Friday, November 29, 2013

Feeling Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Technically I'm a day late, but I thought it would still be worth sharing my overwhelming gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life. As you guys know, it has been a rough couple of years and I was certainly not feeling very festive at this time last year, but things have really started to turn around in the last month or two and for that, I am tremendously thankful.

So here are, in no particular order, the blessings for which I am most grateful this Thanksgiving:

My health — It's not perfect by any means and I still have some pain here and there, but overall I am majorly better than I've been in a long time. And along those lines, I am super grateful for Dr. A, who was the only one to figure out what was wrong with me and FINALLY found something that seems to be working. Plus, my eyes are doing great.

My parents — They are a couple of the goofiest loons I've ever met, but gosh darn it they make me feel loved. I've never seen my dad cry so hard as the day I almost died, and I don't think I even realized how much my pain was hurting them until then. I talk to my mom on the phone about every other day, and my dad about once a week or so, and they continue to put up with my crap.

My friends — Obviously my best friends, like my college roommate K and my high school bff P, but also my new school friends, my undergrad friends, and the one special guy I've been hanging out with recently who treats me like a princess (No we're not dating and I'm not totally up for a Relationship right now, but it's still nice to be spoiled!).

My masters program— The intellectual caliber of my cohort is definitely a step down from my undergrad, but I am learning to appreciate qualities other than pure book smarts in people. Plus I have gotten to meet some fantastic people and professors and read some great materials. So, definitely still a worthwhile experience.

My therapist, Dr. P — After putting up with a less-than-stellar therapy situation for about 18 months, I finally found the guts to pull the plug and seek out somebody who has turned out to be an awesome fit. Even though I pretty much hate being in therapy and feel dumb for having to go, she manages to make me see things in a whole new light.

All the basics — meaning food, shelter, clean water, heat, my cell phone, computer, clothes, a job, etc. and everything else that I take for granted but that pretty much guarantee that my quality of life is vastly better than millions of others' out there.

In an unrelated note: I DIED laughing at the comments on my last post. Who knew a bunch of anorexics could be such poptart connoisseurs?? You guys are funny.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clearly I Don't Think in Straight Lines

Happy Sunday, all! Just two classes, eight hours at work, and one paper left until I am officially out of here for the holiday! (At least until everything starts up again next Monday...) My school is one of those lame-o ones that only gives three days off instead of the full week for Thanksgiving which is kind of a bummer, but I've been in such a good mood these days that I don't really mind. Of course I am totally stressed out about school and money and my future and all that, but GOSH it's wonderful to not be in pain all the time. furiouslyknockingonwood. Hope all of the healthy people out there are enjoying their health for what it is: a privilege and a miracle.

I think my feet are doing better and I was able to run this morning with almost no arch pain except for the very end—like the last half-mile or so. (Thanks for the tennis ball tip, Alie!) This morning, I headed out at around 7:30 as usual even though it was approximately 10 degrees and my quads are still mega-sore from squats and lunges and such at the gym a few days ago. I was wearing leggings, sweatpants, t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, fleece, hat, gloves, and two pairs of socks and it only took about 10 minutes for my face to go numb. After that it was smooth sailing! Of course the cold did nothing for my poor, stiff, sore legs and now I can barely walk.

My college roommate was passing through town on her way home for Thanksgiving, so we got lunch and then I drove her to the airport. We went to this cafe near campus and spent about an hour catching up, and I happily scarfed down my sandwich because running X miles per day can make a girl HUNGRY. Then, even though I had just skipping buying coffee for myself because this place is a rip-off and charges like 4 bucks for a cup, I ended up buying coffee and a bagel for the homeless guy outside because I am a bleeding heart and seeing homeless people makes me cry. So for all my efforts at being frugal, the rip-off cafe got my damn money anyway.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working/reading the New York Times/doing (but not folding) my laundry. As I've explained to you guys before, MY LIFE IS VERY EXCITING. I am currently drinking Swiss Miss and deciding whether I should eat a Poptart or a Clif bar for my snack. Input is welcome.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Post-Meeting Recap and Updates

Update on the Evil Girl Incident: This past Wednesday morning was the meeting with the two of us, our professor, and my academic advisor (who I met with last Friday about the whole thing). Essentially, Evil Girl made a fool of herself, talked herself into a corner, and demonstrated to our professor that she HAS ISSUES. In class afterwards, she refused to look at or speak to me, which pretty much exemplified maturity and grace and manners. Professor A e-mailed me afterwards asking me to stop by and chat, which I did, and she basically told me (in not these exact words) that some people suck, I'm doing fine, and to just let the shitstorm roll off my back. Which I am proud to say that I am doing just fine.

