Main » July 2005
July 31, 2005
Ok.... Just found out that eating disorders apparently now make for great comedy T.V. Starting Aug. 4, FX network has a new show called "Starved". From what I can tell, there are four main characters. Three guys, one girl. One guy tries to stick to a diet, but ends up binging later, the girl is anorexic, the other guy is bulimic and the other is a compulsive over eater. Story takes place around two main settings--- some sort of food addicts 12-step group, and a bar-- or something like that.
It's so nice to know that not only does everyone think anorexia is so 'trendy' these days, but now it apparently makes for great T.V. [I'm being highly sarcastic here]. I guess I can't judge the show before I've even seen the first episode, but I have my reservations. Maybe I'm just to connected to these issues to enjoy it as quality prime-time television. Am I just being crazy and overreacting? I dunno.
It's just a bit disturbing and I've been thinking about it for the last several days now.
I'm having an ok day. Not horrible, not outstanding. I should be working on one of my papers for class since it's due by 7:30 in the morning. But.... I got a bit sidetracked.
Anyhow, just had to get that off my head.
New Beginnings... maybe
I had quite an interesting therapy session yesterday. Yep, on a Saturday. At my T's house. It was a long session-- about 4 1/2 hours, and going into it-- I had no idea what to expect. I was a nervous wreck for two weeks. Part of me was somewhat looking forward to it, but the other side of me was terrified. It's hard enough sitting in session, having to talk face-to-face an hour a week, but wondering if that's what I'd be doing for 4 1/2 hours freaked me out.
Luckily for me-- my therapist understood that it would most likely not be beneficial to me to have a session like that. Some things are too overwhelming to face all at once, for several hours at a time. Emotionally-- I don't think I'd be able to handle that.
Started out the session by doing a bit of art therapy. I had to draw a picture of what my "prison" looked like. (I'll try and scan it in later). Basically, I ended up drawing a picture of me, sitting in a very large room. In one corner, up at the top was a small window looking out onto the outside world. It is the only place in the drawing that contained color. The rest of the picture was all in black, gray, and browns-- to symbolize the darkness of my 'world'.
The room had solid walls, but also bars-- made of tape measures. Mirrors covered the walls, along with words I either constantly tell myself, or feelings. Stuff like, FAT, or lonely, or perfection, etc.
The things I normally feel.
Also on the walls were numerous pairs of eyes, to symbolize how I feel like I'm always being watched-- not in a paranoid sort of way-- but in this perfectionism sort of way. I feel like everyone is just waiting for me to screw up, to fail. The eyes also represent the anorexia-- cause it is always watching.... I also drew a scale (duh) and razor blades (represents the cutting). Inside the room, inside the bars, I'm sitting inside this prism, which represents two things: 1) depending which way the light hits the prism, the image changes. I'm the same way. Depending on the day, the situation, the person-- I 'become' someone different. I become what everyone else wants me to be; and 2)a prism is what makes up the inside of a kaleiodoscope. That's how I feel my life is. Just at the moment I think I've finally gotten everything in balance, everything in perfect control-- it all changes, shifts, and the pieces are rearranged in such a way that no matter what I do or how hard I try, I can never get those pieces back exactly the way they were before.
Welcome to my life.
Anyway-- back to the session. Spent some time working on my picture in the sunroom. Peaceful setting. Just me and the sunlight and the little garden right outside the door, some 20-feet away. And the quiet sound of nature. My T lives on this acreage, so I'd occasionally hear the whinny of one of the horses, but that was about it. For the first time in a long time-- I actually felt somewhat calm, relaxed. It was sorta peaceful out there. I'd love to have a place like that as my art studio!
After I finished, we talked about it for a bit. Then we walked over to the barn to do what Remuda Ranch (ED Tx center in Arizon)calls "Anger work". J had this hay bale set out, and we talked for a bit. Then she went and got these long pieces of twine that were to represent different things or events or people that I was angry about. The thing is, I've avoided anger all my life. My stepfather was an angry, hateful person and to me-- any expression of anger, even admitting it, meant that I was just like him. And there is no way in hell that I would ever want anyone to see me even remotely in the same light as him. So the second those sort of feelings come up--I do whatever it takes to put them away again. Whatever it takes in order not to feel.
