Emergency Rooms and Rehab

I am upset (worried? I have a constricting feeling in my chest that makes me feel like I can’t breathe deep enough. The pressure and tightness lead to cutting urges; SIB is like letting air out of a balloon that is about to explode) because my friend went to the ER last night and then left against medical advice.

However, I’m grateful she continues being honest with me, despite knowing I worry. I know that isn’t the case with most people.

Tara_it is ok to be worried

She lives far away now; she moved a few states away last month. We met online in high school and ended up attending the same university, even living on the same dorm floor freshman year. We’ve accompanied each other in emergency situations throughout our friendship and I worried about her having no one close by for accountability… just like I worry about myself in a month… She was doing so well!

The ER nurse wanted to commit her, but the doctor let her go with some IV fluids.

She lost 20 lbs so far this month. That is extremely fast and despite starting at a healthy weight (she did great maintaining in her ideal weight range for a few months), that speed is dangerous.

She is one of 3 friends I think won’t forget about me, even when I’m a crappy friend.

I don’t know what to do. I asked Ginny for ideas, but I think I upset her because she had a close friend die from eating disorder complications. I suggested Skype during meals and my friend agreed to that. I also suggested a G-tube and there was no comment on that idea.

Does anyone else have ideas of how I could help?

 

In other news, I miss Ginny and the group of us that went to lunch Wednesday afternoons. Surprise: I haven’t eaten lunch on Wednesday since she left. I asked Iris on Ginny’s last day and she said she wasn’t interested in hanging out once Ginny left. She has been quiet lately, but that could be because I was also quiet last week when I was out of town and running around all day and evening or it could be because I was right and she is glad to not have to deal with me in real life or she is busy with the new job and I’m not a priority (which would be understandable, I’m sure I’ll be super busy once I move and have to get used to a new environment… the fear is that trend will continue once she is settled because I’m not good enough/boring/not as involved, ex. She isn’t around to tell me anecdotes about her family, so there is less to ask about).

My grandma is in rehab after hospitalization for weakness from atrial fibrillation and a glucose measurement of 500!! I didn’t know it could go that high. She has weeping edema and heart failure.

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Catch, Challenge, Change

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I found a way to help myself fight negative thoughts! During inpatient treatment, one of the coping skills we learned was “CCC – Catch it, Challenge it, Change it.” The idea is identifying (catching) the negative disordered thought, challenging it, and then changing the thought to a positive one. It never seemed to work for me. However, I’m trying a more in depth version.

We write social stories for the kids. They’re stories that explain the appropriate way to act in a given social situation. For example, “When I am frustrated with work, I can ask for help. I cannot hit.”

I wrote my own social stories. It seems to help solidify the argument against my negative thoughts. We write much simpler ones for the kids!

So far, I have 2. One is about spending time with friends and one is about control.

1. Sometimes my friends are busy. Other times they may prefer a different activity or miss spending time with someone else. This does not mean my friends dislike me.

Sometimes I want to be alone. Other times I prefer watching a movie with Madison or going to lunch with Jessica. It doesn’t mean I am less of a friend to either one.

Hurting myself won’t change the situation. I can be happy my friends are having fun. I can ask my friend to hang out later. Even when I use my words to ask my friends to hang out, they might be busy. I can say, “Ok. I’d love to hang out some other time.”

Using behaviors won’t take the loneliness or jealousy away. It also won’t change anyone’s plans. In fact, using behaviors when I am upset with my friends could make them unhappy and then they might withdraw from me.

2. If someone else did what I did, would I be mad at them? If I would be mad at them, would I think they deserve to be starved, hit, stabbed, or burned?

Will what I say or do create positive change? Will it help the situation?

Will what I say or do hurt someone else or make them upset?

Do I control the situation?

When I am upset I can use my words to say I am upset. Using my words to show I am upset is a good thing. No one knows what I am trying to say with an unsafe body, but they can understand why I am upset when I use my words. My family and friends are happy when I use my words to name emotions.

I need to use my words to create change. Hurting myself solves no problems. I also have to realize I can’t control everything. Things will happen that I disagree with. It is okay for me to disagree with people. And it is okay for others to disagree with me. People do not think I am stupid or dislike me just because they disagree with me. It is not okay to hurt myself, talk to friends about hurting myself, or complain/ whine to anyone.

It is okay to calmly, logically, and privately talk to the person I disagree with. I can do this instead of hurting myself, talking to friends about hurting myself, or whining. If someone continues disagreeing with me, that is OKAY too! I can say, “Thanks for hearing me out.” and feel proud of myself for using my words, staying safe, and being nice.

Sometimes even when I use my words as well as possible, the change I’m seeking may not happen or I will still feel upset. It is okay to feel upset when I don’t get my way! If my words don’t work, behaviors won’t work either!!! Therefore, I cannot use behaviors or talking about behaviors to change people’s feelings or minds. I can do my best to SAY my thoughts and feelings.

