Posts Tagged ‘Anorexia’

The larynx is responsible for the voice which is located in a region most people would consider the throat. So I guess technically, this wasn’t my throat, yet this was the first word that popped into my mind tonight as I was speaking with my Somatic Experiencing Therapist. She asked for sensations that arose when I made contact with my throat and instead of sensations, I gave her words. After all, that was the first thing that came into my mind.

Tonight however, my “throat” and me were two separate entities for lack of a more accurate depiction. My throat spoke to me and I spoke back.

Lately, I’ve been having problems with my esophageal spasms (Jackhammer Esophageal type). If I didn’t already have an eating disorder, this would be a great way to propagate one. I can see now that it stems back from long before I was able to form memories. for this time period, all I have to reference are medical charts from my home for the first two months of life, A.K.A., the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at New York Hospital.

I read in the charts that there were times when at the doctor’s direction, feedings were discontinued for me, sometimes for more than one day.

This leads me to believe that this is where I learned a pattern, namely the pattern of defeat and then to reset/rebound/get back to baseline again. I was going to be all corny and write, “get back on my feet, no pun intended”, but then there would be a pun, and oh look I did that anyway.

It’s a matter of resilience and what people do when confronted with a difficult situation. And it’s true, you never really know how you’ll react or cope until something comes your way. For me, the pattern seems to be that even at the worst of times, when negative circumstances arise, I tend to have a decent ability to sit in my shit, and then come out from it stronger in the end.

For an excellent understanding of resilience, if you enjoy TED talks, check out Brene Brown and resiliency. I don’t know how to make the fancy accents on the 2nd “e” in her name, but I’m sure it’ll pop up… or click here for easy access:

However, this is not a pattern I want to continue. I don’t like that a negative circumstance is what I need to live positively and more strongly if you will. I want to have a fighting spirit without the constant reminders in the form of some traumatic or challenging situation.

Back to the topic at hand-conversations with my throat. I had my hand placed on my throat during this conversation:

Throat (imagine a person slumped over in a chair, this is how my throat is acting, not literally, just defeated): Why should I work now? You’ve neglected me for so long.

Me: Yeah, but it was hard-wired for me to do so from a very young age. No one took care of me, they ignored me. It became a pattern, habitual

Throat: Yeah, but what about now, now you have control.

Me: I know I do, I can’t describe it better than I was hardwired to not feed myself.

Somatic therapist interjects: I prefer to think of it as “conditioned”. You were conditioned to do this, not something that can’t be changed.

Me: Oh yeah, sorry, forgot that word. Hard when learning a new language to remember words in other languages (I’m learning Danish). Then I relayed this information to my throat.

Throat: (scoffs)

Me: I’m not really sure what more to tell it, because it has a point.

Therapist: try just sensing it.

Me: Ok.

Throat: You know, you abused me, you treated me badly.

Me: What? I may have an eating disorder, but I never have purged. How could I have treated you badly?

Throat: You may have not purged, but c’mon, I’m connected to your whole body.

Therapist: You know your throat has a point, do you agree?

Me: Oh yeah, absolutely (not sarcasm).

Therapist: So can you sense anything changing in your throat?

Me: I reached for my drink to test.

Therapist: No I want you to just feel it.

Me: A sudden burst of energy-Upon doing this, my feet began bouncing up and down nonstop for minutes, I probably would have run a mile if I were standing considering the speed and duration of my movement.

(Many minutes later)

Throat: I need (therapist). She’s got skills.

Therapist (chuckles): Lots of people have skills. You just need a person.

Me: Yeah, but my throat knows that you can help it.

Therapist: How does it know that?

Me: Because you helped other parts in the past and my throat was witness to that. Like remember the time we had a session and you said normally you don’t go that fast with your clients but my body was in crisis? First, you put your hands on my kidneys and then you moved to my left side and said there was a lot of heat in my stomach region. Then, it was kind of like a volcano after some time and began spewing out (the negative energy). Then you moved to my neck and the upper part of my chest, but you didn’t get to my throat that day. My throat felt neglected, forgotten.

My throat became more neutral, which was better than the initial distant teenager feeling it first emoted. Hoping that I can learn to listen to my body and we can work together more often than constantly fight with one another (physical symptoms manifesting as a way to express that something’s not ok).

