Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Appetites

This article* made me giggle a little because the athletes' "problem" sounded a lot like the "problem" of refeeding: how to pack in way more calories than the average person eats. My dietician once told me that as long as I was underweight, she wouldn't care if I ate french fries and donuts for every meal, because staying underweight was more dangerous than eating fast food. I guess for athletes burning off thousands and thousands of calories day after day, the only real way to sustain themselves is with super high-cal, processed foods.

But, of course, there are some glaringly obvious differences between world-class athletes and recovering anorexics, which may account for the fact that my experiences don't exactly line up with the researcher's statement at the end of the article:

"The overwhelming body of science...continues to show that any diet will succeed if you take in fewer calories than you burn."

I know for a fact that there have been times when I've taken in fewer calories than I've burned, and my weight loss has stagnated, or vice versa: times when I've taken in more calories than I've burned and not gained. So maybe "the overwhelming body of science" only applies to healthy bodies.

* contains calorie amounts - although they're BIG numbers, not lame little anorexic ones

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend Mishaps

Hi all—it's occurring to me that basically all I write about anymore are calories, weight, therapy, dietary, etc. and that's probably boring at best, and triggering at worst. Sometimes my eating disordered brain takes over. ED-Head, my dietician calls it. I hate the whole idea of identifying "Ed" as some autonomous malevolent abusive figure (which some people might find helpful to do for themselves in recovery, but I do NOT), so I'm not going to plead total innocence and blame all the crazy-talk on him, but at times I do find myself speaking from a more eating disordered place. And all the ranting and rationalizing about gaining weight and upping calories and on and on and on that I've been doing lately feels pretty eating disordered. I want to rein that in a little and apologize to you guys if it's been triggering or unhelpful or monotonous or whatever in any way.

Moving on. Today Is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L outside. Sunny and breezy and perfect. First day below 100 degrees all week, I think. I didn't grow up here and I'm not used to this awful, awful heat we've been having. Usually I'm freezing cold and bundle up when everyone else is in t-shirts, but apparently I'm not one for tropical conditions either. But today, oh my is it lovely outside. Too bad I've spent approximately four hours in my kitchen trying to bake a damn cake. My uncle's birthday is this weekend (he lives in College City) so I tried to make him a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Simple, right? Um, no. First the middle got all bubbly and deformed and gross-looking, so I let it cool thinking it would deflate. It didn't. Then I tried to take it out of the pan, and it all stuck to the bottom even though I totally greased it beforehand. But I figured whatever, I'll just cover it up with frosting. Well, then the frosting was a fail too and got super gummy and dry. When I tried to spread it, the top of the cake got literally shredded to pieces. Oh and then, somehow, the cake broke in half. Still scratching my head on how that one even happened. A pastry chef, I am not.

The great irony of eating disorders is that they can drive you to eat some pretty gross stuff (pickles and mustard, anyone?) and do some pretty shameful things with food (hiding, mutilating, discarding, purging). But this cake - prepared with all kinds of good intentions - was a doozy. I ended up having to toss the whole thing, which bothered my conscious a bit because it was probably still completely edible even though it looked horrendous, but I panicked. Birthday treat attempt #2 is brownies, stay tuned...

Another fail of the weekend: my roommate was out of town last night, so I was here alone reading a creepy murder mystery that had me all spooked and edgy. Then I started hearing this periodic chirping. Of course, badass that I am, my first instinct was to grab a pair of plastic scissors (scissors? really?) and tiptoe around the apartment ready to do battle with an axe murderer until I discovered that duh, it was the smoke detector. I vaguely remembered my mom once telling me that the smoke detector would beep when the battery was dying, so I figured that was the problem. But then my brain start racing and having all these thoughts like but what if it's heat built up from making dinner five hours ago and there's a real fire and I'm stuck up here by myself and the whole building burns down all because I DIDN'T PAY ATTENTION TO THE SMOKE DETECTOR?!?! I called my dad in a panic, then panicked even more when he didn't pick up the first time (maybe because it was past midnight and Papa Bear has an early bedtime). Long story short, he called me back and had to talk me through the process of putting down the scissors, climbing on a chair, unscrewing the smoke detector, and removing the battery - which was, indeed, dead.

