Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twelve Months

It's been a big year for me with lots of changes, both good and bad. I feel like I've grown up a lot in 2011, although I can't say I'm sad to see it end. Time for new beginnings!

So here's a quick rundown of the past year:

- January - I withdrew from college and officially entered treatment for anorexia. In the span of about one week, I went from being a full-time college student to living at home with my parents, going to therapy twice a week, and embarking on - shiver - weight gain.

- February - I put on a little weight and my health was generally stabilized. Although I was living at home, I basically refed myself. Lotsa loneliness and self-loathing. I enrolled in a couple of classes at a local university, but they were lame and unsatisfying. I also started volunteering for a literacy organization, which was more interesting but not quite enough to keep me occupied and distracted from the yuckiness of weight gain.

 - March - Still gaining weight. Still lonely. I took a trip with one of my best friends and she turned out to be an amazing support system and sounding board for me. We still talk semi-regularly (she goes to school across the country) about ED stuff, and I'm pretty open with her.

- April - I reached my highest weight in recovery (still a few pounds short of the goal set by my treatment team) and got my period for the first time in about two years. I was actually thrilled about that, and I've missed it since then. Every month, my hormones still get wacky and I desperately wish for my period to come back.

- May - My weight gain faltered here. Getting so close to my goal weight (eek healthy!) made me super panicky and uncomfortable. The exercise started becoming a problem; I had exercised throughout all of my recovery, but it really ramped up by late spring/early summer. I got a fake wimpy period this month, and it hasn't returned since.

- June - I started my blog! I can't even describe how significant this has been for me. This blog originated as a private journal on my computer because I was too shy to actually put it up online, but I finally took the plunge and I'm SO happy that I did. Writing NVNL has become a tremendous emotional outlet and I've found more support online than I could have ever imagined. You guys rock!

- July - Working at the most boring, awful, uninspiring internship ever. Yawn. By this point in the summer, I'd dropped a bit of weight and found myself in the most crippling depression I've ever experienced (I blamed my too-high weight, therapist blamed my too-low weight). My eating was okay, but I was running too much and gave myself a hip injury that still bugs me from time to time.

- August - I finished my internship, had some challenging sessions with members of my treatment team, and finally returned to college! This was a tough month of transitions, but I was ultimately really happy and proud of the way it turned out.

- September - Back at school and back in treatment. I started with a new therapist and dietician, both of whom I really liked, even though they pushed me out of my comfort zone. I started dating a wonderful guy, S. I became super close to my roommate, who has become one of my best friends ever. Sometime during the fall, I also realized that I'd lost touch with some of my old friends, but that's okay because I had changed.

- October - Made it official with S, who bought me flowers and chocolates and took me on nice dates and succeeded in making me feel halfway decent about myself when we were together. I still struggled with the idea of gaining weight, which frustrated my new therapist, but he persisted. I was still working out religiously at this point, but had actually cut way down on the exercise since the summer.

- November - My exercise rituals came to a screeching halt when I injured my Achilles tendon. This was (and still is!) tremendously difficult to deal with, but the forced break may prove to be a blessing in disguise. My weight stayed basically the same, which was a success and failure at the same time. Success because I resisted the urge to lose more by resorting to sick and unhealthy behaviors; failure because I was supposed to be restoring the weight I'd lost over the past few months, and had been struggling to do this since starting with R in September. At the end of November, I had a wonderful trip home for Thanksgiving, which was a good distraction from the food/weight/exercise issues.

- December - I broke things off with S, which I still can't totally justify other than it didn't feel right. I got through my finals with straight A's, which was a major ego-booster after a rocky semester. After three months of waffling on the weight gain thing and resisting IP with every fiber of my being, I agreed to do more intensive outpatient treatment over my winter break. I'm heading back to College City in a few days to start seeing R and J several times over the next couple weeks in an attempt to boost my weight and get to a healthier place before school starts up again.

Whew, did I say "quick rundown?" I meant "epic reflection." If nothing else, I just want to emphasize how much I appreciate the support I've gotten from the blogging community. I started writing this blog six months ago, and still get ridiculously excited to read new comments and watch the number of pageviews go up. It makes SUCH a huge difference to know that I'm not alone in this, that other people have fought this illness too and won, and that there are so many incredibly compassionate, smart, perseverant people out there. I'm so thankful for all the texts/e-mails/comments from everyone, and of course I appreciate silent readers too!

Thanks again everyone! Have a wonderful New Year's.

Friday, December 30, 2011

One Good Day

After all the misery I've been spewing in my last few posts, I just had to sit down and write about the wonderful day I had yesterday. Nothing big happened - just hanging out at home, running errands, cooking and eating dinner with my family - but after several days in a row of inexplicable, overwhelming sadness, it was the most incredible feeling. 

I woke up around nine, had quick coffee and breakfast with my mom before heading out to the Apple store. I've been having problems with my laptop this fall, so I'd made a Genius Bar appointment for 10am, as soon as the store opens. I got there at 9:55, and there was already a line out the door of people bringing in their new Christmas toys for returns, repairs, etc. Luckily my appointment was fast and I was out of there within thirty minutes. Back at home, I hung out with my brother for a while, then went shopping with my dad to exchange one of his gifts. Came home, ate lunch, and then headed back out to run some errands with my mom and brother.

Later that evening, my mom and I made dinner together. In general, I don't particularly enjoy cooking (it's not an ED thing, I just don't really have the creativity or patience to spend much time making elaborate meals), but I LOVE cooking with my mom. We use it as an excuse for some relaxing girl time - put on an episode of Law & Order or Bones in the background, sip some wine, and take turns chopping/stir-frying/mixing etc. 

My dad and brother are total men's men in that they refuse to participating in the food prep, but eventually they wandered into the kitchen as well, snacking on cheese and crackers and chips while we finished warming up the food and setting the table. We had one of those long cozy dinners where everyone lingered talking at the table after the food was gone because we were too comfortable to leave.

It wasn't until much later that night, when I was brushing my teeth and taking out my contacts, that I realized how content I was feeling. None of the usual out-of-control anxiety and overpowering depression, but a new sense of security and calm. I'm not under any illusions that one good day means the end of this emotional roller coaster I seem to have been on lately, but that one good day has recharged my batteries and settled some of my racing fears.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Impossible

Something has shifted over the past week or so, sending me from general numbness to outright depression. I know that I just mentioned recently how my anxiety has been a much bigger problem lately, and it still is, but suddenly I'm crying all the time and I don't know why. My mom is at a loss, and now I mostly just hide it from her because I'm sick of upsetting her and trying to explain that no, I'm not crying because of this or that or anything you said, I just feel crappy.

I'm trying really hard to be a normal person around my family and friends. Christmas was lovely; we opened presents in the morning, then my mom and I went for a walk outside since the weather was beautiful. We spent the afternoon cooking (steaks and shitake mushrooms in a Cabernet sauce, YUM). After dinner, we decided on a whim to go see the new Mission Impossible movie, which was a totally unprecedented Christmas night activity, but still fun.

So I should've had a wonderful, cozy, happy day with my family but, for no real reason, I didn't. After dinner, I started falling apart and had to excuse myself to cry in the bathroom.

Being the logical control-freak that I am, I've tried to be rational and come up with possible explanations for my irrational emotions:

1) Hormones - it's that time of month when I get pseudo-PMS. My skin is usually pretty clear, but I've been breaking out lately. My tummy feels all crampy and yucky. My emotions change hourly without warning or reason, and I'm thinking that only wacky hormonal shifts could be responsible for such senseless moodiness.

2) Lack of exercise - I've been trying to turn this injury-turned-recovery-challenge into a positive, but the truth is that I'm really, really struggling. My original Achilles injury is getting better, but I somehow managed to aggravate the other foot, and even walking hurts. Plus, my old hip injury is acting up again, despite me doing zero physical activity in over six weeks. Seeing other people running outside makes my chest hurt because I miss it so much. It's giving me an identity crisis. My mom runs daily and comes home talking about how refreshed and exhilarated she feels after being in the sunshine. Meanwhile, I feel fat and lazy and gross.

3) Aside from the injuries, I've been having a lot of other health problems that I don't really wanna talk about on here, but they're stressing me out and making me scared of what my body will do next. I've seen three different doctors since being home, and I just want someone to prescribe me a pill that would cure everything all at once.

4) Being on vacation - This should make me happy and relieved, but I think that a lot of my emotions got suppressed when I was caught up in the stresses and busyness of school; since getting home, I've had a chance to sit with myself and feel some of the things I didn't have the time or energy to feel before. Like inadequacy. Ugliness. Fatness.

5) Starting therapy again - I alternate between feeling prepared for it and absolutely dreading it. Lots of the time, I feel like the ED is barely there; like the problem is just me. I'm ashamed of how terrible I feel, because my life is pretty perfect and there's no reason for me to be so unhappy. I'm ashamed of getting treatment for anorexia when I'm not thin, I'm not starving, and I'm not deprived of anything in this world that any person could ever reasonably want.

Ugh, I apologize for the rant that was this post. Blame the winter blahs. I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday and is looking forward to the new year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Thanks to everyone for all the sweet comments! It means so much to me that people read this, much less take the time to write back. You guys are the best.

So, the home front. My brother isn't here yet (he lives in Big City about an hour away) so it's just me and my parents at home this week. Which is fine, I love my parents. But it's also a little stifling after living on my own. I forget what I need permission to do. I've always been a "good" kid and my parents have always given me the benefit of the doubt, so sometimes the lines are a little blurry. Do I have a curfew? I don't even know.

