Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The large Native American with the pillow

Well, I started Zoloft.

I'm on Day 2.

So far, there's no need for the Native American mentioned in the title to come take me out.  (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest reference for those wondering!)  Despite my brain's best efforts to freak me the hell out Monday before I took my first pill, I'm OK.

I'm EXHAUSTED.  But I'm giving it all a week before I make a judgement.  You'll just have to pardon me if I fall asleep at the keyboard here.

Monday night, I could NOT fall asleep.  I wasn't totally awake but I wasn't sleeping either.  Lst night I slept.  After yawning all day long.  And this morning, I'm still exhausted.  Have I mentioned that I'm tired?  LOL 

Otherwise, I feel a little like I do after I take Benedryl.  buzzy and jittery.  Not awful, but noticeable.  I have a real dull headache, but more like sinus pressure than a full on headache.  I'm thirsty.  All within the scope of normal from what I've read and heard.

One thing I DON'T feel............that vibrating spot of anxiety in the center of my chest.


Yup.  I know I don't feel it because apparently I check in with it.  I didn't really know that until I started checking in for it and it wasn't there yesterday.  And then of course I was trying to see if I could make it get there.  Nope.  No anxious flittery vibrating chest.

THAT is an effect I could totally get used to!  LOL

Monday, March 28, 2011

The first "bad" day

I knew it was bound to happen.  That first "bad" day since starting treatment.  I was warned.  My perfectionist self denied it would happen.  I would be able to just skate through, only having the "good" days filled with positivity and determination.

Not so much.

It was already brewing.  I could feel it sitting out there. 

"When will I have a bad day?  Will I have a bad day?  Does that mean I failed?  If I DON'T have a bad day did I fail?"  And so on and so on and so on. 

I knew today was going to be tricky.  Too much "new" on my plate.  I'm meeting with the Nurse Practitioner for the first time.  I'm going to be talking about getting started on meds.  My appointment is too close to a kid commitment and my parents need to pick her up and drop her off at the actvity.  I'm trying a new crockpot recipe.  All trigger points.

But, I was holding it together OK.  I don't know if there was one specific moment today when it tipped to the other side.  I'm going to list all the things that contributed.  Maybe that will help at some point.

I slept chaotically.  Dreams of vampires chasing me.  Dreams of "friends" being nasty.  Woke for the 5th or 6th time at 6:09am and comfied up thinking I had more sleep time but really, the alarm goes off at 6:10am.

A friend specifically asked someone else to hang out with them on a facebook thread and not me.

I re-read my crockpot recipe and found I'd forgotten to but the ricotta cheese AND it only needs to cook 5-6 hours on low.  So my choices were for it to be potentially overcooked by 6pm or undercooked by 6pm.

I read a message from someone on a message board calling their daughter a selfish bitch and a big fat liar in response to an episode of the child stealing money from her Mom's purse.  It was so cold and so callous in its tone that it instantly sent me back to when I was 10-ish and doing the same thing.  This person's message was everything I feared my Mom would say about me and feel about me that it ripped a wound right open in my chest that I thought had been long buried.  To read a Mom saying those things about her 8 year old daughter just completely shook me.  I've always told myself that there was NO WAY a parent would ACTUALLY think the things I was worried my parents thought about me.  This sort of spiralled me into a bunch of "what if they did."

I'm disappointed that this translated into skipping breakfast - my goal for the week with the nutritionist.  And I can't help wonder if I chose to skip it BECAUSE I could add it to the "what's wrong with everything today" list or what.  So that makes me feel guilty - like I'll be chastized or something.

I'm NERVOUS about being on anti-anxiety meds.  Really, really nervous.  I don't want to be a zombie.  I don't want them to be the only way I can cope with hard situations.  I don't want to stop FEELING.  I know my brain is too fast and crazy, but it's the only brain I know.  I'm scared of the quiet I may feel if it's medicated.  AT least if it's in there and crazy I know I'm feeling something familiar. 

Today's just a hard day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Whoa! That sort of makes sense!!

Go figure, they know what they're doing, huh?  LOL!! 

Yesterday was nutritionist visit.  Among the awfulness of having to totally expose yourself through food, I got some pretty cool insight about "legalizing foods".  Now, I don't currently have *too* many food rules, but I found this FASCINATING.

Sarah would like to eat a few cookies, but feels that she should eat fruit instead because she is concerned about her nutrition and her weight. She eats the fruit, despite desiring the cookies. Even though Sarah likes fruit, she feels dissatisfied.
Nevertheless, for the next few weeks, Sarah chooses fruit over cookies for her snacks. After the initial few weeks, she breaks down and buys a bag of cookies. She eats the whole bag in two days. She vows never to allow cookies into her pantry again.
The next day she stocks her kitchen with fresh fruits. After several more weeks of fruit-only snacks, she finds fruit totally unsatisfying. She now only eats cookies for snacks. Sarah feels guilty about the cookies, but she doesn’t eat fruit again for a long while.
In this scenario, although Sarah tries to eat more nutritiously, she ends up disliking nutritious eating. This is because she ‘forced’ herself to eat something she really didn’t want just then and to not eat the food she really wanted. Even though fruit is a nutritious food choice, it does not satisfy her. The result is less enjoyment of nutritious eating. Sarah now associates fruit with deprivation, instead of enjoyable, nutritious eating. In other words, Sarah feels that to eat nutritiously means she must give up cookies and other foods she loves. No wonder healthy eating isn’t thought to be fun!
--copyright NCES, Inc.  Weight & Eating Management Handouts v.2,, 2003

DUDE.  I'm so Sarah.  This totally blew my mind.  I mean, who hasn't heard the whole, "You should be able to eat anything" schpiel.  But when it's framed like this it makes SOOOOOOOO MUCH SENSE!!!  You brain starts associating negative thoughts with healthy foods when you're forcing yourself to in them in place of something else.  How am I totally fluent in this positive associate concept when I'm training my DOG and not when I'm training myself??!?! 

