Monday, June 30, 2014

Feeling Like an Overgrown Teenager

This article is fascinating: Why Teenagers Act Crazy. Or, Why Adolescence is a Frightening and Horrific Experience That Haunts Us Into Adulthood.

I've been thinking a lot about the nature of my anxiety lately as I wrestle with the medication issue, and how I really need to get better at the "calm reasoning" at which teenagers (and yours truly, five months from turning 24) apparently suck. My anxiety and depression definitely started in adolescence—around 7th grade or so, just before the anorexia first took off—and has waxed and waned since then before getting unmanageable in college. Pretty sure my brain cut class on the day they taught Calm Reasoning.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Worries, Cocktails, and Wireless

Thank you thank you thank you for the wonderful comments on my last post. I am still totally agonizing over the to-medicate-or-not-to-medicate question. Not that I have in my head the idea that Celexa is causing weight gain, I just want OFF it and am spooked about trying other medications. But at a lower dose, I'm feeling an uptick in anxiety, which scares the crap out of me and is the whole reason I went on the medication in the first place. So, do I want to be on meds and freaked about weight gain, or off meds and freaked about everything (probably including weight gain)? It sounds like an obvious choice but it really isn't to me. I'm also embarrassed to e-mail my psychiatrist because I just feel like whenever I bring up weight gain, everyone rolls their eyes at me like "oh look, there goes the anorexic being paranoid again." I hate that I am feeling so scared and insecure and worried about everything. Remember how well I was doing just a couple months ago? I miss that.

It's been a tough but okay week, partly because I've been so busy that I haven't really had time to be sad or down. I've been doing interviews for that study every night, which has been taking me into some of the poorest, most terrible, dangerous neighborhoods in College City. The levels of poverty we still have in this country are astounding. One night last week we drove by the old north side projects, which were totally depressing but have a fascinating history. Gotta remind myself that no matter how bad things seem to get for me, at least I can afford to pay my rent and keep the lights on and feed myself (and don't have kids to feed either). I have another five interviews next week which should be exhausting but I love doing them and feel like I am learning SO much.

I went out with an old friend of mine from college on Friday night, and it was really nice to just hang out with someone who knows me so well, get a little drunk, and catch up on each others' lives. She is moving about an hour away in August for law school at Big State U, but hopefully I'll still get to see her periodically. Then yesterday I spent pretty much the entire afternoon and evening at another friend's apartment because my internet was out and GOD FORBID I HAVE NO WIRELESS. But seriously, I had to leave and mooch off of hers. The technician came this morning to fix it (well, he was supposed to come this morning but was an hour late so technically it ended up being afternoon by the time he got can bet I called and raised hell....) but thankfully I have my internet back and all is right with the world.

Other than that I'm just chugging away with school and work, almost done with my clinic hours (about two more weeks!!) and then things should calm down a bit. Much love to you all.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gaining and Scared

I am really struggling with my weight right now. I mentioned kind of briefly in my last post that I had gained another couple pounds, but it's bothering me way more than I expected. Like, how does this even make sense? I know I'm not eating too much; I still count calories and I am so, so careful about my diet. I can't reasonably eat any less without 1) being starving 2) being exhausted and 3) using old anorexic tricks.

I started gaining weight (intentionally) about two years ago when my old therapist started giving me ultimatums ("no more losses or you will be hospitalized"), which was also around the time I started taking Celexa. Part of me is freaked out that the drug is making me gain, so I'm considering tapering off again. Even though I just decided to go back up to my old dose. So now I don't know what to do about that. But anyway, starting two years ago, I gained weight pretty steadily for about 12-18 months, and then my weight seemed to stabilize last summer. I maintained pretty consistently for about six months or so, and then in the last 2-3 months I've started gaining again. I'm now well over my previous lifetime high, my jeans are all getting tight, I feel fat and bloated, and I'm TERRIFIED that this is going to go on forever.

I've scoured the internet and there are a million stories of freaked out girls claiming to have gained massive amounts of weight on little-to-no food after anorexia from shot metabolisms, which most of me is skeptical of but part of me believes. Yesterday on the phone with my mom, she kept telling me to chill out, that my body has been through a trauma, that things will eventually stabilize. But part of me worries that I spent those developmentally crucial adolescent years starving, and now my body and metabolism are permanently fucked. And the thought of gaining more weight just devastates me.

