Saturday, August 30, 2014

Long Weekend, Minus a Dude

Ahh, long weekend is here at last. School has totally rolled me over, but I think I've got things under control. My classes are relatively demanding after a couple of so-so semesters in terms of workload/difficulty, so I am happy to be challenged albeit a tad stressed. Like I mentioned before, I am doing a ton of work with my advisor which is also exciting and challenging, but will definitely all be worth it (if I survive).

New Dude and I are donezo, for those of you who may not have seen my comment on my last post. I basically decided very suddenly that I did NOT want to be in a relationship with him, and that it really was more about him than about my crazy schedule or any other 'life circumstances' excuse I could use to justify keeping him around. He is a sweetheart and certainly treated me well and would have been a great boyfriend, but I was frankly just not interested in or attracted to him that much. He's too self absorbed. Too much in his own head. I don't mean that in a bad or judgmental way; he had a pretty fucked up childhood, and I think he is now very much concerned with living his life in a very thoughtful and deliberate way, which means a very simple, quiet, and cerebral type of lifestyle. Which is fine, but I don't really think it's the best thing for me right now. I don't particularly want to be with someone who is more down, more reserved, and more isolated than me—which I think New Dude is. I think I need someone who more outgoing, more fearless, and more naturally optimistic.

And once I made that decision, I just wanted it DONE. So on Wednesday night I got some moral support from my best friend, planned out what I wanted to say, then called him up and did the deed. He took it relatively well, considering. But then we just kept being overly polite and thanking each other for our HONESTY and RESPECT and I couldn't get off the damn phone. And he backed off for a couple days, but then he started texting me all the time again! Not like creepy I-want-you-back type stuff, just small talk...and I'm like hello, I thought this was taken care of. I guess I'm fine being 'just friends' with him, but he's texting me about as much as he did before, with no real acknowledgement that the nature of things have changed, and that he is no longer New Dude but Ex-Dude. So, I am confused. And a little irritated.

Otherwise though, things are good. I am running around like a crazy person most of the time, meeting-class-work-class-meeting-lab-more work--more class etc. Mostly it is all good, engaging stuff, but the tidal wave of new responsibilities definitely has me a bit rattled. I haven't been sleeping well, so I'm perpetually exhausted. Plus, College City has been unbelievably hot and humid recently, which is completely draining. Hopefully things will cool off, settle down, and give me a chance to develop some type of rhythm in the coming weeks. But I can't promise I won't complain/cry/bitch about it anyway.

Hope everyone has a lovely Saturday and holiday weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Week Rollercoaster

Well, I predicted stress and that is what I got. This semester is totally jam-packed, it's almost unbelievable. Monday I had class 9am-3pm, followed by back-to-back meetings until 6. Yesterday was work 9am-3pm, meeting 3:30-4:30, and then class 5-8pm. Today is work 9am-4pm, then lab 5-8pm. Tomorrow, therapy, class, and meetings. Friday, work.

I keep swinging between being excited/stimulated/energized, panicked/stressed, and straight up exhausted. Yesterday afternoon I called my mom for a quick check-in just to say hi and let her know how GREAT and EXCITING things were. Then I called her again at 9pm in tears because I was so tired and stressed and worried about my classes. So, yeah. That's pretty much how things have been going.

On the plus side, I had an awesome meeting with my advisor yesterday. We are moving forward on a couple of big projects that should be really exciting and interesting. Plus, he wanted to check in about my PhD applications and offered lots of important insight and advice, which I sorely needed. So now my search feels much more focused and manageable. PLUS, he is just a smart and interesting guy and it's always nice to talk with him. We were musing about the feasibility of an ENORMOUS study in College City, which would be the perfect site for a lot of reasons, and concluded that all we'd need would be $25 million dollars and 20 years. Seems reasonable to me! My current university is actually on my list of potential PhD programs, and J is a big reason why I'm considering it. It would be super appealing to stay on and continue working with him, especially given that we have a great relationship already and I'm familiar with his work. However, this is one of the MOST selective programs on my list, and getting in might be totally out of the question.

