The Numbers Game

I stepped on the scales this morning with much trepidation, knowing I had gained weight over the three months of ups and downs I’ve had since the start of October. However, I still didn’t expect the results I saw. I’m twenty pounds up since October. Twenty. Pounds. Up. I had no idea things had got that far out of control. 

Now comes the time of working to get healthier, just like half the rest of the world. We cling to health and weight loss as new year’s resolutions, but I feel this is a fight for my life of sorts. I feel the effects of the weight, both mentally and physically. 

As an always recovering bulimic, the desire to lose weight is particularly precarious. And this is where the numbers game comes in to play. I needed to know my weight in order to have a starting point. I don’t, however, need to start calculating every calorie in terms of how it will affect my weight loss rate. I don’t need to push it to get to a tiny shape as soon as possible; I don’t even need to make being skinny a goal. Healthy should be the goal, whatever that looks like for me. 

So here’s to health. And weight loss. And training the mind and body to make healthy choices. This is my resolution, regardless of how silly and cliched that might be, and I hope to achieve it through slow but steady progress toward my goal. 

Control

Things are out of sorts for me, and, for some lovely reason, lacking a sense of control = self-destructive behaviour for me.  This time, it has equalled the return of my disordered eating.  I’ve eaten two small bowls of spaghetti over the past two days, and I’m still obsessed with the thought that pasta is a carb-heavy food.  I know, in logical terms, that I’m not eating enough.  I just feel so overwhelmed and guilty for eating at all.

That said, I do need to lose a fair bit of weight.  I just can’t seem to do it in a healthy pattern.  I’ll go on these near-starvation diets and lose 60 pounds in a matter of two months.  Then, I’ll start eating again but start purging the minute my weight starts going back up.  Then, the weight will go up to the unhealthy *heavy* size, all in a matter of months.

So what’s the driving factor?  First, control.  I feel like my entire life is out of control at this point.  Restricting calories and obsessing over food makes me feel more in control.  Second, an offhand comment.  Someone recently mentioned something about my weight that has made me feel disgusting inside and out.  I feel bound to prove to this person that I can, in fact, limit myself and lose weight.  I guess that goes back to control, too.  Never really thought of it like that until I started writing here.  Hunger becomes a sign that I’ve succeeded that day.  Sore muscles become a sign that I’m disciplining my body properly.

I’m scared, frustrated, and so tired of not being able to handle food in a healthier way.  I have no idea how to get out of this food shame cycle, and it’s very hard to fight my mind on this subject, anyway.  *sigh*  Here we go again, I guess.

Eureka

This morning, I had a negative eureka moment.  You know, those times when your behaviour sneaks up to show you the negative side effects.  I was confused about side effects of bulimia and got some great information by way of comments on this post.  Today, my body is reminding me that it does, afterall, have a problem with the disorder.  I truly did not recognise the side effects until this morning.

The daily spells of vertigo got me started thinking on this issue.  That brought up the extreme aches and general fogginess I’ve experienced over the past few days, as well.  I placed it all on another health concern I deal with, not thinking for a tick that bulimia could be to blame.  There’s been no binging or purging for quite some time now, but the pattern of restricting never stopped.  It got better, but it did not stop.

I’ll use this week as an example.  It’s Friday, and, based on the freakishly meticulous notes I take on what I eat, I’ve consumed 1885 calories.  I remember having a sensation of hunger once in the entire week, so the obvious symptom isn’t there.  I think that’s one of the dangers of eating disorders, as well as my reason for writing this post.  If you have an eating disorder, don’t assume you’re fine just because you feel no overt symptoms.  This is something I’ve only just learnt.  It might sound quite hypocritical for me to point that out, but I fully recognise the issue I’m dealing with right now.  Knowing the problem and working to correct it are two very different things, though.

Well That Didn’t Last

Effing psychiatrist.  Mental healthcare workers in general really need to mind their words.  Now that’s said, I’ll move on to the actual explanation.

