I’m back!

I’d just like you all to know that I have returned from eating disorder treatment.  I cannot say much about what the treatment center was like for the sake of confidentiality.  But I can say that it was an excellent facility and the staff very kind to me.  They were also well qualified and behaved very professionally.  The facility was very comfortable considering it was a hospital.  Even the food was good.  I learned that in eating disorders units there have to be some very strict rules, otherwise there will be complete chaos, and treatment will be compromised.  I tolerated the rules but complained frequently.  The staff, in turn, tolerated my periodic discourteous remarks about “protocol.”  Once, I gave a staff member the finger.   There were no consequences worthy of note.  At first, I saw the place as prison: we patients were “prisoners,” and staff were “guards.”  I retained this attitude for nearly the entire hospitalization.

I was sad every day while I was there.  I cried nearly every day.  When I get up the energy, I will share my journal entries.  I did quite a bit of writing, which the staff encouraged.  We were required to write down our thoughts and feelings after each meal.  I did so, with zest.  I wrote freely about my feelings about the food itself, about how uncomfortable I felt in my body when I ate, how I planned not to eat certain foods next time, how angry I was about a particular rule, and random thoughts and feelings, in particular my sadness, that never seemed to go away.

This writing was the essence of my hospitalization, but it was only half, the half I dared to share with staff.  The other half I kept to myself, and didn’t share with anyone, including my friends, with whom I spoke (on my cell phone) every day.  There was no private place to talk, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was failing at treatment, that I wasn’t really ready to receive the healing that the hospitalization was supposed to give me.  I especially didn’t want the other patients to know that I lacked the enthusiasm that they seemed to have, and that I didn’t plan to follow the meal plan after I left the hospital and plan to exercise as well, against the nutritionist’s recommendation.  I didn’t want them to know what a hypocrite I am.  But I believe my self-hatred was apparent in the way I appeared to them.  The girls there didn’t really like me, and I don’t blame them.  I am ugly.  I feel ugly, wretched, horrible.

About 98% of me wants to stay anorexic and lose the weight I gained in the hospital.  There is 2% that cried out for help while in there, that threw little hints to staff that maybe I should stay longer, that maybe a few days more, even a week longer, would change the channels in my brain to the point that I might even like eating.  Maybe someday I’ll hit bottom and be ready for treatment.  I know I can always go back there, and I wouldn’t hesitate, if only I were ready to take that next step.

click here to hear my voice.

Am I really ready? Tomorrow is the day

I don’t know about this recovery stuff.  I don’t want to gain weight.  I don’t understand how I’m supposed to feel good about it.  Am I supposed to be looking forward to this?  Cuz I’m not.  I am NOT looking forward to gaining weight.  I have no desire for it whatsoever.  I dread it.  I can’t believe some people come into recovery looking forward to eating normally again and being like a “normal” person.  I don’t want to be normal.  I want to be me.  I’m not normal.  Never have been, never will be.

Some say that the ED covers up who we really are.  If they take away the ED, it will make me plain, like a “normal,” without personality, flat, lifeless, hating myself for being fat.  Because once I start gaining, I won’t stop.  I know myself and I know my body.  Even though I have discipline, “they” will do something to ensure that I gain extra weight, because this is what “they” want.  I will hate myself and want to die.  I will hate my new, fat body and I will want to escape from it.  I will no longer be me.

So, should I stay home tomorrow?  I’m going.  I have made this promise to myself and I’m going.  I won’t like it and I can leave if I want, I suppose.  I fear that I will hate it there.  I fear that I will be very angry.  But I will give it a chance, one chance, anyway.

All my friends are behind this move.  Everyone is, except for one brother who says, “The solution is simple.  All you need to do is to cook food, and then eat it.”  I gave him my therapist’s number.  She has my permission to talk to him.

A Hat to Match

Do you recall the Patchwork Pastel Sweater I made for Puzzle?  Click here to view it.

Well, I’m working on a hat to match, and I’m just about done with it.  I’ve made it in a similar manner to the way I made her sweater.  First, I made strips:

I made nine of them.  Then, I sewed them all together:

All that I have to do now is to figure out what to do with the hole in the top, and to figure out how to bind off the bottom of the hat.  I was thinking of preserving the scalloped look, but you know something?  You can’t even tell it’s scalloped once it gets on my head.  So I may bind it in a few rows of ribbing, not a lot.  Lastly, I must weave in the zillions of ends that are on the inside of the hat.  It will be a very warm hat, and it is 100% merino wool.  Puzzle and I will be twins!

