Archive for Anorexia

Falling

I’m living on my own now. It’s been tough. My eating is all over the place. I’m sick of throwing up everything I eat. I’m tired of worrying about how long I have to throw everything up. Thinking about what I’m going to eat, and how much. I’m sick of worrying about calories in rediculous things, then eating high call food and vomiting it. I’m sick of everything. I don’t wand to be anorexic or bulemic. I don’t want to waste money on food I will throw out, or throw up. I am on my own now.

I’m tired of focusing emotions I should be dealing with into an eating disorder. I’m annoyed that working full time and trying to find a better job leaves me no time to see my therapist. I’m sick of being unsure about relationships, or friendships, or time or money. I just want everything to stop being so crazy. But I know it won’t unless I do something about it myself.

So I have decided. This was the last time I throw up. This was the last time I eat food I know I can’t keep down. I need a plan. To eat something small every few hour. I need to go back to the beginning, and no one can do it but me.  I need to make a routine. Meals every few hours, some light exercise and some free time to think and write.

I should try to journal every day. I will try to write my progress down here.

Close Calls

Last night I was once again reminded just how terrifying and deadly a battle it is we face as anorectics. 1 in 10 of us will die, if not due to medical complications, then it will be suicide.

At 12:00 in the morning I receivied news that a friend of mine had attempted suicide. She’d been out for 3-4 days. She’s supposed to die. I suppose I should be thankful she even woke up. I suppose only time will tell if this is going to be another close call, or the end.

You never really think when you look around at the girls your facing this with, that at least 2 or three of them won’t make it out. You always think that statistics just belong in text books, and it won’t happen in your lifetime. You won’t see it…At least I thought I would never see it. The truth is, however, unavoidable. This is a deadly disease. It has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. And I will likely have to attend more than one funeral. Perhaps it will even be my own.

Its a scary and sobering though to face. Sure makes reality crash in awfully fast.

Frusterated

I’m so tired of hearing people say, “But you don’t look like you have an eating disorder.” Either to me, or a friend. It seems that our level of health should be determined by how sick we look.

Do they expect everyone who stuggles to look like the girls interviewed on Larry King Live? And what excatly is an eatind disordered person supposed to look like anyways? With thin so “in” in the media, we really can’t look that different. I mean. The modles and stars have eating disorders and we consider them “normal”. So we basically just look “normal” to everyone else. “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder”. No, I just look the same as eveyone else who does!

Conversation With Mom

I went for coffee with my Mom today, and for the first time got an idea of how sick I really was.

My Mom hasn’t told me before what sort of state I appeared to be in before and after my first hospitalization. At the time I was so incoherent that I did not have the capacity to understand the seriousness of my condition. Likely one of the reasons it was so easy for me to continue on with my destructive behavior.

I asked my mom what I was like at my sickest, and she replied “It was like watching a very old person, or a movie in slow motion. You had no motor skills, and replied with only one or two words, sometimes three. You often said them backwards or out of order. You could barley walk.” She later added that she asked professionals if they thought I would die, and admitted that she herself had thought I would for around 6 months. She said it was like a watching a person who had lived their life, and was lying on their death bed expecting the end. I couldn’t concentrate to read or watch tv, I hunched over into myself and was incapable of holding myself up. I had the death paler. My eyes were sunken. My mind was gone. My whole family was scared.

I didn’t know until today that the number of tests they were doing on me was not the program guideline, but the concern of my doctor.  Apparently weekly EKGs, and a full blood work up is not the usual protocol for outpatient observation. I just thought that the program I was to enter wanted to be up to date on my progress…not that my doctor wanted advanced notice of when to expect my death.

It seems a lot has been kept from me, and I was to sick to understand the rest.

I still cant comprehend that I was that sick.

I remember a few glimpses I caught of myself…clearly. All bones. Usually I see myself as I was at my highest weight..but those few honest glimpses scared me.  Still its hard to imagine that those around me expected my death.

Self Help Indeed

I was in a chain bookstore in the states. Being a psychology graduate and in need of help I turned to my favorite section, self help, and stared in a state of shock at the shelf.

Ever book was on dieting and weight loss.