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In my decision on whether or not to remain at school overnight to complete a paper, these were the factors I contemplated:

-if I stay at school, I won’t be able to change clothes for tomorrow
-if I stay at school I save two hours of travel time and could use that most efficiently on this paper I’ve completely procrastinated on
-if I stay at school, I will likely have less adequate sleep than if I go home
-if I stay at school, I will have less distractions than at home
-I’m probably too tired to bike home anyway
-I’ll have to figure out a way to get food at low cost if I stay at school for many meals
The last brilliant aspect that popped into my head:

-if I stay at school, I won’t be able to weigh myself, omg I have to weigh myself if I’m going to actually eat

Guess which entity won out? You got it, the last one.
Never mind the fact that going home means I have a shot at making and attending a same-day doctor appointment for my esophageal spasms. Spasms which refuse to let me or those surrounding me eat in silence. “Gurgle, gurgle” goes my throat after every solid or liquid swallow of sustenance. My stomach growls constantly as the nutrients I put in it aren’t enough to last very long. Backed up throat, chest pains-apparently those pale in comparison to my obsession with getting home to use the white-plated almost-square piece that will reveal my weight in digital red numbers to the nearest .5 kilograms. Kilograms-the measurement I now comprehend full well-at least around 60-70kg. What a reason to learn the metric system-all to know my weight-such motivation!

Stupid fricking scale. Annoyed with my brain for believing a number is actually worth something. At this point, I don’t believe I’m worthwhile unless I’m trying to work on my physique. Thanks brain.

Today was a rough day. I went to the sleep doctor after waiting five weeks for the appointment, thank you Socialist medicine in a democratic nation= um 1+1 does not equal 2.

I was stressed arriving at the appointment as I had given myself what I thought to be plenty of time, silly me and forgetting about LA traffic.

Some would consider my driving wreck-less; one individual even called me an idiot as I made a bad ass move. There is a distinct difference between close calls because you’re an awesome driver who has driven all sorts of vehicles including ambulances and just being a shitty, careless driver.

At the appointment, the doctor continued to inform me that he is baffled about my case. The doctor provided me with a special device (actigraph) to wear all the time for the next two weeks to track my circadian rhythm.

He spoke to my individual therapist while I was in his office. She informed him that she too was uncertain how much was my eating disorder and how much was chronic sleep problems. Interestingly enough, she told him that I have anorexia. I don’t get it; my BMI is far too high (meaning greater than 18) to carry a diagnosis of anorexia.

 I am supposed to return to his office on the 5th of August for an appointment, and possibly sooner to return the device (in two, maybe one week).
 He seems to believe that I should integrate CBT-I into my routine (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy specific to Insomnia). Part of this includes not going into bed until I am extremely tired and ready to sleep. 

Additionally, he seems on board for minimally invasive procedures including somatic and was also wavering between the following:

 1. For me to potentially meet with his supervisor. Kaiser has apparently never ordered a cerebrospinal fluid (spinal tap) test in the sleep clinic and he’s strongly considering that to rule out narcolepsy. It gets sent to Stanford to test for a particular subtype. 

2. He is still considering Xyrem; he would admit me to the medical hospital to track respiratory status. Though it’s a strong medicine, it has saved people’s lives consolidating sleep. He said even five hours of consolidated sleep is good, which I don’t maintain at present. I mentioned Denmark and how I’ll be abroad there in one month for the following four months. He said the test could be postponed until my return from there. 

 For the next few weeks he wants me on as minimal meds as possible so poly-pharmacy doesn’t become a distraction. I’m continuing on the Nuvigil, Intuniv and Synthroid and supposed to mention to staff psychiatrist to not touch anything regarding sleep.

Initially he was wanting to integrate heavily caffeinated (military-grade) gum into my daily routine (as caffeine tires me because of ADHD. Again, he didn’t want to pursue that route at present because of poly pharmacy.

Following my appointment with him that was longer than one hour and I had waited nerly one hour to see him, I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the recovery meeting at the eating disorder facility; today’s meeting happens to be run by my favorite therapist. Oh well, missed the boat on that one. 

Next, it was off to my newly acquired somatic therapist. I arrived later than I anticipated; she was ok with it as I provided her with advanced notice of my potential delays. Upon entering her office, I was activated to say the least. She didn’t touch me at all last week, it was the first session and she didn’t want to re-traumatize my system.

This week, I was anxious for her to touch me as I heard that is how she practices. I was also extremely nervous. Since my sleeping issues have been weighing heavily on my system, I decided that it would be of great benefit to be touched today as it is supposed to bring about a sense of calm, and often people nap after session. My therapist at the eating disorder center believes somatic therapy will be of great healing for me, releasing the toxins that are pent up within my body.