Getting ready

Of course, I am very nervous about this possible hospitalization.  Mostly what concerns me is that for whatever reason, I’ll get placed in a psychiatric ward instead of the ED hospital.  But I shouldn’t dwell on that.  I haven’t had psychiatric symptoms for over a year (since I got off Lithium, really) so I don’t think I have much to worry about.  I don’t meet the criteria for psych hospitalization, and if they suggest it, I can simply refuse.  They have no grounds to commit me.

And it is because of this concern that I must not show any hint of psychiatric weakness, no mania, no suicidal thoughts, etc etc because these would be grounds for them to send me to psych.  It is okay to feel hopeless; it is quite another to threaten to jump off a bridge, which I have no intention of doing, anyway.  I am already on shitloads of meds, and for that reason alone they may want to ship me off to psych.  But I have my argument, and if they don’t listen to me, they’ll listen to Dr. P and my therapist at least, who would not approve of a psych hospitalization for me.

And so, being afraid I would not be adequately prepared, I packed for this hospitalization, all the things I would need.  Basically, I was packed already because I am already packed for a trip I’m taking in February.  I like to pack way, way ahead of time everywhere I go, for fear that packing at the last minute I would forget something vital, or I wouldn’t pack “perfectly,” or whatever.  I have never forgotten anything really important, or anything, for that matter.  I think once I left a mitten behind.

There is a chance I won’t be admitted.  My insurance may not cover it.  Or I won’t meet their criteria.  My treatment team, in that case, will be fit to be tied.  I don’t know how I would react if it came down to that.  I guess I’d feel sort of lost and abandoned.  And I wouldn’t be certain where to turn.  Would I have to tough it out on my own?  Figure out some sort of way of magically getting better?  Or just keep on the path I was/am on?

Bodies are strange.  They put up with all kinds of crap from us.  I don’t know why mine has survived all the things I have done to it over the years.  It has certainly done me many favors.  It’s time I repaid some of those.

Crappy birthday to me, crappy birthday to me….

On the days leading up to my birthday, which was Friday (January 8), I made phone calls about treatment.  After a while, I wasn’t so concerned about the food bingeing as I was about my continued restricting of caloric intake over the past ten months.

I hit brick walls again and again.  On Monday, I made about 20 calls, and another 10 or so on Tuesday.  No place took Medicaid and Medicare.  On Wednesday, I called my therapist and reported this, and she told me to wait, and stop making calls, and we would see to things when we met on Friday.  Over the next couple of days, though, people returned my calls with the same result: either they didn’t have what I needed or they didn’t take my insurance.

My only choice is inpatient care, which is kind of ironic since it is the most expensive.  This is what our tax dollars (Medicaid and Medicare) are paying for?  Anyway, on my CRAPPY BIRTHDAY, Friday, I finally made the call to an inpatient facility and got the ball rolling.  They asked me a lot of questions.  I have an appointment for Thursday to go in.  Whether they will accept me I don’t know, but they told me to bring my things and board the dog.   That tells me something.

Naturally, I am quite frightened about all this, but a great feeling of relief came over me once I made the call, and scheduled the appointment, and all the tension came out of me, and for the first time in about a week I was able to think straight (or so I assume).  All my friends support this move.  Of course, my therapist and psychiatrist are happy about it, and my psychiatrist called me and said she was proud of me.  I told her it wasn’t so much her and my therapist who drove me to this decision, but my own craziness.

Now, all I have to do is wait, and try to survive, and eat enough to get by.  I have to concentrate on getting there, and not let the ED talk me out of doing this.  I know that the ED is very powerful and will try to stop me from doing what’s best for me.

It has been four years since I have been hospitalized, but this is not psychiatric hospitalization, it is ED.  So that is different.  No plastic silverware.  No restraints.  And hopefully, the doors are not locked, but welcoming.

New Problems, new fears

I started bingeing (on food) right after I finished my Nano book on November 21.  It hasn’t happened too many times, just a couple of times in November, then three times in December, then tonight.   The binges come in pairs, and then I’m able to stop and return to my usual eating pattern.  I have fasted after bingeing.  I have no desire to eat for the entire day following a binge.   I do not eat sweets when I binge.  My last binge was about five cheese sticks and nine English muffins with peanut butter.  Tonight I had about two cups of oats, which I cooked.   I added peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal, and then ate the mixture.

I haven’t gained any weight from this, probably because it hasn’t happened all that much, and I go so long without eating afterward, and because I’ve been otherwise eating okay.  Sometimes, I eat very little.  I am simply not hungry, or I feel like restricting.

BUT, the big problem is this: Bingeing makes me suicidal.  If this ever increases, and I think it is already, I will get to the point of wanting to kill myself, and it will be very serious.

