Friday, January 28, 2011

hell hath frozen over

I am going to see a dietitian to day.

Ok I am not anti-dietitian. Lots of people with ED's will benefit from seeing a dietitian at various points in their recovery. But as someone who had been in treatment like a bazillion times, I have kind of a "been there, done that" attitiude about the whole meal plan-serving size-food pyramid thing. I know that fat is a a vital nutrient and your liver can only store 2 hours worth of glycogen and your brain needs carbs to function. I know this stuff (geez I sound cocky).

But I am actually not going to see the D for my eating disorder (or non-eating disorder, since technically I dont even have one anymore! Yay!). I am going to see if she can help with my anxiety and depression. I have been reading ALOT lately about the relationship between mental health and nutrition. Like for instance, did you know that you need amino acids, especially tryptophan, in order for your body to make seratonin? So in theory, even if you were on an SSRI antidepressant, you might still not have enough seratonin if you are not getting all your amino acids. SSRI's dont make seratonin, they just keep more of it floating around in your noggin.
And I have been reading all about different fats, too. I already knew that omega 3's are good for you, but there are also long chain and medium chain and all sorts of fats that do different things for you that I dont quite understand. And I was also reading about how important the balance of magnesium and calcium is in controlling anxiety.

I guess I'm feeling like I am gathering all this information but I dont quite know how to make sense of it, or how to pull it all together. Like, what does all of this mean for Lisa? I don't want a meal plan per se, because I like having flexability, but maybe some sort of loosely structured guidelines would be helpful.

I am seeing a dietitian in my therapist's office. She works with the eating disorder patients, but also with parents of kids with adhd and other mental health problems to help them get the right nutrition to help manage their symptoms, and she knows alot about the relationship between nutrition and mental health. She is only part time in the office, her FT job is professor of nutrition or dietetics or something at Ia State.
Oh, and my insurance wont pay for me to see her so I have to pay out of pocket. Boo. BUt I am to the point where I feel ok about spending the money if I think she could help me. I have been very frustrated with my psych med situation. Pristiq has been a fail, and that is the newest one that I know of. I am SO over the atypical antipsychotics, cant take the benzos because I cant stick to proper doses, have tried every ssri and snri on the market (and even a few that have been pulled from the market), older antidepressants, lithium, shock treatment, ect.
Don't get me wrong, I am going to stay on my current meds, but I think that casting my net a bit wider in my search for symptom relief might be in order.

I'm trying not to get too hopeful. My plan is to go in with no expectations and an open mind.

But seriously, if she whips out the plastic food I am outta there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

dear lisa,

stop weighing yourself at the gym. it's only going to make you crazy.

p.s. i love you!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

strength in recovery

It has been a REALLY bad week body-image wise. I think the Lexapro is making me gain weight. I am not eating any more than usual but over the past several weeks my weight has been creeping up. Not a huge spike, but enough to make my "healthy" jeans tight. I HATE it when my jeans feel tight. It's hard to ignore, ugh.
So that, plus some emotional/life issues I have been dealing with, have really been wearing on my resolve to stay in recovery. I find myself more and more entertaining thoughts about restricting and losing weight. Like, for instance, tonight I had the urge to skip the rice at dinner. I have that urge often, to skip the starch. It usually shows up under the guise of "healthier eating", but in reality I know that I need carbs. I need them for energy. My brain needs them to function.
But then I look at my body, my hips spilling out of my jeans, and I think "I don't need food. I could live off myself for months." Which is not exactly true, but it is hard for me to justify eating when I weigh this much.
Emotionally, I miss the numbness of the eating disorder. I miss how all my problems kind of dissolved around the one problem: my weight. I miss the safe feeling I got from losing weight.

But of course we know that that is all just an illusion.
So what have I been doing?