My mom has been all over the food thing, and I can't take it. I'm super close to my mom, but her constant comments ("Have you eaten breakfast?" "What are you making for lunch?" "Aren't you supposed to pack a Clif bar?") are driving me absolutely insane. She's never been this vocal about it, even a year ago when I was clearly at my worst. The constant scrutiny makes me just want to avoid her, and that makes me miserable.

At my last appointment, I talked to R about how my mom generally stays out of my ED stuff, which makes it doubly difficult/awkward/aggravating when she does insert herself. R suggested just being honest, and telling my mom that the food questions are unhelpful. The obvious solution, no? But for some reason, I find it so hard to talk to her about it. It feels impossible to admit that yes, I really do care this much about my weight.

Christmas is coming too fast, and it's bringing up some mixed feelings for me. A lot of the stuff I want can't exactly be wrapped up in a box; peace of mind, for one. I want someone to take away my constant anxiety and fearfulness. I want to be healthy (without getting fat). I want to be satisfied with my healthy weight, and I want to be able to stay there. I want to be able to eat without counting calories, or without even thinking about calories. I want to enjoy the important parts of the holiday and forget the rest. I want to be able to communicate to my parents how much I love and appreciate them, and that it has nothing to do with what's sitting under the tree.

I also want to get everyone else the perfect gifts, to make up for my being less than the perfect daughter/sister/friend etc. I hate feeling like a lame, un-fun, unenthusiastic person to be around, and I have this vague sense of wanting to compensate for that by making everyone else's Christmas morning spectacular. I'm a product of a materialist culture, sue me.

Speaking of...I love giving presents, but I hate shopping for them. My dream Christmas would involve no presents, just a weeklong trip to a tropical island. Although there is the bathing suit issue...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Semester's End

Well, I officially completed my fourth semester of college yesterday as of 3pm, and I got home late last night. I wish I felt some big sense of accomplishment or something, but honestly I don't really feel anything. I feel like I got through it, that's all, and don't have much else to show for it.

This was my lightest semester course-wise so far, but it didn't feel like a breeze by any means...which worries me. What happens when I pick up a full load in the spring? Or next fall? How am I ever going to manage? Why can't I be like my roommate - who is getting a double major, volunteers in the city public schools, plays a varsity sport, and bakes (and eats!) cookies every week?

Looking back over the past few months, one thing that stands out to me is my anxiety. I've been a constant foot-jiggling, nail-biting, skittish, omgIcan'tdoanythingandtheskyisfalling ball of nerves. The littlest things set me off. Two points off on an exam? I'm failing. Twinge in my neck? I'm getting a migraine.  Half a pound increase on the scale? Obese. Over the spring and summer, I was stuck in more of a weepy, hopeless depression; but lately, I haven't been sad or down so much as plain FREAKED OUT. About EVERYTHING.

Reading back over those last couple of paragraphs, I realize how lame and whiny they sound. I should revise a bit: I am proud of myself for getting back to school and making it through a tough semester. Even though the schoolwork wasn't necessarily that intense, the lifestyle changes and recovery challenges made everything harder. So I'm proud of myself for getting through all of that. I'm also proud of maintaining my weight, improving my eating from where it was a month or two ago, and participating in life despite feeling like a whale.

I'm proud of how I handled things with S and trusting my gut, even though it still makes me feel crappy. My instincts were screaming at me to just hide out, ignore his calls, and generally act like a complete wimp - so I'm proud of taking control and dealing with the situation in a grown-up, straightforward way.

Okay, I haven't totally talked myself out of this weird post-semester slump, but I'm getting there. Part of my uneasiness is just nerves about starting treatment again in a few weeks. I'm scared to gain weight. I feel stupid getting treatment for something as simple as eating. Who doesn't know how to eat? I got frustrated with my mom earlier today (yes, after being home for less than twelve hours) because she seems to think that getting to my goal weight will be some magical cure-all, when I know it isn't exactly that simple.

But I also know that everyone has their problems, and these are mine, and I need to get over this insecurity about feeling like I don't have a "real" illness. I'm not exactly sick, but I'm not healthy, either. I'm twenty-one years old - when am I going to have a better shot at getting what I want? Why am I settling for partial, half-assed recovery? I've only got one life, one family, one body, and I've been pretty lucky with everything so far.

How's that for a verbal vomit? I'm going to shake off these heavy thoughts and try to get myself in the Christmas spirit. So much shopping, so little time. Why is it that 75% of my school vacation falls after the holidays?

Hope everyone's doing well, take care!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Brain-Body Disconnect

It's amazing how variable my perceptions of myself can be. Some days, I realize that my stomach is empty and achy, my jeans are baggy, my head hurts, and I consider the possibility that I might be on the thin side of average. Other days, the rolls of fat on my gut and thighs jiggle and my double chin sags and everything seems squishy and disgusting. Compared to my high school years, I feel MUCH fatter now...but I know for a fact that my weight is lower. Compared to a year ago, I feel physically similar and my clothes seem to fit the same, but "mentally" I feel fatter because I'm eating more and exercising less...and my weight is higher. So obviously, something's off.

This week, both J and R harped on the lag time between bodily recovery and brain recovery - how you can restore weight, improve bone density, and undo all the physical damage while continuing to feel like a miserable, anxious, fearful ball of nerves throughout the entire process, and after. Lovely. If only I could reverse the process, this would be so much easier.

R keeps telling me that it takes achieving 90% of ideal body weight to significantly reduce the physical symptoms of malnutrition, but up to about 97%  of IBW to break free of the food/counting obsessions, fat-phobia, and body distortion. The tricky part being, of course, that determining IBW is far from an exact science, so who's to say when you've reached 80%, 90%, or 97%? What if I make it to 95% - would just a couple more pounds transform my entire mindset? How will I know? I don't want to be gaining forever.

The idea that adequate weight gain heals the brain makes sense to me, but it's hard to believe. I hit my highest recovery weight last spring (in a healthy range and I got a period, although I was still below the goal set by my first treatment team) but I was no less obsessive or anxious about food, still counted calories compulsively, exercised too much and for the wrong reasons, and experienced the most intense body hatred of my life. Plus, I was isolated, depressed, and crying multiple times a day for weeks and weeks.

I've explained to R that I'm afraid of gaining the weight back and returning to that same awful place. Although he is understanding, his proposed solution is always the same: get to a healthy weight - MY healthy weight - and stay there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Case of the Randoms

Time for some update-age, I think. It's reading week here, meaning we have four days of nothing but studying for finals. While it's nice to have big chunks of time to get all my work done, lack of schedule always throws me off. Generally, I structure my eating around my class schedule and always eat at the same times without much internal debate. When I have no schedule, though, too much freedom opens the door for thoughts of should I eat now or later? Or never? But no worries, zero meals/snacks have been foregone due to my anxiety over excessive free time.

I haven't done any formal exercise in over a month. This is a Very Big Deal. Up until I hurt my foot, I was religious about working out, and a single day off led to major feelings of guilt and ickiness. And now? Well, I'm not cured of the urge to work out. I still test my foot every morning to see if this weird, nagging Achilles injury has gone away yet. I'm still constantly antsy and on edge. I still fantasize about running miles upon miles. But several weeks after cutting the exercise cold turkey, something in my head has definitely shifted. It has occurred to me that I can function without doing my obligatory workouts. I no longer open my eyes each morning and immediately commence panicking about not being able to torch some calories.

Most importantly, I don't freak out to the same degree about my body exploding with weight gain. I've actually slightly increased my calories over the past few weeks, and I've gained absolutely nothing. Zero pounds. My weight has stayed almost identical, and maybe even gone down a teeny bit. I'm also convinced my appetite has increased since cutting the exercise, which still makes no sense to me but I'm trying to go with it.

Oh yeah, I broke up with S. I did a lot of soul-searching beforehand, doubted myself, went back and forth on it a million times, and spent about a week in serious internal conflict. Basically, it came down to the fact that I was just not interested anymore. He's an incredibly nice and caring guy, but there wasn't any spark for me. Plus, S was a million times more serious about the relationship than me and all the attention was making me extremely uncomfortable - not because I felt unworthy of the attention or anything like that, but just because I had no desire to reciprocate, which didn't feel fair to him. I was constantly filled with guilt about not putting enough effort into the relationship, whereas it seemed like he went above and beyond every single day. The whole thing was becoming incredibly one-sided. Does that make sense? I felt like I was constantly letting him down by not being committed to the same degree.

By the end, most of my hesitation about breaking it off came from not wanting to hurt his feelings. Once I made the decision though, I had no regrets. So I went to his house the other night and we had a long unhappy conversation in which I tried to articulate that I wanted to end things and he tried to convince me otherwise. I prevailed - not that it felt like much of a victory.

So that sucked. But in all honesty, I'm absolutely okay with my decision and I'm relieved to have the whole thing done. I was really worried about my total lack of interest - that something was wrong with my brain that left me with the emotional capacity of a zombie, but I gave the relationship a shot and it just didn't feel right.

I'm still working on my plans for winter break treatment, but I think it will involve me coming back to College City early and doing more intensive outpatient treatment with R and J. I'm definitely resisting formal IOP or IP, so I think this is a compromise I can live with. R's main goal is to have me restore some weight and get on a more solid footing medically and psychologically before school kicks off again in the spring.

That's all I got for now! Back to studying. Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Progress and Reflections

Today was my last day of classes, and finals start next week! I'm still blown away by how fast the semester has gone by - but also a smidge overwhelmed by how much that needs to get done between now and when I actually go back home. But I'm not panicking yet and I felt like blogging instead of studying.

Stop the presses everyone: I had a really good session with R yesterday. Usually, I leave his office feeling like crap; this time, I left feeling empowered and motivated and wanting health. He was thrilled that I had done way better on the meal plan last week, and I think that rubbed off on me. See? I can be a good patient! 