At my last therapy appointment, we discussed a conversation the therapist had in length with the psychiatrist.  The therapist misunderstood something I said, which led the doctor to suggest that I was either under-reporting caloric intake or purging more than I admitted.  To me, that sounded like an accusation.  I will *not* report anything to the therapist or the doctor that is inaccurate.  I won’t waste their time or mine for that.  I told the therapist that there was ONE DAY when I only ate 300 calories.  She told the doctor I was doing that every day, and he told her I’d be dead.  Really, doctor?  Are you sure about that?  *sarcasm*  She said the explanations he was giving her about electrolytes and various blood levels made sense.  Really? Shocking, no?  *more sarcasm*  This is beginning to sound like children at play.

Unfortunately, it also feels like a challenge.  It feels like they’re telling me to be a better bulimic.  I know with absolute certainty that that is not the message they were sending.  The completely-illogical-reason-I-am-already-effed-up part of my mind says otherwise, though.  I was already struggling to counteract those thoughts.  Now they seem to have reinforcement from the very people who were helping me.

I told the therapist in no uncertain terms that the conversation irked me.  She said it was more a problem on her behalf– that she didn’t know what she was supposed to keep up with, so she couldn’t answer the doctor’s questions about my cycle of eating.  So here I sit, 99 calories taken in over the past twelve hours or so, trying to convince myself that this should not bring me back to the abyss I was crawling out of and failing miserably in that regard.

Yup– effed up.

Unexplained Panic

I’m dealing with something I do not understand and hoping some of you who read this blog can give me some insight.  This is a rough time of year, of course.  We’re coming on the first anniversary of my daughter’s death, just passed the 11th anniversary of my sister’s death, and are in the middle of the holiday season to boot.  My anxiety level is so high it’s literally making me ill at times, and things are relatively unpleasant at the best.

The bit I’m not understanding is panic.  Recently, my best friend and I had to make a change of plans.  The small change in our routine really set me off.  I just had this assumption that he was out of my life.  That *used* to be a response– I would assume that spending time with others would make him realise how horrible I was, and he’d want me out of his life forever.  That has *not* been a reaction for a few years now, though.

Even more recently, he found himself a bit under the weather.  Nothing serious at all.  Just the typical pre-winter cold.  Again, I panicked.  Would he get enough rest?  Would we be able to see each other?  Would he, knowing how much changes were upsetting me, push himself to do something he wasn’t quite up to?  A million unpleasant thoughts popped about in my head, and I was literally worried sick.

Today, he got a bit of nausea.  Again, nothing serious.  Likely, it’s just lunch that didn’t feel as though it spent enough time with him the first go round.  That brought the panic to a full-on attack.  My mind immediately went to the idea that my best friend would die, and I’d never see him again.  That quickly led into the thought of not being able to spend any time with him at all over the next week, even if he did survive.  He has plans the next two Saturdays, so Fridays seem almost critical.

I am *not* one to panic.  As a matter of fact, I’m typically the one who stays calm whilst everyone else panics.  Why, then, are simple changes in plan or status making me panic?  Today, my reaction to my best friend’s stomach issue was a full-on panic attack.  He isn’t aware of that; it’s not his responsibility.  Still, I phoned him to hear his voice, so I know he *sounds* fine.  He says he’s a bit tired and has some lingering nausea, all perfectly normal.  I’ll be pacing the floors until I know for definite I’ll see him tonight, though.  Every minute of not seeing him seems to count double right now- it’s like my mind is registering the fact that every minute could be the last minute.

So what’s going on with this panic?  PTSD involving grief issues?  I have no idea what to call it, how to frame it, or how to work with it.  I also have no access to a decent therapist to help.  This is making what’s already a difficult time of year much, much worse.

