Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hopeful Homestretch

Heading into my last week of the semester—who survived her first semester of PhD school? OH, JUST ME. It's been a rough, wacky, up-and-down few months but knockonwood things are looking up, I think. After waffling forever about whether or not to go back on meds, I finally cut the crap and got myself up to the full dose of Celexa (20mg, for me) and whaddya know within less than two weeks I feel almost like myself again. Haven't had one of those scary near-panic-attack anxiety episodes in a while, and generally feeling more even-keeled all around. If you guys recall, I got the Celexa prescription from a GP about six weeks ago to tide me over until I could get in to see the psychiatrist, but I was totally indecisive about whether or not to actually take it. She also gave me Ativan, which I've taken only two or three times and never noticed any difference. The psychiatrist today recommended I keep at it with the Celexa, and add Klonopin at night to deal with the epic insomnia. I liked the new psychiatrist a lot, and am feeling generally hopeful about this regimen for now. It's so weird to see a new mental health person now and have to explain, very genuinely, that I'm not here for the eating disorder. You know? They always want to harp on that, and I'm like calm down, I got this. Let's talk anxiety.

So, all in all feeling better. Unfortunately it seems that spending the past few months on in a state of near-constant panic seems to have taken a toll on my poor skin. My face is totally broken out and I feel straight-up horrible about myself. I'm embarrassed to see The Boy because I don't want him to think I'm a troll. C'mon God, acne should not be on my list of concerns at age 25. Cut a gal a break.

In other news, I am just about finished up with all my coursework. One presentation left tomorrow, but that's it. I am also starting to prep stuff for the class I'll be TAing in the spring....it involves running a lab for a stats class and not gonna lie, I feel vastly under-qualified.

On the plus side, I am no longer straight-up crazy, and I am excited to visit a friend of mine in Other Big City next week, then head home for Christmas. Sorry for the wildly inconsistent posting lately—it's been a weird few weeks. Hoping to be more on top of it in the future.

Much love to you all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Back on the Map

Hi all—I really never intended to drop off the face of the earth. Just needed a break from blogging, then got out of the habit, and then more and more days passed....anyway, still here. My anxiety got really really bad a few weeks ago and my mom ended up coming out to College City to stay with me for a few days. That really stabilized my brain/moods/whatever's going on up there, and I've been relatively okay ever since. I did start back on my Celexa (still paranoid about side effects but willing to give it a go for now) and I have a bottle of Ativan, which I've taken only once or twice...to be honest, I haven't really noticed any effect, which probably means I need to up the dose (I have 0.5 mg pills). But like I said, things feel a bit more manageable and I haven't really needed it all that bad.

So, a rundown of some life updates:

My class schedule worked out such that I was able to take the whole week off for Thanksgiving, so I'm at my parents' house in Home City several states away from College City. I was set to fly out Saturday afternoon.... Two cancelled flights, two delays, one two-hour flight, one eight-minute layover and a nearly mile-long sprint through Big Southern International Airport (I made it to the gate JUST as they were closing the doors, whew), another two-hour flight, and an hour-long car ride later, I finally made it home at 2am. Yesterday was full of sleeping in and hanging out at home and reading and coffee and home-cooked food.

My first semester as a PhD student is almost over, believe it or not. I have two papers, one presentation, and a project but all except one of the papers are essentially done/almost done. I am hoping to get that last paper mostly wrapped up this week. My next big project will be prepping for my conference presentation in January—it's been so long since I ran the actual data that I need to do some serious refreshing.

So, the boy and I are not quite an official Thing just yet but I LIKE HIM A LOT and hope it moves in that direction. He's super shy/not a big texter, so cue the internal angst of is-he-just-not-into-texting-or-not-into-me and is-he-just-shy-or-is-he-ghosting-me. But every time we see each other in person, I am reassured that this is real and he likes spending time with me and things are good. He is actually in the process of making some Big Life Decisions (school- and career-wise) and it's nice to know that he wants to mull it over with me and get my input. Plus he is super sweet and cute and speaks two languages and likes How I Met Your Mother and Jimmy Fallon and he knows how to order beer and he's a bit of a science nerd and he likes to read and YOU GUYS HELP I'M TOTALLY SMITTEN.

I had two semi-serious relationships in college, and have dated only one guy (very casually/very briefly) since, but I don't know if I've ever felt this excited/apprehensive about a relationship...and I can't tell if that's a good sign, or just a byproduct of me being generally on edge about most things these days. But I like him and I get giddy to see him, and I want to tell everyone about him....but then I don't, because I don't want to talk about it and make it real if it's not going to last. Love is total trip, man.

So..I came to this coffee shop planning to work on my paper, and instead decided to spend an hour blogging. Gonna pretend to get something accomplished before heading home. Peace out everyone, very happy Thanksgiving if I don't check in again before Thursday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Still Here

Sorry everyone for the radio silence. I'm still here, I'm alive, I have not driven myself off the insanity cliff just yet. I am doing much better than I was a couple of weeks ago, thanks to an endlessly patient and selfless Mama Bear, a few saintly friends, and some drugs. Just haven't been in much of a blogging mood, but I'll get there. Back to your regularly scheduled programming shortly. Much love to you all.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Gotta Get Down on Friday

Strange few days here. I had an appointment with a GP at the campus health center the other day. I was in the middle of asking for a routine referral for my ophthalmologist when I promptly burst into tears and told her how freaking ANXIOUS and IRRATIONAL and HORRIBLE I've been feeling lately, and how overwhelmed I feel about having to wait so long for my appointment with the psychiatrist. Poor Dr. L took it like a champ, said all the right things, did her quick due diligence to make sure there wasn't any underlying medical issue causing it (doctors are obsessed with checking my thyroid function, it seems) and sent me on my way with prescriptions for Celexa and Ativan. I filled them right away and now have both pill bottles sitting in my bathroom cabinet. I haven't actually taken either of them yet, but somehow feel a little better just knowing they're there. Especially the Ativan, even though it scares the crap out of me a little.

Dr. P and I are back to weekly appointments after experimenting with every other week for a while over the summer. It's definitely what I need right now, since she is such a stabilizing/sane/supportive force for me. This morning I was definitely weepy/sniffly throughout my appointment but did—as I almost always do—feel better better afterward.

School stuff: I've randomly been interviewed by two different reporters in the past week. One was writing about some research I did last year, and another was asking me to comment on someone else's study as an "outside expert.". LOL. I was like: Hi sure okay but I think you're using the term 'expert' a tad loosely. I've also joined two new professional societies and registered for two conferences in the next six months. Very strange to have this academic/professional persona out there when it feels like my insides are crumbling.

The Boy and I have Date #4 tonight—it's our first meal, which feels like a milestone. Everyone pray for me.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Habitual Illness, Revisited

This column does a much better job of summarizing the study's findings than that New York Times article I posted last week. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback.

"Steinglass emphasizes that calling anorexia a "habit," such as a headline did in the New York Times, doesn’t capture the full story. It’s not just a habit, like biting your nails. Instead, she likes to think of the disorder as being supported by these entrenched routines that must be changed for recovery to occur."

Friday, October 23, 2015

More Anxiety, Weight Thoughts, and the Dating Game

The anxiety lifted a tad for a day or two, then re-descended again last night so, here I am again. Because my old psychiatrist no longer takes my insurance, I finally contacted the campus health center about seeing one of their psychiatrists....and unfortunately there are no openings until December. Which frankly does me no good, considering there's no way I can keep this up for another six weeks. They provided me a list of outside providers, which I'm going to send to Dr. P for a recommendation. And hope that one of them takes my insurance and has something sooner. In the meantime, I am debating starting to taper up on a leftover bottle of Celexa (when I e-mailed my old psychiatrist, she said this was perfectly safe), assuming it will take a few weeks to kick in anyway, but I want to make sure I have enough to last until my first appointment so I don't have to stop cold-turkey and experience the HORROR of SSRI-withdrawal brain zaps.

Anyway, Dr. P and I had another conversation about medication today—her assuring me that weight gain is extremely unlikely, me freaking out about weight-gain/everything, and both of us agreeing on the fact that there is something really screwy going on in my head right now.

