Goal: Larry Kessler 5k run in May 2013

I was signed up for this race in May 2011 and then three weeks before the race, I suddenly could barely even walk due to injury.  I was off my feet for another couple of months.  I did not run for a long, long time after that, and figured I’d never run again. I think it was in June that I went to an orthopedist.  I showed up on crutches.

You know, there was something fishy about that visit. First of all, he questioned my weight.  I explained that due to edema, my weight can go up or down and he denied that this was possible.  So how much did he really know about what went on with my particular body?  He was not even acknowledging the basics.  I showed him the indent that my sock made in my leg.  He said, “You don’t have edema.”  I was very frustrated at this point, because my own doctor had told me this edema was worrisome.  She poked at it every time I saw her.

Then, to further frustrate me, he diagnosed me with arthritis, then said, “Arthritis doesn’t hurt that much.  You should be able to put weight on it.”  But I couldn’t. In order to walk at all, it was necessary for me to use crutches to get around.  In fact, prior to my seeing him, for a time I could put no weight on my leg at all.  So none of what he said added up.

He also said I should stop running and stop walking.  Okay, yeah, stop walking, too?  Fine.

I gave it complete rest.  He told me to take a lot of Aleve and it should be better.  I put Badger salve on it and rested it and it felt better eventually.

What felt absolutely awful was watching my T’s face light up when I told her the verdict.  Where did she get her kicks?  She said, “It’s great you’re slowing down now.”  What was her deal?  I had terrible trouble with my eating disorder after that.  I felt rotten that she was celebrating the end of my running. Was this personal triumph for her?  I just don’t get it.

I gave up.  I felt like my body was ruined.  Especially with my elephant-leg edema.  I felt useless and now she was having her party.

I decided maybe a month ago, but maybe a little more, to try running again.  I’m fine.  My knee is fine.  I’m taking it slow and easy.  I’m buying a new pair of shoes soon, quite overdue I must say. And this morning I celebrated by running my first consecutive mile.

It felt completely awesome.  I have built up to this. Nothing hurts. No aches and pains, no sore muscles, not one sore joint, nothing.  I can hardly wait to add another lap, making it five. Life is good.  Life is exciting.  More and more doors are opening for me. It seems that I don’t even have to wait for them, they are just there.

Turning my back on my eating disorder….Hello, new life!

I want to say something to those of you out there who are still struggling.  And to those of you who know someone with an eating disorder….

It’s hard, first of all, when no one understands.  It’s tough when even your own family (if they’ve stuck around) doesn’t “get it.”

It’s hard when society puts us down for being vain or having skewed values or disorders or labels we don’t actually have.  Or they tell us we’re selfish and think of no one but ourselves and the scale.  They take away the scale and then they tell us that weight matters but we can’t know what our weight is once we’re “in recovery.”  Oh, so much bullshit.

So we try to get this thing “treatment” and find that it isn’t accessible.  If we’re male, or over a certain age, it doesn’t exist for us.  Treatment is expensive.  Treatment is narrow-minded.  Treatment means forced care.  Treatment follows the Food Pyramid, which is funded by the rich meat and dairy industries.  If you want to eat healthy, and stay away from hormones, GMO’s, and pus, you are out of luck.   Treatment does work, but for the very few.

For the rest of us, I want you to listen up  very carefully: I want you to get better in spite of treatment.  Or lack thereof.

There people that say everyone can get better.  I will not bullshit you.  This is not true.  Not everyone can get better.  However, there is no way of knowing.  I was one of the ones convinced that I would die.  I was convinced every night that I would not live to see morning.  I could not plan for the future, not even a week ahead of time, because  I thought I’d be dead.

The last bunch of times I was in treatment, or, rather, non-treatment, I witnessed them shaking their heads sadly at me.  I saw the look.   “She’s chronic.”  “She’ll never make it.”  They were going to send me to the state hospital a year ago.  Last time I left “treatment,” I saw the sad look again.  “She’ll be back in no time.”  I left and felt a revolving door behind me inviting me back.  I did not accept the invitation.

Well, folks, I am not back there.  Far from it.

See, you can get better in spite of their low expectations.  In spite of their labels.  You have abilities and strengths, and your eating disorder did not take these abilities away.

Getting better from an eating disorder does not mean you have to have a BMI of a perfect 20 point oh (or higher).   Getting better from an eating disorder has much more to do with feeling good about your body than it does with BMI.

