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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Going back to "From Here".

I sat down in the chair and cried.  I couldn't hold it in anymore, I couldn't bear the pain-- the agony.  Dr. R bowed her head, lowered her voice and calmly said, "I think it's time".  I looked up, tears swelled in my eyes and with my face clenched tight I heard a voice reply, "OK, I'll go".  She picked up the phone and made the call I had been dreading, the call I had tried to avoid.  "Hi, yes, can I get an ambulance, please?"  Before I knew it I was strapped onto a stretcher and wheeled out of the doctor's office.  Ten minutes later I was in the ER, hooked up to monitors, and poked with needles by a nurse.  I lay there, motionless and cold-- both physically and mentally.  No amount of blankets could warm me.  I was sick and scared, but unable to process the reality I found myself living-- or not living.  
Several hours later I was transfered to my very own room.  "You don't have to worry about making me too comfortable, I'm leaving as soon as I'm stabilized," I warned the nurse.  She just gave me a blank stare and continued to shuffle around the room, moving pillows and searching for blankets.  She knew something I didn't, which put me at great discomfort and unease.  But I was too delirious to comprehend the reality of the situation.  Once settled, I took out a notebook and pen. And I wrote.

Lets-write-something-writing-4545938-1024-768.jpg (1024×768)8/13/09


Recap.
This is actually happening. I am in a bed, hooked up to an IV and heart monitor and having to pee with the door open. I am under intensive watch 24 hours a day.. for "safety" reasons...aka so I digest every crumb on my plate and remain on bedrest. Did you know you can burn calories tapping your toe in bed? I did. I have an eating disorder and was checked into the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for intensive medical care. Because I'm destroying my insides and slowly killing myself. Thanks a lot, Ed.
How did I even get here? Who is this person trapped inside my body and controlling my brain? I'm sick. I was completely delirious when I checked into the hospital. And by delirious I mean nearly dead. All my vital signs were low and they're pretty sure I had hypothermia. I was scared. Wait- scratch that.. I am scared.
I've been good. I've followed all the rules (minus a few weak moments- thanks again, Ed). I've probably gained several pounds, although I wouldn't know for sure because I get weight backwards every morning. Food is shoved down my throat 5 times a day (ok, not literally but if I don't finish every last bit on my plate, including the Ranch dressing, I have to supplement the calories with a Boost). But it's fine. I'll be medically stable enough to get out of here soon. Hopefully after the 12pm meeting with the team of doctors.
Wait. I have an eating disorder. I want- no, need to get better. I can't live like this, there is too much I have to look forward to in life. I need to get rid of Ed.

"Mom, I'm going to be released in time to return to Pitt, right?"  My mom's shoulders shrank as she put her head down.  "Rebecca, hunny, let's just worry about what's going on right now".  What kind of answer was that?  Why does she sound like she's about to tell me someone died?  "But I'm going to be stabilized soon, then I'll be good to go..."  It was at that moment that I realized I was in denial.  And it was at that moment that I realized I was in for more than a 10 day stay at the Children's Hospital.  I swore I felt my heart leap out of my chest, I felt a rush of adrenaline through my entire body, aching to lift itself out of the bed.

I wasn't going back to Pittsburgh.  My entry to the hospital was not a brief trip to get physically stable.  I was betrayed, tricked even, by the doctors.  What the hell was I still doing in a hospital?  And what was this talk of transferring me to another one?  I had not the slightest notion that I was about to embark on a journey.  A journey that could take years.  I was about to begin the recovery process from an eating disorder.  Recovery?  Me?  Wait.  I have anorexia?