In summary:
a) I am not a pastry chef
b) My self-defense instincts are lacking
c) I almost burned down the apartment

UPDATE: The brownies were a success!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Counting to Gain

I mentioned a few weeks ago here about how my dietician J never talks calories with me, even though I've been upfront with her about the fact that I count and track them obsessively, and that it's hard for me to eat adventurously or branch out beyond my safe foods simply because it makes the calorie-counting equation so much more difficult - both logistically and emotionally. Eating foods with unknown calories makes me so freaking nervous. When I was gaining weight in the winter/spring of 2011 (from a low/sick weight to a minimum healthy weight, which is XX lbs more than I am now, and is again my minimum target), my old dietician used a concrete calorie-based meal plan and I pretty much followed it to the letter. This time around, I've been resistant from Day 1 (sorry J!) - partly, I think, because we haven't been on the same page at all about the calorie issue. I've told her over and over again how compulsively I calorie-count, and her response has always been to brush it off. She tells  me not to worry about calories, that she's got it under control, and that me counting calories will only up my anxiety. All true...but after so many years, the counting has become a reflex - I couldn't stop if I tried.

So today, finally, we talked calories. As a general policy, J avoids using numbers with ED patients because she thinks - and I probably agree - that for most people, it's more anxiety-provoking than productive. She's the professional and I respect that, but I really appreciated that she treated me as an individual and accepted that I'm going to be counting calories anyway. I could probably rattle off the calorie content of most foods in any grocery store, cafe, restaurant, etc. pretty easily. It's not as if I can just erase all that from my brain, so we talked about using it as a tool rather than an extension of the disorder. Rather than creating my own arbitrary daily allotment, I can count calories to make sure I'm getting enough and not cheat myself by substituting lower-cal exchanges (e.g. counting a broken cracker as my "grain.") Using my powers for good rather than evil, if you will.

Then we went through my meal plan, writing out the calorie content of each item. I was pretty accurate in all my guesses, except that I tend to overestimate. Meaning that a Kaylee-serving of xyz food does not necessarily equal a J-serving. Oops. So the verdict was: even when I think I'm hitting the full meal plan, I'm coming in short calorie-wise compared to what J wants. Having the numbers out in the open was good for both of us in that it gave J more insight into what I'm actually eating, and gave me insight into what I'm supposed to be eating.

But. But but but. I'm gaining weight. I kept bugging her with that one over and over again: I'm eating fewer calories than you thought and I'm still gaining weight. And her answer every time: Yes, but it's happening too slowly. Even for outpatient. You don't want to be stuck doing this forever.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tea Time

Actually, it's Tuesday Boost Time, but I like alliteration. SUE ME. Also, it's way too hot for tea. Also, tea doesn't have calories.

Anyway, I know I've sworn off depressing news for a while, but I meant to post this article on depression in developing countries last week. It was really eye-opening to read about what a huge problem mental health care (or lack thereof) is around the world. Even though mental health certainly doesn't get as much attention or insurance coverage as it should in the United States, I was still reminded how lucky I am to live in a place where mental illness is at least recognized and treated appropriately.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gratitude and Updates

I was really nervous and embarrassed about hitting "publish" on what felt like a whiny, self-indulgent post the other night. But then I checked back and, just wow. So much support and understanding and positivity coming at me from you guys, I am like literally bursting with gratitude. Reading the comments made me want to cry (in a good way, I mean!) So, thanks for not writing me off as super bratty and insensitive and self-absorbed! Y'ALL ROCK

Things have definitely picked up since last week. My appointment with R actually went well, even though he did indeed make me add another snack. I put up a bit of a fight since I am still gaining, albeit slowly, and didn't think that I should have to add more food until the gain totally stalls...but of course I lost that battle. (I tend to lose most arguments with R, although he's usually sneaky about it and ends up letting me think I won until I get home later and realize: wait, what did I just agree to do??) R gave me props for following the meal plan and gaining a few weeks in a row, but pointed out that I'm still gaining pretty slowly, and that what seemed like a decent gain last week was probably due in part to pre-period bloating. And he's right - my weight jumped up a few pounds before/during my period, but has since slid back down to where it was about two weeks ago.