Mostly unrelated: I had a doctor's appointment the other day (needed a referral to my ophthalmologist) and got weighed for the first time in a LONG time. *******Okay, so actually I just went back and checked—I stopped weighing myself in April 2014, a year and a half ago (interestingly, right around the same time I started to consider tapering off Celexa). Now, body image is not as horrible and urgent a problem as it used to be, though I do still worry about my weight. I just always assume I'm gaining (because how the heck could I not be getting unbelievably fat by eating healthfully and not restricting, right???). But whaddya know, my weight was basically the same as it was eighteen months ago, maybe even a couple pounds lower. And I just had this overwhelming sense of freedom...like wow, maybe I don't have to be afraid of this anymore. Hard to describe. Also hard to believe that I feel this way about a weight double digits over what used to be my own self-imposed "highest weight I could ever tolerate without jumping off a cliff." Just for reference: I am currently at a BMI smack in the middle of the 'normal' range. Funny how that works out.

This dating thing is a rollercoaster, amiright ladies?? After the boy (he may get an initial soon...) and I had a great time last Saturday, we texted a couple times but then it dropped off so I was all like I MUST BE TOO UGLY FOR LOVE. But then on Wednesday night, he called. Like on the phone. I KNOW. Anyway, we're going out again on Saturday night. BE STILL, MY HEART.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Anxiety/Life Updates

Very grateful for all the anxiety advice. I'm still not doing great in that regard, but do feel a bit better about being able to name it for what it is, acknowledge the fact that I am not okay, and somewhat have a plan for moving forward. Dr. P is supposed to call me with a recommendation for a new psychiatrist, and in the meantime I am gong to e-mail my old one (she no longer takes my insurance, unfortunately) about either possibly seeing her on a sliding scale or getting a recommendation for someone new. I do like that she is so easy to contact via e-mail and is always willing to toss around ideas, go back over my records, and do some research on my behalf. Back a couple years ago when I was juggling several different doctors/medications, she actually got on the phone with another doctor who was giving me bad advice and told that loser what was up. I have a long memory for someone who goes to bat for me like that.

Anyway. I think the thing that is wearing on me the most about the anxiety right now is that things are going great. I love school, my classes are tough but engaging, I like my professors and my classmates, my advisor and I are tight as ever, we got two papers published in the last month, I just got accepted to present at a big conference in a couple months, and there's a new boy. And with all that, I just hate wasting all this time and energy feeling miserable. Yes I am paranoid about gaining weight on a medication, but I am more motivated to take this thing by the horns and get back to my old self. Life should be really good right now.

So yeah.....there's a boy! We've gone out twice now—both involving coffee, long walks, and talking for about five hours straight without coming up for air. He's a little shy which created major internal anguish, i.e. he didn't text me after the first date and I was feeling very insecure...I agonized for three days then decided to be brave and text him, which was all the prompting he needed to ask me out the second time! We are still taking our time and getting to know each other, but I am definitely in a place where I like hanging out with him, we get along great, and I can't wait to see him again :) Those are all good signs, right?

Alrighty folks, hope everyone has a great week. More soon.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Anxiety Breaking Point

So, I need to talk about anxiety. It is out of control. It is dominating my thoughts, my moods, my every decision, it's keeping me up at night, it's making me burst into tears ten times a day, it's screwing with my self esteem and future plans and whole life perspective. This is not okay. 

It is a very strange feeling to know that you are suffering from a wonky brain, to recognize fully and clearly that your thought patterns are insane, to understand the fact that this is a cognitive short-circuit.........and to still have fears and obsessions that feel one hundred percent real

At the moment it's mostly little health/body-related stuff (not weight, more like eye/skin/nerve pain/injury/etc.). I freak out anew about the same things every single day, even though nothing bad ever really happens and I can almost perceive these freak-outs as if watching from outside my own head. Very very bizarre. Yet still terrifying.

I have to assume some of this is latent school-/life changes-related stress manifesting as obsessions about physical stuff. But I truly don't feel that stressed about school. I feel a little lonely—just missing old friends, having a regular crew, and a roomie—and am wondering if that is maybe having a bigger impact on my mental health than I realize. No one to distract me when I get home at night and commence obsessing; it's just me and the four walls. Maybe that's taking a toll.

But man oh man this is anxiety like nothing I've ever experienced before. More persistent, more intense, and almost scarier in a way because it feels purely internal; I can sense that there is something very, very wrong in my head, and that terrifies me. And I just feel totally wrecked all.the.damn.time. For the past couple weeks I've had a constantly upset tummy, and sometimes my hands shake. And although I've never been a great sleeper, my current level of insomnia is OFF THE CHAIN. By Tuesday of this past week, I had probably not slept more than 3 hours since Friday, and was semi-nonfunctional (still somehow gave a presentation, took a quiz, and went on a date* though....). Since then I've been taking OTC sleeping pills and doing a little better, but definitely would not be able to do without them. So yeah, basically I feel like crap.

I know that medication needs to be back on the table. I know. And I'm at a point where I'm almost relieved to have the choice taken away from me; it's clear that I probably can't manage this the old fashioned way anymore.

Would love to hear any experiences dealing with anxiety. I am a disaster.

* More on the date later!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Habitual Illness

I can't tell you how many times I've described my screwy, counterintuitive eating patterns as "habit" rather than straight up disorder, and apparently that's not uncommon among anorexics. Can anyone relate?

Anorexia May Be Habit, Not Willpower

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Real Updates, For Once

I realize it's been a while since I wrote a "real" post, like with actual details and updates on the happenings of my life. I am halfway through my first semester of PhD school and thus far I am enjoying my classes, hitting it off with my other cohort members, and working my butt off but feeling inspired. I'm glad to be getting down to the nitty-gritty of it—we had a proposal due this week and I'm giving a heavy duty theory presentation next week, so those are occupying the majority of my brainpower right now.

Mood- and sanity-wise I am getting about back to my baseline after a few rough weeks. My anxiety was extremely high for much of August and September, and it got interspersed with pockets of depression where I was crying constantly, totally low energy, buckling under a vague feeling of stress but not quite seeing the point of anything. It is a strange sensation to be entering this amazing, life-altering opportunity (a top doctoral program) surrounded by celebrity faculty and planning my future career while simultaneously feeling like life is a black hole. Anyway, just over the past couple weeks I've started feeling my moods stabilize, my mind center, and normal excitement/inspiration kick in.

I did muster up the will to call my old psychiatrist for an appointment only to discover that she no longer takes my insurance, and each visit would cost me $175 out of pocket. So, it looks like I'm in the market. But then almost as quickly as that all unfolded, I convinced myself I didn't need medication anymore. Will happily listen to alternate opinions on that.

YOU GUYS I HAVE A DATE. I met this guy a few weeks ago at some graduate student happy hour even thing and we totally hit it off, and then he friended me on Facebook and I WAITED AND WAITED AND WAITED for him to send me a message.* He finally did on Thursday—so we started chatting, and then I WAITED AND WAITED AND WAITED some more for him to ask me out. He was playing it so cool! He was like a stone-cold cucumber!! Literally I was sitting at home alone waiting for a boy to call.** But then he finally did!

Other randomness:
- Keep my mama bear in your thoughts! She's getting icky cataract surgery.
- Speaking of my badass mom, she sent me a Wonder Woman card in the mail with the message: "You are my Wonder Woman!" written inside. Everyone deserves a mother like that.
- I think, knock on wood, my stress fractured foot may finally be totally healed. Hasn't bothered me at all recently, despite abusing it a bit with too much walking.
- College City temperatures ranged from 48 to 86 degrees over the course of four days this week. I need more stability in my life.

Have a great weekend everyone, much love to you all.


*Yes, I know I could have messaged him first. I'm old-fashioned. SUE ME. 

**My mother is a strong, brave, badass feminist woman and raised me better than this.

Monday, October 5, 2015

"There is No Self"

"You are never the same once you have acquired the 
knowledge that there is no self that will not crumble."

- Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon

This is the most beautiful book. I've been up late devouring it the past two nights and I can't recommend it highly enough—whether you have experienced mental illness firsthand or know someone who has. Beautifully written, beautifully clear, beautifully compassionate.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Questions

Lots floating around in my head these days.
- what my ED status is
- what my weight is
- whether I should go back on an SSRI
- whether I am legitimately insane
- what my PhD research agenda will end up looking like
- whether my beloved advisor will get tenure
- how strapped financially I'll be this year/the next four years
- why I am about to turn 25 and it still feels like I have absolutely nothing figured out

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On Being a Man in the 21st Century

Oh hi Rob Lowe, I'm sorry you're feeling objectified. That must be really rough. So sorry. SO SO SORRY. Man, it's tough being a man in the world. #waronmen #quitwhininggirls

Rob Lowe on the objectification of men in Hollywood

I hate people.

Feeling grumpy tonight, can ya tell?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Strange Clickbait

I was just a-scrolling innocently through my Facebook feed today only to encounter this bit of gold/garbage (you decide):


Um. What the.....?

(Sorry for the awkward gray square in the corner—I was trying to cover up a potentially triggering inset photo.)

Who publishes this stuff??

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Early Semester Check-In

Yikes it's been a while. This is partly because I'm super busy with school and partly because I am not feeling very articulate about non-school stuff. In short... it's been a rough, rough couple of weeks. I was just crying crying crying all the time. No particular/rational reason, just feeling really darn miserable. It's hard to explain how that feels, and really terrifying to feel unsafe in your own head. There are random things I'm frustrated or upset about, and obviously the start of school brought a whole new set of stressors, but really there was nothing external that should have made me so persistently sad. I know that's the nature of depression, but still. Anyway, it probably didn't help that, for various scheduling conflicts, I didn't see Dr. P for over a month. We had an appointment yesterday afternoon, by which point I was already inexplicably starting to feel a little better. There was a noticeable shift in my mood/mindset on Sunday or Monday, and now I feel pretty much back to baseline, knock on wood. Fingers and toes crossed things stay this way. Dr. P brought up, as she does every time something like this happens, the possibility of going back on an SSRI. I have this instinctive, knee-jerk aversion to it, even when it feels like maybe I should be on something. When I really stop and ask myself why I don't want to take a medication, honestly, it's because of a vague fear of weight gain. Seems irrational now that I type it out, but that's the truth.

Anyway, life stuff: I am totally snowed under with coursework and research, but the nice thing is how much more TIME I have this year. With my masters program, I was always running from one thing to the next - classes, labs, internships, job(s), meetings, etc. Now, I basically just have class and occasional meetings with my advisor J. The workload is definitely tough, but I've gotten into the swing of things and feel pretty solid in that regard. I adore my cohort - everyone is great and supportive and smart and I am just in nerd heaven. Maybe things will change once the goin' gets rough and people start getting super stressed and competitive and cranky, but for now we are a tight little group.

I am still having injury problems. The stress fracture is basically healed (or at least it feels 99% better) but it seems like I've picked up compensatory issues, or my ankles and feet have just gotten stiff/weak/out of whack or something. A few weeks ago I had severe pain my joint of my right big toe where I could barely walk; that slooooowly eased up, but now I've got a major issue with my left heel. Plantar fasciitis is about the only thing that comes up when I hit up Dr. Google but I don't know if it's that. It's been a few days (heel pain started Sunday) and is maybe feeling a teensy bit better so, stay tuned I guess. Ugh I am FRUSTRATED and I miss running. Heck, I miss walking.

Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment, class, then a meeting with J. Friday is meeting, class, drinks with a couple of dudes from school, and hopefully catching up on some Z's.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Inexplicable Internal Strife

Sorry to be MIA, things are weird. And crazy. I feel generally better and more solid and okay than I did a week or so ago, and things are going well, but I just still feel like crying all the time. Sometimes there's a reason, like I feel lonely or fat or stressed, but more often than not it feels disconnected from any real external thing. Just random, inexplicable weepiness. Is this even depression? I don't really know.

Because really, things are okay. My social life has opened up in a lot of ways over the past couple of weeks; I went out with some new people on Thursday and had a really fun time. (Aside from the fact that I picked a fight with this fratty douche-bag with an ego problem. He started it by being obnoxious, and then I could not keep my mouth shut. Sue me.) Then last night a couple guys from my PhD cohort and I stopped for a beer at this neat little pub near my apartment. I used to go there all the time as an undergrad, but hadn't been in a while. It's nice to "rediscover" the city with newcomers, ya know? The plan was just a quick drink to unwind from a stressful week of classes, but we ended up having such a great conversation that we stayed for like three hours.

Today I've been working working working on stuff for my advisor, for which I am not getting payment or class credit but which I am doing anyway out of the goodness of my heart/I'll get my name on a publication eventually, but ugh. It is cramping my style because I have so much other stuff to do for my classes. My good friend L and I are meeting up either tonight or tomorrow for a "study sesh" which, inevitably, will turn into a gab fest, so I really need to get the bulk of my work done today.

So yeah, it's been this weird blend of being totally psyched about all the stuff I'm learning in school, then exhilarated by all the new peeps I'm meeting and fun stuff going on, then stressed by all the work and responsibilities, then overwhelmed by all the possibilities for my research and my career, then freaking exhausted, and the whole time I'm about three millimeters from bursting into tears.

Randoms:
- I'm going to a "watch party" for the GOP debate on Wednesday. Should be amazing. #Trump2016*
- There are two undergrads sitting across Starbucks from me right now taking selfies together. I feel old.
- Two weeks after getting my first stipend payment, I had to send the IRS a big fat check. It hurt.
- How much does Invisalign cost? My two front teeth are crooked and I am getting increasingly self-conscious about it. Anyone know?

Happy Saturday everyone, have an awesome weekend.

*Obviously I'm kidding....

Saturday, September 5, 2015

On Feeling Alone

Life is just hard sometimes, man. I'm really missing my friends. It seems like every year more and more of them move away, and it gets harder and harder to make new ones. My friends have generally always come from classes, or just the general day-to-day of being in school. But now since the program is much smaller and I'm the youngest of my cohort by a few years, it just seems like no one is really in the same life stage as me; everyone goes home to their spouse/kids. I've never really done any clubs or student groups or anything, but I'm trying to get out there and meet some new peeps. I went to a graduate student event in a different part of the university the other night, and there's a happy hour one night next week. It was refreshing to meet people outside my department and I even met a guy but it's hard to say yet if any real friendships will materialize. It is not in my nature to be super forward about initiating relationships, but what have I got to lose, right? This TED talk makes me cry every time and I am trying so hard to live by this.

Isolation is death for me. Yes I am introverted and yes I need alone time and yes big crowds/wild parties/sloppy bars stress me out, but loneliness is worse. I can't handle it. I'm worried that the more I let myself isolate and bathe my brain in all the sad chemicals, the harder it'll be to pull myself out of an entrenched depression.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mind Games

I am having a really rough few days. Usually the start of the school year gets me totally motivated and ready to go. But for some reason I just feel weepy and sad. Despite basically having made ten new friends in the past month, I feel desperately alone.

I don't know what's going on.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Week Goings On

Welp, I survived my first week of PhD class and whaddya guys know, maybe I can manage this whole thing after all. It has been insanely busy, chaotic, and somewhat stressful but mostly exhilarating after waiting around all summer for things to get going. I love my cohort; there are ten of us and everyone seems really interesting and motivated and, thankfully, pretty lovely to be around. We have most of the same classes this first semester, so we will be spending LOTS of time together in enclosed spaces, so it's a relief to have generally positive feelings towards everyone.

It's a remarkably diverse group—not just in terms of race/ethnicity (though it is diverse in that way, too), but also in terms of age, life circumstance, academic/professional background, etc. which makes for some neat conversations. I think it also really cuts down on the competitiveness that might fester in a program like this, since people tend to have pretty different interests and goals.

Anyway, my classes seem great. On Thursdays I have a lovely Indian professor with the most beautiful accent ever. Also he wears a bowtie and is taking us out for "gin and tonics" next week. My other professors all seem pretty good too, and I'm taking one in the medical school which seemed totally intimidating at first but now I'm all like I GOT THIS. I'm sure things will get super stressful in a few weeks, but for now I'm still in that honeymoon phase of being excited and inspired.