I don't restrict. I don't skip the starch. Even when the depression and anxiety has flat out killed my appetite, and the smell of food is grossing me out, I sit down at the table with my family and eat a balanced meal. And its hard. Its so hard. It reminds me of being in the middle of a marathon, and you're exhausted, and everything in you wants to lie down and quit. But you keep going, one foot in front of the other. One bite at a time.
I am in recovery by sheer force of will. And despite all the complaining I'm doing here, I feel good. Strong. I was reflecting today on how much stronger I am now than I used to be. I used to run back to the ED as soon as the going got rough, or the jeans got tight. As soon as recovery stopped being a novelty and started feeling like work. But these days, the mastery I have over the ed and the work it took to get here and stay here makes me feel strong, and that feels good.

The word "strong" means something different to me than it did 5 or 10 years ago. Back then, in the grip of the ED, I thought starving would make me strong. If I got hungry, or wanted to skip the last lap around the track, ED would whisper in my ear "come on strong!". If I gave in and ate, or if I stepped on the scale and didn't lose, I would think "you are weak. WEAK!". I am also reminded of a saying I have seen on the pro-ana sites I used to look at: "be strong...starve on!".
But that's just an illusion. The truth is, it would be far easier to go back to starving myself than it is to stay in recovery. I am not weak for eating. Weakness would be skipping dinner because "I'm just not up for it tonight". I excercise more strength on a daily basis now than I ever did as an anorexic.

I'm not saying all this to brag. I really just wanted to share this to remind us all what real strength is. If anyone reading this is in that place where ED is telling you you're weak for eating, or weak for gaining weight, or listening to your treatment team, I want to remind you that Ed is full of crap, so don't listen.

Be strong.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

ED leftovers

I think that I am pretty far along in my recovery, but some old habits die hard. I have what I have come to think of as "ED Leftovers", or certain thoughts or behaviors that just pop up from time to time. I guess it makes sense, if you think about it. I mean, I was eating disordered for about 16 years. All of the little ways I have adapted in order to live my life with an eating disorder don't change overnight. Also, while I choose to tell myself healthy messages about myself and my body, some of the disordered thinking still lurks around my brain. I don't consciously entertain these thoughts, but some of them are tricky. They masquerade as normal.

One big one that sometimes trips me up is my tendancy to see my body as something that is completely subject to my will. The scenario is usually something like this: I have a hectic day, or a change of plans, and I decide that dinner will have to wait until 8:30 pm (instead of 5:30). I expect that even though the last thing I ate was lunch at 11:00, my body run just fine without food until 8:30 because that is what is most convenient to me. And we all know how this usually ends.

Such was the case Friday night. I had to take my daughter to Waterloo (1.5 hours) and then drive back (1.5 hours). I was planning to leave just after 4pm, and hit the drive through for Emma on the way out of town. I could have made an early dinner before we left, but I didn't want to do that because I was feeling lazy. When we went through the drive through, I didn't really want to get any food because nothing sounded good and what I really wanted to do was eat a huge bowl of popcorn for dinner when I got back that evening (ok if anyone wants to jump up my @ss about popcorn for dinner, leave a comment and I will explain how popcorn can be dinner. I just dont feel like going into it right now. Thats not the point of my story anyways). But I was thinking that I needed some "fuel" for the 3 hour drive ahead so I picked a small cafe mocha. I figured the combo of caffiene and sugar would be just the thing to keep me going.

I have to stop myself for a moment because as I'm typing this I'm thinking "hey, this doesn't sound that messed up! Don't alot of women in our culture operate like this? We shrug off our needs and try to patch ourselves up with the quick fix so we dont have to slow down and admit that we are not superwomen and we can't control everything. We grab a cup of coffee and call it dinner and head off to the next task or errand or meeting. Sad.

But you think, with my history, I would know better. Apparently not.

About 20 miles outside of Waterloo I started to get that crappy, jittery, anxious feeling that I get when I drink coffee on and empty stomach. But of course, I'm superhuman, and my body is completely under my control, so I press on. I drop Emma at her dad's house in Waterloo and start back toward Ames. The feeling gets worse, but I decide that I'm just anxious because I don't like to drive at night, and its snowing a bit. This is partly true, but I am also ignoring some pretty big signals that my body is sending me. I near a truck stop that is the only one for awhile and I briefly consider pulling over for a snack, but I don't because I really just want to get home.