The same handout continues:
It is important to pay attention to food cravings or desires and to eat food you want. If you give yourself permission to eat the cookies or other food you desire, over time they will become less important to you and you will eat less of them. Eventually, you will choose a great variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fresh dairy products often because you desire and enjoy them, not because you should.

I'm in this for the marathon (and then some, probably!) so I'm sooooo OK with this idea.  I can't fix my brain just by eating apples and never eating a donut again.  There's years and years of hard wiring about food in there that's gotta get re-run.  So many lightbulbs yet to turn on!!

And today, perhaps from that first lightbulb, I feel really really good about things.  AMazing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Great article on the "Inner Critic"

I found this while killing time at work today.  I've read about halfway through and it's enough for me to ponder and explore at this point.  Someday I'll get to the ending part and hopefully it will still resonate!

The Inner Critic
by Sharon Good
One of the greatest deterrents to creativity is the inner voice that constantly whispers in our ear that we're not good enough, that nobody will approve of what we're doing, and that they don't really like us anyway.
This "inner critic" becomes our constant companion, not only in our work, but in everything we do.
The inner critic begins as a survival mechanism. When we're children, part of our parents' job is to teach us socially acceptable behavior. In doing so, even the best parents inevitably curb our natural instincts.
This makes us feel that there must be something innately wrong with us, and it hurts or shames us. In order to avoid future pain, we start telling ourselves what's wrong with us before others in our world get around to it.
As we grow up, we internalize all those outer voices, the criticisms and limiters on our natural behavior. This becomes our "inner critic," whose job is to store all the rules and then chastise us for not following them.  Ironically, our inner voice can become harsher and more persistent than the outer ones ever were. We punish ourselves emotionally, and sometimes physically with such things as addictions. What began as a protector becomes a destroyer.  
The inner critic will show up at different times and in different ways. One minute, it will tell us how hopeless we are, and the next, how much better we are than everyone else. It will appear more commonly in some areas of our lives -- usually the ones we feel less secure about -- than others. It will often speak up when we're feeling tired or threatened, and when things are going well and we feel good about ourselves, it'll remind us that we'll never be able to sustain it. When we're in the throes of creating, the vulnerability we feel is an open door for the critic to step in and judge us and our work.
* The first step in dealing with the inner critic is to recognize it as a separate entity from yourself.
It is a voice within you, but it's not you. This voice has been your constant companion since childhood, and it's likely so much a part of you, like the air you breathe, that you hardly even notice it. Realize that these are the combined voices of all the authority figures you grew up with -- parents, teachers, religious leaders or just about any adult. When you were small, not heeding these voices could result in physical or emotional pain or humiliation.  
Your inner critic may even reflect the voices of childhood friends. We all wanted so desperately to belong, yet most of us are not strangers to being hurt or humiliated because we were different. When I was about ten, a "caring" friend told me that other kids thought I was conceited. It took me many years to let go of that voice, and it certainly kept me from being and doing my best for fear of losing friends if I allowed myself to shine.
* Next, begin to listen to what the voice says.
Make note of the repetitive messages you hear. How does your critic speak to you? What names does it call you? Does it speak to you in a demeaning way, calling you "stupid" or worse? How does it find fault with you? Are there particular issues it tends to pick on?  
Notice if there is a particular voice that dominates. Do you constantly hear your mother saying that men don't like smart women, or your father saying that art is for sissies? Sometimes, merely identifying the voice, and understanding that you're now old enough to make your own choices, will dissipate it.
Also, step back and look objectively at what the voice is saying. Is it true? If not, acknowledge what is true. If it is, what action can you take?
Is there a skill you need to acquire? A discipline you need to institute?
Are you setting impossible standards for yourself that need to be more realistic? Whose approval are you looking for? Is it worth sacrificing your creativity to get it? Will you ever really get it anyway?
* How is your critic trying to protect you from pain?
Remember, your critic came into being to prevent you from behaving in a way that would bring you shame or humiliation. It's not likely that you need the same degree of policing you needed as a small child, yet the voice keeps up the tirade. Perhaps it's time to tell the voice to leave you alone and find it a new focus, like pointing out your strengths!
* Once you've begun to recognize the patterns, begin to change them.
As you become more conscious of what the voice is saying, you can "reprogram" it. How would you talk to a child in this situation? If you often tell yourself that you're stupid, find a more caring and encouraging way to address yourself. If you do make a mistake, acknowledge it, but support yourself in doing it better next time rather than berating yourself -- not a great motivator for self-improvement.  
If your voice continually points up your weaknesses, look instead for your strengths. Tell the voice that while you may never live up to your sister's artistic abilities, you have a talent all your own that's worthwhile and valuable. That while you couldn't make it into Harvard, you have great people skills that make a difference in many lives or you're a wiz at fixing computers. Or you may need to admit to yourself that you have an extraordinary gift, even thought it might make people jealous.
* Identify the underlying fear.
What's the worst thing that could happen if you didn't listen to your critic? As a child, you might not have had the resources to handle that. As an adult, you do. Or you can develop them. And if you really look at the fears and test them, in many cases, the child's fears are no longer a threat to the adult, or they no longer need to be.
* Talk to your inner critics.
Find out what they have to say about you. In most cases, when you hear how extreme and absurd their criticisms are, it will be easier to dismiss them. Notice how contradictory they are -- they'll find something wrong no matter what you do! On one day, they'll criticize you for not being talented enough. On another, they'll criticize you for looking too good and making others jealous.
Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone have developed a technology called "Voice Dialogue,"* in which they work with clients to interact with numerous inner voices, one of which is the Inner Critic. You can also do this using meditation, journaling or opposite-hand writing, in which you write your questions with your dominant hand and respond to them using the hand you don't usually write with.
* When doing your creative work, keep the critic in its place.
There's a time to create and a time to evaluate. When you're in the midst of the creative process, you don't want this judging presence looking over your shoulder, stopping the flow of creativity. Later, you want to be able to discern what works, what doesn't, what improvements are needed. That's when the judging voice becomes useful.
* Build your self-esteem.
Seek out and remind yourself what's good about you and what you do well. When you do that, you become less vulnerable to outside "attacks."  Ironically, the more we give our inner critic free rein, the more outer critics seem to show up around us.
* Become your own authority.
By listening to inner and outer critics, you give them power over you.  Whose approval are you always looking to get? What gives their opinions more weight than yours? When you were a child, it could be devastating, a seeming threat to your survival, to lose the approval of parents and teachers. But you're an adult now with a much wider range of choices and capabilities. It might hurt to lose outside approval, but you don't need it to survive.  
While you can learn technique and skills, true creativity is unique to you, and you need to follow your own muse. That's how we achieve innovation of expression in the arts. Caroline Myss, in her work, talks about our "tribe." This can be our family, our colleagues, or some other peer group. In order to be part of the group, certain behavior is expected. But in order to individuate, to live your life by your own ideas and values, you need to break away from the tribe, at least for a time. That can be painful, but it can also afford you tremendous freedom.
* Keep things in perspective.
Even if you have an incredible teacher whose judgments you value, don't allow them to diminish your self-trust. Mentoring is great, but not at the expense of your self-esteem and creativity. Your opinion matters, too.  Remember, Freud didn't approve of the direction his student Karl Jung took. What a loss it would have been had Jung limited himself in order to please his teacher!
* Be more gentle with yourself.
Instead of listening to your inner critic, give yourself the love and approval you want. True, some of what it says may be true. Do what you can about it, then let it go. Remember how annoying it was when your mother constantly nagged you about standing up straight or being like your cousin?
Why do that to yourself?
The inner critic emerged to help you learn social behavior and avoid pain by curbing your natural instincts. But you need those instincts to create. As an adult, you know when and how you need to control yourself and when you can let loose. You have the maturity to discern that for yourself and no longer need arbitrary rules. There are still many places where you need to control your behavior, but your creativity can be one place where you can safely express yourself without limits -- as long as you keep your inner critic in check.
There's one more thing you need to know. The voice of the inner critic is not going to go away. Not completely. And you don't want to force it to go away -- as they say, what you resist persists. But the good news is, you can teach it to speak to you in a more positive, constructive way. Listen to it if you choose, but make your own judgments as the adult you are.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stereotypes are stereotypes because they're based in reality.

