Thursday, April 11, 2013

Living Alone

Another big week in terms of Life Milestones: I signed a lease yesterday for my very first solo apartment. I've lived with friends in student housing throughout all of college (well, except for the semester I got yoinked out of school for treatment and was stuck at my parents' house but Idon'twannatalkaboutit), so this will be the first time I've lived by myself. No parents, no roommate, no crew of friends down the hall, nothing. And although I'm excited, I'm also scared. Not so much about the actual living alone part—I really like having my own space and am fairly (fairly) competent at cooking, cleaning, toilet-plunging, lightbulb-changing, etc. for myself. But I'm not so good at distracting myself from dark spells, or rationalizing away the fear when those old horrible nagging anxieties creep in. I'm scared of being alone and depressed and having no one there.

A big issue is losing my roommate. She has been SUCH a huge source of support for me over the past two years. Last fall when I hit absolute rock-bottom, she would basically drop everything anytime and let me cry to her. Not sure I would have made it through the semester without her, to be honest. Luckily she's only moving a few hours away so weekend trips will be easy, but it obviously won't be the same.

Some of you guys might be wondering if my parents are absolutely fucking insane for letting me move out on my own after the year I've had. I think sometimes, they wonder that too. Physical issues alone, I'm not exactly in tip-top shape. The pain is still a major problem (although getting better... knock on wood). I got a bunch of blood work done at the campus health center to see if we can figure out what's causing the constant fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath I've been having for the past few months. My weight and eating are pretty stable, but fighting the urge to restrict is still always a battle.

And on top of that, my mood is still shaky. I've been feeling a lot better for most of this semester—very little crying, minimal anxiety, and absolutely none of those horrible dark scary thoughts I was having back in the fall...but overall, my baseline mood is still relatively low. I'm nowhere near my old bubbly, energetic, happy self. I still worry a lot. I still get super down about the physical stuff.

That being said, I have so much hope. The pain is ever-so-slightly improving, just not as quickly as Dr. A had promised. I truly do believe that my body just needs time to heal—time at this weight, time on a high-fat diet, time to build up my hormone levels, and time to undo all the damage I've spent years accruing. I have absolutely zero.none.zilch desire to restrict and lose weight. Not worth it anymore. I've never been more confident in my ability to fully recover from the eating disorder, and that's further than I've ever come in my life. At this time last year, I weighed XX lbs less and was plotting ways to restrict any chance I got.

But still, I think that I need to get my moods as stable as possible before heading into this next chapter of my life. I certainly hope that things never again get as bad as they did last summer and fall, but I want to be smart about this. Yesterday, Dr. P and I talked a bit about the possibility of increasing my meds, just as a safeguard. I've been on the same dose for almost a year, and it has been remarkably effective for my anxiety, but is apparently still lower than the recommended clinical dose. And I've noticed no effect on depression. At my psych appointment in a couple weeks, I'm going to ask Dr. L what she thinks about bumping up the dosage a bit. Can't hurt to take an extra precaution, right?

And super important for me will be getting comfortable reaching out and surrounding myself with friends. One of my best friends from college will be living with her parents in a suburb of College City, and my cousin is a junior at Other University about 15 minutes from me. Plus, my mom's older brother lives just down the road from me—like, literally five minutes away. So I have the makings of a solid support system, and I need to be ready to take advantage of that.

I want to be independent, but that first means recognizing all the ways that I'm not.


  1. I really identify with these two (possibly contradictory!) feelings you expressed:

    "My weight and eating are pretty stable, but fighting the urge to restrict is still always a battle."


    "I have absolutely zero.none.zilch desire to restrict and lose weight."

    I may be misinterpreting what you're saying here, but if you're saying what I think you're saying then I'm experiencing pretty much the same thing: struggling with the small ED stuff (brief urges to restrict, some lingering food rigidity, and [in my case] body image/body-checking stuff and niggling exercise issues) with absolutely no desire/intention to go back to the BIG ED stuff. Right now, I just can't imagine relapsing (and I'm living on my own, as you are, so I totally could) . . . but at the same time I wonder if it's even possible see a relapse coming. Will I relapse at some point? (A scary thought, from this vantage point, because my parents have never been willing to step in and rescue me.) Will I reach that far-off, possibly mythical land of total happiness and full recovery? Or will I just hang out here forever?

    I'm not sure where I'm going with these questions, except to say that I think we're at a similar point in recovery, and it's kind of a strange/hard/confusing place to be (though of course much better than many alternatives!).

    Anyway, best of luck to you, Kaylee. I'm so excited for you, and I have very high hopes that it will be great.

    1. Hi E—You are so right! I realized that I completely contradicted myself in this post before publishing it, but decided to leave it as is because those two statements really do capture how I'm feeling. Restricting is like second-nature to me, and it's hard to break out of that mindset no matter how badly I want to. You said it perfectly: I still have the daily, habitual urges to engage in little ED behaviors, but have "absolutely no desire/intention to go back to the BIG ED stuff"—exactly!!

      For me, it's very hard to foresee a relapse because the other health problems have totally eclipsed a lot of the ED-fueled anxieties that going backwards doesn't seem remotely worth it. Still, I try very hard to be conscious of my history and to remember that I will probably always be vulnerable to anorexia not matter how wholesome my intentions.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your thoughtful comment! Best of luck to you too.