Archive for the ‘eating disorder’ Category

Since I’m on this kick of stream of consciousness, I have to write what is currently irking me. Last night, the house staff approached me to have a “pow wow” in the front room. She has a pack of pudding in her hand and tells me that this is for me, _____ is replacing it because she ate mine. I looked at it, saying, “well I don’t know if I can have this brand, I’ll have to check, I can’t just have any brand”. She proceeds to tell me that this is the same brand ____ took. I thought for a moment, saying, “I don’t have this brand, so it wasn’t mine.” She confirms this with me, and then goes back to _____ saying that it wasn’t mine and asked her what she wanted to do with this (replacement) pack. _____ says to put it on her shelf in the refrigerator.

Granted, _____ didn’t take my food this time. My concern is when is this binge eating others’ food going to be looked at as stealing? I understand I am in eating disorder treatment and yet there has to be a barrier, a line drawn, and someone has to realise that even though it wasn’t my food this time, it has been my food in the past. I honestly am at a point of absolute disgust; I don’t care whether or not the food is replaced; at what point is this going to be seen as a violation of boundaries and trust, and that this is actual theft? And to be clear, I am not entirely biased and think that stealing food is wrong. After all, at the age of 7, I played the boy in the marketplace in Aladdin and my sole line was, “I want an apple, I need an apple, I’m hungry.” Then Aladdin goes on to get food for me through stealing… or something like that…

However, this person taking the food is not poor, is not a child, and has the resources to go to the market herself. And Aladdin was a play where no one who could afford food actually took food outside of scripted lines. This person I am referring to who took the pudding likes to have her entire life catered to her, lay in bed for days on end, expecting people to care for her, and people to be quiet and cater to her every beck and call. I am not one of those people who is going to act any differently towards her when she is in one of her states, and I am fuming that she gets away with taking food time and time again.

I recently went out and bought a lot of delicious food because I may be unable to drive for a while after my eye surgery this week. I want my food to remain there until I consume it, not anyone else, less they have my expressed permission. I am not living in a place where food is communal, and I have limited finances to put towards food, and am grateful that I receive money each month to purchase food. How dare someone take my belongings, especially without asking. It wasn’t me this time, it was someone else. How unfortunate to think that I live with a food thief, a person who thinks that she can do anything and get away with it. She has done more than most and not received consequences. She speaks in a harsh tone to others without so much as flinching, she lays in bed for days without being discharged or moved to a higher level of care, and she steals food, even though she has the money. Amazing what money does to someone; now go to the store and get your own damn food with that same money.

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Starting out three months too soon,

He didn’t make it.

My twin was too little,

I took the nutrition,

This you’ll hear, is my rendition.

Left alone, parents aside.

Only touched out of necessity,

Rarely for love comfort,each time much brevity.

Fed through my head because I couldn’t feed.

A little weird, I think, because apparently I managed my needs:

In the womb, next to my brother,

The moment we’re out I don’t get another

Moment near him as they swooped him away,

Or fell into the bucket, there’s none who will say.

None who can or will tell me the truth as I stare off into space,

Appearing aloof.

Bitterness abounds as my family breaks apart.

It was at my birth, at my start.

Sure there were problems and problems before,

I can’t help but think I added to the stress more.

Regardless, I was an innocent life,

Quite fragile, delicate, and constantly under the knife.

They thought I was stupid, young, naive.

I knew what was going on, always protecting my reality,

Not wanting to believe,

That my parents couldn’t love me,

That they constantly grieve,

The three children they had

1 dead

1 dying

and the last, keeps trying.

That’s me, the last, a bundle of unknowns,

I stepped away to grow up on my own.

From a very young age I never connected,

They blamed birth, the brain bleed, always something indirect.

They never stepped up, they never confessed,

That all this, all this came from distress.

If they were dead, this life might make sense.

At the very least, I would have evidence, and my world not as dense.