Getting better from an eating disorder does not mean you have thrown out your scale.  There is nothing wrong with keeping a scale in the house. Scales don’t bite.  If you think they do, you might have an eating disorder.  Or you might have a darned weird scale.

Getting better from an eating disorder does not mean you do yoga and no other form of exercise.  The idea that yoga is the only acceptable exercise for ex-ED’s is a very narrow-minded viewpoint.  I happen to have a pair of wings attached to me.  I fly every night when no one is looking.  OM is not in my vocabulary.

Getting better from an eating disorder does not necessarily mean you run around touting a puppet figure you call Ed.  Or Ana.  Or Mia.  We don’t need to get down to the level of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood or Captain Kangaroo and use acronyms and do child’s play to understand the basics about this dangerous disease.  Cuz once you’re dead, you don’t need toys.

Getting better from an eating disorder means doing what makes sense.  It means hanging out with positive, supportive people.  It means seeking folks that love you and understand you.  It means having a voice.  It means self-expression.  It means feeling good about yourself.

Here’s what I did to get better….I am listing these in no particular order, mainly because I’m not sure which is most important.

First of all, I fired the therapist I had.  She was borderline abusive.  No, she indeed was abusive.  Now, I am not saying this was easy.  You’d think it would be 100% relief to fire an abusive therapist, but it’s not.  Why?  These people have you wrapped around their fingers.  They are manipulative.  They are push-me-pull-you people.  The whole time I had her for a therapist, I was deceived into thinking she was oh so great.  She kept stringing me along.  Does this sound like, say, a battered partnership?  You bet.  I am so, so glad this is over and done with.  But it took time to pick up the pieces and shake myself clean of her.

Secondly, I write, and continue to write.  Writing is self-expression.  Writing is catharsis.  Writing saved my life throughout my life.  Some people have found this to be the case and have ended up becoming great writers because of it.  My publisher, Jason Pegler, talks a lot about writing as catharsis and publishing as empowerment.

And so, I am published and empowered.   This, for me, is huge.

Puzzle is my service dog and now we are together and complete in the world.   Yes, she was always a pet and she has gradually taken on tasks, but once she crossed the line into the role of service animal, there was a profound switchover that I cannot even begin to describe.

I have a recovery partner.  He is a man I met while in “non-treatment” in July/August last time I was there.  He feels in a similar way that I do about many things.  We made a pact.  We are sticking with it and watching out for each other in every way possible.

I started going to a church a year ago.  This is an individual choice but I feel that if you don’t have any family you need to find community somewhere.

I also now belong to a drop-in center for ex-patients. So I have that outlet, too.

I go to acupuncture.

I take a tiny amount of psychiatric medication for paranoia and another for binge eating.  I was off all meds for a while and it did not work out, so this has ended up the compromise.

I am doing my own investigation into nutrition.  I believe nutrition is a highly individual matter.

I started running again.  Running seems to be the natural best exercise for my body but I have to be careful due to past injury.  My psychiatrist supports my efforts.

I have licked depression and mania, the whole mood thing.  Why?  I know it’s a body thing.  I know any “mental illness” I have has nothing to do  with “poor coping skills.”  This was some bullshit someone told me ages ago and they were wrong. Some of what I picked up was learned behavior.  Punching walls is a learned behavior and actually I never punched a wall.  I put my hand through a glass window once.  Binge eating is biological and I did not learn that in a hospital from other patients.  Binge eating almost always comes…get this: from a diet.  Yep.  From vitamin deficiency. So that’s what starts it. Do you think I’m crazy?  Go look it up.  Just about every eating disorder starts with a diet.  And then the diet ends up leading to some other problem, such as getting hooked on starvation cuz it makes you high.  Not poor coping skills.  Not bad morals.  Not gluttony.  Not selfishness.  Not a skewed value system.  Not from looking at a fashion magazine.  Not from a personality disorder.  Not from the Olympics. And so on.

So why do we start this diet?  And, a lot of people start diets and don’t end up with eating disorders. We do know that some people get high on starvation and some don’t.  We do know that some people can sustain starvation because their survival instinct response to eat does not work properly.  And this combination, that I know of, produces anorexia.    It’s very simple.