With all this going on, New Dude is getting totally neglected. I warned him this would happen when my semester started, but that doesn't make it easier or better. Also, I am still unsure if this is going to be a Real Thing. We haven't had The Talk just yet (partly because I am avoiding it), but he certainly treats me like a girlfriend, and it seems like things are moving in that direction if I want them to. Still not necessarily sure if I want them to. Which probably means I don't. Why is my heart a padlocked ice chest, you ask? Well, I do not know.

So, that's my deal for now. Back to work!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pre-Semester Stressing

This week kind of flew past. Of course it did—my last week of summer! Yup, school starts on Monday. I am ready but also starting to realize how incredibly busy I'm going to be. On top of my five classes, internship, and job, research with my advisor J has taken on a whole new life of its own. We have been trying to get this one project off the ground for a while now, and it finally happened yesterday when we touched base with one of the project partners who has been out of town—which is awesome and exciting, BUT involves me now having to acquaint myself with a brand new software like immediately, make a poster for a conference in October (but the abstract is due next week), and help J prepare a manuscript ASAP so we can both put it on our CVs (him for his tenure package, me for my PhD applications). Which is another thing—it's been less than 2 years since I last did this, but I forgot how labor intensive graduate school applications are. I have a giant spreadsheet on my computer with my wish list of schools and columns for descriptions, requirements, due dates, relevant faulty to suck up to, GRE codes, pros and cons, etc. It makes my head spin. Exciting yes, but insane. Have I mentioned I'm taking five classes? And intern 20 hours per week? And have a job?

It will be okay. It will be okay. It will be okay. I went through this last spring, and I didn't think I could make it then, but everything worked out. Admittedly this semester is probably going to be busier, and the stakes are higher, and I think I'm going to encounter my first truly challenging class in graduate school. On the other hand, I have an awesome advisor who is 100% supportive and is totally willing to go to bat for me, I have great friends who I am super excited to see everyday again, I mostly have my health (more below), and I have a kickass Mom and Popsicle who do kickass things like FaceTime with me while they eat dinner, send me money when my car unexpectedly poops out a week before I get paid, and send me more money when I discover that two of my textbooks that I NEED to buy each cost over $100. Good thing Popsicle is a long way from retirement. Keep it up Popsicle! #SpoiledBrat #Don'tJudge

Hmm, so my health. I am struggling to decide how to feel about things right now. My weight, again, is freaking me out. I haven't actually weighed myself in a few weeks, but it feels like I've gained. Before you tell me I'm nuts and paranoid, I have been consistently gaining for several months, so it's probably fair to assume that I might still be. And I can't explain it, Dr. P can't explain it, the one doctor I was brave enough to ask couldn't explain it. According to all the calculators and formulas, I am eating right about exactly what I should be to maintain/even lose a tad, so it really makes absolutely no sense. It is not even so much the weight that bothers me, but the fact that it seems to have no relationship to what I am eating. I feel totally lost as to what to eat, how to eat, what type of exercise is too much or too little, whether it's worth it to invest in more clothes in a bigger size or if the weight will settle... ANY ADVICE/WISDOM/TIPS/MUSINGS/LOVE WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED.

Another random thing of note: my period is extremely late this month, as in by almost two weeks. There may be a New Dude, but I am definitely not with child, if you know what I mean.  After almost two years of perfect 30-day cycles, it's only been in the last maybe 6 months that things have gotten out of whack again. WHY?

Speaking of New Dude, I think I want to break up with him. We've spent a lot of time together the past couple weeks, and went on our first "official" date last weekend, and I've tried to be SO open and give him every chance, but I just don't think it's going to work out. He's too old. We are in different life stages. And his personality is not really what I need right now. Also, he has a giant tattoo across his chest. It skeeves me out.

So, that is that. This weekend will be spent feverishly finishing up any last bit of work I can get out of the way before my calendar blows up at 9:00 a.m. Monday. Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Life with Mental Illness

I read an interesting article today by a woman with bipolar:

Mental illness does not mean your life is over

Johnson writes this:

"My road has not been easy. But if asked whether I would take away the illness at the expense of the lessons learned, I would have to say no.
"I would choose to be hospitalized yet another time. I would deal with the self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse, shame and fear because it has made me who I am. I still live with these challenges daily."