British Products in the US

Being a displaced Brit, there are certain products that I really miss.  I’ve been able to find replacements for most, but I’d really like to find a store and/or online shop that sells The Weary Gardener’s Restoring Muscle and Joint Rub.  I was fortunate enough to find a bottle at the World Market a year ago, but I can’t even find it there now.  Argh.  Anyway, it’s made by The Master Herbalist Limited.  I bought the 60g size, but it comes in others.  It is, in my opinion, the absolute best product on the market for muscle and joint pain.  I’ve never been able to find better, on either side of the Atlantic.

If you know where to find this product in the US, or if you are in England and know a vendor who will sell the product internationally, please email me with the information.  Include the website to the seller, please, so that I know the information is legitimate.

Thanks!!

ec1_englishrain@yahoo.com

A Feminine Question

My mother was roughly the age I am now when she developed uterine cancer.  She survived fine with a partial hysterectomy, but it’s still a bit worrisome to think of.  In spite of that, my last PAP smear was 10 years ago.  I cannot bring myself even to make an appointment for the bloody test.  I found a clinic and dialed the number once, and that sent me in to a full-on panic attack, complete with shakes, sweats, and dizziness.  Not fun.

Time for a little from the too much information file– my periods have been incredibly irregular lately.  Considering I can usually count 28 days ahead and know exactly when the next will start, the irregular bit is bothering me, as is the slight pain in my right breast that has been there for about a year now.  The sensible, adult thing to do, then, is go to an OB-GYN and get a look over.  I can *not* seem to take that step, though.  I know I need to have the test.  It just feels like a violation. It feels like that word I still can’t bring myself to say.

For those of you who are female survivors of sexual assault, regardless of your age at the time, how do you cope with tests like this one?  Gynaecological exams overall?  I’d really appreciate any advice you can offer.  Please feel free to email me as well if you aren’t comfortable replying on the blog.  Thanks very much.

More Natural Grace

I have multiple sclerosis.  I also have stress.  The two do not work well together.

This morning, after I pulled myself out of my current bout of depression enough to get out of bed, I was treated to a whole host of MS symptoms.  Really bad dizziness caused nausea.  The requisite blurry vision came with the dizziness as well.  Last week, after I decided to ignore the symptoms of an oncoming relapse and wash my car, I had double vision.  I don’t know why, but that scares me more than the blurring.

Then there are the  tremors.  I play piano and guitar, but right now my sodding hands are trembling so much I’m having to take small breaks in writing this post.  Still, I am *very* fortunate to have the relapsing-remitting type of MS.  Yes, I’ve had it long enough now that I’m starting to see some permanent issues, but I still have times when I feel relatively fine.

Next Tuesday is my annual ‘poke at englishrain’s brain’ appointment (aka the specialists are going to pry about in there).  Two weeks ago I had an MRI, and the results await me.  I’m hoping the more pronounced symptoms of late are related to stress and not new lesions.  Some of the treatments we’ve tried in the past have been worse than the symptoms.

Wish me luck.

Elephants on Roller Skates

I always say I’m as graceful and elegant as an elephant on roller skates. Today proved it.

My recent altercation with my housemates got physical, and I ended up with a few bruises.  Nothing serious, but unacceptable nonetheless.  Today, however, I fractured my elbow all on my own.  I accidentally hit it against a car door, which seems innocent enough.  Never one to do things half way, though, I hit it directly and hard enough to crack it.  Nice, no?

And it’s really hard to type with one hand, so I’ll end this post now.  Argh.

Foodies

I hate dieting.  There is absolutely no way to dress up that phrase.  You’d think I’d love it by now with all the creative (and colossally useless) methods I’ve tried.  I am happy to say that bulimia is something I’ve put behind me.  My teeth are happy about that, too.  Now I’m just trying to keep myself from getting so irritated with dieting that I give up the entire practice.

Meds are working against me.  Gender is working against me.  Psychology in general is working against me.  However, I accept my responsibility to follow a safe and practical diet plan.  I just can’t seem to get it together enough to actually carry through with such a plan.  Fun, no?

Nothing spectacular to report.  I’m just frustrated and venting to the world on a subject that few people enjoy. 

Did I mention I hate dieting?