I hope I haven't given the impression that I don't like R or that he isn't working for me. In fact, I think he's brilliant. I complain about him a lot on here, mostly because he is tough and he does challenge me. I've been a tough patient, I know, but he has never gotten frustrated or given up on me or treated me with anything but concern and respect.

Then last night, I had a long talk with my mom in which I was able to talk more openly about the ED than I probably ever have before. She still doesn't really get it, but she believes me. We are working on the plan for treatment over winter break and although I'm not thrilled about any of the options, I'm becoming okay with it. Again and again, I am absolutely freaking amazed at how supportive and loving and wonderful my mom is.

Okay. Now I want to address something that came up in the comments the other day: I sincerely regret having ever inadvertently given the impression that I'm treating my illness "lightly" or not taking it seriously. I am. It is on my mind every second of the day. I agonize over it - the dangers, the insanity, the futility. I am constantly terrified about the damage I could be doing to my heart, my bones, my brain, and pretty much every other organ in my body. I am wracked with guilt over the trouble I've caused my parents, the money my treatment is costing, and the worry they live with every day. How anyone could not take all of that seriously is beyond me.

BUT I understand that it is possible to recognize the seriousness of something without having the tools or the capacity to rectify it. Yes, I could probably solve most of my problems (health-wise, anyway) by simply "eating more." By shutting up, sucking it up, putting on my blinders, and soldiering through. I'm not denying that I need to eat more and that I need to restore weight. Actually implementing that, though, is a process fraught with anxiety and fear and incredible self-loathing.

I know that I'm living a half-life by wasting time and energy and emotions on food and weight, but I am taking steps forward in ways that are hugely significant for me, even if they don't seem that way to an outsider. Upping the meal plan was huge. Cutting the exercise was huge. Opening up to my mom was huge. So I'm trying and it's working - albeit slowly - and I would never treat this hell lightly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Hunger Files

Recovery is an endless state of hunger, I swear. My appetite is out of control. Like today, I was sitting in a meeting for my internship when a sudden wave of hunger hit and I literally could not focus. We were working on an interesting project and I actually had lots to participate, but all I could think about was when the meeting would be over so that I could scarf down my Clif bar.

This has happened in classes before, too - where suddenly, I'm inexplicably starving and start counting down the minutes until I can bolt. And I can't even describe how angry this makes me, because I absolutely love my classes and my professors and it frustrates me beyond belief that I can't sit still for ninety minutes without dissolving into a hunger-induced haze.

My metabolism is still doing wacky things, but it seems more intense lately. Even if I don't feel particularly hungry (no tummy rumblings or anything), I'll get sort of light-headed, short of breath, my pulse quickens, and my whole body feels heavy - like my limbs are filled with lead and every movement takes a tremendous effort. It's this weird sense of being keyed up and antsy but exhausted and weighted down at the same time. And I've also been getting that insane sensation of having a full stomach that starts growling thirty minutes after a meal.

The baffling part of this is that I've actually upped my intake over the past couple of weeks. Very slowly, and not by much, but definitely an increase. Also, I'm still not running so it makes no sense to me that I'm so hungry! PLUS I've lost weight. Huh?

I'm becoming more and more afraid of my hunger. Timing of meals and snacks has always been a big deal for me (I will eat at 1:00 and not a minute earlier), and now I find myself micromanaging even further to make sure I never go too long without food. Because I am terrified of finding myself starving at a "non-meal time." Oddly, I'm not really afraid of overeating or binging at all, because I know that the chances of that actually happening are slim to none. But I am afraid of that weak, shaky, fuzzy feeling that can totally knock me out.

Anyway, this has been on my mind since I'm filling out my food records for R tomorrow. I hate writing down my intake. It makes me self-conscious. Although I'm actually eating less than what R wants, I still get horribly embarrassed to write it all out. And then to have to admit that I'm STILL hungry. I don't know how to explain that even though I realize an increased appetite + weight loss means I should eat more, I have a hard time justifying that to myself.

The point of my rambling, I think, is to show that Body Knows Best. I can't account for the fact that abruptly stopping all exercise and upping my food intake has lead to increased hunger and weight loss, but the fact is this: regardless of what I was eating a month ago, the current plan is not enough.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Decisions

I have a lot running through my head lately. I'm going to try to be coherent and articulate but, well, you know.

First, I'm getting a ton of pressure from R. I hadn't seen him in two weeks, during which I somehow managed to lose a couple of pounds. This was completely unintentional, since I thought I ate pretty well - or at least hit my baseline - during Thanksgiving. According to R, this is my lowest weight in the twelve-ish weeks that I've been seeing him. (I guess that explains why I've been feeling weak, exhausted, and constantly starving all week, but apparently my deductive reasoning skills are wanting.) So I've been given another week to hit the meal plan and gain it back, or else we need to talk about Next Steps.

He's really pushing the IP thing, to which I am incredibly resistant because I don't think it's necessary. And also because it sounds horrendous. An alternative suggestion was for me to do a few weeks of IOP before the start of the spring semester, which seems slightly less awful but not by much. He isn't telling me to make a definitive decision just yet, but to start thinking about it. I'm also not sure how to talk to my mom about this, since we only discuss the ED very briefly. She seems to be under the impression that things are going fairly swimmingly. I think it's hard for her to understand that just because I'm under the care of a highly experienced therapist, eating three meals a day, and not a straight up skeleton doesn't mean that I'm not struggling.

Second, I think I want to break up with S. He's done nothing wrong - in fact, he's done everything right. The flowers, the chocolates, the dinners, the constant texting, the nightly phone calls, the chauffeuring me around town, the offers to "listen if you ever need to talk about stuff that's bothering you." Because he's not an idiot and he can tell that stuff is bothering me.

I've spent a lot of time and brainpower trying to decide this: Do I want to end things because I truly don't like him enough to stay in a relationship? OR is it because I'm just generally numbed out to everything right now? He is a wonderful guy and I don't want to push him away if it's a matter of ED sucking out all my emotional energy. I've been making a huge effort to accept all food-related invitations, just to reassure myself that I can, and that my reservations aren't motivated by anorexic fears. But the bottom line is that I'm not excited to see S anymore, hanging out with him feels like a chore, and it's not fair for me to string him along when I'm nowhere near as committed as he is.

Anyone still reading? Sorry for the epic posts lately. I'm feeling wordy, apparently, and my mind has been ready to explode. I also just realized that all of my aforementioned drama involved the men in my life, so I'll end with a list of happy girlie things:
- I had a great conversation after class yesterday with my favorite female professor, who made me feel smart and worthwhile.
- Tomorrow night, my roommate and I are going to a concert and I'm SO excited for it.
- My boss asked me to continue interning with her for another semester, which means that I get to finish the projects I've started this fall.
- My foot is finally starting to feel better. (Knock on wood!) A girl from class asked me to try a new gym downtown with her, so we're checking it out this weekend.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Waiting Game

One of the more interesting/uncomfortable parts of seeing R is the waiting room. He is almost invariably behind schedule, so I get the chance to see lots of people coming and going from the office. Several therapists, social workers, dieticians, etc. all work out of the same building, so the waiting room gets a pretty steady stream of patients.

The treatment center specializes in eating disorders so naturally, there are a fair number of teenage girls. I've seen the same two every time I go. One of them comes in with her mother and knows all the receptionists by name. The other one comes in by herself and usually looks close to tears. Although I try not to be, I am acutely aware of their weights. Neither looks anorexic in the stereotypical emaciated way; they look pretty average. Thinnish/normal. Not fat.

This week, however, there were two patients I'd never seen before and they were both SKINNY. One of them was a teenager; she came in with her parents and was bundled up in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, but you could still see her stick-thin legs through the fabric. She looked tired and sick and I couldn't not stare.

The other one was probably in her late twenties, early thirties. I didn't notice her body at first because she was sitting down, bouncing a baby on her lap. It wasn't until I sat down next to her and let the baby play with my keys that I realized how skinny the mother's legs and wrists were. Like, so thin I don't know how she'd been able to lift her baby, much less give birth to him.

I'm not sure how I feel about seeing people like this. It doesn't exactly "trigger" me - i.e. it doesn't make me want to skip my appointment, sprint home, and have lettuce for dinner - but it DOES tend to make me downplay my own ED in my mind. I'm not even close to being as thin as her, so therefore I must be fine and R and J and everyone are making a huge deal out of nothing.

Interestingly, this clinic also treats binge eating disorder. Nearly every week, besides the high school girls, there are at least a couple middle-aged morbidly obese women. Again, this doesn't really trigger me in any way; I don't binge, nor am I particularly worried about it, but it does scare me that there seem to be so many people stuck on either end of the spectrum - loss of control versus hypercontrol over eating. It makes me wonder whether anyone is normal anymore, or if food always has to be a struggle one way or the other.

Usually, I feel like my ED is not that bad, not out of control, nothing to be concerned about, etc., and I get complacent about challenging myself to push forward in recovery. R's biggest frustration lately has been motivating me to actual make changes, rather than me just agreeing to "try" without ever fully following through. When I see people so obviously stuck in their disorders, though, I find myself a bit more motivated - more out of fear than anything else. I'm not jealous of anyone I see in R's waiting room, nor do I aspire to be like them - in fact, I'm thankful that my illness is not visible to everyone. I never want to be gawked at, the degree of my sickness apparent to everyone else but not to me.