It seems that’s all we care about. That speaks volumes about society. No wonder western civilization has such a pandemic of eating disorders if the main message they are sending to us is “You NEED to be thin”. They are essentially saying, “You need help? You want to feel good about yourself? Loose weight, then all your problems will be solved?”. After all, what other solutions are there to your quandaries?

I had, of course, realized that media and cultural pressure played a role in the development of an eating disorder before. I had never before, however, had the unfortunate opportunity to have this point so clearly illustrated.

The defense rests.

My Return

So I went away to treatment for quite awhile, and am home. Unfortunately I relapsed almost immediately. I’ve been trying to “change my life”, and “find myself”…so I took a rather long break from the online world and my “old self”.

To bring everyone up to speed. I was sent away to a special treatment centre out of province, as I was a severe case. I stayed there for quite a few months, some in hospital, some out. Don’t get me wrong, I made tremendous progress while I was there, and am not at the same pitiful state as when I arrived. However I am less than flourishing.

While away I also learned all sorts of wonderful tricks that are completely counterproductive to my recovery, like how to induce vomiting effectively, and to manipulate blood tests and scales and such.

Anyone who tells you you will not be triggered in recovery is a liar. Anyone who tells you you can’t get worse is a fool. Recovery is something you have to want…and your eating disorder won’t want it. It will grasp these pearls of wisdom and hang on like a vice. There are a lot of sick people in recovery, and they all talk. The one thing that holds them together is their disorder…and so that is what they talk about, that is what they bond over. In a sick way it even makes the disorder stronger. You slowly begin to validate your disorder and that of those around you.

So now I’m back in town, still restricting my intake, still occasionally binging, still purging (adding the wonderful vomiting on top of the laxative abuse), still exercising…and once again losing weight. No one said it was an easy battle. My therapist says this happens all the time. She says its just good we caught it early, its good I’m being honest; and do I need to go away to treatment again?

What she doesn’t know is that its so bad I drove to a mall to throw up today because I knew I would be caught out if I did it at home.

Welcome back

November 8th

So they are slowley working me up to take in more and more boost, aka “food energy”. Seriously, just call it calories. I still freak out looking at the nutriction information-even though aparently it will take me 4,500-5,000 calories a day to stop weight loss. Eating feels so weird, and I am so over sensative to tastes and smells.

I ate solid food for the first time today and yesterday-even if its just a small amount I feel sick. I am not going to do that agaon for a while. I think I will stick to the boost for a few days…It’s easier on the stomach and it has become a “safe food”-I trust it and its steady amount not to make me gain weight. Its less work psychologically. Even though I know I will have to gain weight eventually.

My digestive track and my body are slowly responding, and it has been painful, very painful. Eating is painful on my stomach, and I often feel like I am going to throw up. Its emotionally and psychologically draining. It takes alot of effort to convince myself to get started, its sometimes easier when Im eating-but afterwards its both painful and an emotional/psychological battle not to purge.

Right now the thought or smell of food makes me naucious. I feel heavy and my insides are turning  and my mind is trying to race-my body responds with panic and I have to fight for control. If I were at home and I had laxatives or something to make me throw-up I would definitly have taken it- now the urge to exercise begins, the need to have it out, or to compensate, to burn calories is so strong…even as I know my organs have been dying for it for months.

I weigh only 95lbs and I fear gaining even one. I know right now its hard to stop the weight loss, to even get enough in me to keep me semi functioning, and I still fear food. I fear what I need to survive. Im scared to touch my stomach, to see myself naked, to see anything but my rib cage and pelvic outline. Im terrified of any bulge. Even though I know its simply passing through I want it out.

