Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An overdue udate

I guess an update is due... well, probably over due...

I'm doing okay.  I think.  In general, life is satisfactory.  I enjoy my new job, the clients, (most of) my coworkers, and it is fulfilling in a way that retail never could be.  Also, it pays better and I have visions of a new(er) car in my near future.  Mine is quite possibly about to die a horrible death.

ED-wise...  I guess things aren't going as a-okay.  Behaviors/symptom use is happening, and I'm honestly not sure how much I want to stop.  I realize that I AM in fact sick of this whole thing.  It's just... I don't know. I'm still clinging.  For so many reasons, and I'm sure some have yet to be realized.  I feel like every therapy session I have lately I come up with another reason that I keep using my disorder; another purpose it serves, and why I feel that it is the only reasonable and safe way to fulfill that need in my life.

In art today I was expounding on a theme that came up in therapy this week about my "desire" to be sick.  I mean, obviously, being bulimic, I physically am making myself sick.  I bring this on myself.  I know this, and my disordered self welcomes this.  But I also have this weird desire to be ill.  I welcome sickness, even a cold, because it gives me an excuse to be lazy and not take as good care of myself and I wish others would care for me in these moments.  This is truly what I need. I didn't get that type of nurturing as a child in so many ways.

Anyways, I ended up getting frustrated during art while thinking about all of this and ended up throwing away my painting and just journaling for a bit, about my pursuit of illness as a way of obtaining care and compassion from others.

"You feed the illness because it feeds you.  You're numb without it.  You want to feel sick physically because it is something.  Something tangible, recognizable, visible. Realistically you know that you could deal with it, you know how.  But you choose not to because the other illnesses- the invisible ones - you don't want to feel, don't want to deal, don't know how. You don't feel like you can.
Maybe if you just stay sick, visibly sick, some body will see; will CARE.  Because you don't.  You don't care about yourself, you don't know how.  You just want someone else to care about you, care for you, take care of you.  You've been a burden on yourself for so long.  You want someone else to take the reigns."

Obviously the "you" that I refer to is myself here.  Anyone relate to this???  I feel like I'm the only one here, but I know I'm not.  I feel weird for wanting to be ill, even with just a cold or a broken bone.  Like some sort of munchausens thing.  But I know that in at least one group I really wasn't the only one.  I wan't the only one who felt strange in body image groups where everyone else was talking about their desire and pursuit of thinness and beauty, when all I've ever wanted to be throughout my disorder was SICK. I wanted to look disgusting and alarmingly ill.  I wanted someone to take notice to the fact that I was miserable and needed to be taken care of, but because the misery was so invisible, the only way to convey it was through my body.  Self injury, the eating disorder... call it a cry for attention, whatever.  It never worked anyways.  Nobody ever noticed, nobody came to my rescue, nobody gave a shit, and obviously I never did either.

That's the thing: if I can't care about myself, how will someone else?  How can someone else possibly like me if I don't? How can I receive love and care anyways, if I can't possibly believe that someone would ever care for me? Or that I even deserve it?

I mean, I keep uncovering more and more things about me and this disorder and what keeps me entrenched...  But what the hell am I supposed to do with this information? If anything, it just reminds me of how well the disorder works at keeping me unaware and removed from these problems...   

Monday, September 3, 2012

Just some words I've found...

I seem to have trouble finding words to say. Emotions, feelings, and putting those into some form of coherent verbiage is not my strong point. Obviously this is what leads to my countless therapy sessions and groups where I find myself repeating "I don't know" over and over and over.  And I truly feel that I don't know. I just... can't say. All of the thoughts spin around in my head and I can't put words to them, and I would feel embarrassed to just say it all out loud (and they'd probably get annoyed. My ADD can be to blame for millions of fleeting, incomplete thoughts, that are completely unrelated to anything that I SHOULD be thinking about.)

Anyways... The point of this is that because of my trouble with saying what I feel, I find using others' words much easier. When I hear or read something that I can relate to, that is just SO TRUE to me and that I can connect with on the ultimate level of understanding, I get this feeling.  I just can't get it out of my head.  It can be in a song, the newspaper, a book I'm reading, a billboard, anything.

The most recent episode of this feeling came while I was reading "Just Listen", a novel by Sarah Dessen (yes, it's a young adult book.  Don't judge...)

"Everything hurt. I closed my eyes, pressing my cheek to the street, and waited. What for, I didn't know. To be rescued. Or found. But no one came. All I'd ever thought I wanted was to be left alone. Until I was."