I cried during my therapy session today.


I'd like to think that it was a very beautiful, old Hollywood single tear sort of vision.  In truth, it wasn't.  Now, in my defense, I wasn't bawling my head off either so think middle ground (ironic for this all or nothing sort of girl, huh?!)

We started talking about "5th grade Julie".  And somehow, the cork came off and a lot of sadness came with it.  All those feelings of isolation, confusion, judgement, not being hear, not being good enough, not being "normal.....flooding back.

Apparently, this is the form of my "Inner critic". 

That hurt, scared, lonely 5th grade girl etched herself into the deepest parts of my psyche.  Like that creepy well girl from The Ring.  But with better hygiene I'd like to think.

So, my task for the week is to start finding the moments of 5th grade Julie coming through.  Hearing her voice in those really fearful negative anxoius moments inside my head instead of thinking that's MY voice.  I also think I need to listen for her in my dealings with other people too - in those slightly too harsh corrections of my daughter while she practices her piano, in those unsaid insults in my brain towards Mark for not doing something the "right" way, in how I present myself to those I want to have as friends.  I think she gets a lot of airtime now that I know it's OK to identify her and isolate her.

It's not easy talking about some of that stuff.  It makes me feel really guilty.  It makes me feel the sadness I never allowed myself to feel at that time.  It makes me drudge up those feelings of not being good enough, responsible enough, loveable enough.  All the things that made that voice so loud in the first place. 

"Self care" was another thing we talked about.  What I'm going to do to take care of myself as we start peeling back the layers on this hot mess.  This blog, well, that's part of it.  Especially since I'm still dealing with racy Charlie Sheen brain.  Decompressing with Mark is also helping.  Putting it out there so it can be acknowledged as real.  I spent so long keeping all this hidden under so much shame and guilt and embarassment, getting feedback that it's real and that I deserve and need help and that it's OK is a big thing.