Anyway, point of the story: we spent a while bickering over what constituted a reasonable rate of gain, and whether or not I should have to bump up the meal plan, despite continuing to gain on the current amount of food. I definitely tend to gravitate towards a mentality of "as little as possible" - as little food, as little weight. Why gain/eat more than is absolutely necessary? R, astute fellow that he is, reminded me that sticking to the bare minimum is hardly a practical, necessary or enjoyable way to go through life. Trying to believe him...

So, goals for the week: 1) Meal plan, including new stuff, 2) No more irrational meltdowns, 3) Finish reading a book for my thesis, 4) Stay away from news websites for a while. They depress me, clearly.

Completely unrelated: Anyone have any good TV show recommendations? I've already watched Damages (I highly recommend this one, by the way!), 30 Rock, Modern Family, HIMYM, Weeds, and most of Lost (it made my head hurt and I just couldn't get through it all). And I just finished Mad Men, which totally had me hooked and now I'm floundering. Shut up, I already know I watch too much TV.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shameless Self-Pity

I've started to write a couple of different posts today about real, substantial subjects, but I'm just not thinking straight and can't really articulate anything well. Mostly, I'm overwhelmed by all the hurt in the world. Twelve people are dead because some maniac shot up a movie theater. Bombs are going off in the streets. My baby cousin just started chemo.

How can I sit here and complain about how I'm not hungry enough for dinner, or about how I have another eye infection, or about how R has decided I'm gaining too slowly and need to add another snack even though my thighs feel like they're exploding out of my shorts? Why am I so fucking selfish?

This is hard for me to admit, but sometimes it just feels like I can't take on the world's hurt along with my own. My friend starting reading me an article about the shooting in Colorado and I made her stop because I couldn't take it; it made me too upset. I want to get all fired up and rant and rail about gun violence, or war, or the sad state of public education, but I just can't. I'm too fragile and broken. My stomach hurts and my eyes are burning and I can't decide if it's okay for me to wait until tomorrow to add the extra calories, because today my head is too full and my body is too uncomfortable.

I feel stupid being proud of this, but my friends and I went out to dinner last night and I ate every last bite on my plate, plus my snack later. Is okay to brag about that when I'm almost twenty-two and in college and should be proud of publishing papers or finishing my thesis or graduating instead? Maybe Baby D would brag about surviving his first week of cancer but, you know, he's fifteen months old and can't talk. Or blog.

So I can't think about how much worse off so many people are compared to me. It's depressing and demoralizing and makes me feel worse about myself. Am I quite possibly the most self-centered, self-pitying person on Earth? Probably, yes, and I hate that, but maybe I just need to protect myself for now, and trust that this is temporary.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lunch and Comparisons

Today I got to my office, worked for a couple hours, sneaked out for my therapy appointment, and got back to work around lunchtime. I've become pretty good friends with two other girls who intern there and we eat together most days. Today one of them was looking up random news online and found an article about an ED treatment clinic - specifically, the very same clinic where R works, and the very same clinic from which I had literally just come ten minutes earlier. OH MY GOD you guys, it was mortifying. I was sitting there chewing my lip and jiggling my leg and nodding along while they talked about eating disorders and dieting and weight. Obviously neither of these girls are aware that I have anorexia (as far as I know) and they didn't mean to make me uncomfortable, but I have no freaking clue how to engage in these conversations without like, I don't know, outing myself.

Another not-insignificant issue: both these girls are a little overweight, but eat teeny tiny bird food lunches. I'm talking stuff like celery with hummus, apples, bananas, green tea, etc. More than a little triggering, especially since I'm already paranoid about overeating.

Which brings me back to therapy: R and I talked a lot about how much comparing I do. Comparing body size, food intake, exercise habits, the list goes on. I compare myself to everyone and somehow, whoever the other person is, he/she always comes out on top. In my head, I am fatter/uglier/stupider/less interesting than every other person in the world. I know that these girls do not have the same nutritional needs as I do, but I still start berating myself for eating my entire, dietician-approved lunch while Interns 2 and 3 are noshing on baby carrots.