I know my digestive track is slow and that it will take a couple of days and it terrifies me. I want to starve myself until it goes through, even though I know there is a good chance it would kill me. I feel it moving, the gases, the bloating, the digestion, it both terrifies and relieves me. It terrifies me that those calories are entering my system, being sent through me, moving into my blood stream, terrifies me that some of it might be stores as fat. My heart is racing and irregular, my body is tense, my breathing shallow, and my chest tight. Im panicing, my mind is racing. I feel like I have to stop thinking. I have to breath deep to stop a panic attack. I try to take comfort in the fact that if its moving it will also come out-and my stomach will be flat and concave again. I try to focus on that, and tell myself it will be ok-I will stick to boost for a few days- this is still too hard yet. I take comfort in the fact that I will still be loosing weight, or at least not gaining it. I try to promise myself this. I know it will be impossible to sleep like this. I have to think about something else. I think I will listen to Micha (a nurse) and keep this journal with me- so I can write how I feel as I eat, and begin to get to the roots of this disease named anorexia. So here we go journal- you and me to recovery.

I found out the other day that when I came in I was so starved I was at risk of refeeding syndrom. Thats when your body has so little glusose or none, that a rush, or large amount of calories would cause insilin shock. So a nasal-gastric tube would have killed me-and I still have to be semi-careful. The risk has mostly run through though-it decreases majoryl after 5 days of slow “re-feeding”. Yet another reason why I went to the hospital. If someone inexperianced had dealt with me, they could have killed me.

I also met with the eating disorder clinic and know I will learn alot from them about both what I did to my body, and how it will recover. I think it will be fascinating.

When I first came in I found their goals so hard to meet-even with the threat of an n/g tube. I was so bad with it that they almost discharged me becuase they were unable to treat me. Dr. Roa stepped in on my behlaf and pointed out that I was in a critical place and medically unstable, and I could die. I’m so glad she did, and I turned around and am able to co-operate. I know the next few days will be hard. I don’t want to eat, I just want boost, but they will want some solid food in me too.

Right now I want to give up and go back to before, and starve. I feel so frusterated and mad at myself. I tried to move to fast and now Im discouraged and angry, and feel guilty and ashamed that I’ve eaten. I feel like a disgusting pig. It makes me want to be sick. I feel nauscious again.

Allison was given a homework assignment in which she had to record what she ate, how much, how many calories, and how much fat. It made me nervous, scared and angry. I don’t want young girls to be exposed to calorie counting-at 12, 13. They should not be worrying about that-its just a breeding ground for seeds leading to an eating disorder. I would not wish this on anyone. Someone needs to educate the schools, and school board about this problem-how they contribute to it, and how they can help prevent it. It makes me angry.

Anorexia is costing me my volunteering, work, this school year, job oppertunities, my physical health, my ability to move arounf and exercise, my emotional health, relationships, my freedom, my sense of independence, my ability to drive. Thats all gone, after just one week in the hospital. Who knows what else it will cost me. Its rediculous.

My Life in the Psych Ward

On my fourth day in the Hospital I was transfered to the psychiatric ward of the hospital, where I would would be dealt with by a team of experts including a nutricionist, 2 psychologits, 2 pychiatrists, nurses, my doctor, and occasionaly the staff from the eating disorders clinic.

It was not until I entered the psych ward that I found out how lucky I was to be alive. At the blood sugard levels I was functioning on, I was lucky not to have slipped into a coma and suffered permanent brain damage, or death. On the amount and types of laxatives I was taking, I was lucky not to have bled to death internally, destroyed my organs, or put myself into shock. Not to mention the dyhdration. Its very likley that if I had been left another few hours, I would have died.

It was also mentioned that a feeding tube may need to be used. My body was eating itself, and they were not sure I could last much longer (they still arn’t sure how much longer I can last on my current intake). What was not explained right away was that I was too high a risk for refeeding syndrom to do it right away, and that nutrition needed to be introduced slowley, or my body would go into shock.

By this point in time I was absolutly terrified that I would die…and even more terrified that I was going to get fat.

Hello Hospital, Hello Home

That night I passed out when I got up to walk into the kitchen, and was unable to stand up, or situp, or really even talk. My mom tried to get me to take in a tiny bit of boost, but I was unable to. My rituals, and fear of calories prevented me from getting in even a tablespoon. It became quite obvious that I needed to see a doctor, and soon.

The next morning I went to the hospitals walk in clinic, had a checkup, and a doctor filled out a referal form for me. He took one look at me and told me and my mom I was burning protien, my body was canabalizing itself. He also told me I was dehydrated. After the intake he told me mom to take me over to the hospital for IV fluids and nutrients.

