Friday, June 8, 2012

It's the six month check-in point :)

Hello again Bloglings!

So I've decided not to waste my time or yours with making excuses or coming up with reasons why I haven't been recovery blogging for the past six months. Has anyone else ever noticed how boring recovery can be? I feel like people don't recognize this enough. We talk about being miserable and hating our bodies and wishing our meal plans would just go fuck themselves, but is it just me or is it also INSANELY BORING work? And we're not even getting paid for it.

 I've been living in New York City with my Aunt Sarah for some months now. I thought it might be an interesting time to start posting again because after this week I'm going back home to Boston for the summer, AND I'll be taking a three month hiatus from therapy and nutrition counseling! No treatment and no doctors for the first time in... since I was.... twelve? I think. My god. Well, I haven't had an eating disorder since I was twelve. I've had an eating disorder since I was fourteen, but twelve was when my mother put me in therapy. Anyway, I'm so excited! I'm at a point in my recovery now where I'm not only ready to take the reigns completely, but I honestly want to, you know? I've learned what I need to learn, I'm prepared for any obstacles, and I have the ED trapped in an airtight jar. It's still alive in there, don't get me wrong. I'm by no means cured of this wretched illness- but at least I'm no longer the one being trapped in a jar.

 My plan was to go home at the end of June, but a situation in our apartment demands that I return ASAP. The situation? Bed bugs. Fucking bed bugs. We don't know how exactly they got in here, but I've been reading all these articles lately about how NYC is known for being overrun by them. Last night, in a fit of frenzied sleeplessness I sent emails to both my parents, demanding they come and get me in one week's time. A week should give me enough time to hot wash all my cloths and bag them up so as to MAKE DAMN SURE that I don't bring them with me.

 In terms of where I stand with the ED behaviors and such, I'm always hesitant to share the specifics. The reluctance isn't from any feelings of shame or secrecy on my part, but rather, I wonder how necessary, or even how helpful the information really is. As we all know, eating disorders are more about irrational beliefs and obsessive thinking than they are about calories consumed and calories burned. I think I'll hold off on discussing my current weight and behaviors for now. At the moment I'm feeling surprisingly at peace with life so we'll just let it be.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A word about perfectionism

I've been thinking a lot about perfectionism lately. We talk about it all the time in groups because perfectionism is pretty much a prerequisite to developing an eating disorder. It's funny, people tell me that I have perfectionistic tendencies, but I find it sort of hard to believe and I always get a little frustrated when I hear that. When I think of perfectionists I imagine most of the girls I went to High School with- rich, pretty, thin, and ivy league-bound. They took all advanced placement classes and got straight A's, maintained social lives, sports and extra-curriculars. I was most definitely NOT that girl. I was (and still sort of am) the freaky chick who ate lunch either alone or with one friend in the hallway or on the basement stairs, who skipped midterms and took easy classes so I wouldn't have to try- I needed all my free time to focus on weight loss anyways. No, I am most certainly not a perfectionist. Although, it's pretty safe to say I'm not the same kid I was in High School. I got into an awesome college and did really well there until I had to go on medical leave. My point though is this, you do not have to BE perfect to be a perfectionist. Look at the following characteristics. A lot of people are like this, and if you have an eating disorder, chances are you will relate to the following:

-belief that perfection can and should be attained
-self worth being almost entirely measured in terms of productivity and accomplishment
-mistakes as evidence of unworthiness
-preoccupation with fear of failure and disapproval
-standards often beyond reach and reason
- all or nothing thinking (which I'm sure you're all familiar with). There are no excuses for fucking up. There is no middle ground, there is no in between. You either suck or you've had a job well done.

Now THAT sounds like me. Even at my very worst, bingeing round the clock, at my heaviest weight, in my weakest moments, I still stay stuck in the mindset of a perfectionist. If I'm thin, I can do anything. If I'm not, I am worthless so I'll remove myself from the world and just indulge the behaviors. I suppose if that's not perfectionism I don't know what it is.

Here's the truth, I do kind of wish I could be perfect. It would be so wonderful to get everything right and never wind up looking stupid. But, and this is a big but, not only are there very few people like that out there, but if there are, they're probably incredibly depressing and uninteresting to be around. I mean, even the brightest and most life changing people in history had mishaps and less than desirable oddities. Virginia Woolf was institutionalized for mental breakdowns, Albert Einstein had to take the 5th grade over again, Martin Luther King plagiarized parts of his doctoral dissertation, and don't even get me started on the royal family. Think about some of most famous and well-known characters in literature! Do we love Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy because they are perfect?! No. We love them because she is a know it all smart ass and he is kind of jerk for the first half of the book. Do we love Emma Bovary because she's perfect? Hells no. We love her because she is delusional and selfish and it's interesting to watch her whole life crumble around her. You catch my drift on this rant, right? Let's give ourselves a break and thank our lucky stars we're as screwed up as we are. We probably have a better shot of making history or winding up in a book someday :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

In Limbo a little bit

Back from my little NYC excursion, and I am so depressed. In some ways, this is a good sign. At least now I know for sure that it's a good idea to live with my Aunt Sarah until second semester starts. Brookline is suffocating. I mean it. Being at home literally makes it harder for me to breathe.