I think that is an admirable position to take, but it doesn't fit everyone. It certainly doesn't fit me. I live with incurable mental illness that has impacted my quality of life since I was 12 years old. Would I choose to be hospitalized? Self-harm? Overdose? All for the sake of learning a lesson? Absolutely, unequivocally, no. I would give up my illness in a heartbeat. In a nanosecond. When I think of all the time that has been spent crying, miserable, wishing I were dead...why would I choose to go through that, if I had the choice? Why would I put my parents through that, since they are the ones who sit in the hospital waiting room, who foot the medical and therapy bills, who cry whenever I cry? Why would I choose to do that to them? Why would anyone even suggest that?
I can accept that I have a mental illness, and that I will always have one. I can accept that it has shaped who I am, and that I am a different person than I would have been without it. I am more compassionate and tolerant and humble. I am also more fearful and impatient and angry. I am less open-minded. I am less entitled. Sometimes, I am less myself. I can accept all this, and I can still live a full and happy and productive life, but I can also say that I didn't want it to be like this. I can still wish things had been different. I can still believe that I would have been a good and strong and fulfilled person without having gone through this struggle. Without being sick. And I do believe that.
I understand what she means. And her perspective is an empowering one. And she is absolutely right that a mental health diagnosis is not a death sentence. But it is not something anyone would choose. And her words do not match my experiences in the slightest.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Dude and School Stuff

YOU GUYS. I done got me a boy on my hands. Well, I suppose he is a man, given the age 30 thing, but you know what I mean. We had our date Saturday night, which turned into about a five-hour thing. New Dude is quite the talker. Which is a plus and a minus, I suppose. It was really easy to talk with him, and we got into some relatively deep stuff for a first date, but by the end it got a little exhausting, like are you not realizing that it is past 1 a.m. and I'm tired, and maybe it's time to stop talking about yourself now? Because he did talk about himself quite a bit, and maybe shared a little more than was necessary or expected so early, but I am trying SO SO hard to be open-minded and nonjudgmental and see where it goes. He is super sweet and adorable, and hasn't given me any concrete reasons to shut it down. Since Friday, when he first asked me out, he's been texting me a LOT, like boyfriend-y stuff (good morning, how's your day, good night, sleep tight) and sent out a feeler about a second date ("we should do this again! how about a nice restaurant sometime?"). So anyway, I'm feeling a tad lukewarm about the whole thing, but am committed to giving it at least a second date before deciding definitively either way. I haven't dated anyone seriously since S back in college, so maybe I'm just out of practice. My impression is that New Dude does seem kind of needy and dare-I-say sensitive, so I'm already worrying about hurting his feelings if I do decide to pull the plug. But, we are not there yet. I figure that getting to know someone, forming a new relationship, and getting my feet wet again can only be a good thing no matter where the relationship goes.

School starts in a week!! I am both excited and apprehensive. My schedule, which is already full, is about to explode. Looking at my calendar makes me shudder. I have already gotten the lecture from Dr. P about reducing stress, prioritizing self-care, putting my sanity and emotional well-being first, but unfortunately this is the reality of graduate school (at least my program), and there's no real way around the coursework, internship, research, and job. So this is how it's going to be, at least the fall semester (I'll have fewer classes in the spring).

But but! On top of all that, I will officially be applying to Ph.D. programs for next year! I am stressed yes, and worried I won't get in anywhere and my life will be over, but I am also SO EXCITED. I had a long meeting with my advisor J in which we talked all about my interests and goals and values, and he basically told me to "aim high" because he thinks I can get in somewhere good. So now I'm all jazzed up and freaked out at the same time, and have a million things to do between now and December. Most stressful part: asking for recommendations. I HATE THIS. There are two bigwig professors who I would like to ask, and from whom letters of rec would hold a lot of weight, but I am too nervous to ask. Haven't decided if I am going to be brave and try, or settle for two others who are also both good professors but don't exactly have the same celeb status. SEND ME YOUR STRENGTH AND CONFIDENCE AND GOOD VIBES.