Another example: my roommate. Love her to death, but damn it I wish we weren't the same height. She has told me her weight (in an attempt to give me some healthy perspective - since she outweighs me by XX lbs and still looks tiny and gorgeous) but now I have that number stuck in my head. I go back and forth between Whew okay, she weighs XXX and looks awesome so I can gain quite a bit and still look small and, unfortunately, holy mother of God she only weighs XX more than me which means that I'm almost at YYY which is scary high and I can never weigh that much. In my head, I have this vague sense that I'm the anorexic roommate, remember? so I have to weigh less. How sick is that?

So basically, comparisons are negative and unproductive and make me feel like shit about myself all around. R wants me to try journaling whenever I start evaluating myself against someone else, and challenge the tendency to self-deprecate. Generally I suck at journaling, but maybe I'll give it a shot.

Sometimes at the end of an appointment where I've been particularly down on myself (so like, um, at every appointment pretty much) R makes me say positives from the week. Positives can basically be anything good that happened, or that I did, or about myself. I always whine and resist and tell him positives are stupid because life sucks and everything is negative. Which is a lame outlook, considering I'm doing pretty well lately and am feeling a lot more stable and happy than I have in a while. So without further ado, my positives from today: 1) getting my period this week 2) buying dinner from a food truck last Friday. Wow, I am SO accomplished!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weekend Notes

I saw my dietician on Friday and I'm pretty sure J could tell that I was omgfreakingout about weight gain, and took the time to talk me down and it actually made me feel a lot better. Well, a little better. Apparently it doesn't matter how motivated I am to be recovered and eat real food and live a healthy, fulfilling life - weight gain sucks no matter how you look at it. But J promised me that I'm not eating too much, I'm not gaining too quickly, and basically, that life will go on after weight restoration. That was all helpful and nice to hear...just wish I didn't feel so blobby and gross all the time.

In related news, my body is absolutely baffled by this period business. I'll be nauseated with no appetite all day but still force down my usual meal plan, and then get attacked by this incredible, ravenous hunger out of nowhere around 6 p.m. Then I go back to feeling sick and full after dinner. My weight dropped a pound the first day, then shot up three pounds the second day and is STILL stuck up there. (Someone assure me this is normal.) I'm usually always thirsty, but lately the thought of water makes my stomach turn. Hormones, what are you trying to tell me?

Now that I've spent the last ten minutes complaining about my body, I swear I did other stuff this weekend besides moan and cry about how fat I'm getting. Case in point: Friday night, I got dinner from a food truck! No menu ahead of time, no calories on the menu, nothing. I definitely did some pre-meal stressing, but in the end it turned out well. There wasn't a ton of guilt afterwards, mostly because the line was horrendous and we had to wait for almost an hour. By the time I actually ate, I was practically passing out from hunger and was like give me food any food NOW. So I probably would have eaten anything by that point, but it was a new adventure nonetheless.

On Saturday, I helped a woman carry her groceries out to her car from the food bank where I work. Somehow we got to talking, and I spent about 30 minutes in the parking lot listening to her life story. She was a licensed psychologist, but had been diagnosed with cancer and received five death sentences from different doctors before...surviving. She's been cancer-free for eight years, but told me that's she's always scared. When we were walking to her car, she mentioned off-hand, "I'm really tired today. Whenever I get tired I worry that the cancer's coming back."

And I don't have cancer, obviously, and I'm not claiming that anorexia is the same as cancer, but I know what it's like to be sick and scared and worry that life is going to be like that forever. I don't know if it was comforting or depressing to meet someone else with the same fears, but I liked this woman and she gave me a hug before leaving, so that was nice.

