Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Drug Dilemma

Here's the background: I was on a medication earlier this year for insomnia and anxiety and I hated it.  I will be the first to admit that I'm not sure how much was the drug and how much was just general refeeding misery, but I felt sluggish and sleepy and awful the whole time I was taking it.  I came off of it sometime in February, and I haven't taken anything else since.

Starting around that same time, my therapist and ED doctor have both brought up the possibility of trying Prozac or something similar for depression a couple of times.  I was pretty opposed from the beginning, since I felt like any depression I had was a result of the fact that my life was pretty depressing.  Being home alone eight hours a day with nothing - no class, no job, no friends - in the dead of winter is depressing for anyone, I'm pretty sure.  Combine that with serious body image issues, huge anxieties over food six times a day, and the most snowfall recorded in a decade, and you don't exactly have a recipe for bliss.

I have tried outlining a semi-logical argument for my therapist explaining why I am so resistant to taking anti-depressants, but it usually just boils down to: "Because I don't want to."  I don't know if that's a good enough reason, but so far W has been accepting it.

There are a few reasons I'm not huge on the medication idea.  First of all...okay duh, weight gain.  I don't know anything about this other than it seems to be a stereotype about anti-depressants, which is enough to scare me away.

Second, I hate the idea of being tethered to a pill.  At school, my schedule is hugely variable from day-to-day.  Is it a big deal if I miss a dose? Or accidentally double up?  What about alcohol?  I'm sure tons of college kids are on all kinds of medications with no problems, but the idea of living on my own far from my family and my doctor while taking serious medication makes me hugely nervous.  What if I have a bad reaction?  What if my weight suddenly balloons out of control? (Okay, that was a reiteration of reason #1.)  What if the drug stops working and I end up even worse than I was before?  Then what?

I don't want to rely on a pill to be able to function.  (This is NOT  criticism of people who DO need medication to function. I am not anti-drugs; I am 100% pro-drugs for those who need them.  I have a family member with schizophrenia who is completely and utterly unable to lead any semblance of a normal life without a heavy regimen of medication, and I totally respect him for recognizing and honoring that. Same with a friend who has severe anxiety.)  So maybe this is me just being stubborn and refusing to concede that I, too, may actually NEED medication to function, but I also feel like I haven't given myself a chance to learn how to just cope.  At the moment, my (healthy) coping skills are nonexistent.  Feeling fat?  Cut lunch in half.  Nervous about the weekend?  Run an extra X miles.  I have no fucking clue how to feel uncomfortable or anxious or guilty and just weather the storm without self-destructing.

Right now, the ED is my anti-depressant.  So how will I know if I really need drugs unless I can give up the ED long enough to find out?

So, that's the Medication Issue in a nutshell.  Since my weight is down, my therapist has been pushing it a little harder lately, but I'm 90% positive that I'll be sticking to my guns on this one, at least for now.  Mostly, I just have a general aversion to any drugs at all - at least for myself.  I never take anything stronger than Advil, and the thought of having something so powerful in my body all the time just plain freaks me out.  It's not as if I can't get out of bed in the morning, so at this point taking medication is entirely up to me.  And I Just Don't Want To.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Defeated by Ice Cream

Last night it hit me how far from normal I really am.  I thought I was okay with most foods.  I can usually fit most things into my meal plan, as long as I have a heads up.  I eat bread, pasta, sugar, cheese, etc.  All the scary stuff.

Last night, though, a bowl of ice cream totally kicked my butt.

I was hanging out with my friend C when all of a sudden, before I quite knew what was happening, we were sitting in a 24-hour diner with dessert menus in front of us.  My friend ordered a sundae while I panicked and squirmed and took freaking forever to decide what to get.  I didn't want to not order anything and sit there like an ED-possessed nutjob while C ate, but of course the ten minutes it took me to decide on a flavor, size, and topping squashed any shred of "normal" I may have still been hanging onto.

So by the time the waitress brought our orders to the table, I was a wreck.  I played with my spoon until the ice cream was melting down the sides of the dish and I had made a huge yucky mess and thoroughly humiliated myself.

C was asking lots about what I've been up to and how I've been doing and all I could focus on was how much ice cream I may or may not have actually ingested.

WHY can't I be a normal person?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Miscellaneous Updates

This week has sort of flown by, which is weird since my days at work seem to go. so. slowly.  After tomorrow, I only have two (TWO) weeks left of my internship.  There is a God.