Some non-school updates: Sleep is much better, thanks in part to a combination of reduced stress, drugs, and some all-natural hippie stuff. My foot also seems to be somewhat improved, though I am still super skittish about it and have drastically limited my walking. I hate how an injury throws your whole body out of whack. What started in May as a teeny fracture in my right foot has domino-ed into tight/uneven calf muscles from hobbling around in the boot, big toe pain from limping to compensate the fracture, knee pain and stiffness from too much biking/squatting, back pain from sitting too much, etc. etc. etc. Is this what it feels like to get old?

Oh, and yesterday I got hit by a car. Yes, A CAR. I was biking to campus when it pulled out of a side street without looking and totally wiped me out. I was fine (she wasn't going fast), just shaken up. Actually, I think the lady driving the car was in worse shape than me. She freaked out and started screaming at her son to call the paramedics. Meanwhile I was dusting myself off and taking inventory; once I confirmed that nothing was broken or bent out of shape or anything else seriously wrong, I convinced her to chill the heck out and not bother with the ambulance. They helped me put my bike chain back on and I rode off to no ill effects. Arrived totally breathless to my meeting with J and blurted out "HI GOOD MORNING GUESS WHAT I JUST GOT HIT BY A CAR." His response? "Well, you haven't really lived until you've been hit by a car." Um, what?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Re-Injured and Other Updates

Guess who overdid it in PT and re-injured herself? Oh, JUST ME. I have tentatively diagnosed myself with turf toe (an MTP joint sprain) and am praying it really is just that—a sprain—as opposed to another fracture or something more major/complicated. At my PT session on Friday, I did a lot more foot strength-specific stuff (calf raises, running stairs) and single-leg balancing stuff, and felt okay (but tired!) afterward...but then that night I couldn't sleep because my big toe and the ball of my foot was throbbing so bad. Yesterday I didn't pay much attention until the afternoon when I was out and about running errands, and suddenly my big toe joint started KILLING ME to the point where I could barely walk and was practically in tears. Came home and took off my shoe to find the joint bruised and swollen, iced it, held a pity party for myself, iced some more, couldn't sleep AGAIN last night (hello insomnia), and now I'm pouting at the prospect of another however-many weeks of attempting to stay off my feet. Anyone wanna swap feet with me? Anyone? Anyone?


source: AAOS

On the plus side, it gave me the excuse to go drop $100 on my first pair of Dansko shoes (thanks JS for the suggestion!) and they are super cute and comfy (or as comfy as any shoes can be with a bruised and swollen toe). I am considering breaking out the Boot again for a week or so to really give myself a chance to heal. We shall see. UGH injuries are the worst.

You guys like?

In other news, school starts tomorrow. I am in denial. There is quite a bit of reading assigned for my first set of classes, but it is unclear how I am supposed to afford textbooks to do this week's reading when my first stipend payment doesn't get disbursed until next week. You guys feel me?

Randoms:

- In the vacuum of televised intelligence and thoughtful satire left behind by Jon Stewart, I have become obsessed with John Oliver. Ain't he adorable? That accent. Those dimples.

love the Brits.

- Someone please remind me it's okay to not exercise every day. And to not reach a certain number of steps every day. And to drive to campus instead of walking/biking if I need to.

- How 'bout them Duggars? Good grief.

- As mentioned, my insomnia is outta control. I am beyond sleep-deprived. I have a giant boring financial book next to my bed to try to put myself to sleep at night, to no avail so far.



- My period was totally late again. Apparently I'm on a six-week cycle now. #notpregnant

Everyone take a minute to pray to the Sleep Gods that I actually catch a few Z's tonight. PLEASE, I NEED IT SO BAD. Okay folks, signing off. Hope everyone has an awesome week.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Off-Balance

Yikes I feel weird. Mostly just sleep-deprived, which admittedly messes with basically every other aspect of mental and physical well-being... I'm not particularly stressed or nervous about the start of school, but there must be a slight case of first day jitters going on or something because I haven't slept well for about a week. I was not good about easing into the sleep schedule transition before orientation stuff started up this week, unfortunately.... Over the summer I was staying up past midnight most nights and sleeping until around 9:00 most mornings, but the past week I've had to be at campus by 7:30 or 8:00 each day. So I've tried going to bed earlier, but of course couldn't fall asleep....so I tossed and turned and read for a lil and paced my kitchen for a lil and as a result, I've been getting jolted horribly awake at my 6:30 alarm and wandering around campus like a total zombie. I swear, my head has been throbbing since Monday.

Another thing: each day we've gotten a box lunch catered by the school. Now, I am poor (see the math problem in a prior post) and all in favor of free meals, but I swear to God if I have to eat another turkey and Swiss sandwich out of a box again I might puke all over my orientation packet. And I'm using the term "sandwich" loosely. In fact it's more like a softball-sized white roll, giant lettuce leaf, mushy tomato slice, and a couple shreds of turkey and cheese if you lucked out and chose a good box. The other day they had forgotten to put any turkey on it at all; so I dug my way through the 64oz of bread to find it was just a lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Anyway. Shouldn't complain because it's all free but geez Louise I am ready to start eating some real food again. These weird sandwiches have totally screwed with my eating patterns because HOW MANY CALORIES???!?!!? and the early mornings have screwed with my working out patterns (I usually work out in the morning) so I am feeling very discombobulated by the whole thing. Very grateful to be getting into a more consistent routine soon.

On the plus side, I've gotten most of the major orienting business out of the way. Today is basically free except therapy this afternoon; tomorrow I have PT and then a meeting with my advisor. Actually it's a meeting/interview for the master's student who is technically "replacing" me as his MS research assistant. We spent some time looking through CVs yesterday and wowza it was fun/depressing. I mean, some were impressive but some were downright laughable. One person literally forgot to list the name of his undergrad school, and another listed a volunteer trip to Chicago under a section entitled "International Experiences." Um.

Alrighty, hopefully the recuperation begins today. Happy Thursday to all.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Winding Up

Life is slowly starting again. I have a full day of orientation tomorrow, lunch with a visiting professor Tuesday, and more orientation/training/late lunch with a friend on Wednesday. I got the syllabi for two of my classes so far and already have some reading to get started on. I'm not stressed about it because school is definitely My Thing and I love being a student but....let's just say I've gotten used to sleeping until 9.

Once upon a time I would've been totally stressed about all the pre-semester hullaballoo (....the fuck?? where did that word come from?)—happy hours, receptions, meet n' greets etc.—but I am actually looking forward to it. Maybe this is just a maturity/growing up thing, or maybe a being-less-OCD-about-food thing, but I am at a point where meeting new people and mingling at awkward cocktail hours really doesn't phase me anymore. I'm not shy; just routine-oriented and risk-averse. So if I can keep the anxiety under control, meeting new people is actually fun.

One source of stress I am dealing with right now is what shoes to wear. Now, I adore shoes and have a million pairs, but most of my nice summery ones are either fancy sandals or flats with paper-thin soles...and my foot is most definitely not up to trekking around in those just yet. Attempting to ramp up the running last week was a big no-no and my foot has been throbbing again ever since...what's also worrying me is that my other foot is sore too; not sure if it's a compensation thing, or just that even healthy feet need time to adjust to running after several weeks off, or a psychological thing (because I have a tendency to be batshit crazy) but UGH I am frustrated with myself and my feet. Mostly myself.

Soo anyway...still trying to figure out what to wear for all these events over the next few days. Nothing is super fancy but I do want to look professional. Running shoes are unfortunately out of the question, but I don't really have anything else with particularly sturdy soles and wide enough toe boxes to keep angry metatarsals placated. I have the most precious pair of wedge pumps that look great with everything and make my legs look long and thin and it makes my heart ache that I can't wear them this week. Life really is the pits sometimes.

But for the most part, I am eager beaver ready to get moving on this whole PhD thing. It's been a really weird time warp of a summer, and I definitely need some structure back to get my bearings again. I'm going to try to stop by and chat with my advisor J tomorrow on campus, and hopefully get some moral support and shore up some enthusiasm to remind myself what the point of it all is. Also I haven't seen pictures of his adorable kiddos in a long time and they must be SO BIG by now. J is one of those iPhone Era Parents who captures everything and thus has five thousand photos and videos stored at any given time. Luckily he's not the type to post them all over YouTube.

Alrighty folks I've got two new episodes of Bachelor in Paradise (judge me, I dare you) to watch, so that's a wrap. Happy Sunday everyone, keep my poor feet in your thoughts and prayers.