Anyway, this post is totally random but I guess one unifying theme is that I am open to being in a relationship, yes, but am also not 100% sold on New Dude and am not sure how much time I'll really have to give him. I don't want it to be a chore that eats up free time I don't have, you know? I wish there had been fireworks and love at first sight so I would know, but I guess it doesn't always work like that.

Happy Monday to all, and sorry for my randomness.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another Assortment

So much randomness to update about. First, I am totally heartbroken and distraught over this Ferguson chaos. I don't even know what to think about it. Actually, I have a lot of thoughts, but am not ready to publish them in public until more of the facts come out. Second, I am equally distraught over this Isreal-Gaza conflict. Seriously, at what point do people lay down their guns and mortars and rockets and tear gas, and power down their tanks, and admit that THIS IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE WAY FOR PEOPLE TO BEHAVE?

Next, I finally caved and made another appointment with Dr. A on October 10 (his next available). I had a couple of relatively bad pain days this week, and figured I might as well quit stressing and waiting, and take some initiative. My period is late again this month, which has happened several times now, so I'm thinking the hormones are somewhat fucked again. We shall see.

Yesterday I was eating lunch outside in my usual spot, a bench in a park-ish type space outside my office (in the middle of downtown College City) when this homeless guy came over and started flirting/hustling. Naturally because I am a sucker and cannot say no, we ended up sitting on the bench together for 20 minutes chit-chatting, I gave him $5, and helped him program the number for the city housing authority into his cell phone. Then he started saying "You real nice, sweetheart! I would like to be your friend!" which was my cue to pack it in ("Oh darn look at the time! Lunch break is over!") and bolt. Now it looks like I will need to find a new place to eat lunch.

Um, I have a date tonight with a guy from work. I kind of saw it coming because from my first day in the office a couple weeks ago, he had been coming over and hanging by my desk a lot, so it didn't totally surprise me, but I was also kind of impressed with how forward he was. I am totally old-fashioned and would NEVER ask a guy out, so I give major props to guys who do because I think it looks like the scariest thing in the world. The guy is super friendly and cute and nice, so naturally I played it totally cool and then went and did a little jig in the ladies' room.

Anyways, I have a couple minor concerns and I am probably over-thinking things but here there are:
1) He is a little older—by 6 or 7 years I think. Which is fine, but—and I had this concern with another guy I saw briefly last year, who was 30—I worry that he is in a slightly different life stage. Namely, the "I'm getting ready to settle down, so it's time to enter into a serious relationship with the clear intent of eventual marriage sooner rather than later." Whereas I am 23 and still very much in the "Sure! Dating is fun! But if you mention marriage to me I will freak out and hide under my couch." It feels a little like I'm still a kid in school and he's a grown-up with a job. I've never dated anyone with more than a year or so age difference (because all my past boyfriends have been from school), so maybe I am just making an issue out of nothing. But with guys who are approaching 30 as opposed to being in their early twenties like me, I start to worry that maybe they are more interested in a relationship than in me.
2) Yesterday in a meeting, my boss pulled me aside and asked if the guy was "bothering me," and that I should "let [my supervisor] know" if it got to be a "problem." He (my boss) then went on to say that he was just making sure because he saw the guy talking to me a lot, and that we weren't doing anything wrong and I wasn't in trouble or anything like that, but was just making sure it was all good. I think he was just being a good supervisor and doing his due diligence watching out for his new intern, but the more I thought about it later, the more it made me wonder if this guy is weird or creepy or has a reputation or something. So, we shall see. But I am seeing him tonight at 8pm, so if this blog suddenly goes silent after that I have probably been murdered.

So, that about sums it up. I have some other updates about school/future plans stuff, but I will save it for another post. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

I've been blogging for over three years now, which is insane to me. SO MUCH has changed and yet, in some ways, not much at all. Anyway, my point is that it feels like you guys must know everything about me....but I still get a fair number of e-mail questions from readers. Some of the same stuff has come up repeatedly, so I figured there were a few things I should address, just for clarity's sake. Some of these actually are frequently asked (via comments or e-mail or text/facebook, for those of you who know my real-life identity), and some are just things that I think should be answered. Some are just random because I am random.

What's your real name?
Not telling.

Where do you go to school?
Not telling. It is a medium-sized, private, beautiful school in the US.

What is the name of it?