I can't even really explain how much I relate to this, and in which way, aside from the fact that I believe this to be EXTREMELY related to my disorder and my mental struggles. If you can relate, I think that you, too, will understand on some level. Or you could relate in a completely different way, interpreting the quote differently.  That's the great, yet frustrating, thing about words. Only YOU can truly know what you are saying.  Everyone listening can only know their interpretation of you.  It's YOU, tainted by the others' judgements, morals, feelings, moods, and opinions. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I want to want recovery... Is that good enough?

Oh boy, it's been a while. So much is happening. Remember the interview I had? Well, I got that job (yay!) and I've been there for 2 months now and am loving it (yay!). Still doing the retail thing for the health insurance, and still doing outpatient appointments and groups (love my art group so so so much).

AND!!!!!-- I applied to another DSP job with a different agency which pays more- and got that job too! I start in 2 weeks and I'm terrified/excited/nervous/alloftheemotions.... Not only does it pay better, but there is opportunity for a promotion within the first 6 months :)

So many GOOD things are happening that one would think that it would make the ED quiet down a bit, right? ... Not so much. I think, in my mind (okay, the eating disordered mind), that i look for ANY excuse to use symptoms- whether it be because i'm stressed out, sad, or any other emotion that I want to avoid... Or that I'm happy and had a good day and wound up and I just need to come down off of the high so that I can sleep at night. Obviously there are other things that can suit these needs, but I'm having a hard time even accessing that desire to do anything different, or think of alternatives. Something to work on, definitely.

Also, My teeth are F*CKED up. I had to go to the dentist this morning for the first of 4 appointments to get fillings because I have so many cavities and so much decay. I had therapy later in the day and felt just so completely out of it, zoned out, and wanting to go out and binge so badly, but knowing it would be bad for the fillings. My therapist kept asking if I really was more depressed than I was leading on, because of it, and I really didn't (and still don't) think so. So many good things are happening, and I have been generally happy lately.

Now that I've gotten to think about it, I think that part of the reason that I was zoned out and not engaged, and thinking more about using symptoms, is because of the fact that I had that dental work and still have more to do---- mainly because of the eating disorder. I'm pissed that I let it get this far that my teeth are almost irreparable, and that my motivation to recover is still not really there. I'm annoyed that while I realize that the bulimia is what caused all this trouble, I still am so attached to my eating disorder and that the second that I got out of the dentist's office I was mad that I couldn't binge for the next 24 hours.

And so this brings me full circle to one of the questions I keep finding myself asking... Where do you get motivation? How do you cultivate desire for recovery when you can't even imagine the possibility of (nor feel like you want) your life without the eating disorder?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Hey guys, remember this post?????

Well.... It got published!  The comment that I submitted to their online article, that is.  If you want to see it (although it's really just copied/pasted into the magazine), it is in the "Talk to Us" section of the June 2012 issue of Experience Life. 

Just thought that was kinda cool :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Are you sure you want MY advice?

Dear friends, coworkers, strangers, and really anyone wondering,

So you want to lose weight? And you hear that I know a bit about the subject? Just to let you know, that if you ever decide to ask ME about how to do so, looking for tips and advice, I will probably tell you that I'm probably not the best person to ask.  Yes, I did major in exercise science.  Yes, I have taken countless classes on health, nutrition, exercise physiology, and personal training. And yes, I do have my own experience with losing weight.  I am well educated about how to go about introducing healthy lifestyle choices and losing weight the correct way, in order to maintain positive progress and improving your overall health.

But I also know how to do it the wrong way. The path that leads to countless hours of counting calories, thinking about food 24/7, spending all of your free time at the gym, having absolutely no life, social or otherwise, outside of dedicating your mind and compromising your sanity, all for the sake of making that number on the scale go down.  Yes, I know, it's not all about the food or the weight, and there are mental aspects of it all (which I will address in a bit), but when it comes down to it, many of us with eating disorders really get the most satisfaction out of finding that we lost even the tiniest bit of weight.

This path is hell. I would not wish it upon my worst enemy, much less someone asking for sincere advice about how to lose weight.  Instinctively, when proposed this question by a coworker, I was planning on just not saying anything, simply because I know that I'm not in a great place ED-wise and because the information is so accessible with the internet.  But then thinking about the experience that I DO have, I decided to go ahead and give her an answer. Not a clinical, move more and eat less answer, but one that came from my heart and was honest and from a caring place.  I don't want anyone else going through this crap.  Also, after having heard her say something about eating a whole half of a cake, I realized that maybe we weren't so different...  We all have our issues with food.  I didn't want to have any influence on her developing any more unhealthy habits, which could lead to swinging to the other side of the pendulum of disordered eating...