Everything is set up in New York. I have a therapist and I have a nutritionist there now, so I can cross finding a new outpatient team off my list. That feels good to have that done. Oh, I ended up going with the Psy D. She is much more expensive than the LMFT, but in the long run she seemed like she could help me more.

Anyway, all that's left for me to do now is just finish up treatment here, and then I'm free. I'm free. Wow, that sounds weird to say. It's even harder to imagine though. Although, I suppose "free" is an incredibly relative term in this case. Yes, I'll be free from treatment and monitored meals, free from the confines of the house I grew up in and where for the last 18 months have been stuck sabotaging my own health and happiness. I'm also free from the self-loathing and shame that of course comes with having to be an adult living in your parents' house. I am not however, free of the eating disorder quite yet. Don't get me wrong, I am doing LIGHT YEARS better than I was three months ago when I went into residential. When I first started treatment over the summer, I felt like I was being attacked by my own mind. My thoughts, my feelings, the beliefs I had about myself (fat, disgusting, stupid, weak, pathetic), were all consuming, and the only escape I had from those thoughts was through using behaviors. Now, even though I'm not feeling attacked by my eating disorder any longer, I still feel stalked by it. It's still following me EVERYWHERE. I just choose to ignore it 75% of the time.

The body-consciousness has gotten better. I still hate my shape and my overall size, but at least I don't let it keep me from going out in public anymore. For a while in June I physically wouldn't leave my house unless it was to go to therapy or something. I'm guessing it's gotten better lately because I've lost a shit ton of weight. Not like in an eating disordered way! I just wound up shedding a lot of unneeded poundage once I stuck with a meal plan for long enough. Nothing to be too concerned about yet I suppose.

Tomorrow I start my last week in treatment! Hooray!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I feel like Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice

This business of finding a new therapist in New York is making me so anxious I want to die. Not really die, obviously. I mean it in the figurative sense. Like I wish I could crawl in a hole, and then come out only after someone else has made the decision for me.

I'm here in Manhattan just for the week to scope things out. I've met with two potential therapists and tomorrow I'm meeting with a nutritionist. The nutritionist seemed nice over the phone and her rate is $120 a session which is pretty decent for NYC, so I think I'm all set with her. The therapists on the other hand, I need to choose between. Both specialize in eating disorders, one of them is a clinical psychologist (Psy D.) and the other is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). The Psy D. was just incredible. She has a very different approach towards therapy than Emily, my therapist in Boston, but she seems really experienced and smart. Her methods are focused a lot on experiential treatment, AKA mindfulness and moment to moment type stuff. She's all about putting yourself right in the middle of what scares you most, and conquering those fears. She said something to me in our intake appointment that just blew my mind. I was talking about how for so long I've avoided trying new things or following my interests because I know I won't be as good as other people, and I know I won't be talented or skilled enough to feel proud of anything I accomplish. She said, "Okay, but imagine how much time, energy, brain-power, and determination you've put into your eating disorder. Think how many years you have invested in the binge/restrict cycle. That takes more ambition than most people have. If you can do that you can probably do anything." I was like, holy shit. I had NEVER thought about it that way. Here is the one big problem though- her rate is $190 a session.

The other lady, the LMFT, was also very good. She's a lot younger, her approach is probably more evidence based and practical. She uses a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy I think. She was very sweet and made me feel really good about myself, just in the brief half hour that we met. She said she could tell I had worked very hard to accomplish so much in treatment, and she said her first impression of me was that I was articulate and bright. That was nice to hear! She is incredibly organized. She said if we start together she would want to be in touch with my treatment team back home and the outpatient program I'm in right now. She thinks group therapy is really important, and she gave me some information on where to find the best ones. I liked her a lot too. Her rate is $175 per session, but she has a sliding scale so it might turn out to be less.

I simply have no idea. NO FUCKING IDEA. I hate this. I want both of them! I think what it comes down to is this: If I choose the Psy D., I'll probably be doing more soul searching and self examination than I ever could have imagined myself being capable of. If I choose the LMFT, I'll get to work with this really awesome, down to earth therapist, who seems to genuinely care about and understand what I'm going through. I will make a decision by Friday. That is the deadline I'm giving myself.

Any thoughts? Advice? I'd love to know how other people went about choosing their therapists.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Whhhhaaaaat? It's been forever! I didn't even know my blog still existed. This is good. SO much has happened since the last time I was here. I certainly won't delve into all of it right now. Well, let's see. Where did we leave off...? Oh, that's right. I was at teetering on the brink of ED insanity, and had pretty much given up all hope of ever getting better. I stayed helpless and out of control like that for about month or so before FINALLY doing something about it. There is really only so much rock bottom a person can handle. I threw up my hands and checked back into treatment.

