Wow, it’s been a couple months since I posted last! I’ve been SUPER busy with school. My human anatomy and physiology class in particular is trying to kick my butt!
I’ve been in recovery limbo the last couple months. Issue with my insurance kept me from starting the evening intensive outpatient program like my psychiatrist wanted me to do after I left my ex and started spending all my free time binging and purging. School has helped reduce my binge/purge episodes, but I’m still struggling. Last week, my psychiatrist wrote a letter to my insurance company, and this week they FINALLY approved me to start the EIOP. So, Monday I will be starting back at the EIOP. I’m dreading it, and I have no idea how I’m going to get all my schoolwork done, but I know I need this right now.
I met with my new eating disorder therapist yesterday. We went a half hour over our time, and I really like her so far.
Thursday morning I leave for California for two weeks with the fiance and I’m very excited, but also nervous. I know I’ll have to eat consistently, and won’t be able to purge like I’ve grown accustomed to again. I know these are technically good things, but the eating disorder part of my brain is screaming that it’s not going to be ok.
Tomorrow I see my new eating disorder therapist. While I hate starting with new therapists, my last therapist gave me the tip to write up a sheet with a brief history of my eating disorder and my treatment goals so I don’t have to rehash everything all over again, I can just answer any specific questions my new therapist may have.
Eating has been going ok the last few days. I’ve been purging all my food, though. I’m really struggling. I had to really think about my treatment goals and think about whether I really want treatment right now. Like it has been so often, part of me does and part of me doesn’t.
Today was my last therapy session with my eating disorder therapist. She’s leaving the eating disorder center where I go to go into private practice. While I can’t fault her on this, it’s been rough on me. I have a hard time connecting well with therapists and I thought we had a good connection. I felt comfortable with her. I’m not looking forward to starting over with a new therapist. And I’m scared to not have a good relationship with the new one. My mind has been telling me this is a good point to just stop recovery and take a break from it all. I know, however, that this would mean going back to my eating disorder 100%. I’m not prepared to do that. I’ve worked to hard for the little bit of progress I’ve made. I need to keep working on recovery.
School ends in a week. I have most everything done, I just need to finish my discussions and take my final exam. I turned in my final project already (yes, this class had a final project AND a final exam). I fly out to California with my boyfriend in 6 days and 4 hours. I have already half packed. I packed everything I’m not going to use in the next 6 days. Most everything else I need to pack I can’t pack until the day I leave because I’ll be using it right up until I leave.
I have eating disorder therapy on Wednesday. She wants me to increase my breakfasts to 3 times this week. She also wants me to draw a new picture of Kyle where I’m fighting back instead of lying prone. I don’t know if I’ll have time to do that before I leave next Wednesday, but I’m going to try.
I had DBT therapy yesterday. I have been in the DBT program for 6 months now. I feel like between that and the eating disorder program, I’ve made a lot of progress in my life in the last 6 months. I feel so much more stable. I’m not self-harming. I’m not depressed. I have skills to deal with things that come up in life instead of being overwhelmed by them. I’ve been able to maintain a healthy romantic relationship. A relationship that is getting very serious, in the most wonderful way possible. In the past, I would have sabotaged my relationship. I never thought I was good enough for anyone, so I always broke things off when they started to get serious. Now I feel secure and comfortable in my relationship.
I need to go shopping before I fly out, I need some things for the trip, and I need to pick up kitty litter so my kitty has fresh litter for while I’m gone. I meet with my dietician on Monday to talk about eating while travelling and on vacation, and tips for eating out, which I’ll be doing a painfully large amount of while we’re in California. I need to finish packing, take my final, finish my discussions, meet with my eating disorder therapist, and go to one more DBT skills group all before I leave. I have a mental to-do list of everything I need to get done. I have a list on my phone of everything I need to pack, and the list keeps growing daily. I feel like I’m taking everything I own, but we’ll be there for 3 weeks and I have never travelled for 3 weeks and I feel like I need everything.
I had therapy this morning. Part of it was just the normal “you need to eat breakfast, and here are the reasons why.” I’ve been really struggling to eat breakfast this last week or so. Part of it is because I’m getting up later because I’m staying up so late and so it feels weird to eat breakfast mid-morning. But I also know that’s partly an excuse to restrict.
We also touched on the loss of my sister today. I’m supposed to journal or do art work around losing her. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ve used my eating disorder in part to keep from dealing with the loss of my sister, so I’m not looking forward to having to face the grief. However, I know it’s necessary.
My homework for this week is to eat breakfast at least twice, and to journal my loss. It’s going to be a tough week. I also have to start my final project for school, so it’ll be a busy week as well.
So I’ve transitioned to outpatient. I met with my new outpatient therapist yesterday. I didn’t feel an instant connection with her, but I didn’t hate her, so that’s good at least.