Can you at least tell us where College City is? Even just the state? The region?
Leave me alone.

How old are you?
23. I'll be 24 in November.

How tall are you?

How much do you weigh?
8,375 pounds. #HAES

Just kidding. Not telling.

You seem to like hashtags. Are you on Twitter?

Do you have an eating disorder? What kind? Is this an "Eating Disorder" blog?
Technically right now I have ED-NOS, which is—in my opinion—a somewhat meaningless diagnosis. My primary diagnosis has always been Anorexia Nervosa, which was first given in 2010; I was 19 and a sophomore in college, although my eating disorder really began several years before that, when I was about 12. That was when I first restricted hardcore and lost about 30 lbs in a very short time period. My mom knew something was up and brought me to my pediatrician. However, for reasons that are beyond me, I was never diagnosed and never received any formal treatment. I inexplicably "recovered" (e.g. gained weight and ate relatively normally throughout high school) before the relapse in college, when I was first officially diagnosed and started treatment. After a few fits and starts over the next several months, I reached a healthy weight, relapsed in the spring of 2012, regained weight, and have been at a healthy weight for close to two years now.

I suppose this started off as an "Eating Disorder Blog," but has evolved over time because my eating disorder has evolved over time! Yes I think I do still consider myself to have an eating disorder, but certainly not to the extent that I once did, and it is more mental than behavioral at this point. I do not restrict or overexercise anymore, although I do track my intake, count calories, and obsess about my weight more than any person should. I have never binged and/or purged.

You keep talking about your "chronic pain" or your "nerve pain." What the heck is it and why do you keep whining about it? Can't you just go to a doctor? Wimp.
The pain started in the winter of 2011 as a twinge in the muscles that connect my groin to my belly button. Imagine this: you double over, and an iron bar connects your belly button to each hip flexor; then try standing up straight—that's what it initially felt like. Over time it evolved into a tingling, burning pain that spread throughout my hips, lower back, and pelvic area. It affected every aspect of my daily life, whether I was sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, ANYTHING. I spent many miserable months searching for answers from any doctor I could find. Some of the many things that were proposed and ruled out were: fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disorders, celiac disease, lyme name it, I was probably tested for it.

In the end, it took a very specialized specialist in pelvic pain disorders to diagnose the problem as neuropathic pain secondary to hypothalmic amenorrhea. Hypothalmic amenorrhea just means loss of periods due to a hormonal deficiency—in my case, caused by the anorexia (very common). Neuropathic pain is pain caused entirely by nerve signals from the brain, not any external trauma; or, more accurately, the pain is caused by some initial external trauma, but persists long after the trauma heals. For some reason—and modern medicine does NOT have a good understanding of this—the brain continues to send pain signals long after the original injury has healed. For me, the hormone loss (caused by many months and years of starvation and overexercise with weakened and degraded muscle and tissue) constituted the initial trauma. Hormones are also implicated in the nervous system, aggravating the nerve damage and leading to the persistent neuropathic pain.

Dr. A's approach was: 1) Address the hormonal deficiency by using a compounded estrogen/testosterone supplement, upping my fat intake, and cutting all exercise; 2) Address the secondary muscle tightness with physical therapy; and 3) Address the nerve pain by using compounded capsaicin cream, which for some bizarre reason works to dull the peripheral nerve endings and reduce pain. Google it.

The capsaicin worked like a charm for about six months, but unfortunately doesn't seem to be doing its thing so well anymore. This may be a result of overexercise, which I admittedly did via long-distance running for most of the winter and spring; I suspect this messed with my hormones, which will likely need time to re-balance before the pain heals again. Stay tuned.

What's up with your eyes?
At the moment, nothing! (Knock on wood.) Thanks to my beloved ophthalmologist Dr. Q, my eyes have been A-Okay since December 2012. See here for the full story. In short, my eyes were another casualty of the anorexia-related hormone deficiencies. In this case, it caused severe dryness, allowing for numerous infections, ulcerations, and corneal damage, which progressed to nerve damage. Not uncommon overall, but incredibly uncommon in people under age 60. I saw about five eye doctors before finding Dr. Q, who is, in my eyes (no pun intended), the greatest doctor on the face of the earth, and who currently holds a small piece of my heart. I now wear Acuvue Oasys contact lenses 24/7 (even to sleep) which protect my eyes by holding in moisture and preventing any further nerve damage. It has truly been life-changing. I also use Azasite, Restasis, and Refresh drops.