We also talked about goals for treatment.  God that's a long list.  LOL  For now, once a week with the therapist and once a week with the nutritionist.  And we'll see where it goes from there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Progress....I can see progress. It's tiny.

I've been thinking a lot about last week's therapy session.  The one that sent me into a giant panic attack spiral.  The thing that's sticking with me is this, "What happens if I *don't* do what I think people want me to?  Or what I think I'm *supposed* to do?"

This is going to turn out to be the big "thing" I think.  Or at least one of them.  I mean, look at all the stress I have with just the food journaling - all because I'm stressed about not doing it "right" or being exposed for all my food failings. EVEN THOUGH THAT'S THE POINT!  I'm still working on that BUT.....

PROGRESS #1:  I've been stressing out about this upcoming girls' weekend I am working on coordinating/attending.  Well, it's going to be EXPENSIVE.  Which is fine.  We'll deal with it.  But, it weighs on me.  After vascilating from cancelling entirely and totally letting everyone down to going and sucking up all the costs, I finally just embraced that *I* am in control of what's going on with me and my own travels.  And despite fear of it aggravating people or goofing up their plans, I just owned that I need to arrive a day later.  It is what it is, right?  And you know what?  Turns out at least one other person needed to change to a day later ANYWAY!  What a waste of time worrying about it.  And in the past, that would have made me angry.  WHo knows why - maybe because THEY then caused me to have to worry when I didn't need to?  I've given up predicting why ED makes my brain think the things it does.  This time, it just made me happy.  Happy that it all worked out. 

PROGRESS #2:  Snow.  Gaaaaaaaaah.  Living in a snow filled climate, you're used to having to sometimes adjust due to weather.  Well, we're under a blizzard warning.  Have been since Sunday and it's supposed to hit this evening.  The second I heard the warning was for tonight/tomorrow my brain started going into overdrive.  Why?  Not because of missing work.  That's all good.  But because I was sooooooo worried about what happens if the snow causes me to have to miss my therapist appointment scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.  Panic.  Would I be charged since it would be less than 24 hours notice? Do I need to try make it down there anyway?  Where would Holland go?  If someone in my family needed to watch her, what would I say I was doing that was so urgent? and the list goes on and on and on and runs through my brain at lightning speed.

I had to call on Monday to schedule a nutritionist follow up appointment.  Instead of being silently freaked out about the Wednesday "what ifs"..........wait for it............I just asked what would happen if it was too snowy to make my apointment.



It's that easy?  Apparently so since I haven't worried about it since.

I know.  These things probably all make me sound like a crazy person.  And well, I guess I am a little bit.  But, at least I'm working on getting it sorted out.  And I will bask in the glow of tiny progress.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Day 1 of food journalling isn't going well.

I wrote down my morning coffee with no hesitation.

It's 10:07am and I want to eat some Pringles.  And because of this food journal, all I can think about is how much I want to eat Pringles but how much I don't want to write that down and have to show it to someone.  It's like Weight Watchers x 80billion.

I know she said to just go with the flow and eat as I do but just write it down. 

I can't.


I hate this right now.

Because it's hard.

I know turning in a week's worth of eating that isn't "true" won't be of any help to anyone.  I do know that.  But it feels humiliating to me because there's so much shame attached to food for me.  Like I'm going to bring it in and just want to die on the spot.

So I'm faced with turning in my "real" food I suppose.  And I do know that that's the way they help me, but this is not a good feeling. 

I'd rather eat nothing and go in with blank paper.  :(

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ahhhhh.....the "dreaded" food journal.....

More about the food journal in a minute.

Let's first take this opportunity to discuss today's intake with the nutritionist.

Yes, I was totally worried about going.  Clearly, not shocking at this point, but I'm learning to try to acknowledge that it's just my anxiety and ED try to find a way out into the world and that it isn't a real "flight or fight" sort of warning signal.  Things make me nervous that shouldn't.  And I'm working on that. 

Again, complete rundown of food/eating.  I was sort of surprised that she didn't see to know some of the bigger things that my therapist and I have been talking through - perfectionism/all or nothing being the big one.  Or maybe she did and didn't let on.  Had me talk through what I envisioned "perfect eating" to be like.  In retrospect, I just remembered something I would put in that catagory.  But I digress. 

Perfect eating, in my brain would be that magical TV version of a balanced breakfast - accompanied by some magical instant like of oatmeal because that's what people are "suppposed" to eat for breakfast.  Lunch - again some magically light and fresh and balanced concoction.  A snack of some sort and then a delightful home cooked entree, grain side, veggie side for supper.

I'm nowhere NEAR that which is why it's hilarious.  AND - NO ONE EATS THAT WAY ALL THE TIME!!!  But I can't get out of my brain that if I'm not serving or eating that way, I'm failing.  *sigh*

The thing I just thought of is, ideally, perfect eating would be walking into the kitchen and not freaking out or over thinking the food.  Which we sort of talked about when we got to the discussion about lunch.

Lunch freaks me out.  I walk into the kitchen and get totally overwhelmed and anxious. I sort of knew that before but didn't totally know it.