8/18/09
I was supposed to be out of here today. I was supposed to only eat breakfast here. I was supposed to be admitted as an inpatient to Princeton (WILLINGLY, nonetheless). But I'm still here. Trapped in this fish bowl with a babysitter and too many calories shoved down my throat. Today I broke down. I completely lost it. And I learned a valuable lesson. No, I learned two valuable lessons.
Lesson 1: Hospitals are a mess. A disorganized, "hot" mess. There are 23423423 doctors, nurses, social workers, and other various personnel involved. And none of them communicate with each other. Hence, the reason I'm still here- hence, the meltdown.
Lesson 2: You are your only ally. Only you can save you.
Sequence of Events:
I wake up expecting to leave the hospital sometime this morning.
Parents arrive mid-morning and we're still waiting. (Waiting=anxiety).
The first doctor informs me I may have to wait a day or two.
The second doctor has no idea I'm supposed to be leaving.
First meltdown.
Lunch was ordered for me. It was obviously bigger than the average person's food intake for an entire day. What's my motivation? I've been let down. Again.
Second meltdown. I shouldn't be here, eating this food.
Meeting with nutritionist. Because I'm staying another night.
Third meltdown.
It is so incredibly difficult to do 'good' after 'good' after 'good' without reinforcement and reward. And that's where the frustration comes from. Once I'm frustrated, I relapse back to the negative thoughts, habits and decisions to receive the comfort that's not being provided for me otherwise. I'm waiting for a pay-off. Or for little pay-offs along the way. No one gets it. No one will... Or will they?
Tomorrow at 9am (though I'm not holding my breath) I will be transported by ambulance to Princeton.
Breathe, Rebecca. You survived. You made it through another day. And tomorrow is a fresh day.
My journey down this road will be long. There will be plenty of ups and probably even more downs- plenty of rocks and obstacles along the way. But I have to keep my eye on the prize, the Emerald City. And to all my family and friends- I can not thank you enough for your continued sympathy, support and loyalty. You are my motivation and strength and you are what keeps me going. Thank you.
I also could not have survived the past 9 days without my one-on-ones and nurse support. Remind me to stay in touch with them.
Oh, and purple is my color.

"The ambulance is here.  Bring her out!"  Finally, I could leave this place.  Finally, I could breathe in some fresh air-- it had been 10 days since I last saw sunlight.  And finally, I could walk.  Or so I thought... They helped me rise from the hospital bed that I had made my own, with it's permanent imprint of my body, only to transfer me to a wheel chair, and then to another stretcher, to yet another ambulance.  There goes all hope of being able to walk, which by the way, I appreciate much more now.  As the ambulance backed out of its driveway, I closed my eyes.  "Well, here we go".  And thus began my journey towards recovery.

As I look back, a year later, I can't help but to think of the power of fate.  If I hadn't agreed to enter the hospital, August 10, 2009 I could have-- no I would have died.  Even if I hadn't died, I would have gotten sicker, had to drop out of school and live the life of an anorexic, with all hope lost, relationships ruined and future absent.  But I was saved.  I was given a second chance to live.  It's never easy to lift oneself out of the state of denial.  I wanted to hold on, so badly.  I wanted to convince others, and myself, that I was fine.  I remember saying over and over again, "I'm only here for a few days to get medically stable, then I'm going back to Pittsburgh.  I'll be fine".  Yes, those words are still repeated loudly in my mind.  One year later, I associate denial with ED.  ED wanted to hold on, wanted to trick my family, doctors and myself that I could survive on my own.  Denial was ED's way of winning, it was his chief motive.  But luckily for me, my family and doctors would not give in to ED's master plan.  They helped me wake up from the nightmare I had made reality.  They saved me.  I fear to think where I'd be right now if it weren't for my family, doctors and friends.  There was a time that I detested them, that I was angry because I felt like they were ripping my life right out of my hands.  But now I know the reality of the situation:  In actuality, they were handing my life back to me.  I was getting a second chance to live.

Fate works in mysterious ways, and looking back, I would not change a single thing about what happened.  I believe I was meant to get sick, meant to break down in Dr. R's office and meant to go to the hospital.  Because I believe everything happens for a reason, and that my personal experiences will help me lead a better, more fulfilled life.

 "For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning". -- T.S. Eliot

39 comments:

  1. Is there really an end to this journey? Every day is a mission to feed ourselves and our souls, to make sure that we are satisfied and happy (enough) so that we don't turn to destructive comforts. Some days are so much easier than others. The other day I actually had to scream at myself and say "I want to be happy today!" It actually worked. I, too, am thankful for everything I have been through in life. Life isn't just the "good" moments. It's all of the moments, because they all add up to where you are now.
    It must be bittersweet reflecting on what was happening exactly a year ago today. Stay strong and beautiful!

