Saturday, September 29, 2012

Busy Busy

Quick Saturday update! I'm getting more than a little overwhelmed with all the schoolwork I have, so I probably shouldn't be blogging right now...but I figured I haven't written in a few days and you must all be dyyyying to hear from me.

Anyway, I'm busy. Turns out my honors thesis is way more work than I had anticipated (I'm dumb) and I'm probably taking one too many classes this semester. The rundown looks something like this:

- Classes A and B are both super interesting and fun, but have tonnnns and toonnns of reading. I've already filled two 1-inch binders with articles from A. Sorry, trees!

-Class C is a math class that I need to fill my core requirements. I. Am. Not. A. Math. Person. The only numbers I've used in four years have been calories and pounds. Also, I thought this class was supposed to be easy but it's NOT. Hey there, differential equations. I don't recall enjoying (ahem understanding) you the first time around either.

- Class D is more more reading and weekly papers.

- Class E is a required research seminar for everyone in honors. It's interesting, but the textbook is 1,400 pages long. Need I say more?

- And finally, my thesis. It's only just now dawning on me how huge of a project this actually it, but I'm really excited about it. My adviser's awesome and makes me feel smart and engaged. I am starting work on the actual content of the paper this week (as opposed to just the background research I've been doing thus far) and I am super pumped about it.

Along with the classes, I have my job with the communications department (about 5-10 hours per week, super flexible though, which is nice), I'm on the exec board for Club X, and I tutor for Club Y.

Right now, I'm trying really hard not to let myself get bogged down and overwhelmed with the work. I'm super OCD about grades and an A-minus tends to induce tears, but this semester I really want to keep some perspective. My body (not to mention my mind) has been through hell the past two years, and I want to be proud of myself for even surviving, let alone being in school. I was at a bar last night with some of my friends, and two of us were talking about how we should be at home because we had so much work to do, and then kind of made eye contact and were like, "What? No. No more school-talk."

Grades are important, I know, and I'm going to put my all into doing as well as I can, but I'm also not going to beat myself up if there's a B on my transcript. Shit happens, you know? I'll get through it, and I'm gonna be okay.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Big Bad Body Image, Part MMCCCVVXIIII

I know I've griped and groaned about this over and over and over and NO ONE wants to hear about it anymore, I know, I'm sorry, I hate to go here again.....but my body image has hit new lows. I know I said it was bad before, but now it's really really bad. I can't stand the sight of myself, or the feel of my clothes, or stepping on the scale. I tried not weighing myself this morning, but then I cracked and gave in, and ended up miserable about the number anyway.

My weight is the highest it's been since April 2011, and I am not.coping.well. I cry all the time about how fat I'm getting. I haven't slashed my intake or taken up marathon training or anything, but the little stuff is starting to happen again. Little stuff like not eating all the crusts of my sandwiches, leaving bites of dinner on my plate, etc. Little stuff that was starting to seem silly and fade away as I slowly gained weight over the summer and loosened up on some of the food rigidity. I'm not doing anything that's going to seriously affect my weight at all, but the restrictive, punishing mindset is kicking in.

I've weighed more than this before, so it's not like this is an lifetime high for me. And I'm not overweight, by any means. Maybe it's because the gain is happening more quickly than I'm okay with, or maybe because it's happening at least partly outside my control with the medication, or maybe I've just spent so much time at the lower weight that I don't remember what this size feels like. Maybe it's because I'm not working out at all right now, and the last time I weighed this much I was running and biking a lot so the muscle-to-fat ratio was different. It's all relative, I suppose. Once upon a time, I would have been perfectly happy to be this weight. At other times, I probably would have been suicidal.

I have no plans to starve and lose all the weight I've gained over the past few months, but I'd be a lot more okay with the gain if my body were actually starting to feel healthier, which it's not. I thought my eyes were doing better, but they've been hurting a lot again the past week. My skin is dry and gray, and my hair is still coming out. It's hard to love a body that's doing everything it can to fuck with you. I just want it to cooperate, for God's sake. Trust me, Body, damn it! I know that isn't fair of me to ask anymore, but I want so badly to do it right this time around, I'm so ready, and I feel like my body has finally given up on me.