They say one thing they are trying to do right now is to develop a an “antibuse” drug…I am not kidding on this…that will kill “starvation high.”  Oh yeah, like we’re gonna take this drug.  But there are some who will do just that and live happily ever after I suppose.  And I’ll bet there would be off-label uses for this weird drug.  They say Naltrexone, the drug I took for a while for binge eating, did away with starvation high for some people.  For me, Naltrexone worked and then stopped working shortly after.  I”m back on Topamax and glad of it.  I expect it to work for a year or two and I’m thrilled that I’m responding at a much lower dose than I was at before.

I’ve been criticized for “poisoning my body.”  To this person I want to say that I cannot wait a year, two years, three years to use “willpower” or some fancy “therapy” or “white knuckling it” to get myself to stop bingeing.  If it comes from a vitamin deficiency, I don’t personally know which vitamin or mineral it is.  If it’s a food I’m deficient in, I don’t know which food it is.  I can experiment, but it will be hit or miss for months.  I can’t wait months.

Actually, if you are “white knuckling it,” then you are NOT in recovery!  If you are “white knuckling it,” then you are most likely miserable.  Misery is NOT recovery!  You don’t deserve to suffer like that.  Suffering is optional.

I am not suffering.  I got past that.  I haven’t experienced suffering for a while now.  I haven’t experienced angst for a while now.  I haven’t experienced depression or any mood problem for a long time.   I have not experienced paranoia…I have to medicate that symptom but it is gone now.

I eat, too.  Would you believe that?  I’m fairly okay with my weight.  I can say that not only do I like myself, but I totally dig myself.  I even like how I look.  I mean, how many folks 54 years old look as absolutely cute as I do?  I look doubly cute with Puzzle.  Who, after all, would not look cute with a Schnoodle in their lap?  One named Puzzle at that!

Do you dig yourself?

One thing that really helps me is to think of things that I like about myself.  Now, maybe that sounds very over-simplistic, but you will be surprised at how many things will turn up on your list.  At first, you may have trouble thinking of things.  You may sit for quite a while trying to think of the first few things beyond the obvious.

Do you have good manners?

Are you considerate of others?

Are you good with animals?

Are you decent with your kids?  Are you decent with other people’s kids?

Are you respectful of the planet? Do you pick up after yourself?

Do you have quirky handwriting?  Do you have an unusual hobby or talent?  Can your body move or bend in an unusual way?

Have you ever had an exceptionally wonderful relationship?

Do you have vivid dreams?  Has someone who has died ever sent you a message in a dream?  Have you ever helped anyone using your dreams?

Are you a decent writer?  Like I am?

Do you dream big?  What is your biggest dream?

Does your faith in God or Gods keep you strong?

Does your sense of love and commitment toward others help you participate in your community?

Would you like to take a class and go back to school or college and finish?  Yes, you can do it!

Do you like yourself?  Cuz that’s what it boils down to.  Ask yourself this question.  I don’t give a shit what you weigh or what anyone says you should weigh or what the scale says or whether or not you have a scale.   If you truly dig yourself, then you are already right where you should be.  Take a good hard look at yourself and answer that question right here right now and you will answer everything there is to be answered about “recovery” and nothing else will matter.

You can fly like I can.  Pick up your wings and fly with me.  Go where Puzzle and I go.  I used to go nowhere.  Now, together, Puzzle and I go everywhere.  After all, we have our six legs and loud music, and if you’ve got that, you’ve got just about everything.

Body as vessel

It’s your body, not your doctor’s.  Never let any medical standard or anyone else’s standard determine the course of your life.  Your body does not belong to your husband, wife, or partner.   It does not belong to your parents.  It is yours.  Consider it a gift that you will have for this short lifetime.

Your body is your vessel.  You can’t trade it for another.  Work with it and make it the best it can be.

If you think of your body as like a bicycle, by all means polish it up, keep the tires at the right pressure, and make sure it’s lubed up properly.  It will serve you better if you keep it maintained.  Use it regularly.  Don’t let it collect dust.  If you wish, add a bit of decoration, but make sure that this addition does not inhibit your bicycle’s ability to serve you.

Make your bike comfortable for yourself.  If the seat is uncomfortable, perhaps a different style of seat will suit you better.  Adjust the seat’s height and the height of the handlebars so that your bike fits you perfectly.  Take control.

When you ride through life, take caution.  Look both ways.  Ride with the traffic.  Know the road.  Wear a helmet and proper attire.  Use whatever maps are available to you.  Obey the law, but remember to let the universality of common sense guide you.