I saw my dietician this morning.  My weight is about the same. B wants me to add Ensure to start getting my weight back up. I've always resisted supplements, since they seem like a "waste" of calories.  In general, I go for the most amount of food spread out across as many meals/snacks as possible - the most volume for the least calories.  This is a habit from the hardcore restricting days, when I tried to make my meager daily allotment last as long as possible.  I guess it's less necessary now, since I eat a decent amount of calories, but the tendency is too ingrained.  So I told B that I didn't want to drink Ensure because it wouldn't fill me up, and she said, "Well, you aren't eating the calories in food anyway and right now it's just about getting them in." Okay.  B:1, Kaylee: 0.

Tomorrow, I'm driving up to visit a friend who lives about an hour away for the weekend. (She is the same friend, C, who visited me in this post.) It's the same I'm-happy-to-see-her-but-worried-about-food conundrum that crops up in every non-routine event in my life.  If I survive the nerve-wracking lead-up (omg what am I going to eat) and hellish Friday afternoon traffic, it should be a fun trip.

Weekends tend to be tough for me because I don't have a set schedule.  I worry about eating too much, so I compensate by eating way less.  I worry about not having enough time to work out, so I carve out extra time and end up exhausting myself.  I'm really trying to take more time off from exercise and feel good about it instead of guilty, so distractions like this trip make it a little easier.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Which I Realize I Am Totally Clueless

Uhhhh......well remember yesterday when I said that I didn't think my therapist and my dietician communicated very much?  Wrong.

Today when I walked into my appointment with W, she asked How are you? And I said, Good!  Great!  Fine!  How are you?  And I wasn't totally full of shit either, because I really have been feeling a little better lately - as in, no random crying fits or skipping food or pounding out extra time on the treadmill.  No jumping for joy or anything, but feeling pretty okay at least.  So I was somewhat looking forward to seeing W and having something semi-positive to report instead of the usual I hate my body I hate food I hate home.

But this morning as soon as I got through saying how Great! I was doing, W said, "B and I are very concerned."  I guess B had been really worried about me losing weight again at my appointment last Thursday so she called M (the main doctor who runs the treatment center that W and B work for, and coordinates all the therapists and dieticians and patients) and then M spoke to W, who has been in contact with B ever since.

Things that have been discussed at length for months without my knowledge:
1) my weight
2) my "affect"
3) my menstrual cycle (or lack thereof)
4) my fall class schedule
5) my future apartment's location (off-campus, meaning more walking)
6) my aversion to anti-depressants, even though W and M both think I should be taking something

The last one is the biggie. I have made it clear to both W and M that I do not want to be on anti-depressants (maybe more on that later), which they both seemed to accept.  Today I got the impression that they no longer respected my decision on that and they wanted to get my parents on board to convince/gang up on me to change my mind.

As for the other stuff, well, I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that my therapist and my dietician have talked about my weight and other relevant things, but it still feels like my privacy has been a little violated.  I have always been 100% honest with W about my weight, my intake, my period, etc. and it bothers me that she felt she had to confirm without telling me.

So, I'm not sure what to think about all this.  I've never really felt like my sessions with W had anything to do with my sessions with B, but they've really been coordinating all along.  Apparently W has asked B to look out for correlations between my weight/intake/exercise with my mood, and the two of them have even met with M for the Anti-D discussion.  Now, I just feel really left out of the loop and not clued into the whole plan that is supposed to be helping me.

This isn't meant to sound bitter at all.  I'm not angry - I know that these are professionals who are doing their jobs and genuinely trying to help me get better.  After having the day to think about it more, I realize that I'm actually grateful B and W been communicating because it means that they both have a much clearer and more complete idea of where I am recovery-wise than I thought they did.  It also means that they are able to pick up on things I can't necessarily admit to them on my own.

So I'm trying to be okay with knowing that all these Kaylee-centered talks are going on behind the scenes.  Giving up some of my autonomy (moving back home, getting weighed, handing over my food records) has been one of the hardest parts of recovery for me to accept.  I am intensely private and fiercely independent, and the thought of having others discuss something as personal as my weight makes my skin crawl.

I know that having my entire treatment team on the same page is a Very Good Thing in the long run and that it will only hurt me to float through treatment without really taking it seriously.  It is also a Very Good Thing that B and W are on top of their games and refuse to let me get away with sliding backwards.  At the same time, though, I'm still feeling a tiny bit pouty about the whole thing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Team

I have mentioned some random appointments, but I don't think I've really talked much about my treatment team on here yet. I see a therapist and a dietician every week, am pretty happy with both, I guess, though I don't really have any basis for comparison.

