Monday, September 7, 2009

Rogers Doktahs

Every day during the week at Rogers you meet with your psychiatrist. My psychiatrist was Dr. Wiesensel. I think she has been at Rogers for quite some time. She is straightforward and has no sense of humor. But we basically had no problems, just checked in every morning for about five minutes, made minor adjustments on my medications from time to time (she did come in early, like 7 am, and didn’t care if she took you out of breakfast to meet with you, which was sort of annoying). The only thing with Dr. Wisensel is that she is sort of strict or overly cautious or whatever you want to call it, and she would tend to tell you one thing (such as "You can start going to the dining room tomorrow") and then take it back (tomorrow would come and she would want to wait another day or two).
After about two weeks into my stay at Rogers I was making plans to return to Castlewood on a Monday- I had bought plane tickets and everything. Dr. Wisensel was all on board. Then on Friday afternoon at about 4pm, three days before I was scheduled to leave, Castlewood called to let me know I couldn't come back yet- there had been a miscommunication between the staff at Castlewood and the social worker at Rogers and Castlewood had not realized that I had not fully met the requirements to return. I was frantic- I did not want to stay at Rogers one second longer and I had already bought my plane ticket. It was Friday evening, and not much could be done- I decided I was going to follow through with my plane ticket, fly to St. Louis and pick up my car and drive back home to Seattle. Dr. Wisensel was on call for the weekend so I saw her Saturday morning. I explained the situation and my intention to return home. She was fine with the plane; she had no reason to keep me there. In reality I had been hoping that she would not let me leave. I did not really want to return home, I knew that I was not ready and that that was a plan for disaster. I was also aware that staying at Rogers two more weeks (to fulfill the requirements to return to Castlewood) was going to eat up four more weeks of residential insurance benefits that I could have spent at Castlewood.

That afternoon I asked the nursing staff if I should put in a '24 Hour Request to Leave' form, which is basically a form people sign that people can sign that allows patients to let their doctors know that they intend to leave, and requires their doctors to meet with the patient within 24 hours to determine if the patient is stable enough to leave or whether they are not and need to get a court order to make them stay. Anyways, since the nursing staff suggested that I fill one out (since my discharge plans had been changed and were not concrete and were confusing) I did. By late Saturday afternoon I was frenzied. I was somewhat terrified of returning home- it felt like a death sentence. I knew I was nowhere near recovery and that returning home meant that I would just return right back where I was. In addition to that, although I had a plane ticket to St. Louis and planned to drive back to Washington, I had no money whatsoever to make the drive back west. I had no idea what I was going to do- sleep in my car? Where? How was I going to earn money that way? Get a job? I guess grandma might bail me out, but I wasn’t very interested in that, and I don’t think she was, either. I was panicked.
Sunday afternoon Dr. Wisensel came onto the unit to see me, as required per the 24-hour Request to Leave paper. She pulled me into a conference room and immediately lashed out angrily “Why the hell did you make me drag my ass up here on my ass up here on my day off? Did you think I wasn’t going to discharge you? Why are you pulling this shit?” Stunned and scared, I ran back to the dayroom, shaken and crying. I started to try to talk to one of the nurses there, Amanda- fortunately one that I happened to like, but Dr. Wisensel entered the dayroom and continued, in front of everyone “You either need to come rescind you request or you need to leave right now. You need to stop acting like a two-year-old and start acting like an adult. You need to grow up.” I thought I was going to explode. I stared into Amanda’s eyes, silently pleading her to intervene. But she couldn’t. As much as she knew that what was going on was wrong, she couldn’t argue with the doctor right there.
After holding my gaze with Amanda for a minute longer, I silently followed Dr. Wisensel back to the conference room. As I signed the line to rescind my request, she continued “You need to learn to trust what people tell you. If you don’t learn to do that, you will never recover. Don’t pull this shit again.”
I left, and went to my room, quite upset. Amanda came in a bit later to let me know she had called the House Supervisor (HS) (basically the person who oversees and manages the whole hospital) and explained what had gone on. The HS was going to come talk to me shortly. On top of everything else, I was still scheduled to leave in about 15 hours and had no idea what I was going to do.
The HS came, I explained what had occurred with Dr. Wisensel, along with my fears around my disorganized discharge plan. She let me know that she was not comfortable letting me leave with the way things were set up, with all of the uncertainty after arriving in St. Louis. She said she would come back and talk to me later after making a few phone calls. When she returned, she informed me that my care was being transferred to another doctor, Dr. Weltzin, and that I was not going to be able to discharge until he met with me and evaluated me and wrote the discharge order. Since my flight was scheduled to leave at six a.m. the following morning, this meant that my flight was going to have to be rebooked. This provided a little relief- I had some time to put together a plan, and I would not have to deal with Dr. Wisensel. Later that night Dr. Wisensel called in my discharge order (which she never did write) and was not only informed that I was not, in fact, discharging the next morning, but that she could not write orders for me because she did not have authority over my case because it had been switched to another doctor. I was told that she was not very happy with the news.
I met with Dr. Weltzin the next morning. Although he was comfortable discharging me, we decided to hold out for a while, to see if I could try again to meet the requirements to be able to return to Castlewood. I ended up staying at Rogers another three loooong weeks. But Dr. Weltzin turned out to be a much better fit for me. He is the director of all of the eating disorder programs at Rogers, but I felt like he was willing to work with me and do what he could to help out and make my time there less painful (even granting me special privileges, such as being able to take walks or go shopping online).
So, although it was only for a few minutes each day that you saw the doctor, seriously, bedside manner DOES still count in my book!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rogers:Daily Life