P.S. Some diet advice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Highlights

Feeling a tad better from the other day, but still totally spooked about this anxiety thing. I really should think/write more throughly about this, but...ya know. Outta sight, outta mind. It does seem like the anxiety kicked into high gear this summer, rearing its ugly head every few weeks, then every few days, and while it always passes it also always comes back. Dr. P and I had a conversation about going back on medication when I saw her last week. Right now I am opposed. But part of me also wonders why the heck I would put myself through this torture when there is potentially a solution. Argh, more on this in another post....

- Just finished an amazing book: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. EVERYONE GO READ IT IMMEDIATELY. And thank you Cammy for the endless and never disappointing book recommendations.



- Today was the main orientation for my PhD program. Long, exhausting, and ultimately somewhat anti-climactic since none of the material was really news to me (I've been at this university for six years....). There is more pre-semester stuff next week, and classes start the week after that. I am really really ready for things to get started.

- Injury update: I saw a new orthopedist yesterday after being referred by the physician's assistant I'd been seeing before. Uh, well turns out after all the diagnostic confusion (fracture? bruise? neuroma?), I did have a stress fracture after all, not a neuroma. Sorry to be a snob about credentials but that, folks, is why you insist on seeing a real doctor the first time around.

Kind of hard to see, but the red arrows point to the fracture site. These are actual images of my foot because 
I am weird and sneaked a picture of the X-Ray when the doctor left the room. #ninjamoves

Anyway, I guess it didn't really make a practical difference since the treatment was essentially the same (boot, rest, ice, PT, etc.). My foot had been feeling pretty swell even after a week of hiking, so I tried easing myself back into running over the past week. Okay, "easing" is the wrong word; I tried jumping back into running without a thought to the fact that I'd sustained an overuse injury less than three months ago whose primary cause is the "terrible too's: too much, too often, too soon." So within about three days I was already trying to get back up to my former mileage and whaddyaknow, broken foot is totally sore again, other foot is also unhappy, and it feels like I set myself back about a month. Great. Well done, me. Hello moderation, no I don't believe we've met.

- My mom was in DC earlier this summer and bought me a Michelle Obama coffee cup. It is amazing. I WANT TO BE HER. #WCW


- Math problem for all you numbers nerds out there: There is currently $168 in my bank account. I quit my job on July 23. My first stipend payment doesn't get deposited until September 1. My electric bill, internet bill, and car payment equalling about $250 total are all due by August 31. I have an overdue balance from my PT's office of $70 and one from the orthopedist of $47. I will also need to eat periodically throughout the next two weeks. How?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Trip Recap/The Aftermath

Sorry for the unplanned hiatus. I spent an awesome week traveling with my mom, then got home this past Wednesday and things have been weird, so I didn't really feel like writing. Anyway, I'm here now - back home after six glorious days of hiking, exploring, sight-seeing, sun-soaking, and pure mother-daughter time. We had perfect weather out in Beautiful Western State, and the landscape could not have been more different than Midwestern College City State. It was a much-needed change of scenery, change of pace, change of company, change of routine, change of everything.

One major positive - my injured foot was basically fine, despite tons of hiking and climbing in relatively tough terrain. Another positive was that I did no "formal" exercise (e.g. didn't hit the hotel gym once) and didn't lose my mind; though we were fairly active overall, with going for hikes and/or doing lots of walking basically every day, it's still a pretty big deal that I could go that long without a single "workout." On top of all that, eating went well. It helps that my mom is about the safest person for me to eat with and that she pretty much lets me dictate our eating schedule, so I could minimize the super challenging stuff. Still, I gave myself license to eat what I wanted, how much I wanted, and trusted my hunger more than usual. A big difference from my typical eating patterns was that we ate three big meals each day, whereas at home I tend to eat pretty frequent small meals and snacks. So each time we sat down to eat, it had been several hours since our last meal and I was STARVING and ready to scarf down all sorts of new, non-ED-approved dishes (bison burgers, anyone?). And man, sometimes it just feels good to sit down with a growling stomach and tear into a giant plate of food. My overall calories were probably on par with what I usually eat at home, but the pattern of intake was very different. Not in a bad way. And at each meal, it felt like I had come about my hunger honestly—i.e. by climbing mountains rather than restricting. And because rigid calorie-counting was near impossible, I let myself be really really flexible. And it didn't feel like a disaster or a failure; it felt normal and positive and healthy.

So we had an amazing time and there was definitely a letdown effect after getting back to my lonely College City apartment. The past few days have been this weird mix of whirlwind anxiety/crushing boredom/mind fucked-ness about the fact that orientation for school starts NEXT WEEK. I got home Wednesday afternoon and immediately descended into the belly of the anxiety beast. I don't know why the anxiety has been such an issue for me this summer, but man oh man it hit hard again. I was close to non-functional most of Wednesday night and Thursday morning, just totally freaking the fuck out about irrational nonsense, knowing it was irrational, yet still freaking out while berating myself for being such a nutty wimp. I burst into tears in therapy on Thursday morning for the first time in a LONG time, but Dr. P is a rock star badass mofo and after a hard and scary conversation I did feel much better and more in control.

And just like that I got it together in time to have a straight up awesome weekend - saw a concert Friday night with a friend from grad school, worked at the food bank with my favorite old guys all day Saturday, then went to a wine and cheese-type party at another friend's apartment last night, where I met tons of new people and had a fantastic time. Note to self: friends are the cure for almost everything. Must file this one away.

Now I've just got a few days until things really start picking up for the new school year—orientation next week, along with random trainings, meet-n-greet receptions, work stuff.... how is summer over already??

Friday, July 24, 2015

ED Status Update II

It has been about six months since my last ED-specific update, so I thought you were due some deets. In summary, there haven't been any drastic changes, just more of the same chugging along, hanging in there day in and day out, and coming up for air periodically to discover that I am getting further and further away from my anorexic self all the time.

Areas of note:

RigidityThe last time I updated about this in January, I was still writing down my intake and weighing myself semi-regularly; I had cut the ritualistic daily weighing, but was still checking in a few times per month and letting the number dictate my intake/mood/sanity. Sometime over the spring, completely without planning or preparation, I stopped writing down my daily calories and exercise - which is something I had been doing religiously for years. And around the same time, I stopped the weighing for good. My scale is sitting patiently collecting dust under my bathroom sink, and I haven't touched it. These two changes (no tallying calories and no weighing) have been HUGE for my recovery. It's not that I stopped counting calories; I still do, in my head. But I stopped physically writing down my intake and exercise each day and that alone has lifted this burden off my shoulders, loosened some leash I didn't even realize I had myself on, and allowed me to chill the f out in almost every way. I am still probably way more rigid than the average non-ED person (though part of that is just temperamental; I am pretty rigid and Type A in most areas of life, not just food) but there have been small yet monumental changes for me here - I am way more liberal with rounding my calories, I don't fret about what my weight will do day-to-day, and I am more willing to adjust my self-prescribed mealtimes for convenience/hunger whatever.

Ditching the scale and my daily weigh-ins has probably had the single biggest positive impact on my ED recovery in years, after sort of stalling out for a while and settling for "healthy enough." I can't believe I didn't take this step sooner.

Things to work on: Loosen up further on calories, and eventually quit counting altogether while relying more on hunger cues.

Body Image: This is the one where I have probably made the most progress. I can genuinely say that I do not hate how my body looks right now, and most of the time I am basically, genuinely fine with it. Just six months or a year ago I was falling apart emotionally on a regular basis over how "fat" and "disgusting" I looked; haven't had any such meltdowns in a long time. But more than that, I can just tell that my mindset around the whole issue has totally shifted. It's hard to describe, and it's not necessarily that I don't want to be skinnier anymore (I usually do still wish I were skinnier). It's more that I have accepted that can't/won't ever be as skinny as I want. And instead of that realization being completely devastating, it almost feels like a relief. I'm not built like a waif. I'm just not. And I think for the first time in my life, I have stopped fighting that. I no longer have this vague idea in the back of my head that I'll get there someday. I know I won't.