Realizations like this don't exactly help me in the moment when faced with adding X to my meal plan or drinking an extra supplement, but sometimes it helps to focus on the big picture. I do NOT want to stay stuck in the same patterns when I'm thirty or forty or fifty. I never want to be so sick that people see my sickness before they see me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trip Summary

I ended up having a pretty fantastic Thanksgiving weekend at home. Beforehand, I had been really nervous about the food situation and worried that my family would be hyper-attentive to my eating, but that actually wasn't the case at all. In fact, my mom was about as hands-off as she's ever been. When we visited my extended family (some of which is aware of my ED) on Thursday, I got the impression that everyone had been warned against mentioning on my eating, weight, etc. I got lots of Your hair looks so pretty! and What a nice shirt! -type comments. So I definitely appreciated their conscious efforts to make me feel comfortable.

My two best friends from high school were around, and I spent lots of time with both of them. I also got to hang out with my brother; we've gotten closer in the past few years, but haven't seen each other much with me at school and him working crazy-long hours. He took me shopping for a late birthday present on Saturday, and we had a good time walking around together and catching up.

As far as food, I think I did okay. For the actual Thanksgiving dinner, I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I would be eating more than I was comfortable with and that I wouldn't be able to calculate the calories. That being said, I tried to not get super anxious about it and just enjoy the occasion. I tried lots of different dishes (including pumpkin pie!) although my portions were a bit skimpy. And there was definitely some major guilt afterwards.

During the rest of the weekend, I had good intentions about being more adventurous and spontaneous with food, but that didn't exactly happen. My mom seemed to be making an unspoken effort to accomodate me by stocking the fridge with my staples and cooking fairly "safe" dinners, so I didn't really have to step outside my comfort zone very much. This made things much simpler and less stressful than I had anticipated, but also didn't really push me to challenge the ED very much.

So I had a wonderful time at home, but there were no huge recovery milestones either. I guess surviving a food-centric holiday with my sanity intact is sort of a victory in itself, but the rigidity remains entrenched.

Since returning to school, I've jumped back into the typical regime (minus exercise, STILL) but I seem to be harboring this vague sense of guilt about having neglected it for several days. Not sure why.

Finally, I'm getting nervous about seeing R in therapy tomorrow. I left my last appointment feeling extremely defeated and hopeless about recovery. I had cried for the first time ever in therapy that day, which embarrassed and frustrated me. Although I AM motivated to recover, I am also still a pretty sucky patient and I hate letting R down week after week.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I'm going to be highly unoriginal and use Thanksgiving as a chance to count my blessings.

What I'm thankful for this year:

- My mom and dad. Living at home with them earlier this year was not easy and our relationship really suffered, but they put up with my miserable existence throughout and made it clear that I was loved. They don't understand the ED, but always try to be supportive and have never once blamed me for my illness.

- My treatment team. In all honesty, I am a horrible patient. I'm terrible at following the meal plan, I clam up in therapy, and I've made zero progress weight-wise in ten weeks of treatment. My therapist and dietician, however, are infinitely patient and still seem to believe that I can recover. Even though they frustrate me sometimes, I trust them completely and wish that I were better at showing it.

- My friends. My social circle has narrowed drastically over the past two years - partly because of logistical reasons (I disappeared for a semester and then I moved off campus) but also because I've changed. Big groups and constant excitement don't really appeal to me anymore, but I have amazing, intense friendships with a few certain people. My roommate, for one, and my boyfriend (yup, I think it's official), for another. I am more honest and comfortable with them than I have been with anyone for a long time.

- My university. The administration and my professors were incredibly understanding when I  left unexpectedly last January. The entire situation was handled discreetly and professionally, and there was no problem whatsoever in allowing me to re-enroll this fall. I have taken amazing classes here and met the most interesting people. I shudder to think about how quickly college goes by.

- My body. No, really, hear me out. I know that I bitch incessantly about how it looks and feels, but really, my body has been pretty damn resilient. The anorexia has not caused any major physical problems that affect my day-to-day life. I've got all my senses intact. I can walk and talk. Yes, I have horrific body image, but that's hardly debilitating. Seriously, if my biggest complaints in life are appearance-related, then I must have a pretty awesome life.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Back Home

I got home last night for Thanksgiving break. My parents are being wonderful and doting and everything, although I do still feel a bit under the microscope while eating.

I'm a little nervous about tomorrow - we're driving up to spend the day with my dad's side of the family. There will be a ton of relatives who we haven't seen in a while. I've given up driving myself crazy trying to figure out when I last visited them (and what my weight was then).

Jumping backwards a little bit: I was sitting next to this obnoxious jerk on the plane last night. When he first sat down,  hee leaned over with this creepy leer and held out his hand for me to shake and said: "Thanks for being thin."

I choked and almost sprayed Diet Coke everywhere. He must have thought I didn't hear him, because he repeated, "Thanks for being thin. Skinny. Have you ever sat next to some really fat person on a plane?"

Than he made a rounded gesture with his arms, like a big stomach, and started laughing.

I was floored. FLOORED. It never ceases to amaze me how some people talk so blatantly about body weight and size to complete strangers. In my mind (and maybe I'm overly sensitive), those topics are Off. Limits.

I kind of wanted to slap him, but I'm wimpy and only managed to choke out a "No problem!" But you should meet my therapist!

There is this general sense of relief about having the week at home to decompress. On the food front - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous and stressed about it. But Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday and I'm lucky to be here with my family for it. I'm doing my best to avoid letting my irrational fears ruin things.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Week Down

This is the longest I've gone without formal exercise in probably about three years. The inactivity is getting both harder and easier, if that makes sense. Harder because every day that goes by is another day to obsess about how fat and disgusting I must be getting. Easier because every day is another day that proves I can indeed function without exercise. The past week has been pretty rough in terms of my anxiety and grossness feeling, but I survived. I think the forced break might be easier to deal with next week, since I'm going home for Thanksgiving and my schedule will be messed up anyway.

At the risk of sounding neurotic and numbers-obsessed (who, me???), my weight has shot up about 2-3 pounds, which is not good for my mental health. I'm inclined to think it must be bloating/water retention/something to do with the Naproxen I've been on, since the gain happened instantly the day after I started taking the pills. Even though I have to convince myself of it sometimes, I DO know that weight gain doesn't happen magically and I'm trying to be rational about it. Still, it messes with my head. I do not appreciate unanticipated bodily changes. Take note, Body.

It never fails to surprise me that I still have an appetite, even when staying essentially sedentary. Yesterday and today, I literally sat with my butt glued to my desk chair ALL DAY. Not fun. I wasn't planning to restrict, but felt lazy and disgusting and couldn't imagine ever wanting to eat. Then, lo and behold, my stomach started making timid growly sounds and my head started getting that swimmy feeling and almost before I knew it, I was hungry. Huh. I guess I am alive.

Finally, for something unrelated to food or exercise: When S came to pick me up last night, I was feeling fat and crappy and not in the mood to go out. Then I opened the car door and, lying across the passenger side seat, were six pink roses. Boy done good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ups and Downs

Good: My Achilles is not torn, most likely just strained. The doctor at our student health center was very thorough and knowledgeable; when I mentioned my osteopenia, he immediately ordered an X-ray just to be safe. I got the impression that he suspected an ED, but he handled it very professionally and thus provided my first ever positive experience with campus health services.

Better: I went for the X-ray this morning and my foot is not fractured. Thank God. Additionally, my insurance rocks and I didn't have to pay a dime.

Best: My courses for next semester are finalized. One of them is with a professor whose class I attended for a week last January before going on medical leave. This afternoon, she sent me an e-mail saying that she was glad to see my name on her roster again and hoped I was doing well. It was the littlest thing, but it seriously made my day.

Bad: My foot isn't broken, but it still hurts like hell. I've been taking an anti-inflammatory and icing, but the pain just won't ease up. I can't exactly stay off my feet, since I probably walk at least 2-3 miles a day just getting around campus. Not sure what else I can do.

Worse: I'm unsure about the whole S situation. I don't know why. We had a great time this weekend, but sometimes it seems like he's much more interested than I am. I enjoy being around him, but I feel like I could go a week without seeing him and not even notice. Why am I so numb?

Worst: My session today with R was really hard. There were tears. I might post more about this later, but basically it boils down to me sucking at therapy and recovery and life.

And a final random: Does anyone else find it ironic that I've been bitching all week about how much my foot hurts, only for me to experience THE WORST PAIN EVER when I bit my tongue during dinner tonight?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Injury Rant

Well, this unexpected exercise challenge is proving to be much harder than I thought. It has been three days (actually eighty hours, but who's counting? Oh, just me) since I've gone to the gym and I'm getting a wee bit fed up. I guess I had told myself that I was okay with taking a few days off and seeing what happened, but only as long as my foot miraculously cured itself and I could get back on the treadmill in a timely fashion.

Unfortunately, things have not unfolded according to plan and, as per usual, I'm freaking out. My foot is NOT getting better, despite that fact that I've been a good girl and stayed off my feet pretty much all weekend, other than Saturday night. Literally, I spent all of Saturday and Sunday sitting with my foot up, icing off and on while I worked on homework.

I thought my heel was better - the swelling on my Achilles tendon had gone down and the pain had lessened. I skipped the gym again this morning, but just walking around campus this morning made it start hurting again. ARGH.

So I limped back home, stuck my foot on a bag of frozen peas, ate lunch begrudgingly, and now I'm sitting here trying to decide how a normal person who wasn't terrified about gaining weight would react.

I'm also frustrated with the amount of injuries and health issues I've had in the past year, despite making a real effort to take care of myself. My nutrition was fantastic (according to my standards, and probably most others' standards too) from about January through June or July, when it definitely began to suffer a bit, but still not horribly. I still eat very well considering the intensity of my body hatred and urges to restrict. Compared to last summer and fall (2010), my intake is vastly superior. In the past six months alone, though, I've had: hip, back, and knee injuries, major nutrition/body fat-related eye issues, horribly dry skin, and sporadic heart palpitations.

