Well it sure has been a ride, hasn't it? This year I had some of my highest highs and lowest lows, and just about everything in between. Entered my first (mostly) pain-free year since 2011, finished my first year of graduate school, dated for the first time since college, came off my medication, made some new friends, kicked some ass, got my ass kicked a little, and whatdyaknow, I'm still here.
I think it gives a really interesting, knowledgable, sensitive, nuanced perspective.
Depression has been on my mind more lately. I don't just mean I feel depressed, although that may be the case. I mean it's been on my mind in that I've been mulling over the nature of depression. Like, how much of it can I really control? How much is triggered by life happening around me, and how much is "just in my head"? How much of my constant ruminating about random shiz can be explained by wonky brain chemicals? How much of me is irrevocably fucked up at a chemical level? How much has this dark monster changed my actual personality? My ability to think clearly and form relationships and experience joy?
Oopsie daisies, didn't mean for this get quite so philosophical. Just been thinking a lot. I'll try to do a happier post soon. Much love, all.
Please? So I can stalk you on Facebook?
My Facebook page is private. Nice try. You may call me Kaylee, Kay, K, K-Lee, Oh-Kay-Doe-Kay, or K-doodle-bops. Take your pick.
How old are you now?
I am 24 and feeling insecure about getting old so leave me alone. The first thing my mom said when she called me up on my birthday last month was, "So, does this mean you're in your mid-twenties now?" EW BOO SHRIEK NO SHUT UP YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER EVER I HATE YOU AND I NEVER ASKED TO BE BORN.
Are your feet really that weirdly big?
I mean, sort of. I'm 5'3" and I wear a size 8, which is just one size down from my mom, who is 5'5". Is that weird? Now you guys are making me insecure again.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Oh, you mean when I finish my never-ending education? When I have accumulated so many letters after my name that they won't fit on business cards and people start to assume I'm overcompensating for something? I probably want to either go into academia or do research for a think-tank.
Oh my God, so many. Bad breath, bad grammar, bad spelling, bad manners, bad drivers, stupidity, know-it-alls, hipsters, girls who wear leggings all the time instead of real pants, dudes who don't know how to tuck in a shirt, people who don't know how to recycle, people who pop their gum......should I go on? I realize these are not so much pet peeves as just me being judgmental, but sorry. This is what you get.
Biting my nails, weighing myself, being a freak.
Two in each earlobe and one in my left cartilage.
The obvious ones are school-related: my senior thesis, my college GPA, my current research.
But honestly? I'm more proud of this stuff: Ditching the scale. Gaining XX pounds and dealing. Surviving the last five years. It hasn't been easy.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Employed doing something I love, married with one or two kiddos, skinny at a healthy weight, no therapy, no medication, happy. A girl can dream, right?
I keep finding myself writing that things are "weird" or I feel "off" or "not right." I'm not doing great, but I can't decide if it's depression or anxiety or a combination or just a strange stress response that needs some time to work itself out. Right now it's mostly manifested as worrying about my weight; I'm so stressed out and frustrated and confused about it, I don't know what to do. Dr. P has been begging me to make at appointment at my campus health center for months to get bloodwork done, which I finally did the other day. Results came back yesterday morning: normal, normal, normal. The only exceptions were: elevated AST (liver enzyme), which for some reason is ALWAYS high, no idea why and no one'e ever been concerned about it, and a slightly low free T4 (e.g. right on the bottom number of the reference range). The doctor's only suggestion for my tiredness and constant hungriness was to do a sleep study. Um, no. Dr. P wanted me to push for a referral to an endocrinologist, but I chickened out.
Sometimes I dip into a deep valley of depression—like two nights ago, when the fear and anxiety and despair over my weight left me sobbing so hard I couldn't fall asleep for hours. And sometimes I settle into a place of okay-ness, like "this is what my body needs, things will normalize," etc etc etc; at those moments, my earlier meltdowns seem ridiculous. But most of the time, I'm stuck in this weird limbo phase that's hard to describe. I'm not full-on panicking or falling apart, but I'm not great either. If I let myself think about my weight too much I'll start to cry.
The only explanation I can think of is that my body is still, after over two years of eating a more normal amount of calories (though never a "weight gain" amount), regulating itself. My weight had started to settle in the summer/fall of 2013, but then the period of excessive running that winter/spring seemed to trigger another few pounds. I don't really know if that's the case, but it's the only explanation that really makes sense in my head. I've been driving myself nuts trying to figure out how to unify all the conflicting things I've heard and read and experienced. Sometimes I freak out that exercise will make me gain weight, and other times I freak out that I'm not exercising enough. Sometimes I think I'm eating too much, or too littler, or too many carbs, or not enough protein, or too few vegetables, or too much salt, or not enough water....and on and on and on.
Clearly there's nothing glaringly wrong, since my bloodwork is consistently normal. We've ruled out all the big scary stuff, which is good. That means there's nothing incurable. Right? I don't have an autoimmune disease, I don't have a thyroid disorder, and I don't have cancer. In the moments when I'm being rational and mature and thoughtful about this, I remember that I was underweight for a long long time and my body didn't know which way is up. That my body has survived anorexia, hormone deficiencies, chronic pain, and the eye saga. My body is traumatized. I am only 24. In the grand scheme of things, this has been a blip. A major, life-altering, incredibly difficult blip, but a blip all the same.
So the best things I can do are:
1) Eat healthfully
2) Exercise moderately
3) Don't obsess.
All easier said than done, right? Not promising it will happen. But I'm going to try. And this is all I have to go on.
Getting ready to head home to my parents' house for two weeks. I'm furiously folding laundry and shoving stuff into my suitcase tonight, plus calculating out how little sleep I'm actually going to get by setting my alarm for—wait for it—3:45 IN THE MORNING. My flight is at six, but the cab's coming at 4:30. I am counting on no lines at security that early.....because normal people fly during the daylight hours, right?
Ugh, I SO hate packing. Probably why I'm blogging right now instead of, you know, actually packing. Can I also add how much harder is it to pack in the winter? Like, how am I supposed to fit all my layers and sweaters and scarves and wool socks and boots and gloves into a carry-on? Because after six years of making this trip home, I refuse to check a bag at the airport.
Apparently I'm back to my clipartting ways
Anyways. This post is blatant procrastination/complaining. Sorry to be boring. I had a weird/frustrating/interesting day today, but no energy or time to get into it now. Let's just say it involved: therapy, my weight, me being a freak, a doctor's appointment, me driving in circles for hours, getting lost in downtown College City, me being a freak again, and a lot of pouring rain. Hope to update more tomorrow!
Sandwiches are totally bumming me out lately. I have probably eaten a sandwich for lunch every day for the past five years, and I'm over it. I had some time yesterday and decided to be a little creative (and anyone who knows me knows this is monumental....I hate cooking, food stresses me out, and I am the least creative cooker/eater in the world). Anyway, what I did was roast a bunch of veggies (brussels sprouts, onions, red peppers) and mixed them with chickpeas and some spices into a salad-type concoction. Verdict: not bad! I really do wish I could be a little more adventurous, and get my shit together enough to plan actual meals for lunch instead of the same ole same old all the time. So, maybe a positive first step.
Sleep. Or, more specifically, my magical hippie drug Somnapure. I've only ever been able to find it at CVS (I usually shop at Walgreens because it's closer, and that's where I fill all my prescriptions) but lately, they've been out of stock. I still think the Somnapure has helped with sleep, but lately I've been trying to ration it (it's expensive) by taking half a dose plus valerian root, which didn't seem to do much on its own but seems to work okay in this combination. Anyway, I recently ran out of Somnapure and haven't been able to find it at CVS so I switched to a different brand of "natural, drug-free" sleep aids - can't tell if it works yet. Hopefully yes, because it costs a little less!
Spring schedule. My schedule is going to be significantly different next semester. I'm only taking three classes instead of five (well, four classes plus two labs, which I rounded to five), but working more hours at my internship and doing more research. I think it should be a little less stressful, especially without the doctoral apps to worry about. Well, I suppose in the spring the rejections will start rolling in, so that will probably be pretty stressful...