Another aspect is that as I've moved past this desire to be thinner thinner thinner no matter what, I've become more interested in being strong and fit and healthy. Part of this has been me rationalizing the fact that I can't run all the time anymore without injuring myself/causing other health problems, so I've started to embrace other, non-cardio types of exercise—mainly strength training—but also just in general, I am starting to see the benefits/appeal of forms of activity that aren't necessarily calorie-torchers. For one, I have gunz for the first time in my life since I started lifting a few months ago and actually stuck with it this time. I gotta say, lifting weights (lifting real weights, not pink 2 lb dumbbells) has changed my body more in six months than years and years of running ever did. Suddenly I can see muscles in my arms that were never visible before, and for the first time in maybe ever I am actually happy about a change to my body that did not involve losing weight.

Which brings me to...

Exercise: So this area is a mixed bag for me. Yes I have made some progress, but I also struggle mightily with the exercise compulsion, probably more so than anything else ED-related right now. It's ironic actually, because being healthier and eating better has almost fueled a tendency toward excessive exercise over the past couple of years. I no longer feel as though my sole reason for working out is to burn calories and lose weight; it's more this sense of feeling healthy and alive and wanting to capitalize on all the things I couldn't do when I was sick/malnourished/in pain etc. To an extent, I definitely still feel like I have to "earn" my food, but less militantly than before. I like the idea of working out hard/fueling myself appropriately. In theory. I probably still undereat a tad for how much exercise I get, and I probably still work out a little more compulsively than I should, but the underlying mindset is healthier than it used to be, if that makes sense. I want to feel strong and athletic, not necessarily skinny, and it feels much more wholesome than it ever did before.

At the risk of making this sound rosier than it really is, I still require myself to get a certain amount of cardio per day whether through running, biking, swimming, hiking, etc. and it is still really really really hard for me to take days off. When I hurt my foot and couldn't run, I switched to swimming pretty excessively and killed my shoulders. So then I switched to biking a ton and hurt my knee. And now here I am with a sore foot, sore shoulders, and sore knees, and I am still scheming ways to get a workout in. So, clearly not out of the woods yet on the exercise piece.

Things to work on: Taking days off, listening to my body, not working out while injured, and figuring out how to eat normally even when I don't burn a ton of calories.

In conclusion:
All things considered I'm doing pretty okay. The ED doesn't dictate every aspect of my life in the same torturous way it once did, but it still dictates quite a bit. I still have a nervous habit of adding up my calories over and over again in my head throughout the day, even when I know what the tally will be. I still would love love love to lose 20 pounds. I still care about all this stuff way too much. But I'm doing better.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Routines and Restaurants

It's a bit humbling to realize how much breaking my food routines still challenges me these days. In the past week I've eaten out three times and have another dinner out planned for this Friday, plus a happy hour on Thursday and a birthday party Saturday night. I felt really icky all day yesterday, sort of fat but mostly just gross and I couldn't decide if it was pure ED-ness or just the natural consequence of too much Mexican food and wine over the weekend. Mexican is probably the hardest cuisine for me, in that it's really hard to find "safe" foods at Mexican restaurants, and I ate at TWO different ones within a 24-hour period (Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch). So it was hard on the mind in terms of feeling overindulgent and trying to keep track of calories, but also probably a tad hard on the stomach if ya know what I mean. And all of yesterday I just felt icky and gurgly and off.

Then tonight a friend and I got Thai food; Thai is way easier than Mexican, and this restaurant is an old favorite with probably just about the safest menu around for me. But for some reason the thought of going out again, eating not my own food again, having to pretend to be normal while picking through a plate of rice again....it was all just a teensy bit overwhelming.

I am planning to write a big juicy ED update again pretty soon, but for the time being I'm thinking a lot about what it actually means for me to feel "gross" or "off" like this after eating out; I don't necessarily feel fat, or think I'm fat, or worry about getting fat from eating out. It's something about not having complete control over the dish and not knowing exactly (or close to exactly) how many calories are in it that still makes my skin crawl. Something about not sticking to my safe, boring, pre-planned menu. It's part physical, part mental. Probably mostly mental, duh, but restaurant meals do tend to be heavier and more oily or something, and they stick with you.

I used to love eating out when I was younger, and I definitely enjoy it more now than when I was in the thick of my eating disorder. But it still causes way more angst than I care to admit.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Post PT Friday Shenanigans

Now as you all know, my life is currently AS BORING AS BORING CAN BE because (A) I'm crippled (hi boot!) and (B) It's the dead of summer, I'm between grad programs, and everyone I've ever known has fled the state, it seems (bye friends!). So my main sources of excitement these days are the following:

- Trashy TV show of choice - The Bachelorette, duh. Kaitlyn is so freaking cool, I want to be her bestie and take boxing lessons and stroll the streets of Dublin and have cocktail parties with JUST US. All the guys kind of suck this season, unfortunately; none of them are remotely as cool as her. I used to like Nick when he was on Andi's season, but now he seems kind of sleazy. And Shawn is a lil bitch who needs to get his butt kicked. No one else is much better or even very interesting. Kupah had my attention for a while because his name was Kupah (SUPAH KUPAH!), but then he turned out to be a huge dick. Cupcake was adorable but then this happened and I don't know, call me old-fashioned and rigid in my gendered views but C'MON CUPCAKE, PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER. Oh and remember Clint and JJ? That is all.



Anorexia recovery win of the week - I bought butter. Like, a little tub of butter from the grocery store. I keep it in my fridge and put it on things and then I eat them - baked sweet potatoes, toast, eggs, etc. This may be the first time in my adult life I have ever actually bought butter. I am not joking. Non-ED readers may not grasp the magnitude of this.

Random life hack - I have (re)discovered kneading out the knots in my back and shoulders with a tennis ball against the wall. Pure ecstasy.

- Favorite hangout spot - I love love love Barnes and Noble (used to love Borders too, #tearsfordays) and while I usually just go to hang out, drink coffee, and do work or read trashy magazines, I also spend some time browsing because books=life. But periodically I come across something completely baffling, like this:


If you can't read the subtitle, let me help ya out: "THE LEFT'S PLAN TO TURN OUR COUNTRY INTO A THIRD WORLD HELLHOLE." Lol. This is a real book. Like, someone actually paid her money for writing this. Seriously, I could not make this shit up.

- Boot update: my orthopedist gave me the green light to start tapering out of it; I now probably only wear it about 25% of the time or so, usually if my foot is really sore and I want to give it a break. My sexy physical therapist and I were chatting about it today and he said there is a sort of tipping point at which wearing the boot will start doing more harm than good because the injured foot/leg whatever just gets weaker and stiffer while the other one tries to pick up the slack, so the risk for additional injury starts to outweigh the risk of worsening the original injury. He doesn't think I can do much damage to my bruised/neuroma-ed foot anymore by walking/weight-bearing (I might aggravate it and set myself back, but I'm not really going to do serious or lasting damage) so it would be better to start strengthening it rather than letting it get more stiff and weak. Or something like that. I honestly can't remember; I got lost in his eyes.

- Semi-serious mental health update - doing much better. Don't feel like delving into the dark, scary, icky stuff. I saw Dr. P yesterday (we do every other week now) and since I was feeling better and I hate having hard conversations, my inclination was to not even mention the horrible anxiety and pretend everything was peachy. BUT I was brave and told her about it, and we were able to talk through a lot of the insanity happening in my brain, and I feel a lot better. <3 my therapist, you all should meet her and have therapy with her. Even if you aren't crazy.

Weekend plans include working at the food bank, dinner/drinks with a friend from undergrad and some of his law school friends tomorrow night (NEW PEOPLE?!?!? MAKE THAT DRINK A STIFF ONE) and then lunch and a movie with another friend on Sunday. Somewhere in there I need to finish a paper for my advisor but technically he's out of the country, so...ya know.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Frustrations, Limitations, and Fear

I spent about 24 hours out of my mind with anxiety, and then thanks to time passing and some tears on the phone with Mama Bear and a lovely reader who spent literally HOURS chatting with me about books, movies, TV, life, etc. (thanks C), it eased up and now I'm basically back to baseline, though a little shaken.

This seems to be the pattern now. Most of the time I am basically very stable, not perfectly happy and content and ecstatic to be alive, but basically fine. Then every couple months something triggers a brief episode of very nearly debilitating depression and/or anxiety, and I'm a wreck for X days/weeks. So far they've always resolved themselves, and I'm still here. But every time, a little bit of my identity/self-confidence/sense of security gets chipped away. And I come out out of it a little less me than before.

