How many trials?!

How many trials will it take for me to know asking off work is an awful idea?! My employer’s paid time off policy is that any PTO you don’t use in a calendar year rolls over to an emergency bank. You can only use emergency bank hours for big events like hospitalization or surgery, not simple sick days. The days are not paid out if you leave the company. Therefore, you will likely lose them. When I first arrived, they paid you the unused PTO at the end of the year. That was wonderful! I know it cost them money though.

Anyway, as a result, of this policy, I took a week off. We were supposed to take a trip to see my brother, which would’ve taken my mind off myself. However, that didn’t end up happening. So, I’m just hanging out at home, wondering how my kids at work are fairing, and obsessing over eating disordered thoughts.

Bored Now_Willow_ Buffy

On the bright side, one usual reaction to boredom is self-injury or binging. I haven’t done either; I’m sleeping a lot.

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Got to Work

Yay! I finally got back to work!!

The Good: I was giddy driving in to work today! ūüôā I really missed everyone. I was bored at home. That feeling confirmed that I love my job even though I’ve felt inept and disliked lately. When I got there someone who isn’t in my program asked about my absence and then my health. That made me feel noticed. Next, a co-worker gave me notes the kids and staff wrote for me. Every single staff person in my program said they were happy to see me and asked how I was, etc. Many of the kids had heartwarming reactions too. There is one kid that I worked with for a year straight (John) and when he saw me, his voice went up a few octaves as he exclaimed, “You’re back!!” Then he ran up to me and gave me a huge hug. ūüėÄ People kept asking about me all day. Therefore, I felt noticed and missed.

Also, I advocated for myself and asked for a day to be put back in my paid time off account because school was unexpectedly closed one day last week when the air conditioning broke. Everyone got paid for it as if it were a snow day. First of all, I hate asking for things. Second of all, I felt guilty for taking Monday and Tuesday off and I’d decided not to ask for it back because I felt like I didn’t deserve it after taking more time than I originally said.

The Bad: I self-injured on the clock. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done that. There were 4 distinct times I had urges. Oddly, it wasn’t during one of those times that I self-harmed.

1. A student said he hated me and he wasn’t in crisis. Usually that stuff doesn’t bother me. Idk if it was my anxiety about being back or something else. It occurred to me that maybe I feel like I’m always doing the wrong thing with him and somehow that transferred over. Perhaps I feel he should hate¬† me if I’m always messing up? I worked with a different student for a year straight (mentioned above) and there were months when every time he’d see me come to the bus he’d say he hated me, why can’t he work with someone else, etc. That never bothered me. In fact, the student who said he hated me today has said similar things in the past and it hasn’t bugged me. Later he said more insults and it didn’t matter as much. *shrug* I feel bad about feeling triggered because we’re not supposed to be bother by that type of thing. I feel like a childish baby.

2. I disagreed with my boss on data. I’m a perfectionist, so I hate being wrong. However, in this case, I think I was frustrated because I still think I’m right. I worry because if we’re all operating on different definitions of eloping, property destruction, etc., then the students’ behavior data is meaningless.We track how many times each behavior occurs per hour so we can see if our interventions are causing a decrease in behavior, but if we’re using different definitions, the data isn’t showing us anything because we’re tracking different things!

3. Then it was lunch time. I already toyed with the idea of restricting, even though I’ve been super good up until this point because of healing from surgery. I was a little late (like 1 minute) because only 1 out of the 6 kids had data filled out, even though there were 5 staff working during their lunch period. So, I filled out all of their data. However, as I walked to get my lunch, I saw friends leaving without a word to me. Yay, rejection. I know it was likely unintentional, but despite the probability it was unintentional, that is not how I think about it. Then I said screw it to food and napped in my car.

It was on my students’ 1st break after lunch that I started self-injuring (scratching, plausible deniability). That break was an hour and a half after I saw my friends leaving for lunch. I wasn’t emotionally overwhelmed. I had the skills to deal with my distress; after the 3rd trigger, I guess I gave up because low grade distress all day wears your defenses down? I knew I could sit with the feelings and survive, but I decided sitting with feelings was stupid. I was sick of feeling crappy. I think boredom was also a factor because the kid I worked with today had no behaviors and didn’t interact on breaks. I like working with challenging kids. I have self-injured purely out of boredom in the past. So maybe that was an unconscious trigger.

Shame on you_Willow_Buffy

4. At the end of the day, after the kids left, we had a meeting. The girl who got all those accolades on Facebook came to our meeting. Then I asked a (stupid) question because I’m stupid, lol. The worst part is people started expanding on the topic as if I was doing something wrong (which I’m not). I asked a question about data, unrelated to the earlier data issue, and it was answered. Then they (my boss and behaviorists) said something else about his behavior and our reaction to it, but it was directed at me.