Snapchat. I might be twelve years old. But I love Snapchat. I only really use it with a couple of my friends, and we literally can carry on these ridiculous snap conversations all day long. At the risk of trying to make Snapchat into something poetic, I feel like it makes me look at things differently. It's not just enough to send a little message, but I have to send a wacky face with it, or a shot of something to illustrate the point or be ironic or funny or whatever. And knowing the picture disappears makes me braver and more creative and less cautious (I mean not in a weird naked-pictures kind of way, get your minds out of the gutter. You guys are gross). Am I putting too much thought into this? Probably. But I do love Snapchat. Kids these days have all the fun. Shoes. I love clothes and shopping, but 1) I have no money and 2) I have crap body image, so clothes shopping gets complicated. But shoes are another story. I LOVE SHOES. For my birthday back in November, I asked my brother for a pair of flats to replace the pair he'd gotten me a couple years ago. I sent him links for two options, and told him to pick whichever. Well, he forgot and I never got a birthday present from him—until last night, that is. To make up for being six weeks late, he bought me both.
You guys like?
SERIAL.I AM OBSESSED. I've never listened to podcasts before, and this was an amazing introduction. From the first minutes of the first episode, I was totally hooked. I am a total newbie to this podcast thing—are there other series like this out there? Must investigate. This could be life-changing.
You guys like my pics? It is a new thing I'm trying - Kaylee the Photographer instead of Kaylee the Clipart Finder. But if you are worried this will turn into a food blog, ha. That will not happen.
The number one sign that I'm struggling is that I isolate. I've always been more of a homebody than not, but when I'm doing well and feeling good about myself, that shifts: I go out more, I want to be around friends constantly, I get adventurous and excited and eager to do things outside the norm. And when things are rough, I hide out at home. I cry. I watch a lot of TV to get away from my thoughts. I listen to a lot of music to drown out the bad stuff. And then I close my laptop, take out the headphones, and realize how alone I am. The fact that my lonely/depressed cycle is self-perpetuating is not lost on me.
So, I am trying. I went out with friends last night. Last weekend when I was feeling so horrible, I forced myself to go to the office holiday party on Friday night and invited some friends over Saturday night. When another friend texted me with a spontaneous dinner invite yesterday, I went despite feeling fat and stressed. Tonight my college bestie is coming into town to get dinner and hang and keep me company for a night on her way home for Christmas. I've already started lining up stuff to do this weekend, although a lot of people have left town. Basically it feels like my brain needs major stimulation and uplifting right now, and too much alone time would not be good.
Dr. P and I talked a lot about depression today. About how it comes and goes, and is affected by external factors but also has biochemical causes that we don't really understand. About how medication might need to be back on the table.
Right now I am 100% resistant to meds. I still don't trust that Celexa didn't have something to do with my weight gain (although that was not the only reason I came off) and am totally spooked to go back on something. True, I have been in a major rut lately - one that has lasted longer than my usual PMS-related bouts of moodiness. True, depression has chemical underpinnings. True, Celexa was helpful with anxiety in the past. But it was never super helpful for depression, and I went through some of my absolute darkest moments while on medication. So, definitely not ready to try again.
Instead, I'm trying the old-fashioned way. I'm making plans with friends left and right. although it feels completely counter-intuitive. I am trying to have as many positive interactions with people as possible; I had a long conversation with a woman in my office who I don't know very well. I struck up a conversation with the cashier at the coffee shop I visit every day. I have been texting and Snapchatting and e-mailing nonstop, just to keep myself from feeling alone. And now I'm blogging.
Anyway, I guess the point of this was to say that I am still really struggling, but I also feel like I'm doing everything in my power to keep my head above water, to stay social and engaged and busy in the hopes that maybe I can pull myself out of this one. Totally white-knuckling it right now. It doesn't come naturally to me to reach out and try to have fun when I'm feeling down, and I'm pretty proud of myself for trying. I'm also consistently amazed at how much it can help.
The grouchiness has subsided a tad. I was feeling really down and sad this weekend....I had no plans Saturday night, but decided that was a recipe for even more sadness and loneliness, so I had a few girlfriends over to open a bottle of wine and complain - which was EXACTLY what I needed. Then on Sunday I did a big apartment cleaning, two loads of laundry, and worked on campus with one my best friends for a few hours in the evening. So, I'm feeling a little better I guess.
I just turned in my final paper and gave my final presentation for my last remaining class of the semester - which means I am DONE with schoolwork until January, and officially have just ONE semester left of my Masters. I am trying to take a moment and reflect on what a freaking HUGE accomplishment it has been to survive this semester, which was by far my busiest, craziest, most demanding and stressful semester of graduate school - maybe even ever. Trying to focus on that, and to be really proud of myself rather than just moving on to worrying about the next thing.
Well, I started off this post planning for it to be a relatively cheerful one, but now I don't know. I can't explain why I'm feeling so weirdly down and mopey these days. Maybe it's a bit of a letdown after the high of working so hard and going full-throttle for so long. It just seems like the little stuff is getting to me more. I'm ruminating on several things that have either happened or been said recently. I feel off and unsettled and not, like, content or at peace or comfortable at all. Basically I could burst into tears at any moment, and there's nothing really specific abut it other than a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and in the end it all adds up and is weighing so heavily on me that I can't manage.
I do not want to admit to myself that maybe this is just depression creeping back in. That it is a relapsing condition and maybe I'm just due for another crash. That maybe I really do need to be on medication, and there's nothing I can do about it.
This isn't making sense at all. Sorry. I'm going to cry for a little bit, and maybe then I'll be able to think more clearly.
I didn't expect this to affect me so much, but I am still super upset about the conversation my mom and I had a few days ago. I had just gotten through updating her on a bunch of school/research-related stuff, and then I mentioned some of the conflict I've been having about guys recently. Basically she made a few comments implying that (1) I'm being too picky and should stop "stringing guys along" and (2) I would be better off with a boyfriend.
I'm fairly certain she didn't it that harshly, but that's how it came across. Can you say INVALIDATING? I have been working my butt off trying to hack the school/work/research/life/recovery thing, and all she cares about is my love life? I tried to be subtly firm about the fact that having a boyfriend is not a priority at the moment, and while it would be nice, I'm doing a-okay on my own right now. After the several years of total physical and emotional turmoil, that in itself is a pretty huge accomplishment.
So, I'm not really sure what she thought her comments would accomplish other than to make me feel bad about myself. Yes of course it would be nice to have someone. And I'm already kind of insecure that I don't, and sometimes I am super lonely and wish I had a better support system. But I'm also doing okay.
I think my mom still just doesn't quite get how busy and stressful and complicated my life actually is. I think she also doesn't quite get how hard some of the simple stuff still is for me: eating three square meals, balancing the exercise piece, coping with my weight and the constant anxiety about pain and my eyes and other health issues. I mean, I am literally still obsessing and worrying about this stuff constantly. And you know what, that is a huge energy drain. I don't feel like a normal twenty-something; I still feel a little shell-shocked by all that has happened over the past 4-5 years, like I'm still dusting myself off and getting back on my feet.
It just hurts my feelings to think that she can't acknowledge how hard I'm working. For me, getting through each day with my health and emotionally state intact is enough. I'm doing consistently well, after several years of being unequivocally unwell. For now, that has to be enough.
My mom and I are super close and we NEVER fight, so this stung pretty bad. I've responded the mature way by refusing to call or text her since. And now I'm just feeing more lonely and lost than ever.
Not sure why this hit so hard, but I'm struggling.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the beautiful words on my last post. I've been having a rough go of it recently, feeling really defeated and lonely—but I literally cried reading your comments because I felt so loved and supported. This is why I blog. You are all the wonderful, wise big sisters I never had.