We also talked through what a trip to the grocery store feels like.  Eye opening.  I'm absolutely in love with the promise and freshness of the produce department and then everything gets more stressful and devolves from there.  Interesting as it didn't really occur to me like that.  I think I"m going to shop backwards next time and see how that works.  (The way the grocery is set up, the bakery and frozen section is at the end, produce at the beginning).

Some other stuff and then........


Food Journal.

I'm dreading it. 

The fear of judgement is just SOOOOOOOOOO strong for me on this.  I know she said that she isn't going to look at it and judge and tsk tsk me.  But I FEEEEEEEEEL like that's what's going to happen.  And it makes me want to cry.  Or have like this ridiculously amazing ED free week so I don't have to talk about it.


I told her that.  That it would be hard for me and that it makes me uncomfortable.  And she understood, but encouraged me to try.

And I guess that's what this is all about.  But.  UGh.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whew. OK. I feel better now.

Not sure what was happening about two hours ago while I was typing that post.  Panic attack?  Manic attack?  Nothing good.  That's for SURE.  I'm feeling better now.  A little more calm.


I wonder if it isn't a response to getting some tricky stuff out in my meeting today?  I'm going to try to remember to ask.

Random dumping of the garbage in my head.....

....and maybe I'll come back and clarify it in a little.  But for now, I'm all stressy, anxious, jittery and I need to dump the contents of my brain out.......

Therapy session today and it was "family relationship" oriented.  Good things to get out but terribly uncomfortable.  Talked a LOT about how my brain is completely hard wired to perfectionism and has been since I was young.  Talked again about meds which won't happen until 3/28.  My counselor agreed that wasn't ideal, but they only have one nurse practitioner, so it's just a lag time to get in.  I'm nervous about the anxiety meds - IRONY - but if they'll slow my brain down and her me to stop feeling like this all the time, I'm up for trying them.  SHe mentioned how a big part of ED is it wanting you to feel one dimension - in essence reducing you to being all of one thing.  Encouraged me to think about that more.  WHich is good.  I get it, but I need to think about it more.  Talked about my compulsion to never let anyone see anything but the "Julie" I"ve created - happy, smiling, "on".  She wanted me to think about if anyone gets to see the "real Julie".  Need to think more about that as well.

I'm STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSSED OUT about this upcoming trip I'm trying to coordinate.  To the point that I want to throw in the towel and say forget it.  And I just might.  It isn't going the way I want it to - the whole purpose of the trip is sort of skewed at this point and I feel like only one other person is even remotely helping get it all resolved.  I can't hack it.  It's too much money and time to just be dumb about simply because no one else is getting on the same page.  Maybe I just need to go and get it all clarified point blank.  It's not worth the added stress.

OK - I have to go start supper.  Blah.  There's more, but those are what I needed to for sure get dumped out.  Oh and I friggin hate both my dogs right now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The depths of my crazy brain

There's been a massive tragedy in Japan.  HUGE earthquake, huge tsunami, entire villages wiped away, thousands dead, even more missing.

We're all impacted by seeing things like this.  Our brains changed forever due to the seemingly impossible materializing before our eyes on CNN and the internet.  Roll back to Haiti.  Roll back to Indonesia.  Roll back to 9/11.  Haunting and horrible.

There are many common threads of tragedy and triumph through those events. 

I have one too.

I do NOT intend to minimize what's happening.  Clearly, none of these events are about me.  But this post is about how they affect me.  What they do to my messy brain.

When these large scale tragedies happen, I literally feel as though I HAVE to watch every single minute of footage I can.  I need to read every word I can online.  I need to see every single picture I can.  It becomes compulsive and almost manic.

To try to explain it, well, I guess it's two fold.

First, I feel as though I "owe" the people going through the events the time time and effort in witnessing for them.  Like I can somehow will my pain, sorrow, hope, support - SOMETHING to them to make some part of it make sense.  There's just nothing more heart wrenching to me to think that someone may have been alone and terrified.  I can't handle that.  So, it's like I'm trying to be that person to make them not alone and scared.

Second, I feel tremendous guilt.  And this is where the "food" comes in.  I can't eat.  Not because I'm so upset that I have no appetite.  Not because I'm overwhelmed from the emotions I described above.  I feel guilty eating.  I feel like, "Who am I to sit here and waltz over to my fridge and just pull anything I want out, eat it and throw out my bread crusts."  My brain and body physically reject food because they're screaming at me that I'm not good enough to eat when others cannot; that it's just not right for me to eat if others are experiencing such sudden and horrific things.

Battle battle battle. 

Ironically, my "sane" brain knows that I'm being stupid - people hunger somewhere all the time.  Do they count less than those on my TV this week?  So then that feeds my ED with a message that I can't even be a proper, albeit reluctant, martyr.

Needless to say, this has been a LONG few days.  Timely as I have another appointment + a nutritionist intake appointment this week.  I'm glad for it.  I'm terrified of it, but I'm glad.  I suppose I'll have to bring this stuff up.  Look like an egocentric wackadoodle.  *sigh*  But the more I learn about being honest to my life with ED, the more I'm seeing - that egocentric wackadoodle is the ED.  It's what I'm working towards getting rid of for good.  I can live with that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the limbo period...I'm like a country song

I sort of feel like I'm sitting in limbo.  So new to this idea of structured recovery and yet so exhausted by the years of torment hanging around me like a lead coat.  Because I'm such an all or nothing person.  I want to be better.  Like right now.  Or even better yet, 5 minutes ago.