She didn’t touch me for a while and when she did, I felt this energy radiate throughout my body, and it was as though a radiant light was shining distally to the front of my torso. It felt exhilarating and mysterious and unsettling all at once. I barely made eye contact with her. I couldn’t it was uncomfortable enough to be laying down in front of a therapist.

She guided her hand slowly to my kidney and mentioned it was quivering (common). She slowly earned my body’s trust and began moving it around my kidney, creating a surge of power each time she made motion with her hand. When the motion ceased, I numbed out. I was on the brink of tears until I heard session was about to come to a close. She comforted me saying I could check in with her throughout the week via text, saying something to the effect of “Are you there?” She’ll model a positive relationship for me and I appreciate that, it makes sense. I sure hope I get to sleep now.

After session, I was planning on heading to the ocean to restore my sense of calmness. The removal of the somatic therapist’s hand was just as unsettling as the initial placement. I was going to restore my spirit by heading to the ocean and then a meditative yoga class. I was debating between eating dinner and not. I was more on the brink of restricting and limiting my intake when I was on an elevator ride with a man and his young son.

The son was thrilled at the glass elevator we were riding in. The dad said, “Should we ride on here forever?… Or should we eat?” The boy, baffled, uttered, “Oh no, because then the batteries will go out.” Good point little dude, a good reminder that eating is a battery refuel. No batteries out tonight. I trekked back to the house whereupon I cooked a rather late dinner. I had a bit of a snack after that, also late.

And with that, I bid you all adieu.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and remember:

If you need a pep talk, check this awesome kiddo out:

My Body is Falling Apart on Me… or, am I falling apart on my body?

Posted: 20 J0000005UTC 2011 in Education, Entertaining, Health, medication, Update
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interactive symptom checker

I think if I used one of these interactive devices, I’d overload the system.

As mentioned in previous times, I have quite a few afflictions. I’m always fascinated by the medical professionals who look at the piece of paper (containing medical history first) and then at the patient. If you were to “see me on paper”, I look like I’m dying, or should be a 500 lb. couch potato (no offense to you “couchies”- made that one up on the spot. Clever, eh?).

We’ll start with physical diagnosis and work our way across the board to emotional and psychological diagnoses (current and past included, you’ll see):

Cerebral Palsy-got that one at birth, lovely umbrella diagnosis. If only it covered or explained all of my ailments

Jaundice-birth, but after bright lights blinding me, good to go after a few days

Hyaline Membrane Disease (severe), also at birth, due to swallowing mother’s blood- ewww! No longer an issue, but am I now a vampire?

Not sure if this warrants its own line, oh well…. Multiple blood transfusions as a baby. Glad in this case to not be a Jehovah’s Witness (nothing against them, just might not be alive if I was one considering they don’t believe in receiving blood transfusions).

ADHD-definitely super duper severe (according to one dr., even with meds.) An acquaintance once said I was the poster child for this. Though I believe I have this, I wonder if the diagnosis is correct. The signs/symptoms didn’t appear until about 9.

Anemia-on and off since young adult-ish era

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome/Disease-diagnosed at age 20, essentially reversed illness by age 24, doctor was surprised, but I got off of Glucophage (a medication for Diabetes as I was considered pre-diabetic)

Hypothyroidism-unsure if it was lithium-induced or biological in origin. Doctor never took a baseline level prior to initiating lithium therapy. First blood test showed poorly functioning thyroid levels. Have tried (with endocrinologist’s approval) to discontinue drug therapy. Unsuccessful with attempt, levels did not remain consistent off of medication.

Insomnia- this one can pretty much go back to as young as I can recall. Horrible sleeper as long as I can remember. This resulted in a diagnosis of

Narcolepsy- yep that’s right, I have clinical primary narcolepsy and primary insomnia. The doctor is mystified. Note, cataplexy though a hallmark sign of this disorder, not a necessity to make an established diagnosis. I do not have cataplexy just random falling asleep usually when under stress or extremely bored and unable to move.

Exploding Head Syndrome-yes, this is a real diagnosis as I have to explain to most healthcare professionals upon giving them my full health history. It’s just as it sounds; a large noise occurs in the head (not schizophrenia thank you) during the period between wakefulness and asleep. It is rare to happen more than a few time, rare to happen in females, non-smokers and usually only occurs in obese, over 50 years old populations. Well, I am female, under the age of 50, not a smoker, not obese and it’s happened countless time (more than 3 dozen)

PNES- also know as (Psychogenic) Non-Epileptic Seizures or NES. Traditionally, it was thought that these were “pseudo seizures”; until recently it was thought that the person was faking these seizures. It is not false advertising folks, it is an actual seizure without brain wave alteration. These seizures are brought on by stress as the name indicates.