I mentioned in my last post that I was running too much and starting to feel the effects of overdoing it without enough rest. After taking several days off, I went for another run this morning; although I wasn't feeling as dead energy-wise, I'm still having problems with my feet - they're pretty sore along my arches and on the top inside. Anyone know what that is? And please don't tell me it's serious and that I need to take more time off, okay? Just let me know it's gonna be fine by about 7:30 tomorrow morning, if that works for you. THANKS GUYS

Earlier today, I had an appointment with this awesome doctor. I last saw him about a year ago when I was still in a lot of pain and REALLY struggling. This time, I just went as kind of a check-up—I haven't really had anyone local, since Dr. A is back in Home City several states away and the other doctors I've seen for pain here majorly suck. Just as I remembered, Dr. Awesome was funny and sweet and gave me a huge boost of optimism. Can't even tell you how nice it is to have an uncomplicated, stress-free doctor's appointment.

In upcoming news: I am totally excited to head home for Thanksgiving. Earlier in the semester I was thinking about just staying here in College City (since I was home for a weekend in October), but my mom was not having that. And now that it's here, I'm glad to be going back again. I am way overdue for some home-cooked food.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Busy/Lazy Sunday, Food Musings, and the Week Ahead

You guys all rock—I am feeling 100 times better about the Evil Girl Incident last week. I met with my advisor on Friday who was extremely supportive and basically said: "I'll handle it." She is going to have a chat with my professor first, and then with Evil Girl, and hopefully that will resolve things. Gonna be suuuuuper awkward to finish the project with her, though....

Otherwise, things are chaotic but good. It appears that the final push of papers, projects, and presentations has arrived. I probably have over 100 pages of writing to do between now and the end of the semester. It really hit me this morning—I panicked, bolted out of bed at about 6:30, and hit the books. I'm blogging.

Actually, I also had time for a long run and a two-hour nap this afternoon, so don't feel TOO sorry for me. I've been totally exhausted, and I think the running might be to blame; I've upped my mileage over the past couple of weeks and although at first I was feeling invincible, I now realize that I haven't really been taking any breaks. And the constant exertion is starting to catch up with me. Today while I was running my usual route, my legs were like lead and my chest was burning from start to finish. I've had this low-grade headache all day and also think I'm coming down with a, long story short, I need to take it easy for a few days.

On the plus side, I am doing a little better with my food goals. I've eaten more calories on each of the past two days than I have in a LONG time. And there was no guilt, no regret, no "OMGWHYDIDIDOTHAT???" whatsoever. I call that progress! It's hard to say whether or not I've only been able to do that because of the increased running, and I'm still having a hard time with my non-running days, but overall it is getting easier and easier to "justify" eating. I know that I shouldn't have to, but old habits die hard.

Last full week of school before Thanksgiving is coming up, and it looks like it's gonna be a doozy:
Monday - class, work, tutoring
Tuesday - work, therapy, class, dinner out
Wednesday - meeting, class, work, class
Thursday - tutoring, class, work
Friday - eye doctor, gyn, work, out.


Actually, now that I think about it, this is what my week generally looks like. Only thing out of the ordinary are the doctors' appointments on Friday. Remember when I used to have multiple doctors' visits EVERY week? I haven't seen my ophthalmologist since July; think that might be a record. My appointments are fun these days because all he really does is take a peek in both eyes and give me free samples of various drops and tell me to clean my contacts more often. And it's fun for him because I just like rave about his medical brilliance and worship him and kiss his shoes and things like that. So really, it's a win-win.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interpersonal Conflict

Hey guys—thank you all SO MUCH for the love and support I got on my last post. I know that everyone has been subjected to my bitching and moaning about this issue for a long time, and I am so happy to be able to share improvement with you. I am trying to really see this as a huge opportunity to take inventory of what is important, what needs to be shrugged off, and what problems are really worth my attention and emotion.

Which brings me to my current dilemma. The first semester of my graduate program is known for its emphasis on group work. At the moment, I am part of four different groups at various stages of progress for different classes. None of those groups have had arguments or tension or anything, except for one.

