Posts Tagged ‘eating disorder’

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.

 

 

 

 

“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.

 

Disorders:

Is this quote actually supposed to help me???

If I didn’t already have an eating disorder, what is occurring now would undoubtedly propagate one. Currently, the esophageal spasms I’m having (Jackhammer esophagus/hyper-contractile esophagus) prohibit me from in-taking any solid foods. At the doctor’s office yesterday, I learned the intricacies of the health care system a bit more. Apparently, the reason I haven’t been able to find nutrition drinks such as Boost or Ensure or the equivalent is because they don’t exist here. Yeah, that’s right, you read correctly. The only time a patient is given a nutrition drink is if he or she prescribed it by the doctor and only if the patient has cancer.

Excuse me? So when the doctor told me that I should eat ice cream for the next few weeks, I gave her a quizzical look. First of all, I have to wait two weeks to receive a letter in the snail mail after a central system has filed my case and found the next opening at pretty much any hospital. Specialist are only found in hospitals here.

Secondly, ice cream is not sufficient nutrients for two weeks, unless there’s some sort of magical ice cream that I am unaware of. The doctor then suggested that I make my own nutrition drink and continued explaining that she’s not recommending I put fruit juices in my drink since that will (likely) aggravate my symptoms. I chimed in, “can I put in banana and avocado”? It was at that moment I realized I know more about nutrition than she does and figured out how to end the session quickly.

There’s a word in Danish the doctor used for my symptoms.. it might be trang or traeg, except I don’t know for certain. It’s nice there’s a word to describe something that’s more than a big nuisance or inconvenience.

Last night I purchased bananas, avocados, and ice cream and made a somewhat delicious drink. However, this morning I could not make the same as my host family must have been somewhat keen on my banana purchase and unknowingly consumed part of my next meal. I can’t be too mad considering I didn’t actually mention that I need those and they are just about the most awesome people if not the most awesome that I have ever come across, so sure let them have the yellow fruit not often found in the home :).

Trying to recreate parts of the drink this morning, I had an under-ripened avocado and only the ice cream. The task to make a mush mixture did not pan out as I had hoped. There were pieces of avocado left after blending the two substances for many times. And in my efforts, I figured, I might as well try the drink considering the pieces were miniscule and I had put a lot of time and effort into this. Upon first attempt, the pieces got caught in the back of my throat and I began “choking” as I do multiple times in a week now. Usually, I can propel the foods up or down depending on the occasion so I do not consider this “true” choking.

Now, I have a dilemma. Knowing I already have many eating disorders, this seems to be creating a new one-complete aversion to solid foods. I can’t even consider taking in anything that’s not pureed or baby food consistency. Even on liquids, I’ve choked. This situation is challenging, and I hope this will not become more of a burden than it already is. Gotta keep looking at the positives, like the fact I don’t have to be tubed.

Summing up, this quote which I suppose is supposed to help people overcome their eating disorders is in fact not helpful for all sorts of disordered eating. And yes, there is a major difference between the two as one is a full blown condition whereas the other is meant to explain a pattern of eating that is not always regular.

This current pattern of mine feels extremely disordered except it also feels like I don’t have utmost control over this physical manifestation. Grrr….

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.┬áMy 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).

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.