Turns out-- I guess I have a lot more anger inside than I ever realized-- or allowed myself to realize. Anger at Kent for the verbal abuse, his drinking, the fact he was never a father of any kind, the way he treated my mom, etc. Anger at my mom for never defending us kids to Kent, and then for leaving when things got too tough at home. She'd leave us with him, but take herself somewhere safe. I remember numerous nights, standing there at the window watching her pull out of the driveway. And I was terrified that she would never return. There was nothing to calm the fear or make me believe that she was coming back. Also, for closing her eyes and ignoring the reality of our family life. For ignoring my eating disorder, my cutting, the fact that I was falling apart right in front of her and she never acknowledged it.
Anger at my grandmother for all the ways she's encouraged my eating disorder. Whether it's by her little comments (constantly) about weight or looks, or direct actions like sending diet pills to the house. Her need for absolute perfection and unattainable standards.
Anger at my twin sister for encouraging my eating disorder. Even though she was just as sick as me-- sisters aren't supposed to do that. If she had encouraged me in the other direction--recovery-- rather than competing with me to see who could be the smallest one, maybe this all would have ended years ago. Maybe.
Anger at my brother for things I still can't quite bring myself to talk about. And at Clint-- a former 'friend'-- both of whom had a part in stealing my innocence, my childhood away-- if you get what I'm getting at.... I'll leave it at that for now.
Anger at the anorexia, even though there are days I really do want to hold onto it. For all the things it's taken from me, all the ways it's lied to me. All the things it's made me believe that were really false. I could go on and on.
I didn't realize just how much anger I really have inside. I think I don't allow myself to feel it, because it scares me.
So anyway, J and I started out by giving each piece of twine an event, a memory, and incident etc. that brought up anger. Then we more or less beat the shit out of them... I felt really ackward and out of place, out of character beating up this hay bale. But in the end it was worth it. I somehow felt... lighter.... like all that stuff is still stuff I need to deal with on some level, but it's not that overwhelming stuff that consumes my entire mind 24-7. At least so far. Let's hope it stays that way.
Afterward, J said she didn't want that stuff in her barn (lol), and asked what I was going to do with it. We ended up burning the twine/memories. It was quite interesting the way they all burned. Pretty symbolic, actually. A lot of them ended up melting together in this huge, gooey mess, with no distinction of where one left off and the other began. That's pretty much how my thoughts are. One big jumblefuck of feelings and emotions and memories I can't identify or sort out. When it was done burning, the interesting things is that even when all that crap in the middle was gone and burned away, there were still a number of pieces and parts on the outside of the burnt section that were untouched, unburned. Another metaphor for my life. Even when I deal with some of the issues, and get through some of them, there are still other things that need to be faced and dealt with. One day-long session isn't enough to get rid of a lifetime of abuse and neglect and starvation and self-destruction.
Actually--- I think watching it burn was good for me. Maybe this is what it feels like for Teresa, when she's in her "Burning room". That metaphorical place she allows herself to go to for a specific time period. She deals with what needs to be dealt with at the decided time, and then leaves it in the 'burning room' and shuts the door.
J and I talked for a bit afterwards and then the session was over. I actually sort of wished it could have gone on longer. Imagine that! Sometimes my sessions feel like we just reopen old wounds, then stick a band-aid on it quick after the hour is over. The wound never heals. And then I go back the next week and either that 'wound' is reopened, or a new one is. It's this endless cycle, and sometimes I feel like I don't get anywhere. I have such a hard time talking in session when it's face-to-face. I dunno... maybe after yesterday's session, my othher sessions will be easier.
I'm still trying to process the whole session. I'm not quite sure what I think or the magnitude of what yesterday's session meant or accomplished. Perhaps the answer to that can only come in time...
I guess overall-- it was a good session. I feel more hopeful, more positive than I have in quite some time. I've missed it.
July 27, 2005
Does it ever end???
Sometimes I wonder if there is an end to all of this. I've been fighting this damn eating disorder for 16 years, and it seems the harder I try and fight, the harder I fall back down again. It's like the anorexia has to be sure that it stays in control, that IT is the one who is stronger.
It's been tough lately, and I really haven't figured out just why. Is it the fact that I have a new living arrangement with my boyfriend now, and I'm still trying to get used to that? Is it the fact that things from the past are coming back to haunt me again? Does it have anything to do with the fact that I can't quite cross the line yet between sickness and recovery and make a decision in either direction? I don't know. Sometimes all this not knowing, all this confusion makes me feel like I'm trapped on some merry-go-round that's spinning out of control. And no matter what I do, or how hard I try, or how loud I scream... nothing can make it stop. Nothing makes it go away.