I had mixed feelings about my therapist, W, at first.  I had never been in therapy before this past January, so I didn't really know what to expect.  I discovered early on that the whole therapy thing made me really uncomfortable.  It is definitely NOT in my nature to vent (or talk at all) to strangers, and it sort of eluded me that the whole point of this therapy thing was to be honest and forthcoming so that she could understand my mindset and therefore actually help me.  So I spent the first several sessions being polite and shy and not exactly seeing the point of it all.

It took me a while to realize that the question "How are you?" is different coming from a therapist than it is from someone in the grocery store.  Your therapist doesn't want to hear: "Good! Great! Weather sucks, doesn't it? How are you?" Your therapist is asking how you really are. She is looking for the answer you can't give anyone else because it would be weird and awkward to say to a neighbor in passing that you actually feel shitty because you think might have measured your cereal wrong that morning.

Once I realized that therapy doesn't exactly work if you aren't honest, my sessions with W became much more productive.  I'm still not totally comfortable baring my soul in therapy, but I'm coming around.  One big issue I still have is that W usually has to bring things up before I will talk about them - meaning that if something is bothering me, I won't mention it explicitly and W has to be a detective and figure it out.  Yes, I realize this is completely inefficient and wastes time and my parents' money. I KNOW.

I am also bad about mentioning anything that was bothering me earlier in the week but no longer seems relevant.  For example, if I spent Monday-Thursday intensely hating life/my body/the world and bursting into tears every ten minutes and skipping snacks because I felt fat, I probably wouldn't mention it at my appointment the following Saturday because now it all seems stupid and I don't want W to think I'm a nutcase.  Yes, I really do worry about this.

I warmed up to my dietician, B, a lot quicker.  Personality-wise, she's a little more easy-going and friendly than W.  I also just found it much easier to talk about food and calories than about feelings. At first, I thought regular appointments with a dietician would be pointless because weight gain is, after all, not exactly rocket science.  I can add up calories like it's my job, so I didn't really get why I had to see B weekly.

Actually, B is awesome and does much much more than hand me a meal plan and send me on my way.  She definitely takes the time to talk through my thought processes about food and exercise, and sets me up with a plan that is both healthy and comfortable for me.  When I freak out about my weight, she is good at talking me down and helping me keep things in perspective a bit.  The downside to seeing B is that she weighs me, and I get extremely anxious for a few of days leading up to it.  Not going to lie, my eating the day before an appointment is always less than optimal.  Not horrendous, but definitely not what it should be.

W and B don't really communicate about me (as far as I know), but they often have overlapping ideas - eating in restaurants, eating more variety, cutting exercise, to name a few.  In general, B offers a lot of practical ideas and assignments whereas W tends to be more vague and cerebral.  I used to think B was much more helpful to me on a day-to-day basis - mostly because I HAD to eat every day but I didn't necessarily have to mull over the inner workings of my brain.  Lately, though, I am finding my sessions with W to be really useful and her advice has been sticking with me all week after I see her.  I don't know if this is a result of my brain being better-nourished and more receptive to therapy or if I am just learning how to be a better therapy patient (probably a combination of the two),

Anyway...I've been thinking about this a lot lately because when I go back to school in about a month (!!!) I will probably have phone sessions with W but not with B.  I'm not sure how I feel about this...I really like W, but she doesn't challenge me in the same concrete ways (e.g. bring a different kind of sandwich for lunch every day or try a new restaurant). And even though I hate it, getting weighed by B  and going over my food/exercise plan in person every week has been really important in terms of keeping me accountable, and I don't entirely trust myself to keep it up on my own.  I will probably still get weighed periodically somewhere, but I really like and trust B and I hate the idea of starting over with someone else.

So, therapy tomorrow. Goals are to tell W about: 1) losing weight a few weeks in a row; 2) not sleeping well; and 3) my worries about school.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reality Check

I think I've made it pretty clear that my internship is No Fun. Basically, I work for a nonprofit that does a lot of good things for the world but I am stuck in a department that is incredibly inefficient and overly bureaucratic.  There isn't anywhere near enough work to fill the 40 hours a week that I am supposed to be there. And the work I do get is boring.

BUT as I said, the organization is actually a really cool one and has important projects all around the world, which I try to keep in mind when I'm climbing the walls of my cubicle and cursing my boss.

