milk Bones.  The flour in the biscuits is uncooked.  I cooked the biscuits in the microwave.  I boiled them.  I was able to soften them but not as much as my teeth required.  They were still crunchy.

I ate them.  I ate every single one.  If you have never been there you don’t know.  It took fucking hours.

I want to tell you something.  Those biscuits aren’t flour and cornmeal and chicken.  They have these teensy bones in them, these sharp thingies.  Every time I bit, every chew, little needles poked and scraped into my gums, between my teeth, into my cheeks.  I ate the whole box.  My mouth is a fucking mess right now.  It’s on fire.

But you know, eating Milk Bones is not life-threatening.  Mouths heal quickly.  I have this experience as a painful sad memory that I can soften with laughter and keep vivid only here in writing, then in my mind allow to fade along with the injury in my mouth.

And yes, I  observe, very carefully, the information provided on the side of the box.  The Milk Bones company is very specific.  One Milk Bones biscuit, of the size pictured on the box, contains 20 calories.

I took note of it.

 

Milk and bones, part three

I don’t know when it was…a week ago now?  Probably less. I did something really, really dangerous.  A person can get on a plane and the plane might crash.  Okay, I don’t mean that.  Getting on a plane is not dangerous unless the person sitting next to you has a rare deadly contagious incurable virus and sneezes on you.

No, I mean I did a dangerous thing in terms of my eating disorder.  It was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done ED-wise and no, I did not say to myself, “I am going to do this wicked risky thing and probably die from it.”  It just happened.  It happened, and there was a bit of me reminding myself of the danger, but the eating disorder in me, the sickness, was much, much, louder than the tiny whisper of reminder.

It was touch and go for a  while.  I thought maybe I’d get on here, type an entry and say most likely I wasn’t going to be around anymore, but no, don’t ever expect that from me.  I wasn’t sure, really, when to say “all clear.”  Nothing is ever all clear or ever has been.  Clarity is not one of my strong points.

As I write this, I realize that I am not immune to a repeat of the past.  Only it may not play out the same next time.

What is strange dream?  Who gave it to me?

Milk and bones, part two

I was at a crossroads.

You know, there was a point where every day I was at a crossroads, asking myself, “Am I going to eat?  Am I going to eat this?” and in not eating, I was not acting, and in not acting, I was acting.  I was making the decision not to live.

It took me a bit but I did figure that out eventually.  I realized that I truly did not want to live.   It was a strange awakening.

Time passed.  It has been sad.  I eat sometimes.  I do.

While I sit here writing this, I know that a fair number of people are trying to tell me, well, I guess they are trying to shake some sense into me.

Oh shit please I don’t want to hurt you all.

Milk and bones, part one

I am only 54 years old and I am able to speak, walk on my feet unaided, manage money, find my way in the streets around town, use a computer and the Internet, use the telephone and a cellular telephone, use public transportation, read a book or magazine, take a taxi, administer my oral medications on my own responsibly and fill my prescriptions, keep my appointments, keep a reasonably clean home, attend to daily hygiene and cleanliness, pay my rent and utilities, let us not forget I make a damn good cup of coffee….

And yes, I did just last November travel to London and back all by myself on an airplane.   I found and purchased the ticket and booked the hotel online myself.   I decided to do this entirely on my own.  No one held my hand.

Now I have been told that there is no other mental patient in the entire DMH program that I am enrolled in that has these capabilities.

I am told that I am a “special case.”  Extremely well-educated.  Independent.  But really what’s shocking is that I can use a computer.

But you know, late last July, I was phoning into this blog from my hospital sick bed while hooked up to a heart monitor and IV.  I was too weak to get out of bed.  I was severely malnourished and dehydrated.  My pulse was under 35 beats per minute, probably dropping under 30 while I was asleep.  I fucking should have been dead.

This happened because I did not eat.

Things like this continue to me because I do not eat.  Now, it is my brain.  My mind.  My brain, body, mind.  There was a point at which I got a bit more advanced in my starvation techniques, sometime in December, and I accelerated the process some.  I did this not to destroy myself but because I believed that starvation was glorious and thinness was to be pursued to uphold that glory, whether I was alive or not.

In other words, I turned my back on the world.  I completely lost my faith in humans.  I don’t know the exact date so I don’t know how long it’s been.  But I haven’t reversed my steps.  I keep walking.

I keep thinking that there are good people in the world, there is good in life.  I find reasons.  Joy, even.  But the process is there, like an undercurrent.

I wrote up a document about the undercurrent and put it on my refrigerator.  What could be a more obvious place?  Someone will find it.

An angry letter to my T, written during a rare moment of clarity, the morning before an appointment

This is written in a moment of clarity.  That is, my head is working okay right now but probably won’t be for long.  I will take advantage of this clarity and try to be direct and explain specifically at what point, as far as I can tell, I turned away.

I was in the shower when I began to focus on October.  Something got me really pissed off then.  I mean like maybe late October, and I don’t want to waste brain clarity trying to look up exactly when.  I had suddenly started bingeing, massive bingeing.  My body is and was wicked fucked up from long-term starvation and I gained ten pounds every time I binged, that is, even one binge.  Since getting out of the hospital September 26, I had been sleeping two hours a night.  This took me completely by surprise and shock and I was incredibly out of control of my life.