I want to be well, but I don't want to be fat. Hell, it doesn't even matter what the reality is, I just don't want to feel fat. There's got to be a way to have both, right? A way that doesn't involve starving, of course. At therapy last week, R told me: "Starving doesn't solve anything." I think I need to get that engraved somewhere...or tattooed down my arm, perhaps.

Argh. Okay, it's lunchtime. Peace, everyone.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Therapy Recap

Oh Dr. R. Why is it that I decide practically weekly that you're annoying and out of touch and I don't need you, and then somehow you convince me otherwise?? We had a good session yesterday, mostly because I was being rational and didn't cry through the entire fifty minutes like last week. We're at kind of a crossroads because food had been going super super well for several weeks, but now this medication has sort of thrown a wrench in my routine. I'm really freaking out about weight gain, and it's not making the meal plan go down any easier. I'm not restricting, but I'm definitely not eating freely. Plus my body image is pretty horrendous, I'm isolating myself like crazy, and I'm super stressed out about school. Other than that, things are great!

R wanted to debrief about last week a bit, since I had been a total wreck and he was, to use his words, "At a loss." Didn't exactly inspire confidence in his therapeutic abilities, although I suppose I had been less than helpful and just kind of cried quietly for an hour and then left. Yesterday, we spent some time talking about my new med, which is stressing me out a lot, although I'm trying to come to terms with it. We made a pro/con list, which helped a bit, except that pro/con lists are kind of depressing when it's less about pros vs. cons and more about bad vs. worse. I got a little miffed when R said something about "emotional distress" contributing or intensifying physical pain, which I took to imply that the pain is all in my head. I'm sure that's not what he meant, but it still bugged me. I think he could tell, though, and he backed off pretty quick.

A related funny: This column is old, but I came across it today and I'm roaring. The line about "let's not get caught up in numbers" especially. I swear, that could've been taken directly out of R's mouth.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Some Quirks

When I'm at home and have nowhere to go, I wear sweatpants over shorts 75% of the time.

I always have two kinds of cereal in my kitchen at a time. I alternate each morning, or combine them.

I own a trillion t-shirts from various sports teams/events in middle and high school, and they all still fit. I could probably wear a new t-shirt every day for months without having to do laundry (never tested that theory, don't worry.)

Between all my meds and supplements and stuff, I currently take 8 pills a day (not including Tylenol etc. for headaches and stuff like that). My roommate jokes that we should get me one of those weekly pill container things that old people have. Not amused, Roomie.

Photo source

Pretty much every New Year's as far back as I can remember, I've made the resolution to stop biting my nails. Obviously, it hasn't worked.

For a couple months this summer, I was using over ten prescription eye drops per day (not including artificial tears, which I use CONSTANTLY). Steroids, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories—you name it, it was going in my eyes. I've since gotten a new doctor who cut me down to three, and my eyes have actually been feeling better recently.

It sucks to have so many eye problems, but I'm actually really proud of the fact that I can put in eye drops anywhere. No mirror required. I can even put in drops while driving (super dangerous, I KNOW). If you get squeamish about seeing people touching eyeballs and stuff, we probably can't be friends in real life.

I drink vast amounts of water. I also pee a lot.

I've never been stung by a bee.

Speaking of bugs, we have a fruit fly problem in our apartments. Any tips?

My brother has discovered that a great way to chat up the girls at work is by asking their advice on birthday or Christmas presents for me. They turn to "jelly," I'm told, when he talks about getting something nice for his little sister. Thus, in the last few years, I've gotten shoes, a wallet, earrings, and a Tiffany's ring out of him.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Obesity Paradox"

Just your daily New York Times fix: In Obesity Paradox, Thinner May Mean Sicker. Or, in other words, Why Health is Complicated and BMI is Silly.

Side note: I believe the article's author is the mother of a formerly anorexic child. I've never read her book, someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Randoms

Finally, I got through an entire appointment without my dietician telling me ONCE that I needed to eat more. I've been seeing her for just about a year now, and I can say with confidence that every single session has included some variation of the phrase: "What can we add to your meal plan this week?" But my medication is officially making me gain weight, and not even J could justify adding more food. Well, she mused briefly about whether or not increasing the MP would boost my metabolism, but I shut that theory down pretty quick. In the end, she backed off and told me to keep things the same for another week and see what happens. Not sure whether to laugh or cry about that. Well, I mean, obviously I cried.