For those of you who are reading this for the first time, or for anyone who has forgotten, here is my story (the condensed version): My name is Eliza. I am 21 years old, and I have had an eating disorder since I was 14. My formal diagnosis (if you put any stock in that sort of thing; I don't) is EDNOS, which stands for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Isn't that a horrible name to give a mental illness? Anyway, I fall under that category because I've been all over the place in terms of specific eating disordered behaviors and patterns. I started off with anorexia in high school, and then at certain point I got too hungry and sick of being hungry so I started binge eating. It was like that on and off for the rest of high school and the beginning of college. I was constantly dieting and trying to reach a weight that I could never healthily stay at, and then once I got to that weight I would binge and gain it all back again. About two years ago though, in the middle of sophomore year of college, I lost too much weight and had to go on medical leave. I've been on leave since January 2009, and I've been through treatment twice. The first attempt was a big fat misfire because my parents had forced me into it. Rule #1 of recovery: TREATMENT DOES NOT WORK ON PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE THERE. I kept on trying to lose weight throughout treatment. I was compulsively exercising, leaving out exchanges from my meal plan, and lying to my team about it the whole time. In the long run, the constant dieting and rigidity just set me up for more and more binges, and ultimately it got to the point where I gave up restricting and exercise and solely engaged in bingeing. I eventually became overweight, and consequently fell into an immobilizing depression. That's when I put MYSELF back in treatment. That was over this past summer, and now here I am.

Whew. And here is the current plan for my future: I'm finishing up treatment this fall, and then I'm going to live in New York City with my Aunt Sarah until second semester starts in January. Then, HOPEFULLY, I will FINALLY be ready to go back to college.

Anyways, I want my blog to be different this time around. I want it to be recovery focused and healthy. That doesn't mean I'm not going to bitch and rant about bad days and how much I hate myself every once in a while, BUT I am setting some ground rules. I will never include specific numbers (weight, calories) because I know how triggering it can be for other people and the last thing I want is to make you guys feel like shit. That's what eating disorders are there for, right? Heh heh. I also will never encourage or suggest any ED behaviors- and that includes dieting. Yes, I've struggled with binge eating, and yes I've struggled with my weight, but for someone with an eating disorder, dieting is a death trap- no matter what size you are. Lastly, I promise that if I start to relapse, I'll stop blogging. That might seem extreme and maybe even a little nonsensical, but eating disorders are poisonous and I will not allow mine to invade this space.

Well, that's it for now. More to come. It's good to be back :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Here we go again

A couple weeks ago I starting thinking about time travel. Actually, I wasn't so much thinking about it as I was obsessing over it. The idea itself makes me a little mental. There are fanatics out there who literally pour their sweat and blood into substantiating these theories like special relativity, gravitational time dilation... parallel universes. What the hell? I think the reason why I started obsessing and worrying about it (besides not currently being on medication), was because I can't get over the possibility of there being another ME somewhere out there. I mean, I guess I know it's probably not possible. But nothing is IMPOSSIBLE. So if there is another Eliza out there in space time, what is she up to?

I'm starting treatment again. I am so far gone this time. The eating disorder has literally invaded and seized control of my brain so firmly, that I sometimes forget who I am and where I am. Maybe I'm making it sound worse than it is but I don't think so. I go for hours sometimes thinking about nothing but food and eating and weight and then when I finally come back to earth I've been gone so long I don't know how to re-acclimate myself so I just binge because I don't know what else to do.

The thing about my eating disorder right now that SUCKS MAJOR BALLS, is that it's a lot harder to get treatment this time around. A year and a half ago my weight was low and estrogen and iron non-existent so I was essentially a shoo-in for every program out there. NOW, since the eating disorder has maniacally morphed into round the clock binge eating, I'm just another fat girl struggling with the consequences of an unruly appetite and poor willpower, at least that's how the insurance companies choose to see it. It's very disheartening. If there is another Eliza who exists in a parallel universe, I hope the health care on her planet is far less corrupted.

The good news is I found a place that will take me. It's in Cambridge and I can start at the Partial Hospital level, which is day program. Ideally, I should be in residential. I'm still pushing for residential. My nutritionist thinks I need 24 hour supervision and so does my therapist, but right now we're not sure if there is enough medical evidence to warrant it (i.e. I'm not anorexic anymore, or purging, so it's not serious enough yet). I have an assessment there on Thursday, so I'll know more by then but for now it's looking like day program- probably starting sometime next week. I can't believe I'm back here :(

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie...

Sooooo.... I think I'm going to take a break from the blog posting- just for a little while. I need to get back on my feet, I need to crawl out of the rut of depression and ED behaviors, I need to study for my mid term next week, and I've been feeling guilty for not writing as much as I would want to. I can't stand the way my words sound anymore. They make me sick. Trying to flesh out my feelings and thoughts and put them into words is making me sick even at this very moment so I'll make it a short one.

I want to keep reading all YOUR blogs out there, so it's not like I'm just abandoning ship. I am always curious to know how everyone is doing, so I'm gonna keep commenting and stuff.

I'll be back soon. I just need to gather some strength, but I'll be back soon.