Carve your own path.  Undoubtedly, you will encounter uncharted territory.  And when you go through these new places, enter with respect and awe.  You may choose to keep records and photographs of your journey to share with others.

You are like no other in the universe.  Your body is unique.  Let no one tell you they know your body better than you do.  As soon as you give up this control, you initiate a tragedy.

If your body is your bicycle, then learn as much bicycle maintenance as you can.  Acquire the necessary tools to keep your bike in good shape.  Consult manuals and repair guides.  If what you are doing requires the use of more than your own hands and tools, seek the assistance of others.  These people are there to assist you, not run your life.  If you hire them, pay them for the job they do and parts they install.

There is nothing like a well-tuned body.   A body that makes you proud.  A body that serves you and takes you to wonderful places.

When it’s time to rest, put your bike in a safe place.  Don’t let it get stolen.  That way, it will be waiting for you tomorrow morning so you can ride again, and again.

Someday, it will be time to stop riding.  You will leave your bike behind.  Perhaps you will go off on foot.  It’s going to feel a lot different with your feet on the ground.  Take off your shoes, wiggle your toes in the mud, and tell yourself you’ve done a damn good job.

July 4 happy birthday

They say today is our country’s birthday.  Makes no sense to me, really.  It seems like the entire continent has been around for billions of years.  Or maybe millions, I’m not sure.  Surely, people have lived here a very long time, well before Europeans showed up with African slaves.

I am born in this country of Eastern European and Jewish descent.  My grandparents were born in this country, but almost all of my great grandparents were immigrants.

I have never had a slave.  Don’t laugh.  Slavery exists.  It flourishes, not only in places we know about where children are sex slaves and military slaves, but right here in America.

It is happening behind closed doors.  It is happening in the happiest of families.  Or so they appear.

Have you heard of marital rape?  Have you heard of psychological torture?  Have you heard of bullying? And yes, I have been a slave myself.  Back in high school.  Now I have an eating disorder and a life I hate.

Racism and all forms of bigotry are happening all over, not just in places where you’d expect it such as the Deep South.  Have you ever been turned down from a job because of your weight?  Have you been denied medical care or received inferior care because of your past history, or because of your economic status, or because you have ever taken an antipsychotic drug?

So many people have died here in the Land of Plenty due to societal hatred and judging.  I’m sure everyone who is reading this has either seen it first hand, or read about someone, somewhere.

Anyway, July 1 was the anniversary of my eating disorder.  I abhor the practice of calling my eating disorder “Ed.”  Please, I stopped watching Captain Kangaroo and Mr.  Rogers a long, long time ago.  I do not need to play silly Ed games, or talk to Ed like he was a clown doll.  I do not need nutrition education bingo games, or any other kiddie stuff.

My eating disorder has been around 32 years.  You know something? I’d say the average age of the staff people at Walden was 26. At this point, the only people I trust are those with eating disorders themselves.  We are the ones with experience and the so-called “specialists” know so much less by comparison.

Being “normal weight,” for me, sucks like you wouldn’t believe.  It has sucked for months now.  No way is this worth it.  My body feels like I’m dragging every step.  I have never been so consistently suicidal, and it’s been months now.

A week ago, I prayed to God for forgiveness.  I had no one else to ask.  I would have gotten down on my knees but one of my knees has a bunch of screws in it.  Probably would have fallen right over cuz I was bawling so hard. The Kleenex I used to wipe my tears are still strewn all over the floor.

I so very much wish God would take me.  Catholics get Last Rites when they die.   I haven’t a clue what that entails.  I gave myself permission to die quite some time ago and I think that’s enough.

Happy birthday to the rest of you.  Have a nice July.

Pride Day rocked! I AM DIVINE AND FABULOUS

I marched in the Gay Pride Parade in Boston today as part of my church group.  It was awesome.  First bit of fun I’ve had in a while.

The last time I was in an event that took place on a street, where people on the sidewalks were clapping and cheering (yes, for me, for us!) was when I ran the Winter Classic 5k on December 19, 2011.

I felt wicked proud then, and I felt wicked proud today.  I smiled at everyone and waved.  I held a sign that said “First Parish Watertown.”  I walked with a man and two women from my church.  One woman pushed her baby carriage (yes, with a baby inside).  So there were five of us.   Close to the end of the parade, we met up with other marchers from our church.  Somehow, we ended up separated from the rest of the UU folks who were marching.  I think the church groups were up front.  We were near the back.  It didn’t matter.  We were making a statement.