Wow...it has been a long time!!! I am back at Castlewood. I got back a week ago- last Monday. My stay at Rogers did not go well, to say the least. I will try to do my best to summarize my experience.
I flew into Milwaukee after a layover in Memphis, TN. It was sort of odd to have to fly directly south from St. Louis for an hour to Memphis and then directly north for two to get to Milwaukee, but I suppose that is how the airlines work these days. The driver from Rogers was calling to ask where I was before I even made it to the baggage claim. He was an interesting fellow- Norm is his name. He would ask me a question (in a very low voice, so that I would have to have him repeat it several times), such as what was I studying in school? to which I would have to shout back the answer ("Biology!") because he could never hear me. Then he would reply with some completely random or inappropriate response such as "Oh, thats too bad, we don't all get t do what we want in life." Anyways, as we pulled in front of the admissions building, a cop pulled in behind us. I was alarmed at first- was I going to be brought into the building in shackles? Nope, Norm had just ran a stop sign.
After the whole admission and paperwork process I was taken up to the unit. It is a locked psychiatric unit with two halls; one hall is for the adult mental health and drug/alcohol detox patients and the other hall is for the adult eating disorder patients. My stuff was searched and I was given a room. I lucked out in that I got a single room with a bathroom, although it is not that great since the rooms are bare with just a bed and locked windows with heavy screens. Most of the other rooms are doubles and everyone shares the shower rooms located off the hallway.
Since I came in on the weekend I was not able to meet with a dietician right away and was given the standard meal plan they give to people who first come in- the lowest plan which is ver, very little food. That night I asked for some extra fruit for snack, which practically floored them.
The first day I met with the doctor on call. She was able to write me an order that allowed me to have my clothes that had drawstrings and I was also allowed to have my yarn and knitting needles. The dietician that was filling in for the weekend came up to meet with me and we discussed what I had been eating at Castlewood and she greatly increased my meal plan. Rogers goes off the exchange system, which I despise because it tends to make me become more obsessive on calories (it did). They also require 3 meals and 3 snacks, like most programs.
That first day I also completed all of the assignments they give you- a couple of worksheets abut body image and exercise and a workbook about your eating disorder. Monday I met with my regular doctor who advanced me to level three- the highest level. This meant that I was allowed to eat in the dining room (although I still ate off of a prepared tray) and was allowed outside. The days are all the same at Rogers: wake up at 6:30am for weights and vitals (if you have bloodwork ordered, they come around 5 or 5:30 in the morning), shower and get ready. Breakfast is at 7:45. Then everyone kind of hangs out, at some point we have goals group where we would all state our goal for the day. Then came rec group for an hour where would play a teambuilding game (with the exception of Mondays- no group at that time), followed by snack, and an hour of process group. Lunch is at 11:45an, and then we chill until 1pm when we have social serives group for an hour. Sanck at 2, art at 2:15, dinner at 4:45, snack and goals at 8pm. day in and day out. No individual therapy or anything. The weekends are worse- just art group in the morning and process group in the afternoon surrounded by all of the meals and snacks. I fulfilled my time doing lots of jigsaw and sodoku puzzles and crocheting dishcloths.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Going...going..gone

So I am all set to go to the program in Wisconsin. I really don't want to go, to be in such a strict, depersonalized unit. But I have been keeping myself very busy, so fortunately not had too much time to dwell. I am flying out tomorrow morning. I hope to do what I need to do there in a relatively short time and be on my way back here to Castlewood. I just need to remember that Roger's is not forever. I will not have Internet or phone access there, so I will be away for a bit. Enjoy your summer!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Limbo

The team has decided I need a more intensive inpatient program to have a steadier weight gain and to have more structure and support in controlling my ED behaviors. I am so devastated. I just want to stay HERE. They have promised that if I do what I need to do I can come back as soon as I leave ip. They want me to go to Roger's Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin. I do NOT want to go. I have heard horrible things about the program. But...the alternative options are not good. So I had an assessment with Roger's this morning and am waiting to hear back from them. I am in limbo, and I hate not knowing what is going to happen. As soon as I get the go from them I will schedule my flight out there. That could be tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon or Saturday. I just do not know. I am trying just to focus on the logistics of what needs to be done. Cancel my cell phone and car insurance, pack, ect. Roger's ip program is very strict and I will not be able to access a computer or cell phone (or pants with drawstrings, spiral bound notebooks, outdoors...) so this blog is going to at least be on hold if/when I go. I will update when I know more....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Slump :(

I have been kind of depressed the last few days. I don't know why. I spent my free time over the weekend in my room and slept a lot. I just do not really feel like being around people. Additionally, my urges to restrict my food intake are greater. So far I have still eaten all of the food and stuff I am supposed to, but it has been a great struggle and debate in my head.
Last week, after sharing my timeline to the group, I got feedback such as "this treatment stay is just the next line in the progression of my treatment stays" and that "it is impossible that I will recover." I felt (feel) very hopeless. If the professionals think it is near impossible for me to recover, then what chance do I have?!? On Friday my therapist and I agreed that I would start a "Rigorous Honesty" journal, where I note all of my behaviors and eating disordered thoughts. I have doing pretty well with it. However, I still had struggles and urges over the weekend. On Monday I implemented a plan with Deborah that included me sharing my Honesty journal once a shift, no kitchen privileges and no privileges to go on outings. I am okay with all of that, I know I need the extra support. But at the moment I don't really care about any of it- treatment, recovery, my eating disorder, being here or not being here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Week Six Down



Yesterday I decided to try my best to look decent and play dress-up :)








Well, it has been a pretty quiet week. The weekend was calm. On Sunday my nutritionist shared her own story of recovery during a group. It was very inspiring to me. It made me realize that she could truly emphasize with me and that I need not be ashamed of some of the behaviors that I have engaged in over the years. When she talked about the beginning of her recovery, she told how the most important step she took was to be 100% honest with her sponsor. For some reason that really struck me. There are secrets that I have been keeping- nothing major, but they add up and fuel my addiction. Things such as having extra salt, extra diet coke, ect. At that moment in Deborah's story I felt compelled to be 100% honest. I know that recovery means 100% honest. I decided to come clean. As the evening wore on, I started to become hesitant and knew I was losing that motivation. I told a peer that there was something I needed to talk to Deborah about and asked that she would hold me accountable to doing so. Towards the end of the night I pulled Deborah aside and told her what was going on- everything. I trust Deborah the most of anyone. I had put myself in a difficult situation- on one hand I feared the consequences (well, mainly the consequence of being kicked out- I could handle and deserved anything else), but on the other hand I knew that recovery = honesty. I could get rid of whatever forbidden things I had, but that would only be a patch over the pothole. Thankfully, Deborah was very gentle, but I worried about the team's response on Monday. It went better than ever- I was actually commended for my honesty.
Tuesday I shared in group about the most difficult aspect of my eating disorder- the ruminating. It is a behavior that I am so ashamed of and is a huge dam in my recovery. My peers were very supportive, so I am glad that I am able to talk about it and get help with the issue.
The rest of the week has been a bit blase, a bit down. I don't know. I am relaxing that I am struggling less, having minimal urges to purge, ect, and that is a bit scary. I feel emotionally blank.
On the upside, I realized yesterday that I feel more comfortable within the community. I am finding it easier to talk to and connect with my peers and the staff. Hopefully that will continue to improve.
On Tuesday I woke up at 4:30am and could hear the wolves outside. I tried to get the howling on video, but you can only hear birds: (the bright object is actually the moon, not the sun)

video










Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!


HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!!!

Quick update, as it is "late".

The last few days have been considerably better. I did end up having to get my tube replaced again on Thursday. Apparently I have "kinky intestines" and thus the tube will likely continue to have issues.

WARNING: GROSS INFORMATION AHEAD!!!

So eating disorders really mess with the normalization of bowel movements. I had gone about two weeks without having a BM, and by Thursday-Friday was in serious pain. It hurt to stand or move. It killed to sit. Eating and having pressure on my stomach was torturous. And I literally looked about eight months pregnant. Friday they discussed sending me to urgent care, but instead gave me some major laxatives that are typically given to patients before they have bowel surgery. I finally got some relief today. Currently not full of shit, at least in the literal sense!