What does the name of your blog mean?
To be honest, the name doesn't have any secret meaning. When I first created this blog, I had been reading other blogs about eating disorders for a while and felt like I wanted to become a part of that community. My life had changed drastically in the few months leading up to that (I was briefly hospitalized, took a medical leave from school, moved back in with my parents, entered outpatient treatment, etc.) and I was feeling very adrift and alone. Blogging helped me feel part of something again, and it felt like a time where I was finding myself and my voice after losing them both. And I think the name still applies, because that was very much a transformative time in my life (pre-treatment to post-treatment) and while this blog is not exactly "new" anymore, I still feel relatively new to this post-diagnosis, post-treatment, post-anorexia life. Maybe I will change the name someday, but at the moment I'm not particularly compelled to do so.

Which medications are you on?
I was on Celexa for anxiety and depression from late May 2012-early July 2014. Since discontinuing that, I am no longer on any daily oral medications. Like I said earlier, I use Azasite (antibiotic), Restasis (increases tear production), and Refresh (OTC lubricant) drops for my eyes.

Which blogs do you read?
I am constantly discovering new ones, but the ones I read most consistently are listed to the right just below the archive.

Which websites do you visit most?
Outside of work/school-related stuff, my top 10 (in no particular order):
- Gmail
- Blogger
- New York Times
- Washington Post
- Al Jazeera
- Netflix
- Amazon
- YouTube
- my bank
- my credit card company

What religion are you?
I do not practice any religion.

What ethnicity are you?
Total mutt.

Introvert or extrovert?
Mostly introvert, but I get loud when I am (A) mad; (B) in class; or (C) drunk.

What do you look like?
Stunning and perfect.

Um, I don't know. I'm white. I have brown hair, greenish-brownish eyes, and strangely big feet. And a winning smile, I might add.

Why are you so brilliant and lovely?

Hope this helps. If there are other questions, do not hesitate to comment or e-mail me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Assortment of Updates

Sup all. I was planning to minimize my computer time this weekend and outside of work stuff, since my new internship is basically ALL COMPUTER ALL THE TIME, but alas. I lack creativity in self-entertainment, and it was a relatively solo weekend, so basically my goal of avoiding screen time was a major fail. Now here it is Tuesday, and I've spent another approximately 12 hours on the computer between my internship and my job since yesterday, and my eyes feel like they might start disintegrating. But actually no eyeball jokes just yet; it's still too soon. They feel fine.

I had a tough morning on Sunday (body image ickiness) and thought it might spiral into a tough day, but I actually managed to turn things around. Just getting out of the apartment for a bit seemed to help—nothing like a trip to Walmart to fend off the blues! Every time I shop there, I swear I'm never going back because I hate the store and I hate everything it represents and I hate that the prices are so much lower than anywhere else that it's GLARINGLY OBVIOUS people are getting exploited somewhere along the line, but......the prices are so much lower than anywhere else. I got a 40 oz jar of peanut butter for $4.00, and a 32-pack of eye drops for $8.00 (they're normally in the $12-15 range). So yeah, someone is getting ripped off somewhere, but I scored big. It's love-hate with me and Walmart. Mostly hate, on moral grounds. But love when my bank account gets a say.

Speaking of my new internship, so far I really like it!! As I said, it's a total desk job—working with data and writing, mostly. My time at the clinic was certainly an experience, and I'm glad I did it, but that type of hands-on clinical work is absolutely not for me. God bless those who can make careers of it.

I have about two weeks until classes start, and I'm actually super excited to get this semester going. I mean, I know I'm going to be ridiculously busy and stressed out, but I need that a little bit right now. I have way too much time to obsess and worry and be sad. My body image is killing me at the moment, and I'm about thisclose to going back to see a dietitian after swearing them off, just because my body is freaking me out and I feel like I don't know what or how much to eat. Still waiting to hear back from the GI doc about my biopsy results and any next steps about my tummy stuff, but I have a feeling he's just going to say "IBS." Which obviously is a real thing, but it also feels bit lazy as a diagnosis to me, like "we don't quite know what's wrong and we've ruled out everything else, so here you go. See you in six months." I do really like this doctor though, so hopefully he'll be willing to work with me on this.