30 minutes later I am starting to shake, and it's more than just anxiety. My muscles are trembling because they need fuel. I am having a hard time keeping my eyes focused on the road and staying alert. I am guessing that my blood sugar is a little low, and I eat an apple, because it's all I have on hand, but it doesnt help much. For a fruit, apples have a pretty marginal effect of blood sugar. I know I need to stop and get something to eat, but the next stop isn't for a few miles. And its a long, scary few miles, but I make it, and pull into the gas station. But not without driving on the wrong side of the frontage road, before the headlights of an oncoming semi snap me back to attention.

So anyways, I get to the gas station. I am pissed. I hate that I have to stop, because I am only about 30 miles from home. Even now, I am thinking "this is stupid. I could have made it. I'm just being a wuss.". But I go in, looking for a banana, which they don't have. I settle for juice, which I know will revive my blood sugar, and string cheese for a bit of protien. I make myself sit in my car and have the snack. I wish that I could eat and drive at the same time, but I know that I need to get feeling better before I get back on the road. I'm so mad at myself. Mad that I am sitting in the parking lot of the Flying J, having a "time out snacky time". I feel about 2 years old. Plus, I'm pissed that I had to drink JUICE (I have juice issues. More ED leftovers).

Then I think "you know, this is ok. I mean, you didn't manage your nutrition very well today, but you are doing what you need to do right now to get back on track. You're doing ok, kid.".

When I am done eating and feel better, I call Chris and explain my little pit stop and why I will be late so he doesnt worry, and I get back on the road. Pulling back on the interstate feels like night and day from when I left it. Just noticing how focused I am and how much better I feel makes me realize that bad shape I was in. It's kind of scary. For one thing, I can see! Not just in front of me, but my whole field of vision has opened up. Not to be corny but I was seriously, like, marvelling at the panorama! It made me wonder if my vision had been tunneling earlier. I just feel really greatful that I pulled over instead of just trying to push through.

I get home just fine, eat my delicious popcorn and watch some TV with Chris, but the whole event has left me feeling a bit shaky. I have to retrace my steps to figure out what went wrong. Ok, so maybe I didnt want to eat an early dinner, but I should have planned accordingly and brought a substantial snack with me. Eating doesn't alway have to be perfect, and it doesn't always have to be according to plan, it just has to happen. No more thinking I'm a superwoman who can live on caffiene and sugar.

AsI said earlier, I think that this situation is typical of the consequences of "ED leftover" thinking. But it could also be typical of our culture. Its a bit of a blurry line. I think, though, that as someone in recovery, I need to be extra super aware of stuff like this. Since I don't see a dietitian or follow a meal plan, I have alot of flexibility, which I love. But I gotta be smart. I have common sense about most things, but when it comes to food...well....I'm getting there. It's a learning proccess.

And that's ok.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Nurse @&#$*!

Ok, I think that McFarland Clinic needs to give their nurses who man the First Nurse phones some sensitivity training, or something.

I called last night to ask a question about taking ibubrofen (see previous post). It was kind of embarassing because I had to tell the nurse about my "poop problems" and bleeding and such, which was why I was concerned about taking the ibuprofen, because you aren't supposed to take it if you have GI bleeding.
So anyways, the nurse pulls up my chart on the computer and she says "I see you have anxiety and depression......." in a way that made me think that she thinks this has something to do with what I am talking about. This has happened before. I don't know why they have to bring it up! It has nothing to do with my costochondritis or GI bleeding! Then she said "you are on lexapro, prisiq, trazodone, and buspar. Wow, that's alot of medication! You take all that medication!?"
I was beyond irritated by this comment. First of all, that's not really that much medication. I have been on more in the past, and I know alot of people with mental illness that take more medications than that. But it was mostly the tone in her voice that bothered me. It was a judging, dissapproving tone. I know what you are thinking, that I was probably just embarassed and feeling sensitive (and I was), but really, she used the tone. Then she just didn't say anything, I guess she was waiting for me to answer her ridiculous comment, so I just said "yeah" and got back to asking her about my real problem. But fot the rest of the conversation, she talked to me in that "careful, this lady might be crazy, so lets not upset her" voice. You know, the too-friendly, overly slow, carefully enunciated way that people speak to children/the elderly/mentally ill.