I told you I was feeling grouchy. I don't know if it's the culmination of a lot of niggling little things that have happened lately eating away at me, or if I'm just going through something weird, or the conversation with my mom that just happened in which she managed to make me feel 100% horrible about myself, but ugh. I am totally frustrated and angry and sad right now. Lotsa tears. These are the times when I really feel like my support system is lacking, because there is really no one I feel okay talking to about the stuff going through my head right now. These are also the times when I wonder, Am I totally fucked up? Or are these normal emotions? Sometimes I worry that because I've spent the last several years ill with an eating disorder, my brain hasn't caught up with the changes that happen to normal people between the ages of 19 and 24. And sometimes I worry that I worry too much, and that is why I can't just be normal and happy and okay.
Ugh, I am SO CRANKY. Having one of those days/weeks where everything and everyone is totally getting on my nerves. My friends, my mom, my classes, my job, my co-workers, EVERYTHING. Maybe this is just the culmination of a long, horribly stressful, exhausting, crazy semester finally coming to a head. I have a few things left for my classes, but then I'm just taking advantage of not having class to put in long hours at both my jobs. So as usual, my vacation is not really a vacation. Basically I am just stressed and frustrated and everyone around me is driving me insane and I don't know what I want except to be left alone. I feel like I can't relate to anyone around me and everyone is on a mission to irritate and demoralize me. At this point I just want to burrow under my covers with a book and a cup of coffee and have zero responsibilities for a long long time.
I have lots to vent about, but most of it is too convoluted to explain so I'll just skip it. I mentioned that I was reading this great book about cancer - even though I don't really have any particular vested interest, it is a really amazing read. I'm not done yet because I got busy and stopped reading for a couple weeks, but I'm getting back into it. You would think it'd be kind of dry for a non-medical person - the history of cancer research - but it's actually fascinating and once I start reading, I can't put it down. My winter break reading list is already a mile long and I cannot WAIT to have free time again.
Anyway speaking of cancer - I stopped by J's office to chat this morning, and found out that his own mentor from graduate school is very very sick, basically dying of colon cancer that had metastasized. So that's really sad.
Random example of people SUCKING: Someone left a post-it on my car in our building lot asking me to "park in the right place." Ha, um, we don't have assigned spots sooo...not sure wtf that is about. Upon receiving said note, I have continued to park wherever the fuck I want.
I need coffee. Or maybe some alcohol. And a punching bag.
I had therapy this morning after having last week off for Thanksgiving. Have I mentioned how much I love my therapist? I came close to giving up on therapy a couple of years ago after things with Dr. R came to a moderatelydisastrous end, and then I almost got stuck with this meanie, and then I found my beloved Dr. P. Sometimes I find myself questioning the value or purpose of therapy, and then Dr. P goes and does her amazing thing and I can't imagine not having her around.
Anyway, today we talked about some of my appetite frustrations. Aside from just being a sympathetic ear, she had a few suggestions and overall managed to make me feel a little better about the whole thing. Basically it comes down to challenging some of my food rules and rituals: experimenting with truly eating according to hunger instead of waiting two hours with a growly stomach until my self-appointed "dinner time," mixing up my portions and food choices, and allowing myself to incorporate extra, unlimited amounts of "free foods" that I don't normally include in my calorie count—stuff like celery sticks, baby carrots, blueberries, etc. The idea being that maybe if I really try honoring my hunger whenever it emerges, my body will get better at trusting me. I haven't one hundred percent committed to any big changes just yet, but I'll keep ya posted.
Besides all that, I got one of my final presentations out of the way this afternoon. And guess who got an A? OH JUST ME. Although it was kind of expected, because the professor is my advisor J and we're tight. It's nice to cross that off my list thought. Plus, I always appreciate the opportunity to practice public speaking and giving presentations; it is definitely a skill I will need for my future school/life plans, and I'm not great at it.
So, a great Thursday all around. I am off to pour myself a glass of wine and curl up in front of Homeland.
Back in College City after a nice Thanksgiving weekend at home. Still frustrated with myself and my body, but feeling a little better about stuff. It is Day 3 of my period (tmi? sorry) so I'm past the worst of the crampy part but still hella emotional. Lots of random bursting into tears. I cry when I read anything about Ferguson. I cried (discreetly) when someone in my class gave a presentation on child abuse. I'm reading a book about cancer by an oncologist, and I cry whenever one of his patients dies. #tearsfordays
Anyways. Other than that I'm fine. My semester is starting to wind down - at least in terms of classes. I still have two presentation and two papers to get through, but surprisingly feel pretty okay about them. My presentation for tomorrow is basically done, I just need to do a few practice runs. My paper due next Monday is mostly done. My paper due next Thursday is not started, but I'm not too worried about it. My other paper and presentation are due the following Monday, so I haven't really thought about them yet...
Most importantly, all my PhD applications are submitted! My advisor tested my anxiety-management skills by waiting until THE DAY BEFORE THE DEADLINE to submit his letter of recommendation, but he did indeed submit it and all is well. I can't believe that December 1 deadline, which had been hanging over my head for SO long, has finally passed.
This semester was unbelievably stressful and I'm definitely happy it's ending, but I also think I've learned and grown a lot since August. I am trying to reflect a little bit on that, and be proud and happy with myself rather than just trucking along, never feeling quite adequate. My spring semester should be substantially lighter in terms of coursework, although my research project will probably intensify and I'll be spending more hours at my internship, so I will probably stay about as busy as I am now. Eventually (assuming I get accepted anywhere.....) I'll also have to do some traveling to visit other schools and make a decision about where to head next, but I can't worry about all that just yet.
I just booked planed tickets home for a full two weeks starting December 23, which is the longest vacation I've taken in a few years. I am planning to eat and sleep a lot, not overexercise, and enjoy my family as much as possible.
Hey everyone, sorry for my freak-out the other night. I'm still feeling very defeated and humbled, and hate having to face the fact that my eating disorder is not gone and I am not recovered. It is certainly less present and all-consuming than it used to be, but it's still here and that really sucks.
I suppose I shouldn't minimize the fact that despite all the ickiness swirling in my head right now, the thought of restricting has not even occurred to me. It's literally not an option anymore. In fact, I've even considered actually upping my intake for a while to see if that helps my hunger signals stabilize and evens out my brain a little. If that isn't a sign of recovery, I'm not sure what is. Now I'm just left with all the obsessions and anxiety and self-doubt.
Also, I joke about this all the time, I know, but it has occurred to me that I'm probably underestimating the extent to which PMS messes with my head/body/emotions. I am pretty stable and okay about food and weight stuff the vast majority of the time, but the times I do freak out and lose it tend to be during the week before my period. These are the times I find myself bursting into tears for no reason, ruminating about my weight, panicking about calories and exercise, and Googling things like "metabolism" and "BMR calculator" and "WHY AM I FAT."
The raging PMS is definitely a post-anorexia phenomenon. I can't remember having period-related mood swings like this even when I was a teenager (before I lost my period for several years starting when I was 18), although my period was always pretty irregular so it's hard to say for sure. Also, I was a teenager and mood swings were kind of par for the course.
Don't freak out - I stepped on a scale when I was at home. The number was around where I expected given that I (A) had just eaten lunch; (B) was wearing jeans; and (C) was in the middle of blow-drying my hair, so my hair was soaking wet and I was holding a hair dryer and a brush. Actually, the number was probably a tad lower than I feared, but if I recall correctly, my mom's scale always ran about 2 pounds low. I'm not sure what my point was here, but just reporting that I did weigh myself but the number was relatively meaningless and it didn't really affect me that much. Still terrified to weigh myself "for real."
Sorry this was rambly. Just trying to update you guys and also make sense of some things in my head. In summary, ED's suck and recovery is complicated.
I have been struggling with my eating disorder quite a bit recently. Not really behaviors, more thoughts and obsessions. I know you are probably thinking—um duh, it's Thanksgiving. Who wouldn't struggle with their ED on Thanksgiving? But hear me out. I am just feeling so darn confused and frustrated and demoralized. I already wrote about this once recently, but I DO NOT understand my appetite or my hunger cues or how I should know when to eat. I have eaten by a schedule for so many years, I don't know how to do it any other way, even when I want to.