I despise them, I pity them,

For parents they are not.

I used to want to leave, ran away a lot.

No one helped me as I sat in despair.

I was the crazy one, life perfectly unfair.

I was judged, ridiculed, abused all the time,

When I asked for help and spoke the truth, it was as if I did the crime.

I didn’t, I was just a little kid,

Shouldn’t have to take care of myself,

Yet I did.

This pattern created a grown up too soon,

From the age of 6 I was off, zoom zoom.

I began to rebel, only from them,

I began to stay away, always sent to my room.

The monster within me wouldn’t leave,

As I destroyed my things, myself, all in a vain attempt to grieve.

For not having a mommy to cuddle with when I was upset,

Not having a daddy as he was filled with his own, deep-seated regret.

I did have Barbara, emotionally and completely destroyed.

I did have Ken, an unstable adult child, who I sometimes enjoyed.

Then there’s Michael, who never really liked me,

He noted this before and to the police I was crazy,

And last from my childhood was Judi, far from a lady.

I yearned to connect, to please have a family,

No, not for me,

That would be uncanny.

As my world unraveled, I followed suit,

How did I not die on this treacherous pursuit?

I was done, ready to die,

What kind of life is this, all alone, with no one nearby.

Somehow I’ve lived, they call it fortuitous,

They call it a miracle, they call it bliss.

I don’t know what to say,

I just don’t want to struggle, through this, day after day.

I want to live, to stay alive,

Yet there’s uncertainty and death has been near,

The angels called for me, and I was like a deer,

Caught in the headlights, unsure how to proceed,

As the angels waited nearby,

Would I concede?

I didn’t go, not wanting to die alone,

But I was ready, done with the drone,

Of being sick, unloved and unwanted,

The only hope I had left, slowly dissipating,

My life was on the edge as I was done fighting,

Too scared to die, too tired to live,

I drifted through the night, unable to give.

I woke in the morning, rather confused,

The medicine finally worked, I didn’t lose.

I was alive, albeit tired, weak and meek,

Wanting to finish school, week after week.

I loved where I lived, not wanting to leave,

Yet I had to, this time,

If I wanted to breathe.

Life is breath,

Breath is life,

I must remember this pattern to be rid of the strife.

I’m alive now, I’m writing this down,

Missing Denmark, my twin, and my upside-down frown.

I was happy there, though I was sick.

I had friends, ones I could pick.

I’m lost here, where I don’t belong,

I’ve nothing here, not even a mom.

I have me, only me, someone I despise,

Who stole from a baby, ripped apart a family,

All by being alive.

 

 

 

What did I do wrong

What happened to my life? I started to get better over here, at least emotionally. I was welcomed by a most amazing host family, and felt a part of their home within the first 24 hours. We had ups and downs, mostly ups and downs were external forces for the next four months. We shared secrets. Then I got sick. They visited me every few days in hospital. Then I got well. Then I got sick after the first day, and was re-admitted. Fortunately, I was discharged days later after fighting a severe infection.

I moved out of the house as planned, to start another term. They had already planned on having family friends move in, before I decided I’d stay the whole year. Ever since that point, I have made the effort to go see them on at least half a dozen separate occasions, on public transportation mind you, while they own a car. They said they’d visit me and never once made the effort to do so.

Graciously they lent me their extra bike for the term. My youngest host sister and I have begun to exchange daily texts. The one I received from her today was odd. She had just asked if I was going to be coming by to see them before I leave and I wrote that I have to see her so yeah.

She responded in a rather adult way saying I have to confirm because I have the bike. The bike. Not me. Why see me? Why make an effort to come out to see me? I have not once seen them even attempt to come to where I live. Never mind the fact that finals, packing, and reverse culture shock are looming. Never mind I’ve been in hospital six times in the last four months. It’s always about monetary value, not people. People don’t matter. I don’t matter.