Borderline Personality Disorder-if you have read any of my previous blogs, you’ll see where this one stems from with a heavy history of abuse and neglect.

Situational Depression- Sometimes I think I’m lucky for it to be merely situational. At other times, I am considerably frustrated because there is not a medication which alleviates situational depression and I often run into situations which trigger it, alas, it is a constant on/off battle with my brain.

EDNOS- Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified- I alternate between periods of Bulimia and Anorexia, and ordered-eating, so I get this essentially throwaway diagnosis.

OCD- I used to believe that I had the rarest diseases. My doctor even said to me, “most people come here thinking they have cancer, or AIDS and you present with this (Hanta virus)? I mean it makes sense considering my family’s medical history and my personal medical history that I should be concerned about having the rarest of diseases, right? Fortunately, I went on a awesome medication at age 15 and discontinued it at age 18. I was essentially symptom-free. Sure, here and there I have medical student syndrome, but as for all of the diagnoses I’m listing, these have been established by medical doctors or professionals.

Seasonal allergies and allergies to half of the world-trees and grass for seasonal, mold (all year-round) mild allergies to Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Coconut (in excess of a small amount), Kiwi (in excess of a small portion), Mango, Pineapple, Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamia Nuts, Chestnuts. There’s probably even more than that, I just don’t always recall it in full detail. I do however know what I’m allergic to if I were to come across it.

Urticaria, unknown etiology surprise surprise. If I’m stressed and don’t react with either eczema, a stress seizure, dissociation, surely something will appear. I’ll guess this is the etiology for the hives.

Paralyzed vocal cords-for nearly one and a half years, I didn’t have a voice. Initial speculation was cancer, followed by unknown (for most doctors), followed by overuse, stress, hiatal hernia. The whole time I presented to the doctors that it may be attributed to mold toxicity being that I tested positive for three types of mold in my system. Each physician shooed that diagnosis away aside from the non-traditional physician who initially mentioned and tested me for it. Unfortunately, he was 3.5 hours away from where I was living at the time, and I only had one day off per week, spending it going to doctors a bit closer, and occasionally relaxing. The voice came back after leaving the moldy environment and then disappeared again when I returned to an excessively humid, and therefore moldy environment, complete with breathing challenges.

Hiatal Hernia-one day my stomach felt weird, I went to an urgent care, and was referred to a GI doc. I had an endoscopy where they biopsied a part of my esophagus and this lovely diagnosis was made.

Nasal Fibroma- removed when I was 18. Removal lead to site infection which spread and led me to stage 4 antibiotics, the summer before I was set to begin college. My freshman orientation was a blur to me as I was still recovering from the infection and doped up on pain pills. Great way to end high school and start post-secondary education.

Thornwalt cyst-yeah I think I still have this one, no need for removal though as it’s not causing any signs/symptoms that I’m aware of.

Scotopic Sensitivity- sensitivity for me includes to light, and certain colors. It’s a perception disorder. Irlen Lenses can help

Speaking of perception disorders, I probably have Sensory Integration Disorder. That’s not diagnosed though believe it or not. There’s a time and place to see a doctor for things, particularly when it is necessitated. I have gone to far too many doctors offices and spewed out my history. As I’ve conveyed, on paper it looks like I’m dying, so I try to avoid stepping foot into a doctor’s office unless I have to, or because I’m observing a super awesome surgery (as I did a few weeks ago). Plus, our healthcare system does not make things financially feasible to go for any condition, never mind the significant ones.

xxx (Ken’s partner at the moment) has unofficially diagnosed me with Aspergers syndrome. I don’t take to heart what she says, even if she is a physician because she’s full of issues herself, namely an untreated personality disorder.

As a child, I had processing disorders, namely auditory processing and reading comprehension challenges. These can be referred to as learning differences or learning disabilities. Semantics.

Well, that about sums it up for now. I assure you, that if I think of any more or I receive additional diagnosis, it will be posted on this here lovely page in due time.

Thank you as always, for choosing to use your limited time to read this blog!

America’s insurance companies suck in case you haven’t experienced living “in the system” yet. In order to prove that I have a sleep disorder, I had to undergo a sleep study. No big deal right? The catch: going off of my ADHD medication that works magically in three ways:

1. It keeps me awake throughout the day

2. It keeps me calm*

3. It elevates my mood

Pretty awesome medication right? So when the neurologist who was ordering the sleep study told me to go off of it, I told her that would be a problem because I wouldn’t be able to function (thinking I’d just be sleeping all day long).