Last week my team at work went out to a Thai restaurant for lunch. No, I was not told until that morning and yes, I then spent the entire morning freaking out about it. The lunch actually turned out to be fine (Thai is a relatively "safe" cuisine for me) and I had no problem cleaning my plate of mostly veggies and shrimp in some delicious spicy sauce. I had a pretty solid ballpark estimate of the calorie content in my head of how much I'd eaten; it was a number bigger than my normal lunch, but one that was okay with me and that could be worked into the rest of my day pretty easily. I was just polishing off the last couple of bites and feeling relatively good about it when the woman sitting next to me finished of her last bite, pushed the plate away, and kind of moaned and rubbed her stomach and said something like "Wow, I'm SO full, I don't think I'll have to eat ANYTHING ELSE for the rest of the day!" And I was like uhhhh are you kidding??? Pretty sure I'll be hungry again in three hours.
So then I started obsessing about whether maybe I'd underestimated the calories? Maybe I shouldn't eat the rest of the day either? Or maybe what I've been assuming are hunger pains are actually not true hunger? Or maybe eating lots of small meals and snacks throughout the day is revving up my hunger and I should cut back?
And I realized yet again that I have no concept of "eating according to hunger," and that my appetite and metabolism are still utter mysteries to me. But honestly, there is no possible way I'm eating "too much" for my hunger; when I don't eat every 3-4 hours, I get dizzy, sick, weak, and gnawing stomach pains. Yesterday my schedule was off since I was on an early flight to Home City, ate breakfast on the plane, ate lunch on the drive home with my mom, and then skipped my usual afternoon snack because (1) I forgot; (2) I knew we were going out to dinner and wanted to restrict a little. The last two hours before dinner, I was a wreck. My stomach was growling like crazy, I was light-headed, cranky, and bone-tired. By the time we got to the restaurant, I could barely think straight I was so hungry. I ate a tuna sandwich and even some of the french fries that came with it, and felt better. But my calories for the day were still lowish from what I usually eat, and I started feeling hungry again a few hours later, so I ate some trail mix right before bed. Which made me feel like a pig.
And today, I ate breakfast around 9:30 and then we didn't have our big holiday meal until about 3:30. I was starving by noon, but refused to eat anything because I didn't want to "spoil" the meal. Instead, I spoiled the entire day because my stomach was churning and growling like a monster. I didn't even end up enjoying Thanksgiving dinner because my stomach just hurt at that point. Now I'm bloated, sick feeling, and still low on calories for the day, and can't decide if I need to eat more or not.
This wouldn't be so mentally hard if I weren't at my highest weight ever. It's really really hard to want to eat when you know the calories-in calories-out thing isn't exactly working the way everyone promised. I'm also PMSing, and thus feeling particularly fat and emotional.
Another random thing that isn't helping: my brother had always been an athlete and in great shape until he went to college, when he quit organized sports, joined a fraternity, and gained bunch of weight. He was never fat, just bulky and had a beer belly. He stayed that way until about a year or so ago when he discovered biking. He started doing signing up for endurance races and did long rides before work. He slimmed down a ton and looked great. But, I guess he's kind of backed off on the biking for a while because things got so crazy at work, and I just saw him this weekend for the first time since last Christmas—and he's gained quite a bit of weight back. As far as I can tell, he has no real qualms about it, and eats liberally without food restrictions. But my mom mentioned his weight to me privately (I hadn't noticed yet because he'd been sitting down all night), and it just messed with my head more.
I kind of want to talk this out with my mom, and get her opinion on how I'm eating and how I look....but I also don't really know how to bring it up, and don't trust that she won't say something inadvertently triggering. I definitely don't trust myself to handle a triggering comment well. I am kinda sorta considering going back to a dietitian, but I also kind of hate dietitians and don't want to. I am just confused and frustrated and sad that this is still taking up so much space in my life.
Anyone else get back pain around their period? My back started bothering me off and on several months ago, and I just assumed it was from sitting too much and being fat and old. But now I'm starting to put the pattern together and realize it seems related to my period. I'm not just weepy and cranky because my back hurts; but I'm weepy and cranky AND my back hurts because my uterus is doing crazy shit like it does. Also I am bloated. So my back hurts, my stomach is sticking out, and I have cramps.
Ibuprofen doesn't seem to touch it, and I can't go on hormonal birth control for a variety of reasons. Any thoughts? DO YOU THINK IT'S FATAL? I'm a dork. But seriously, my back hurts. Help!
I've been weirdly exhausted lately. Not sleepy-tired, but that deep, achy tired where it feels like your whole body is made of lead. Sometimes I think it's hunger, but I'm never sure (see previous post for more on my appetite-related confusion). Anyway, the past two nights I've fallen asleep on the couch for an hour, then gone to bed and slept another eight hours, which is UNHEARD OF for me. Usually five, six hours of sleep and I'm good to go. I guess my body is telling me something!
Just two real days this week and then I'm off to Home City for Thanksgiving. This is one of my favorite holidays, but also one of the most stressful because it always falls during a particularly hellish part of the semester, and it involves a lot of traveling for a relatively short visit. That being said, I am super excited to spend a few days at home with Mama and Popsicle and Big Bro B.
I saw the new Hunger Games movie yesterday. It was okay, just a lot of J Law being weepy and angsty instead of BADASS. Hopefully Part II will make up for it. Also, I know how the little love triangle ends because I read the books, but I do not care.....#TeamGale.
I have a new musical obsession: Labrinth. This one is called "Beneath Your Beautiful."
"Let It Be," "Jealous," and his cover of "Shake is Off" are also awesome. That may be because I'm obsessed with anything TSwift.
I also bought a book at Barnes & Noble this weekend. I have a Kindle, but sometimes I just really want an old-fashioned book, you know? And to make it worth the money, I got a big fat juicy one: The Emperor of Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Update: I bugged my advisor the other day about my AS YET UNSUBMITTED LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION WHICH IS DUE IN LESS THAN ONE WEEK. He promised he wouldn't forget. And while I am still moderately anxious about it, I trust him completely and know it will get done. So, that's one less thing to worry about.
Another update: I think Ex-New Dude may have given up, at least for now. I just started straight-up ignoring his texts, and haven't heard anything in about a week. Also I am being a wimp and hiding from the other guy (undergrad friend) who was starting to maybe sorta show some interest. Still trying to convince myself there isn't something fucked up in my head and my heart.
Welp, that's it for now. I'm tired again. Happy Sunday, folks.
I stopped weighing myself a couple of months ago because I literally could not cope with the number anymore. Without me trying, my weight had drifted up to a place that seemed (still does, a little) intolerable. Too high, too much, too fast. I had been weighing myself daily for years, but it was starting to cause more distress than was manageable. Even as other stuff in my life was falling into place, seeing the number of the scale was completely destroying me on a regular basis.
When I was still actively engaging in my eating disorder, the scale performed a very important function; it showed me that what I was doing was working. My goal was always to lose weight, and the scale provided a tangible gauge of progress. If the number was up, I ate less and worked out more. Simple.
Now, that response is no longer an option. Regardless of what the scale says, I won't restrict because I am no longer willing to restrict. So, the number only serves to demoralize and frustrate, and what's the point of that? I had always thought the scale kept me grounded by preventing irrational fears about runaway weight gain, but in a lot of ways it just kept me stuck.
It's possible that my weight has continued to drift, but I'm not aware of it on an immediate, constant basis anymore and I find myself experiencing this strange peace of mind surrounding my weight. This is not to say that I don't care about my weight anymore, because I do and I hate that. I still have flurries of panic every now and then about are my jeans tighter? is my stomach sticking out more? did my arm just jiggle? But eliminating that concrete daily reminder has worked wonders in terms of keeping the weight off my mind. Sometimes I even think that weight isn't super important. And most of the time, gaining weight doesn't seem like the absolute worst thing in the world anymore. It still seems pretty bad, but probably not the worst. There are other things I care about substantially more, which has not always been the case.