A hot topic around the office lately has been the Horn of Africa crisis. People are trekking for weeks to get to refugee camps because of drought and famine, showing up with emaciated toddlers, or burying their dead kids along the way. Part of my job is sifting through photos and case studies from the field for use in published materials to donors and press releases and stuff like that. I do this kind of project all the time and it's usually boring to the max, but this is different.

This is real starvation. Not my brand of self-induced, premeditated, meticulously regimented calorie restriction with a refrigerator full of fresh food in the next room - but real, inescapable starvation. Bobble-headed babies with their ribcages sticking out and toothpick arms. People who would eat to survive if only they had the luxury. People who are starving to death because there simply isn't any food.

I'm not sure where this post is going, other than to point out how jarring a little jolt of reality can be. Millions of people would kill for a fraction of the food that I have at my fingertips, and I still choose to count out my grapes because eating one too many would be catastrophic.

Perspective? Are you out there?

I cling to my ridiculous obsessions and rituals like my life depends on them, but it doesn't. My life is pretty perfect most of the time, when you get right down to it, and babies are starving without even getting a chance.  Not exactly an appetite booster, but it definitely shuts me up when lunchtime rolls around and the internal debate (does this bread have X or X + 10 calories per slice?) begins.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Working Lunch

Today I watched another girl eat lunch.

Not in a creepy way - there was an all-staff meeting at the nonprofit where I work, so we were all crowded into a conference room from 12-1:30. All the interns were sitting around a big table and most people brought their lunches. (Not me, obviously. I had eaten at my desk ten minutes earlier. Still not totally okay with eating in front of that many people.)

This girl was sitting directly across from me and I couldn't really not watch her, but maybe a non-eating disordered person wouldn't have been as completely fascinated by it as I was.  Because I was completely and utterly enthralled by this girl.

Her lunch was pretty ordinary as far as lunches go. Sandwich, pretzels, cookies, lemonade. It was the type of balanced, non-obsessional lunch my dietician would craft and write out neatly onto my meal plan while trying to convince me that people eat stuff like that all the time. To me, though, it seemed like the idea of a standard lunch, like something you would see on A standard lunch in theory, but not something I could imagine people actually eating in real life. Not something I could eat without getting fat.

But this girl was eating like it was no big deal. She even spoke up during the presentation to ask a question, the half-eaten sandwich still in her hand.  It was baffling to me that she seemed to have zero self-consciousness, even mid-meal.  Craziness.

I found myself trying to count up her calories as I watched the girl eat, wondering how much meat was on the sandwich, whether she'd used two slices of cheese, mayonaise or mustard, regular wheat bread or the thick grainy stuff. Because if I'd made the sandwich for myself, I would have known exact amounts of each ingredient, right down to the lettuce.

Then I began speculating on what she would eat for the rest of the day. Maybe there were X calories in the lunch...would she then have a snack later, or was this it until dinner? How much would she eat for dinner? What had she eaten for breakfast? Did she have the same breakfast every day? I had a sudden image of her eating cereal. What kind? How much? Did she measure it out first or just pour? Probably just pour. But then how would she know how much she was eating? Calories?!

And just like that, the 90-min meeting was over.

(Don't worry. I didn't miss anything important.)

Was this a productive exercise, obsessing over this girl's lunch? Nope. Especially not for me, since I obsess plenty about my own food and definitely don't need to take on anyone else's. It was eye-opening though, because I tend to assume that everyone obsesses about food as much as I do. Sometimes I need to be reminded that most people eat what they want, when they want, and maintain their weights just fine. See, Kaylee? If other people can eat normal amounts of normal food and stay the same weight, then so can you.

Then there's always the nagging thought: but what if I don't want to stay the same weight? What if I can do better?

I'm working hard to keep moving forward, even though my body image sucks and I hate everything about being at this weight. My therapist keeps telling me that it gets easier, that I have to give myself more time to get used to it, and then my body won't feel like a fat suit anymore. For now, I'm trying to hang in there, eat what I'm supposed to, trust that it will get better.

Because mostly what I felt after being a creeper and watching the girl eat today was jealousy. I wanted to be her so badly and be able to eat a normal, government-approved lunch without even knowing how much lettuce was on the sandwich.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What I Want

First of all, thank you so much for the sweet comments on my last post.  It really means a lot to me that people read all the way through my sloppy ramblings, and even take time to reach out and be supportive.  Just from that alone, my outlook is hugely improved.  I tend to get so wrapped up in my own crummy moods that I forget there are a ton of awesome, smart, caring people out there and I am not totally alone in this.

