Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Anorexia up close.

In treatment I was given an assignment by my therapist. Write down at least 50 things you want out of life. A year ago I couldn't think of 10. 50 seemed impossible. So, during some free time I got my journal out and started working on the list. Number 21 on my list reads "I want to enjoy healthy meals as a family". After I wrote that I looked up at a young woman sitting on the carpet. She has anorexia. Badly. I looked down at my list in my journal and wrote number 22. "I want other women to not feel self-loathing."
That woman with anorexia struck me greatly. Her shockingly thin body did not surprise me. But I always looked at her because one thing she did that no one else there did was this: she never spoke unless spoken to. And when she did speak it was very quietly. Only one day did I see her hair as she wore a beanie most of the day. Incredibly gaunt, she looked hard as stone. I never saw her smile. But I was captivated by her eyes.
Her eyes were incredibly brown. They were big and you could see life in them. Life that was stuck inside her sick body. She often looked out the window during free time and would dose now and again. During meals in the dining hall she always looked angry. She never spoke to anyone but staff was on to the food games she was playing. She constantly rolled her eyes in frustration. But she never spoke.
She always looked unhappy. I still wonder about her. I'm hanging on to the hope that she gets better and learns to use that voice that I know is there. I wish I could see a smile form on her lips. I never saw that either.
We all have struggles. All of us. Anorexia just happens to be extremely noticeable and particularly deadly. When we play with our food or don't even eat it, that's the eating disorder. It's powerful. It's enticing and habitual.
But it can be changed. We can choose to heal from it. And it's damn hard. Damn hard. You must have an extremely dedicated treatment team. And you must exercise honesty always. When you are busy and decide you're going to skip lunch, you'd better damn well take a moment and eat lunch. It all starts with the actual behaviors we learn with food.

After you get a good grip on the behaviors, the real work begins. But the work will get done if we so choose. Personally speaking, it's exhausting. My blood pressure gets high when I do the actual work. I grit my teeth a lot. But as long as I use all my might and summon the courage that lies inside me, I know I will do it.

Goal number 32 on my list: "I never want to stop feeling this hope."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Pride Factor

A tough realization came to me today, and I told my therapist.

I need structure.

It is way too easy for me to simply "forget" a meal. And whatever my dietitian recommends, I must follow. Admitting these things out loud required me to strip away my pride. The words came out through gritted teeth, but they were said in the direct eye contact of my therapist.

It's all about control. She told me today "You need to stop listening to the eating disorder." It's so easy to, though. But, she's right. It was so hard to actually defy the disorder and state the truth. But I felt real. Honest. Better.

When you try and try to stay in control, you are just, in fact, spiraling more and more out of control.

When it pains you to look in the eyes of someone and state the truth, that's when you are regaining control. That's what's real. And then all of a sudden you don't hear the eating disorder voice.

The more work I do, the more the real Jenn shows through. Having an eating disorder for most of your life means rediscovering who you really are when you begin to recover. That's scary. Pride in the disorder will kill you. For me, shedding my pride is allowing people to know the real me. So far I think I know something concrete about myself.

Humor. I learned how to use it as a defense mechanism and still do. However, I believe it's genuine and authentic. I wasn't sure for the longest time, believe it or not. And pride? Well, it's one thing to be proud of your kids for something, but when pride gets in the way of your daily life, that's way bad.

Letting go,
~J

Renegade Recovery: Dispelled Rumor

Renegade Recovery: Dispelled Rumor: "Because of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) there has been a lot of rumor about where I've been the last co..."

Dispelled Rumor

Because of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) there has been a lot of rumor about where I've been the last couple weeks. It was per my request that my privacy be upheld with my employer, and they honored that. That being said, somehow the rumor got started that I was having surgery. Let me squash that right now.
I told people I was going to Utah for treatment. I never said I was having surgery, and I never did. I was in intensive inpatient therapy for my eating disorder. Now, you must understand that verbally I have a lot of trouble talking about it, but I'll blog and write about it no problem. If I don't write about it, I'll be sketchy about it otherwise unless you're part of my treatment team or a dearly trusted friend.
I am back so soon because the insurance denied payment for my stay. After appeals by the physicians in Utah, my insurance at least agreed to pay for the days I was there. I had to come home during a critical time and am having a difficult time with it, to be honest.
So, no, no surgeries. Although, I am curious as to what kind of surgery I apparently did have!

Go ahead and ask me if you will. Just don't assume. That's all I ask.
Thanks for reading,
~J

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Diving IN

I'm ditching my other blog, Hooks, Farms, and Faith. Thanks to those of you that followed it, but I wanted to try something new and FOCUS which is the exact opposite of what I had going on with Hooks.
Ok, big news. Anyone who has followed my blog, knows me or has even read just one bit of Hooks knows I have an eating disorder. Big whoop. We all have something. I have been in so-called recovery for a long time...well, maybe not long to some. About two years. Give or take. Anyway, it's been a mess. Frustrations on all parties involved in my recovery (including yours truly) have been evident for a long time. So at my last check up with my doc, Doc (that's what I call her, yes.), she pops the question that I'm sure has been coming for a while.
Center For Change
"What do you think about inpatient?"

Inpatient?

That was about a month or so ago. Oh, yah, the big news. Drum roll, please. ............I am officially going inpatient for my eating disorder on May 16th. I am crossing state lines in hopes an "intensive inpatient therapy" will assist me in my recovery efforts. Acute inpatient. Intensive inpatient. Whatever you want to call it, that'll be me in just a few short weeks.

I am sacrificing a LOT, as is my family. I am scared out of my mind. Nervous. Excited. Contemplative. Any descriptive you can think of, that's how I feel.
I will be away from Doc, Jaime (my dietitian), Kristin (my therapist) and others I have trusted and will put my trust and faith into new docs, dietitians, nurses, therapists, etc.
One new thing will be the other women.
Others with this deadly disease.
I know they're out there, but I will finally get to converse face to face with some.
I make it sound like a dream, but it's more of a blessed reality t0 know I'm not alone.

Inpatient. I'll be gone a long time. Well, it'll feel like a long time - a month +- a week or so.

I've had so much support from my current treatment team and friends and family. My flight is booked and in less than 4 weeks I will be officially on the INside.

But, let me reiterate: I'm really scared. Eeeeekk! I've been assured this is normal, so I'll just roll with it.
Thanks, everyone.

Separation Anxiety

Full of s***.
Oh, please!
I don't believe you.
That's just a cop out.
Those lines have actually been said to me during the last two years.

What's going on? What else?
I won't give up on you.
You can do this, look at what you've already done!
You are going to get angry.
How do you feel about intensive inpatient?

I have been called out on numerous occasions by my treatment team. I have been so mad at them. Sometimes they've brought me to tears. I'm sure I have been one of the most difficult patients/clients thus far. And now I will be departing soon for Utah - intensive inpatient therapy. And you know what?

I don't want to leave my team! No matter how hard and difficult I have made things (yes, me), I am finally, FINALLY doing it. I am starting to recover. It's taken 2 years, 3 doctors and 1 registered dietitian to help get me on the right path. I fear I don't have the energy to build anymore relationships in Utah with other providers. I don't want another therapist. I don't trust other doctors. I don't KNOW anyone.

www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
Yeppers, it's a bad case of separation anxiety.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hubby gets homework.

As part of my admissions materials for Center For Change is a 17-page questionnaire that is to be filled out by another family member - in my case, my spouse. I swear I almost dropped the packet when I read that. These are intensely personal questions that require honest answers.

Well.

When you hear pounding on the desk and the rustle of papers mingled with an occasional chuckle, you know Jason is working on the questionnaire. He got stuck on a few, so I had to help.

AND......for the first time in two years Jason came to therapy with me. My therapist, Kristin, has been trying to get me to bring him in for about a year now. I had no idea what to expect. They seemed to hit it off nicely and dived right in. What I came out of with from that session is as follows.

Communication, full honest communication is an absolute MUST in recovery. You will go no where if you don't do this. Even if you must hurt someone in the process, you MUST communicate. Write a note, pass it. Scream it. Talk it over tea and crumpets. Just do it. Communicate.

I realized today that I don't want the disorder to be a part of me anymore. It's had 18 years so far, and I think I've been more than generous. I don't want it to be who I am. I don't want it to be my identity. But who am I without it?

I don't know.

I have no idea who I would be or what I would be like if I didn't have this eating disorder. So who is this full, honest, free Jenn? Don't know yet. Still have the disorder.

This is not going to rule my life. I WILL recover. I'm choosing life. I'm choosing to accept the help - whatever that may be. I will follow orders from my doctor, therapist and dietitian. I will exhaust myself if necessary. But at least in the exhaustion I will feel truth.

And that is the truth.
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