I have a weird, contradictory pattern of simultaneously overreacting to and downplaying physical problems - meaning, I always assume the worst (e.g. thinking my Achilles tendon is torn, I'll never walk again, I'm a cripple for life, etc.) but I never believe it's serious enough to warrant changing my behavior (e.g. continuing to exercise on an injured leg, not going to a doctor, cutting food when I should be maximizing nutrition to heal faster). Not smart.

But still, every day, it seems like I'm trying so hard to keep my head above water and not dip into any truly scarily unhealthy anorexic behaviors. My head is actually in a better place now than it was earlier this semester. So why does my body suddenly feel like it's falling apart?

This has devolved into a whine-fest, sorry! I'll wrap it up. This post probably sounds insanely irrational and anorexic. The forced break in exercise is messing with my head.

Just please, body, get better. I'll treat you right, I promise.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


YOU GUYS I'm taking so many scary chances lately, it's almost too much. I'm half-impressed, and half-freaked out.

Exhibit A: The other night I was sitting in my class that goes until 5:30pm, planning what I would eat for dinner afterwards (the same thing I always eat afterwards) when S texted me asking if I wanted to go get dinner with him. Which I didn't, of course, because that was not in the plans. I spent the next twenty minutes crafting a lame response in my head about why I wouldn't be able to go.

But then, you know what? I just said yes. And I went. And the world did not end. We ate dinner and talked and S walked me to my meeting at nine. By the time I got home later that night, I was still grinning like a darn fool. The post-date glow, I suppose.

Exhibit B: My last attempt to complete R's assignment of filling in my roommate about my ED was a bit of a fail. The other evening, though, I opened up much more than I usually do and we had a very honest, straightforward conversation about it. I tried really hard to explain my thought processes and my fears - both the logical and illogical ones - in a way that someone with no food issues would understand. I don't know that anyone without an ED truly can understand, but it helped to articulate them. Even if she doesn't fully understand where I'm coming from, she believes me and wants to help. And guess what? I feel better, not worse.

Exhibit C: This one wasn't exactly a voluntary challenge on my part, but I'm trying to see the positive. I think I managed to injure myself again - this time, it's my Achilles. Yesterday as I was walking home from the gym (in shorts in 30 degree weather, which was stupid I KNOW) the back of my heel started killing me. I thought it was strange, but ignored it, as per usual. Throughout the rest of the day, I did a lot of walking around campus and the pain got worse and worse until I was limping and had to give up my last couple of errands to come home. I iced, stretched, and tried to stay off of my feet for the rest of the night, but my Achilles is now a bit swollen and bruised and I am so fucking frustrated by my body failing me again and again and again. I shouldn't be surprised, really, but it still sucks.

Not going to lie: I had an initial freak-out/near meltdown over the fact that I would not be able to run, which would most definitely result in me getting fat. Then, I told myself to suck it up and calm down, and accept that I would have to be rational and take care of myself. I'm going to take a few days off from the gym and then reassess. I can't think any farther into the future because it sends me into a spiral of worries (omg my Achilles is torn), so I'm trying to stay calm and in the moment and keep some perspective because at this point, what else can I do?

This was definitely not a planned recovery challenge, but I'm trying to see it as an opportunity for some steps forward. Today was my first day off from working out in a while, and it hasn't been easy. I feel antsy and gross. But a few days off won't kill me. And it won't make me fat. Right? RIGHT?

Being challenged like this is pretty tough, especially for someone as pathologically habitual and averse to spontaneity as me, but it's making me see things differently. I'm getting glimpses of what life would be like without anorexia, without panicking over the little things, and without using unexpected stress as an excuse to self-destruct.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Boy

We've been dating for a few weeks now. (FINE I guess he gets a letter. From now on, boy shall be known as S.) He has taken me to several nice restaurants, bought me fancy chocolates and candy for my birthday, invited me to his fraternity formal, and generally behaved like a perfect gentlemen at every turn.

So...WHY am I so conflicted? Part of it is just me - I suck at relationships. The very thought of being in a relationship freaks me the hell out. I have this fear of losing my me time, which is generally spent on food/running/schoolwork-related shenanigans. I'm not spontaneous, I hate being the center of attention, and food-centric activities make me crazy - so, not exactly conducive to forming healthy romantic relationships.

Also, the friendship-to-dating transition is tricky. Since I've known S for a couple of years now, we've sort of skipped over the "getting to know each other" phase. This has created an awkward dilemma for me; namely, how much do I reveal about the anorexia? He knows a little bit, but I've implied that it isn't really an issue anymore. The more time we spend together (read: the more meals we eat together), the more it feels like I'm lying to him.

There's another sort of secret issue that I'm not sure how to articulate. It's going to sound crazy selfish and cold, but here goes. Basically, the eating disorder still takes up a HUGE portion of my brain, and there's not a whole lot of extra space in there. The calorie-counting, fat-phobic obsessions are always there, always nagging at me, and I don't know how much energy I have left for a relationship. Sometimes I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water as is, and I can't imagine adding another person's feelings into the mix. I can't promise that I would be able to put the relationship above my disordered regimen, and I can't promise that I'd want to.

I like S a lot and, commitment issues aside, I can see myself  being with him longer-term. But if it came down to him versus the eating disorder, I'm not sure which one would win.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If Only I'd Known

There was an article in the New York Times earlier this week about how the "Freshman Fifteen" is more like the "Freshman Three" or so, which made me laugh. Not in an out-loud HAHAHAHA way, but more of an isn't-that-ironic, thanks-a-lot-NYTimes-but-too-little-too-late way.

Honestly, a fear of gaining huge amounts of weight was a big contributor to my restrictive eating habits that intensified when starting college. After my initial big weight loss during middle school, I had slowly regained and maintained a healthy weight throughout high school. Then I basically starting restricting again the summer before freshman year. The idea being that I had to prepare for and counteract the inevitable Freshman Fifteen. I dropped a bit of weight then, pretty much maintained through the school year (2009-2010), and started losing again over the summer.

Obviously, the ED was caused by a LOT of factors and manifested itself way before I was even thinking about college, but I have to believe that a fear of the stereotypical freshman weight gain definitely played a role in triggering the relapse I'm still dealing with today. That's not to say that if I'd read an article over the summer of 2009 about how my fears of the Freshman Fifteen were completely unfounded I would've never returned to the eating disorder, but still. Makes me wonder. And laugh, a little.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Unplanned Hiatus

Oops, I didn't mean to go for a week without blogging. The break was only PARTLY my fault, since my laptop has been in the Computer Hospital since Friday.

Even before the laptop fiasco though, I was being lazy about updating. I guess I'm a little worried about always rehashing the same things - therapy, food, restaurant stress, body image blahs, etc. All of the above are definitely still very relevant to my life, but I shouldn't assume that everyone always wants to hear me bitch and moan about them. Any ideas for more interesting posts?

Anyway, a quick recap of the last week: therapy was...interesting. And stressful. My dietician J showed me a graph of my weight since I started seeing her and R. Basically, it was a straight line. Meaning, obviously, my weight has not changed in the past eight or so weeks. While this wasn't surprising (I weigh myself at home), I did have mixed feelings about seeing it mapped out in black and white. The eating disordered part of me always wants to lose weight. Always. The ED part only cares about the graph - why isn't the line going down?

At the same time, though, there is so much more going on than what showed up on J's graph. I am way more happy, social, and sane than I was eight weeks ago. While I admittedly have not thrown myself wholeheartedly into weight gain, I have no plans to starve and lose any. I don't feel fat; I just don't feel thin. So, staying at the same weight doesn't necessarily feel wrong, even though I KNOW that I am underweight and should, from a medical standpoint, gain at least X pounds to get back to where I last got my period.

J and R, however, are quite concerned that I haven't put on any weight since starting treatment with them. Both tossed around the idea of IP a couple of times - more as a scare tactic than as an actual threat, I think - but they are still going to work with me as long as I am "willing." It bothers me that they see me as UNwilling, since I feel like I'm trying so hard every day just to break even and it never seems like enough.

I told R that I knew he was probably frustrated with me for making zero progress over the past couple months. It's not his fault - I've been pretty impenetrable on the food/exercise issues. I realize it sucks, as a doctor, to prescribe medicine for a patient who won't take it but still shows up every week with the same complaints. Well, no shit you're still sick!

R was nicer than that. He said: "I'm not frustrated, Kaylee. I know you're trying. But if I let things go on this way much longer, then I'm just enabling your anorexia."

Happier news: I feel myself loosening way up in some food-related areas. I've been to three restaurants this week, went out for drinks at a bar after a full day's worth of food (yes, I'm legal!) on Thursday night, and ate a few gourmet chocolates with NO warning (a present from the boy, awwwww). No, I wasn't happy about the last-minute decision to go out for dinner last night; but yes, I ended up having an awesome Girls Night Out. Progress? I think so!

The semester is flying by. Why is it that a semester at school goes by in a heartbeat, while my semester at home seemed to last for an eternity?

I'll be better about blogging this week, I promise!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloweekend Recap

Sometimes the weekends take more out of me than the work week - this one especially. Lots going on in terms of school, friends, random activities, food stress, etc. Plus, I'm sleep-deprived.

First of all, thank you so much to everyone for the comments/e-mails about the medication question; it's hugely reassuring to hear about other people's experiences with or without drugs, and helps me see the issue more objectively. I'm not one hundred percent decided either way, but will definitely discuss it more with R this week. In general, I just feel a whole lot better and calm about the whole situation. So, thanks!