My theory held true for about two days. I slept 12 hours the first day throughout the day and 15 hours the second day. When the third day rolled around, I was highly energetic. This energy continued and resulted in being hospitalized a few weeks ago for “exhibiting manic-like symptoms”. *I do not have Bipolar Disorder, I have severe ADHD. I stayed in the hospital until the day of my sleep study as I was highly impulsive and unable to predict my behavior. I returned to baseline functioning once I resumed taking the medication.

Yet, I digress because this post is not about a sleep disorder. Since I had an excessive amount of energy that wouldn’t cease, I began to think about ways to calm down immediately upon admission to the hospital. A thought came to me that food was giving me energy, so if I restricted my intake, my energy would be reduced. The following conveys some snapshots of each day. I’ve included how much I walked because I wear a bracelet that I synced upon discharge which tracks my fitness throughout the day in steps and miles.

 

Results from days 1 (consumed approximately 300 calories from time of admission and walked 12 miles) , 2 (consumed approximately 200 calories, walked 4 miles), and 3 (consumed approximately 350 calories and walked 12 miles) of my experiment had me thinking that my theory was off. My energy was still present in high amounts. I wasn’t sleeping unless medication induced and even then, barely. On day 4, my energy slowed down a little and I still managed to walk 5.4 miles. Perhaps this was because I had 30 minutes of sleep the night prior. On Christmas, I walked 5 miles and ate 500 calories. On the first day of Kwanza late Christmas gifts were given by the hospital to the patients. Many patients received stockings with candy, I did not. Some peers were kind enough to share, and I accepted and consumed some candy.  A social worker saw me eating candy and made snide remarks about how I don’t eat food, yet eat candy… not trusting that this was the first significant amount of nutrients I had consumed during my stay. To sum it up, during those six days I consumed in total no more than 2,500 calories. 

It was easy, too easy. I have always struggled with my eating patterns because at my mom’s house it was no junk food allowed whereas at my dad’s it was a free-for-all, no healthy food allowed. When grocery shopping with him, if I picked up something that is considered healthy he would say, “Put that back.” These polar opposites are why I have reason to believe I developed an eating disorder.

Once, I walked into the room when my mom was exercising and she wouldn’t talk to me in detail saying she had 10 seconds left to burn 500 calories. You’re supposed to cool down at the end…

   Luckily my therapist has extensive background in eating disorder treatment. She’s the head of a partial hospitalization program for eating disorders. I know I need help and at the same time, I’m in school and school is the one good thing going for me right now. I’m looking into evening programs. An Eating Disorders Anonymous Meeting just began about one hour from where I live, and I attended the first meeting last week.

During the meeting, people spoke about the origins of their disordered eating. Most people were unable to pinpoint exact time or reasons. I mentioned that I believe mine began at the age of 3. My father would lock my brother and me into cars and hotel rooms so that he could go do what he needed/wanted to do. I presume that when this occurred, I didn’t know when, if at all I would have food. Additionally, the aforementioned circumstances in each home environment play a contributing factor.

At the moment, I’m taking one course in school. My school does this during January so students have the ability to take a course they would not traditionally take during the other terms due to time constraints or other reasons. The course I chose is Philosophy of Simplicity. There is one week in the course where we go on a retreat to a Buddhist temple and practice meditation. Most students will be silent for 36 hours. I’ve chosen to remain silent the entire week.  Apparently in the past, participants have complained about the food served there. The professor summed it up as, “Really, you could go the week without eating and you’ll be fine.”

People laughed. I smirked. I know I can go that long without eating. It actually got easier for me as the days wore on in the hospital. I’m competitive, this seemed like a challenge. I’ve not eaten well since being back at school, eaten too unhealthily and have done many unhealthy behaviors to compensate for the unhealthy food. This seems like the perfect time to restrict. It’s so tempting to continue with my unhealthy ways.

When I mentioned this and other events to my therapist, she was aggravated at people’s absence of awareness when they speak (regarding the food comment by said professor). She thinks this week will be good for me in terms of practicing mindfulness. The other week before my behaviors started to get really out of control, she said, “You don’t want to have an eating disorder. You think Borderline is hard to treat, an eating disorder is harder.” Little did she know that I had begun my down spiral. She had me log my food. This turned out to be really bad because I obsessed even more with what I ate and consequential behaviors when I was constantly reminded of the foods I consumed throughout the day. She had me stop the food logs after noticing this pattern.

This week will be a challenge in practicing mindfulness in a healthy way.