I've been so depressed lately, with apparently no reason for it. I don't know what has caused the sudden descent back into the darkness, but lately I just don't feel like me. I just don't feel "normal". I don't feel like I'm really a part of the world. It's like I'm just sitting here watching the world go by. I hate sounding so down all the time when I write, and I don't do it for sympathy or attention or any of that. I simply just write how I feel.
I had my weekly therapy session today, and it was actually a good session. Better than others have been. I guess you could call today a "breakthrough" session. I actually gave in and cried. I NEVER do that. EVER. I have been in therapy with Judy for 6 years now, and never once has she seen me cry. I've gotten close a couple of times, but I've always been able to fight the tears back. Crying, to me, is this sign of weakness. I don't look at other people that same way when THEY cry. That's ok. But it's not ok for me. So, I've always maintained near-perfect composure in session. I don't even cry on my own time, when no one else is around. I feel like it a lot of the time, but the tears never fall. I just can't allow myself to go there.
Anyhow, I was already in one of those "not good" moods and Judy started talking about one of the emails I sent her this past week. (It was pretty much a copy of the previous journal entry from this site). She started talking about how the reason everything is getting harder, so out-of-control lately, is because my old coping mechanisms (cutting, puking, starving, etc.) don't work anymore, to the same extent that they did in the past. They don't accomplish the same 'goal' of getting rid of the feelings. And so I end up doing the behaviors even more, in order to try to get rid of whatever thoughts and feelings I didn't get rid of the first time around. It makes perfect sense. I just wish it wasn't so damn hard. I wish I didn't have to fight this every day, and think about it 24-7.
Then, from out of the blue, Judy asked me what I would say if she were to tell me someday that she couldn't see me anymore. I freaked. I know she wasn't directly saying that, and I know she didn't mean anytime soon, but just the thought of her not being there anymore completely freaked me out. I don't know what I would do.... what I'd think... how I'd act.... Besides P, Judy is the only other person who really knows me. She's the only one who knows me to any depths, and she is one of the VERY few people that I trust. Just the thought of her not being there for me anymore, combined with our conversation of how hard things have been lately, was enough for the tears to fall without me being able to stop them.
She came over and hugged me, and then just held me for awhile, till I'd managed to calm down and stop crying. I know most therapists don't do the hug thing, but for people like me.... I need that. And that's just how Judy operates--- everyone gets a hug at the end of every session. And if a hug is needed somewhere in the middle, you get that too. At first, I wasn't sure what to think, cause I don't like people hugging me or touching me. But with Judy, it's safe. It's more this "motherly-hug", and it's comforting. The only other person I allow to hug me is P and a couple of my friends. Other than that, I close myself off to the rest of the world.
Everything I do anymore, is somehow related to the anorexia. I don't go out with friends, because it usually involves food of some kind. Unless we're going to some party, or out to a bar, I don't go. In fact, I haven't seen most of my friends for the last month or two.
I think another reason for all the stress lately, is that I am doing a half-day session with my therapist at her acreage on Saturday. I know some of it will involve "anger work", which I know I need, but I'm not good at that. I don't get angry. I don't express anger. Sometimes, doing the "mental imagery" type stuff, (like imagining some person is sitting somewhere and you have to tell them how you feel, etc.) doesn't work for me. I know some of the issues we're going to be working through, and I'm rather scared. The abuse from the past keeps coming up time and again, even though I've been trying to push it away for years. I thought I was over it. I thought it was finished. But, what you don't deal with, just stays with you somewhere inside, until you DO eventually deal with it.
Anyway, I'm quite nervous for the session, because I don't know what to expect. Judy did tell me today that it won't be like a normal session. So it's not like we're going to sit there for hours and hours, doing the face-to-face therapy thing. I'm supposed to bring some of my art stuff, so I'm guessing Art Therapy is part of the whole day. God--- this is gonna be like a full day of inpatient treatment. UGH! I know it's probably a good thing in the long run, but I'm still rather unsure about all of this.
I guess the only thing to do, is to show up on Saturday, stay for the entire time and see what comes of it.