My date went well! Scary, but well. Scary in terms of the food part, well in terms of the date part. The restaurant was just as terrifying as I had anticipated - I did pick out a menu item ahead of time, but the dish ended up being much bigger/gooier/richer than expected. I wasn't particularly hungry either, which always makes food extremely unappetizing to me.

BUT I soldiered through, ate a decent portion even though I didn't really like/want it, and tried to focus more on the conversation than the puddle of grease on my plate. Before going, I had sort of made a commitment to myself to just eat like a normal person, not look weird, and not freak out because it was just one meal. The hard part isn't thinking one meal will make me fat, because I know that it won't. The hard part is not knowing the ingredients or the calories, and sitting with the gross, fat, full feeling afterwards.

Despite that, I had a really good time. He paid. Again. So....yup.

Afterwards, my roommate and I had a quick date recap while assembling half-hearted Halloween costumes, and then went out to a party at our others friends' apartment. I think the alcohol helped me loosen up a bit about the big dinner earlier, because I had a great time and, for a while, forgot about feeling fat. I am not a big drinker (CALORIES), but I do love nice, girly mixed drinks. I get made fun of for how weak I make my drinks, but I call it being economical. Even just a teensy bit of alcohol calms me down tremendously.

The next morning, I woke up feeling super exhausted, bloated, and yucky. Between the salty restaurant meal and extra alcohol calories, I was positive my weight would be up. The smart thing to do would probably have been to skip my morning weighing ritual, but of course I didn't.

So imagine my shock when I stepped on the scale and the number was down.  Not drastically, but below the usual range, and the lowest it's been in months. Obviously, I must have been dehydrated from the drinking or something, but I was still taken aback. My body baffles me.

Yesterday was spent frantically catching up on homework, taking care of random errands and laundry, and trying not to obsess about my weight, food, calories, or boys. After all the excitement, I was dozing off by about ten-thirty last night. So, a successful weekend overall, I think. But I'm kind of relieved that it's Monday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Date Night

New source of stress in my life. I'm shy so you don't get all the juicy details, but suddenly there's this dude who keeps wanting me to go out to dinner all the time!

I kid, I kid. He's actually a really good friend who I've known since freshman year, and we may or may not be progressing beyond the Friend stage. Currently, we're still navigating the are-we/aren't-we question, which is complicated by the fact that we've known each other for a while already. But we've had a few solo dinners out together, and thus far he has insisted on paying every time. me old-fashioned, but I'm assuming that officially makes these Dates?

Oddly, I kind of like dating, even though it can be awkward as hell. I like getting to know a person one-on-one. I also tend to get along with guys really well, whether as friends or boyfriends or whatever. One of my guy friends here once told me that I'm "more laid-back than other chicks," which made me snort water out my nose laughing because I am the least laid-back person you will ever meet. Yes, I am beyond skilled at hiding my neuroticism.

So in the past few weeks, I've actually been doing pretty darn well playing it cool and going with the flow in terms of food with this guy. (Should I assign him a letter? Maybe not yet.) I've told him a little bit about the anorexia, nothing hugely specific, and I definitely gave him the impression that it is basically In the Past and totally Under Control.

Tomorrow will be a test, though. He's taking me to a restaurant that serves a type of cuisine I am NOT comfortable eating, and would otherwise avoid at all cost. I checked the menu online (obviously) and there is nothing remotely "safe." Nothing that wouldn't be a huge challenge to eat even without the added pressure of being on a date.

I can't decide if it would be better to pore over the options tonight and freak out/obsess/pick something ahead of time, or put the issue out of my mind and not worry about it until I get there. Hmm. Mostly, I wish I could just chill the fuck out about food and look forward to a nice dinner with a nice guy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drugs Revisited

Anyone have any experience with SSRIs? I know I've been opposed to medication in the past, but lately R has got me reconsidering. It's not so much for depression as it is for the constant counting, circular obsessions, and endless anxieties over minuscule matters that seem to have gotten worse in the past few months. Are there calories in Sprite Zero? In multivitamins? Toothpaste?

In therapy today, I was talking about my calorie-counting habit. How my brain seems wired to automatically start counting any and everything. R seemed struck by how present these thoughts really are for me, and how this might be the biggest barrier keeping me from committing to the meal plan and making real changes. He made me wonder: what would my mind be like without counting calories? Without all the background noise?

Lately, my moods and thoughts have just been so unpredictable. My brain is exhausted. What if a pill could regulate everything, bring me back to normal? I hate the idea of a foreign, artificial substance messing with my insides, but what if it helps?

Biggest fear: weight gain. ALLEGEDLY, according to R, Prozac doesn't cause weight gain like other anti-depressants, but I'm skeptical. Does it just increase appetite? Because I can deal with that. That would probably even be good for me, considering how unwilling I am to eat when I'm not hungry. But if there's some magical chemical process outside my control that will actually make my body bulk up  - well, I don't think I'm down for that.

I haven't made any decisions yet, and I would absolutely rather NOT take anything. But sometimes my irrational obsessions and fears make me think my brain needs a little help.

The possibilities of side effects and dependency are really freaking me out, and I would love to hear if anyone has any experience or advice! Feel free to comment or e-mail me:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Honesty Homework

One of the goals R set for me this week was to tell my roommate that I'm struggling with my eating disorder and ask her to eat more regularly with me. This wouldn't be that big of a deal - my eating disorder isn't a secret and we've talked about it before - except that I feel like it would draw SO MUCH unwanted attention. Seriously, there's no better way to kill my appetite than to scrutinize my eating habits. It makes me want to take my plate into the next room and scrape off all the food into the garbage can.

R is convinced that if I make my friends aware I'm struggling to eat enough, it will keep me accountable and reduce my anxiety about the increased intake and weight gain.

I'm convinced that if my eating is suddenly under the microscope, I'll freak out, have a nervous breakdown, and lose my mind. And somehow, inexplicably, get fat in the process.

Either way, R is probably right that I should try to eat with others more often - but easier said than done. I still have major anxiety about eating around other people because I worry about: a) looking weird, b) eating too much and getting fat, c) not eating enough and getting hungry again five minutes later. So yes, eating my own food in my own kitchen is much simpler.

I did manage to shake things up this weekend though - in fact, I ate in restaurants twice (yeah, TWICE). People, this is big. I hate restaurants. Or at least my eating disordered-self does. This actually is a good gauge of healthy-Kaylee versus ED-Kaylee because I used to love going out to eat. Not just for the food, although I liked that too, but for the whole festiveness of the occasion. Now? Not so much. Break in routine, unpredictability, unknown calories, etc. - all the usual suspects. So this weekend was an exercise in both social eating AND quitting the counting habit.

Anyway, back to R's assignment: I sort of indirectly brought it up with my roommate last night, just mentioning that things have been a little stressful because I am "supposed" to be eating much more than I am physically or mentally comfortable with. No mention of specific foods or meal plan requirements or the case of Boost stashed under my bed.

So...I guess I partly completed the exercise? For some reason, I don't think R will be totally satisfied with my half-hearted attempt. I didn't exactly mobilize the Food Police the way he seems to want. I just hate making my eating disorder an issue with others. Mostly, I hate the prospect of being forced out of my comfort zone. Call me stubborn.

On the plus side, I actually DID buy the Boost.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Positive Thoughts

I promise I'm not such a downer in real life! If for no reason other than to keep my last post from showing up front and center, here are some happy things in my life:

- I love my classes and I love my job. And I love getting paychecks! (Boo unpaid summer internships.)

- My two best friends and I had a delicious dinner out earlier tonight. I didn't restrict or overexercise beforehand, and I was okay with it. I even got hungry later and ate an extra snack.

- The school/work/social balance is starting to come together. Fewer teary meltdowns.

- I had a really good session with R this past week. Good in that it was challenging and a little uncomfortable, but ultimately helpful, I think.

- I have an awesome Mama Bear who calls just to talk and has lots of good advice, even when she drives me nuts. ("Yes, Mom, I'm doing what Dr. R says. No, I'm not drinking too much. Yes, I get enough sleep.")

- Speaking of sleep: the horrible insomnia I had for most of last fall semester has not returned. Hallelujah. In fact, I've been sleeping really well, assuming I get myself to bed at a reasonable time instead of messing around on the internet or catching up on TV shows.

- I got an A+ (do they even still give those out??) on a paper that I worked really hard on and was really proud of.

- There might be A Guy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Monster Mood Swings

Sometimes my mood is so unstable it scares me. I can be fine in the morning, too busy to notice by afternoon, and ready to cry by dinner.

Like yesterday, for example: wake up, coffee, gym, shower, breakfast. All good. Class, lunch, and coffee/killing time with friends, which put me in a fantastic mood.

But then I walked home in a cold rain, my head hurt, my backpack was too heavy, and by the time I got to my apartment, I was practically in tears. No reason whatsoever, other than the fact that I was tired and everything seemed like too much.

Dinner became a nightmare because I was starving but didn't actually want anything. Option A wouldn't fill me up, Option B didn't sound good, and Option C just wasn't right. I just wanted to get it over with because I had a ton of reading to do, but decision-making was not happening. So I was hungry, exhausted, and basically falling apart at the seams.

Then my roommate came home, and a five-minute, completely mundane conversation with her brought me back to earth.

I know that part of it has got to be hormonal because it's back - right on schedule. My appetite is insane right now, leaving me empty and achy and worn out all the damn time. Combine that with cramps and bloating and a constant dull headache, and you haven't exactly got the makings of a happy camper.

Part of it is stress - I'm busy and worn out, but don't feel like I have a right to it because my class schedule right now is lighter than any other semester thus far. So I vacillate between anxiety over schoolwork, guilt about not doing "enough," and frustration at still feeling overwhelmed by a relatively underwhelming course load.