But that's not the reality.

So, while I sit here in limbo sort of puttering around and trying to do things to make me feel balanced, I have had a real tumultous 24 - 48 hours.

Needing to get it out, it will be sent here.  To the blog.  The land of anonymity and unending space for things that need to be set free.

This past two days have been filled with drama.  Between a group a girls.  No, not girls.  WOMEN.  Grown up, adult women.  All of whom should know better and for some reason don't.  Myself included.  WHy is it so hard for everyone to just be nice and get along?  Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and all is back on path somewhat, but sheesh.

Along that line, it reveals a lack of true and present friends in my life.  WHy is it so hard for me to find and keep those people?  Is it me?  Them?  A combination?  It's been like this as long as I can remember.  Maybe I'm just more aware of it and everyone has this? Who knows.  Today that makes me sad though.

And speaking of true and present friends.  I have a dear dear dear friend who popped back into my life a few years ago thanks to the power of the almighty Facebook.  I love this friend dearly and feel more connected to him than I do 99.9% of the other friends I have in my life.  He is going through an extremely stressful time right now and decided to abruptly cancel/deactivate his Facebook account.  I assume he'll be back when it all blows over, but I didn't have enough warning to collect up his email.  So, I'm sitting here feeling like a big part of my heart totally disappeared and in a time when I KNOW he could use a friend.  It makes me sad.  Sad that I can't be there to help him somehow and support him and sad that I was so easy to cut off with one click of a touchscreen.  It shouldn't, but it makes me feel disposable.  He's having a hard time, he's entitled to space and whatever.  But feeling disposable is a major "issue" for me and it just hits right on it. 

Throwing on top of all that, this earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Oy.  Another one of my "triggers" if you will - for sadness and anxiety - is major disasters like this.  My brain simply can NOT disassociate.  I live nowhere NEAR somewhere that could ever have a tsunami.  And it still sends me into a panic of 400 reactions I would have, escape plans I would have, in case I was ever walking down the street and a tsunami came.  So stupid.  Why can't I just watch and feel it the same way others do?

And the cherry on top - my kid and dog are sick.  LOL  So there.  It's like I'm a country song.

Thanks neutral space of the blogsphere.  I needed to get that out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wait a minute, wait a minute.....not everyone's brain works like this??!

And I'm in the MINORITY? 


I have a fast brain.  What movie is that, Ghostbusters maybe?, when the card catalogue opens up and cards fly everywhere?  That's what my brain is doing most of the time.  A simple decision is never simple.  In about three seconds I've already flipped through about 45 alternate endings and have filtered to the one I think is the best one.  And it always sort of feels like my brain is buzzing. 

Yeah, I know.  Me and Crazypants Sheen totally running parallel again.  Oy.

Today we talked about my testing from yesterday.  You know what's even more awkward than taking a test in a little room filled with super uncomfortable questions about every component of your self esteem and physchological make up? 

Having to further explain your answers.


Necessary, but UNCOMFORTABLE.

And then add in a fire drill.

Because after all, this is MY life and OF COURSE a fire drill would happen while I'm sitting in a room talking about my brain feeling like a card catalogue from a scene in a movie.

But, as it turns out, brains don't have to be in overdrive like that all the time.  Huh.  In fact, she said she was sorry that I lived with that going on for so long because it would be so easily helped.

That was after she asked how I felt about medication so hopefully we can avoid a One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest sort of scenario.

I have a LOT of trouble managing anxiety and I know that medication will probably be a great tool for me to get it under control enough to start healing the other parts of my disorder.  I will say that I am nervous to be medicated but I guess.  It's not like I'm going to be the only actor who's medicating, right?  You must still be able to FEEL things and convey emotional states, right?  Why do I feel like I have to feel tortured to be a good actor?  Or well, if we're being honest, to be a person?

The meeting with the medicine lady will be in two weeks.  Time enough for me to obsess about anti-anxiety medication.  Flip through that card file and back again.  Maybe see a little green ghost eating a bunch of hot dogs?  OK.....I'm not THAT crazy.

Huh. And it's even Lent.

Or close enough to Lent to "count".

As I sat here photocopying Lenten Devotional booklets, the timing of the beginning of my recovery sort of struck me as apporpriate for the season we are about to enter. 

Lent.  The time of quiet acts and prayer intended only for the eyes of God.  I like it.

And I like this devotional that I found on one of our many Methodist pages:
"Copyright General Board of Discipleship. Used by permission."   ('cause I'm a rule follower!!)

Time for Change: Reflections on Lent and Easter
Dan R. Dick

Few times in the Christian year call us to reflect on transformational change like Lent leading toward Easter. Springtime is lush with rebirth, new beginnings, and new growth. Too often, however, we want to race to the Easter Resurrection without fully embracing the Lenten process that leads there. Lent reflects the forty days that Jesus wandered in the wilderness — tempted by Satan — in readiness for a ministry destined to end in tragedy. Few of us can relate to the level of sacrifice and commitment that Jesus displayed in his forty days, yet Lent provides us with an opportunity to deepen our spirituality by engaging in regular discipline from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday. The wilderness — the desert days of Lent — is the true path toward spiritual transformation.