Today when I was getting dressed, I noted how "fat" I've gotten, as usual, and then kind of shrugged it off and went on with my day. Seems minor, but I didn't used to be able to do that. I'm not promising there won't be more freaking out about my weight, but hopefully less and less of it over time.
ARGH I've had a headache for about three days now. Not sure if it's stress or sleep deprivation or a cold coming on or what. Shocker of the century, I am totally stressed out and have been staring at my computer for about 72 hours straight. This weekend was basically allll work, except for yesterday morning when I worked at the food bank for a few hours before heading back to campus to meet up with my friend to work on our stats homework. I was there until about 6:30 pm, and then came home and worked on other stuff until about 11pm when I crashed on my couch in front of a soccer game. I didn't sleep well at all due to ruminating about various things. Also, my stomach was bothering me, which may have been due to either (a) hunger, (b) nerves, or (c) both. I didn't fall asleep until about 2 or 3 am, and woke up at 6:30. So, I'm dragging. Then I've spent all day today working on a paper, and here it is almost dinnertime and I still have a problem set to finish, two article reviews to write, 50 pages to read, and stuff for my advisor. Now I am debating skipping it all, curling up under my Snuggie (still the best Christmas present I've ever gotten), and sleeping until Thanksgiving.
Sorry to be boring, but I am totally snowed under with schoolwork these days and it's pretty much all I can think about. Speaking of snow, it is LITERALLY SNOWING outside and I am not down with that. One positive update: Big Man Dr. M spent Friday morning submitting all my recommendation letters! Now that just leaves J. I guess it's time to put my kidnapping plans into action. Although, he actually mentioned to me recently that his son (15 months) has been a major pain in the butt lately due to screaming all night long, so maybe I don't particularly want to kidnap Baby J. Hmmm......
My appetite confuses me. Sometimes I wake up starving first thing in the morning, and sometimes I wake up feeling bloated and full. Sometimes I'm starving for lunch at 10:30, and sometimes I could take it or leave it at noon. Sometimes I scarf my snack at 2pm, and sometimes I forget until 4...which is too close to dinner at 7, so I skip it only to be ravenous at 4:30. Sometimes my 2pm snack fills me up, and sometimes my stomach is growling an hour later.
And hunger. Sometimes it's typical tummy-rumbling, but more often it's light-headedness and bone-dead fatigue. I am convinced I get hypoglycemic easily, but I actually have no idea if that is true.
Maybe I am just hyperaware of this stuff, and the day-to-day differences are magnified because I still eat basically the same stuff at the same times every single day. Maybe I'm still growing! Up, not out, please.
They say your hunger cues and metabolism and all that even out after a while...how long is a while? Not sure. I've been an "officially" healthy weight (BMI-wise) for....hmm...around two years now? Maybe 18 months? So, I guess not that long in the grand scheme of things, but it would be nice to know things are settling into some sort of normal rhythm. I haven't weighed myself in a while so I'm not sure what's up with that, but all my clothes fit about the same, I guess. I've gotten my intake up to a pretty solid, normal amount and have maintained it for a long time now, which is a HUGE improvement for me. Based on appetite alone, I am typically more often hungry than not, but upping my intake still kind of scares the crap out of me. Over the past year or so I have been trying to increase my fat intake, so that I now eat a relatively high-fat diet, without really changing my calories much, with the idea that that would be more satisfying. I'm not sure if I feel any more satisfied, but I'm sure all the peanut butter, walnuts, olive oil, and cheeses aren't doing any harm
I am hungry right now, can you tell? Maybe I need to stop obsessing about this and just EAT.
Seven PhD apps submitted, four to go! More than halfway! But OF COURSE while I am busting my ass over here getting all these things together for the December deadlines, my recommenders are totally being LAME and SLOW, so I have those big fat red messages next to their names on eleven different websites: Letter not started. Perfecto, thanks guys! This is really doing great things for my anxiety! I'm not even freaking out a little bit!
Well, that is not completely fair because two of my four recommenders have submitted their letters with plenty of time to spare. OF COURSE it is the two women professors who are being responsible and timely, while the two dudes are procrastinating to the fullest extent of their abilities. One of them is my advisor J, so I am perfectly happy to beat down his door and hold his children hostage until he submits my letter, but Big Man Dr. M is a total celeb professor and he is famous and he scares me! Plus, his kids are grown-ups so it would be harder to kidnap them for ransom. But, desperate times. If anyone wants to lend some muscle and/or has kidnapping experience, holler at me.
I am kidding about the hostage-taking. Don't arrest me.
I cancelled therapy tomorrow. Not sure why. I do this about once every other month or so (not counting times when I legitimately have to miss, like being out of town or something like that). The fact is that after three years of basically continuous therapy, sometimes I just really don't feel like going. I don't feel like talking about eating disorders or depression or any of my shit. This happens more often when I'm doing well, like now, but it also happens when I'm not doing so hot and don't feel like sitting there and crying for an hour.
I adore my therapist, so it has nothing to do with that. I think being in therapy just reminds me that I'm sick. Or at least that I was sick, and that I'm still a little sick. Right now I would consider myself relatively recovered from my eating disorder, but it's not like you go from sick to well in a hot second and that's that. And the further I get in recovery, the more it dawns on me how sick I was for how long. When I look back at myself at 13 or 19 or even 22, I want to cry for how sick I was and never knew it.
When I was 19, I was hospitalized for low heart rate. I spent the whole time being SO MAD because it felt like everyone was tearing my life out of my hands, and that I had no control over anything anymore. And now it makes me sad to realize that they were actually saving my life. I wish I could apologize to the doctors who got stuck with me, because I was an obstinate little snot.
There is this girl I met at the first treatment center I went to back in Home City (where my parents live) about four years ago. We stayed in touch, but things have gotten strained. Basically, she is still very very sick in her eating disorder. She also has other issues (purging, self-harm, etc.) that I don't fully understand, although I've always tried to be supportive. But this girl is not doing well, and has gotten VERY needy with all the texts, e-mails, etc. Anyway, I have found the need to pull back lately. It makes me feel kind of bad, but is also freeing in the same way it has been freeing to pull away from my own eating disorder. It also just makes me sad, because that was me not long ago: being sick and self-destructive, blind to something that was so apparent to everyone else.
So, I feel like I'm being a bad friend, but I'm also putting myself first. For me, recovery was a choice. The health problems forced my hand a bit, but ultimately I had to decide that enough was enough. And now that I have, it seems so freaking obvious that I can't believe I didn't do it sooner. My friend hasn't made that choice, and I can't make it for her. I guess that's the illness, and I'm not implying that people with eating disorders are "choosing" to stay sick. But I did choose to get better after many years of choosing not to.
I guess my point is that sometimes I need a break from being a Sick Person, or a Recovering Sick Person, and need to just be a person. Although I am immensely grateful to my beloved Dr. P., I wouldn't see her if I weren't sick. And I probably wouldn't have been friends with this girl if we hadn't been sick together. So, I just need a break.
UGH. YOU GUYS. Remember how I mentioned on my last post that I had gone out with this guy from college and he kinda sorta made it seem like he wanted it to be a date, and I pretty much decided I didn't? Well, I got home around 11:30 all stressed out about it and feeling like a huge bitch for not reciprocating with this super sweet, generous, gentlemanly guy...when I got a loooong text from the former New Dude who I dated briefly at the end of the summer, basically saying stuff like "I'm sorry if I pressured you or made you feel uncomfortable, and I just really like you and enjoyed spending time with you and I hope we can still be friends and yadda yadda yadda."
I didn't answer him at first (instead I called my best friend and vented for about an hour about how boys SUCK and then she reminded me that she is very happily in love with her boyfriend of over a year so I was like 'okay, you SUCK'). Anyway, I felt too mean ignoring Old New Dude completely, so eventually I texted back something lame like, "No need to apologize! It's all good!" and hoped that would be the end of it....but oh no, Old New Dude was not letting me off that easy. He texted me back about how he had been so worried I was mad, and he just really liked me and wanted to spend more time with me and hoped we could still be friends... And I just straight-up ignored that one.