I know I will not die from being underweight, but I will die from suicide from bingeing if I am not careful.  I must do something about this, because I want to live.

Think: This problem started right after Nano ended.  I had nothing to do at night all of a sudden.  I felt purposeless, directionless.  If I’m going to add an activity, it should be at night, because this is when I have had trouble with bingeing.

Maybe I should consider one of those “evening programs” for people with eating disorders.  I want to stop the bingeing before it kills me.  I wonder if they will admit me to stop the bingeing and not deal with the weight issue.  I feel that the bingeing is more important than the weight issue, because it is the thing that will kill me.

I realize all of a sudden that it is the anniversary of my suicide attempt: January 3, 1984.  I took a massive overdose because I could not live with bingeing anymore.  I was about to turn 25 years old.  I think at the time I weighed about 115 pounds.  After the overdose, I was hospitalized.  I only wanted to die even more.  I realized I could not live outside of a protected environment because I would surely kill myself.  I was sent to a “work farm.”  It was horrible there, but they had a good doctor.  The doctor there put me lithium carbonate, a drug which stopped the bingeing, so I was saved.

Maybe there is something to be said for “treatment.”  But I don’t want to almost die in order to get it.

I am feeling very low today

Merry Christmas.  I am feeling very low today.  I have not felt depressed like this for many, many months.  I have been fortunate.  Now, it all comes crashing down on me.  Maybe, this is what my therapist warned me of.

My therapist said what was happening was that I felt good on the surface, but the foundation was built on a lie.  I didn’t believe her.  I still don’t believe her.  I asked her if it was anything like a Sudoku puzzle that had a fundamental error deep down, that made all the numbers wrong.  It may look right, but when you check the answer, it is all wrong.  There are big goofs in it. It doesn’t make logical sense.  She said that was it exactly.  Well, I don’t believe my therapist one bit, but that was her theory, and she will of course argue that I am now crumbling because of my faulty foundation.

I believe I am depressed because of what SHE and Dr P are doing to me.  When a therapist decides she’s not going to be your therapist anymore, when your treatment team decides they are going to give up on you, that’s pretty serious.  It means you are a failure.  It means that you will soon lose a major source of help and support.  I don’t know what will happen to me once I lose them.

I gained four pounds, and this further depresses me.  I know THEY will be delighted, but they will want more, and this gain will only serve to fuel them on.  I did not gain to please them, nor did I gain for my own betterment.  I gained because I lost control of my own impulses; I weakened momentarily.  This was not a good thing.  I seem to be recovering okay.  I have not had a gain since this whole thing began.  Why this happened I don’t know, but the timing was cruel indeed.

I was unable to shower this morning due to depression.  I was unable to braid my hair.  I was barely able to brush my teeth, but this I finally accomplished.  I didn’t bother doing my laundry.  Knitting provided reprieve until I discovered a leak in my window (Grrr) which caused a draft while I was knitting, and I could not continue to sit on the couch, where I sit normally to knit.  I will have to call the Housing Authority regarding this leak on Monday.  This further depresses me.

Merry Christmas.

The latest

Now my therapist says that she and Dr P are going to set a time limit on me.  If I don’t gain weight or go into a “program” within a certain amount of time, they will stop seeing me.

I have no intentions of gaining weight or going into any program, ever.

This means my time with them is limited.  Maybe a few months more.  And then I won’t have a treatment team anymore.

I didn’t realize there was a size requirement for treatment.

This sucks.  How is this helpful for me?  How does taking away treatment help me?  I don’t see the point.

I have been with Dr P since 2001.  Eight years.  I have been with my therapist since last October or so.   I may have my disagreements with them, but I’m fond of both of them.

I told my therapist that I have no intentions of gaining weight or going to a reverse fat farm (I didn’t put it that way) and that it will be very sad to say goodbye to her.

What a waste.  What a waste of a relationship.  I got along with them just fine and now they want to end it.  It is their idea to end it, not mine.

I have support from my friends, which is a good thing, but over the past year I have grown to also trust my therapist.  I thought that she would always be there for me.  I guess I was wrong.  I guess I shouldn’t have trusted her.  I guess I shouldn’t have let myself depend on her.  I don’t think I can trust another mental health professional after this.  This is the worst betrayal.

I guess the very idea that she would drop me, even though she hasn’t dropped me yet, is a disappointment to me.  It is like she is testing me.  It is like they are trying to make me worse by denying me treatment so that I will go into a hospital.

I have been stable for a long time.  I have been happy for a long time.  Nothing has gone wrong with me in the psychiatric sense for a long, long time.  And by denying me treatment, they are going to upset that balance.  Why are they trying to hurt me?

This is a lovely Christmas present.