Sitting in the waiting room I began to loose more and more strength. I couldn’t walk on my own, and my mom had to carry me in once my name was finnaly called. They did a bunch of bloodwork. They hocked me up to an IV and gave me two bags of saline. Once my bloodwork came back a nurse rushed in and pushed the largest suringe me or my mom had ever seen into my IV line. She told us as she did it that it was pure glucose. She said something about my blood sugar being 2.1 and left in a hurry to get more blankets as this was really going to hurt. She was right. My arm burned, and I could feel all my veins burning as the glucose made its way through them. My body swelled and I was shaking. She upped the drip, told me to stay still…and that I would be discharged shortly. Someonementioned that if I could not get anything down to come back the next morning.

About 12:00 the next day I was back in the hospital waiting room, once again passing out. This time it was a little more serious. The first Nurse came in with warm blankets and another IV. Then there was the mchine hooked up to measure my vitals, then the first ECG. The first round of bloodwork was processed fast, and the attentending doctor called my physician at home for a medical background and asked her to admit me ASAP to any ward that would take me. Shortly afterwards another round of ECGs, bloodwork, monitoring, nurses and blankets cirilated through. Then I was being wheeled to the second floor into critical overflow. I couldnt walk to the washroom on my own to the nurses and my mom took turns carrying me. Soon the doctors autherised a change in IV bags to one that included glucose and nutrients instead of injections. That burned worse. I remember screeming and crying….and the nurse who was smart enough to bring hot towels to heat my blood and the glucose so my body would accept it more readily. I will always be thankful to her for that.

About 2 hours later it was time for the next round of bloodwork, ECGs, and tests. It was at this point I began to realize this was probably going to be more than an overnight observation and began to worry.

At this point in time it had been 8 days since I had eaten anything. My family was becoming worried that we had not gotten any answers back from anymore yet, and nothing was been done. What we did not know at the time was that the hospital has no idea what to do with me, and needed to contact specialists in order to find out how to proceed. So we waited.

A day or so later I met with a psychologist and a psychiatrist. It was then that I hear the first news about my medical state. My heart was beginning to slow and give out, and my other organs were damaged. They were still trying to figure out if I should be treated as a medical case, or a psychiatric case. They said I could come to the psych ward when I was stable, or I could continue to be treated on a medical basis. What I didn’t know is Dr. Roa had already made that choice for me. She had also decided that if I did not eat soon, I would be tubed.

Enter Mom

Calling your mom and asking for help is probably one of the worst feeling for someone as independent as me, who really does not want to admit the need any help, from anyone. I felt abit like a failure. Ontop of that I was terrified about what she would think of me. What happens if even my own mother hates me?

It turns out my mom had a pretty good idea that I had a problem, and unbeknownst to me had contacted an eating disorders clinic. On a trip to Deluth she had noticed that I became extremely aggitated, and would not continue to shop until I got laxatives. I told her I was painfully constipated, she was trying to deny my addiction.(Sadly it was her that introduced me to them one day when I was constipated…likley from not eating anything).  She also noticed that I didn’t eat very much..not really anything at all. She also noticed…like many others that I had lost well over 65lbs.

I should have know that if friends and coworkers had figured it out, she would have too. Sadly I didn’t.

So I called her up and told her that we should go have “coffee”. That was about all that was needed….I don’t normaly do coffee, so it was immediatly seen as an in to talk.

After we finnished with the necissary small talk I admitted that the reason I hadn’t been over recently was that I was going through laxative withdrawl, and I didn’t want to eat. I admitted I hadn’t eaten anything for at least 5 days, and that I was unable to do this on my own any longer. My mom sat and listned, and it didn’t seem to be the normal type responces I would ussualy expect to get from her. Shortly after I finnished talking she told me that she had already contacted the eating disorders program, and asked me to come home with her and look over the information and program outline.

Seeing as I didn’t have a car at the moment, I was obliged to.

Looking over the program information, it became obvious to me that I did indeed have a problem…and a rather large one. I agreed to see a doctor and look into an interview…just to see what the program was like, and if I thought it was something that would help me.

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