Thinkingpositivethoughts. My friend E and I were laying out in the grass the other day between classes, just chatting it up and enjoying the sunshine while it lasted (College City weather is unpredictable, to put it mildly). She mentioned to me that she'd had a bout of really intense anxiety at the end of last semester, and was now taking medication for it and feeling a LOT better. And you know what? My first thought wasn't: WELL GREAT, THERE'S ANOTHER PERSON WHO ISN'T AS MISERABLE AS ME. Instead, I was positively thrilled for her and wanted to jump up and down and give her a big hug. It feels different to be happy for someone else, you know? Less selfish, more genuine and real. Plus, hanging out with her gave me a HUGE boost. Does that make me selfish again?

My brother sent my parents and I an e-mail earlier this week, basically checking in on everyone. September 11 was pretty traumatic for all of us back in 2001, so it was nice to sort of come together and remember it. I'm a little ashamed that I spent the day this year worrying about my dysfunctional reproductive system rather than reflecting on the tragedy, so consider this my belated memorialization. Don't worry about me going all political or crazy-patriotic on you, but I really really love this country. Not sure how many international readers I have (hi international readers!) but the US rocks and you should ALL come visit someday. If you make it to College City, chances are you'll get to experience all four seasons within 24 hours! It's a real national treasure, let me tell you. P.S. Bring an umbrella.

I am failing to recall whether or not I started writing this post with an overarching theme in mind, because it seems to have devolved into what one might call random. Let's see: we've got my weight, my friend, my big brother, 9/11, some American pride, the weather... In the spirit of continuing the randomness, I bought a new brand of bread today at the grocery store. Stay tuned as the drama unfolds.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Missing My Monthly Milestone

Heads up: The following will probably include a whole lotta TMI but I figure you guys know way too much about me anyway, so whatever. Dignity, be gone!

I should have my period right now, and it's stressing me out that I don't. My last two months were completely normal—exactly 30 days apart, exactly seven days long. That hasn't happened in years. So, this month's should have started on Sunday, but nothing. Then Monday, nothing. And today, still, NOTHING.

Except that I'm PMSing like crazy. Remember my irrational meltdown late last week? Yeah, things sucked, but I'm pretty sure it was partially hormone-fueled. Plus, I've been all crampy and bloated and MY BOOBS HURT. My weight is up this week, higher than it's been in over a year, actually (Idon'twannatalkaboutit), so why the heck would I skip a month? Maybe it'll still happen and I just need to be patient, fingers crossed! One of the few consolations of gaining weight has been the return of my period. I LOVE knowing that at least my reproductive system is functioning normally, you know?

Okay, that's all, just needed to express my bafflement to the blogworld. Nothing says good morning like some girl talk! Have a great Tuesday, everyone.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I'm really sick of staring at my computer today, so this will be quick. Just wanted to report that I've pulled myself out of the horrible, dark, crippling depression that hit me late last week. I spent most of Thursday and Friday crying, like, literally nonstop. I cried on the phone to my mom, through the full hour with R, and later that night with my roommate. I seem to go through spells of this once a month or so. Eventually it turns into this endless loop and I am crying simply because I can't stop, and I can't remember why I started crying in the first place. Actually, that's not true; I know why I was crying last week, but it was nothing new and there was no reason for me to be so upset on that particular day. Does anyone else find that depression comes in waves or cycles like that? I swear, last Monday I was totally fine but by Friday, I was ready to jump off a bridge.

So, things are better now. Body image is pretty dismal but eating is okay. I am currently trying really hard not to get stressed out about my pain medication. I've gotten this idea in my head that it's going to make me gain weight, and I can't relax about it. (Not a totally irrational ED fear either, this particular medication has weight gain as a pretty well-documented side effect.) I don't know if it's a matter of increased appetite, which would be fine since my appetite sucks anyway, or some funky metabolism-slowing mechanism. I can say that I've been on it for a few weeks now and my weight has jumped a few pounds without me upping my intake. True, I do still need to gain a bit of weight, but not a huge amount and I don't want it happening outside my control. I keep trying to tell my self that you can't go from underweight to overweight overnight, that I won't wake up miraculously obese one day, and that quality-of-life is more important than the number on the scale.