Just for the record: I am physically unable to make myself throw up.  I thought about this the other day.  I have not actually vomited since 1997.  In August 1997 I took an overdose and they made me drink charcoal in the emergency room.  I think I threw up some of it the next day or so.   When I was throwing up black stuff and shitting my brains out at McLean in 1997, they said I had to go to the state hospital, but I didn’t go.  My insurance ran out and they set me free.  I have not thrown up since.  I went to college, though, and wrote five books.

I am starting to lose my mind unfortunately but I will continue to write.  In October I knew in my heart that–well, I looked online and it was as I suspected.  Yes, your stomach can rupture.  It does happen and it was so very likely to happen to me.  Every time your stomach expands, I mean, expands to the extreme, extreme, extreme, the blood vessels get cut off and blood supply gets cut off and part of the stomach dies.  We can safely assume that a lot of my stomach is dead.  When someone with bulimia binges, his/her stomach expands, then he/she throws up.  Well, I don’t throw up.  That’s a lot more dying stomach cells.  Dead cells aren’t stretchy.  They just snap apart.

There have been times in my life that I have been suicidal.  I have a mental illness and people with mental illnesses sometimes experience these feelings.  Sometimes very strongly.  But let me tell you, there are scenarios that I do not want.  I truly do not ever, ever, ever want to die in a binge.  For one thing, it would be extremely embarrassing.

Quick.  Hide the wrappers.  God is coming.

I have a photograph that I found on the Internet.  Anyone can find it.  The body is naked crouched by a toilet.  She was 19 years old, same height as me, had been anorexic and bulimic five years.  Photo of her body.  Her body had been autopsied.  The contents of her stomach were found all over her body.  The contents of her stomach were removed from her body, just a bunch of greenish liquid in plastic jugs, photographed.

My guess is that at the last minute, her body would not cooperate and she was unable to throw up.  Please keep in mind that during the month of October, no, no, for my entire life, I have been fully aware that I do not have this choice to begin with.  If I take too many bites, there is no reverse.

So here you were, in October, seeing that I had gained weight and telling me to accept my body?  I would sit there in your office, my stomach blown up and stretched, my legs full of sick, sick edema, even my hands full of edema, dreading looking at the round curvature of my puffy cheeks that I hated so much, barely able to walk or sit, and this was supposed to be my life from then on?  Well, you can’t even say life.  I was going to die.  Yeah, wasn’t it fabulous that I had gained weight.  Fuck.

Enter Imipramine.  Little wonder pill.  It did stop the bingeing.  This miracle happened mid-November when I was more or less out the door stepping on the plane to London.  I don’t think I really returned to treatment when I came back.  I’ve just gotten further and further away without realizing it, and keeping more secrets.  My book is  not called This Hunger Is Secret for no reason.  And then, enter madness of the mind.

It’s not that I’m any sicker.  It’s just a natural progression.  Time happens.  I was lucky enough to turn 54.  Treatment did not happen.

Just don’t get all defensive and pissy on me.   Yesterday all you did was accuse me of stuff and threaten me and make a face and use the word “bullshit” a lot.

Yesterday I left the office and felt wicked misunderstood and misinterpreted and not listened to and not cared for.  I didn’t know what to think.

Then later I felt alone.  More than ever.  Just me.  Puzzle.  The computer.  Tiny efforts to reach out.  It felt fruitless.  I turned out the lights.  I went to bed.

Two hours later, awake.  I was up, an hour, two hours.  Went back to bed.  Lay there.  Got up.  Realized I’d been laying there two hours without sleeping.  Anger.  I mean, wicked, wicked anger.  Wrote what I had to write, went back to bed, slept two hours, woke up, showered, here I am.

I want to be left alone.  I belong to a wonderful church and I have every Sunday marked on my calendar.  Better things happen on Sunday than can ever happen in this office.  Today is Thursday.  Sunday’s service is at 10:30.  I am always, always on time.

 

Cannot believe it I am angry

I cannot believe it.  I got on Facebook.  Facebook.  Of all places.  Where you’re supposed to have etiquette.  Well, I just blurted out all this shit.  It all came out of me.  Why on Facebook, I don’t know.  But it was there.

Sorry, Facebook.

I am really, really, really losing my mind.

Just turning into something Other.  Like someone you want put away.

Just shove me into the pantry, push the door shut and close the latch so it won’t shake open.  Oh and put the thingy over the latch for safekeeping.  We don’t want her out in the night.

My teeth really, really, really, really hurt this morning.

Listen: I play games with life and death.

I do not think I have a “life-and-death-game-playing sickness.”  There are people that have this sickness.  A lot of kids have it or go through a bit a a phase with it.

No.  I just plain want out of here.  Occasionally, I have bitter moments of clarity and realize I am taking the slow route.

I should smoke or something.  It’s legal.  And it’s not a fucking mental illness.  But I don’t like it.

They take even that away from you in hospitals.  But not the state hospital.  They leave you that one, simple, killing, murdering pleasure.

Well anyway, I had two hours of sleep last night.  The sudden desire now, to sleep more.  I’ll catch it if I can.