I think I have been underestimating how traumatizing all of my health problems have been. Not the basic eating disorder health problems; the aftermath. The stuff no one talks about; chronic infections, IBS, dry eye, nerve damage, pain. The stuff that had me chasing my tail for over two years searching for solutions to problems no one had ever heard of.

I survived it all. I have been, dare I say, thriving. I have not been underweight since 2013. Essentially pain-free for close to two years. I am stronger, physically and mentally, than I have been in a long time. But I've gotten cocky. And defiant. I want to be invincible now. I want to go all out and not worry about getting sick or hurt or fatigued. I want to run marathons and swim the English Channel and climb mountains and deadlift 400 pounds. I don't want to take days off. I want to skip dinner sometimes and be fine. "Moderation" is not in my vocabulary.

And I don't necessarily want it to be. It's not just an ED thing; it's being twenty-something and not wanting to waste a minute. It's not even really about losing weight anymore, it's just about feeling alive and healthy and totally free.

Before I hurt my foot I had been running hard, adding in sprints, and walking several miles per day. When the boot made that impossible, I adapted. I started off swimming thirty minutes twice a week and biking thirty minutes twice a week. Within a few weeks the volume doubled, and the days off disappeared. No surprise I started getting shoulder pain and back pain, the old nerve pain spiked, and my period was two weeks late last month.

And so, in typically fashion, I fell apart. If I can't go all out, I don't even want to show up. What's the point?

I don't know how many more tries it'll take. How many more times I'll have to humble myself. To discover I'm not invincible, I can't go all out, I can't be as carefree as I'd like.

I know that I am prone to anxiety. Not just in the "I have an anxiety disorder" way, but in a very constitutional, personality-driven, this-is-just-how-my-brain works way. I have always been like this (though it hasn't always been debilitating, of course). But periodically it knocks me flat on my back and I become very nearly non-functional. I can't imagine going back to be being sick and in pain all the time. But I also can't imagine going the rest of my life being afraid.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

All Aboard the Anxiety Express

My anxiety is randomly outta control right now. Like, this minute. I've had a decent weekend so far, saw some friends last night and today, had a good time, but got home tonight and am suddenly freaking out like none other about:

- food

- exercise

- weight

- health

- foot injury

- nerve pain

Mostly the nerve pain. I've got in my head that swimming will exacerbate it, or maybe that it will aggravate my foot, or maybe it will make me fat, or maybe I-don't-even-know. Don't know what happened, but I've got that sick, sinking feeling in my gut that hits when the anxiety has me totally snowed under and nothing feels manageable.

These are the moments when I worry that I'll be like this the rest of my life, and I don't know if I can handle that. Or if I want to.

Ugh I'm sorry. I think I know where this is coming from but I'm not okay or rational enough to write about it right now. More tomorrow.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Three weeks until Mama Bear and I head out on our (postponed) vacation. Four weeks until my fellowship starts and I can quit my job. Five weeks until orientation. Six weeks until school starts (that's 19th grade, for anyone keeping track). Five years until I am a real grown-up with a real grown-up job. START THE COUNTDOWN. Ugh I am so over my job, and honestly getting to the point where I completely dread heading into the office. It just puts a total damper on my whole week. Yet I keep going (I am part-time and make my own hours) because the thought of not having at least that small bit of structure to my days seems unmanageable. Otherwise I tend to arrange my days around working out and eating. Not exactly the most fulfilling existence but, onward and upward. Refer to timeline above.

I saw the orthopedist yesterday. She pulled up my MRI and pointed out the hot spot - there's bruising and swelling at the head of the third metatarsal bone (that's the bone bruise), and also in the space between the third and fourth bones (that's the neuroma). To be honest I didn't really know what I was looking at; it just seemed like fuzzy white and dark spots to me. Now I am in the boot for another week (maybe two) and after that will try putting these metatarsal pad thingies in my shoes just behind the balls of my feet - they are supposed to redistribute the weight or something, so all the stress isn't going to that hot spot anymore. Stay tuned. If it doesn't feel better in the next week or so, she will have me follow up with a foot and ankle specialist for a cortisone injection or something else. Luckily no one mentioned surgery so I am assuming that's not on the table...

In unrelated news: I got called bitch twice yesterday. Two strangers, two separate incidents. The first time caught me totally off guard so I just gaped like a loser. The second time, I slowed my car to a crawl, rolled down my window, and flipped that fucker off. Sure I might get myself shot someday, but damn it felt good.* I am all for like love thy  neighbor and random acts of kindness but you know what? I think everyone benefits from periodically letting out a big fat FUCK YOU. Try it sometime.

And finally: you're welcome.

*High road? What's the high road? Can I catch it off 66?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Update on the Tootsies, and Other Thoughts

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. It was not rainy for once in College City, which made life significantly more pleasant than it could have been. Last night I drove out to my aunt and uncle's house—they own a ton of land out in the boonies about fifty miles west of the city—to eat tons of down home Midwestern cookin' (think: pork steaks, potato salad, corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake), sit around a bonfire, and set off Roman candles in the backyard. Quick q: WTF are pork steaks? We were nomming away on what I thought was just a regular old steak when my aunt described it as a "chicken fried pork steak" and I was like HOLD THE PHONE WHAT SPECIES AM I EATING RIGHT NOW? I am from the Northeast and we do not consume such things.

I am still bummin' a bit about my foot. Yes, I am still in the boot—coming up on the four-week mark and no, it is no more fun now than it was four weeks ago. I spoke to the doctor again today; apparently in addition to the bone bruise on the third metatarsal, there is also an inflamed nerve between the toes (google neuroma, I don't know enough about it to describe) that can, according to my sexy physical therapist, be either fixed with conservative measures like cortisone shots and metatarsal pads or with surgery, depending on how big and bad it is. YOU GUYS DON'T LET THEM CUT ME OPEN. Oh and also my other foot is totally killing me in the same spot which I am fifty percent sure is me being paranoid and insane, but ouch it still hurts so now I'm icing it. I have an appointment with the orthopedist on Wednesday which will hopefully make me less crazy.


Anyway, I will also be interested to talk with her (I've been going through the nurse on the phone) because while Morton's neuroma is basically the first thing that pops up when you google "SHOOTING PAIN IN THE BALL OF MY FOOT FROM RUNNING," it doesn't really seem to fit my symptoms, which definitely feel more bone-y rather than nerve-y, if you know what I mean. Maybe the bone bruise is masking that stinging/tingling/zapping nerve-type pain that you would expect, I don't really know. Anyway. My diagnosis has now changed three times so I am looking forward to actually having a face-to-face with the doc.

How 'bout that women's world cup final, right?!?! Apologies to any Japanese readers. But ugh I hate Hope Solo so much because she sounds sleazy and awful and mean and is a big bully and I wish she sucked at being a goalie so I could scorn her for that too. Anyway, other than that GO USA! You guys think it's too late to start my own soccer career? Actually I did have a soccer career once upon a time, but I only made the 'B team' in middle school and then I only made JV in high school so I quit and started running, and now I have a bone bruise and a neuroma, so we all see how well that turned out.

Um. That paragraph contained a lot. Moving on. Did I mention my physical therapist is a hottie? I did my makeup before going to my appointment this afternoon. Not even ashamed. Today while I was struggling to balance on this wobbly board thing he came over and HELD MY HAND. There were fireworks. I know he's engaged and all but you guys, no joke, this was undeniable. Oh and then as I was leaving he said—and I quote—'I want to see you again this week.' ................I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!?!

All righty, now that everyone has gotten a comprehensive look into (A) my foot, (B) my brief but dazzling soccer career, and (C) my love life, I am gonna wrap up this train wreck of a post. Very best wishes to all. Send me lots of anti-bruise/neuroma vibes, and I will try to survive another booted week.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bruised, Not Broken (or, sort of broken....?)

Thanks everyone for being so nice the other day. I am feeling way better than when I wrote my last post—a combo of mood fluctuations, change of pace with the work week starting up again, lovely chat with Mama Bear, hanging out with a good friend yesterday (which reminded me that just because I don't go out and get rip-roaring drunk three nights a week like I did in college does not mean I have no friends...), a great swim (who knew swimming would become a somewhat enjoyable form of stress-relief for this die-hard runner?), and SUNSHINE.