Hmmmm what else? I discovered it is much easier to take the subway to work than to drive, which makes me INCREDIBLY HAPPY because 1) I am sick of driving, 2) My car is no spring chicken anymore and needs his rest, and 3) Gas costs an arm and a leg these days, and my university gives us free train passes. Oh, and I suppose 4) It's better for the environment. But mostly 1-3, if I'm being really honest. Maybe it's because I grew up in a town where public transportation was not a thing, but I find subways to be miraculous! Like, a free air-conditioned ride to work?? Sign me up!

So that's that. I am getting together with a friend of mine tonight before she moves away for law school, and I think that getting a little drunk and having some girl time is EXACTLY what I need right now. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Low Reserves

I mentioned I had to get a colonoscopy this week - I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it was miserable. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular procedure, Google "colonoscopy prep." Yeah. I KNOW.

Anyway, the worst part for me was having to fast for 24 hours prior. IT WAS AWFUL. You are allowed to have clear liquids, but it's pretty hard to fill up on Gatorade and juice. Plus, I really don't have a sweet tooth and thus sports drinks and sodas are completely unappealing (except for Diet Coke, for which I would commit murder, but that doesn't exactly help in the nourishment department). Although I knew it was important to get enough calories in, it's honestly next to impossible on a clear liquid diet. So my intake was WAY low for the day, even with zero activity (spent the day in my office sitting in front of the computer).

But the odd thing for me was that the two days since ending the fast have been almost as grueling. Obviously the whole prep/procedure process is tough on the tummy, and I've been kind of nauseated and bloated-feeling ever since, but even more noticeable is how rundown I'm feeling. Even though I ate relatively normally yesterday and so far today, it feels like the 24 hours of fasting left me completed depleted of any energy reserves. I find myself getting light-headed and weak SO easily, even when there haven't been huge time gaps between meals. At least three times in the past two days, I've found myself so hungry I legitimately thought I might pass out. Yesterday after getting home, I felt so exhausted and drained and physically weak that I didn't know if I could make it up the stairs to my apartment (third-floor walk-up). Then this morning I had two bags of groceries and almost had to make two separate trips up the stairs because the bags were too heavy and my legs felt like lead.

This is how I used to feel at times when I was seriously underweight and eating dangerously low amounts of calories per day. Now, 24 hours at that intake level and I'm practically incapacitated for days. I'm not underweight, and ate normally before and after the day of fasting. But gosh, that day was a shock to my system.

One super important thing I've noticed, though, is that I have had ZERO impulse to continue restricting. This is actually a major improvement from the last time I had a scope a couple years ago. After the day of fasting, I was all fired up to keep restricting, and I lied to get out of breakfast after leaving the hospital. This time around, I was like GET ME FOOD ANY FOOD. So my brain seems to be doing better, even if my body is still struggling.

Oh and I suppose I should also add: results showed no Crohn's Disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, or Celiac disease. I will get the biopsy results sometime next week, but it looks like I'm free of all the big scary GI illnesses, thank goodness.

More adventures in the post-anorexia life.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tchu Tcha Tcha

So much to update internship, end of summer, hospital for an icky icky colonoscopy (KILL ME), grappling with the never-ending mystery that is my metabolism, future musings, etc. But at the moment I am obsessed with a relatively obscene song and I had to share it. Sorry in advance. You will be tchu tcha tcha tchu tchu tcha-ing all the livelong day.

I dare you to listen without dancing. At least a little bobbing, perhaps with the odd hip thrust thrown in.