Yeah, I was about done after that. I said "thanks for the help" click.

But the good news is, my chest is feeling a little better, and today I POOPED!

Maybe she annoyed the crap out of me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

another reason to hate working out

I went to the gym yesterday for the first time since, oh, late last spring. I didn't want to do it, but I my chloresterol came back a bit high, so I figured it was time.

It took me like forever to get ready and to get myself there, and when I got there I discovered that I had forgotten my mp3 player! Lame. You even need headphones to watch the little tvs on the excercise thingys. Boo.

I toughed it out on the eliptical for about 20 minutes. I made sure to wear a surly frown so everyone who looked at me could see how miserable I was. I think the difference is that last year, I was trying to convince myself that I could learn to love the gym if I wanted to bad enough. Now I have embraced my hatred of formal excercise but I'm going to go anyway, and just let it all hang out.

Ok I know it sounds like I have a really bad attitude, but seriously, the whole time I was there I felt like I was being tortured. Even the dry air hurt my sinuses, and it smelled funny. Like sweat and that cleaner spray you are supposed to spray the equipment with when you are done using it. Like that even makes a difference. I'm sure that place is crawling.

So like I said I did the eliptical for a bit and then I thought "as long as I'm here I'll do some weights. So I did my old routine, which included some machines that work the chest area. I felt ok, I dont think I overdid it at all.

I woke up this morning pretty sore, which was weird because working out has never made me sore in the past. It has just gotten worse as the day has gone on. My chest is on fire. It is excrutiating. I had to go to bed durring dinner because it hurt too much to sit up, and I have been in bed ever since. It hurts to move. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to touch my chest. I am fairly certain I have costochondritis again. I had it last summer, remember? Anyways, it can be triggered by physical strain. Like the gym.

I am in so much freaking pain right now. I know that some ibuprofen would help but you are not supposed to take that stuff if you have bleeding (see previous post). I think I am going to go call First Nurse and see what they suggest.

Peace out.

And Word to Sairs in Brisbane! Stay dry!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

q: what lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?

a: a nervous wreck!

Haha that's my new favorite joke :)

Ok but all kidding aside, this post is pretty much all about my poop.

I am not feeling so good tonight. I am having some, um, elimination issues that are really worrysome. Things are not really moving along. It makes me a bit anxious to be eating breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, get the picture, yet not see anything coming out the "other end" for about five days now. It makes me wonder "where did it all go? Is it stuck in there somewhere?". I used a duclolax suppository last night with meager results, and today I have been pooping blood. Sorry to be gross, but I am wayyy stressed about this and writing about it helps. Well, it is a bit more blood than just the usual bleeding hemrrhoid. My husband even took a look and was a bit alarmed. We decided that he would google this time, so we could figure out if I needed to see a doctor right away, and I wouldn't get sucked into researching all the possible causes of the bleeding or diseases I might have. We decided I need to see the doctor but it wasnt urgent so I didn't have to go to the ER tonight. I feel happy about this, because the last thing I want to do is go the the ER again so soon, especially to have strangers look at my but. *shudder* But I don't want Dr. Sean to look at my butt, either. Maybe I can ask for a female DR or something. Also, since Dr. Sean was managing my psych meds for over a year, we have spent so much time just talking and it feels like we have a different kind of relationship than just the clinical physician-patient relationship. It would be like if you had to show your psychiatrist your bare thanks!

