Above is a screenshot from the website for the treatment center where I’m receiving treatment. I’m currently in their partial hospitalization program, which is 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, but tomorrow I transition to intensive outpatient. I’m both nervous and excited about this. I feel like the real work of recovery happens in iop where I’m not being babysat by staff all day long and I actually have to do meals on my own. However, I just had a really rough pass and I’m still in a weird head space and I’m just nervous that I’m going to get into iop and completely relapse.
I was on a walk yesterday and I had the realization that I have been in treatment 5 times in the last 4 years. That was the first time I think I realized I really have a problem. A problem I don’t know how to fix. A problem bigger than myself. But I also believe that with the right help and hard work and diligence I can get better. I think I have the right help. I am trying to put in the hard work. Here’s hoping recovery is actually possible.
This weekend I took my first weekend pass from treatment. I had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. Friday I had a doctor’s appointment with my rheumatologist and got labs done and then went over to my brothers’ place for a couple days of playing Magic: the Gathering. If you know anything about MtG, Unstable came out this weekend and I picked up a booster box to draft with. If you don’t know what MtG is, it’s a trading card game for adults. It was lots of fun.
Saturday was spent playing more MtG and then Sunday my sister, brother, and I went to a Broncos game. It was my first time attending a professional football game and it was so much fun. However, there was a lot of walking and stairs involved and of course my mind just kept calculating how much I was burning.
Food/eating-wise the weekend was rough. I didn’t eat at all Friday. Then I ate and purged everything on Saturday. Sunday I tried to get back on my meal plan but only managed to make it to 1,000 calories for the day.
Overall, I’m not sure I would call it a successful pass, but it was an enjoyable one despite the ED thoughts and behaviors.
Here’s a picture of the common area (or as they call it, the milieu area) of my treatment center. Today is just another day in treatment. Today I will meet with my primary therapist, my psychiatrist, and my nutritionist, as well as have several skills and educational groups. I’ll eat all my meals and snacks there except my evening snack, which I’ll eat at home. Today I’ll move one step closer to recovery. To doing this on my own. It’s overwhelming at times, but it’s necessary.
It’s been almost a year since I posted last. I was in school, doing my pre-reqs for nursing during most of that time. That ended mid-September. I had been deep in my eating disorder for several months and my outpatient team decided they couldn’t treat me anymore, I needed a higher level of care. By the time I went to get my medical clearance for treatment, I was severely dehydrated, anemic, had low potassium, had a Mallory Weiss tear, and my liver and kidneys were starting to fail.
Until I received the news from my medical clearance, I had thought I was impervious to complications from my eating disorder. Yes, I’ve had chronic low potassium and anemia, but I thought that was the extent to which I would be affected. To hear that my liver and kidneys were failing was a cold splash of water on my face, a cruel wakeup call.
I admitted to a local partial hospitalization program on October 4th. It’s a 7-day-a-week, 10-hour-a-day program. It’s intense and challenging. I’ve been in it for 8 weeks now and I’m making progress. Before going back to treatment I was purging up to 26 times a day. Now I’ve gone 2 weeks without purging. I will probably move to their intensive outpatient program in a couple weeks. That starts out at 7 days a week from 10-3:30, then 5 days a week, then finally 3 days. I’m both looking forward to and nervous to transition. I know slips are a normal part of recovery, but I’m so scared of falling back into my old habits. I really want recovery to stick this time.
I would write more but it’s almost 2am and I have to be up in about 4 hours so I will try to sleep now.
Thank you for reading this and I hope you have a great day.
I’ve reached the point of restriction where I become very calm. I don’t think it’s because my demons have gone away, rather I think it’s because I have too little energy to be anything other than calm, flat, emotionless, zen. I have hardly moved today. I sat on my sofa and took a final exam, then I sat on my sofa and watched Christmas movies. I haven’t even used the bathroom today because I’m severely dehydrated. I don’t think I’ve left my couch since I got up this morning. I just don’t have the energy. I frankly, I just don’t care. I don’t anticipate moving until I go to bed. I look forward to sleeping. It seems so welcoming. When I’m eating well, I hate sleeping because I have too much I want to do, too much to get done to sleep. Now, I just have Christmas movies and sleep because I have no energy for anything else. I’m ok with this. Like I said, I have reached my zen.
I was looking at my Christmas tree earlier. It has candy canes on it. I wanted to taste a candy cane. Not eat it, just taste it. But I didn’t have the energy to cross the room to get one, and I’m too afraid the sugar will digest in my mouth and I’ll consume calories by licking it. I like being completely calorie-less. Maybe I won’t go back to treatment. They want me to eat there. I don’t want to ever eat again.
I’m in treatment, but I’m struggling. I haven’t been eating outside of treatment meals, which is dinner and HS snack Monday-Thursday. Before I started treatment, I was binging and purging all day long and I went back to the EIOP to help get that under control. Well, I have for the most part. And for a week or two, I mostly followed my meal plan. But as I’ve explained to dietitians in the past, following a meal plan feels like restricting, which triggers me to restrict more and more. And that’s exactly what has happened. To the point where I’m just not eating at all outside of program.
I dream about food every time I sleep. I’ve taken to watching Food Network. Right now, they’re playing Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives back-to-back. The food looks amazing. And I know my body is hungry, but I can’t bring myself to eat. Nor do I actually feel hungry. Or maybe I do and I’m ignoring it hard enough. I’m not sure. I’m definitely not focusing on my finals the way I should be. Today I took a nap because I just kept thinking about eating but I knew I couldn’t let myself eat, so I took a nap to take up a couple hours of time where I wouldn’t have to think about it, or feel weak and in pain. I dreamed I ate all kinds of things. Luckily, I didn’t actually eat any of those things.
I can’t get warm. It’s 36 degrees outside, but I have the heat on. Even with the heat, a jacket, slippers, and gloves, I’m still cold. I’m listless. I can’t concentrate on anything. I’m so bored. Nothing sounds interesting. I just watch the food on the tv and long for what I won’t let myself have. What I can’t have. What I don’t deserve. I want it all. All at one time. And that scares me. And now I’m just rambling.
At the treatment center where I’m getting treatment for my bulimia, we just moved to a new building. This means a new art room with clean, fresh walls. So, the art therapist decided to turn one wall into a recovery wall. She is having all the patients paint a symbol that means recovery to them. The anatomical heart above is what I painted on the wall. I chose a heart because I wanted to symbolize courage and to me, courage comes from the heart. I used red to symbolize the blood pumping through your veins when you are doing something courageous. I used yellow to symbolize life because recovery is about reclaiming your life.
The picture above is what I did in art last night. I wanted to try to process a little the trauma I’ve experienced in my past. This was a HARD piece to do. I cried throughout it, and I had to take a break at one point, but it was a good experience, very therapeutic. I used black to represent the feeling of oppression that the trauma gives me. I used the red slash marks to indicate the wounds to my body, spirit, and soul that the trauma caused. Then I wrote words that the trauma brought and things that I felt I lost because of the trauma. Next week I want to either paint something pretty over it or on the back of it to acknowledge that the trauma will always be there, but it doesn’t need to control my life or be my focus, I can still build a beautiful life for myself.