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  2. that last quote is beautiful. and I hope through this journey, you have realized that you are beautiful, too. I hope you hold on to that experience for the rest of your life and learn from it.

    all the best! continue to stay strong!
    xoxo

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  3. what a touching and emotional post. I am amazed by your ability to express everything in such beautiful words. I hope you are doing well now because you deserve health after everything you have been through!!

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  4. That quote at the end is so appropriate! Stay strong girl! It's so nice to look back and see how far you've come. Keep going!

    <3

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story Rachel. I feel the same way about everything happening for a reason, and I do think that ED can be a way of bringing us closer to family and people who help us.

    Thanks again for sharing your amazing story!

    Stay strong, I am praying for you,
    Scott

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  6. I'm glad that chain of events occurred, otherwise I would never have had the honour of meeting you. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly, and it's clear to see that you've worked hard and come a long way since last summer.

    :-)

    Sarah x

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  7. i'm so glad to see that you're still here after that day, one year ago. it's hard to move past those feelings but you have come so far and gained so much strength in the meantime. kuddos to you honey!!!

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  8. the strength of denial is so strong wow. Your words are so wonderfully spoken i literally feel like i am in your head thinking your thoughts. i hope your journey only improves from here, you deserve to be happy & healthy!

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  9. It's just so scary how much ED blinds us to the truth. Even when we could die, or about to die, denial still takes over. I'm really glad that you're out of that terrible mindset you once shared with ED...you've come really far, and I'm praying for the best for you!

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  10. Becca, you have come so far since last year, and I am so proud of you for being able to look back and acknowledge the progress you've made. If you hadn't gotten sick, things would be completely different. But you did, and here you are now, moving onward. You've found strength and courage in the darkest of times, you've fought when you've been completely and utterly exhausted, and you have grown into an amazingly beautiful, insightful person.
    Things happened the way they did, and you've faced some horrors in your life, but they have only strengthened you further, giving you more life experience than many people you know.

    You are a fighter.
    And you are worth fighting for.

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  11. heya chick, i can't find your 'follow' button on your page grr lol.
    but i'm going to continue reading.
    keep fighting, and hang in there darling, x x

    ps- follow me :) x

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  12. I hear you on the ''trapped'' feeling...Worst feeling ever.

    Thanks for sharing your story, it's inspiring, scary and awakening.

    You write really well!! (ok that was random xD)
    xoxo

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  13. you are so amazing and such a gifted writer. This is inspiring and wonderful, keep going girl, you got this :)

    xo-Molly

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  14. Wow- what an amazing account. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  15. I love that quote at the end!

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  16. you sound so similar to me when I was put in the hospital! i took on the exact same attitude, but realized, in time, that it was really the best thing for me.

    it's funny--i've actually lurked on your blog a few times but was always too scared to say something! i really appreciate your comment though and hope you keep reading. :] i know i'm hooked on yours!

    p.s.--purple is my color, too. my absolute, all-time, favorite favorite color, in fact. no lie!

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  17. Thankyou for visiting my blog :)
    Wow, these are powerful words...I was in a similar position to you where I was in denial, despite being so close to death that if I hadn't gone to hospital on that day, I probably would have died the next day. But ED is such a horrible monster that it doesn't see that, 'we're fine'. I hate this illness more than words can say for what it does to innocent people, bringing them so close to death, if not bringing them to actual death.
    You are amazingly strong for having battled through what you have. You deserve to have happiness and a future. You are worth fighting for.

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  18. WOW girl. I had chills reading this. Seriously. You have been through so much- GOD NEEDS YOU TO GIVE OTHERS HOPE!! for real girl. I am blown away by your strength

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  19. one year. one year is long & short.
    a year ago i was begging my parents to let me give up on school and crawl back home. yesterday i was sobbing to my mom that i just want to collapse. for me, all the things that have changed over a year, many things are similar.
    i will always admire your life outlook. i feel as though you have found some peace. i'm very thankful you being in my life.
    love you miss rebecca. you are a rock star. loveeee.

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  20. thanks for continuing to share your journey with us.

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  21. This so was so great! I continue to look back at all my old writings and I am glad that I liked to keep a journal. I don't anymore, but I should because it really is a great way to remember where you've been in your life.