ANYWAY....I hope I didn't scare anyone away with my weepy whiny update.  I have been taking steps to turn this around and be proactive instead of letting it turn into a full-blown relapse just because I am too tired to care.  Already, things seem way less overwhelming and out of control

I feel like I'm sort of at a crossroads in terms of recovery.  I have definitely been slipping back into my old anorexic way of thinking, but I've also had a glimpse of what health feels like over the past few months and I'm not so eager to give that up.  My mind is majorly conflicted.

Part of the problem is that I have always viewed recovery as giving up parts of my life.  Recovery is: Not starving.  Not working out excessively.  Not being Anorexic.  The extra weight on my body feels like a loss instead of a gain; I have lost being sick, lost my ability to skip meals, and lost my identity as the thinnest person in the room.

Now, I am finding it helpful to focus on what I want out of recovery.  My disordered thoughts have been around for so many years that it feels strange to imagine living without them, but I've been trying to reframe recovery in terms of what I want to have, not what I am giving up.

Here are some things I've come up with - things that I want from life as a recovered person, rather than things I can never have because my fear of letting the anorexia go trumps all of it:

1. Saying YES to invitations without worrying about whether food will be involved.

2. Saying NO to invitations because I have better plans (or just want alone time), not because I am trying to avoid dinner out.

3. Using alone time to kick back and chill out, NOT to fit in an extra gym session or skip dinner or mope over the suckfest that is my life.

4. Being able to drink more than one shot before falling over (I kid...sort of.  Empty stomach + low body weight = extremely low alcohol tolerance).

5.  Having a closet filled with clothes in one size that consistently fit from week to week.  Not discovering that my favorite jeans are too tight because I bought them X pounds ago when I was bony and unhealthy and have since porked up from re-feeding but still refuse to throw the jeans out.  Not discovering that a cute dress now looks baggy and stupid because I haven't been sticking to the meal plan and am fast approaching bony and unhealthy once again.

6. Running because it feels good and I can.  Skipping the run when sleeping late sounds better.

7. Eating when I am hungry.

8. Eating lunch at 11:30 if I want, even though Lunch Time isn't until 1:00.

9. Eating a snack at 2:00 even though Snack Time isn't until 4:00 and it's been less than three hours since I last ate (can you tell that my food schedule is a little rigid?)

10. Not having a food schedule.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I'm having a pretty rough time lately.  Less food, more running. Weight loss.  It's sort of hard for me to admit, but when I step back and assess things, even I can see myself slipping.

I'm eating way less than I'm supposed to.  I'm not exactly sure how it happened, since I have always had good intentions about sticking to the meal plan throughout my recovery.  Since I first started seeing my dietician about seven months ago, I have generally stayed within an acceptable calorie range.

Lately, though, my range has been going down.  It hasn't really been systematic restriction, but more like the maximum calorie amount that I am "okay" with is getting lower and lower. Now I find myself stuck with this arbitrary upper limit.  I have no idea where it came from, but I absolutely will not eat over it.

Same with exercise.  I have a certain number of minutes that I must work out every day and it has somehow gone up.  It almost seems like I started exercising more without noticing; then once I did notice, I was stuck with it.

My weight is the lowest it's been since March.  The bad part is: I'm not disappointed one bit.  In fact, I'm relieved.  I feel like I dodged a bullet.  Whew.  How did I let myself get so fat?  Good thing I came back to my senses.

I feel like the past few months of eating and gaining weight belong to a different person, and now I'm back to being me again.

A major trigger has been depression.  Even though a lot of things are looking up lately (e.g. end of stupid internship in sight, lotsa good friend times happening, getting excited about school starting soon), I still find myself crying several times a day.  It almost doesn't seem unusual anymore, since this has been the norm for me for at least a couple of months, but I guess I have to admit that this is NOT normal.  That I shouldn't feel like this.

I'm trying really hard to eat better.  I saw my dietician today, and she was pretty concerned about my weight. Even when I know I haven't been eating enough, it usually doesn't fully register until someone else tells me.  Denial?  NEVER.

So I'm trying - to stick to the meal plan, to cut the exercise, and to not fall into the same traps my mind has been setting for years and years.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well, it was a loooong weekend. Definitely some ups and downs - but more ups than downs, I think. I'm pretty sure.

