Nevada, Day Nine

28 03 2010

0708. I slept like a rock, am warm, cozy, and settled. I don’t want to get out of bed, and I definitely don’t want to eat breakfast. . . . or anything, for that matter. I feel nauseous, and I’m back to my observation mode. I came to life for a few minutes last night. . . . . . and now, I’m not.

0801. Vitals and breakfast are over. Vitals sucked. I’ve gained a pound and a half since YESTERDAY. SERIOUSLY, how does that even HAPPEN!?!?!?!? I should be slowly, yet steadily, loosing on 1,200 calories . . . . I’m at 154.5. That does NOT MAKE SENSE. My blood pressure was fine; My temp was 97.7. Breakfast was. . . . . . . . difficult. I had an omelet with goat cheese, ground turkey, and beans. . . . . . . I’m full, uncomfortably so. . . . . . . I tried to tell Julia I wasn’t hungry, but I “had to eat”. So I did, along with my morning cup of tea. All that’s running through my head is a triggering comment I heard yesterday, and it’s more than a little difficult. Julia left during breakfast for a couple seconds to run to the restroom, and my all-consuming thought was to get rid of the food left in my bowl. Not only am I gaining weight; I’m incredibly ED triggered right now. I didn’t do it. . . . . . . but I really wanted to.

Today, I will finish Stripe Overload, and I’m working on lining up a job for my return. I can’t believe I’ve been here NINE days. It seems that I got here yesterday, yet time also seems to stretch infinitely. Things move so quickly, and there is a constant flow of people such that everything feels upbeat and energetic.

1217. I am FINALLY finished with Stripe Overload! This center, around the words, is a dark, murky gray, as if one is buried in darkness and desolation, but the edges of the letters all touch bright color. . . . . . . if only one will fight, color is close by. Freedom is Always Worth Fighting For. The entire time I was painting, Brittney and I were watching Eragon. It’s time for lunch. . . . . . . I’m having Mac and Cheese. My calorie count has been upped to 1,500, even though I’m steadily gaining weight. They tell me that the trick now is to eat MORE food, in order to convince my body I’m not going to starve it again. They tell me that I’ll begin loosing weight as soon as my body stops latching on to absolutely everything that I put in it. I logically know that eating MORE will help, but right now, I just want to totally freak out about it. After lunch, I’m going to clean up my work area, finish PDT, and hopefully go on a walk.

1555. I have Stripe Overload hanging on the wall in my room. . . . . . . . It took me less than a week to do, but it felt like, for a few days, that every waking moment was going into painting. Honestly, I’m glad I’m finished with this project, but now, I’m seeking out another one. This was a good one, one that I poured myself into, and one that I’m proud of. I folded my laundry, picked up my room, and grabbed a couple of quick pictures. *grins* Now, you guys get to see the final product. 🙂

2034. It’s been a wonderful night. I ate dinner early, and Brittney ended up staying late. Some wires got crossed on the admin side, and Allison, Alex’s wife, came down the mountain to stand-in for awhile. We headed to Carson City, to Trader Joe’s. It’s an organic health food store that has VERY reasonable prices, and some AMAZING in-house recipes. The feel is very small and homey, and it smells AMAZING. I tried a local specialty called a PB&J Bar, and I’m ADDICTED. I WILL be bringing a couple of these back with me. It was. . . . . . amazing. The texture and taste just blended, and the “special” part of the recipe was POTATO CHIPS. Yes, you heard right. POTATO CHIPS. With chocolate, PB, and raspberry jam. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten, and I’m sure I’ll be eating more of them. I also got some tortilla chips with an identity crisis. I’m not kidding; it said so, right on the bag! (They’re a mixture of corn, wheat, and potato flower.) I got some homey touches for my room, including a cute little plant. I don’t know what it is, but I like it. 🙂 I’m signing off for the night, but I just wanted to let y’all know that I appreciate your support!