But did Old New Dude take a hint? No. He texted me a couple times Sunday night asking about my weekend, and then again this morning commenting on the weather.
Honestly I feel bad because he seems kind of lonely and in need of a friend, but I don't think I can be that to him. And I think he needs to respect the fact that we tried it, it didn't work, and now I want to be left alone.
I hate these situations. My gut tells me this guy isn't right for me, and that my college friend isn't either. My mom keeps telling me to hold out for the right guy. But at times like these, when I know I'm hurting someone who would probably make a great, loving boyfriend, it feels like there's something wrong with me for closing myself off and not going with it.
Busy weekend! On Friday I worked 8am-5pm (YAWN) and then hung out with a friend from college. We got dinner at a Thai restaurant and then strolled around my neighborhood for a while. It wasn't supposed to be a date, but somehow it started to feel like he wanted it to be one. I don't think I'm interested, and managed to keep things in the Friend Zone for the time being, but....I guess, stay tuned. Then on Saturday I worked at the food bank downtown for a few hours before meeting up with my friend for a study sesh (mostly we just complained the whole time, but I got SOME work done). Then I headed out to another friend's apartment for a girls' night in - dinner, wine, and Good Will Hunting. I may have cried during the "IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT, WILL" scene. Toldja I was feeling emotional.
Then I paid for all that playtime today, which I spent entirely doing homework and chores (grocery store, three loads of laundry, and vacuuming), but it was totally worth it. I know that I'm in a good place mentally and emotionally when I actually WANT to be social and see my friends and have fun, so I try to go with it as much as possible.
Busy week as usual coming up. Class, work, meetings, more work, etc. For those of you keeping track, my tally is now up to five of eleven applications submitted, so I'm slowly chipping away at that.
Oh! The most exciting part of my life these days is that Homeland is back! I love this show. It rivals The Wire and the original Law and Order (none of that SVU nonsense) as one my all-time favorites.
Other random stuff I am currently obsessed with:
- Taylor Swift. Go ahead and judge me, I literally do not care. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.
- Wine. Remember how I used to not drink calories? Well, I am all about the wine these days. It totally chills me out and is an awesome way to get in an extra one or two hundred calories at the end of the day when I'm tired and don't feel like eating. It is ALSO an awesome way to gauge whether or not I've eaten enough that day, because if not then one glass gets me a little drunk.
- My new iPhone. I am in love. I'm still kind of a newb with it and this autocorrect bullshit drives me nuts, but I swear, just having it in my pocket makes me like 50X cooler than I was a month ago.
I'm now into Month Four of being off Celexa. Still haven't noticed a huge difference. My anxiety has maybe been a bit high lately, but I am more inclined to blame my current stressful circumstances than the med change. Actually, I can't decide if the insane schedule has helped or worsened by anxiety and obsessiveness. Yes obviously I am stressed out and on edge, but it is usually about stuff that is meaningful (except for this shit) and not stupid ED stuff like my weight or calories or whatever. I definitely feel like my life has more purpose and direction that I did during some of my worst times a couple of years ago.
Anyway, back to the med update: I am still uber emotional. I cry easily, but not in an "I'm miserable and depressed way," more of an "I am having too many strong emotions to keep them inside." And they are usually in response to something external, like a sad news story or a movie or something, and not internal self-hatred. Most of the time, my self-hatred is pretty minimal.
Another weird thing is happening, which may be related to the lack of self-hatred thing: my body image has gotten better. It's still not good, but better. In fact, I actually feel skinnier, which is weird because I'm pretty sure I haven't lost weight, although I'm too freaked out to get on the scale and check. I haven't weighed myself in over a month now, and the last time was absolutely devastating. So, I'm going to just ride the wave and try not to obsess too much. Let's hope this feeling hangs around, regardless of what the scale does.
I guess that's about it. It really has been pretty anti-climactic, after all that obsessing about whether or not to continue with the medication. I don't want to get cocky, especially after I was reminded by a professor in class today (who was off on a tangent...) that "depression is a relapsing illness" and that having had one episode is like the number one risk factor for having another. And I've had a couple already. Depression scares me probably more than anything in the world. It is something that cannot really be expressed or explained to someone who hasn't experienced it, and it's hard to re-conjure those feelings when you are feeling good. But right now, I am feeling relatively empowered and optimistic.
I knew these PhD apps were going to be a lot of work, but geez.... You guys should see the folder I have on my computer devoted to this thing. Separate folders for each school, a master spreadsheet with all my schools and each application component, plus separate spreadsheets for each recommender and various other organizational things.
Anyway, I started submitting last week. Four down, seven to go.
I am warning you ahead of time, this post is going to be bitter and cranky and just plain mean.
I am feeling so many unexplainable ups and downs these days. Sometimes I am totally fired up and excited for the future, and other times I am completed bogged down with everything I have to do. Obviously I'm doing too many things right now and that isn't sustainable, I know that. But I don't really have a choice. All the stuff that I want to quit, I can't. My internship, which is required for my degree program, is boring and unfulfilling and I can't believe I have to work there until May. UGH. Then there's my regular job, which is mostly fine because I like my boss and the hours are flexible, but I don't really love the work I'm doing there and would quit in a heartbeat if that were financially feasible. Then there's school, which I mostly like but am just plan tired. Then there's my research, which I love, and would spend all my time working on if I could.
I guess this is just the nature of the masters program, and I cannot WAIT to be done and start my doctorate. I am so sick of getting pulled in a million directions and getting zero appreciation from anyone for how hard I'm working.
I saw my cousin this weekend and all she did was complain complain complain about how many hours she works, how hard her job is, and how tired she is. She is a new nurse working three 12-hour shifts per week. Now, I KNOW it is a tough schedule. I KNOW that nurses deserve a special place in heaven for what they do. And I KNOW that I'm about to sound like a snotty brat for what I'm about to say....but you know what, I work 12-hour days every fucking day of the week. Between my three jobs, I work over 40 hours per week and then OH YEAH I'm a full-time student. So, frankly, she needs to find someone else to complain to because I have no sympathy left.
I don't think I would be this pissed off and frustrated with my schedule if I didn't feel so under-appreciated. At my internship, I show up dutifully three days a week and pretty much either no one notices, or they give me shit work that a toddler could do. Then I show up at my job, and they ask me to me to make copies or update the website or deliver mail. Then I'm expected to show up at class and perform, go home and do my homework and perform some more, and then wake up the next morning and do it all over again. I am TIRED.
I am also lonely, because I have very little time for a social life and all my friends are basically in my same program anyway. I would like to meet people outside of school because I'm sick of school, but I don't know how and I don't have the time or energy to be creative about it.
Sorry there was no point to this post other than venting. I know things will get better - the semester is almost over, and then I have just one semester left until I graduate. So, almost there.
Sorry I've sort of dropped the ball on posting lately. Things are hectic. My anxiety has been pretty high but I am mostly coping okay.
I had a really awesome weekend. It was unexpected, because on the subway ride home Friday evening I realized I had NO plans for the entire weekend except work work and more work. Sometimes I like to keep my weekends totally open so I have time to get everything done without distractions, but that night I was just feeling SO lonely, I wanted to cry. Instead, I texted some friends and basically begged for some company. As a result, I ended up doing a bunch of fun things with a bunch of different people over the next couple days. I went out with a group on Saturday night, and then went pumpkin/apple picking on Sunday morning, and lunch at a new diner near my apartment with two of my best grad school friends.
Sometimes putting myself out there doesn't come naturally, and I have to remember to push myself and be brave. In the end I always have a good time, and am always happy when I go out instead of stay home. This week in particularly, I just felt SO refreshed and centered after spending time with friends and having fun, as opposed to being stressed and off-balance.
Then it was back to school and work the past two days. I handed in a big project yesterday, and had a presentation in one of my classes on Monday that went well, so I'm super jazzed about that. One major complaint about my current schedule is that I've been spending an unbelievable amount of time sitting in front of a computer, so I always feel this weird mix of antsy and sluggish. Plus, my lower back is totally killing me from all the chair time. I've never had back problems until the past few months, and I'm not sure what to blame it on....the sitting? The walking around in flimsy shoes? Lack of exercise causing weakness and stiffness? Old age?