Otherwise things have been moving along, hehe. No movie last night, as there was not one that everyone was interested in seeing. Today we went to Borders again, where I was able to show some self restraint...but could have used more :/

Yesterday my dietitian called and let me know my weight was climbing too much (or too fast) and she decreased my meal plan. The thought of gaining so much weight freaks me out, but I am trying to be relieved that my dietitian is sticking to her word, and also let myself know that part of my weight gain may be due to the other issues I was having.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth!!!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Better Day :)

Well, yesterday finally felt like a better day. First of all, it is the first of the month, thus we got to vote on new soda selections, and it is Diet Coke month people!!! wahooo!! That will make everything better! I also got to meat with the Life Coach for the first time, and that feels positive to me. For some reason the Life Coach and her positivity and method of refrming negative thinking is really rubbing off on me. We set some general gaols of things I want to work on- being more optimistic and less critical, finding "self love" and getting some guidence on which direction I want to go school and career-wise. I feel good about this.
Yesterday I also got off of 24-hour bathroom observations (yay!!) and couck rest (double yay!!!!). I am quite happy with this, even though I dont have any extra privleges. Tho only thing I am annoyed with at the moment is that my tube is clogged again and it looks like it is going to have to be re-replaced. I am NOT happy about this. But there is not much I can do about the situation, so to quote my dad "it is what it is".
The movie we voted on for tomorrow is "Year One". It does not really sound like my type of film- has anyone seen it? Not sure I will go, but it IS free. Saturday's outing is the St. Louis Art Museum, which I probably won't go to. Museums are not really my thing, and it is in Forest Park, which is supposedly crazy busy on the Fourth.
All in All, things are better today. What are you doing to celebrate the Fourth of July??

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Well, it has been a few more difficult days. It's hard to have so many now, and not really having a light at the end of the table.
Sunday was low-key. They had Body Movement group in the pool, which I could not participate in, so I had to stay inside. I am bummed because the weather has cooled off a bit and being outside is actually very pleasant, but I cannot go out yet. Sunday night we went out to dinner at some Thai restaurant, which was okay.
Yesterday was....explosive. The morning was okay, although now I have a morning snack, and that kills the little quiet time I enjoy between groups. During one of the morning groups the group leader informed me that I have been dishonest about my behaviors and how I am supposedly 'manipulating my weight' and that it has been reported by other peers that I am secretly purging. I was quite infuriated. First of all, that I have told staff EVERY SINGLE TIME I have purged. Secondly, that although I have repeatedly asked my peers to let me know if they are concerned about me, that no one comes to me directly. So the group leader was using this as ammunition to the team's belief that I am being dishonest and may need a higher level of care- which was completely opposite of the vibe I got from then on Friday.
After lunch I was randomly weighed. This made me very anxious- my immediate belief is that I gained a bunch of weight yesterday and they have to confirm that.
From there I went to my therapist's office. He confirmed that the team is suspicious that I am lying, specifically using my peer's accusation as evidence to that. It was the last straw for me. I walked out of his office. I was so pissed. I have been completely honest, compliant with every restriction that has been put on me. How am I supposed to trust these people who don't believe a word I say? I have done many things over the last month that I AM uncomfortable with, trying to trust the professionals, only to find out that they don't trust me in the slightest. I went to pack my bags. I had every intention of leaving. I was going to book a flight out, until I remembered that I have my car here, lol. I think I knew shortly thereafter that I wasn't really going to leave, but I was MAD. And I wanted people to know it. Eventually I calmed down, and went to talk to the program director. I laid out my frustrations. I let her know that I had, in fact, told my dietitian about the accusatory purge- it turns out that my dietitian missed the morning staff meeting, so the rest of the team was under the impression that I had not told anyone. So, again, I had fallen victim to poor communication.
I took a nap and unpacked. Today I am just trying to lay low. Initially my response was to charge into group this morning and express my anger that the 'concerned peer' was not coming to me. But lying in bed last night, the Life Coach's philosophies emerged in my head as I considered what purpose that would serve me and what I could take from this situation. I realized I cannot make anyone do anything, and that perhaps the lesson is that I need to be more open with my peers about my struggles.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Couch Bum(med)

Well, I had a frustrating end to the week. Which kind of sucked since the rest of my week was also frustrating.
Thursday afternoon my tube was clogged. In all honesty, I have not been great about taking the initiative to flush it every time I am supposed to. So it was pulled Thursday, and I was hoping that that meant it would stay out. Surprisingly, I found dinner Thursday night to be particularly hard. I have been wanting the tube out, but once it was, I was suddenly thinking about how much I didn't want to eat, how now nobody could 'force' me to do it. Also, I truly have not been experiencing any hunger. I was having an okay time in the beginning, but now I have absolutely no desire to eat. So eating dinner was me literally forcing it down. I was trying to use the fact that I wanted to go to the movie Friday night as motivation. But I was rather miserable the rest of the night.

Friday morning I found out that I was going to the hospital first thing to get a new tube. Part of me was frustrated- I didn't even get a chance to ask anyone if I could have a 'trial period' without it, and I didn't see the necessity in having it replaced since I have only used it a couple of times. But then there was another part of me that was relieved- I didn't have to torture myself with the guilt and shame for eating when I didn't 'have to'. This is disordered thinking, I know. Anyways, I had to get it done, and thankfully the procedure went a lot smoother than the first time.

Friday afternoon I was hit with another bombshell. Apparently since I have not gained any weight (or lost some- I am not exactly sure) my insurance is questioning whether this program is appropriate for me or whether I need a more intensive inpatient rigid refeeding/weight gain program. This would really suck. I will not go to such a program, so I really hope things work out. Because my weight has not progressed, I am on a new protocol. I am back on 24-hour observations and also on strict 'couch rest'. This means I can only walk to the bathroom and dining room (about 15 feet away) and the group room. The rest of the time I have to sit on the couch. I cannot even go on the bowling outing today or sit on the porch on the opposite side of the room :( I understand the concept of them not wanting me to expend even the slightest amount of energy, but it is still disappointing. And I get the sense that they don't completely believe me that I am not doing something 'bad' to avoid weight gain. That is actually the worst part- I can't do ANYTHING to make my body do what it 'needs' to do. I am literally helpless. So parts of it do feel punishing. But it will supposedly be re-evaluated on Mon. I am trying to remind myself:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change"


My sacred 'couch seat':



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Four Weeks

Well, I came to Castlewood four weeks ago today. In a lot of ways I feel like I have made no progress. But I guess change is slow and it is hard to see from one day to the next. At least that is what I am telling myself is the case...
This week has been sort of blah. I guess I have been a bit blah. On Monday Jim pulled me into his office and told me that he (and the staff) were concerned about the 'incident' over the weekend. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Apparently there was a discussion in Monday's team meeting that I had stolen food or something when we were at Borders. Not the case. Eventually they figured out that there had been some miscommunication and the don't know where that information came from. It is still sort of unresolved, and even though I did not do anything wrong it feels as though my 'reputation' is tarnished by the event. I am pretty frustrated over it.
Additionally, I am having a bit of a difficulty with another member in the community. I feel like I am irritable and that I am not capable of making connections with others. It bothers me because I don't feel like I can say anything right so I decide to keep my mouth shut, but then always end up opening it and saying something to piss someone off. This is very disturbing to me.
It has been one week since I have purged. I don't feel good about it; instead I feel like I am just forcing myself to go through the motions.
Hopefully the weekend will be chill.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Recap

It was HOT and HUMID!!!! It was about 100 degrees with 100% humidity. So muggy I avoided going outside as much as possible!
I ended up not being able to go to the movie on Friday as a consequence of my actions in the previous days. I definitely understood, but I was still disappointed since it was a movie I selected and really wanted to see! I was also temporarily placed back on 24 hour bathroom observations, but on Saturday was able to get off of them. I went on the outing on Saturday to JoAnn Fabrics and to Borders. I had to sty with staff, but that was okay. I got some more yarn for crochet and knitting projects (why is it that I only do them when I am in treatment??) and some magazines and books at Borders. I had a return and a coupon for Borders, so I was able to get 5 things for only $6. Love that.
Yesterday was sort of lazy. I worked on some assignments, napped, went to groups and hung out in my room, where it is cooler. I am now wishing I hadn't brought only sweatpants and ventured into capris-land!
I am looking forward to a better week. I have not purged since Thursday, so I am off to a better start.
Anyone have plans for the 4th of July?