 So instead, when met with the question of how to drop some pounds, I have now decided that my answer will proceed something like this:

Don't diet.  Don't count calories, don't "exercise", don't deprive yourself, and PLEASE don't take any diet pills or make yourself sick.  Don't take anything to the extreme. 

 Eat because food is fuel for your body, and because it tastes good.  Move because it is enjoyable and because when you are properly fueled, you have energy to use up.Change your goal from "I want to lose weight" to "I want to be happy and healthy".   Examine what else in your life is upsetting you, or where else in your life you are feeling unfulfilled or unhappy.  Eating well and exercising CAN greatly influence your overall health, but unless you address the other things that are leading you to misdirect your unhappiness into a poor self image, you are still going to be unhappy, and you probably won't be as apt to sticking with healthy self-care habits. 

Eat what you want, when you want. Don't cut out entire food groups and don't ignore your hunger cues.  Eat mindfully and stop when you feel full. Pay attention to whether you are actually hungry or if you are "hungry" i.e. bored, sad, angry, depressed, lonely, etc...  Consult your Dr... Make sure that you are healthy enough for activity and to make changes to your daily intake, and continue to monitor how you are feeling throughout your journey.  If you don't feel well, something's not right. Please, listen to your body.  It is an amazing vessel and treat it with care.

As a last suggestion/little tidbit to implant into your self reflection here---  Do you think you may have an eating disorder?  Spend some time thinking about whether the issue is really about just being overweight, or if your relationship with food is something bigger that needs to be tackled. Binge eating and compulsive over-eating are REAL problems, and need to be addressed as such.  Even if you have neither, and are somewhere in that continuum between eating disordered and a healthy eater, I am 99% sure that some type of professional help would benefit you, whether it be a therapis, dietician, both, or some other qualified person to help you address your issues surrounding health, food, body image, and mental health.  Using these resources can help you to become more satisfied with yourself, your life, your body, and your mood.  Weight loss may come with this, but in the end, what good is losing weight if you still hate yourself and are not happy? 

A concerned friend/coworker/stranger who knows all too well.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Re-launching my facebook anti-Cigna campaign...

Needless to say, this means that my insurance has yet again disappointed me.  I am now DONE with IOP, after they denied both our request for more days AND our appeal, which happened 5 days AFTER my last day that I was approved through.  Which means that I have to pay for 4 days out of pocket. Fffffuuuuuuu... dgeballs.  

This is their exact response, in the letter I received today in the mail, from Cigna in regards to the matter. 

"The clinical basis for this decision is: Based upon the available information, your symptoms do not meet the medical necessity criteria of Cigna Level of Care Guidelines for Intensive Outpatient Treatment Eating Disorders for continued stay from 04/02/2012 as your treatment team has noted that you are still not completely sure you want to give up your eating disorder behaviors as a coping strategy.  As they have identified the need for social support as being a need but you are still uncomfortable after nearly a year of intensive treatment groups, this will clearly take a long time if you are committed to continuing to work on it in a outpatient setting. As there is no specific intervention proposed that is likely to make a more immediate impact, you have already been exposed to the skills likely to make a difference in this level of care and further progress will not be immediately expected any faster at this level than in a pure outpatient setting."

... WTF????? so much confusion and contradiction in this my head is spinning.  Dare I even try to refute? Here goes: 

On the topic of motivation.  Day to day, I have varying levels of motivation.  
A. THIS IS NORMAL.  Some days I want to get better, others I don't.  They must have only looked at ONE day's worth of files, and it must have been the one right before the submission, in which I was crying my eyes out and felt that if my insurance didn't want to waste money on me, than I didn't want to waste the effort to get better either.
B.  Lack of motivation, while it is a downfall to recovery, is not a personal flaw and the end-all  be-all to whether I will succeed in recovery.  It is temporary, and it is actually a result of our eating disorders fighting back at our attempts to combat it.  In essence IT IS A SYMPTOM OF THE EATING DISORDER.  Therefore, their argument is invalid. 

On the next note, my therapist and I DID propose my plan for the next week in which I would stay in IOP and also make some other changes and progress and try to work my way up to inevitable denial that would come, so that the transition would at least be slightly smoother than all of the others that I've had to deal with (extremely rocky, thanks to CIGNA's habit of last minute notice).  Obviously they didn't like that plan, so much so that they basically denied that it was even proposed in the first place! 