I also attended a church service before the parade at the Arlington Street Church, which is right in the heart of Boston.  It is a historical church.  Despite the fact that the building is very old, they have built an awesome accessibility ramp.  This was especially helpful, but not only because we had a baby carriage with us.  The stairs at the church aren’t easy if you don’t see well, and one of our members is visually impaired.  I don’t see stairs well, either.  I am extremely nearsighted, and have needed new glasses for a long time.  We admired the ramp.

Inside, we sang songs and clapped and cheered and danced.  Or, rather, I watched other folks dancing, and danced in my heart.  Some people who came to the service had been marching in the parade for over 40 years, since it began.  Imagine that.  Today was my first Gay Pride Parade.  We cheered for each other.  We cheered for the end to the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the military.  Military servicepeople were honored at the church.  Everyone was honored.  I was given a sticker that says,

I AM DIVINE AND FABULOUS.

I am still wearing it.

My friends surprised me with a gift for Puzzle.  Yes, for Puzzle!  A new collar!  It is a rainbow collar.  She needed a new collar and I’d been putting off getting one, not knowing what it would cost. I didn’t know what color to get, if I’d get a pink one like before, or something different.  Well, now she has the perfect collar!  I’ll take a photo tomorrow.

I took photos at the parade, and we had people take photos of our little group.  I will post them when I have time, and also do a more thorough writeup.

New Page on this site: My Way of Life

I just added a new page to this site describing the way I try to live my life or want to live my life or am living my life.  Go up to the “pages” part of the blog (in its current format, these are the tabs at the top of the page) and there is my My Way of Life page.

Here’s part of what’s on it:

I am different.

They say everyone is unique.  I have a history of being persecuted because I am different.  Either I stand out in a crowd or others find reason to single me out for a difference that is merely perceived.  Over the years, I have made efforts to blend in and be like everyone else.  I did this in order to avoid being teased, bullied, discriminated against, excluded, labeled, stereotyped, imprisoned, censored, brainwashed, enslaved, and assaulted by my peers.

I am considered to be very short in stature.  I walk with my feet turned out slightly, and carry myself a certain way,  mostly because of the way my body is made, but also to avoid falling and out of habit.   For this reason many people have said they can spot me from afar.  As a child I was considered to be a poor athlete because I ran slowly, had difficulty hitting a ball with a bat, and when I tried to kick a soccer ball, I missed.

From the beginning, I always spoke much more slowly than others.   This made me appear unintelligent, and I found difficulty asserting myself because my speech was slow.  It is easy to interrupt me mid-sentence.  In my thirties, my speech became slurred because of certain medications I took, but this was a temporary condition.   Over the past year my way of speaking has changed dramatically.  This is most likely connected to the vocal tic I developed.

For whatever reason, I was born with far above average intelligence, for which I was persecuted.  All my life, I tried to hide my intelligence, disguise it, lie about it, or eradicate it to be like other people.

The way I think is different from the way most people think.  My father recognized this in me when I was very young.  He wondered if I would become a great scientist.  When I told him I preferred to compose music, he was disappointed at first, but then accepted my wish.  At school, teachers observed that I day dreamed often, and noticed that I thought differently from others.  Some disciplined me, some sent me to the guidance counselor or sent notices home to my parents, but many teachers enjoyed talking to me.

I tried to dress in clothing that was like other people’s clothing.  I tried to act confident during times that I was pretending I was someone I was not, but it was difficult.  Every time that I have held a position of employment, I felt like a fake.  It was extremely difficult to keep up the act.  I tried desperately to fit in, and was usually fired because my efforts failed.  I am not surprised that at the few jobs I held, I wore make-up on my face.  Make-up is not becoming on me.  This act of “doing one’s face,” which comes naturally to many, was for me an act of desperation.

Because I was persecuted for being different, I learned to hide myself and keep secrets.  When the pain became too much, I turned to the mental health system.  The mental health system tried to fix my pain by making me more normal.  Mostly, they tried to change my thinking, which they considered “sick,” by doing therapy on me and giving me pills.  The mental health system often uses the word “normalize.”  Now, I understand why.

In the process of all the efforts to make me just like everyone else, the mental health system, its institutions and personnel teased me, bullied me, and discriminated against me.  I was labeled, stereotyped, imprisoned, censored, brainwashed, enslaved, and assaulted.  I was often excluded from care because I had become poor, and also because I had grown older and more worn out.  Eventually, I excluded myself, and declared myself free of the system.