Friday, June 19, 2009

TGIF

It has been a rough week. Sorry I haven't updated.
This week I have started to share my timeline with the group and with my therapist. Today I was told that my timeline is more like a memoir and I need to cut it down for the group part. I have enjoyed writing my timeline and am going to keep it as a work in progress.
Tuesday night the staff decided to forgo our pre-planned meal and got pizza and (honestly) salad drenched in dressing. I was already very anxious about this change, and was supposed to sit next to my dietitian. However, she ended up spending the time talking with another client, thus I was sort of alone at the end of the table. I didn't eat, didn't supplement. No one really talked to me about it. I left dinner and sat outside for quite a while, feeling abandoned and needy, and very much wanted to cut. The fact that no one noticed I was missing or came to look for me sort of cemented these beliefs for me.
I know my behavior sounds childish and manipulative. Honestly I was experiencing intense emotions, and this rage inside. Maybe it was connected to the fact that I have been talking a lot about experiencing abandonment as a child or whatever. I did have an opportunity to talk to my peers about the situation that night, and spoke of it with a couple of staff the following day. Both Wednesday and Thursday I purged. At least one of those times I let staff know I had the urge, but I did not seek out the level of support I needed, I guess. My team thinks that my acting out on behaviors is related to some emotions that might be stirred up since I am sharing my timeline. I don't really like this theory; I feel like it is making justifications for my behavior. Also, it is hard for me to see this as a possibility because I really am not feeling emotions about it. But I m trying to entertain the idea that my emotions and behaviors are related.
Anyways, I am going to make a concerted effort to stick to my observation time, ask for support and use concrete coping skills. I do not want my stay here to be jeopardized.
It has gotten hella hot here. Yesterday and today have been near 100 degrees, and humid. The air conditioning cant keep up, so the building is warm (I am actually comfortable, but others are sweltering). Yesterday some folks saw a peacock in the yard (4 feet tall!!) but I did not see it. I did, however, see another black snake today, it was sort of cute, so small I thought it was a large worm.
Tonight we are going to see The Proposal, which I am excited about since that was my pick for the movie. Tomorrow's outing is to Border's and JoAnne Fabrics. I may or may not go to church on Sunday...I think I will see how the other outings go, and I want to examine my true intentions for going.
I am glad this week is over. I am looking forward to a better week next week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Comments

I have changed some of the settings for my comment function...if someone would not mind trying to post a comment so I can see if it works, I would appreciate it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Wrap

It was a productive weekend. I feel good about that.

Friday night we went to see the movie. I have this thing I do which is that I always see things that I want to do or intend on doing, but then I back out at the last second. This was a constant occurrence during college. I would decide something looked fun, but as the time approached, I would find my anxiety increasing, the fear of being around people and food and out of my isolative abode overtaking me. Most of it was eating disorder related- I didn't want anything to interfere with my routine or schedule or intentions to binge and purge. As movie time approached Friday night, this same anxiety crept up, to a lesser degree. Of course, engaging in eating disorder acts were not a factor, it was more of stepping out of my comfort zone and interrupting the schedule I knew and was familiar with.

Similarly, I felt the same way about Sunday's outing, which was to the Botanical Gardens. But I pushed myself to go. The gardens were pretty, but not exactly what I was expecting. Their Japanese garden was not at all like what I remember seeing in Japan. Plus it was really hot and there was a lot of walking, and my unfit body was exhausted by the time we left.

Saturday I also engaged in another eating disorder fueled sin. I stole food, ate it and purged it. I am not proud of this. It was the hardest thing ever to admit this to Deborah yesterday, but I think I feel a little better now that it is out. I am just very ashamed and disgusted with myself.

Sunday was kind of chill. For Body Movement group we went on a walk. It was supposed to be peaceful and calming, but it was sort of difficult for me to get in that space. I was, however, reminded how much I want to do things that that the eating disorder prevents me from doing, such as taking up photography, hiking, camping and fishing.

Sunday night it was sprung on us that we were going out to eat again. I was not very happy about this. I was already grumpy because Deborah just bumped my meal plan up again (I am now eating exactly double what I was just a week ago), and going out did not appeal to me. We got there, some very expensive European restaurant, and I decided to have the "Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad." Yes, this choice was majorly influenced by my eating disorder, but it honestly sounded good on the menu. It wasn't. It was disgusting. I disliked every part of it, besides the beets, but they were all covered in disgusting dressing. I choked it down. I was annoyed on the outside, and angry on the inside. It is a very big eating disorder rule not to ever eat anything I don't like (is that really unreasonable?) and I feel that if I have to eat, I might as well like it, or at least be able to tolerate it. Not the case here. I guess it taught me several things: 1) Don't let the eating disorder choose your foods for you and 2) I don't ever have to have that again!
Today I am sort of blah. I processed my theft/purging event in group, and just am ashamed about it. I am eating the damn food. But I am still blah.

Here are some pics from the Botanical Gardens:






Friday, June 12, 2009

Two weeks

Well, another week down. This was a somewhat stressful week as Family Week was Tuesday- Thursday, so all of our groups were cancelled and instead we had large groups with the families, cramped in an unaccommodating room. All of the clients were relieved to see Family Week be over so that we could have some breathing room.
It has also been a challenging week for me food-wise. My meal plan was increased Monday, and again on Wednesday. I was (am) quite anxious about this as it is a big change and I am struggling with feeling very physically uncomfortable, as well as feeling fat, disgusting and bloated. My dietitian claims that I have not gained any weight at all, but I am having a hard time believing that. She called me tonight (it is her day off) and said more increases are looming. I don't think I can handle that.
Additionally, there have been some conflicts in the milieu, namely between another person and myself. The tension has been building, and I have been okay, but then in group today I just broke down, crying hard. I don't even remember the last time I cried. Thankfully, I have been told the conflict does not really have to do with me, and I feel a little better about expressing how I am struggling within the community. Mostly I feel unheard and that people only see negatives in me. I have a very hard time with feeling I am so socially unacceptable.
Tonight we went to see a movie- "The Taking of Pellham...123". It was an intense movie, not the kind I typically watch, but it was good. I almost backed out, as I almost always do when it come to social outings, but I went and it was okay. Although I was extremely disappointed to have to settle for Diet Pepsi vs. Diet Coke.Tomorrow we are going to the Botanical Gardens.
My throat has been unbearably painful today. If it is this bad tomorrow, I might go to Urgent Care and get it looked at. I can hardly stand to swallow.
I hope everyone has a good weekend...including myself!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

COMMENTS

Several of you have mentioned to me that you are having problems posting comments on this blog. Being as technologically challenged as I am, I don't know what the problem is. This is the best way I know how to leave a comment:
Once you write the comment, select 'Anonymous' from the drop down box (if you do not have one of the other specified accounts, and maybe even if you do). Submit the comment. You have to submit it twice. And be sure to include your name in the comment box so that I will know who you are!