And in regards to the social support thing... I guess I agree.   But seriously?  They agree that it's gonna take a long time.  That I'm not gonna just magically wake up one day and decide that I don't want my ED any more and want to shout from the rooftops that I've been struggling and could use some help....  So... How does that make sense to remove the only support that I have right now???? For someone who has a hard time reaching out and has only finally become comfortable doing it in a supportive group environment, just how helpful do they think they're being by saying "Hey, let's just boot you out of your group and feed you to the wolves!"?

Just so we're clear, and for the sake of honesty, here's how my eating disorder responds...




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Who's Driving Your Car?

A question that is frequently posed at a support group that I regularly attend is "Who's driving your car?"  As in, is it ED that is driving it, or are YOU?  I find myself asking myself every once in a while, and while most of the time I am sure of my answer, and am able to flip it around in the moment until I am in the drivers seat, sometimes this is not the case.

... And then there are days like today...

I had therapy after IOP (intensive outpatient program.  3 hours, 4 days a week) today and the topic of insurance came up.  Apparently the 30 days that they approved for me to remain in the program is running out soon and we need to re-evaluate and re-submit a request for more time.  My T questioned what more I could get out of being in programming and what I would do differently, with more time, to essentially get more out of my time and make more progress.

It really made me question, yet again, whether I TRULY am ready and willing to give up my eating disorder. Yes, I will admit that I have made progress.  I only binged/purged ONCE last week (okay, partly because I had the stomach flu all last week and had no appetite.) But I know that I am still desperately clinging onto ED because that is what I know.  It's comfortable.  It's my safety blanket and essentially my excuse for not succeeding in life.  If I'm not sick or in treatment, how else can I explain away my laziness and lack of motivation to be a responsible adult and get a real life, real job, etc...

Obviously this also explains why I was SO upset when she asked if I really thought I should remain in IOP at all, as if she thought I either didn't need it any more or just wouldn't get anything more out of it.  Not only does it scare me because I feel like treatment is such a huge part of my life right now and I NEED the support, but also because If I leave, then I have to actually DO SOMETHING.

And honestly, the thought of that terrifies me even more than the thought of falling headfirst back into the eating disorder.  ALOT MORE. 

So that brings me back to the original question: Who's driving my car?

The answer?  I don't even want to be driving this fucking car.  I have no clue where it's going, I don't really care to steer the wheel out of both fear of making a wrong turn and anxiety over getting a ticket or crashing or any other catastrophe.  AND who knows? Maybe there was never any gas in the car anyways?!  Maybe it's just not meant to go anywhere?

 Maybe it's just my fear of responsibility and taking care of myself and my anxiety and blah, blah, blah... first world problems...

 But honestly... I just want out of this car. 


Monday, March 12, 2012

Hoping aunt flo would come visit... for once!

I am such a mess right now. Emotionally, and ED- wise. I hope this is temporary and it's just a pms thing... but I have yet to see that darn monthly curse show up... so maybe it is just the depression and crap coming back full force.

Also, sleep has sucked lately. My meds give me crazy dreams (more on that below) and I wake up so many times during the night between dreams that I don't think I ever really enter a deep enough sleep to feel rested in the morning... I decreased the dose (not on my own- my psych told me to try it) and so far it's just been more of the same. In consequence, I am exhausted. So exhausted, all day, that it is even harder to fight ED thoughts and urges.

So, as I mentioned, I have been having crazy, extremely vivid dreams lately.  The most exciting and memorable of which is one that i had a couple weeks ago and I have proceeded to re-tell it countless times to pretty much everyone I encounter on a day-to-day basis.  Because it was just so bizarre that it needed to be repeated.  I really think a lot of my dreams lately should be movies or reality shows or books.  But I lack the skills to turn them into either.
This infamous dream involved myself, Katy Perry, and Celine Dion.  All three of us were locked up in this strange warehouse, competing for our lives in this weird karaoke challenge.  We were to complete the challenge before midnight, otherwise the building would blow up and kill us all...  HOWEVER, me and Katy were able to fly.  And we were INVINCIBLE! So once we realized we had 5 minutes left and were nowhere near completing this task, we knew were screwed, we flew out the window.  Celine, on the other hand, did not have our superpowers and was left there to die.  


AND THEN... flying through the sky, I happened to come across a huge, magical tree fortress within the clouds.  As I flew up into it, I met up with a frog, atop a display of pickles.  
Yes, pickles. He proceeded to teach me about the various types of pickles in existence.  

That's not even the only dream I had that night, either... But if I were to continue this would become a very long post.

Well, I think that's pretty much it...  I just needed to put this out there because it was one of my goals to journal more and then I realized how long it has been since my last post here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Looking for validation...