Sorry this is random and boring, but things are busy at work and my apartment lost internet AGAIN. Oh and apparently, my bedroom ceiling is about to cave in. Funny how the landlord didn't mention that when he inspected the place last week... So hopefully I'll be able to post something more substantial soon. Hope everyone's having a good week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Welcome Return

Maybe there was a logical reason for the bloating after all: six weeks of solid nutrition and my period came back! It was mind-boggling to see the toll that a couple short months of pretty consistent restricting took on my body, but I am equally amazed at how quickly it seems to be able to bounce back. Granted, my uterus is extremely unhappy and has been letting me know by producing the world's worst cramps, but that's okay. I suppose this most recent four-month menstrual hiatus (preceded by both a nine-month- and a two-year hiatus since 2009) has left my reproductive system a tad confused. Yes, that's correct: I've only had four periods since I was eighteen. Oh why hello, anorexia, nice to hear from you again.

I am SO HAPPY. This means my bones are finally getting some lovin' and my baby-making abilities are kicking back into high gear (but for real, don't worry, no babies on the horizon...) and I can finally feel like a semi-normal female human being again.

Weird observation: I used to be able to predict when my period was coming because I'd become insatiably hungry for a few days, but this time? Nope, no appetite whatsoever. I'm usually pretty hungry in the morning when I wake up, but all week I've been having to force myself to eat breakfast. Then I just have pretty much zero hunger or desire to eat the rest of the day. (I mean, I still do eat of course, but it's been a constantly losing Battle of the Bloat. Speaking of, you guys are awesome and thanks for all the support and suggestions for dealing with an angry belly.)

I'm glad to have some good news for R next week. He'll be happy for me, of course, but probably also irritated that I keep getting my period at a weight XX pounds below where he thought I would. Oops, sorry R! But not really!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Refeeding Belly

You is it even possible for a person to be so. damn. bloated? I think every calorie I've eaten in the past month has gone exclusively towards expanding my stomach. A whole army of angry lil calories, marching down and setting up camp. OCCUPY KAYLEE'S BELLY. I know it's biology or whateva and I should have been prepared for this, but ugh. Still sucks.

Do yoga pants count as "business casual?"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Impending Threshold

I am approaching a weight at which, in the past, I've freaked the fuck out and bolted back to my eating disorder.

Reasons I won't let that happen this time:
1. Mentally, it has been REALLY hard upping my calories to where they are now, and I don't want to go through that again.

2. I've already gotten past another weight threshold that held some arbitrary yet powerful significance for me, and I survived. Don't wanna go through that again, either. Why is it that reaching weight XXX makes me ecstatic on the way down, but disgusted on the way up?

3. This morning at work, someone left humungous homemade chocolate chip cookies in the break room. Almost every single person in the office scurried out to snatch one before they were all gone. Seriously, every single person who walked past my desk between 11 and 12 was like, "Have you heard about the COOKIES?!" But, of course, I was stymied as to how to fit one into my meal plan with lunch only an hour away. I even had a thought along the lines of: Wow, I would really like a cookie, and recovery is about trying new scary foods, right? J and R would be SO proud if I told them I had a huge, unplanned cookie this week. But hmm...what does this mean for the rest of the day? Should I cut my sandwich into thirds and only eat two of them? What if something else come up later, like...I don't know...what if someone sneaks into the apartment and force feeds me doughnuts tonight? And it just deteriorated from there. Long story short: no cookie for me.

What was my point?

Oh yeah: that someday, I want to reach a place where I can just eat a damn cookie.

4. For a couple days last week, I had bad cramps and realized that I was WILDLY excited to get my period again. It hasn't come for a few months (and it didn't end up coming this month either) but the cramps/bloating/zits were all definitely promising signs. (Am I twelve? Are you there, God? It's me, Marg— er, Kaylee.) Anyway, I really really really want to get it soon and the only way to get keep my hormones from going back into hibernation is to continue eating and gaining.

5. Yesterday one of my co-workers frowned at me and said something like, "I bet people aren't intimidated by you because you're so slight." Aside from the fact that I have a serious inability to shrug off comments about my body, this one bugged me a lot and I couldn't figure out why. Isn't "slight" just another word for "thin?" I like being thin! Then I decided this: slight sounds lame. I don't want to be perceived as slight. It sounds like someone weak and wimpy, someone without much of a presence or a backbone. I mean, I don't particularly want to be the brawny, barrel-shaped type or anything, but I would like to think there's a bit of a hardcore ass-kicker warrior woman hidden somewhere deep, DEEP inside me just waiting to bust out and go all kung-fu on the world.