This is a mere extension or reflection of what I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks. Being neglected at the hospital that seemed to be the only decent one left here (I’ve been to four in this country), literally the hospital doing nothing but observation after I found blood in my tube.

The friends I’ve made where I live suddenly became absent from my life a few weeks ago as well. One, he was going through some stuff and wouldn’t let anyone in. He wasn’t responding to any of my texts and had very little contact with anyone. The other, I’m guessing it was his girlfriend who has been occupying his time over the past weeks. I just found out about the girlfriend over the past weekend at a gathering for a friend’s party.

The person who organized the party is at the same level of friendship as the person who the party was for. I hope this makes enough sense to get across. My birthday also was a few weeks ago, the organizer (friend) said we’d do something for my birthday. That never happened.I went to this party not bitterly, attempting to celebrate the special occasion for the friend. It was hard to not feel slightly jealous.

The cycle of neglect and abandonment and utter devastation surface and replay. Broken promises, broken heart, no family.

My father who only has contact with me for financial reasons as he has no emotional availability for me in his life just sent two horrifyingly nasty e-mails to my home school. You see, my home school is attempting to charge me their tuition even though I’m abroad and received a significant discount on tuition. If I don’t pay, they won’t give me my grades, will de-register me from classes in the Fall, and yes even remove my ability to check out library books. The money they want me to give them was to be my housing money for the summer. Hello homelessness, goodbye life as I knew it, for those few amazing months.

I walk around at slightly faster than a snail’s pace, in pain. Emotional? Maybe. Physical? Definitely. This tube feels like an extra appendage, a foreign object I don’t really desire.

I know this tube keeps me out of hospital-sometimes I wonder if the hospital makes me sicker. I knew the site was problematic, only hours after insertion.

The amount of pain I was in, and tenderness all around the area. I went to something similar to an urgent care yesterday, infection confirmed. The person who saw me wanted to send me to hospital. No way, I can’t go back and risk losing my sanity. So I refused asking if I could try antibiotics at home. I don’t have a fever, and if I do get one, I’d probably go to some hospital.

I was prescribed an antibiotic and anti microbial wash. The dilemma I have is that I tend to become sicker (in all types of hospitals for some reason). I think that if I were to go back, not only am I mentally depleted, I think I would only get physically sicker.

Most likely, it was in hospital I developed sepsis. Last time I was in, the person next to me died. I’m just fed up with medicine and how I know more than the doctors and staff who “take care” of me here. They don’t know what they’re doing and it lands me in a super awkward position. If I had supplies and a pharmacy at my disposal, there’d be no need to enter a hospital. I hate that they are mostly clueless and often careless.

I also don’t know if they over hospitalize here or if I am sick enough to re-admit. The most swollen part is an 8cm area from one of the fasteners. At the moment since it appears localized, I don’t want to risk my sanity and health to readmit.

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This picture outlines the “normal” trajectory of food.

According to a study performed in August, my food takes minutes to reach my stomach. The radiologist conducting the study informed me this pattern of delay is generally seen in people in their 80’s. Cool, 60 years ahead of the game.

I hate wasting food. Generally, I either finish what I take, even if that leaves me full. Lately, I’ve wasted a lot of food. If you don’t already know, I have a rare swallowing condition. It is in fact so rare that at the moment there is no name to it.

Dinner consisted of a few forkfuls of some type of bean and white sticky rice combination. It also consisted of me sitting there, feeling the food forcefully make way down my esophagus.

Whether it’s peristalsis or spams, I felt the solids travel down my throat, millimeter by millimeter. And it was uncomfortable. I tried a few more bites, and drank some water in an effort to guide the food down. I ended up choking on the water as is commonplace nowadays.

A struggle to enjoy any nutrients that I can intake, I now fear mealtimes. Socially awkward and obvious I have some sort of eating difficulty, I cleared my plate, full of food and left the dining hall.

I feel horrible for wasting and horrible to not have normal intake mechanisms. Grrrr….