Ok so if you are still reading and now totally grossed out I will end on a positive note. I was reading back to my posts from this time last year and was amazed at how far I have come ED-wise. This time last year I was at a healthy weight but still stuck in a cycle of bingeing and purging, and also struggling with purging "normal meals". When I was reading these posts I really remembered what it felt like, the ordeal of purging, the physical drain. The icky feeling of knowing you "did it again", even though you promised yourself that you wouldn't. I just felt so powerless and ashamed, feeling like "I want recovery, so why do I keep doing this? What's wrong with me?".
So I guess what I am trying to say is, I know I am struggling quite a bit with anxiety at the moment, but look at what I have overcome! It feels so good not to be in that place anymore. I have kind of been taking it for granted but reading these posts just reminded me of how awful it was and how nice it is to be free of the bingeing and purging.
I know there are lots of different opinions on spiritual healing, and it is not my intention to preach to you. But I just have to say that I KNOW that God healed me from the bulimia. I don't know why he chose that particular time, because I have prayed for healing on and off for years. All I know is, I was completely out of control, and about this time last year (or maybe it was Feb) I began praying in earnest for the Lord to heal me, and He did. I think in the past I have been skeptical that God would heal me, and I would get irritated when people suggested I pray. I just didn't think it would be that simple. Also, I had tried it before. But about this time last year I was on the phone with my dad and telling him about my struggle and he REALLY TOLD ME (and I put this in caps because he was like preaching to me on the phone) that I needed to pray and believe the God would heal me. Something about the way he said this to me, or maybe because he was my dad, made me believe, and I began to pray and believe I could be healed. And one day, I realized that it had been nearly a week without purging and I barely noticed. And the barely noticing was the miracle. Usually, just going a day without purging was a white-knuckled struggle, a hard-won victory that left me exhausted. So to go several days without purging, without even the urge, was amazing! It was like the desire to purge was just lifted!
I purged only a few times last spring, and actually puged blood, which was quite scary. It also told me that God was giving me this chance, and I should not throw it away. The last time I purged was an isolated incident over the summer.
I don't write alot about my faith in Christ. I guess I don't want to offend people who don't believe in God. But it has been on my mind alot lately, and I want to let people know that I give full credit to God for healing me and am truly greatful to Him! I don't want to be ashamed of my faith, which means so much to me.

Wow, this post has really ended up somewhere different than where it started out. I'm glad, though.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

things are...about the same


I don't know what to say. I want to post more often, but lately I feel like it is just the same old sh*t. My anxiety is still high. My depression is still bad. The meds don't seem to be working. I'm just barely dragging ass through the day.

After much internal debate I decided to go see Dr. Sean yesterday, for two reasons. Reason number one is I think my chloresteral may be high, so I wanted to get that checked. I didn't know I was supposed to fast for that, so the dr put the lab order in and I have to go do it tomorrow. I was supposed to do it today but I just didn't feel like it this morning.
The second reason is I suspect I have high mercury levels. I was reading this book called "Tired of Being Tired" and there was a chapter about environmental toxins and I was reading mercury poisoning sympoms and I have like all of them. I have alot of amalgum fillings in my teeth and that is where I think I might be at risk. So anyways, when I go in for the blood draw tomorrow I also get to pee in a cup so they can test it for heavy metals.

I know what you are thinking: Lisa this sounds like health anxiety. I know. I KNOW! But my mind keeps thinking, "what if?".

So related to that is something I am embarrassed about but I will write about it.

I went to the ER last night.

I have been having this feeling of pressure on my chest lately, like something is sitting on it. It kind of feels like when your chest is congested, like from a cold, but I dont have a cold. I called my doctor's office but Dr. Sean was gone for the day and the nurse said to go to the ER. I really didn't want to, seriously. But I kept thinking "what if I'm in heart failure?". So I went. They did an ekg, a chest x-ray, and monitored my heart and guess what......I'm fine. Now I feel like a huge dumbass, especially when my doctor gets the report of me being in the ER on the SAME DAY that I was in to see him.

So no, I don't really think that the Lexapro is having a noticeable effect on my health anxiety.

um, I guess that's about it for now.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

prepared for the new year

In honor of all you "I'm really gonna do it this is the year gonna go get some Hydroxycut/xenadrine/crack-cocaine gonna start eating low carb/all carb/paleo/cabbage gonna hit the gym* for an extreme body makeover cause I've bought into all the diet industry's new year's resolution hype" people......
however good your intentions may be.....
I give you..... new favorite shirt!

Happy New Year!











*ok so I do plan on hitting the gym this year, but only because I still have the next 10 months prepaid and I can't get my money back (I asked) and it would be an ok thing if I could climb a flight of stairs without getting winded. But I promise not to be obnoxious about it, and I will NOT be going to the gym to lose weight!