Writing the 2nd and 3rd reasons makes me want to SI again, so I’m clearly still not over it. I made it through the way home though. I still feel guilty for SIing at work…Yet, after going back and adding the “good” part of the post, my current SI urge decreased to a manageable level. Emotional reactivity is awesome. -.-

No Hallucinations, Bored

Ugh, I’m bored. Maybe I should clean or something useful, but I can’t because that would wake my parents.

In the past 42 hours, I’ve had 30 minutes of sleep.

Started hallucinating (minor, people moving the periphery of my vision, hearing drills and hammers when the construction people had already left) around hour 29, I successfully napped around hour 31. Since then no more hallucinations, but also no more sleep. Sometimes I feel tired, sometimes I don’t, but I’m not motivated to do anything and I’m not happy.

Bored Now_Willow_ Buffy

I was paranoid I was going into a manic episode, but then I realized that wasn’t the problem because I WANT to rest (except the hours I’m not tired at all like when I woke up from my nap). Right now, I don’t care about sleep. I don’t feel like it.

Theoretically, I had hypomanic episodes in the past. Various professionals say Borderline, others say Bipolar II. Borderline makes more sense to me because my mood swings are most often caused by minor external events and my cognitive reaction to them, as opposed to purely biological mood swings in Bipolar. However, the first doc to Dx me with Bipolar also put me on a mood stabilizer and I’ve been on it for almost 10 years because it helped so much. Anyway, I was worried because if the I-have-Bipolar II camp is right, I am at high risk for a manic episode. I was reading the DSM 5 today and it was some huge proportion of Bipolar II patients eventually have a full blown manic episode.

*shrug* I don’t think that is the case. I’m rambling. I might also be repeating myself. I’m going to go check.

Blah Blah Woof Woof

Ah, repetition… I’ve texted back and forth with the same guy the past few days. He wants to get together again and I do to. I really like him. It scares the hell out of me. I’m not stupid, I know it isn’t love. It could be lust, but I don’t think so. It is different from the feeling when I just¬†want someone’s body. That sounds callous, doesn’t it? C’est la vie. What else is there to judge a stranger by?

Callous and strange

I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. I want him. AND I DON’T LIKE IT. I don’t like it because good feelings don’t last and the better the feeling, the harder the fall. I’m emotionally vulnerable and I barely know him! What happens if I spend more time with him? The feeling might wither and I’ll be safe or it will get stronger and I’ll be weaker.

Psychosomatic Mental Illness?!

Don’t get the stake and pitchforks yet! I’m not saying¬†everyone¬†imagines mental illness. I’ve seen plenty of brain scans, which show otherwise. Plus, I realize psychosomatic refers to physical symptoms arising from emotional or mental issues, not physical causes. Therefore my use of the word is technically incorrect. Nonetheless…

Despite my swing from positive to negative in minutes yesterday, apparently I was more serious than I realized. Last night I told my mom a little about my ED relapse, including that I think I should go back on a meal plan. To her credit, for once, she did not automatically suggest a higher level of care. At the moment, it is unnecessary, but usually when she learns I’m using ED behaviors she says, “Do you want to end up hospitalized?”

However, ever since I told her, I feel like crawling out of my skin! I feel 1,000x more uncomfortable in my body! Realistically, nothing changed; no matter how much “accountability” she provides, we both know she can’t stop my behaviors. Yet for some reason, that one act of defiance (of ED) is terrifying me. Logically, I know my body didn’t grow overnight, but I feel monstrous! I feel more fat and repulsive than usual. It is as if defying ED and reaching out focused my attention all the more on my body/ how I experience being inside my body.

Plus, food instantly became scarier. I struggled to eat breakfast, whereas last weekend I was fine. I’m almost always okay on weekends because even though I eat more than I want to, I know I “have to” in order to keep up appearances. However, this morning I didn’t want to eat. In fact, now I feel like crying. …Hahaha, I talk so much about crying, but I rarely break down in tears in real life >.< …

The last time I cried over eating food was as a senior in high school.¬† I think it was September and the school year started in August. For a few weeks I went to school in the morning and returned to treatment for lunch, PM snack,¬†and dinner.¬†This was my first full day back at school. I sat alone in the locker room, staring at my lunch. With a heavy sigh, I opened an applesauce cup and dipped my spoon in it. Then I started crying. It is difficult to describe the fear an¬†eating disorder¬†creates. We know we need food to survive. We know most people, given the opportunity, eat every day, more than once a day! But when we look at food we see all our shortcomings manifested. Taking a bite equals admitting or giving into our weakness. It means magically expanding fat cells and everyone you love turning against you because food will make you¬†so hideous that no one can stand to be around you. Food is the enemy; it horrifies you. I literally had nightmares about eating. Eating causes a huge spike of anxiety, fear, and self-loathing. This disease is one thing you’re good at; one thing you can do right. After all, despite your teachers and parents insisting you’re smart and capable, you know the truth. You know you’re inadequate and you’re terrified if you eat, they will finally see the monster you see in the mirror. Illogical? Yes. Insane? Yes. Irrational? Of course. But the feelings and thoughts are as real to you as your grief at your grandmother’s funeral.