Part of it is also loneliness, because my apartment is not convenient to campus and I don't really live near a lot of friends I saw regularly last year. Usually I need my alone time, but lately I've just been too stuck in my own head. Sometimes I can't focus on anything because the whirl of worry is too strong for me to pull myself out of without external distractions.

My concentration is abysmal, my self-esteem is non-existent, and my anxiety levels are through the roof. I spend half my time running around in a manic half-hypoglycemic haze, and the other half collapsed in total body-numbing exhaustion. I lose track of my moods because they seem to change hourly. Just one day - one hour - of brain silence would be priceless.

I know this is the kind of thing I need to talk about with R, but it's hard to articulate. His priority is getting me to gain weight, but I quite honestly have zero desire to devote any more time and energy to food.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Relief and Running

Crazy busy last week/weekend. I just handed in the last of three BIG papers that I've been working on for the past two weeks or so, and feeling a slight sense of relief about finally getting those finished. For some reason this semester, school stuff just isn't coming as easily as in the past, and it feels like I'm struggling so much more to accomplish the same amount of work.

My job, however, is going really well. Without getting too specific: I get to do lots of issue-related research and interviews with various academics and professionals. For the first time in a while, I find myself getting totally engrossed in projects and forgetting about the millions of other things that are usually weighing on my mind. Like weight.

I've recently started running again after taking time off for a hip injury this summer. It hurt a little at the beginning, but has settled down since then. Maybe this isn't a good thing from a recovery standpoint, but getting back into running feels beyond wonderful. I'm being really careful to take it slow, not do too much all at once, and mix it up with intervals of walking, but still, wow. It feels so good.

Admittedly, my caution has more to do with a fear of re-injuring my hip than it does with a fear of falling back into anorexia, but the ends justify the means, right? And running just makes me feel so much stronger, so much more exhilarated, than any other kind of exercise. So I am satisfied with doing less of it than I would be with, say, biking.

In semi-related news, my metabolism has been freaking out lately. Eating makes me hungrier. Is this possible? I swear, within thirty minutes of finishing a meal, my stomach starts growling. You'd think extreme hunger would make meal plan compliance easier, but mostly it's just irritating.

Although, it is making me wonder about intuitive eating a bit - like, what would happen if I just ate when my body said FEED ME? The idea intrigues me, but I honestly don't think it's possible at the moment. I am way too aware of calories to ditch the counting habit, and as long as the tally is going in my head, I wouldn't be able to choose foods without calories being the main consideration. So, maybe something to think about in the future.

....and my neighbors just brought out the bass and amps. I'm off to go pound on the wall.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More or Less

Lately I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago. Getting competitive with myself, I guess. Compared to last year, I now weigh more. I eat more. I know more about myself - what my limits are.

I also cry more. I worry more.

Last year, I had more fun. I liked myself more. I laughed more. I took more classes. I was involved in more clubs and activities. I was more productive. I put myself right in the thick of things until my low heart rate put me in the hospital. Until then, anorexia hadn't taken me out of commission whatsoever - and I feel like recovery has.

I'm better off now -  I know that. But there's more anxiety, more stress, and more self-consciousness. Everything makes me nervous. Part of me wants to go back.

My confidence is just shot. I feel like I can't do the same things I used to be able to do. I used to zip through my reading each night, grind out papers, sail through exams, raise my hand in every class, and still go out every weekend and have a fantastic time.

But now? Now I can't concentrate on a textbook for more than five minutes at a time before I start picking my nails and jiggling my leg and counting calories in my head. Essays take me forever to finish; the ideas just aren't there. In class, my mind starts spinning and it feels like everyone else is three steps ahead of me. I got a B on an exam that I was positive I aced. (Yes, I know I won't get much sympathy for that. But it still bothers me.) I am so fucking uncomfortable in my body that sometimes being around my friends - even the best ones - makes my skin crawl.

My mom has gotten more than a couple distressed calls from me. I freak out randomly about things that do not deserve my attention. I hate hate HATE how I look. As if it even matters.

After almost nine months of treatment, I feel like there's less of me in me, even though there's supposed to be less of the anorexia. What gives?

I am, however, finding that I have more intense friendships. I rarely go out with a big group anymore, but I go out with one person, or two, and feel more alive afterwards. Last weekend, one of my best - and first, actually - friends here took me to dinner. We couldn't get a table for an hour, so we walked around the neighborhood, just talking. Then we spent two hours in the restaurant, talking. Then he took me home and we talked some more.

So, maybe less fun, but more memorable? Less adolescent, more adult? Less exciting, more important? Sometimes it's just so hard to accept that I can't be who I was before. I was manically productive and my days were jam-packed with a million things I couldn't wait to do - but I was sick. So I can't be that anymore, and I'm not sure where to go from here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Double treatment session this week, so I saw my dietician J first, then had therapy with R. I think they had pow-wowed about me since last week because J went right to work upping my meal plan.

She prescribed that yummy liquid goop - BOOST. Which I despise. It's expensive. It tastes bad. It makes me feel sick. It's humiliating to buy. I don't want to leave it sitting in the fridge for my roommates to see. So I haven't bought any yet, but may do so this weekend. Haven't decided.

One thing J focused on was me creating a treatment setting for myself. Like, having meal support, meeting people for dinner, showing my roommate my meal plan, etc. The point, I guess, is to keep me more accountable by telling other people what I need to be eating - but that is just SO not my style. I barely talk about my eating disorder at all with anyone. So it would be weird and uncomfortable to suddenly ask friends to babysit me during meals.

J was also big on separating "Kaylee" from the "eating disorder" this week. When I said that restaurants are stressful for me, she jumped in with, "Restaurants are stressful for your eating disorder." Well, okay. But it's not exactly as if I can excise the eating disorder from my "real" self at the moment. It's too intertwined. So for now, we're stuck with each other.

Then R. He was twenty minutes late coming out to get me from the waiting room, and I was super irritated until I realized that he had been meeting with J (who I had just seen) about me.

Something I felt better about this week was that it seemed like they both listened to me when I said things like I don't think I can do that. I told J that I honestly wasn't sure if I could drink as many supplements as she wanted, so she told me to at least get them at the store so that I would have the option, and then just do what I could. Then I told R that I didn't think I could gain as much weight as he wants - that I wouldn't ever be able to fully commit to it because it just feels too unnecessarily high. So he agreed to let me aim for a range - the lower limit is where I last got my period and the upper limit is the ultimate weight he and J originally wanted.

For the first time, I felt like they were being realistic about what I would and would not do. I didn't want to feel bullied into agreeing to something just to make them happy, knowing that I wouldn't follow through. I hope it doesn't sound like they're letting me off easy - the meal plan was substantially increased and weight gain is still absolutely nonnegotiable. But now, I no longer feel like the weekly goals are so far out of reach that I don't even want to try.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ritual

Exercise hasn't always been tainted by anorexia-fueled motivations for me. I was always an active kid; I played a ton of sports, primarily soccer and lacrosse. In high school, I got hooked on cross country and track, and now long-distance running is still my exercise of choice. I get really antsy after sitting still for too long on any given day, regardless of what my eating habits were like on said day. I genuinely believe that I need a daily (or almost daily) sweat-sesh to maintain a happy, productive, sane state of mind.

THAT BEING SAID... I'm having a bit of a problem. Lately, my workouts aren't excessive, per se, but they aren't exactly healthy either. I don't spend insane amounts of time at the gym, but I go every. single. day. At the exact same time, too. The gym employees could set their clocks by me. I rearrange my schedule to accomodate my exercise time. I freak out if something gets changed, and I immediately go into damage-control mode to make up for the moved/shortened/altered workout.

I have gone through periods of working out much, much, much more than I do now. Over the summer, it was bordering on the extreme (although I was eating much more then, too). But that's not really the problem anymore. Recently, it's just been all about the ritual. Wake up. Drink coffee. Work out. Shower. Start day.

I feel like I can't miss a workout or everything would collapse. Actually, I don't think much about what would happen, because I wouldn't even consider skipping a workout. It isn't a decision anymore. It just happens. It's just what I do.

I'm not sure what my rationale is, either, because I don't pay attention to the calories I burn or adjust my intake based on expenditure. (Still wary of the BMR issue.) It just doesn't connect in my head. There's a vague sense of Maybe I should eat a little less since my run was a little shorter today, but I don't do any calculations or anything. My thinking is more like: I will feel so gross and lazy and awful if I don't work out today, so why skip it? What is so special about today that should merit a day off?

I feel like I wouldn't be able to function after skipping the gym because I'd be so preoccupied by guilt and disgust with myself. Even knowing that one day off wouldn't affect my weight, and that it would in fact probably be beneficial to give my muscles a break, I just can't justify it. So I guess I'm more scared of feeling fat than actually getting fat?