Hoping to provide a more robust update sometime soon. Stay tuned.
You guys are the best!! Your stressbusters are awesome. I am definitely feeling way more in control on things this week, especially after getting a bunch of papers out of the way. Two of my classes are causing major stress and frustration - but more because of professor/interpersonal-related things than work-related things, and it's too complicated to explain right now. I am trying to stay zen and within myself and not get fired up about stuff I can't control and that won't matter long-term...but grrr people make me mad.
Otherwise, things are chugging along. I am having a hard time believing the semester is almost two-thirds done, which seems CRAZY considering how much has to happen between now and December 10. I have lots more to write about school stuff, ED stuff, life stuff, etc. but I'm tired and hungry and sick of staring at a computer, so til next time.
Oh! You guys know how I have this confusing relationship with country music? Like how I pretend to kinda/sorta like it but actually I hate all of it??? Well, I literally almost DIED when I heard this song on the radio this morning....normally it would irritate the hell out of me since it's so twangy, but it articulates like 90% of what I HATE about most country songs. So, day=made.
I AM EXTREMELY STRESSED OUT. Sorry. Just needed to get that off my chest. It is sort of strange because school has always been my thing, and I don't really get too worked up about it. But this semester is out of control...in the next week I have:
- one project due (tomorrow)
- one lab homework due (Monday)
- one 15-page paper due (Monday)
- two 30-minute presentations (Monday and Thursday)
And stuff doesn't really seem like it's going to slow down anytime soon...three of my classes have huge final projects that will be due over the next 4-6 weeks. I am also writing two manuscripts for my advisor, running analyses on three datasets, and working 30 hours between my two other jobs. I am ALSO juggling 11 doctoral applications with four recommenders.
Anyone want to take some of this off my plate? Anyone? Anyone?
I know it will all get done. And I knew coming into this semester it would be a doozy. But this is the first time I've really taken stock of everything that needs to be accomplished in the near future and was like, Wow. Not actually sure how it's going to happen.
Sorry that pretty much all my posts these days are about either A) I am stressed or B) I can't sleep. Raise your hand if you think they might be related.
I am not using any super unhealthy coping techniques - a.k.a. I am still eating and I am not running 50 miles a day. But I am obsessively making lists, checking my calendar every six seconds, chewing gum like a fiend, chewing my fingernails like a fiend, scribbling notes to myself like a fiend...basically I have turned into an all-around fiend. And I am working myself into a tizzy pretty much every evening about everything I need to do and everything I have not done.
Stress for me manifests deep in my gut. I get this sick, nervous, twisting sensation that feels like I'm about to go on stage, or ride a giant rollercoaster. And when that sets in, it stays with me. I don't think my stomach has unclenched since the semester started back in August. I suppose I could just white-knuckle it and pray and hang on for dear life until December, but that seems like it might not be the best course of action for a variety of reasons.
So!I am seriously asking for your tips, your wisdom, your musings, anything you do to stay sane when you are stressed!I do not care if it is an old wives' tale or hippie nonsense or some embarrassing ritual, I will try anything (well, most things). And I will be eternally grateful!!
Unrelated: I got my first iPhone over the weekend as an early birthday present (and also because my old phone was near death). It makes my life feel a little more complete.
Whew, just got back to College City after a whirlwind weekend at home. Last Thursday afternoon I went straight to the airport from class, got into Home City around 9pm and back to my parents' house around 11. On Friday, my mom and I went into Big City (about fifty miles from Home City) for my appointment with Dr. A. Quick review: I last saw him a year ago, which was my third or fourth appointment with him. We had tried a bunch of stuff for my neuropathy (hormones, steroids, physical therapy, wait-and-see...) and things had gotten marginally better but not enough for any significant quality-of-life improvement. So at the last appointment he prescribed capsaicin cream, which worked like a miracle almost immediately - I'd say within a week or two, I was noticing relief for the first time in two years. My pain was almost entirely gone for about six months, during which I ramped up my running to semi-excessive levels. Then my periods started getting wonky, and the pain started bothering me again. I put off making this appointment because I kept thinking that once I eased off the exercise, things would go back to normal. They started to, but not fast enough.
Anyway. I was SO NERVOUS for this appointment because I thought he would roll his eyes at me and basically say "you messed things up for yourself, deal with it." Or, maybe even worse, "the capsaicin was my last trick. This is as good as it gets."
But, he did not. He basically said, "I'm sorry you're still in pain. That is not okay. Let's fix it."
He ended up prescribing another medication that dulls the nerves (a topical version of a tricyclic antidepressant, if anyone is interested). I'll pick it up on Tuesday, and see what happens.
My other main questions for him were: 1) exercise, and 2) birth control. Like I said, the pain really spiked after a period of heavy running, and since then I've been really unsure of how much is okay for me to work out. Plus, my periods have been pretty erratic for the past six months or so, and my gynecologist keeps wanting to put me on the pill. Dr. A told me that birth control is actually the most common cause of this type of nerve pain, due to the huge suppression of testosterone in women with "inefficient" testosterone receptors. The cause for me was anorexia-induced amenorrhea, which essentially had the same hormonal effect as the pill. So whether it's overexercise or birth control, my body CANNOT handle hormonal fluctuations like that. Dr. A has been adamant about curbing the exercise before, but I guess I needed to hear it again.
Best part was, he predicted that if we keep the nerves turned off for long enough with medicine, then they will eventually turn off by themselves = no pain.
Other weird observation: Dr. A looked like he had lost about 30 pounds since the last time I saw him. Both my mom's and my jaws dropped when he came into the room. He wasn't overweight before, just kind of big and hulking, but now he's slim and trim. I swear, he looked like a different person. No, I was not triggered. But dying of curiosity about how and why he got so skinny.
Well, I've been taking the valerian root for...3 nights now, I think? Can't say my sleep has been great with it, but maybe it takes time. I'm not sleeping terribly—which was the case about a month ago. It's just sort of taking a while to fall asleep, and then I'm having a hard time getting back to sleep if I wake up in the middle of the night, and I'm waking up way early in the morning. The Somnapure seemed to help, but I ran out and didn't want to pay for it again (my mom bought me the first bottle) so I was split between melatonin and valerian, both of which I've heard are relatively effective and safe, and ultimately went with the valerian because it was cheaper at Walgreens. Maybe I should try combining them, since Somnapure had both? Hmm. Can't say I've ever been much of an herbalist, but that could change.
Anyway, my current stress levels are obviously not helping the sleep situation. My workload for school is insane right now, and going out of town next weekend is going to throw things for a loop. I have a huge assignment for my modeling class due the day after I get back, and then the papers and projects just start rolling in.
I'm not sure if this is a byproduct of stress or sleep-deprivation or PMS, or maybe still that heightened sense of emotions since coming off my medication a few months ago, but I am feeling SO EMOTIONAL lately. I well up at the drop of a hat for stuff that you wouldn't think should affect me so much. One day in class last week, my advisor was talking about suicide in teenagers, and I almost burst into tears right there in the classroom. This morning I read an article in the New York Times about Michael Brown's mother visiting one of the memorials in Ferguson, and I completely broke down because it was so sad. I mean obviously yes, it really is sad, but I am not normally the type to react that way. It's hard to explain, but these episodes are totally unrelated to episodes of depression, where I cry nonstop out of frustration and self-pity and hurt. So I guess in that sense, it's strange and hard, but feels genuine and healthy so I'm not upset about it, just sort of baffled.
Speaking of being off my medication, it's been close to three months now. Can't say there has been any drastic change, although I will say that my anxiety is a tad heightened. That may just be a result of my current circumstances rather than being drug-less, since I am facing an incredible amount of stress and pressure in my daily life. I never really thought Celexa did a whole lot for depression, or maybe I was just on too low of a dose, but either way I haven't noticed any change in that.