Hump day!!

This week is kinda odd because it is family week, so all of our groups are cancelled Tues, Wed, Thurs and we all sit with our families cramped in a room and listen to lectures. Yesterday I had a hard time staying awake!
Yesterday was the first day of my new menu increase, my breakfast was doubled. I had a really hard time with it, and was especially struggling to eat lunch because I was still so full from breakfast. After lunch I was really struggling. I didn't necessary have an urge to purge, but I felt like my intolerance was mounting and that using an ed behavior was imminent. I knew I could not do dinner. But as the afternoon wore on, and a good nap and therapy session took place, by the time dinner was here I was able to get through it. I am not happy about my menu increases, especially since Deborah said I have not gained any weight since I have been here and likely will have more increases.
For those of you that have not had an eating disorder, let me explain how menu increases are so paradoxical to an eating disordered patient...or at least for me. When I hear that my menu needs to be increased, part of me is happy. Menu increases mean I am not gaining weight exponentially. But meal plan increases also are scary...the fear of being overly full, of wanting to purge more often. Also my fears of gaining weight and getting fat skyrocket. So it is quite a emotionally confusing process.
Today is menu planning. I have been looking forward to it all week. I like picking my menus, seeing what is going to be served in the following week and basically obsessing over it. It is a very eating disordered thing, I know. Probably why they only do it once a week...

Some of you, my friends that are suffering or have suffered from an eating disorder, I know it seems that this blog focused on the food and behaviors and the ed protocols. It partially is, my eating disordered thinking is still quite ingrained. But also, I am trying to explain the processes and challenges of fighting the eating disorder and being in treatment because there are people (hopefully) that read this who don't have a clue about eating disorders, let alone a treatment program, and don't understand the meal plans, the struggles and the routine of being in treatment. I am trying to keep away from using numbers as much as possible, as well as not talking about specific weights, but if you find things triggering, or can think of ways that I improve my sharing of my experiences, please let me know!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday, Again.

Funny how the week always begins, ends and lasts at the same time, but always seems longer or shorter.
It was a decent weekend. I like weekends. Some people find them boring, but we still have 3-4 groups a day and I actually wouldn't mind them being even less scheduled. Saturday afternoon we went on our weekend outing, which was to get mani/pedis. I got a pedicure. I was a bit self-conscious about going out with my tube, but it wasn't a problem, and I pretty much forgot about it. Saturday night was a bit tougher. We had pizza for dinner. This is another "forbidden" food for me, and after eating it I defiantly wanted to purge. But I was trying to remind myself of something a staff member was saying when trying to reason with me the previous night. There will always be challenges, the "forbidden" foods, but literally and metaphorically. If I don't push through my threshold of comfort or tolerance, then I will never make any progress. So I pushed through and managed not to purge.
Sunday night was our food outing. The dietitian chose Dairy Queen...and I FREAKED! I basically decided not to eat before we even got there. But once we were there, and I spoke to Deborah, I was able to find something I was okay with and eat a bit of it. I still had 50% meal plan, so it really wasn't as bad as I expected.
Deborah also told me that she needs to increase my meal plan. The way this works is that she breaks the weight into 5 pound ranges. So if one came in at 23 pounds, and needed to gain weight, their next range would be 23-28 pounds, the range after that would be 28-33 lbs, ect. We are expected to gain 1-3 pounds a week. So she doesn't tell you your weight (I actually don't even know where my current range started) but tells you when you have moved to the next one. Since I haven't gained much or anything I have to be increased. They let you choose how you want to do it...my options basically were to increase to meals by 25% (to 75%), later on, if needed I can add snacks. Since breakfast is the 'safest' meal for me, I actually decided to increase it to 100% and leave the others the same. But if that is too much, I can spread out the increase. I am anxious about this, but kinda expected it. She forgot to change my meal plan for breakfast today, so I had to have 75% at lunch, but I will start my new breakfast plan tomorrow.
Today in therapy, Jim had me start "the work". I have always said I am open to it, but now that the time is here, I am a little scared. The therapy model they use here is Internal Family Systems (IFS). I cant really say a whole lot about it because I really don't understand it yet, but I am trying to be open to it. Today's session was tense for me.
The weather is hot. I heard that it is supposed to cool down and become rainier later this week, which I am ok with. We get intense storms here, last night was very dark with loud thunder, lightning and hail. I loved it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Welcome Saturday!

Well, I survived my first full week. It has been challenging..but not really discouraging.
Yesterday I had my endoscopy. It was really not a big deal AT ALL. The worst part was getting the IV because the nurse couldn't hit my vein, so she kept digging around in my arm. I hate that! I would rather they just take the needle out and start over. Anyways, once I got back to the procedure room, they knocked me out, I took a ten minute nap, and I woke up in recovery. Once my BP rose it bit (It was 64/thirtysomething!) I got to leave. Very painless. AND best of all: everything looks good!! They took a couple of biopsies that have to be evaluated by the pathologist before we will know for certain, but I am very relieved. For years I have been worried about the damage I have caused to my esophagus and the potential for cancer, so it is a big relief to have good news!
Yesterday I struggled....I purged. There were a number of influencing factors, although not justifiable ones, that led to my slip-up. I let staff know right away and have been processing the emotions/thoughts/feeling around the incident and how I can plan to cope better in the future.
I finally got a room Thursday night. I love it! It has gorgeous views, is warm and modern and has lots of storage space. Pictures to follow! I also volunteered for a weekly chore- there is a variety, but mine is to clear, wipe down and set the tables after each meal.
Today we have a couple of groups, and an outing, in which we are going to get manicures and/or pedicures. Every other weekend's outing is paid for by Castlewood, up to $15/person. It should be pretty chill, and I am hoping to get a fair amount of work on my assignments done.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Week Down

Well, I have been here a week. Overall I feel pretty positive about the program and the place. Monday morning I got my ng tube. The procedure was a sonofabitch. Nonetheless, I am stuck with it. Actually, since I got it I have only used it once- I have eaten 100% of the rest of my meals. I was hoping to get it out Monday, or maybe even Friday, but yesterday my dietitian told me I will have to have it for two or three WEEKS- until I am eating 100% constantly and gaining weight :/ I was sort of distraught by the news, but I guess it is what it is.
Yesterday I had an appointment with a GI specialist, mostly about my severe acid reflux. They decided that they need to do an endoscopy- put a tube with a camera attached down my throat- and that is taking place tomorrow. I am a bit anxious about it, and I have never been under anesthesia, but the people I have talked to here that have had it said it is no big deal. In some sense I am kind of glad, as I have been concerned about the damage and increased risk of esophageal cancer that I might have from years of purging and ruminating.
The only other thing I am annoyed with is the fact that I STILL do not have a bedroom. I have been promised each of the last three days that I would have one by the end of the night. Yesterday I even packed all of my stuff and the housekeeper changed my linens, but then it didn't happen. I am so frustrated because I want to unpack and have my own space. I feel like it is unfair because I am paying the same amount as everyone else- which is a LOT of money- and I do not have a room after a week. Even the people that have come in after me this week have a room. My first (pissed of) response is that I want to leave. But I am trying to tell myself that it isn't a huge deal, I will get a room (eventually) and although it is not ideal, I will be okay.
Yesterday I also got my Contract for the week. Some of my individual goals include reading the book "Compassion and Self Hate" and commenting on the chapters, finishing and sharing my timeline project, interacting with two different peers and eating 100% at at least one meal every day. They all sound pretty reasonable. I was planning to have my timeline done by next week, and present it in group, but next week is Family Week and the scheduling is different so I will not have an opportunity to do that. The contract also outlines any new privileges, but the only one I got was that I get to be on 2 hour observations (in sight of staff, and door open when using restroom) after meals where I complete 100%. This is a step down from the 24-hour observations I was on (except that I have 24 hour obs whenever the tube is used).
I am looking forward to the weekend. The community voted to go see the movie "Up" on Friday night, which I have no interest in seeing, and to get manicures/pedicures on Saturday, which I will most likely partake in. Other then that I plan to work on assignments.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It has been a rough week...and it is only Tuesday!
Mostly the struggle with eating has been hard, much harder than I had anticipated. I have never had SO much anxiety about eating. One of my 'eating disorder rules' has always been to not eat when I am not hungry. Although I was always ravenous at home, I have NOT been hungry since I have been here. I am not sure if it is because I am not binging or purging (likely) or whatever. But I am not hungry...which makes it physically unattractive to eat, and the 'ED voice' adds fuel to the fire. I am offered Ensure for the portion of food I do not complete, but I HATE Ensure. I hate the taste smell and texture, the nutrition facts that I know about it, what it symbolizes. So while I have had some meals (and an entire day) where I have completed 100% of my meals, for the most part I have not.
Yesterday my nutritionist brought up the issue of a feeding tube. They cannot keep me here if I am not getting my minimum nutritional needs met. She explained that she felt the tube was absolutely necessary, and not a sign of noncompliance. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. Part of me thinks that I have not been binging or purging the last few days and therefor could 'handle' it at home...but I know that that is not realistic. Mostly I feel like I am a failure by getting a tube, that I am taking the 'easy way out'. It seems that if I am going to be getting supplement through a tube, I should be able do drink the damn stuff. But I haven't. In the past the tube has been a symbol of ED vanity for me. Now it feels like a sign of weakness.
I agreed to the tube. I just could not make a decision, and as much as I wanted to say "I promise I can do this" I don't know that I can. It is not like I have been going into meals planning not to eat...quite the opposite. I cannot really describe the anxiety and thoughts that keep me from doing what I need to do, I cannot just do the motions and not think about it. I honest-to-God have tried.
I got the tube this morning. The procedure was horrible, worse than any I have had in the past. I hated having to come back to the center and have the other girls see me...my biggest fear is that this tube is going to isolate me from the other girls, make me an outcast....
Despite the tube, I am not going to give up trying. They are going to let me try to eat as much as I can and use the tube when I cant, or don't or whatever you want to call it. So far it has been okay...tonight I even ate 100% at dinner, therefor do not need to have a tube feeding. I hope that I do not have it for long and that I do not feel so much anxiety.
Tomorrow I am supposed to get my room- finally! I also have an appointment with a GI specialist about my horrid acid reflux. I should be getting my first Contract- a weekly plan that outlines my goals, assignments and privileges for the week.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Well, it is Monday, time to get to work! The weekend was relatively decent. Saturday night we went to Borders. Big Mistake for me...don't ever let me into a bookstore! I cannot control myself! I bought a magazine, some puzzle books, a book, and a fathers day card...about $40. I am justifying it by telling myself that I was spending a lot more than that every day to support my eating disorder...but I really cannot be spending money right now.
Yesterday (Sunday) was pretty chill. We had a lot of free time in the morning and I went and sat out by the poo with some of the other girls. It was warm (up to 85 degrees yesterday) and is supposed to get up to 90 today...I love it!
I have learned a bit more about the natural characteristics of the area. In the pond there are these flowers that close at night and are in full bloom during the day. At night the frogs and other critters are SO loud, it is indescribable. The Merrimack River runs below the treetops, and there is a train track that runs right below the facility. It is SOO loud. And it runs pretty frequently- yesterday it was passing by about every ten minutes at times. At first I didn't know what the roaring sound was. I thought it was a helicopter, an earthquake, thunder. It woke me up every time the train passed. I am getting used to it now.
One of the clients got his dog from home sent to him on Saturday. She is sooooo cute! She is a Chihuahua and is only 4 pounds. I want one!!
Saturday night I awoke in the middle of the night to go to the restroom and did not feel well. I felt nauseous and dizzy. The staff took my vitals and they were very low, so I had to stay on the couch, drink, and get my vitals re-taken. They called Iness, the nurse manager, and I felt so bad that they woke her up at 4am! Eventually I went back to bed and as the day went on my vitals improved.
I met my dietitian, Deborah, who seems nice. Last night we had a "family style" meal, which meant that we did not know what the chef was preparing. Everyone had to portion themselves 100% of the 'example plate' and then eat their required percentage (ie, I had to portion a full plate but only eat 50% of it). It was a very dense meal- salad, pasta primavera and a cookie ice cream sandwich. It was very triggering to me as pasta, creamy sauce and the cookie/ice cream are 'bad' foods on my list and foods I would never eat without purging in the past. Afterwards I felt very full and disgusted with myself. I wish I hadn't eaten it. To add fuel to the fire, my acid reflux is horrid, and nothing seems to be helping it. Even this morning I am regretting what I ate last night and don't really want to eat today after consuming so much last night.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

48 Hours

Has anyone ever watched that show on A&E? Good show....

Well, today has been harder for me. Until today I have not been eating much. I have a lot of anxiety around eating in front of other people, about gaining weight too fast and, most of all, about having to sit with the food in my stomach after the meal. The first couple of days I wasn't hungry (odd for me) and it was easy to just control what I was eating (or not eating).
So far today I have eaten 100% of my meal plan. The urges to binge and purge (especially binge) are pretty strong. I know if I wasn't here I would be acting on them. This is another reason I have been avoiding eating..once I start, I just want more and more. The time between meals seems never-ending and agonizing. I have tried mostly to sleep, but I can only sleep so much. My meal plan is at the 50% level, the lowest. That means that of a 'normal' meal, I am plated 50% of that (but expected to eat 100% of that 50%...confusing, I know). I meet my dietitian tomorrow and I am not sure if she is going to alter my meal plan. Part of me wants her to, I am just so damn hungry now, but the eating disorder part definitely does not want that to happen. That part is mad at me for starting to eat this morning and thus starting the whole cycle of hunger, binge cravings, and eating.
Tonight we are going on an outing to Borders. I am hoping I can enjoy that, but I am afraid that I will be distracted, or even looking for a way to get away with something....fortunately, I am pretty sure I have to stick with a staff member.
I have not purged since I have been here- the longest I have gone since in CFC. And I have eaten (and kept down) more food than I have in months, probably in at least a year. I know I am supposed to be taking this 'one second at a time' but it is just so damn hard.

Friday, May 29, 2009

24 Hours Down

Well, I have been at Castlewood for over 24 hours. The first couple of days are crazy, meeting with the dietician, therapisy, psychiatrist, signing forms and trying to lear dozens of names, rules and policies. I was sort of expecting this, and in truth it is going better than I thought it would. Everyone is very nice. During the day, besides the in-house residents, there is a jumble of day patients, step-down patients, cooks and staff. Today and the rest of the weekend are a bit different than usual because most of the staff is at a training, reducing the scheduling (groups) for us. I do not mind though, as I will seize the opportunity to rest and work on my therapy assignments.
The biggest thing that I cannot get over is how beautiful the place is. The house (mansion, really) literally sits on the bluff (the back porch is a good 5 stories from the ground) but the view is indescribable. The facility sits right on the edge of a national park or something so on three sides of the house all you can see is endless hills of rolling trees. The house has lots of sitting areas outside, places to journal or whatever, as well as a pool, hot tub and hiking trails. I am currently in the extra bed which is in the master bedroom. It is huge, with its own screened porch, high queen-sized canopy beds and a humongus bathroom complete with a huge whirlpool. AS soon as someone discharges next week I will be moved to my permanent room, but I am hoping I will move to one of the permanent beds that are in the same room I am in now.
Everyone here is very nice, although I am having a hard time remembering their names, where they are from and how long they have been here. The staff are great, too. My therapist seems very knowledgeable and I am told that he is the best around.
I am sort of struggling with the food protocal. I have not purged since I have been here. I have a 'fluid protocal' (must drink a certain amount of Propel) and am on 'couch rest' which means that when I am not in groups or meals, I have to stay sitting. Like all new admits, I am on '24 hour observations' which means that I am monitored in the bathroom 24 hours a day (excluding early mornings) and otherwise have to remain in staff eyesight when I am not sleeping.
I am use to this though, and it has not been a problem. The program does not seem at all punitive. I feel oddly at peace and optomistic, which I contribute to the gorgeous scenery and weather. The other girls do not seem to compare themselves to one another or to swap 'war stories' which is refreshing.
Today was a decent day. Tomorrow is a new one.