One girl in one group seems to have targeted me...why? I am not really sure. She sent me a nasty e-mail a couple of weeks ago, cursed at me in class yesterday, and then sent an e-mail of epically horrible proportions: it was about five paragraphs long basically about how I am disrespectful, aggressive, mean, and that she has disliked me since the first day of class.

I immediately went to talk with the three other members of my group, who assured me that she is off her rocker and that I have not in any way been rude or disrespectful to her. I was too upset to handle it, so a guy in my group stepped up and went to the professor, who now wants to meet with Evil Girl and me in her office next week before class.

Logically, I know that I have not really done anything wrong. I've agonized over every interaction I've had with this girl, and still can't figure out what she's so angry about. I'm a nice person, I swear!! She claims that I have interrupted her, ignored her, excluded her, and insulted her—and I genuinely don't know what she is talking about.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon in tears. I talked about it with my other group members, my mom,  and members of another group that I met with yesterday evening. A couple of my friends even took me out for drinks later to get my mind off of it, but I can't stop thinking about it. I have this sick, twisting feeling in my stomach—butterflies times 1,000. I have tried talking myself down, reminding myself that I have been through so much worse and that this is small potatoes compared to all my health problems, that this girl isn't worth getting upset over, that my professor will help me sort it out...but I'm still freaking out!

Unfortunately I am just an incredibly sensitive person who feels everything deeply and cannot stand the thought of people being mad at me. Even if it is someone about whom I couldn't care less. The only good part of all this is that I have gotten an overwhelming amount of support from my other friends; everyone else in the group backs me up, everyone in my other group (who unfortunately had to witness me crying) responded with nothing but love and kindness. One of my friends brought me chocolate, another bought me a drink, and my mom was justifiably outraged on my behalf at this girl. So overall I am feeling very loved and supported, and I am trying to focus on the positive rather than getting swept up in the anxiety and negativity. But goddamn it, that stupid girl totally ruined my week.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Finally, Some Relief

I think this is really the first time that I can say with confidence that I feel better. Not sure if it's the capsaicin working already, since I've only been on it for two weeks, or if this is just natural improvement with time - but my pain has been greatly reduced for the past couple of weeks. I'm superstitious about even typing that because I keep expecting things to go south again, but knock on wood - I am feeling so much better. 

I'm not pain-free, but often I come pretty close. Often, in fact, the pain is not at the forefront of my mind. Of course I am totally paranoid that this is a random fluke thing, but it feels different. I haven't felt this consistently good in almost two years. It hasn't been a flip switching - more of a gradual downgrade to the point where I now have more good days than bad. Hard to imagine I'm here. And I am so grateful.

At the same time, this all puts me in a bit of a conundrum because I pretty much want to be out running and skipping and jump roping and what-have-you every second of the day...but apparently, I still have major problems eating enough to fuel all that joyful movement. I have done a little better the past couple days with eating more as suggested/ordered by Dr. P., but still not exactly where she wanted me. Plus the fact that I recently upped my running volume, so I really should be going beyond the planned caloric increase...


Gosh, I hate thinking about food! Didn't realize this, but it's been a while since I really rocked the ED boat in my head in terms of adding calories, shaking up timings, and adjusting for exercise and all that. Even though I know how much damage I did to myself in the past through undereating and overexercising, I still can't seem to make that connection in my head when I'm deciding what to eat for dinner.

I'm grateful, but I'm also scared. I've gotten used to feeling miserable all the time; to expecting the worse; to assuming that I won't ever get to enjoy things the way other people do. I'm happy, but it's a tentative, anxious happiness. I am trying to remember back to the first couple of times I saw Dr. A when he insisted over and over again that the anorexia is what screwed me; that losing my period for so many years was not harmless, but rather a sign that things beneath the surface were going horribly wrong. I keep trying to remind myself how good things are when I'm not hurting all the time, and how easily I could mess that up. I even bought a box of POP-TARTS, so there's really no excuse for me not hitting my calorie goals.

Okey doke, lots to ponder. I've got an hour left at work, then tutoring, then pharmacy to pick up my drugs, then home. Then Pop-tarts.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Back to Food Goals

Still feeling weirdly nervous and stressed out, but thanks for all the suggestions. I am going to do my best to just CHILL.

