Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rationalizing and Normalizing (Encouragement Welcome)

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.


  1. These times really suck :( and especially when we are stressed or anxious it can make us focus more on our body and food way more then we normally would... Your body has been through a lot and it's still trying to figure everything out. The best advice I can give you since I am in a similar position is to continue trying to be patient and it will fall back into place and as it does - the ed talk on your head will start to lessen. The thing that sucks with eds is that it can catch us during vulnerable moments and times in our lives and we just need to do our best to hold on and ride through it. I wish I had better advice but I am struggling with these things as well at the moment and these are the things I am trying to tell myself that others have td to me so I thought I would pass it along and hopefully some of it will help. Try not to feel to discouraged. Eds suck and I hate them do much but one day we will be free from it. I know it!!!

    1. ugh I totally depresses me that STILL, after so many years, I have these same body image insecurities that I was having 10 or 15 years ago. It helps to remember that this just happens to be my brain's go-to obsession during times of stress, the way some people reach for a cigarette or a drink. Thanks for your encouragement. Praying for an easier 2015 for all of us!

  2. That's the thing about EDs Kaylee
    Everything seems right physically
    But we ourselves know that something isn't right
    I guess that is mental illness
    Everything seems ok and normal
    But we know deep down that something isn't right
    Do remember that this is an especially hard time of year
    You have been doing so well
    And you are an inspiration to me
    Your strength and determination shine through every post I read
    And your sense of humour shines through
    I really love this
    Because my sense of humour is sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day
    Kaylee you are an amazing person
    I read about you doing your college work
    And I am so blown away by your sheer ability to work hard and get things done
    Please remember that you are an amazing person
    And bigger than your ED

    Take care sweet one
    Always here for you x

    1. Thanks Ruby. Sometimes my body in recovery feels like an alien - It is so hard to separate out what is normal or abnormal or just my brain freaking out. Much love to you.

  3. I know you cognitively know these things-- but blood work is pretty generalizable. It looks for the commonest things.

    My liver doesn't make glycogen and that never showed up on any routine tests, and was the answer (at least partially) to night time panic attacks, daytime dizzy spells, disintegrating bones & weird weight flux. It was the world's simplest fix. I'm just saying you know, don't be too hard on yourself, and don't assume it's in your head because your cbc/cmp was within normal limits.

    Be kind to yourself. it gets easier.

    1. Thank you - I go back and forth constantly about whether I am just being a paranoid freak or whether I need to pursue this, even if just to put my mind at ease. I keep thinking that after enough time of normal eating patterns and moderate exercise, things will level off...and then something comes up that triggers this immense panic like THERE MUST BE SOMETHING REALLY WRONG AND I'M GOING TO GAIN 100 POUNDS IF WE DON'T FIGURE IT OUT. I'm still meaning to try that bizzare-o uncooked cornstarch thingy to see if it makes a difference in my hunger/tiredness issues, and then may just bully my GP into more tests or referrals or whatnot. Thanks for all your doctoring wisdom, you are the best. Hope you're feeling better.