Right now, I’m a¬†tight knot of dread and misgivings. I feel nauseous and bloated. I want out of my body.

And why? Just because I committed the cardinal sin, I admitted my human weakness and asked for help. There are a million eating disorder blogs on the internet; it may seem like we’re fine with expressing emotion and needs, but there is a huge difference between anonymously ranting online and using your words to ask someone in your life for help.

Now off to try to kill the other law students with studying…

willow_fake smile

…I lied, one more thing:

Remember how I said when we eat, we imagine we’ll immediately gain weight?¬†I meant it.¬†In my first week of¬†inpatient treatment, I felt my clothes get tighter on my body. I saw my body getting larger in the mirror. If someone wanted to bet me that I wasn’t gaining weight, I would laugh in their face and agree to a million dollar bet. I was at “fat camp”, on a weight gain meal plan and I could see and feel the differences! However, I would be a million dollars in debt because a few days later they put me back on bathroom monitoring. Apparently, I lost weight in my first 2 weeks and they thought I purged in the bathroom. So, while I was sick, not only did my mind whisper lies in my ears and my emotions skyrocket, but also my perception of reality was skewed. My clothes felt tighter on my body and I saw myself gain weight because I believed that was what was happening.

Perhaps the fact that it is happening again is a testament to this being a real relapse? I don’t know because I call these¬† blips relapses, but it always gets better before I get too sick and even as my least disordered, the thoughts are still in my head. They never left. Therefore, have I ever been in recovery?

Oh, for the record, I was not purging. I was hypermetabolic, a state of increased metabolic rate, usually in response to a significant bodily injury.¬†Sometimes when malnourished people, in starvation mode,¬†begin re-feeding (FYI, a normal or even overweight person can be malnourished! Health is not simply calories consumed, it also¬†quality.) their metabolism re-boots when it gets adequate calories again and it revs up before settling to a normal level. It is a terrible irony for re-feeding anorexics or underweight bulimics because the treatment team gives you a high weight gain meal plan to begin with and then your body makes it doubly hard to gain weight with hypermetabolism. I was lucky, my metabolism calmed down in a month. I knew some girls forced to eat 5,000 – 6,000 calories PER DAY for months and they still struggled to gain weight. It might sound wonderful, eat all you want and don’t gain weight! But it is hell when you’re used to only eating small amounts or throwing up larger amount of food. I remember times when I honestly thought my stomach would burst because it hurt so badly (Yes, anyone’s stomach can burst from too much consumption). Your body acclimated to less food and even¬†got used to regurgitating after large intake. It is uncomfortable to eat and keep down a normal sized meal, much less a menu that would satisfy a 300 lbs football player! In that regard, even normal weight or overweight bulimics struggling in treatment because even though they don’t have to gain weight, they may not be used to keeping normal-sized meals down; therefore, it is physically painful.

How we Measure Progress

I belong to a pro-ana Facebook group. Give or take a few girls leaving for recovery, the same 50 girls have belonged to the group for over 2 years. One of my best friends there asked how I was doing because I hadn’t posted in a while. I told them about school, coming out, and my weight. The overwhelming response?

“WOW, you’re doing so well!”

Not surprising from a bunch of eating disordered girls. But it got me thinking about priorities. Is this, our weight, really the most important measure of our worth or success? I would like to say no.Fringe_its all just nubmers

It makes me sad that we put so much emphasis on our appearance. Let’s see… I almost killed myself more than once last semester, I cried¬†– a lot, I was almost involuntarily hospitalized, I barely passed my classes, I rarely attended class or read material, and I lost my scholarship…but WOW, you lost a lot of weight in an unhealthy amount of time!!

Why does it always have to be about looks

Maybe it is because we hate everything about ourselves and our weight is at least something we can change, whereas other things are relatively immutable like intelligence.

Thankfulness and Sarah Michelle Gellar

My grandma told me for years to think of something your grateful for every day. I decided to give it a try after reading “How a Year of ‘Grateful’ Facebook Posts Changed This Woman’s Life” on Yahoo. Haha, oops…

Don’t worry in the future,¬†I’ll tack them on the end of posts. I won’t add an extra post to your dash every day!

Day 1: I’m grateful for my sister-in-law because she never treated me differently after various problems. She isn’t blood (and therefore “obligated” to deal with me), but she knows my score and accepts and loves me anyway. At their wedding reception I told her I already considered her family because she’d been through so much with me and was always….human. Not everyone is understanding and I’m lucky my brother found a compassionate, amazing, girl! Happy 1 year and 3 month anniversary guys!

buffywillowtacklehug

 

While searching for a proper hug GIF for this post, I found a GIF of Sarah Michelle Gellar at The People’s Choice Awards this year! It made me smile and it fits the theme of the post!

SMG thanks buffy fans Source: Jarett Wieselman