A (not so) Brief History

Well, I am not being as on the ball with this whole blog thing as I had planned. Typical me!
I am planning to chronicle my journey of recovery here, as well as other things, but I realize that some of you don’t really know me, so I thought I would give a brief history :)
I was born January 30, 1985 in Charleston, SC. My dad was an officer in the Navy, and for the first 7 or 8 years of my life he was frequently out at sea for months at a time. As a young child I lived in Groton, CT, Keyport, WA, Monterey, CA, and Silverdale, WA. My sister, Jaclyn, was born when I was 3 and my brother, Johnny, followed a year later. My biological mother was an alcoholic and was physically and emotionally abusive.
When I was 9, my parents divorced. My dad had custody of my siblings and I and we moved to Annandale, VA, right outside of DC. We lived there for a year before moving to Papillion, NE. In Nebraska my dad met Dawn, and her daughter, Katie, and they were married the next year.
Around this time, my eating disorder began. For most people, this change takes place over time. For me it was immediate. I decided one day that I was not going to eat, and I didn’t for days on end. I was overweight at the time, and although I have always thought I was always a fat kid, when I recently was looking at pictures from my childhood, I realized this was not true.
I don’t know why my eating disorder (ED, for short) began- that is the million dollar question. I tend to think that, like most diseases, it is a combination of nature and nurture, or genetics and environment. My biological mom had an eating disorder in college. Also, besides the typical identity crisis and awkwardness that accompanies adolescence, I felt displaced in my family as I was not longer the “woman of the house” and co-parent to my siblings. Personally, I am not a big believer that it truly matters why one develops an ed, or that there must be a concrete identified reason in order to recover.
Within a few months I had lost quite a bit of weight. The counselors at school noticed, and contacted my dad. My dad tried to handle my situation in his familiar militaristic authoritative way, but to no avail. It was a frustrating time for my new family. Eight months after I first stopped eating, I was sent to Menningers clinic in Topeka, KS, where I stayed for six months.
When I was discharged I was no better. In fact I had “picked up” some new behaviors from my fellow patients. It was decided that I would live with my grandma and I flew out to Everett, WA and finished my eighth grade year at the school where she was the principle.
That summer I made no improvement in my eating disorder. I became homesick for my family and decided to move back with them, although my dad had been transferred again, so we were all settling into a huge (9 bed, 4 bath, 7 fireplace) military home built in the 1800’s in Kittery, Maine. Katie and I began our freshman year in high school, but I quickly became more engrained in my eating disorder. The next couple of years were a mess of hospitalizations and treatment attempts, dozens of them, so only for a night or two, other times for several months. I was a difficult patient, not making any attempt to control my behaviors or really having any desire to get well. I missed most of my freshman year, and nearly all of my sophomore year. The few times I was home, between hospital stays, I felt out of place in my family, the black sheep. I became distanced from my siblings, most notably Katie, who had once been my best friend. Now we fought constantly.
The ed was taking a major toll on my family- financially, emotionally, and physically. I was very fortunate enough to have found a wonderful, incredibly knowledgeable doctor, Dr. Gladstone, and a great case manager, Nadine. Both treated me with a “tough love” approach, and neither let me get away with things. They were my constant recovery warriors, even though I wasn’t.
When I was 16, my parents decided that I needed a longer-term treatment program. They decided to send me to a year-long residential girl’s facility. I was appalled at the idea. A year?? No way. Knowing the program required that their clients be medically and psychiatrically stable, I developed a plan in which I would take a bunch of pills, overdose, in order to have to not go. The day before I was to be admitted, I swallowed a bunch of pills, as planned, and almost immediately let the school nurse know. My intention was not suicide, rather a way to avoid treatment. It worked. I did not have to go to the program. In recent years, I have some to realize that this was the biggest mistake of my life. I avoided a year-long program, but at what cost? Eight years later I am still sick. If I had taken that time, I possibly could have been in recovery all this time, saving myself and those around me from a lot of turmoil.
I didn’t have to go to the program, but I could not come home either. In fact, I would never go home again. After two weeks in the medical hospital, I was sent to another program, where I stayed 7 months, never really getting any better. When it was time for me to leave, it was decided that I could not go home. Instead, I was sent to a group home/ independent living house, Oliver Place, in Bath, ME.
I did relatively okay at Oliver Place. I went to school consistently, unlike the other clients there, and held down a job I enjoyed. I was still engaging in eating disorder behaviors on a daily basis, but they were relatively less disruptive to my daily life. Eight months after living in the OP house, I graduated to the independent living portion of the program, where I moved into my own apartment. I went to school every day, worked and manages other adult responsibilities. However, soon my eating disorder tightened its grip. I lost more weight, to the point where I was significantly underweight for the first time. It was a cold winter in Maine. In February I joined my grandma on a vacation in St. Thomas, where I spent most of my time in the hot tub. It was gorgeous and relaxing, but my eating disorder did not relent.
During this time and the coming year, I went in and out of the New England Eating Disorders Program in Portland several times. The trips sort of blur together. I know I went in November of 2003, and was discharged a couple of months ever, after making virtually no improvement.
I quickly spiraled, taking desperate measures to support my eating disorder. I stole food from stores, getting arrested twice within three days. I was so ashamed, especially since word spread fast in the small town of Bath and I babysat for one of the town’s police officers. I was scheduled to be readmitted to Mercy soon, and at my court appearance the judge took that into consideration and generously let me off only having to pay restitution and a small fine.
I did well this time in treatment- the best ever. I do not know what contributed to my success, but I found a medication that was helpful with my urges to binge, and I had an amazing therapist. I was going weeks without purging and was participating in the day program. I decided that I was going to move out to Seattle, something I had always wanted to do, but had never been well enough to do. I slowly started going to the Eating Disorders Program, and began working. I held down two jobs that I hated, but I was making (and saving) money. In November I was discharged from Mercy, at a healthy weight and with my behaviors under control. A few weeks later I graduated from Oliver Place, packed up my car and drove myself across the country.
I spent Christmas in New Orleans with my family. In January I started community college and fell in love with it. I would stay up until the middle of the night studying and working on assignments, more than was necessary. I became a Senator for the ASB and became very comfortable on campus. However, once again, my eating disorder resumed with a vengeance. At the end of the school year I interviewed for an ASB vice-president position that I desperately wanted, and got the position. It was one of my happiest moments. But my excitement was short-lived due to my worsening eating disorder. I had no energy to do anything. I lost complete control of some of my bodily functions, which landed me in the hospital. I was told that my body was literally eating itself, and an ED specialist gave me about two weeks to live. When I got home, I started frantically searching for a program to get into. Meanwhile, my entire extended family had planned a vacation/reunion at Yellowstone. Waiting to be admitted to a program ASAP, I could not go. Many programs would not take me because I was so sick. Knowing that I would not be able to do it, I relinquished my coveted ASB position. Eventually I went back to Maine and Mercy. They were shocked to see how bad I had gotten in the eight months since I had been released. My therapist there decided she could not work with me this time as she felt too attached. I floundered in the program for two months before we decided that I was not progressing and that treatment was ineffective. I returned home.
I sunk into a deep depression, living on my own place and sleeping on the floor in front of the heater. I cried. I tried to work several jobs, but didn’t stick with any of them. My family visited for Christmas, but I mostly avoided them. At the end of the year, I decided to return to school, knowing it was the best thing for me, despite my family’s reluctance to support my decision in my depressed state. For whatever reason, school helped. A lot. I rejoined the Senate, became very active in the ASB work, and was the president of the Psychology Club. I reapplied for the ASB vice-president position and again got it. That summer I took an intensive Spanish class, laughed, gained weight and slowly started eating again. I was the happiest I ever remember being. School began, and although I was a bit worried about my ability to handle my new responsibilities, I was excited. The first two months were great. I felt important and respected on campus. Then came the familiar pattern of relapse, slowly at first, but gaining speed. I applied to become ASB president, but was less passionate about it, and it showed. I was not offered the position.
Things declined over the summer, and in September I was admitted to Center for Change in Orem, UT. I was there for six months, and did okay when I was in the strict confines of the program, but as soon as I was out I would purge. I discharged at the end of February, knowing I would relapse.
I immediately began looking for a job and was hired by the City of Everett to work as a clerk for the Parks and Recreation department. I loved it. Besides getting a great pay, the job was easy and I got to meet and interact with lots of people. The job distracted me from my worsening eating disorder. By August my outpatient team was again recommending inpatient treatment. However, I was set to start school at Washington State University in a few weeks, and was excited and determined to go. I said that if things still were not good at the end of the semester, I would go to treatment.
The school year was miserable. As excited as I was to go and as much as I loved the school, it was no match for my disease. I kept to my dorm room, which I lied in alone, and engaged in behaviors. I often saw things or activities I wanted to participate in, but self-consciousness and depression kept me from doing so. In my entire year at WSU, I never knew a soul. Towards the end of the semester I stopped caring about my classes altogether and barley passed.
Towards the end of the year, I decided to once again look into treatment. I had always thought that I would return to CFC should the need arise, but I also began exploring other options. I honestly cannot say that my reason to enter treatment again is because I am 100% certain I want to change my life (to something I cannot even imagine) or because I want to give up my eating disorder. Instead I remember the way my life has become unmanageable, the tolls it has taken and the destruction it has caused. I feel like I will never be completely without it, but that maybe the ED can be a presence that is not so destructive.
I decided to come to Castlewood Treatment Center, in St. Louis, MO. Many factors influenced my decision- the fact that it is a small intimate program, has a heavy focus on trauma work (something I have not really done in the past), works towards a lot more self-accountability and independence and that they have a solid step-down program. I arrived yesterday, May 28th. The grounds are spectacular- words cannot even describe the view and the scenery. The people here are very nice. I can tell that they expect you to take more responsibility than other programs have, but this morning I found myself oddly welcoming the challenge. I do not know what the coming weeks or months will offer, but I guess I will find out. Right now I am just taking it one day at a time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog!
My life is not so exciting that I need to share it with the world, but I hope that maybe by sharing my life, I can help someone else. And, selfishly, I want to help myself, too.
This blog will chronicle my recovery from my eating disorder, but I want it to be more than that. I hope to share my thoughts and opinions, and just be able to connect with others. For those of you that do not know, I have been battling anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa for over eleven years. It has taken everything from me- my relationships, my schooling, my happiness and my will to live. I have been in and out of eating disorder programs and hospitals over 40 times, sometimes hoping my life would change, other times not.
I actually created this account a while ago, but wanted to wait until I was certain that I was going to recover before sharing it with the world. But why wait?? Will I ever be certain that I will recover?? How will I know when it is the beginning of that time?? One of my biggest faults is that I never want to make a decision until I am certain it is the right decision, at the right time. And often I wait so long that I don't make a decision, or allow someone else to make it for me.
So I cant guarantee that this attempt at recovery will be any different than the rest. I cant promise that every day I will be gung-ho about recovery or that I welcome a new life with open arms.
But I am hoping that whatever comes in the following days, weeks, and months, I will grow and learn.
So if you are up for the ride, I welcome you to join!