I’m back (for a bit). At my therapy appointment yesterday, my therapist suggested I write an entry. I didn’t want to. One reason being my right hand that I mentioned in my last post, which I had surgery on about a month ago. Another reason being my left hand. Yes, you read that right. Having to use my left hand to compensate for being unable to use my right one while it’s recovering has unfortunately brought up the exact same issue in the left one. I have surgery for the other side scheduled for March 3rd. To be quite honest, it’s really, really sucked at times (a lot of times). Being unable to use either hand (much) has caused me to have to slow down, a lot. Something of which I am not a fan. I dropped down to part-time student status for the term to reduce the stress on my hands. I’m only taking two classes that meet two days a week, and I’m only working in the football office two days a week. This gives me the availability to go home (to Portland) Thursdays-Sundays. That isn’t what I want, but it’s what I know I need.
I’ve been called-out (Thanks, Mom) for “sugarcoating” things on this blog. It’s also for that reason I didn’t want to write another post. It’s really hard for me to write how much I’m struggling. I know the number of times I’ve expressed that I’m motivated, that I’m doing everything I can, that I’m going to be done with this soon. And while all of those things have been true in those moments, the truth is, the past couple of months have been inexplicably hard. There have been times, most recently at an appointment on Friday with my psychiatrist, Dr. Rock, that I’ve just wanted to say, “F— it. I’m done with this.” I am putting myself through the ringer day after day, week after week, month after month, for what is now going on six years. I’ve been challenging the thoughts, seeing the providers, doing the meal plans, and eating the dang food. And guess what? It’s not working. That’s how it feels, anyway.
There are multiple reasons that my weight’s continued slipping to the point where I now need to gain back more than just a pound or two. One of them is the state of hyper-metabolism I’ve gotten my body into as a result of caloric deprivation. There’s a lot of really interesting science behind hyper-metabolism; if you want to read about it you can do so here. Secondly, even though I haven’t skipped a meal or snack in months, I’ve restricted in other ways. My eating disorder is a master at cutting corners. I say I’ve had five ounces of chicken, and really, to me, it looks like five ounces of chicken. If I weigh it though, the scale will say otherwise. It might be two, or three if I’m lucky. The same thing will happen with a cup and a half of rice that’s really only a cup, or 16 oz of milk that might only be 12. Those little calories here and there add up, and they’ve contributed a significant amount to my inability to put on weight.
While I am very proud of myself for having not skipped a meal or a snack, there’s a danger in that, because it makes me think I’m doing “good enough.” And as my mom always says, unless I’m following my meal plan to the T, it’s not good enough.
For the next 10 weeks, I’m under contract with all three of my providers: my psychiatrist, my therapist, and my dietician. My weight has to increase by a certain increment each week, or a higher level of care will be recommended, or they will discontinue their treatment with me. I’ve already decided at this point that I will not agree to a higher level of care. I’m just not willing to leave my life behind right now. Not agreeing to the higher level of care would mean losing my providers, who have been through so much with and mean so much to me. That is incredible motivation for me to keep doing the work I’m doing.
The list of things I’m looking forward to doing when I get fully weight restored (which, I have not been since I discharged from St. Vincent’s at the beginning of April 2016) is ever-growing. Among them are: a new pair of jeans, a mani-pedi, getting to use the Nordstrom and Lululemon gift cards I got for Christmas to buy new clothes, a new running watch, getting to use the 3 Barre3 classes I paid for three months ago, an indoor skydiving voucher Brad and I got for Christmas two years ago, a month of classes at Willamette Valley Power Yoga, a massage, a trip to the Nike employee store, and a dog (just kidding, Mom!). I’m tired of this list growing longer.
A common misconception about anorexia is that it’s about the weight. For me, that’s not it at all. It’s not the final destination of my restored weight that’s so hard for me, it’s the process. Unfortunately, gaining weight is a process. My eating disorder lies and it cheats and it sneaks, and it makes me think that food is the enemy! Because of that, I’m putting as many things in place as possible to make sure my brain can’t get in the way of doing what I need to do; doing what my body needs. I’ve agreed to be home, Thursday dinner through Sunday after church. When I’m home, I have meals with my mom’s supervision. There’s less freedom, and therefore less of an ability for the E.D. to utilize whatever wiggle room it may find to short me in any calories. I also have Winky to sit with me when I’m having a really hard time, which is a much better coping skill for me to use right now than to go for a walk (burning more calories), which I am more likely to do at school.
In addition, it’s now been nine months since I’ve had my period (again) and scientifically, that means my bone density is deteriorating. This is the body, and the life, that God gave me and I’m not going to give up. I know that I can walk through this fire if I do it with Him.
P.S. A verse my mom shared with me this evening: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” -Proverbs 15:22