There is a compelling metaphor that helps us embrace the wilderness and prevents us from racing to Easter. It is the metaphor of the seed. Jesus began his teaching ministry with the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) and referred to seeds and trees, fruit and branches, throughout his ministry. To see the metaphor of Christian growth and spiritual development contained in a seed is to learn valuable lessons about change and transformation. Receive these six lessons from the seed as six weekly devotionals for this Lenten season. Incorporate them into your daily meditations so that they might grow to full bloom in your heart.

Lesson One: Seeds Need a Rich Environment
A seed that lacks appropriate soil may sprout, but will quickly wither and die. Even in the best soil, without water and nutrients, growth will be limited. Without sun and cultivation, plants will decay and spoil. Seeds require a rich, healthy environment in which to grow. This applies to the environment in which we grow as Christian disciples. There must be an ongoing flow of comfort and security, challenge and inspiration, learning and service. Without such an environment, discipleship growth is stunted, stagnant, or worse, dead. We create an environment for our spiritual formation through prayer, study, worship, fellowship, and service.

Lesson Two: Seeds Can't Be Rushed
When seeds do not sprout, take root, and grow, try yelling at them. Of course, that is a preposterous idea. No one would ever think that they could somehow rush the normal growing process. Seeds require the amount of time that they require. In God's plan, the time things take is the right time. People, however, get impatient. Our culture puts pressure on us to rush through everything. We live in an age of instant gratification. Seeds teach us that we need to learn to wait, to develop patience. Christian formation is a process of seedlike growth. Patience is the key ingredient to transformational growth.

Lesson Three: All Seeds Grow at Different Rates
Plant a package of seeds, and immediately you see diversity in the rate of growth. Some sprout almost immediately and begin a steady rate of growth. Late sprouters often become early bloomers. And some normal beginners end up stunted and sickly. Growth is rarely even, and it is often chaotic. Nothing we do will change this diversity. Where seeds are concerned, we are comfortable with different rates of development. This is not always true with our attitudes about Christian believers. We often adopt a "cookie-cutter" approach to disciple making that makes some seem advanced, while others lag behind. The seed teaches us that to mature in different ways at different times is the only true normal.

Lesson Four: Change Happens in Stages
Examine any plant as it grows from seed to maturity, and you will find that it is hard to believe you are looking at the same plant. While the growth follows a smooth process, it proceeds through distinct stages. These stages are marked by unique characteristics and are a measure for the relative health and well-being of the plant at any given time. Our spiritual development progresses through stages as well. Belief and inquiry deepen to devotion and discipleship. Learning and following evolve into teaching and leading. Growth within the community of faith matures to a life of service in the world. We move through ages and stages of faith development as we grow from seed to sapling to fruit-bearing tree.

Lesson Five: Seeds Contain the Past and the Future
Each seed is the product of previous generations and contains within it all the genetic code for the future. Seeds are filled with the information that yields transformation. Each generation builds upon the last and lays the foundation for the next generation. The Word of God is the information we contain — passed down throughout the ages and preserved in us for the future — that holds the power to transform us. When we give ourselves time to grow, we unleash the God-given power to become mature Christian disciples.

Lesson Six: Seeds Have a Purpose Larger Than Themselves
Growth is not the purpose of a seed, but a means to an end. Unless seeds give rise to new seeds, they fail to fulfill their purpose. Transformation never happens for its own sake. Change happens to lead us to a new place. Growth occurs that we might not only know more, but that we might do more. Seeds are judged, ultimately, on the fruit that they bear. Christians may never content themselves with growing in their knowledge and love of God. Growth that fails to lead to a change in behavior is cancerous, not healthy. We grow for a reason, and that reason is something much larger than any individual's needs.
The lessons of the seed help us see Lent, not as a time of sacrifice and denial, but as a time of preparation and anticipation — preparation for the work to which God calls us and anticipation of the fullness of life that God promises.

Little Victory.

I think I mentioned in a post yesterday that when I feel "good" I also stop eating.  While I don't know what that's all about - I'm a very complex lady, let's remember! - I do know it's not neccesarily the way normal people go about their daily lives.

This morning, like many mornings when I'm feeling "good", I woke up and was soooo hungry.  But didn't eat.  I know.  I don't get it either.  If I had to explain what happens in my head, it's a cross between - "Good, you should feel hungry.  It's not like you're going to starve to death, fatty." and "I'm stronger than this hungry feeling.  My will and determination can last longer than this feeling of hunger."

And usually I just drink more coffee.

And then binge when I get home.

For like two hours.

Glamorous, right?

This morning, I decided to make it different.  I bought oatmeal with my morning coffee.  Nope, not the healthiest oatmeal a person could choose to eat and certainly not the least expensive oatmeal a person could eat.  But I'm eating it.  And I'm going to choose to call that a little victory.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

With a little substitution, this is so "dead on"....

I found this while searching for something else.  And it freaked me out.  Because it was so totally accurate to the feelings I have about food and eating.  Clearly, in a metaphorical way.  And in a way that is so insanely tricky to actually decribe to someone who doesn't have a brain that's wired like mine and like all those other people out there struggling with their relationship with food.  TO get a glimpse into my world, go ahead and generalize the incidences of the author's use of "anorexia" with "eating disorders"....

To me, the difference between extreme dieting and anorexia to me is the part nobody can see -- the part that goes on in your head.

For anyone who wandered over here due to that keyword, here's the difference.