So...I may or may not hit The Weight by my appointment with R on Thursday, but it will happen eventually and I'm trying to psych myself up for it. The dreaded Weight is still much below my even-more-dreaded Goal Weight, so I might as well get over it now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Childhood Non-Memories

I think I've written before about how stressed out I get before Official Weigh-Ins with my dietician and therapist, and Friday was no different. I knew I had gained (still weigh myself daily...working on that...) and was really dreading having to step on the scale at my D appointment. The last time I saw her a couple weeks ago, I had lost and was at my lowest weight in a year-ish, and J gave me a Big Talk about scary health stuff and inpatient guidelines and all that. So I knew that I needed to gain, and I even wanted to gain to show her that I was serious and committed (and also to avoid inpatient, duh) - but of course I was worried that I had gained "too much" and that she would suddenly think I was a fat, greedy pig. My weight was holding pretty steady/dropping slightly for a while, but then seemed to finally jump up a couple pounds over the past week or so, which of course freaked me out and made me assume I was eating too much.

At my appointment, J told me that even though my weight was " up a little bit," it was still moving too slowly for her liking. So she proceeded to add to my meal plan. Part of me was relieved to hear that she didn't think I was gaining too quickly, but mostly I was baffled that she saw the need to add more food. If I'm already gaining on the XXXX cals a day I eat now, how much more will I gain on the beefed up plan??

BUT that last paragraph sounded incredibly eating-disordered, so I'm going to cut myself off from that line of thinking. Later during my appointment, J gave me a list of suggestions for increasing calories, which I mostly shrugged off like, what?? I can't eat any of that stuff. Even when I think I'm doing well, it shocks me sometimes to remember how many self-imposed food rules and restrictions I still have. Don't want to give too many specifics, but most added sources of fat and calories are pretty much off-limits. Some of my rules don't make much sense (e.g. I'll cook with oil in the pan but won't pour dressing on my salad, or I'll have a slice of cheese on my sandwich but won't add sprinkles to my fro yo. Logic? Hello? You out there?) but are definitely set in stone in my head.

Anyway, J gave me this long list of relatively high-cal foods, and asked what I had liked to eat as a kid that I might consider adding back in to my diet. And honestly? I couldn't think of anything. That wasn't even me trying to be sneaky and pretend like "oh please, J, I've always lived on fruits and veggies and Diet Coke. Mmm lettuce and carrots, brings back some great childhood memories." I know I used to eat desserts and snacks and candy, I just couldn't remember what. I also couldn't remember when, or under what circumstances, I would have eaten them. Did I just randomly walk past the pantry and decide to make a bowl of ice cream? Was that before or after lunch? Did I still eat lunch at the same time? Did I have a side of chips with lunch? How much popcorn did I eat at the movies? Was I still hungry for dinner? I suppose it's a testament to my healthy mindset at the time that I literally cannot recall anything about what or when I ate - I guess that means I never really paid attention. That's good, right? I wasn't always this neurotic, calorie-phobic freak.

So, I'm still wracking my brain, trying to think of foods I used to like. Maybe I can't recreate the totally carefree eater I once was, but I can certainly try to formulate a semi-normal, healthy adult version.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth Recap

Hey everyone - hope it was a good 4th all around! Mine Seriously, it's really hot here. Thankfully I'm not having to deal with this, and the A/C in my apartment works just fine, but downtown College City was stifling last night at the fireworks. Not to mention packed. Navigating the subways on our way home was absolute chaos, but we made it out alive. Barely. Just kidding. But it was really hot. Even though I'm now a total city person after living here for three years, the crowds were a leeeeeetle bit much last night - especially with all the sweaty, shirtless drunks. Mmmhmm God bless America.