Moving on: Well, it's been a while since this kid got a food-related therapy assignment. Ugh. Since my pain has been a lot more tolerable and I'm in generally good spirits, the content of my appointments is pretty ED-centric these days. Like I mentioned in another post, I'm not so good about hitting my calories every day—sometimes because I'm simply busy and forget snacks, but mostly because restricting is easy and familiar and feels right. I never set out to restrict, but if I miss a snack—I'm certainly not going to make it up. The timing issue is still big; like if I miss my 3:00 snack, I won't eat it at 4:30 because that's too close to dinner... you know? That kind of thinking.

Starting a couple of weeks ago, Dr. P wanted me to just focus on getting back on track with my usual meal plan, and I did. Not a huge deal, really. But NOW she wants me to add stuff because she still thinks I don't eat enough and I'm running more and my weight is stable and lalalala. So the current goal is to tack on an extra XXX calories (more than 100 and less than 500 #that'sallI'msaying) per day for the whole week. I can tell you right now that it hasn't happened the past two days, but I'm really going to try starting today. Or maybe tomorrow. SHUT UP. You guys are the worst.

Oh! An update on the hot pepper cream: it hurts like hell when I first use it, but then slowly wears off. And my pain has been pretty significantly reduced in the past couple weeks. Too soon to say if the cream is working or I'm just having a random good couple of weeks, but I'll take it for now! Thanks for all the good wishes on this.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I've been getting this weird nervous butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling a lot lately; it's not anxiety really, or at least it doesn't feel like anxiety in the usual sick, sinking feeling of dread. I feel physically nervous, even when my mind is mostly pretty chill. Very strange. I guess I've been pretty stressed out and wound up about school stuff lately, but for the most part I have been pretty freaking happy. So why the nerves all of a sudden?

We read an article in one of my classes last week about young adulthood - that period from age 18 to about 26-27 or so when your whole life is in flux pretty much all the time, and you move every six months, and you can never pay your bills, and you're stuck somewhere between being a grown-up with responsibilities and being a student with assignments due every week...anyone know the feeling? Even without the added specter or mental illness lurking in the background, it's a pretty stressful, unstable, chaotic time for anyone. Reading about this made me feel a little better - more normal - but it also made me realize that this might be my life for the next several years, and I need to figure out how to handle the pressure.

Running helps a ton, but I don't want to rely on that too much for obvious reasons. I used to crochet a lot, or read, or watch TV shows, but it often feels like I just don't have time anymore. Hence the stress, I suppose.

I am trying to be smart about this and not let these fleeting nerves spiral out of control into the debilitating anxiety I had a year or two ago. But it's hard to stay on top of it when I'm otherwise doing pretty well, you know? More and more often, I find myself thinking: I'm happy. But somehow, at the same time, those butterflies in my stomach are going a mile a minute.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Festive Weekend Recap

Happy November! Can't believe Thanksgiving is coming up in just a few weeks, and then just a couple weeks after that this semester will be DONE.

I am buried in work this weekend, but I have still managed to go out three nights in a row. That is, like, unheard of for me—for at least that last two years or so. I used to be much more of a social butterfly, but now I'm generally a homebody. Must be my old age. That's right people, this kid hit the big 2-3 yesterday! Which means I'm almost 24, which is almost 25, which is my mid-twenties. So it's pretty much all downhill from here.

Anyway, it's been a fun few days—Halloween and then my birthday. My boss got me a card signed by everyone in the office, which was a huge surprise and super nice of her. One friend took me out on Thursday and got me a Groupon for a massage, and then another friend took me out last night! Both boys, and they both paid.... In related news, I have a bit of a dilemma and am going to need some girl talk pretty soon.

Today I went for a run (in Under Armour tights, ski socks, long-sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt, and gloves) then hit up Trader Joe's at Dr. P's suggestion. After I complained to her about how bored I was with food and how much I hated cooking, she recommended the frozen meals at TJ. I found a few Indian dishes that look really good. I also picked up a couple of Lara bars; I've had them before but never buy them, probably because I usually shop at a cheap-o grocery store in a slummy neighborhood where you are more likely to find ham hock, ribs, and beer.

What was my point? Oh, that I have new food to try and am almost looking forward to making (ahem microwaving) my dinner tomorrow!

Books of the week (well, more like past three months):
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander