Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How did this whole idea get so hard and so scary and so complicated? When I started down this road, I was not expecting this battle to be as much of a roller coaster as it is. I really was expecting a linear trajectory toward wellness, but the further I get into recovery, the more I realize the trajectory is anything but linear. New behaviors crop up, I slip, I relapse, my mind goes crazy. My trajectory looks like some function that spirals around, with a couple sine curves and cosine curves tossed in. I am rather frustrated by it all.

I am not particularly interested in giving up on recovery. I have been fighting very hard in the last couple days and I am exhausted. I am always fighting. I very much want to recover, but I am so tired and often very discouraged. Where do I go now and how to I help myself understand me?

Monday, February 26, 2007

For Five Minutes. . .

For five minutes today, I was okay with myself. I have not the foggiest idea what to do with that or what to do with the fact that I hate myself again. But for five minutes I was contented. I was okay with the fact that I was in recovery. I was not incessantly berating myself about my weight or body image. I was just content with the fact that I had given myself some downtime after my appointment and I took a brief nap. Just enough to let myself relax out of the stress of the appointment. I have some serious challenges ahead, I know I do, but I am willing to do this. Despite the excuses and the buts, I am willing. I am still uncertain about the able part of the equation, but I am willing.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Get the voice out of my head!

Thanks to Dr. B's rant on Wednesday and his lovely little indirect comment to my weight, I have been on an ED plunge for the past four days. I am slowly pulling myself out of it, but his voice is still stuck in my head, only my ED has taken what he said and multiplied it by 100. FAT, FAT, FAT RACHEL!!! is just screaming in my head. SCREAMING!!! And I do not want to hear it anymore. Frankly, I am exceptionally annoyed by it, but I absolutely believe the voice. Even the N said I was slightly above normal weight. WHAT THE HELL???

It is so frustrating to have the real world exist when I want everything to be neatly set up to help me recover. Ain't going to happen, I know, but it would be so nice to have everybody know to not talk about weight or food. It would be nice to have all "safe" foods around, both for purchase and in my room. But I do live in the real world, I just do not know how to recover in it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Univariate Existence. . .

I have come to realize something recently. Despite my deep distaste for being sick and my desire to recover, I am not really. The behaviors are getting worse. WTF??? Well, think about this for just a second; imagine life as a univariate existence, where only one thing matters. ONLY ONE! There are not relationships; there is not the risk of involving oneself with many realms of life. There is just this one realm of life.

Guess what? I have that one, singular variable world. My life, my actions, everything I can conceive of can be reduced to food/weight. Think, I take a test and fail miserably. What happens? I immediately define that in terms of weight. For some unknown logic, I think that if I become skinnier, if I can see my hipbones jutting out of my skin, something will be better. (And to think I just heard Dr. B. chatter about lousy thinking.) My weight, or whatever I perceive it to be without a scale is my identity. . . and I have to figure out how to change that. I do not want my life to be dictated by a single perception of weight, or even a reality of weight. I acknowledge the role of physicality, but I really do not think I have much reason to fear that my weight will ever be out of control upwards. I do have good reason to fear that it will be out of control downward.

Anyway, it has been a very depressed two days. I hate birthdays; they are no more than a marking point for me. Oh, I turned twenty. . . so, congrats, I have been obsessing about food and weight for ten years and been ed/0-ed for seven. That's all it is to me; another day with the same fucking shit going on and I still cannot escape. How pathetic. Hopefully, I will write more because I really need to be a lot out, but for now I have to get ready for IMPACT.

Monday, February 19, 2007

And when after seven years of binging, barfing, cutting, starving, and rage, and loathing, and terror and medical scares and personal failures and loss after loss, when after all this, I am twenty and staring down a vastly abbreviated life expectancy, and the ED/SI still take up half my body, half my brain, with their invisible eroding force, when I have spent the majority of my life sick, when I do not yet know what it means to be "well" or "normal," when I doubt those words even have meaning anymore, there are still no answers. I will die young and I have no way to make sense of that fact.

I have this: I could be skinny.


~Adapted from Wasted by Marya Hornbacher

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Digging and going nowhere

I really do not know what is going on with me. . . I hardly even know what to say.
  1. I think I am really afraid to give up the ED/SI because I do not know what the other side looks like. How would I be? I would not be the person I am now; rather, I suspect I would be radically different. I am so scared, for some reason, that giving up the ED means giving up who I am and losing some "essential" part of my identity. In my rational world, I do not even believe there is much essential about me. I really think I am a product of not just internal, innate factors, but also of social interaction, relational experience and cultural exposure. The ED is not necessarily part of that, but the ED is the product of that. Being recovered would be no different than developing the ED, a product of social and innate forces, relational experiences and new exposures. But this is more of an issue with the SI because the SI does something that makes my life real, makes my experience real and tells my story. Those scars, they mean something. There are reasons some are criss-crossy and some are words. I hate to think that I lose that communicative method. I simply do not think my voice is likely to be as effective at making my experience real for me.
  2. I am not post the "I would rather be dead than fat" phenomenon. I would rather be skinny than alive I think. I am aware of just how much the idea of starving is purely a "look, I am sick" communication, but do you have any better ideas about how to convince people who have no respect for my voice that I am sick? A BMI of 15 would do it, you think? I think it would. But there is a lot else going on about why I want so desperately to be skinny. Success, strength, discipline, control. PERFECTION.
  3. So, in that case, why am I b/p'ing all the time? What do I get from that? I get it all out. All my indiscretions, all my imperfection, all the out of control-ness. Food is representative of all that is wrong, all that is imperfect, all that is evil and I can get it all out. It is amazingly powerful to have that much control over one's body. A sad powerful and a dangerous powerful. My chest squeezes and I have been known to purge blood, but look at the power. Internal bodily functions at my control. Amazing!
  4. For those of you who have not considered the soothing effect of these behaviors, do not underestimate how comforting and soothings the ED/SI are. Warm blood is amazingly comforting and beautiful, even as it symbolizes all that is wrong with me and all that I cannot handle. Starving, oh my, the ultimate peace really. The perception of not being at the will of anything, not even food, not even the body. Just a calm that pervades everything. The ED thoughts about calories, weight, fat all provide such a lovely focus that eliminates all the outsides stressors. Life is made easy, reduced to such numbers. It is like econ, only more so! When the world becomes too overwhelming, too unjust, the numbers are true and simple. The numbers remain, the food is constant and there too are my thoughts.
  5. I can control behaviors, do not get me wrong, I can. But I am so afraid that I will be perceived as somehow instantly well if I stop. They are not everything that makes me sick. If I stopped the behaviors before I was truly well, I would be really worried that I would just set myself up for another relapse like this one. Until I have good strategies, good relapse prevention skills and resources, until I think I can do this alone, I do not want people, support, to go abandoning me, so I do not want to stop behaviors.
*sigh* That was quite long, but nice to get it out.

Friday, February 16, 2007

How can it be so clear. . .

and I still ignore it? I KNOW I DO NOT WANT TO DIE FROM THIS!!! I KNOW I COULD!!! I KEEP USING BEHAVIORS!!!!! What the hell is wrong with me? I hate it when people say this, but why do I not just stop?? I know, I know, because eating disorders are not like walking; I cannot just stop and be normal. The ED/SI still serve a purpose for me; I just wonder what it is. Yes, a voice and a way for me to feel as though I have some control over my body. But those all seem so awfully insignificant. I guess the are not.

Back to the original point. How can I see so clearly what is going on and not fix what is going on?? I know and I can psycho-babble everything for the ED, but I refuse to let it go. This is not to say there is not work I need to do, lessons I need to learn, but I should have some level of agency over whether I eat or whether I binge or whether I purge. Why do I always use that agency in the wrong direction??

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Two very important things to remember

My professor/mentor person said two very important things tonight; they really hit home for me. . . .
  1. Be assertive!! So much unhappiness is caused when people do not say what they think because they are afraid. He said of "no" but I think I am afraid of much more than "no." I am afraid of being perceived as "wrong" or "bad" or "stupid." But I probably will not be, and if somebody does perceive my voice in that way, should I really care? Dr. B. is right; so much of my unhappiness is the result of me not saying what I am thinking. Especially when I think I should say what I am thinking. Sometimes people might even think what I have to say is slightly insightful. Moreover, people tell me that almost everything I say has some level of merit, and is more often than not insightful. "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." That quote from Bertrand Russell does not quite hit the nail on the head, but close. I am so aware that what I say should not and is not be considered gospel that I rarely speak what I think. Just because something is not perfect does not mean it is not useful. UP has taught me so much about perfect imperfections; I need now to simply remember the value of such perfect imperfections.
  2. I literally could die tomorrow. Dr. B. was talking about how Dr. SK. retired after a colleague died on the tennis courts and how one of the higher ups at Res-Life died suddenly at 48 recently. And he was talking about how we should live everyday as if it is our last. Oh, did that really hit home. Every time I purge, I could easily set the electrolytes in my body so far off that I could have a heart attack and die right then and there. Every time I purge, I could rupture my stomach and die right then and there. Every time I cut, I could nick the wrong vessel/artery and die. Every time I use a behavior, I put my life in danger. I do not want to die that way. I do not like the chest pain I get when I purge; I do not like the headache and lasting eye pain when I purge. Most of all, I do not want to die, not while I purge, not when I cut and definitely not from something that is not completely beyond my control. I can stop this; I do not have to placing my life in danger on a regular basis; I do not want to either. Why do I continue to do so???
Anyway, they really hit home, so I wanted to get them out. They tell me that is healthy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What I want to say

I want to say things. I want to have a voice, but I do not know how to say what I want to say. . . To say, to speak seems so foreign. I am such a well-trained, demure and submissive girl, who knows her proper place is to be seen and not heard. I know some of what I want to say, but I hardly know how to say it. . .

I want people to know I am not perfect. I try really really hard, deathly hard, but I am not. I need help sometimes. Sometimes I need to be encouraged, sometimes challenged, sometimes I simply need hug and sometimes I need quiet and alone time. I know I hate the fact that I need, but I do, damn it. . .

I want to say how I am not absolutely strong and there are moments where I cannot be everything for everybody. I want to be able to use my voice to tell people to give me alone time sometimes. Like with my roomie, I want to be able to use my voice to say how I want a little bit of "Rachel time" every night. When I crawl into bed, I want to be able to read quietly, journal, whatever. Basically, the underlying principle that I want to get across is that I want to use my voice to set some boundaries for other people and I want them to be more fulfilling than ISOLATION.

I want to be able to say how much I wish I could love my family. I would love to have a family I love as much as my profs, as much as I love the , but I cannot. There will forever be a disjuncture between my family and I. For as long as I have a love for horses, for as long as I have a history of ED/SI, for as long as I try to have an voice. I wish I did not have to have this type of relationship with my family, but I will always have such a relationship and I must be able to say this, just to make it real and stop it from attacking my body.

I want to be able to speak my opinion. I want to be able to find my opinion. I do not know what my opinion is and I want to be able to say it. I want to be able to use my voice to talk about what I think and be able to have a discussion about something I THINK. Even if I change my opinion after the discussion. I really want to be able to say that this is mine, I think this, and this is why.

I think I want to be able to use my voice to say how I feel. I want to have words, have a language to say what I am feeling. I hardly I know not what to call emotions and I know not how to say them. I want to say "I feel right now. is what it feels like." Right now I feel worried because I slid, just an itty bitty bit of my MP today and I really think that sliding makes me a failure and I worry that I must continue to fail.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Wow, today was insanely stressful and I am just exhausted. Lots of stuff was going on and I do not really know what to do. . .
  • I had a lot of trouble eating early today. I really was stressed about the university week from hell that is headed my way and I am really overwhelmed. I really doubt my ability to do a lot of things I have to get done and I just want to shrink down into nothingness.
  • To boot, I feel really, really alone right now. I was so excited about my MP on Saturday and I do not know how to get that across, how incredibly huge that is for me. Maybe tomorrow. . . even though I already want to restrict.
  • I had an appointment with the ED specialist and, wow, I was honest, but she really does not know what my T had in mind when I was referred. Maybe meds? I would be okay with that. Anyway, the appointment was long, and exhausting and frankly, I am sick of being sick. It is an exhausting process to be sick. . . to be continuously (and I mean continuously, not continually) pushing emotion down, behind the ED/SI. I do not know now not to be sick, but I am tired of it. I am sick of meeting new Tx people and giving them my life story and trying to let them understand how crazy I really am. I do not want to be sick anymore. I really wish I could figure out how to be well thought. What the hell does that mean? I have no idea what being well or being healthy would be like or what it would involve. I have been sick for so long, seven years, that I do not remember what it is like to be well, to not have every little thought consumed by food and calories and f*t. But I wish I did.
  • And in all the stress I b/p-ed. It is so frustrating. I don't want to do that anymore, but I do not know now to not do that. . . *sigh* And the idea of SI is running across my mind right now. . .
  • I just feel so unheard. There are things I want to say, I want to scream about how I do not want to be sick any more and how I want health and how scared I am and how every little scar on my ankles, the scratches on my knuckles represents something I could not figure out how to say with words. Honestly, the entire day has been overwhelmed by the "that which I do not know how to say with words, I scream with my body." How do I learn how to use my voice and use words? Nobody is hearing my body, but I see no hope in them hearing my words either. (Clearly, I do need the rhetoric training!)
*sigh* I do not know what to say. . .

Monday, February 12, 2007

That which she cannot say with her voice, she can scream with her body.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Big Step

I finally did something I needed to do today. I ate, right on my MP, every three hours, no more, no less, and kept my food diary. I had a little discussion with myself today about how I am not constrained by the MP, even though it feels as though I am. I am constrained by the ED. I do feel a lot of things right now about the MP, but I honestly do feel proud. I feel as though I am finally going somewhere on this road. And I know better than to try to challenge this and test myself. I just need to settle in, right here and start to dig through some issues.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Little Dose of Reality

Sarcasm will be the death of me yet

I am a sarcastic little bitch. I really am. And it will be the death of me. I get so sarcastic about the ED/SI. I get so sarcastic that I do not treat it as serious as it is. I laugh and scoff it off instead of treating everything as though it is important. Look, I do not know how to explain this, but I use sarcasm as a defense mechanism and escape from the pain of the ED/SI by being sarcastic. It is not a healthy way of dealing and I really think it is going to harm me in the long run. If I cannot learn to face the reality of bulimia and cutting head on, I will not ever move to recoverED.

The other current stumbling block is that for some reason I feel as though I can stop anytime I want and I am in complete control of the ED/SI. I know that is a fucking lie! I cannot just stop anytime I want. I am not in complete control of these behaviors. I may ultimately be in control, but I am not entirely in control. And I hate it.

I am just so frustrated with myself for not being "perfect" in recovery. There is not perfect in recovery and I know that. . . but I let myself walk right into dangerous situations because I think I am somehow more able than normal ED/SI individuals to put myself in bad situations and overcome. I KNOW I NEED the fucking MP and I KNOW I cannot let myself go off of it, but I do, on a regular basis. Because I am in control of the ED (can you hear the sarcasm?).

How do I learn how to submit to the help I am being offered? I simply rebel against it.
How do I learn how to actually fight the urges? I simply "hope" and give a little try to prevent them.
How do I learn how to love myself and my body? I simply have incredible amounts of distaste for them.