Backtracking - I had kind of a rough morning yesterday. Er, I guess it was kind of a rough day in general. I got super emotional and upset pretty early on. No real trigger or anything, I was just feeling down. Every once in a while it hits me how tired I am - tired of hurting, tired of fighting myself all the time, tired of being sick and broken and sad. I holed up in my room for a while in the morning, trying to cry quietly and not draw attention to myself, but of course I ended up wandering out and spilling to my roommate eventually. I really hate being the unstable one, and I really hate admitting that I'm struggling and can't hold it together. But sometimes I just need to raise my hand and clear my throat and tell someone: Hey! I don't really want to go into it, but I'm not okay. It doesn't always make me feel any better, but sometimes it just needs to be said.

The rest of the day pretty much majorly sucked because I was wallowing over the fact that my life is harder than anyone else's in the world. I was fighting tears on and off all afternoon and through dinner. My friends and I had been planning to go downtown for the fireworks, and I was literally inches away from backing out at the last second, but I decided to stop being lame and just go. It wasn't a great time - my heart just wasn't in it. I probably wasn't much fun to be around. BUT you know what? I'm still glad I went. Even if I was still pretty glum (not to mention hot and sweaty), the outing shook me up and snapped me out of my crying funk. If I'd stayed home, I probably would have spent the night hiding out in my room, sniffling away, lamenting everything bad instead of remembering all the good.

I don't know why holidays tend to be so freaking hard on me. Like, shouldn't a random day off from work be a good thing? Instead, it totally throws me into a tailspin. I cannot handle upsets to my routine, and I cannot handle free time. Maybe I've just been doing so much better lately that I forgot how fragile things still are. I've only been on my new medication for about six weeks. I've only been eating reasonable recovery amounts for about five. Apparently, my body and my brain are still very much bewildered by all the changes, and I suppose I shouldn't get discouraged by a setback so early in the game. Still, it's extremely humbling to realize that you have the potential to become completely emotionally unstable VERY quickly, and with no warning.

Okay, now that I've totally bummed you out - I thought I should mention how awesome the fireworks were. Definitely the flashiest, most spectacular display I've ever seen. College City is much bigger than my hometown, and the fireworks were definitely scaled up appropriately. Maybe not TOTALLY worth the forty-five minutes I spent squeezed between sweaty drunk boys on the subway, but close.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Personal Debrief

I'm writing this from a cafe in College City. Just left therapy and needed a place to just sit and breathe for a minute. I came really close to canceling this appointment because...I don't know, I just didn't feel like going. Last week, I had been to Treatment Center on Thursday (to see R) and Friday (to see my psychiatrist, Dr. L). The way my schedule worked this week, I'd had to schedule therapy for today, meaning there were only a few days between sessions. Now I'm just making excuses, but it really seemed like therapy overload in my head.

Plus I'd been feeling kind of low for a few days. Yesterday morning, I randomly burst into tears while getting ready for work. Back at home, I was crying several times a day, but this was the first time I'd cried in over a month. (Hey, it's progress.) Which would have been fine - normal people cry sometimes, right? Except that then I got weepy again as I was getting ready for bed. (Hmm...what is it about my personal grooming routine that seems to be so upsetting?) And again this morning. When I'm feeling crappy and sad, my instincts are definitely to withdraw and hole up by myself, so I was itching to call up R's secretary and make up some lie about being sick or having car trouble or something, but I took a deep breath and sucked it up and went to my appointment. And then, about five minutes after sitting down in R's chair, I burst into tears again.

I really hate crying. Well, let me modify that: I really hate crying in front of other people. I hate it A LOT. R was really sweet and wanted to know what was bothering me and what he could do to help, but of course I reverted into the silent, guarded version of myself and thus, R didn't get much out of me. And I wasn't trying to be difficult, I just really couldn't explain myself. I had done well with the meal plan, I'd had a good weekend, my job was still going well, but I was just still feeling sad.

I think I need to remember that the good parts of recovery aren't going to come all at once, and it isn't going to happen super quickly. There are still a lot of residual physical effects that sometimes make it hard to stay positive all the time, even though I swear that things are better than they've been in a LONG time. But I still get heart palpitations a few times a week, my hair is still falling out in clumps, and I'm still in a lot of pain. So that's discouraging. Getting myself healthy weight-wise will only help everything else resolve more quickly, but it's not going to happen tomorrow, and I need to be realistic about that.

Speaking of tomorrow - to everyone in the US, have a safe and happy 4th!