When people don’t react the way I want them to, I am allowed to feel unhappy. I am not allowed to hurt myself, talk to others about hurting myself, or talk to affiliated 3rd parties about my concerns.

I am proud of myself when I use my words to name thoughts and feelings. My family and friends are proud of me too. I need to accept that I can’t control others’ thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Using my words gives me the best chance of getting what I want and feeling happy.

Feeling won’t kill me, but behaviors might. Hurting myself won’t make up for anything I did wrong. When I am upset and I’ve tried using my words to express myself, I am allowed to feel upset. I can let myself FEEL. Healing takes feeling.

Some days I might be too upset to sit with my feelings or I might make mistakes and complain or be unsafe. That is okay; I am human. I still need to stay safe and do the next right thing!! On those days, I can either distract myself until the emotion is manageable or release my feelings in a safe, kind way. I can safely, kindly release emotions by: Head banging on a pillow, talking to someone who isn’t involved, ripping putty, throwing a stress ball against the wall, or running. When I am calm, I can problem solve and process.

 

 

In other news: Ginny was around during half of lunch. I brought nothing today. Therefore, I didn’t have anything to grab and eat like I did the other day. I feel guilty about that because I promised I wouldn’t use behaviors in front of her. On the other hand, she was only there half of the time. She wasn’t eating lunch. I wrote the first social story when I heard she went to grab food with Iris. I felt jealous and angry because (FOR ONCE) she wasn’t working during 2nd lunch, but she didn’t eat with my boss and I. I hope my restricting doesn’t discourage her from hanging out during 2nd lunch. Maybe she thinks I ate before she got there…

I want to send these social stories to Ginny, but she wants to minimize talk about disordered things and behavior. So, even though I think she’d appreciate them and maybe think they show maturity or growth, I’ll settle for posting them here.

Saddles and Support Groups

I’m considering going to a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) support group. There is only 1 in my area and it meets once a month. I’m not sure if it is worth a try.

There are also a ton of Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) support groups. I can’t tell if they’re free. They meet weekly, but the young adult one meets on Tuesdays, just like the NAMI group.

I don’t know if this is a stupid idea or not. Ginny says I should try to find friends by common interest, NOT problem. That makes sense, but this isn’t for friends, so much as for connection. That is similar…

I’m also signing up for horseback riding, if once I get up the courage to call the stable. I learned to ride at Remuda Ranch in 2008. RR was one of the eating disorder treatment facilities I went to as a teenager. I haven’t ridden since 2009, but I fell in love there. While riding, stress and anxiety melted away. It was a meditative experience. I’m trying to take baby steps toward a life worth living.

Art Therapy

I tried looking for my Affirmation Book (at the end of inpatient, everyone got a small journal where patients and staff wrote well wishes and encouragement) last night, instead I found a stash of art therapy pieces. In some ways, not much changed over the past 6 years. I still suck at art and I still feel the same way about myself.

This the battle for recovery symbolized by two stick figures playing tug-of-war. And look! I’m winning!

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This is the cyclone of emotions and thoughts that I used my eating disorder to silence.

MM art ed11MM art ed8MM art ed9MM art ed7

This represents my identity; without my eating disorder I am no one/nothing/nobody.

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This is the program for an impromptu talent show we put on. Surprisingly, they let a few of the girls do a short gymnastics routine and they did not supplement them for the lost calories. Usually, they were very strict about movement. If you were redirected more than twice about frequently shaking your leg, sitting up too straight, etc., they gave you 60 CCs Ensure.

MM art ed1

For the 4th of July we had an extra Nutrition Group, yay! The topic was managing recovery around the holidays. I also wrote some notes from my dietician. According to her, I disliked eating because it meant being around family. Oh, treatment teams and their propensity to blame others, especially family, for mental health problems!

Firefly_Saffron eye roll

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Since we weren’t allowed books, magazines, TV, radio, etc., the only things we were allowed to do when not in groups was make up silly things like the following words set to The Twelve Days of Christmas, color on Disney coloring pages the nurses printed for us, and make friendship bracelets.

MM art ed6 MM art ed4 MM art ed3

All the help I got for discharge meal planning! Haha, it didn’t matter because I went straight to PHP, but they didn’t know what my discharge plans were until the day before I left because some people thought I should stay longer.

MM art ed2

Um…I’m not sure what this is! I think it represents the confusion and chaos created by emotions.

emotions

Lol, I have no idea what the shriveled, psychedelic Eye of Sauron, afflicted with pink eye, floating on its side means!

eye

This looks like pure boredom, not an assignment. I see a green balloon that says “Happy Birthday” (I spent my 18th birthday in treatment). I also see an unhappy purple ghost (A Monster? That one purple gaseous Pokémon? Something else?)

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Who the hell is Stella?!?! In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not much of an artist! :p I doubt I drew this.

stella