I feel disgusting. I keep checking my arms and fixing my posture. I'm recounting the calories I've consumed and wonder how my mind is possibly playing such tricks on me. I see people running and think, 'I should be one of them' but instead I'm sitting here unable to focus on my schoolwork. When I can't workout I don't eat as much and I obsess more. It's as if I've magically gained 5 lbs of flab during the day. I take a deep breath. And another. Nope, nothing-- if anything, I feel worse. How am I supposed to eat more-- especially when I have no appetite? I look at the people around me. I look like them. I don't look anorexic, so why must I face these fears? I'm fine.
All I want to do right now is research. How soon does the body change after not running anymore? When does the weight transfer from muscle to flab? How many calories do I have to consume to maintain and/or gain weight from where I'm at? Why am I having these thoughts and why won't they stop? And how the hell am I going to make it through another 3 hour class?
Is this diet coke going straight to my arms? I hate chemicals, but I need the caffeine. I suppose I thought that by writing all my thoughts down I could feel a sense of relief and purity. Ok, thoughts, you're on paper, now please stay out of my head. This should have comparable results to the wave analogy, no? Maybe a walk will help restore some peace of mind.
Not really. Numbers, get out of my head. ED, stop picking apart my body. There's more to me than this. I know there is.
Ed. vs Me. vs. Ambivalence. Yes, in fact I do feel like three different people. ED, similar to the ID, only looks for instant gratification. In other words, ED wants me to behave in ways that would seem to satisfy what it needs and wants in the present moment, without considering long-term consequences. However, I, can easily discriminate the consequences my present actions will have. I act like the superego, recognizing appropriate rules and limitations that moderate health. And then there's Miss. Ambivalence, who's caught in-between and pulled in multiple directions. Yes, I actually feel like three different people right now, talk about a major headache. So, yesterday morning my therapist confidently informed me that I may have to go back into a treatment program. My heart sank to my feet, my stomach filled with knots and pains. Reality set in. I have convinced myself that I'm going through a temporary lapse in effect from the chaotic, stressful and exciting events over the past months. Between preparation for finals, moving and friends graduating, I was constantly 'on-the-go' that I forgot to breathe. Everyday the anxiety gets worse, thoughts get more intense (and thus more detrimental) and feelings more uneasy. My emotions have become increasingly uncontrollable and the irritability presents itself much more readily. I've reached another 'do-or-die', per-se, situation and my therapist finally expressed her concern. The possibility of returning to treatment frightens me, because it would mean taking a huge step backwards. I almost certain COPE would not allow me to return to IOP, because of my weight, which leaves a partial (all day, everyday) program or inpatient as viable options. However, partial would interfere with summer classes, my directed research and work, so there would not be a convincing argument for me to stay in Pittsburgh. Additionally, returning to hospitalization as an inpatient scares me to no end. I've come too far, since August. Over the past month I've known that my weight has been decreasing steadily and dangerous thoughts, behaviors and anxiety have become more prevalent, but hearing my therapists words today helped me actualize and internalize the reality I am presented with. Once again, I find myself in a vulnerable, uncertain state of fear and angst.
This past weekend Steve and I drove to Yardley to spend my birthday with my family. I haven't had such a wonderful time at home in a very, very long time. I enjoyed the company, the laughs, the food (eh, mostly) and will cherish the memories forever. Despite the enjoyment, I'd lie if I said guilt didn't take prevalence in my mind. I'd lie if I said I didn't drive myself crazy over calorie counting after sitting in a car for 5+ hours. I can't help it. ED is here and he's strong. I tried to eat intuitively, go with the flow and minimize exercise. I tried to not only act happy, but to be happy-- and I was for a majority of the weekend, much of which can be attributed to my incredible boyfriend and exquisite siblings. I am so comfortable around my family, because I feel no urge to compare myself with them and I don't feel any judgment. Home was a breath of fresh air for me-- a sigh of relief. It was simply wonderful.
Sunday night was spent with my Pittsburgh girls. We sat around the kitchen table with massive quantities of food, wine, laughs and the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received. I am so blessed and appreciative for my friends, and refuse to ever take them for granted. I sat in awe as I watched the conversation, the flow of food and drink from fork to mouth, and beautiful smiles that warmed each other's hearts. That time around the table made my birthday unforgettable and exceptionally unique from all others in the past. The laughs and jokes from 'stuffing our faces' will forever be on repeat in my mind and heart. In addition, I received the most thoughtful and meaningful gifts. For example, I received a book entitled, "Women Food and God", a shirt with the message, "Be Amazing", and a lavender candle & tea. I have been left speechless and in awe. My friends know me so well and know how to empower and motivate me to work towards my long-lost full potential. And then of course I received cards upon cards of inspiring, genuine words, and with each card opened brought another tear to my eye. Again, speechless. Thank you, girls-- for everything, I will remember this birthday for the rest of my life.
I'm grateful to be alive and to be fighting the good fight. I am grateful for my family and friends and grateful for the ultimate gift-- the ability to access and process the internal self. It's kept me alive and well, so far.