Okey doke, time to get up and at 'em. Happy Tuesday, all.
I'm in a weird place right now. Loving my classes and my research, forming great friendships and having lots of fun, going a million miles a minute, and getting totally psyched up about the future on the one hand....and on the other hand, completely down about my body, frustrated with my health, desperately wishing things could be different, and so so tired of feeling sick and broken and not right. This past Thursday I spent my entire hour with Dr. P crying, and then at 11:00 on the dot I hopped up off the couch with a "BYE DOC!", bounced off to class, and had a great day. That has pretty much been the way things are going lately: crazy mood swings, feeling relatively great sometimes and downright crummy at other times. PMS maybe? It's hard to tell when I'm PMSing these days since my period is totally out of whack.
Anyway, another crazy week coming up. Tomorrow is class 9am-4pm, and then I have to race across campus to get a poster printed...because I am presenting a poster at Big U Medical School Annual Conference downtown on Tuesday. I am super excited about this!!! I've presented posters before, but this will be my first real conference. PLUS I am really proud of our project and my poster looks cool and I can't wait to show it off. Then Wednesday I have work all day and lab at night, Thursday I have Dr. P at 10, another doctor at 11:30, class 1-3, leave class early to get a ride to the airport, and catch a flight home in order to see Dr. A on Friday. I last saw him a year ago when he prescribed the miracle fire cream, which is still largely miraculous but I think I screwed things up by overexercising through much of the winter and spring, aggravating the pain again. So, we will see what he says. So I'll see him on Friday and spend the weekend at my parents' house, then fly back to College City on Sunday night.
- I somehow managed to puncture one of the tires on my car with a screw, and drove around with it for several months. My front left tire seemed to be losing air faster than all the others for a while, but I just kept filling it over and over....until finally I decided that probably wasn't a sustainable solution and brought poor Samuel to my mechanic. Cost me $23 to get the screw pulled and the hole plugged, does that seem reasonable? I do not know cars.
- I finished the bottle of that sleep aid my mom bought me, and almost immediately I went back to being a total insomniac. I bought valerian root this time around since it was cheaper, so we'll see if that helps.
- Homeland is back tonight! #win
Can't say much right now, too busy and overwhelmed and tired. Just wanted to give a big THANK YOU for the kind and beautiful comments on my last post, when I was in a not-so-good place. The scale is not in the garbage, but is at least now tucked away in the back of my closet as opposed to sitting out in the bathroom. I am not really feeling any better about my weight, but I am at least not obsessing about it to the point of not functioning, which was the case this weekend. The freak-out may have been partly PMS, because I finally got my period today (late). So, I am okay.
Having another of those can't-stop-crying days. I HATE THIS. I hate that I have so much exciting stuff going on, that I'm learning and accomplishing so much, that I'm taking a lot of very exciting steps toward my future, and one peep at the number on my bathroom scale has me totally destroyed.
I'm tired of freaking out about my weight, but I'm also tired of feeling like people think I'm crazy. I am not making this up: I am gaining weight. This makes over 2 years of continuous weight gain on essentially the same amount of calories. That has included spells of moderate exercise, heavy exercise, and no exercise. That has included spells on medication and off. Spells of having regular periods and irregular periods. A one-month spell of eating gluten-free because we thought that might be causing my tummy issues (no change). WHY.
I just spent about an hour on the phone with my mom, which only made me feel worse. She wants me to go back to a dietitian, which I am basically not interested in at all. I do not think there is much a dietitian could tell me that I don't already know. I cannot realistically eat any less than I am and pretend to be remotely healthy. Exercise doesn't seem to make a difference, since I was running 35-40 miles per week last winter and still gained weight. My therapist wants me to see an endocrinologist, but that would involve me going through the campus health center (which I hate) and probably waiting six months for an appointment with a specialist. Who will probably find nothing.
I am trying to tell myself this is an adjustment period. That my body needs to stabilize after so many years of abuse. But I am also dying inside right now.
I hate obsessing about this. I hate it I hate it I hate it. But I can't stop, and this feels real, and I don't want to gain weight forever. I literally feel like my worst nightmare is coming true.
Sorry this is not interesting or productive, and is probably more than a little triggering for some. Any wisdom or musings or hugs would be wonderful.
I don't want to jinx it but this hippie sleep aid might actually be working! I've slept great the past few nights. Well, relatively great - more like back to my baseline, which is about 5-6 hours a night. I still can't sleep past 7am to save my life, but at least then I don't feel so guilty about going to bed earlier. Anyway, it's amazing what some sleep can do. I'm feeling like a brand-new woman.
My mom was in town last Tuesday through Sunday, which means I ate like a queen for five days. Basically I would tell her what I was craving and she made it - swordfish, salmon, steak...you guys think I might need to up my protein intake? Oh and also she did all the dishes and bought me a new pair of shoes. Why is my life so hard?? I don't know! I had a rough upbringing, let me tell you.
Lots to do this week. My classes are winding up and I've got assignments due, books to read, papers to write, etc. etc. etc. My poor computer is getting such a workout, as are my eyes and typing fingers. As is my butt, which spends ALL DAY EVERY DAY planted in a chair. Seriously, my back has actually been killing me. I think it's a combination of the sitting, the not-exercising, and the walking around in flats and other unsupportive shoes. It's not so much pain, as my back feels really weak and tired, and it bothers me a lot after I've been sitting for a while. A secret part of me also blames my weight, and uses this as an excuse to believe that my poor skeleton was not meant to carry this much weight so SOMETHING MUST BE VERY WRONG AND I NEED TO GO ON A DIET IMMEDIATELY. I haven't been weighing myself regularly, but I am at a lifetime high. No, I'm not overweight but yes, it still kills me. I am trying very very very hard not to care.
Um, not sure how that paragraph started off talking about schoolwork and ended up with me freaking out about my weight. Same ole same ole. I keep wishing and praying that this weight is somehow "temporary" and "not real" and will "settle down" once my metabolism "regulates" or some shiz like that, but none of those prayers are actually based in any fact or past experience. I hate that I still care about this SO much. I do not have time for this nonsense.
And I think the title of this post might be longer than the post itself, but I am tired and want to watch Revenge instead of blogging. Sorry peeps, happy Friday!
My b, sorry for the long delay. If I hadn't mentioned, I'm a tad overscheduled these days. Plus, Mama Bear has been in town this week! Since I am never home and have no free time, I didn't actually get to spend much time with her. BUT she did a lot of cooking and I've been eating like a queen. Not looking forward to fending for myself again tomorrow night....
My insomnia is OFF THE CHAIN. I have slept maaaayybe 10 hours in the past three nights. But Kaylee! you might ask, Why don't you just pop some sleeping pills??? Well, normally I have zero qualms whatsoever about the OTC stuff (Tylenol or Advil PM, ZzzQuil, whatever happens to be cheapest) and they usually work like a charm - knock me right out. And then I'll use it for a few days, taper off, and that usually works to reset my sleep schedule pretty well. However, I've discovered that the drugs tend to seriously dry out my eyes. The active ingredient in most OTC sleep aids is diphenhydramine (a.k.a. the antihistamine in Benadryl), which is super drying. I was taking Tylenol PM last week, but discovered that my eyes got unbearably dry and I had to stop. Unfortunately I still can't sleep. I toss and turn and panic while my stomach turns somersaults, and then I walk around like a zombie all day long. My mom bought me this "all natural" sleep aid called Somnapure that doesn't have drugs or anything in it; it's like melatonin and valerian and other hippie nonsense, but I am willing to try anything. Send me your sleepy vibes tonight!
Other than that I'm doing pretty well. Obviously stressed, but overall my mood has been more positive than not. I do not understand my brain, or depression, or anxiety, or life. But I will take what I can get. My pain levels have been much reduced lately, for which I am UNBELIEVABLY GRATEFUL. Still not too pleased about the lack of exercise, but also able to shrug it off a bit more. Maybe I am too tired to worry. Again, I will take it.
Hope everyone had a lovely weekend, much love to you all.