Yet again, my brain's lack of logic astounds me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fifty Facts

In honor of my 50th post, here are fifty facts about me:

1. My favorite meal is a peanut butter and banana sandwich - breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
2. I have chronic dry eye.
3. As a kid, I played soccer, lacrosse, softball, tennis, basketball, and field hockey - but running cross country in high school was the one sport that stuck.
4. When I was four, my older brother punched a kid for being mean to me.
5. I hate wearing makeup, but love painting my nails.
6. In elementary school, I had several pet frogs. Never got that puppy I always wanted, though.
7. My favorite colors are purple, green, and orange.
8. I hate grape-flavored anything.
9. Currently, my favorite TV show is Mad Men.
10. I also love Weeds.
11. And Modern family.
12. And 30 Rock.
13. Sometime during my freshman year of college, I went on a mission to watch all six seasons of Lost. I made it through the beginning of season four (maybe five?) and then it got too weird so I never finished. Still don't know how it ends.
14. I watch too much TV.
15. If there were no such thing as humidity, I wish it could be 95 degrees and sunny every day of the year.
16. Although I do like fall foliage and nighttime thunderstorms.
17. Violin was my biggest passion for a long time.
18. I started playing when I was five.
19. Public speaking terrifies me, but for some reason I never got nervous performing.
20. I tried to keep practicing violin my first few semesters of college, but I was just burnt out.
21. I know that I'm cheating on this list by splitting up facts over multiple numbers.
22. Whatever.
23. Fifty is a lot.
24. I have both ears pierced twice.
25. My bedspread is reversible - one side is pink and the other is brown. I flip it at random intervals based on my mood.
26. I spend too much money on books and coffee.
27. I really want to stop counting calories. I don't know how.
28. When I was a little kid, I used to fantasize about living on a farm. Now, I can't imagine not living in a city.
29. I met my best friend when we were two years old.
30. I met my other best friend two years ago.
31. My ex-boyfriend was arrested last year for something horrible and I can't imagine that he actually did it. But people change, I guess.  I don't know what to believe. We broke up my junior year of high school and I haven't spoken to him since graduation.
32. One of my cousins has been in college for seven years. He keeps switching majors.
33. I don't know how the hell he's paying for that.
34. There's no way I could pick just one favorite book, but some of the contenders are: Beloved by Toni Morrison, Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof, Madness by Marya Hornbacher (who also wrote Wasted), The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy by Stieg Larsson.
35. One of my non-food-related rituals is watching an episode of a TV show followed by reading a chapter of a book in bed before going to sleep.
36. My mom speaks fluent Spanish. She was very sad when I stopped studying it after high school.
37. I am an incredibly light sleeper. Anything and everything wakes me up.
38. When I'm not going through a bout of insomnia, I sleep six hours a night like clockwork.
39. I have never broken a bone, but I've dislocated my toe three times.
40. I've also had a million various overuse injuries from running - hip flexor strain, tendonitis, shin splits, etc.
41. All four of my grandparents are dead.
42. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
43. According to my dietician, I drink too much water. I swear it's not an ED thing - I'm just always really thirsty.
44. My mom and dad both work extremely hard. I am so thankful for everything we have, and that they have good insurance and can pay for my treatment. My parents have never deprived me of anything (I mean, within reason) that I really wanted or needed. (Although I never did get that puppy.)
45. This is a really long list.
46. I can't decide whether to go with a Blackberry or an iPhone when I get an upgrade. Thoughts?
47. I was supposed to study abroad this semester but the damn anorexia screwed that up.
48. Both of my parents are lapsed Catholics. I wasn't raised under any religion, but I am fascinated by all of them. I used to tag along to church with one friend, and regularly went to another friend's house for Shabbat dinner on Friday nights. Last year, I wrote a paper on Scientology for a class. This semester, I'm doing a project about prayer in Islam.
49. My vision is terrible. I cringe to think about how bad my eyes will be when I'm, like, eighty.
50. DONE.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Failing at Therapy

R wants me to gain weight so that we can move forward and talk about things other than food.

I want R to fix my brain first so that I feel okay with gaining weight.

Obviously, he's right and I'm sick. But the bottom line is: I don't feel capable of adding calories and gaining to the weight he wants. I just don't. At this point, my mind won't let me. I'd hate myself too much.

To clarify: my weight is NOT in a danger zone. It is lower than optimal, but not deathly (I swear!). So yes, I should gain the weight that R wants - or at least regain the weight I've lost since May - but it isn't a matter of life of death at the moment.

So it's hard for me to agree with R when he goes all alarmist on me about it. It's not that I'm not taking it seriously, it just doesn't seem like something that needs to be fixed right this second or else you won't make it through the semester. 

Right now, I just feel stuck. I'm not trying to intentionally antagonize R by being a stubborn little snot, but my brain is caught in a rut and the idea of changing up my meal plan with the goal of actually gaining weight is absolutely unfathomable. It's not that I don't think gaining weight is necessary - I do think it's necessary, to a certain extent. I want my period back. I don't want to be ruled by food rituals. I want to be able to eat in restaurants without freaking out before, during, and after. I want all of these things, but I just cannot see myself actually giving up what I have now. Which is, essentially, a pathological obsession with meaningless numbers.  Yay.

There was a moment in my appointment this morning when I actually thought R was going to fire me. He didn't, but did start pushing "more intense treatment." The options he laid out: 1) stick with what I'm doing by seeing R and J each once a week but actually follow the meal plan, 2) see R and J each twice a week, and have my mom come out for "support," 3) start going to group therapy in addition to seeing R and J, 4) start attending IOP in the center where R and J work, or 5) go home.

Obviously, I picked the first option. I basically told him IOP was NOT an option. Not interested. Not necessary, in my opinion, and not exactly feasible with my schedule. I know that health is the priority over school, but still.

So. I guess that's where things stand. I'm really going to try following the meal plan.  But if it were that easy, I would have done it already.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Settling In

I, for one, am glad that September is over. It's a month of too many changes. And while most of them were good this year (starting my junior year of college after taking a semester off, moving into a new apartment, being back on my own after living with my parents for eight months), the instability of the transitional period left me constantly anxious and on edge.

Now, I'm feeling much more settled. I'm used to my apartment, my roommates, my walking routes, and my classes. I have my daily routines. My anxiety levels have been toned down by orders of magnitude from where they were a couple of weeks ago. Now, my biggest anxieties are school-related, which oddly, I am much better equipped to handle than the little things like running out of yogurt or losing my umbrella on a rainy day or forgetting to do laundry on my one free afternoon. That stuff practically sends me into hysterics.

I am also getting used to R, my new therapist. At first, I was hesitant to see him because he is, you know, a dude, But I'm way more comfortable with him now after only three or four sessions. I really like R's personality and approach. We are still at a bit of a stalemate over the Weight Issue, but I'll get there. I think.

Lately I've been spending a ton of time with my roommate K (same one I visited back in June), and realizing how much better life is with such a good friend. Even though I am incredibly independent and need my alone time to function, I had forgotten how much easier life is with friends. I have been sloooowly opening up to K about the ED, which is big for me. For the longest time, I only ever discussed the anorexia with professionals - e.g. therapist, dietician, doctor. In some ways, that's easier because they are already familiar with the symptoms and don't need to be educated. Real people don't always get it. But when I talk to K about it, she seems genuinely interested in trying to understand my mindset and learn what is helpful/not helpful for me.

Food is more of the same. I really do want to do better because I've been noticing that my energy is definitely down. At times, I find myself slipping into that slightly manic must-eat-now state that only happens when I'm restricting. If I am consistently eating enough to sustain myself, I can hold out for longer and not dissolve into a shaky hypoglycemic panic if lunch gets delayed by an hour. Even though I haven't really lost any weight in the last couple of weeks, I think the recent loss combined with the lower intake (not scary low, just lower than R would like) is starting to take its toll. So I am motivated to turn things around NOW while my brain and heart and metabolism still have a fighting chance.

Okay, gotta get moving. I've got a 14-page paper and two 10-pagers due this week, plus a presentation and a big project for work. Peace!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Today in therapy, I was trying to articulate why I have so much trouble following the meal plan. I wanted to be able to say: "I don't know if I can make dinner that big because I'd hate myself afterwards" or "It's too hard to eat when I'm not hungry so the extra snack might not happen."

I wanted to be honest about what's hard for me and what I see myself realistically accomplishing on a daily basis. At the same time, though, I was afraid that my honesty would make R think I had no motivation to eat better and gain weight, and that we were all just wasting our time.

Then he said:

"Kaylee, I have no doubts about your willingness to put effort into this."

So now my own doubts are lessened considerably.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Body Image Crisis

Why is it that increasing my meal plan not only makes me feel worse about my weight - but it also makes me feel worse about my hair, my skin, my nails, my feet, my eyebrows, and my teeth? Why does everything suddenly feel so wrong?

I've really been making an effort to do better with eating this week, and as a reward my mind has decided to mutiny by throwing every terrible thought about myself front and center. Now I'm not just fat, but ugly in every way. I never had a problem with my teeth before, but now they're crooked and yellow and nasty. My hair is too frizzy and refuses to lie right. My eyes are a gross color.

This makes me sound like I'm appearance obsessed, which I'm not. I hate that these new anxieties about my body make me want to hide from the world. For the most part I couldn't care less about fashion, but it still takes me forever to get dressed in the morning because everything I put on looks wrong. I worry that everyone will be disgusted by the zit on my cheek, and I would rather walk around wearing a ski mask than subject the world to that ickiness.

I wouldn't judge someone else for having flaws, but with myself everything seems so much worse.

Tomorrow I'm seeing R and J again. I'm super nervous about getting weighed, even though I weigh myself every day anyway. What is it about these Official Weigh-Ins that freaks me out so much? I usually have a general idea about what the scale will say before I even step on. I know weight fluctuates, but I still get hung up on minute changes. So I don't want to gain weight tomorrow because it will confirm that all the yucky pudginess I feel in my body is real.

But if I lose weight, I'll be disappointed in myself. R will be disappointed. He will probably give me a Very Serious Talk about motivation and goals and follow-through. The eating disordered part of me, though, will be ecstatic. And that's still a big part of me.

I don't want to end on that terrible note. Some good things:
- My exam today was easy. Whew!
- The weather was perfect - sunny, breezy, perfect temperature.
- My dad sent me a sweet e-mail last night that nearly made me cry (in a good way!).
- I have all my limbs, my eyesight, my hearing, and my mind.