    I think everything happens for a reason too. Even if we don't understand it now, it was meant to happen and it will lead to several different things. Some that might even be good, no matter how bad the situation is.
    I'm trying to live everyday, being greatful for what I have NOW.
    <3 Tori

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  22. Wow, what an incredible post. You literally have tears in my eyes right now. Thank you for sharing your story <3

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  23. I just found your blog, purple is my favorite color too! :D And I love that last quote

    -KC

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  24. wow this is deep stuff! its amazing to find bloggers who are so honest and open, having insight into the mind of anorexia or any other eating disorder is beyond helpful! Transparency into the hardship, struggles, and light at the end of the tunnel, is essential for recovery. hand in there love and remember YOU ARE WORTH IT! <3

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  25. i love that T.S. Elliot quote!

    thank you for sharing your journey. you are a very good writer - one that writes from the heart, which is most important :) and i think anyone & everyone - myself included! - who struggles with any sort of personal demons - not just an ED - can find a lot of hope & inspiration in this. more than anything i also believe that EVERYthing happens for a reason. & it makes me smile to know that you are happy :)

    all my love!

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  26. You are an amazing writer- you truly have a beautiful way with words! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I really admire and respect your steadfast commitment to recovery- this fight is difficult, but I believe we can all overcome our eating disorders and live happy and healthy lives!

    I very much relate to the belief that everything happens for a reason... I too believe that what I have gone through has made me a stronger and more self-aware person.

    Keep staying strong- you can do this!!! <3

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  27. A beautifully written of your journey. I think it's so amazing to look back and see where you've come from! I'm sure you are an inspiration to many girls who are in a similar situation right now.

    You are so right...the experiences we have in life only serve to make us stronger and more able to help others.

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  28. a year.
    see this as strength.
    extraordinary strength.

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  29. This is so beautiful, raw, and real. Everytime i read one of your posts, I am reminded of why I love recovery so much. It's so damn hard, but so damn worth it. I believe in fate as well, and I honestly believe that everything I've been through was meant to happen. I go over and over how everything played out in my head - I was so resistant, yet here I am at a healthy weight. It alsmost seems too good to be true :)

    Keep shining... you are a brilliant inspiration to those that are struggling AND those who have managed to make their way to a life full of freedom.
    <3 Tat

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  30. beautifully written portrayal of your struggle, this was amazing to read. You are a wonderful inspiration! Keep moving along each day, you have so much to offer :)

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  31. Wow, Rebecca....what a story. It hit me deep, because I was in such a similar situation as you. For me, I resented the school for sending me to the hospital at first, but now that I look back, they were SAVING me.
    I definitely believe everything happens for a reason, and for the GOOD. It's hard to see it at the moment, but when we hold on to that faith, we receive inner peace even amidst the turmoil, and that's all that matters.

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  32. Hang in there, beautiful.

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  33. WOW...I am so, so proud of you. You made such progress and traveled a hard and important road in your life. Keep following that road, I am always there for you!

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

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  34. My friend. Angel. Hope.
    You are so beautiful and strong. Again I feel goosebumps while reading through your words. You have a life filled with memories, experiences, emotions. It touches me, bring tears to my eyes and fill me with joy when seeing that you are changing your perspective. You have turned away from an early death, you have accepted the hands that reached out to you. Felt both the love and frustration, the tears and the smiles.
    You are so great, and I know you will make this. We will make this, my friend.

    I recieved my copy of Caitlins book today, and I cried when I saw your post. You are wonderful.
    <3

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  35. <333

    I've changed my blog address from signalwest.blogspot.com to oatsandnuts.blogspot.com

    so just incase your dashboard feed doesn't update me, x x

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  36. <333

    I've changed my blog address from signalwest.blogspot.com to oatsandnuts.blogspot.com

    so just incase your dashboard feed doesn't update me, x x

    ReplyDelete
  37. <333

    I've changed my blog address from signalwest.blogspot.com to oatsandnuts.blogspot.com

    so just incase your dashboard feed doesn't update me, x x

    ReplyDelete
  38. That was incredible to read...wow. I can't even imagine going through something like that and we are all so lucky that you were able to make it through and keep such a detailed account of it all. I'm sure you are helping a lot of other people out there by sharing this. I hope you are looking back and realizing how far you've come since then! Stay strong!

    ~Bridget

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  39. Thank you so much for sharing this with us - you are so strong, and you are absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

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