Nevada, Day Seven

26 03 2010

0651. It’s been a week. . . . . . .  at least, it will be tonight. I finally got some solid sleep. I didn’t get to sleep for awhile, but once I did, it was really good sleep, and I only woke up a couple of times. This great big huge, fuzzy body pillow? I’m in love with it. 🙂 I curled up with my back to the pillow, and then wrapped my arms around the massive, amazing stuffed dog I brought with me (his name is Jake, and he takes up MORE than half the bed). The wind is slowing down today, a fact that I pleased about, the weather will be stabilizing (for a few days) and getting warmer. This weekend is supposed to be really pretty, weather wise.

I think I’ve finally learned the trick of (almost) meeting my calorie count (which is still 1200), or meeting it, on the first try. It’s adding items (side items) in. I had this nasty idea that meals only consisted of one thing. . . . . . . and that’s not really true.

I have no idea what my weight is doing. I feel bigger than ever. I’m having a really hard time with the solid, full feeling that I’m getting the more I eat. My stomach doesn’t cave in, I don’t fell “empty”, and I’m nauseous, all the time. I’m not purging! The nausea is supposed to go away. It was ok when I was doing it. . . . . . but now, I’m not, and it needs to GO. Alex says that’s a really common problem, and that Pepto Bismal, strangely enough, seems to help it. Anyways, it’s time to get up and start this lovely day in the Valley. . . . . . . vitals, breakfast, and PDT. I WILL paint today. I must. I didn’t TOUCH it yesterday. . . . . . . . and I really needed to. I have to finish Stripe Overload, because I definitely need some stuff on the walls here. My bedroom looks bland and boring right now. . . . . . . a place to sleep, not a place to live.

Activities today? Well, yoga and art therapy, for sure, and I WILL paint. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and other than that, who knows?

0749. Breakfast is over, and it was REALLY good. I made a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich (a whole sandwich, all for 235 calories!), and a protein shake. All in all, 395 calories. Now, I’m sipping on my first cup of tea (of what’s bound to be 10 or more). I absolutely adore tea, and haven’t had it since I was back west the last time. The entire time I was at home (more than 2,000 miles from here!), I didn’t drink tea, but now that I’m back out here, I’m drinking it like it’s going out of style. Vitals this morning was interesting. . . . . . . since I’ve been here for a week, now I get to see to my weight. I was 157 when I got here. I made it as low as 151, and I’m now at 152.5. I’m having some digestive difficulties, which probably isn’t helping my weight much. My blood pressure is stabilizing (it was 107/78 this morning), which is a far cry from what it was when I got here. Temp is up, too. I’m actually in a normal range, as of this morning! 98.5! My temp hasn’t been anything but LOW for over two years. It’s been 97 something ever since I got here. My hair is still falling out in chunks, and Julia doesn’t know when that will stop. While I still have intense anxiety after meals, it’s fading quicker. I think not purging is easier when it’s just not an option. When there really isn’t any way around it, and I don’t really want to, anyways. I’m sure there’s talk going around of upping my calorie count. . . . . . . . that will be hard. Probably far harder than I realize. I’m still not comfortable at 1,200, although I am figuring out how to consistently stay up there.

I am making a new page, listing the foods I eat the most regularly here, and would be comfortable continuing to eat at home. It’s a resource more for myself, but feel free to check it out, if you’d like.

1154. It’s right before lunch. . . . . . Christina and I did yoga and then art therapy, and then, we listened to music and just designed with markers. Yoga was good. . . . . . . we started the Sun Salutation today, which was something I had a passing familiarity with, and then, we did “continuous line drawings.” You hafta draw something really complex without looking at the paper, and without picking up your pen. It was difficult, and laughter producing, to say the least. Lunch today is a taco salad. . . . . . . . . it’s probably about time I started heading in that direction. I did paint this morning, and I’ll probably paint the entire afternoon. It’s something to do.