July 21, 2005
I haven't written in here in quite some time, and most of that is due to avoidance on my part. If I don't write about things, then I don't really have to face them or deal with them, and sometimes it seems so much easier that way. I've been running from feelings my entire life. I'm aware of it-- yet I still do it time and time again.
I moved in the last month, and my boyfriend of 16 mo. and I live together now, with our two "furbabies" Oscar (a big husky/shepherd mix dog), and Callie (my lab/terrier mix). They get along great. It's going good--- but it's still an adjustment. I'm not used to being with P every single day. All the time. Don't get me wrong, I love him-- but sometimes I want my own space. I don't know. I say that, but at the same time-- too much time alone is NOT good for me.
I am taking summer classes at the university, and right now-- for 3rd session, I only have one class. I start my day at 7:30 a.m. and I'm out of class by 9 a.m. P leaves for work by about 6:30 a.m., so then it's just me and the dogs at home. All day. It gets lonely sometimes. Ok-- a lot of the time.
I've been puking more the last couple of weeks than I have in years. If I'm not completely fasting, then I'm puking anything that goes in my mouth. Even stuff like pretzles-- which used to be on my "safe" food list. I feel so guilty eating anything solid. I just can't stand the feeling of being full or of food just sitting there. I do drink protein shakes every now and then, but mostly drink coffee and diet mt. dew all day.
I've also been cutting more. P noticed the ones from Monday. I did it about 8 times with a pair of nail scissors, cause I wasn't at home, and so I didn't have my blade at hand. I hate that I do it. I hate the scars that remain, but at the same time, I need them. It's not that I'm proud of the fact that I cut, or that I have scars all over my arms/wrists, but in a way, they're comforting to me. I can see the wounds, and watch them heal, and as it happens, it's like whatever happened or whatever feeling caused me to cut in the first place, slowly goes away. The scars that remain are little reminders to me of all that I've been through. But I don't look at it in a negative way. To me-- it's proof to myself that I've made it this far, and so-- even when the bad days come-- I can make it through the next one. I have the scars to prove that I am strong enough to handle the bad days. Maybe that only makes sense to me. I don't know. But for whatever reason, it works for me.
No-- I hate the fact that I cut and starve and purge. it seems I'm doing one of the three on a daily basis. I went up to 225mg. on the Effexor XR, but in a way-- I almost think the behaviors have gotten worse, more intense, since I went up. I thought the reverse was supposed to happen. My therapist suggested trying Remeron or Risperidol (both anti-psychotics), due to the constant barrage of thoughts that circle around my head on a daily basis. My mind won't shut up. But, I know both of those drugs have a common side-effect of weight gain. One of my autistic students is on Risperidol, and they actually had to put her on another drug to CONTROL her appetite, because it was so out of control. She's 5'5 and outweighs me by a good 55 pounds or more. I flat out refused.
I told her I'd like to try Ritalin or Aderall (sp?) first. I'm finding it so much harder lately to study and concentrate.
I used to be able to sit there and study for 3 or 4 hours at a time, no problem. Now, I struggle to stay focused for 30 minutes. My mind wanders during lectures as I'm trying to take notes, or I start dozing off. I never used to be this way. Even at my most anorexic point, at 97 pounds, I had a 4.0 GPA. Now I'm lucky if I'm pulling at 3.0. And that, I believe, is a high guess. Then, getting less-than-acceptable (for me) grades only lowers the already-rock-bottom self-esteem to non-existant levels. Her stipulation for approval though, is that I had to agree to try and eat regularly. Not necessarily full meals or anything, but just regularly. Both ADHD drugs are class 2's, and can cause wt. loss. My T is worried about that-- naturally so, I guess.
P and I had a "discussion" tonight. He saw the newest scars on my arms. I try not to let him see. I don't go out of my way to hide them, but I hate it when he notices. I know how much it hurts him to see the scars. He just put his arms around me (from behind), held my arms and then turned them over to look. When he does that, when he covers the scars with his own hands, I want to cry. And it's not from fear-- but from something else, though I'm not sure what. It's the same way when I'm in session with Judy, and I start to disassociate (by digging my nails into my arms or wrists, as a form of cutting since I can't exactly whip out a razor blade). When she comes over and sits down next to me, and then takes my hand, or covers my arm-- I'm instantly terrified. Not of her, really-- but.... I dunno.... it's like in that moment--, I'm not really ME, so-to-speak. This other side of me takes over. And every muscle tenses up. I guess in those moments, I'm so... vulnerable... and soooo not used to being that way with anyone.... that it scares the hell outta me. I don't want to fight her-- but I still do. I try to pull away. The harder I fight though-- the harder she holds on. And yeah-- I get angry sometimes. Well, not angry.... frustrated, I guess. At her for keeping me safe from myself, and at myself for being in that place to begin with.