Clubs and other school stuff are starting up again, which keeps me more engaged and less isolated. I also saw lots of my friends this weekend, which helped a ton. My social life is, um, a tad less vibrant than it used to be, but I'm trying really hard to stay in touch with people and not become a complete hermit. I do have some amazing friends and it would be a real shame not to take advantage of the time we have left together at school.

An exchange that made me smile last night:
Friend: (getting into my car) Does your car have a name?
Me: Yes! His name is XXXXX.
Friend: Hang on. (gets out of car and surveys it from the outside before climbing back in) You're right, he looks like a XXXXX.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nattering Nabob of Negativity

That's what my mom used to say when my brother and I were kids and started whining about stuff: "You're being a nattering nabob of negativity!" I'm pretty sure she stole that phrase from somewhere, but I forget where. Anyway, it usually sounded silly enough to get Big Brother and I giggling away—problem solved! No more nattering.

I really hate subjecting you guys to a string of negative posts, but things are hard. Really, really wishing I had a better outlook right now. I just got off the phone with my mom after having a teary meltdown rational conversation about how it's not fair that my body's falling apart on me even though I'm feeding it Boost and peanut butter and Cliff bars and stuff, and how it's not fair that I'm porking up and getting near a healthy weight but my body still won't stop being lame and sabotaging me.

I recently started a neuropathic pain medication, which I'd been resisting for a long time because it sounded scary and you know how much I LOVE DRUGS. For a long time, I didn't want to believe that the pain wasn't some fluke thing that would just go away on its own. By the end of the summer, though, I was not coping well at all and my doctor convinced me to start on a tiny dose. It's been two or three weeks now, and no huge changes. I sleep a little better at night, and that's about it. My doctor (I'd give her an initial, but I can't imagine anyone reading can/wants to keep track of my elaborate medical team) said to increase the dose after a couple weeks, and now I'm waffling on whether or not to do that since I was hoping to stay on the lowest amount possible. This drug can supposedly cause weight gain and dry eyes at higher doses—two things I cannot handle right now. Although, I suppose I'm not handling the pain very well either.

Okay, negative nattering over. I met with my honors thesis advisor yesterday after class and even though I'm a little overwhelmed about the project, I'm really excited to work with him. He's one of those professors who's so brilliant it's scary. I get really intimidated talking to him because his IQ probably surpasses mine by about 50 points, but he's also super nice and down-to-earth. His office has lots of family pictures and about 8 bajillion books, which definitely earns him brownie points in my eyes.

Then I spent two hours tabling with the rest of the exec board for my honor society at a campus-wide fair thing we have every fall, which sounds lame but was actually really fun. Mostly because I spent the two hours not sitting at our table, but instead bouncing around to other tables. My table was boring! I even stole a Tootsie Roll from some other group's table. I plan to tell R first thing at my appointment tomorrow.

No matter how shitty my mood is, this video still cracks me up every time I watch it. It starts off a little slow but keep watching, it's totally worth it. The Gotye song used to make me want to claw my eyeballs out,  but now I giggle every time it comes on the radio.

Okay, I just watched it again and I'm feeling way better than when I started writing this. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Growth Charts

My dietician has been bugging me to have my pediatrician fax over my childhood growth charts for months now. Whoops, I kept forgetting to do that... Anyway, she thinks having my whole history will give her a better idea of where my final weight needs to be. Luckily, I had the same pediatrician from birth to age 19, so all my height/weight records were in the same place and it was easy to track them down once I actually remembered to do it. J and I went over them in my appointment today, which was pretty interesting. I basically tracked right along the XXth percentile for both height and weight as a kid (not counting the awkward pre-puberty growth spurt when I shot up in height and became this insanely awkward, gangly string bean child with oversized hands and feet for a year or two). Then puberty came and I had a small bump in weight, followed by the massive drop-off in seventh grade when my ED first started. I got back to my previous percentile line by high school, and stayed around there until my next big weight loss in college.

