Monday, September 30, 2013

Grumpity Grumps

Yuck. What a Monday. Not sure why this is, but I'm feeling sleepy and headachey and icky. It's too early for winter colds, isn't it? Maybe the school stress is starting to catch up with my body - I've been going NONSTOP for the past six weeks, so my bod may have just decided to take a break and be Grumpy McGrumpsters for a while.

This is how I feel.

Speaking of grumpsters, DAMN ALL THE POLITICIANS. I was sitting in for my boss on a conference call with the CDC earlier today, and the main topic of conversation was how the fuck are people supposed to do their jobs and make a living if the government shuts down? I think everyone in Congress needs to take a course in conflict resolution or something, or Compromise 101, or How Not to Lose Your Temper and Throw a Tantrum Whenever You Don't Get Your Way 101.

That aside, we need health care reform. Desperately. Just sayin'.

Anyways, as there was no purpose for this post beyond whining, I thought I would end on a happy note. The weather is beautiful, next week should be a lot calmer than this week, and the week after that I get to go home and hang with my mom and pop.

Most importantly, there is a new episode of Homeland waiting for me when I get home. So really, life can't be all that bad.

Okey doke, now I'm off to find some coffee. Three hours of work to go...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunny Sunday

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Mine was all right—my college roommate was here, which I had expected to be tough but it actually went okay. A little stressful/irritating/triggering, but okay. Ack, the situation is so emotionally and psychologically complicated I can't even get into it.

That being said, I didn't even see that much of her because she was busy with a sports alumni thingy (which was the reason she came back into town) and I was busy with meetings and work. Last night I did happy hour and dinner with school friends, and then came home and tried to finish some work before literally passing out. I hadn't slept well the night before and totally crashed by eleven.

Today I had a lovely run in the morning, grocery shopped, paid some bills, spent a few hours doing work in a coffee shop, and then decided that it was too pretty outside to go home, so I spent about an hour walking in Big College City Public Park. Walking is usually pretty hard for me because of the nerve pain, but I felt okay today and was mostly able to enjoy the weather instead of obsessing about how much I was hurting. Little things, you know? Just being able to go for a walk and not want to cry out of frustration.

Anyways, it's days like these when I sort of almost believe that maybe I won't be in pain forever. It's hard to see on a daily basis when I'm generally pretty uncomfortable, but every now and then I take a second and realize how much things have improved over the past year. I'm still glad to be seeing Dr. A again next month because I am definitely far from perfect, but the positive trend seems like a good omen.

Have a great week, everyone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Inexplicable Anxiety

I suppose my anxiety isn't exactly inexplicable, since my life is currently very stressful and there are LOTS of things that could be causing my anxiety. Still, it feels like this icky, sick, nervous, fluttery feeling came out of nowhere. The other night, I couldn't get to sleep because my mind was preoccupied by a million different things, and I ended up bursting into tears alone in the dark. Obviously, I didn't sleep very well, and was a tired cranky wreck the next day. Last night, I slept for about nine hours and woke up feeling much more refreshed, but still have that nagging sense that something bad is going to happen.

Trying to be rational about things. A couple things going on:

1) I have tons and tons of work - both school work and work work, and I'm having a hard time feeling on top of everything. I'm also grappling with that sense of wanting to volunteer for everything and throw myself in headfirst, but knowing that neither my physical nor mental health are anywhere near robust enough for that.

2) I saw a huge bug in my apartment the other night. Don't laugh. It's incredible how freaked out this made me. I'm embarrassed and baffled and disgusted by how much it scares me, and how much I'm still worrying about it. I am constantly catastrophizing about a roach infestation. Suddenly it feels like my apartment isn't a safe, clean place anymore. Then I started thinking about all the things that could go wrong in an apartment, or a house, and how am I ever going to be a functional grown-up who is responsible for these things?

3) I have no money.

Doing my best to stay okay and hope this is just a random fluke period of insanity. My college roommate is coming to stay this weekend and at first I was stressed about having to host her, but now I'm glad she'll be here to keep me company.