I had a crappy day at work on Friday. The usual boring uselessness. Then I saw my dietician and my weight was UP. Ugh. Not a lot (or even a very significant amount at all), but enough to take my shaky mood from bad to worse.

So I was NOT feeling up to the barbecue that night even though I was already totally committed and not going was not really an option. I even wanted to go. But, of course, I had to go through my ritual meltdown of tearing through my closet trying and re-trying on clothes and ripping my hair out.

Although I am pretty reserved by nature, I actually love people and nothing depresses me more than being lonely. Sometimes, though, the thought of having to put on my "normal" face and perform in a social setting is too overwhelming. ("I'm too fat/ugly/tired/stressed/busy/etc. to go!") I almost always end up having a great time once I'm there, but I guess my default is to stick to my regular, solitary routine and it takes a real push to get me out the door.

Long story short: I went to the barbecue and had a great time. My friends are hilarious and I haven't laughed so much in months. We ended up staying for over eight hours because no one, not even me, wanted to leave.

In terms of food, I got off easy. Another girl there was a vegetarian, so there were low-cal veggie burgers and salad. It ended up being a way smaller meal than I had even planned on, so I was starving when I got home and ate an extra protein bar at about 2 a.m. (VERY out of character for Kaylee) before going to bed.

Lesson learned: just go. You'll be fine.

The next day, my friend C came to visit. We ate dinner at home and hung with some other friends for a bit, but it was a pretty low-key night. I had therapy in the morning so I dropped C off at a coffee shop for an hour, then we went shopping. Again, though, I was low on calories. I had planned to grab breakfast at the coffee shop with C, but we were running late so I ended up only having a granola bar in the car. Lunch was small, and I didn't have any extra snacks with me. By late afternoon when C left, I was way under my usual calories. That, combined with two nights of very little sleep, had me falling apart by dinnertime.

My mom was cooking something elaborate and for some reason, it just seemed like too much.  Too many ingredients, too many unknown factors, too much to calculate.  I guess the little stresses of the weekend finally caught up with me and the idea of eating something new and unknown for dinner was just too much.

Even though I'd had a fantastic weekend, I was hungry and exhausted and basically in tears as I ate. My mom got to witness a full-on ugly cry, which had us both a little baffled. Yes, I had a good weekend. No, I don't want to talk about it.

These kinds of mood swings haven't been entirely unusual for me lately. I'm beginning to see how they are connected to changes in food intake, exercise, or stress. My body is definitely much stronger and healthier than it was six months ago, but sometimes I am terrified by how fragile my mind still feels.

I'm not exactly sure where this leaves me. My weekend was amazing in terms of reconnecting with old friends and catching up with C. Becoming socially engaged again is so important to me and always makes me feel so much better, so I am really proud of pulling that off. Foodwise, the fact that I avoided consuming thousands of excess calories and gaining thirty pounds overnight is always a success in my book...but I did eat less than I was supposed to and instead of feeling guilty about it, I feel relieved. So that, I guess, is a recovery fail.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weekend Worries

Lots of scary stuff coming up this weekend.  First of all, I'm seeing my dietician tomorrow.  The good news is that I get to miss an hour of work for my appointment.  The bad news is that I will be getting weighed, which I despise.  Also bad: I will have lots of unpredictable eating situations in the next couple of days that I do NOT want to approach if I am already upset about my weight.  Since I weigh myself at home, I usually know what to expect at my dietician's office, but my weight has been doing funky things this week (fluctuating way more than usual for no apparent reason) so I worry that it will be high tomorrow which will land me in a Fat Funk.

More challenges: tomorrow night I'm going to a barbecue with some old friends from high school.  The biggest issue with this is the "unknown" factor.  I'm not exactly sure what's on the menu, and whether it will be a free-for-fall where everyone takes their own food, or if there will be a big to-do over how many burgers to cook, who wants potato salad, etc.  So I'm nervous about attention to my eating, which never fails to kill my appetite.  Stressing about food makes me not fun to be around, and I really don't want to let that ruin the night.

Then on Saturday, one of my best friends from college is coming to visit.  (To clarify, our school is six states away but this friend grew up about an hour north of me.)  I am really excited to see her, but definitely a little nervous about food.  This friend is a little overweight but not unhealthy, since she is pretty active and eats well.  Read: she's normal.  At the same time, though, I know she worries about her weight and little comments about calories/fat/BMI tend to sneak into our conversations.  Not to make her sound obsessed, because she's not.  She also loves to go out for ice cream, which definitely worries me.  I can usually do meals okay - it's the "extra" stuff (dessert) that freaks me out.  More so when it follows a conversation about calories and BMI.

But even more than food issues, the idea of having someone in my "space" is always nerve-wracking to me.  I love love LOVE seeing my friends, but I can't last very long without having some exit strategy for when I need some alone time.  Food definitely plays into this - when you spend several hours with someone, you can only avoid eating for so long.  This scares me.  I don't really have issues with eating enough at the moment; it's more that I like to eat certain foods at certain times, prepare my own foods, and be able to measure/count/season everything myself so I know exactly what I'm eating.  When I'm with friends, there's the pressure of not having that control, plus the pressure of trying to look normal.  I can't plan obsessively, and I can't obsess about my lack of planning.  Anxiety?  YES.

I don't eat spontaneously.  I don't skip workouts.  I don't choose what looks yummy.  Is this disordered?  Duh.  Does this lend itself to a fun-filled weekend of friends, ice cream, and barbecue?  NO.

In the spirit of recovery, though, I am trying really hard not to let myself get stressed over what should be a really fun weekend.  I have spent too many social events be overshadowed by my own freaking-outage in the past, and it's so not worth it.  Lately, it has been occurring to me that recovery is not just about eating enough calories, but putting yourself in situations that are uncomfortable and stressful (for food reasons or otherwise), and coming out on the other side.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Kaylee Fun Facts

- I am 20 years old but I've been mistaken for a high school freshman twice in the last year.

- I am a mix of six different ethnicities.

- I played the violin for 15 years and almost went to a music conservatory for college.  Now, I barely play at all and I haven't touched my violin in almost a year.

- I bite my nails like crazy.

- My mom and I have always been super close, but my anorexia has put a major strain on our relationship.  We talk to each other about pretty much everything except for that.

- Nature makes me happy but I am intensely afraid of poison ivy.

- And snakes.

- I have a 23-year-old brother who is the smartest, funniest person I know.  Growing up, we fought nonstop but now we are much closer.

- I tried to read a book on my mom's Kindle but hated it so much that the book was totally ruined for me.  I had to go buy a paperback copy and reread it.

- Depression, diabetes, cancer, alcoholism, and schizophrenia all run in my family.

- My dad looks Middle Eastern (he's not) and anytime I am in an airport with him, we get stopped and searched.

- Six months ago, I decided to give up Diet Coke because I read that it's bad for your bones.  I've pretty much abstained in that time with only a couple of lapses.  We'll see if I can hold out during the summer.

- I refuse to give up coffee.

- I know I'm not supposed to, but I still weigh myself twice a day.

- I am terrified of giant squids.  Not sharks, just squids.  Even in swimming pools.

- When I was in fourth grade, my teacher told me that I should try reading Gone With the Wind when I got older.  I made my mom go buy it for me that day and I finished it within the week.  I have since read it about five more times.

- The same teacher also once told me: "No one is going to know that you're smart unless you speak up and let them know."

- My biggest insecurity is that people will think I am shallow for having anorexia.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Living, losing

There is another intern, A, in my department at work.  We sit on opposite sides of the office and don't see each other much during the day, but we've been meeting up for lunch or walking to Starbucks together most afternoons.

I'm generally a wimp about making new friends and I hate eating in front of other people - especially new people - but A is actually awesome and we have really hit it off.  She has this dry, smart, sarcastic sense of humor, but she is also really thoughtful and intelligent.

Aside from being entertaining, though, A is super confident.  She is a lesbian and sometimes mentions her girlfriend, which I think makes the other interns a little uncomfortable, but A is totally cool about it.  She is who she is, no apologies, take it or leave it.

BUT...she wants to lose weight.

She was munching on some carrot sticks at lunch and another intern made some comment like, "Oh, you're so healthy!" and A just sort of laughed and said, "Well, I'm trying to lose twenty pounds!"

And I choked.

I have absolutely no idea how to respond in situations like that.  Do I encourage her?  "Good for you!" To me, that seems like I'm saying: Yes, you sure need to lose those twenty pounds!

Do I protest? "Omg no way you're soooo skinny! You don't need to lose any weight! Hugz!" Fake.

(For the record, A is not overweight.  Not thin, but definitely not fat.  Maybe a tad over "average," but she looks just fine to me.)

So to hear her say that she wanted to lose weight depressed me.  I see her as someone full of life and confidence; someone who clearly has a lot to offer the world.  But what if she secretly hates herself?

The possibility didn't make me feel any more bonded to her in some sisterhood of body-image blues.  It made me feel lonely.  And sad.

So I was sitting there stuttering, trying to decide how to answer, when A frowned.  "Oh wait, I just realized I said twenty pounds.  I meant ten."  She laughed.  "If I lost twenty pounds I would be a skeleton."

For some reason, that made me feel so much better.  A doesn't want to "Lose Weight" and reach some vague goal of being skinnier.  She wants to eat her turkey and cheese sandwich, veggies, fruit salad, and pretzels; go biking after work; and live more healthfully because she is young and if not now, then when?

(Does she need to lose ten pounds?  I honestly can't say just by looking at her, and I've only known her for a few weeks.  So, maybe she does and maybe she doesn't.  Not my call.)

Regardless, she seems to have a really healthy approach to it, which both impresses and baffles me. See, I wouldn't be able to say "I want to lose X pounds" and stop there.  Throughout my eating disorder, I've never had a specific goal weight in mind.  In fact, I was never really trying to lose weight - just terrified that I was going to Get Fat.  I would restrict, lose a little, freak out about gaining it back, restrict more, lose more, etc.  Fear, anxiety, nightmares of fatness.  Health was never part of the equation.

Will A be satisfied after losing ten pounds?  I hope so, if she actually does have ten pounds to lose.   I hope she feels awesome by becoming healthier - NOT by becoming some lesser version of who she was before.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dear Stomach: SHHHH

My appetite is, honestly, scaring the heck out of me.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I am starving ALL THE TIME.  My usual meals and snacks just aren't satisfying me.  My stomach literally starts growling within an hour of eating.  (And I'm eating enough!)

I don't know why this is happening now, after I've been maintaining a basically healthy weight for over a month.  I remember how a few weeks into re-feeding, my hunger was ridiculous - like, I would finish a meal and be starving ten minutes later, but my dietician had told me to expect that.  I was at a lower weight and the idea of more food = metabolism speeding up = increased hunger made total sense to me.

But now?  I guess I have been running a lot, so maybe it's accumulating fatigue or something.  My best friend from high school and I starting taking a Pilates class that makes me pretty sore, so maybe I'm building new muscle.  Plus, last weekend was a change of routine so maybe my body is recalibrating or something.  (I'm totally making up these theories on the spot.)

I've been eating pretty much the same number of calories since coming down from weight gain amounts over the past couple of months.  My lower days definitely outnumber my higher days, but I don't think I've ever dipped below a healthy, dietician-approved amount.

So why now am I suddenly SO. HUNGRY. all the time?  I eat my usual breakfast at 8 and am dying by 10.  I usually hold out until lunch at 11:45-12 or so.  At the beginning of the summer, I was having my snack at 3:30 - this week, I've been lucky to make it until 2:15.  So, naturally, the thought of waiting for dinner at our typically 6 or 7 is unbearable.  My mom and I have been eating around 5-5:30, just because I get home from work absolutely famished and literally can't make it any longer.  Then I have another snack around 8 or 9 and try to get to bed before my stomach starts growling again.

Secretly, (of course) I was hoping this meant I'd lost some weight - but no.  My weight has maybe slid down a teeny tiny bit in the past month or so, but definitely not enough to warrant the massive increase in food that my body has abruptly decided to ask for.

This isn't normal-person "I-haven't-eaten-since-breakfast-so-of-course-I'm-hungry" hunger, either.  This is dizzy/shaky/sick hunger.  Dear-Kaylee-give-me-food-any-food-NOW-love-your-body hunger.

Something that I have noticed since starting re-feeding is that eating regularly, meaning every 3-4 hours, is just as important as eating enough calories for me.  Even if I eat a massive breakfast, I would still need to eat again by lunchtime.  I'm not sure what the biological mechanisms going on here are, but I seem to get low blood sugar or something very easily.  So maybe my body has had enough of that dance and would like to just get a heftier stream of calories to work with?  Build up some reserves?

Another thing - periods still aren't regular.  I had one totally normal period in April, one very light one in May, and nothing since.  But even with the light/no period months, I still definitely got PMS symptoms around the weeks when my period should have come.  So maybe my body is telling me I need a bit more food to get the hormones running?  Or something?

But why now, body?  And why can't you just be happy where you are?  Or a little thinner?  Just kidding.

So, I am confused.  And irritated. And HUNGRY.