 

“It’s Just Food”

That’s what “they’d” say/ Whoever the fuck “they” are. Eating with my host family has become awkward. I love everything about them aside from the food bit. Perhaps it’s my ED talking though I’m inclined to think otherwise considering my friends here have similar experiences without an ED. It’s possible that people here are just unbelievably strict regarding food and are somewhat hoarders in the food department. Anyway for me, the unsettling feelings around mealtime began about one month ago when I was restricted to a soft-food/liquid diet. I suppose because my host family was aware of this, I wasn’t “invited” to meal times. Though I imagine they had the best of intentions at heart, they likely didn’t want to tempt me with foods I’d be unable to consume.

When I decided fuck what the doctor says, I’ll eat whatever, things were still weird. Most nights I’d be around I wouldn’t be “invited” to dinner and meals were not cooked for me as had been in the previous weeks. I got sadly and uncomfortably use to this process and resorted to eating alone later, snacking on foods in the basement where my room is, or just not eating and missing meals.

Tonight, when I came home, I was asked if I’d be eating with them and I responded that I would. About 30 minutes later, I heard the usual plates clanking and laughter coming from upstairs. I believed that even though they acknowledged my presence for the meal, somehow they had forgotten. I began to snack on pretzels and cheese dip. About ten minutes later, my host dad opened the basement door and pops his head through, asking me if I was coming up to eat. Startled, and with half a pretzel stick in my mouth, I shook my head “yes”.

I was mortified, to the point that you’d think he caught me doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, or something horribly inappropriate (insert fantasy here). Knowing or thinking that the adults upstairs (we have guests over) would be at least slightly inebriated (judging by sounds and speech heard), I decided that in order to be present at the table in the least uncomfortable way, I’d chug some sparkling cider alcohol prior to making my way upstairs, ease the nerves a bit you know?

Problem is, I don’t have a drinking problem, and rarely have I used alcohol to make myself feel better. The fact that I thought about drinking and followed through with the act makes me a bit uneasy, not now at least emotionally but in my logical mind. I felt embarrassed to be indulging in food that I “fixed it by indulging in alcohol. That does not clear things up. It’s just way messier. That is not normal, and it is not ok that I feel entirely embarrassed caught in the act of eating.

If only it were that easy. I finally have a family I believe would understand what I’m going through. My host family cares about me more than my biological family can and ever will. Friends and mental health professionals have suggested I open up to them and tell them that I struggle with eating, well that I have an eating disorder. It’s not that I’m afraid they won’t get it. It’s that I know it hits too close to home for them. My host brother (who lives away from the house with his fiance and son) had a serious girlfriend a few years back who struggled with what sounds like anorexia. When my host mom began describing the situation a few months back, I felt her heartache for her son and this girl. Things didn’t work out between them, I believe because of her eating disorder.

When I began treatment this summer a few occurrences are necessary to mention. Days before entering my first treatment facility, I had an anaphylactic reaction. At the time, I didn’t panic; it was actually a nurse at the school health center who flipped out more than I did. I calmly reassured her as I swallowed allergy pills (of course that day they didn’t have Benadryl or the like).

A few days later, I was admitted inpatient for what was supposed to be a short (2-3 day stay) to make sure I was stable before heading to a residential facility for eating disorders connected with the hospital. About three days after the anaphylactic reaction and one day into treatment, the allergy resurfaced, my leg and throat swelled yet again. In my first eating disorder treatment, I was constantly utilizing liquids to meet my nutritional needs. I was given excessive amounts. If I finished any less than 100% of my meal, I was given one Ensure Plus (I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re a pro on calorie content, and there’s no need to trigger someone even more). If I finished less than 50% of my meal, I could look forward to having to down 2 Ensure Pluses. It was certainly not a liquid calorie for solid calorie equivalent. It was unfair and I was often noted as “not-compliant” with the meals and told I’d stay longer because of this.