A couple good things about seeing my historical growth trajectory laid out: (1) It gave me further evidence that I am not, in fact, a blubbery obese whale. From a strictly medical sense, I have never been overweight in my life, and I weigh less now than I did at 13. In fact, I was at my lifetime high weight at 17, and have been well below that number ever since. And (2) It showed me that my body clearly wants to be back on that XXth percentile line. My weight was unbelievably consistent throughout every period of my life where I was eating sufficiently and not overexercising, but it's been a while. Gaining the weight that J wants is not going to put me into Fatty McFatso category; it will simply put me right back where I should be.

Some bad things: (1) J thinks I may have stunted my growth, since my height dropped off when I was 13, right around when my ED first started. Now, I might have just stopped growing then naturally since I'd first gotten my period a year earlier and was basically done with puberty anyway, but my height percentile from ages 2-13 show that I should have ended up a couple inches taller than I am now. No way to know for sure, I suppose, but I've gone through several long stretches with irregular/no periods, and have had osteopenia for years now—neither of which bodes well for my skeletal health. J mentioned that girls can really only grow bone until age 21...and I'll be 22 in less than two months. (2) It gave J further ammunition to insist on more weight gain. The initial target I've agreed to, and am sort of starting to accept in my head, is still below that XXth percentile line for my age and height, and is still below my lifetime high from almost five years ago when I was a healthy and happy high school junior. (3) I am so.not.okay with the big numbers. It doesn't make it any easier that I used to weigh XXX lbs at 17, because I felt fat when I was 17! I wasn't actively anorexic at the time and my weight was perfectly healthy (not underweight, not overweight), but I still hated my body with a passion. Of course I've felt fatter at lower weights while being devastatingly disordered in my thoughts and behaviors, but still. Not looking forward to going back there. Gaining weight sucks.

Other than that, J was chipper and lovely as always. She even gave me permission to eat ice cream sundaes with every meal if I feel so inclined!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Conflicting Perceptions

Right now, I'm doing SO well with food that I barely even recognize myself. I still obsess, I still count calories, I still don't always get in my Boost or meet the full dietician-mandated meal plan; but I am doing better than I have in over a year and have no intentions whatsoever of turning back. When I wake up in the morning, I just know that I will eat and that it will be okay—can't even describe what a comfort and relief that is.

So it sucked when, at therapy on Friday, R basically outlined all the ways I'm failing, not following through, not inspiring confidence, and not recovering the right way. I don't feel like explaining the whole premise of our discussion because it's complicated and I'm lazy but basically, R thinks I'm doing a lot worse than I do. He seems to think I could change my mind about recovery any day now and go back to restricting and lose all the weight I've gained. He also thinks I'm gaining way too slowly and that it barely counts as gaining at all. We got into a stupid nit-picky argument about what qualifies as gaining (seemed pretty simple to me: my weight is higher every time I step on the scale—ergo, I am gaining weight) which left me rolling my eyes and wanting to punch something.

Then R said that it felt like he was talking to my eating disorder and not my real self. I put my foot down then and told him that I hate when people say that to me. My eating disorder is not a scheming little devil-man perched on my shoulder, or an abusive ex-boyfriend (sorry JS fans but I REALLY hate that book), or a sentient being of any kind. My eating disorder is an illness.

It's weird that while I think I'm doing great, R seems under the impression that I'm teetering on the edge of a very steep cliff. My weight is inches from healthy, my mind is clearer, I'm dealing with the bad body image (mostly) rationally, and I'm eating more calories per day than I have in over a year. Why, then, do I leave therapy feeling like a dysfunctional wreck of a human being? On Friday he even told me: "I don't think I'm doing much good by you." We just aren't on the same page. Guys, I think I need a new therapist. Not really sure how to go about doing that, since I don't exactly want to cut ties with Treatment Center. I love my ED doctor, my psychiatrist, and my dietician there, but R is the only therapist who takes my insurance.

Other than that, things are good. School's going well and I like my classes. Thoughts go out to anyone down south who got hit by Isaac, stay safe.