Take care, everyone.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Body Image: The Jeans Edition

I bought a new pair of jeans for the first time in a long while yesterday afternoon. Add oddly enough, it wasn't even that traumatic. In case you somehow missed this in the many many posts I've devoted to the topic, I've gained a significant amount of weight over the past year so naturally, my old jeans don't fit very well anymore. Some people see the disposal of skinny clothes as a majorly symbolic milestone and all that, but for me it was never really a huge deal. Maybe because I am the opposite of a fashionista and generally don't get too excited about clothes to begin with. Plus, the Clothes Cleanse happened kind of gradually over the past several months as most of my jeans are a few years old and pretty worn out anyway. Plus with moving so often, I am perpetually trying to downsize my wardrobe and regularly go through my closet to donate/throw things away.

But in the past couple weeks, as the weather has cooled off enough to wear jeans again, it occurred to me that I really only had maybe one or two pairs that fit and were appropriate to wear in public. So after procrastinating for a while because I hate shopping and I especially hate shopping for clothes in bigger sizes, I decided that a trip to the mall was desperately in order. Had to give myself a little pep talk on the drive over about how you've probably gone up a size and brand-new store clothes are usually kind of stiff/unstretched out so don't freak when stuff feels tight etc. Additionally, I told myself that I was not allowed to leave without trying on at least three pairs and buying at least one. And whaddaya know, I got through it just fine. I ended up trying on several pairs; there were at least two or three that fit and that I would've been okay buying. I ended up only getting one because the prices were freaking me out but still, it felt like a victory.

so much swag

I'm aware that this is a lame post about something dumb and insignificant, but the important part was this: even though I wasn't super happy with my body and definitely had moments of EWW GROSS LOOK AT ME in the dressing room, I was mostly able to remember that I have a grown-up, healthy-sized body now and really, no one cares what it looks like. Pretty incredible to me how unimportant body image is to me now compared with the majority of my life.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday De-Stressing

Thank you to everyone for making me feel better after my mini-panic session the other night. You guys are literally the nicest and the best.

I had another one of those Epic Days yesterday: work for a few hours in the morning, meeting with my advisor, big important networking/schmooze event that required resumes and high heels, and two hours of tutoring in the evening. Plus it was pouring rain all day, so of course that made things infinitely simpler, let me tell you (especially the high heels part).

But in all seriousness, things went well and I came out of the day feeling way better than I did beforehand. For one, my advisor is fantastic. His wife just had a baby about two weeks ago, so he spent the first few minutes of the meeting being a proud papa and showing me pictures of the new lil guy on his iPhone. Then he took some time to ask about classes, how I'm doing with the transition to graduate school, am I too busy, etc. THEN we got to the actual research, which gets more fascinating and complex every time we go over it. I mentioned to him that his work is more interesting to me than a lot of my classes, and that I often work on his stuff before homework, and he was like "Good! That's how it's supposed to be." And he reminded me that grades are simply not as important any more, at least compared to undergrad. So that made me feel a whole lot less panicked about everything on my plate, and kind of helped put things in perspective.

One thing causing me major stress is the Money Issue—it seems like no matter how hard I try to keep track of my budget and account for all the bills, there are always unexpected expenses. Medications, co-pays, eye-drops, shampoo, coffee beans, all adds up and I'm barely breaking even. For now, I've just been trying to tell myself that I'm already working two jobs, and there's only so much I can do.

I've also developed irrational fears that either 1) my car will break down, or 2) my computer will break down. Those are probably the two items on which I am most dependent in my every day life, and knockonwood they've served me pretty well until now. But still, I sometimes find myself bargaining with a higher power: If you must take something, take my phone instead! Take my microwave or my toaster or my Kindle! And then I realize that these are First World Problems to the extreme and that I should shut my mouth and be grateful for what I have.

I guess the moral of the story is that I'm overwhelmed by the volume of responsibilities required by graduate school and life and being a grown-up, but this is actually a full and exciting and rewarding time. So, don't feel too badly for me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Feeling Stressed

...I may have bitten off more than I can chew. And that pun was not intentional and not even remotely anorexia-related.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happier But Wanting More

Hi all—I've been having a pretty nice, almost relaxing weekend! I had a bunch of papers due between Wednesday and Friday, plus I turned in another big project to my advisor yesterday morning, so I had more of a chance to kick back compared to last weekend when I was totally snowed under with work. Yesterday I went running in a beautiful park near campus, then spent a few hours in the library. In the afternoon, my friend met me at my place and we then headed back over to the park with a blanket and snacks and books. We pretended to read but mostly just goofed off and soaked up the sun. Today, I went for another run before a phone date with my college roommate. I spent the afternoon working, then came home and took a nice long nap. So yeah, this life ain't so bad.