The transition has been harder than I expected. I need to get into a better routine. I haven’t been eating consistently, and that’s been leading me to binge and purge a few times since I discharged. Today is the first time I ate breakfast in a while. My new therapist challenged me to set a schedule for my meals and to stick to it for the next week, so that’s what I’m going to try to do. Hopefully I can cut down on the binging and purging this way too.
Tomorrow I need to pack. Friday I’m going to Albuquerque for the weekend with my three brothers. We’re driving down Friday morning and driving back Sunday night. Luckily it’s not a long drive.
In experiential group last night, we made collages of what our lives look like just surviving and what they look like thriving. The left half is surviving and the right is thriving. I put a woman punching a punching bag because living with my eating disorder feels like I’m always in a fight for survival. I put “Keep calm OR carry on” because I feel like I can do one or the other, but not both at the same time. I put “To the brink” because I feel like I’m always at the brink when I’m in survival mode. I put “everything easier” (it originally said “everything Easter” but I altered it) because my eating disorder promises it’ll make everything easier. I put “the master” because my eating disorder is literally my master when I’m in that surviving mode. It says “wake me when it’s over” because I just don’t deal with anything, I let my eating disorder deal with it for me. It says “comfort first” because living in survival mode means taking the comfortable route instead of the brave route or the right route. I put “look good” and “you can lose weight while enjoying this” because those are both lies my eating disorder tells me. I put “frizzled” and “whipped” because that’s how I feel all the time in survival mode. It says “Now what?!?” because the rules are ALWAYS changing with an eating disorder. I put And for our next trick” because the eating disorder is always trying to trick me. And finally, there is a woman standing on a scaled with the words “what’s your number?” because the mood for that day, the rules for that day, are always set by what the number says on the scale that morning.
On the thriving side, it says “do more than one thing and do them well” because I want to be able to do more than maintain my eating disorder, and I want to have the focus, health, and cognitive skills to do them well. It says “fear of nothing” because I want to get to a state where I’m not living in fear of food, calories, not exercising, the rules in my head, the judgments of others, etc. It says “the best stories” because I feel like only after I’m thriving can I start to accumulate my life’s best stories. I put “Burn bright. Burn true.” because I want to radiate who I truly am as a person, and be genuine and authentic, not isolate, not lie, not hide. I put “love” because it’s my most import value and I want it to be my guiding passion. I put “no regrets” because I’m tired of living in constant regret. It says “feel good” because I want to feel good about myself, I want to feel good physically, and I want to feel good about who I am as a person. It says “a great finish” because regardless of how I started out life or how I’ve spent the last 31 years, I can have a great finish. I put “experience more” because once I am thriving I can truly experience life, not just get through it. I put “stronger” because I am getting stronger every day and want to continue to do so every day after. I put a picture of a lady with two small children because I want to start a family. I put a picture of someone celebrating their birthday with cake and friends because I want to be able to do that. I put “start every day full of life” because I think it’s a great motto to have. And finally, I put a woman doing a handstand because she looked carefree and I want to be carefree.
Tonight we had art therapy. Ever since we talked about the wheel of abuse, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head that my eating disorder is abusive toward me. Tonight, I wanted to practice assertiveness toward my eating disorder so I drew the first panel where my eating disorder is being abusive and I am in a defensive position. Then, I drew the second panel where I am being assertive and wrote out all the things I want to say to my eating disorder.
It’s very similar to the Lies Kyle Tells exercise we did, but I am feeling very rebellious toward my eating disorder today and assertiveness is not my forte, so I felt the need to practice it tonight. I also wanted to visually represent Kyle as abusive as a reminder to myself for when I’m not feeling so rebellious.
On Monday, in individual therapy, I went over my values cards. It’s pretty neat, you have a stack of like 100 values and you start by sorting them by “very important,” “sort of important,” and “not important”. Then you get rid of the sort of important and not important stacks. You take the very important stack and sort it into “problems,” “shoulds,” and I can’t remember the other stack. Then you discard the problems and shoulds and start over with the other stack sorting into “very important,” “sort of important,” and “not important.” There are more steps, but I don’t remember them all. Anyway, you get down to 7 most important values, then 5, then 3 core values, then your single most important value.
My 7 most important values are: (in no particular order)
My 3 core values are:
And my single most important value is love.
I think it’s good to know your values as they can act as a compass to guide your actions throughout the day. Am I working right now toward one of my values of family, friendship, growth, connection, love, discovery, or spirituality? If so, I’m probably on the right track. If not, I may need to reassess. And is my overarching direction in life moving me toward love? Love of others, love of nature, love of my Creator, love of myself, love of learning, love of growth? If not, I’m going the wrong way.