Insurance company wasn’t on the same page as the treatment center. I wound up remaining inpatient for 9 days which I know isn’t long but remember I was only supposed to be there 2-3 days and then transfer to a residential facility. Upon an immediate, abrupt and unexpected discharge, (thank you insurance), I went to an extended day program not connected with the facility (since insurance refused to cover residential at that point) and began my journey there. Liquid supplements occurred every so often for me.

My body seems to always have expressed itself more than I can express my emotions. Lo and behold, I developed a bizarre condition where it felt like food was getting stuck and backing up in my throat. Like any “decent” treatment facility, a group therapist prompted our group as to if anyone else has experienced such a phenomenon and if so, raise hands. Every hand in the room was raised. It was all I could do to not scream out, “this is different, I just know it”, and so I sat silently, knowing within me that it was.

After weeks of having most meals finished with a Boost or Ensure Plus (this facility does calorie for calorie exchange so that’s a relief), the directors prompted me to seek medical advice. Not knowing where to turn, I decided if the problem’s in my throat, let me go to an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor.

Upon seeing the doctor, he noted inflammation in my esophagus which he could tell by bubbling forming in the back of my throat. He sent me for a liquid swallow study. After the results came back, the doctor said there didn’t appear to be anything acutely wrong, yet referred me to the gastroenterologist. I scheduled an appointment for the following week.

Things were progressing pretty well in treatment, I was bringing up traumas and feeling them a little bit emotionally. This occurred after weeks of narcoleptic fits or “seizures” after delving into something emotional (I now can attribute this to traumatic stress release and the shaking wasn’t actually a bad aspect, it was my body’s was of discharging the negative energy). One night, after progressing to a lower level of care in IOP (Intensive Outpatient), I was having a regular conversation with other clients. I had switched mainly to liquids for the rest of the meal. This was a common occurrence and o one thought much of it at this point. As I was mid-sentence, I felt something come up my throat. At first, I thought it was something that used to occur. When I was 14/15, I would often have a clump (sorry for graphics) of what appeared to be semi-solid mucous come up my throat. I attributed this to anxiety at the time. However, as the object of this night was traveling up my throat, I quickly realized this was not the same. It was almost as if someone or something was trying to force me to vomit. Let me clarify- I have never engaged in vomit behaviors. I always knew my throat was sensitive and in this disorder, I wasn’t trying to kill myself.

I quickly got up from the table to find something to spit this into. Bathrooms are locked during meals, so I found a tissue and spit the thing out. Only later did I realize that it was undigested food. I sat weeping the rest of the meal, alone (as I was always a slow eater) and by then, people had finished their meals. My dietician happened to be sitting at the same table as me that night and said I should get an appointment with the gastro earlier than a few days from then. Long story short, after many procedures (some traumatic, some not), it was found that I have Jackhammer’s Esophagus or Hypercontractile Esophagus. Essentially, peristalsis doesn’t function as expected and succinctly for me as it does others. My esophagus contracts so frequently that it doesn’t allow food to move down as needed. The radiologist performing and evaluating one of the studies said “we don’t see this pattern of swallowing in your age group, we see it in 80 year-olds”.

I don’t feel special. I am quite certain (whether wishful thinking or not) that my physical problems are mostly related to the excessive traumas I’ve endured. It’s interesting to me that I develop a motility disorder while undergoing Eating Disorder Treatment. Rather than put my thoughts and feelings into words, my body speaks for me.

I care so much about my host family and how they’d be affected and perceive my eating disorder, that I can’t bear to let them in on this. They’ve already adjusted much on my motility disorder and buying foods I can bear with. At least, they managed that for a week or two. I feel like a burden already. I don’t want to hurt people who’ve shown me the most kindness anyone has ever shown me for extended periods of time.

So, I sit here and write this post as I hear the dishes clanking and the laughter emanating upstairs.