1231. Lunch was good. Actually, it was quite wonderful. Strangely enough, I don’t feel any anxiety. . . . . . . I’m relatively dissociated, so I don’t honestly know how much of this day I’ll remember. I made Alex a sopapilla (a tortilla with butter and cinnamon sugar), and he’s waiting for it to cool down before he eats it. It gets crystalized and crunchy amazingness. . . . . . It’s an amazing taste and texture. He and I have a session later, and we’re going out. Until then, I’m going to paint.

1651. I just got back from walking Righteous, Alex’s massive German Shepherd. That was an absolute blast. . . . . . . I loved it! Righteous is a big, exuberant, excitable dog with a zest for life. We were walking past a pasture, and a VERY young horse took to following us, so I had to stop and give it some love. After lunch, I painted for a bit, and then Alex and I had a session concerning commitment to change, and then, I painted some more. We took a trip to the gas station (it’s kinda sad when it’s like, “YES! I get to go to the GAS STATION!”), and then, Alex left to get Righteous. I’ve got a MASSIVE chunk of Stripe Overload finished, and I WILL finish it tomorrow. Period. Alex and I got some amazing pictures with Righteous. . . . . it was wonderful, and welcome beyond all natural belief.

2104. Dinner was a-ok. . . . . . . . I ate oatmeal and a TON of cantaloupe. I was 60 calories short. . . . . . . and so I thought, no biggie! I like cantaloupe. . . . . . .I’ll just eat twice as much! Well, it’s a really low calorie food that also is really light, and so 356 grams of it is a LOT of cantaloupe. Needless to say, I was eating cantaloupe all night long! I froze a bunch of it, and the texture was great. . . . . . I’m finally finished eating it. 🙂 Brittney and I are watching a heart-rending movie called “The Pursuit of Happiness”. I thought I wanted to paint tonight, but I really don’t, so I’m not. I’ll go to bed after the movie is over. . . . . . . . . Weekend is supposed to be pretty relaxed. . . . . . . It’ll be good. My meal plans are finished for the weekend, so that’s a little less stress.

Nevada, Day Four

23 03 2010

As always, I’ll update this throughout the day.

0657. I didn’t sleep much last night, but I didn’t move until 0530 or so this morning. I need to get up, get moving, and take care of vitals, but I don’t  want to get out of bed. I slept with four blankets and a sheet last night, and I have this cozy nest thing going on. I don’t WANNA leave it! I’m starting to get used to the feel of everything here, and people are warming up to me, and I to them. Julia and I just bantered about our days last night once she got back to the center, and it was really good. It’s starting to pick up a bit of a familial feel, and while I’m a bit wary of that. . . . . . I’m not pushing it away.

0734. I’m in the process of eating breakfast. . . . . . . . I had a bit of a “do the right thing” moment this morning. I was left alone to prepare breakfast, and as I was scooping out my Greek yogurt, I knew Julia wouldn’t questions me about my amounts. I only put half the amount in. . . . . and then I added the rest. I had to convince myself that it was the right thing to do. . . . . . and while it was hard, I didn’t want to all ED to start the day off on the wrong foot, because I’ve got a whole lot of eating left to do today. I’ve read the first chapter of my anorexia workbook, and found it relatively repetitive. However, I’ve been assured it’ll get more interesting within a couple more chapters. The first was about recognizing whether or not you have anorexia, and what anorexia is. I’m chatting with a couple of friends, and I’ll start painting again during PDT. I’m slowly downing my breakfast. . . . . . . It’s going down a little bit hard today. By the end of the day, I’ll end up at 1085 calories.