Imagine I'm your mother. Every ten minutes I interrupt you from whatever you are doing and tell you to clean your room. You clean it. It's clean. It's spotless. You could serve the Queen Mother off your floor.

Ten minutes later, I walk back in and tell you to clean it again.

"It's clean!" you say. "I just cleaned it!"

"Clean it again," I say. "You missed a spot."

So you get down on your hands and knees and scrub the floor with your toothbrush, gagging in disgust all the while.

Ten minutes later, I walk back in and tell you to clean it again.

This repeats, over and over, until the room is so clean it's starting to come apart at the seams with the scrubbing, but still I continue to walk in and tell you to clean it. You show me the floorboards coming up. I don't care. You show me your hands, raw and bleeding from the soap. I don't care.

I tell you to clean it again.

After a while, the floorboards do come up, and underneath them, you imagine you see dirt. You know I'm coming back to tell you to clean it again, so with your hands bleeding and the water bucket red and vile, you begin to scrub. You scrub and scrub.

And I tell you to do it again.

You fall asleep in the middle of the floor. First thing in the morning, you wake up and examine every inch of the room. It is spotless.

I walk into your room before you've even gotten out of bed.

And I tell you to clean it again.

If people really understood anorexia, they would never wish it on anyone.

For those of you reading who have never experienced that, the metaphor is that the mom is your eating disorder and the cleaning is your relationship with food.  For those of you who have experienced it, my guess is you already knew that.

ANd a little more insight...

This is something I wrote to a friend who was curious what type of eating disorder I was seeing help for - sums it up pretty well:

What eating disorder HAVEN'T I had. You know me, if I'm going to do something I'm going to go ALL OUT! LOL I actually thought I wasn't doing too bad these days because I was comparing it to my early 20's when I ate about 500 calories a day, threw them all up immediately after injesting them, took some diet pills to just make sure things were burning and then worked out/danced for at least 2 hours a day if not more. You know. The way all the cool kids do it. LMAO. Very Hollywood of me, huh? Well, except there was no cocaine. THAT would be Hollywood.

So, as I got older I managed to stop *most* of all that or only experience it in a lesser version and I sort of figured that was good. But I'm slowly figuring out that just because it's "better", it doesn't mean it's "good". *sigh* And the food issues are really tied into a lot of other things - perfectionism (or the attempt to buck the system and really be super imperfect just to show everyone I'm NOT perfect), total control issues, esteem. Blah blah blah. I'm so all or nothing. Either I eat nothing or I eat everything. And all the while feeling like *I* don't have control over it. It's like this crazy panic comes over when I get in that state. Hard to explain. I'm a very complex lady. LOL

It's just baggage I need to get rid of. Who needs it. I've got shit to do with my life here people! I can't be weighed down by food panic, right? So, off to get counseled and tested and nutritionized and we'll see if we can't make something get turned around. I deserve it and I'm finally in a place where I feel good about demanding good things for myself.

What's the best way to make someone feel crazy?

Putting them in a small stark room and asking them to fill out several questionares on being crazy.  On scan-tron nonetheless.


Both my brain and my hand are numb.

One of my big "issues" is getting nervous about unimportant things.  So, you can imagine the anxiety I felt filling this out.  Is it the right or wrong answer?  If I say that sometimes I have visions of things happening do they automatically assume I'm also wearing a tin foil hat around my house and randomly ranting at strangers passing by on the street?  If I answer everything 100% accurately, will they think I'm not crazy enough to help me?  Or so crazy that I need a padded room?  Some questions are gimmes.  Some are in betweens.  And is it all one big experiment to see how I deal with being tested?


The tests took an hour and 15 minutes or so to complete.  I think there were four different sets of them.  One had four questions and one had 240.  A little overwhelming for someone who always wants to have the "right" answer.  I suspect that will come up when I meet with my therapist again tomorrow.

It's weird because right now I feel really "good".  Positive, balanced, pleasant.  But that means I also went until 2pm with only having 30 ounces of coffee and some peanut butter crackers.  So, I wonder if the fact that I'm 235 pounds means I'm having more bad days than good ones.  Bad days are the binging days.  The ones where it's grey and bleak.  Or maybe it's just that those days have more of an impact.

Not sure.  I'm assuming I'll be finding that out in the weeks ahead.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

You Belong Here. We Can Help You.

Isn't it funny how words can act like gravity?  You hear them and instantly you're pulled to the earth, grounded and glued, and instantly feel you're right where you need to be - present and available and fully at attention.  It's a little creepy but a lot exciting.

Those words were said to me four days ago.  They could have been said anywhere, really.  Hair salon, mechanic, bank.  I was none of those places.

Those words were said to me four days ago at the conclusion of my first visit to an eating disorder clinic. 

It's a BIG DEAL to be told you belong and that you're help-able.  I had no idea how much I needed to hear those words in that exact order until the moment they hit my ears.  I've spent the "better" part of 25 years needing to hear them and having no idea.  25 years is a hell of a long time to wait and I've felt each and every day of them.

I created this space to collect my thoughts on the process and to document what it's like when you are finally able to take that first shaky step to getting help.  I can't promise exactly WHAT will hit these pages, but I can promise that it will be real and true.  There's not room for anything else in my life at this point.  Real and true is how we proceed.

Thanks for coming.  You belong here.  And maybe, just maybe, we can help you too.