Given how tough the last couple years have been, I am—by many accounts—doing very well. After  many months of feeling extremely low and hopeless, I now cry very rarely and would not consider myself at all Depressed. In fact, lots of the time, I'm pretty happy.

But. Sometimes I feel like there's something missing. I don't know what it is. I partly feel like I can't fully engage and fully throw myself into enjoying life and embracing opportunities because who knows when things will take a turn for the worse again? The pain is better but still a pretty significant Quality of Life issue. The fatigue is somewhat better but I still feel like I could use an extra 4 hours of sleep per day. My mood is WAY better but sometimes I get lonely.

I've been reading this book about introverts and extroverts:


It is making me think a lot about how I live and socialize. I love being around people and I'm not shy, but I am hugely introverted. Socializing is exhausting for me. I have friends, although I'm definitely more of a few-close-friends than huge-crew type. I can't really tease out how much is truly my personality, how much is natural aging/maturity, and how much was altered by the anorexia, depression, anxiety, and medical problems, but I am very different now than I was in high school or even the early part of college. I am quieter, more withdrawn, less spontaneous and less willing to try new things. Not exactly conducive to meeting new people and starting new relationships, you know?

And this is dumb, but I've suddenly developed a fear of never finding That Someone—I haven't dated since breaking up with my ex almost two years ago, and it is suddenly hitting me how many of my new classmates came out of college with a boyfriend or girlfriend. The rational part of my head keeps trying to remind me that I'm only 22 and that most people haven't exactly settled down yet, but the other part of me feels like I missed my chance. It's hard to hear about my old roommate talk about her new boyfriend and going hiking with new grad school friends while I'm just happy to make it through the day on an even keel. I feel like I've lost so much of myself this past year, and have missed so many opportunities to connect with people.

Anyways, this post turned into kind of a downer, sorry. I really am doing okay, just thinking a lot and wanting to make the most of things.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Supplement Quandary

Hi all—I've been wondering if anyone has any advice/insight/actual scientific knowledge about what types of supplements are worth taking. It seems like there is a study out there supporting/refuting the benefits of every possible formulation and I'd rather not waste my money.

The ones I currently take:
—fish oil—at the request of my eye doctor
—probiotics—at the request of my GI doc
—calcium—for the bones thing (I had borderline osteoporosis at my last DEXA scan about 3 years ago, and I don't drink milk)
—multivitamin—just cuz.

i pop bottles

I did have a  B complex in my cabinet for a while and would take it intermittently, although it seemed like overkill since there's vitamin B in my multivitamin. I'm also not super consistent about the probiotics, since they are damn expensive and I am currently poorer than I have ever been in my life. Also, they seem kind of trendy and I'm not totally convinced they do much. Any thoughts about what I should add/ditch? Is the whole vitamin craze just a scam?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I hate this day. It's really hard to go about life as usual with that giant hole in the middle of lower Manhattan. (Okay, I guess technically there's a Freedom Tower there now.) Even though I no longer live on the East Coast, I am still so acutely aware of that horrible morning. Out here, several states away, people just don't seem as immediately connected to what happened, which feels kind of lonely. I was 10 at the time, and six kids in my class lost parents that day. I was lucky.

Anyways. I guess it's a day to count my blessings.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What I've Been Doing Instead of My Homework

I have truckloads of school work to do, so naturally I've spent the morning:
1) going to the gym
2) cleaning my apartment top to bottom (including but not limited to: scrubbing the toilet, counters, and shower; taking out the garbage and recycling followed by bleaching the garbage can; dusting all surfaces; arranging my textbooks by subject, size, and color; putting away the dishes that have been sitting in my drying rack for the past week; wiping out the inside of my microwave, and clearing out the cabinets)
3) answering all the e-mails labeled NOT IMPORTANT in my inbox
4) plucking my eyebrows
5) sending approximately 17 snapchats
6) starting the novel that has been collecting dust in Kindle for the past month (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green—I HIGHLY recommend this one!!)
7) blogging.

Just felt it was necessary to share the extent of my procrastination/hypocrisy after complaining about all the work I have. Okay, now I'm off to maybe tackle some of it. MAYBE. Haven't vacuumed yet.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Busy Busy

Thanks to everyone who sent comments on my last post. The weight/brain stuff stuff really seems to resonate with people, so I'll say it a million times if it helps: my brain works better after gaining weight. I never would've believed it without experiencing it for myself, and it's a hard thing to articulate, but hugely noticeable and life-changing. So, yeah. Don't trust a hungry brain.