I hate this. I hate that my body doesn't seem to play by the rules. Then again, I suppose I haven't always played by the rules either.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Update

Ugh boo lame Sunday night. I have work ALL day tomorrow then a study interview, so I'll be home by 8 or 9, then dinner, then more work, then maybe sleep but probably not because I can't BREATHE and that reminds me, I was supposed to buy Nyquil today but I forgot. This cold is super inconvenient for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the aforementioned inability to BREATHE. I still can't believe that my first cold in YEARS has come in the middle of June. You guys should hear me coughing right now, it ain't pretty.


I spent part of the day on campus using a school computer, then part of the day at a coffee shop writing a paper on my laptop. My weeks are so full these days that I really count on having several uninterrupted hours on the weekends for work; as a result, my weekends aren't very exciting or fun, but at least the work gets done. Right now I am just laser-focused on trying to do well, finish everything I commit to, and learning and accomplish as much as I absolutely can before having to make any major life decisions about my next steps (post-Masters). So yes it is busy and stressful and overwhelming at times, but this is what I signed up for.

This afternoon I went into major stress-cleaning mode. I'm not even particularly stressed right now, just sick of sitting around and feeling antsy. So I opened all the windows and pulled out my bottle of 409 and sponges and went to work. I went through each of the rooms in my apartment (granted, there are only three, not counting the bathroom) scrubbing, dusting, spraying vacuuming, sweeping, moving furniture, crawling on my hands and knees, and generally taking out all my frustration on the dirt.


And because I have oodles of free time with absolutely nothing to fill my lazy days, I started a new book: Paying for the Party by Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton. Very interesting! The authors are sociologists who take a systematic, scientific approach to analyzing what they call "pathways" taken by different groups of girls based on their socioeconomic class. I haven't finished it yet, but I'm intrigued. It doesn't match up exactly with my college experience, since the school featured in the book is a giant, moderately-selective state school ( with a definite "party school" reputation) whereas my school was a smaller, elite, private university (and definitely not a party school). But a lot of the general themes definitely click with my college experience.


Anyways, that's about all that's going on with me today. Much love and more soon.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Procrastination Post: Interviewing, Coughing, and Weighing

I need to go to the grocery store, but am really not feeling it at the instead you get a procrastinatory blog post. YOU ARE WELCOME. What ever happened to the concept of a lazy summer? I am SO BUSY it's unreasonable. Although, I suppose I say that pretty much every time of year these days. Starting next week, I'm going to be working on a qualitative study with a professor, interviewing families in four low-income zip codes in College City. I try to not be super specific about my research on here just for privacy's sake, but the study is very exciting so if anyone wants to know more, just send me an e-mail and I will happily give you the nerd-spiel! Anyway, we weren't totally sure what the response would be like, but it has so far turned out to be HUGE; as a result, I am doing interviews every night next week. It may get to be a drag after a few, but for now I'm excited. Plus, I get paid hourly so this means a big bump in my paycheck.

And as if I didn't have enough going on, I now also have a terrible cold—sore throat, hacking chest cough, stuffy nose. Maybe a fever, but I do not own a thermometer so we're just going to stick with the ignorance is bliss thing. Who gets sick in June?? It is literally 95 degrees outside. Besides, I never get sick. I may get every other medical complication in the book (and a few not in the book...), but I almost never get the colds or flus or anything. The last time I had the flu was in third grade, and the last time I had a chest cold was maybe 5 years ago. I remember boasting to one of my roommates freshman year: "I never get sick. I am immune to sickness." (Then I got anorexia, but shut up, you're missing the point.)

Other stuff—pain is still slooooowly improving, I think. Knock on wood, say a prayer, cross your fingers and toes and any other crossables. So of course now, needing something else to freak out about, I'm freaked out about my weight. I stopped weighing myself regularly a couple months ago because it was too upsetting....and then made the mistake of weighing myself yesterday. And I had gained another couple pounds. WHAT THE F. I know that I am supposed to be over this, that the anorexia is supposed to be behind me, that a couple pounds here and there is nothing to be alarmed about, but it freaks me out and pisses me off because it doesn't make any sense. Trying really hard to shrug it off and keep it together, but Body, you are making it really hard on me these days.

Good news is that I got my period a little more on time this month—only a couple days late as opposed to the couple weeks late it's been the last 2-3 months. So at least that's sign of progress.