God, I am in one hell of a place right now. I am going to journal before bed and if I need 8 pages, damn, I will fill them. I do want to try again tomorrow, despite the hellish way I feel now.

Friday, February 9, 2007

I tried. . . and I will try again tomorrow

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”

And I will, I really will. I do not know why today seemed so inexplicably rough, but it did. I had trouble eating and I had trouble not eating. I was either trying desperately to get away with not eating or feeling driven toward a binge. I have been SI-ing a lot recently, so I think that might have been setting me up for trouble. I guess I feel a little apathetic about recovery, not that I do not want recovery, but I am a little lazy when it comes to doing the hard, uncomfortable, sit with the feelings work.

One thing that I have been noticing is that I feel very full. My old pastor emailed me and telling me about the empty feeling without g-d and how if I wanted to fill that hole I should believe again. Okay, I will remember that when I feel empty, but that is the last thing I feel right now. I feel full, like everything is ready to boil over. My mind feels overwhelmed, not by work or by life, but by emotion. They are there, at least I have come to the point where I know they exist. But I am still willing to quickly condemn them to the attic and my attic is starting to get full. My T was talking about how recovery is going to require me to let them in the same room as I am, but first, I have to figure out how to deal with them one at a time and let them go. If I cannot let them go, all that is going to happen is that all the noise in the attic is going to be in my living room. . . and then all hell will break loose. I guess I should work on that, huh. . .

By the way, friend, if you have not guessed yet, I did not make it to forty minutes. I did however, manage to sit with the feelings for about five more minutes (the longest I have ever sat with those feelings) and then I "had" to go p. Sorry, next time I will shoot for 8 minutes. . . or I will just not be so dumb as to eat ice cream. Why I have so much trouble realizing that ice cream is THE TRIGGER FOOD. I have lots of trigger foods, but ice cream is by far the worst. I do not think I have kept ice cream down for, oh, five or seven years. Definitely something I should not eat again until I am much, much more steady in recovery.

But tomorrow is a new day and I refuse to allow today's failings to define tomorrow's existence. I can follow my MP and I can keep my food diary and I can reach out for support as it is needed. "I will try again tomorrow."

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Interesting Day. . .

Mhmm, I am not even sure what to say. The day has been hectic, I have slipped off my MP a couple times and there were a couple little binges, but nothing major. (Perhaps it is poor judgment of me to say nothing major). . . Well, at least nothing major ED-wise. I cut my ankle pretty good and I really kinda feel the urge to cut right now. There are a lot of emotions, about my roommate, my old paster, humans, IMPACT, life in general. I really do not know.

I have been working SO MUCH harder since the Dr. B. thing, almost out of spite for my ineptitudes. I realized in that moment, the ED is pulling me back by the throat. I cannot have the relationships I want if I use the ED as a way to get through life. I have to use better, more productive coping strategies. When most people were developing social skills, late childhood/adolescence, I was doing just the opposite. Isolating myself and developing an ED/SI. I do not know how to accept the affection from Dr. B. any more than I know how to speak Russian. I know how to cut, how to purge, how to starve. . . and how to convince myself those things are all justifiable. But not how to laugh, cry, feel warm and fuzzy, love, be grateful, get excited. Disappointing, I think.

I do, however, have no intention of continuing to be disappointed in myself. Honestly, no more! I am going to force myself to learn these skills and if it means falling on my face over and over again with Dr. B. or anybody else, I think I am prepared to take that risk. . . So, what the hell, I am leaping!

Monday, February 5, 2007

They Tell Me. . .

They tell me I am smart. They tell me I am the best of the best. They tell me I have potential. They tell me this is a choice. They tell me I can stop, I can control this, I can recover. They tell me I am not fat. They tell me using my body does not work. They tell me I am unique, promising, elegant, the ideal IMPACTer. They tell me I am motivated. Hard working. Diligent. Ambitious. They tell me to eat. They tell me to love myself. They tell me. . . I think they lie; I know they are right.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

As Good as I Treat My UP

Today, while I was at work, I was explaining to a client how we "baby" horses when their emotions start to raise. When horses get scared, anxious, happy, hungry, depressed, we have ways of "babying" them through the emotions. We have ways of helping the horses learn to deal with situations of high emotional stress. And I thought, it is amazing how much better I treat my UP (my horse) than I treat myself. How I treat him, how I treat myself and how he would treat me if he could seemed something to work out.