Today, I enjoy being different.  I don’t want to be like everyone else.  One drawback to not hiding or disguising my difference is that I face severe discrimination on a daily basis.  Most people don’t want to associate with me because of who I am.  I try to accept this, and move on.

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.

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

I am setting this to post at 7:21am…though I may be in the shower….

I woke up alive this morning.  I am okay.

I have not double-checked my birth certificate but I believe that 7:21 is the time of my birth.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, in a snowstorm.

Actually, I was not out in the snow.  I was indoors, inside a hospital.  I do not know the name of the hospital.

I assume my mother was there.

I am in a really negative space this morning on the day before my 54th birthday. Sorry.

I wish this wasn’t the case.  But it is.

I woke up alive.  I was glad to get adequate sleep.  About 7-1/2 hours.  Nice.  I slept rather late.  I had dreams.  I don’t remember them now.  I felt scattered in my thoughts this morning but eventually I got focused and into a very angry space.  Then, I decided I’d better get a move on and get on with my day, take a shower, get dressed, and so on, get Puzzle out, as it was really well into the morning.  I found that my anger was morphing into despair.  Then I interrupted myself and came here.  I decided I’d write about what I was feeling.  Here I am.

I’ve been posting on Facebook lately.  This is highly unusual for me.  Just using it as an outlet, expressing myself, reaching out, as my birthday approaches…what the heck.  Mostly my Goddard classmates are on there.  Excellent folks.  Many are on Pacific Time.  Things happen late at night.

I awoke this morning wearing my pajamas.  Well, this makes sense because I went to sleep wearing my pajamas, and I didn’t take them off in the middle of the night.   I have these bright red fleece footie pajamas.  I took them off when I went to pee when I got up.  I wished and wished and crossed my fingers that the edema that I’ve had for days and days now had disappeared in the night.  This sometimes happens.  Well, fat chance.  It didn’t.  I have the ankles of an elephant.  Still.   My skin is so stretched that I have these terrible sores and I had to put lotion on last night to keep them from getting worse.  If you have never had anorexia you don’t know how terrible this makes me feel inside, to have legs, or at least calves, as if I am about fifty pounds heavier than I really am.  Well, forty.  Sucks just as much.  My body is betraying me.  When all this edema stuff suddenly started at the end of last April, I really thought that my body was ruined and that my life was over.  I died, really, a long, long time ago.  I am not the person I was.  The world has not been the same.  It is a cruel, cruel place.

I must slink around at this point. I must avoid hospitalization at all costs.  I am terrified.  This is an unrealistic fear but it is a fear nonetheless simply because it is always a possibility due to the fact that I am a mental patient and people have their prejudices.  I see my therapist on Monday.  I wrote January 8 on my calendar, the day of my 54th birthday, and I wrote, “Happy Birthday.”  The next page was blank for a very long time.  I guess it was yesterday that I noticed its blankness.  I wrote in the date, January 9th, and I wrote in that I see my T that day.

On Sunday, I will be 54, and I will still be 54 on Monday.  So when I go to see my T, I will be 54.

I don’t know what I was getting at.  Well, I do know.  Hospital means nut ward.  Nut ward means state hospital.  State hospital means absolutely no eating disorders treatment whatsoever and staff who have absolutely no knowledge of eating disorders.  Actually, the staff in state hospitals probably are completely uneducated and possibly don’t even have high school diplomas and most likely barely speak English.  State hospital means sitting around all day every day in a wobbly chair surrounded by other patients who can barely put a sentence together.  Maybe I’ll take up smoking again.  It might be the only activity they offer.

My life.  What’s left of it.

Avoid hospital.  Be free.

Things left: Puzzle.  Church.  I’ve got a few friends, God bless them, but most have left me.  Not that I blame them.  I blame some of them, though.

I am really, really blessed to have my church.  I am blessed to have what I have left.

I am blessed to have my writing.  I have been writing a lot lately.  It is necessary.

Now, I will take a shower.  It is late.

I hope the shower is hot.  I have my showers, too.  I do have a lot left.  A fair amount.  Today.  All day today.  All day Sunday, January 8th, my birthday, when I will show up at church a bit before 10:30, in time for the service.

The weather is supposed to be nice here in Boston.  Quite fitting, I think.