Anyways, gosh. YOU GUYS. Grad school is intense. It's not even so much that the work is hard, since I'm a fast reader and can churn out papers pretty easily—it's just the sheer volume of it. Prioritizing gets tricky when there is so much to do. BUT, it's all good. My classes are interesting and my professors are smarty-pants, and all my classrooms have comfy chairs. So, I'm not really sure what more a girl could ask for.

Plus, my new advisor has turned out to be a total winner and I'm super excited about the research we're doing. The only complication is that his wife is very pregnant (she was due, like, last Tuesday) so he is a tad distracted. Yet somehow he still answers e-mails like a machine and gives tons of guidance and feedback and all that good stuff that mentors are supposed to do. He reminds me a lot of my thesis advisor from last year, who was a BOSS. I suppose I must have a thing for the academic type.

The biggest Issue is that my lifestyle has changed drastically in the last two weeks. I'm almost never home anymore—depending on the day, I might leave at 8 or 9 in the morning and not get back until 8 or 9 at night. So, that's exhausting. Oddly I'm handling all the changes relatively well, and am getting better at packing enough food for the day and being flexible about mealtimes. Eventually, I think I may need to re-evaluate the five-class/two-job thing because I really am completely swamped. But for now I'm sticking with it because A) I want to graduate on time and B) I need the money.

That's the gist of things—school, work, collapse. I've probably spent 50% of the past week at my computer, so I'm going to peace for now. Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Weight Cure Revisited

I wrote this post more than six months ago about the mental/emotional improvements I had noticed from weight restoration, and I thought it was time to take stock of how things have been going since then. First off, I suppose I wasn't totally weight-restored at the time of that post, because I have gained another X (more than 3, less than 10) pounds since then without really trying—aka without increasing calories. My weight definitely started to level off after a period of steady gain sometime last winter/spring, but has sort of drifted up to where it is now—definitely a lifetime high, but not massively so. I am solidly in the "healthy" category according to any BMI or ideal body weight chart/calculator. No idea what my body fat percentage is (my old dietician used to measure it), but I would imagine that it is healthy as well.

For the most part, I am still pretty relaxed about food. Well, relatively relaxed. I'm probably more uptight and rigid than most normal people, but still more relaxed than I've been for several years. I eat a healthy but not huge amount of calories a day (yes, I still count calories) and eat a pretty limited range of foods; but again, for me, it's a huge improvement. I eat bread, vegetables, eggs, meat, dairy, nuts, granola bars, cookies, juice, etc. I'm not really opposed to eating any specific foods, but am more just conscious of how things will fit into my self-imposed schedule and calorie limit. I have no real problem eating in restaurants, and am getting better at being spontaneous about it.

My body image is, oddly enough, not a huge source of angst for me. I honestly don't even think about it that much. Maybe because I'm just finally getting used to being this size. It helps a lot for my weight to have finally settled somewhere rather than seeming to climb indefinitely. Even if I'm not super happy or comfortable with the higher number, it's so much easier to cope with a static weight than a constantly moving target.

As I'm writing this, it occurs to me that my eating disorder is, and for the most part always has been, primarily numbers-focused. I have always counted calories and tracked my weight obsessively; I realized years ago that my own perceptions of my body size were skewed, so it was better to rely on the scale than on the mirror. Even now, being at my highest weight ever, a number that once would have sent me into a tailspin just thinking about, I'm okay with how I look. Not thrilled, but okay. And it isn't really on my mind that much. The only thing that really still scares me is the number on the scale going up; even if you told me I'd look HOT with another X lbs, I'd still freak out about the number. No idea why, just the way my brain has been programmed.

I think the best/most significant change I noticed over the past year was ironically a subtle and gradual one: just a general loosening of the reins. I still think about food and weight probably more than the average person, but it doesn't dominate my thoughts by any means. The other health stuff has sort of drowned it out in some ways, but I also feel like gaining weight has let my brain off the hook a bit. Just knowing that they will get fed sufficiently and consistently seems to have made my brain and body settle into less of the fight-or-flight-mode and more of a roll-with-the-punches mode. And it may sound insignificant and lame, but that small shift has totally altered my perspective on almost everything.