I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing this, at my house in Corvallis, while picking at the ounce of almonds I was supposed to have with my lunch. It’s now 4 p.m., so inevitably my afternoon snack will have to be relatively soon, if I plan to also have dinner and my evening snack, and not still be eating at midnight.
This is exhausting, and I am exhausted. I know I’m not alone – at this point, my mom is thoroughly exhausted, too. So is my therapist, and my dietician, and my psychiatrist as well, I’m sure of it. Granted, my dietician gets the worst of it (aside from my mom, of course), because she meets with me so frequently and connects with me on such a consistent level. I truly am so thankful for her, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that I would not still be in Corvallis if it weren’t for her care and diligence towards my treatment (and really, I feel, for me as a person).
The past two weeks have really been hard. Hard seems to be an understatement at best, but I really don’t know what other word to use. Rocky was put down, and my heart was broken. I wasn’t able to handle it the way I handle emotions best – by suppressing them, which elevated both my grief and my anxiety by about ten notches. While dealing with that, I was also desperately trying to pass an accelerated-pace anatomy class that was proving to be incredibly difficult before anything was ever wrong with Rocky. Also, I have to gain weight. Which, for me, means I had to withstand a constant battle going on in my head, and do exactly the opposite of what my brain was telling me to do. “Had” to, really meaning “have” to…I’m not done yet. In fact, my weight’s yet to go up at all. I’m still below the point that was supposed to mean I re-enter treatment and move back home. My mom and providers have been very lenient with me in allowing me to still be here. By no means does that mean that I’ve been given a break. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I felt this stressed about food, mainly because the onus is all on me now. I’m the one living by myself (shout out to my amazing roommates though, who really do try to support me in any way that I let them), resisting re-entering treatment, and determined to “make this work.” When I go in to my dietician’s office each time, which is about every two to three days now, I know the number on the scale is directly correlated to whatever I’ve done that week, both activity-expenditure-wise and caloric-intake-wise. With the exception of my newly-diagnosed hyper-metabolism, which, having been “blessed” with before, I’ve learned to hate all too well. If you’re curious about hyper-metabolism, this is an explanation from a trusted source (Carrie Arnold, the author of Decoding Anorexia). Basically, me being hyper-metabolic at this point in my recovery means that I have to eat more than the average person would to gain weight. While most people would LOVE to have this issue, I, for one, do not!
My mom has had to resume her role as “the food police”, and I hate that. More than anything, I hate how much I know she hates it. But I also know that she loves me so much, and knows how important my recovery is to my well-being, that she won’t rest until she feels she can. Which, unfortunately, is definitely not now. It definitely helps to be home, because of the amount of support I have without even asking for it (or wanting it, for that matter!). But I don’t want to be back to LIVING at home! I want to keep living here, in Corvallis, with my roommates who I’m continually becoming closer with, and working the job that I’m consistently having to pinch myself to remember that it’s mine, and taking the classes I need to take to become a nurse, despite the fact that they’re killing me! I want to keep living this normal, young-adult life.
And intellectually, I can so clearly see how obvious the solution to the problem seems. My weight’s down, and if it doesn’t go up, I literally lose everything that I have going for me right now. So, duh-I need to gain weight. I should be doing any and every possible thing in my power to make sure that weight comes on.
But it’s so, SO, so much harder than that.
I can accept how simple the remedy to the pain is, until it comes time to actually do it.
I’m really good at that, actually. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s something that’s so detrimental to my health, I could probably call it a gift. I’m really good at understanding something literally, and being able to explain exactly how I can fix the problem, what should be done, yada yada yada…but when it comes time to actually do it, I freeze. It’s like the E.D. part of my brain takes over, and my “real” brain just surrenders to whatever the eating disorder wants it to do. Which, in just about all cases, is exactly the opposite of what I should be doing.
The battle I’m going to be experiencing over the coming weeks is going to be challenging. I’ve already found it to be seemingly more than I can bear, and I’ve yet to actually gain any weight yet (despite the severe reduction in exercise and elevated caloric intake, which makes me ridiculously uncomfortable, weight-gain or no).
It’s back to no exercise, drastically increased food, and I’m doing it all outpatient. As has become my mom’s new mantra for me, “Scott Night doesn’t like chemo.” Scott is a teenage boy in our community who has been undergoing treatment for cancer for the last several years, which has resulted in two amputations, and is now receiving chemotherapy again. While I would hate to make it seem that I’m comparing my situation to that of one dealing with something as horrific as cancer, it’s a good reminder. Scott doesn’t like chemo. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, and it sure as heck doesn’t feel good. But it’s what his body needs. So he does it anyway.
I’ve never been one to seek out support, but at this point, honestly all encouragement is welcomed. I am growing very weary of this fight, and really just want it to be over with.
If you want a bit of Sunday night entertainment, here’s a link to a video of my roommates and I trying to kill a giant spider the other night. It’s things like these that make me want to stay here in Corvallis.