I don't know.... it seems everything is spinning so far out of my control these days. And I don't know what to do or where to go. P doesn't get it, to the extent I need him to--- and I can't find the words to explain it. He told me tonight that "you created this place that you're in, so you are the one that can get you out". I know he didn't mean it in a bad way, but it's sounded like he was making it all so simple. If it were really that easy, I'd have done it long ago. It's been 16 years since I first started walking down this path. Obviously, it's not just as simple as saying, "nah.... I don't think I want to be this way anymore." I can tell myself that as much as I want. I can tell myself that I want P more than Ana, that I want my running, or school or any of a number of other things more than I want Ana, but it just doesn't work that way. I know the logical answer. I know the answer other people want to hear from me. But there's a part of me that chooses Ana over anything else in my life.
I guess I keep thinking that I can some how have both-- if only I were strong enough to find the balance between the two (as though a balance existed in the first place). Half the time, I don't know which side of me is thinking-- the ED side or the "Wendy" side. Both of them sound like me. I can justify anything and make it sound rational and perfectly normal. Even when I know damn well that the things I do and the way I live, are far from normal. Half the time in session, it's not really ME there. It's the ED side. Sometimes I can tell that-- but it's voice is so much louder. Stronger. Like last week in session. Judy and I got on the subject of food/weight/etc. And it's like I instantly became defensive about it. I'm more.... defiant... with my answers. Disagreeable. Stubborn. But I'm not sure how much of it was me... and how much of it was the ED side. I feel like pulling my hair out right about now! GRRRRR..
How can I want sickness and health to the same degree? I want a life--- a REAL life, just as much as I want to hold onto the ED. Health scares me. It does. It really does. Even the words 'healthy', 'better', 'good' all freak me out. If someone says I'm doing better, or I look good, or I'm "the healthiest one in my family"... my head instantly translates that into "FAT".
What's the real fear? I dunno..... Losing the one thing that's always been there for me, through EVERYthing. The one person that has never walked away. Ana is the only one who constantly encourages me to keep going. There have been times when I've wanted to just give up. Times when I was too tired of life itself. But somehow, losing another pound or two was like this instant fix. It kept me going. Kept me alive. It's the one thing I've always had to focus on. To me-- the idea of staying the same exact weight is incomprehensible. Although I've been "maintaining" within the same 10 unds or so for the last few years, it's not because of me. It's cause my body keeps fighting back harder than I fight against IT. But to me, it seems one is always working at either losing weight or gaining it. But to stay the same??? What would I do with my time? What would I have to focus on, as intensly as I focus on the ED?
It's not just about me though. Heather and I--being identical twins-- are always being compared to one another. Neither of us wants to be bigger than the other one. So we workout together, starve together... be eating disordered together. Communication in my family is nearly non-existant. At least on any sort of emotional level. So even my twin and I don't have that emotional bond really. There's this sorta twin thing we have, where we're closer than other sisters/siblings.... but not on a real heart-to-heart level. If I give up the ED, I'll be giving up one of the only real connections that H and I have. We already have gone different ways in our lives, living an hour away from one another. She's married and has a 2 yr. old daughter, while I'm attending college and dating. It's just different.
Also-- with the way my family is so perfection/looks/standard oriented, I fear that giving up the ED is to no longer be accepted. As long as I'm losing weight, as long as I'm thin-- then I feel more accepted as part of the family. It's rather noticeable how much appearance matters in my family. It's sick. It really is, but yet--- I can't make them change. I figure it's best to just play their game when I have to, and not fight it. You have to pick your battles. My mom's side of the family is the only family I have left. I'm terrified of losing that side too. Family is family, no matter how neurotically, f-ed up and co-dependant they all are. They're still my family.
I'm going camping for the weekend with some friends. I'm looking forward to it, though I'm already nervous about the food issue. I'm bringing my baby carrots and mustard with me.... so that should be safe. I just wish food didn't exist in the first place, then I wouldn't have to worry about it.
God, I really should get to bed. I have to e IN CLASS in a little over 6 hours.