Yet another reason for me to relearn Spanish.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Post-Medication: One Month Update

Since I subjected you all to my hemming and hawing about this for so long, I figured I should keep you informed. I've now been off my medication (Celexa, which I was on for 2 years) for one month. Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, my emotions still feel raw and powerful and intense. They aren't always positive at the moment, but I don't honestly think it's anything much much worse than some of the deep depressions I experienced at times even while on the medication. Late last week I had one or two rough day; lots of tears, hopelessness, total despair. I called my mother twice on Thursday and didn't do much more than cry into the phone. BUT I have to say, it felt much more connected to external factors than a chemical shift in my brain. I don't know how I know that, but it feels accurate. Like, it was less totally irrational ruminating and more I am realistically frightened and upset about what is happening to me.

What is Happening to Me is: More health issues, unfortunately. The nerve pain seemed to have eased off after the uptick May-early July. I had a solid pain-free week, and then it seemed to spike again late last week. However, the past few months I've been experiencing this spike around mid-cycle (is that when you ovulate? I meant to investigate this) pretty consistently, which seems to indicate it's hormonal and therefore temporary.

On top of that, it looks like those tummy issues I mentioned a few weeks ago might be more problematic than I realized. When I went to the campus health center, they sent me straight to a GI specialist at University Med School Hospital. Now it looks like I'm going back into the hospital this week for more testing.

My weight: I was definitely started to worry that the Celexa was causing weight gain, and I do think that was a valid fear. The steady weight gain I've been experiencing for the past 2-ish years coincides exactly with when I started taking it. It also coincides with when I finally hit rock bottom in terms of the pelvic pain and decided I would do ANYTHING that might help - including eating more and gaining weight. The week I started taking Celexa was the same week I basically gave up any hope of maintaining a low weight/crappy eating habits and being remotely healthy or okay, and committed to recovery. So it's hard to tell if/how much the medication affected the rate/quantity of weight gain, but I will say that weight gain was faster and much easier this time around than ever before, and that I have not ever eaten what "should" have been a "weight-gain" amount of calories in these past two years; a.k.a. according to all the calorie counter calculators and all the dieticians I've seen, I should not have gained as much as quickly as I did on the amount of calories I've been eating. It's possible I'm just getting old and don't have the teenage metabolism I did last time I went through refeeding, or it's possible that in Recovery: Part III my metabolism has simply had enough, or it's possible that the medication was helping things along. I don't know. I probably never will. Since coming off the medication, my weight dropped 2-3 lbs pretty quickly in the first week or so, and then went back up the next week, and I haven't weighed myself since. So, stay tuned on that one.

Regarding my mood, I'm still feeling fragile but I have not had any type of breakdown or nosedive into major depression/anxiety. Are my depression and anxiety up a little bit? Yes, I think so. But not so much that I regret coming off the medication just yet and not so much that I feel a need to go back on. So again, I guess my overall message is: stay tuned.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Letter

To My 11-Year Old Self:

I know it's hard. I know you feel awkward and weird. I know that moving to a new town and being in a new school is scary. I know that you think being skinnier would make it easier.

I know you Googled "teenage depression" because you wanted a name for what you were feeling. I know you came across a pro-ana website that both terrified and fascinated you, and suddenly all those vague fantasies about starving yourself felt real.

Please tell someone. It's doesn't have to be Mom, although her spidey senses are already picking up on something. Please don't lie to the doctor when she asks about your weight. You can't see it yet, but this is more serious than you know. There are some mistakes that can't be undone.

You have an incredible, healthy, beautiful body. That is a blessing.

High school will suck a little, but you'll make it. You'll excel, actually. There are ways to cope that won't hurt you. You will have people who care about you.

You're sharp and sensitive and a little shy, but you'll grow out of that. Someday you'll be more outspoken than you ever imagined. In college, you'll flirt with boys and go on lots of dates and have sex with some of them. You'll regret some of it, but not all of it. You'll write an 90-page thesis and graduate summa cum laude. Daddy will cry at the ceremony.

He'll cry again three months later when you overdose on pills.

You're not perfect. You're not expected to be. No one is, even though it may seem like some of the girls at school are. You're beautiful and sweet and smart. You ace tests without cracking a book. You play the violin like an angel. You can make people laugh. Other kids want to be friends with you. Give them the chance. Give yourself the chance.

You deserve everything good in life. You don't need to hurt yourself to make people love you. It won't make anything easier.

Please don't hide how much you're hurting.

I love you. I miss you. Hang in there.