Injury updates: I got an MRI last night - what a strange experience. I had to lay facedown with giant headphones on while they blasted music that was so loud it hurt my ears, but somehow still sounded fuzzy over the noise of the MRI machine. My right foot was taped down and weighted with sandbags inside the coil to keep it from moving. My arms were tucked under me, which was comfortable for the first three minutes but then they promptly fell asleep. The whole thing took about forty-five minutes, though I spent over two hours at the hospital because...I don't know why. Everything took forever. #inefficiency

Anyway, the nurse called with the results today: bone bruise. (Is it just me or does "bone bruise" make anyone else cringe even more than "stress fracture"?) AKA by my understanding it's sort of like a type of fracture, but different from a typical stress fracture? I think? If I understood right? Mostly when the doctor was explaining it over the phone I wasn't paying attention, just busy moping about spending MORE TIME in this dang boot. Because she gave me that dreaded, vague, platitude: "These things take time." It has been just over three weeks now of me hobbling around in this thing(and five weeks since the injury first happened), and I'm maybe marginally improved but not really. And ugh I know I need to be patient, but the boot—while less devastating/impossible than I had feared—is still hella annoying. I was hoping to feel better enough to get around a bit this weekend, since College City has lots of fun July 4th festivities, but I'll survive, I suppose. One of my besties is planning to bring her dog down to hang, so that should make it all worth it.

At PT we have sort of been in a holding pattern while waiting to see what the verdict was—didn't want to jump right into all the hardcore foot-strengthening stuff if that would just aggravate it, but still wanting to make progress in terms of shoring up the rest of me that will hopefully take some of the stress off the metatarsals. He has also starting zapping my foot with a TENS unit; I don't know if it does a whole lot in terms of healing, but it sure feels awesome.

So that's that, sorry there's not much flashy happening in my life beyond bruised bones and foot-zapping. Oh and I got stuck in an insane storm last night leaving the hospital: torrential rain (as in, you couldn't see A THING), quarter-sized hail, flooding on nearly every street, trees and branches down everywhere, and I even saw a stone streetlight ripped out of the concrete sidewalk and lying on its side. Crazy. It took me over an hour to get five miles home—but mostly because Samuel and I spent twenty minutes hiding out under an overpass with about ten other cars. Naturally I called my mother and made her stay on the line while I freaked out.

That is all! Sorry for randomness! Happy Fourth, everyone!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Dip

Spending my Saturday working. Again. And feeling pretty darn lonely, like all my friends have moved away again and I am exhausted and overwhelmed by the thought of having to start over with new peeps again. It takes me a while to warm up to people; I'm not shy, really, but I am reserved and introverted and wary of letting people in. And sometimes it feels like I am still shell-shocked with everything my brain and body and heart have been through over the past few years, and that it is more important to protect myself, keep myself on the straight-and-narrow, not do anything too wild and crazy, that I am passing up chances to put myself out there, develop new relationships, and just like be a normal person who doesn't freak out and overthink everything.

I'm not intentionally isolating myself, but I do find myself being extra wary of surrendering my independence, my routine, my emotional security. It feels safe but it also feels limiting. I don't know if it is more important to figure out how to just be okay with myself first, or to say screw it and take risks and be spontaneous and accept that things might be scary and out of control and potentially disastrous.

Sorry this is vague. I'm not having a terrible time, just a slightly down period. Sometimes weekends are wonderful, and sometimes they are really hard.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Birthday Fail (Again) and News Roundup

Well fuck me I missed my blog's birthday for the fourth (count 'em: 2012, 2013, 2014) year in a row. But at least I'm getting closer, right? It's hard to believe I started this crazy thing FOUR years ago. I was still a  dumb little pipsqueak back then - just barely outta my teens (turned 20 about six months before my first post). I was also literally a little pipsqueak because I was starving and underweight, but that makes for less festive birthday party conversation so ahem moving on...



I am taking myself out of the boot AMA, at least part-time. The back pain is getting to be intolerable, plus the boot seems to be aggravating my old Achilles injury (same side as the stress fracture). Maybe just tightness/compensation or something, but I am NOT going to pick up another injury in the process of recovering from the first one, if I can help it. Besides, my foot does seem to be feeling a little better (maybe? I think? knock on wood?) i.e. standing doesn't seem to bother it as much, and I can poke it without shooting pains. I spoke to my orthopedist yesterday afternoon and she ordered an MRI which I'll get next week. Hopefully it feels better enough by then that I won't spend the whole weekend freaking out about having developed some life-threatening injury [SHUT UP, A STRESS FRACTURE COULD BE LIFE-THREATENING].

bootless. 

How 'bout that Supreme Court, amiright? Well done, folks. Two excellent decisions in two days. Just when I'm getting ready to pack my bags and move to Denmark, the good ole U.S. of A. comes through. And while we're at it, I never thought I'd say this but: the Pope and I share an opinion on science. Good couple of weeks for humans all around, no? Of course there was this fella but at least he has been sufficiently publicly shamed. My best friend works in a lab a few hours north of me and has taken to sending me #DISTRACTINGLYSEXY selfies of herself in a lab coat and goggles about 12 times a day, so all in all I'd say this situation has ended in a net gain.

I'll give you a minute to click through all those links.

My Friday plan involves swimming, lunch, and then PT (swoon). And maybe some work on a couple papers we have going but, you know, maybe not.


Edit: UGH dang it. I went to PT earlier this afternoon and told him all about my genius ditch-the-boot plan and he was like 'HA uh, no'. So I have been re-booted at least until after my MRI. Oh and also I learned that my sexy physical therapist is ENGAGED so I'm gonna need a little time to get over that.

Well, that was short-lived.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Women's Food

Thank you sir, for documenting what your wife describes so aptly as: "the bullshit I'm subjected to."


On Special K: "A cereal that's long been marketed as diet food for women. Not because it's particularly healthy or anything, but because if you replace full meals with Special K you'll essentially starve, which is definitely one way to lose weight."

On Luna bars: "At least Luna Bars are positioned as healthy, not just low-calorie."

On Activia: "It's diet food masquerading as yogurt Pepto."

On Lean Cuisine's Spa Collection: "An attempt to draw women in by evoking cucumber eye masks and orange-rind water" and "The kind of food you eat and then immediately forgot you ate, both because the flavors are so anodyne and because you're still hungry afterward."

On Skinnygirl popcorn: "Only 'skinny' because the bag is the size of a baby's head, not a whole baby, like most popcorn bags."

On Skinny Cow's ice cream bars: 'Legitimately delicious, even if Skinny Cow is the worst name for a food product since Argentina's Barfy burger."

Now excuse me-pardon me-don't mind me my life is just sooooo crazy I'm gonna go take a quick break with my thumbnail-sized brownie.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Assymmetry

It is bothering my sense of symmetry to be only using my left shoes. I have this fear of finally getting out of the boot and finding all my left shoes worn down to scraps while my right shoes are still shiny and new. The thought literally gives me chills. I might have to talk about it in therapy.




It's back to PT this afternoon to work on what my new physical therapist called my "postural imbalances." Although it is kind of a drag and I am terrible about doing the exercises as prescribed, I actually enjoy going to PT because it makes me feel like I am actively DOING SOMETHING as opposed to just sitting around waiting for my foot to heal. Plus my physical therapist is super hot. Even though he thinks I'm unbalanced.

Another issue I'm having is that none of my shoes have quite enough of a lift to keep both legs even when I'm wearing the boot, so my lower back is KILLING ME from being pulled out of alignment all day. My sneakers are closest, but I am so frigging sick of wearing ugly sneakers all the time! So now basically whenever I'm home I have one icepack on my foot and another ice pack on my lower back. Maybe I'll ask my smokin' physical therapist for a massage today.

Oh and finally, awesome book recommendations everyone!! I picked up a copy of Flight Behavior yesterday (thanks, Cammy!). Only about fifty pages in and I'm totally engrossed. Add this to the mounting evidence about why I never want to live on a farm.


Happy Monday everyone. Peace out and be gentle on your feet.