Okay. Now I am hungry and have no food in the house. Happy Saturday to all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Meds and Therapy Stuff

I don't know why it is SO hard for me to take my medication these days. I've just gotten out of the habit of popping my morning pill. No real aversion to it, I either just forget or kind of shrug it off like, oh well, no big deal! One day won't make a difference. Except that it's been a lot more than just one day; I'm still probably only actually taking my full dose maybe three or four times a week. THIS IS NOT OKAY. My mood is not stable enough for this. I am not robustly happy or okay enough to get away with that.

Dr. P has been trying to do CBT-type stuff with me relating to the pelvic pain—like getting me to think about whether the actual physical pain as all-consuming as I think it is, or if my mind is making things worse by automatically reverting to old awful patterns. Probably the latter, but try telling me that when I am in pain, and I will literally knock you out flat and spit in your face. So.....therapy has been fun the past few weeks.

I wish I were better at the cognitive stuff. I buy it, I really do. I have a whole list of prescribed rational thoughts to repeat to myself when I start panicking, like: I have gotten better before and I can get better again or The pain is only a 4/10 when it used to be an 8/10, or There are logical explanations for why the pain has been flaring. But it is so hard to feed myself that stuff when it feels like the world is falling apart around me.

I just want to be normal. I know that everyone has their shit, but why does this have to be mine?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Bit of An Update

I am going to attempt to emerge from this unofficial blogging hiatus. Like I said before, it wasn't exactly intentional; I've just had SO much swirling around in my head that I don't know how to put into words. Thankfully things have been getting better. The nerve pain has definitely eased up; I've had maybe 4-5 solidly good days in a row now, and that initial omgit'sback panic has settled down. I saw my College City doc yesterday afternoon, and his advice was basically: "Ride it out, see what happens, and come back if it gets worse. But I don't think it will get worse; I think it will get better." At first that frustrated me, because I wanted an answer not a wait-and-see. But now I feel better about, more like "well if he's not worried, then I shouldn't be either."

As per usual I have been insanely busy. Work, clinic, school, research, eating, sleeping (not much), and watching Scandal pretty much fills my time these days. To give you an idea, A Week in the Life:

9am-5pm: clinic
9am-1pm: work
1-3pm: class
3-6pm work
10-11am: therapy
12-6pm: work
9am-12:30pm: clinic
1-3pm: class
3-6pm: work
9am-5pm: clinic
10am-3pm: food bank

My class ends the second week of July, so things should slow down a bit after that. Although I just signed on to do qualitative interviews for a study with another professor for a study starting this month, so that will probably take up a few hours a week too.

For the last couple of weeks, I was spending every free minute in my advisor's office helping him put together a giant grant proposal for a study he is planning. Literally, I would go after work or class every day and stay until 8 or 9pm. Thank goodness we finally got it out just before the deadline. It's a lot of money for a very exciting study so everyone keep your fingers and toes crossed that we get funded!!! My advisor (has he gotten a letter? Let's call him J) took me out to lunch yesterday as a thank-you. We went to this amazing restaurant where I ordered mahi mahi with lentils (YUM) and he ordered scallops AND THEN he took me to Starbucks and bought me a cup of coffee. What more could a girl want? It was really nice to have a chance to get out of his office and chat about non-school-related things.

Last night I had some friends over to open a bottle of wine and chat. For all the problems and disillusionment I've had with my graduate program, I really have made some great friends. It's sort of hard when you know that most people will only be around for two years, but I do not function well without a crew of girlfriends around. My former roommate and other college friends are great from a distance, but there's no substitute for having people to call on a Friday night, you know?

Clinic is still one crisis after another. Last Friday I had two suicidal patients back-to-back. One ended up in the hospital and the other ended up in a domestic violence shelter. So that kind of put a damper on my day. Then I saw a guy who has been living under a bridge since he got out of prison in 2006. His dad just died, and he cried for an hour in my office. I vacillate constantly between wanting to stay on and help these people, and wanting to get the hell out of this clinic as fast as possible.

Well, this was a little disjointed, but hopefully that gives you guys an idea of what I've been up to these past few weeks. Hopefully I will get back into the habit of blogging more regularly. Toodles!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Popping In

I'm not really sure why I haven't felt like blogging lately; I just haven't. Maybe because it would just be more of the same—agonizing over the same old stuff. I don't know if I'm okay or not. I mean, I'm objectively okay in that I'm alive and functional, but you know. Things are sort of hard.

So basically that's all. Just wanted to let you know that I am here and alive and will be back to blogging soon.