I treat my horse with the utmost respect and care. I always brush UP when I go to see him and when I brush him, I do not tug on the tangles without respect to his nerve endings; I slowly work out the tangles with conditioner. I talk with UP while I brush him, about how he feels, if he is cold, I check for any sort of injury. I would certainly never inflict injury upon that body, despite the fact that UP has an imperfect body. I would never allow anyone to neglect any injuries he may incur; I would care for them daily, with the utmost respect for his body.

I always play a little bit with UP before I ask him to let me ride, preparing him to handle the emotions that come with a workout. I am gentle with him and I try not to have unrealistic expectations for him. I certainly do not expect him to be perfect everyday. When I get on and ride, I never expect more from him than he can do. I never ask him to work harder than his body is prepared to do. I always ask him to warm up accordingly before getting into the difficult, new work. All the emotional and physical preparation is meant to help UP deal with all the new emotions and new stresses of learning.

I carefully take care of UP's nutrition. I meticulously choose a diet for him, making sure it changes with the weather and changes with his activity level. I try to make sure there is a healthy level of roughage and concentrate. I try to supplement his diet to some of the bodily stressors he has. I make sure he gets MSM on a daily basis to help his joints work smoothly. I do not obsess about his weight or shape; I obsess over his health.

I do not expect perfection from UP. I expect perfect imperfection from UP and I greatly value these perfect imperfections a great deal. They are an opportunity for me to learn. I do not expect him to meet any social ideal about what a horse should be. I expect UP to be my friend. I do not expect UP to handle emotions as if they were easy. I expect UP to need support and I am willing to be that support.

UP is willing to be my support and he would treat me as well as I treat him if he could. If UP could be my owner, UP would try to take care of my emotions and my physical health. UP would love it if I would allow me to treat myself as well as I treat him. When I can treat myself that well, UP and I would be so much closer; we would be truly as one. As close as we are now, the ED/SI is always an issue he has to help me with and I never let him. Mutuality would be so important to our relationship. If only I would treat myself as well as I treat my UP.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Dragging myself kicking and screaming

Yeah, so that sums up my day. . . I started off restricting and I was a little lightheaded during yoga on account of the, oh, 400 calories I ate in the morning not really doing a good job running my bodily process. It felt good, it really felt good to be hungry--so controlled. But I know I have to drag myself, as much as I kick and scream, to food sometimes. . . and sometimes away. But lookie, I ate dinner. I probably ate the N-mandated minimum of 900-1000 calories, but I am sure I did not keep my MP the way I NEED to, but I did much better after about 7:00. With NO b/p-ing (something I tend to do when I try to make up for restricting in the evening).

Okay, so the big thing. . . I feel the ED/SI coming up to me. I hear their calls, the soft whispers of comfort and security. The warm feelings and the highs of independence. Most of all, I hear the loud calls of self loathing and body alienation. I really do have this deep seated HATE for my body. Maybe it is because I perceive my body as having betrayed me. Maybe I am a little angry with my body for giving me a place to live. I would kinda like to be invisible and having a body does prevent that. I am so easily made angry by my body and I am still slightly in the dark about how to deal with that. I just want to place those labels on my skin, so they are there, even people who are too dumb to realize all my faults will be able to see them, right there in English. To write that out seems so fucked up and it is, but like my T said, I am unsure I am willing to let all the associated feelings into the room and sit in the corner, I do not know how to deal with them; I am much more comfortable sending those feelings into the attic and dealing with them in the dark.

This is a frustrating battle, but I will try to keep fighting the war. I am so scared I will not win and will find myself utterly condemned.