As I flipped through my latest issue of one of my favorite magazines, Experience Life, I found an article that chronicled the journey of a woman who struggled with bulimia and managed to get her life back by starting to exercise.  While I can absolutely testify to the power of healthful activity (key word, HEALTHful), I am somewhat doubtful that this can always a positive path to recovery. 

ESPECIALLY when, as this woman did, there is an emphasis on weight loss.  Regardless of which eating disorder you suffer from, I really don't think it's a good idea to enter yourself into a weight loss challenge.  So much of eating disorders is fueled by competition.  ALSO, the weight loss described in this article (not gonna post the exact numbers... if you're curious, read the article) seems WAY too quick to be considered healthy or sustainable.

I won't deny that what this woman did was a great positive change for her, but I think that focusing the article so much on her weight loss and specific numbers, and not clarifying that someone struggling with an eating disorder should consult professional help before trying to jump into an exercise regimen is irresponsible on their part. I put in a nice comment on the bottom expressing my concerns about this, rather than scrutinizing her experience. 

What does anyone else think? Am I out of line here? Is it just my overly-paranoid eating disordered brain speaking here?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


So this weekend didn't go quite as well as the past few weeks had been.  I used symptoms, after 11 days going without.  I'm not gonna beat myself up, but I am regretting putting myself back at the start.  Back at day one.  I didn't lose those 11 days.  But it's still disappointing that I messed up.

Oh well. Onwards I go, getting back up on the horse.  I now have one full day back on track, and closing in on day 2 I think I can make it through.  I will.  I'm really just taking this one minute, hour, day at a time.

My urges have been creeping back up on me, but I noticed that even when I gave into them this weekend, I didn't get the same satisfaction that usually do when I fulfill those urges.  And I sure as heck felt like absolute SHIT (physically and mentally) after the fact.  It's weird how different it is... When I'm entrenched in the eating disorder and using symptoms multiple times a day, I get so used to feeling horrible that it doesn't bother me... But when I've been doing well and feeling better, one slip and I feel like I got run over by a truck the next day.  So that's good motivation to keep doing the right thing! 

ALSO! I have a book recommendation.  It's probably the best memoir that deals with eating disorders and mental health issues that I've read in a while.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fuck Cigna

I've taken up a hobby lately of bombarding my health insurance company's facebook page with what I would consider constructive feedback, regarding my shitty experience with them.

To make a long story short, they have denied continued care in numerous levels of care before my teams have felt it would have been appropriate to do so.  As a result, when I fell back down so hard after leaving residential and making no progress even in intensive outpatient programming, I ended up back in residential.

...Only to be kicked out after two weeks because it was no longer "medically necessary"....  Huh?  I mean, I can understand using medical necessity as a guideline for inpatient care because that is more for stabilization, but for residential? Since when is an eating disorder a medical disease more so than it is a MENTAL disorder?  At certain points I was suicidal, experiencing intense and disorienting side effects from medications, and I was still orthostatic, dehydrated, dizzy, and most importantly, I was still using symptoms. EVEN UNDER 24 HOUR CARE.

And yet I still wasn't sick enough.

So this prompted my rage, which thus turned into this, among other similar responses to some of their status updates, posts, and questions for their "fans" (who i'm sure only "liked" them because they want to keep tabs on what kind of crap the "walmart of health insurance" is spewing on facebook).

 Ah. That feels better. I find that when I get mad and rageful towards them I find some new sort of inspiration to fight this damn eating disorder, just to spite them.
Oh, and in other, i guess related news, 9 FUCKING DAYS B/P FREE!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Still truckin'

If I make it through today it will be a WHOLE WEEK without binging or purging! I'm still working on the restriction piece, but I have made my goal of getting in at least 80% of my meal plan in on the days that I don't b/p. 

So I'm still riding this wave, although now the urges to use symptoms are coming back and harder to resist.  But my motivation (wherever the hell it is coming from) still gets me through each day, if only by the grace of my new motto, "Don't Fuck Up!"  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Four Bad Ass Mother Truckin' Days!

For the first time in who the fuck knows how long...  I've gone 4 CONSECUTIVE days without using symptoms.  I haven't done this EVER (ok, in the last 5 years of my life) without being supervised 24/7.  HELL YEAH!

I don't even know where this new-found motivation or desire for recovery is coming from, but I'm gonna ride this wave for as long as I can.  And who knows? Maybe I'll figure out the key to this all some way along the wave.  All I know is that I feel GOOD, awake, present, and best of all my urges to binge and purge are practically non-existent right now. 

Let's just hope this wave crashes later rather than sooner...