0938. I’ve been painting for the last two hours, and I’ve made a good bit of progress. I REALLY don’t know if I have the patience to finish this all the way, though. My artistic vision was much more grandiose than my time and energy. Alex is here now, and he wants me to watch a movie. It’s one I’ve seen before, but it’s the typical treatment video “Dying to Be Thin”. Oh joy. Later, we do have equine, so I’m excited about that. I love horses, and I love being outdoors. Until lunch, though, I watch Alex’s movie, go through a reflection time with him, and will probably paint. I’m REALLY gonna hafta say that I’m relatively incensed that Alex gave me such a MASSIVE piece of poster board. In graphic design, this would have been a SIMPLE 45 minute project. I’m on like, hour 9, and I’m about a quarter done.  This’ll teach me to have artistic vision!
1108. Killing Us Softly? Yeah. Don’t ever watch it. I would not EVEN recommend it. Her blatant use of proganda to prove points she otherwise could have proven well using logic simply rubs me the wrong way. About a quarter of the way through, I decided I didn’t like it, and then, she continued to bolster that thought. Afterwards, Alex and I talked about it, and then, he had me do an image assessment of myself and society. Not the funnest activity I’ve ever done. These were the kinda questions that you go, “How the heck am I supposed to know?!?!!?”
1234. Lunch is now over. I’m noticing a reoccurring theme with my meal planning. I shy away from really caloric dense foods because I can’t get away from the thought of “more for my money”. If I can eat this HUGE pile of fruit, and be full for hours, and for a third of the calories, why should I bother with the really dense granola bar? But. . . .  . . what I have to realize is that I NEED to up my calories. Alex brought me a Reese’s cup today in order to nudge my calories over the 1200 mark. . . . . . . I haven’t touched it yet. I ate soup and a ham sandwich for lunch. . . . . . . and I’m supposed to eat the Reese’s. Julia couldn’t find the Luna Bars (which are only 180 calories), so she brought back Cliff Bars. Those have 250 calories, and I’m really struggling with them. I just can’t justify eating something when I know a version with LESS calories exists. I don’t like today, food wise.
1404. We’re off to equine! I’ve got to go throw on some jeans and tennis shoes, and I’m good to go. I’m excited. . . . . . . I haven’t had a chance to really be around horses in YEARS. I’ve been painting for the last FOREVER, and then Alex and I had a talk while I was painting, after lunch. We talked about a few of his concerns, and then just small talk. We dabbled in education, and what alternatives might exist for mainstream ed. It was a good, relaxing talk.
1633. I just got back from Equine. . . . . . . . it was an absolute blast, but totally different from ANYTHING I’ve ever done. I ride Western, and Maggie (the equine instructor) teaches English. Not only does she teach English, but she is an Olympic level instructor! She has two girl who are going to the Olympics in 2011! It was a journey, for sure. Everything felt and handled different, and I felt like an absolute beginner. Which, of course, in this arena, I am. I’m excited to continue learning, although I think I’m going to wake up sore more than once! It’s all about leg strength in English riding, and not so much about balance and speed while fully seated. Alex got a ton of really good pictures. I got a chance to play with all of the ranch dogs, which I greatly enjoyed.

I’ve got a meeting with Dr. Hall at 1700, then dinner, and then a meeting with Dr. Dan. I have no idea, yet, what makes them different, or what their jobs are.

1725. I FINALLY managed to get my meal plan for tomorrow done. It’ll be a good day. . . . . . . . .I’m having a PB smoothie, pasta and garlic toast at lunch, and then  a fresh salmon sandwich with green beans.

1820. My meeting with Dr. Hall is over, and so is dinner. The meeting with Dr. Hall was very low key, but we covered my medical and ED history. We went in-depth into some things, and other things, not so much. Dinner was rice and soup, and I actually ended up at 12o2. I had to re-do my meal plan 15 million times to meet that count (1200 is my goal, for now). I came in with a really low daily calorie count, so we’re working on getting it higher. I’m actually not anxious right now. I think I’m too tired to be anxious. I have a meeting with Dr. Dan, like I’ve noted several times, at 1930, and I’ll probably paint until then, and maybe after. Or, I might just goof off. Who knows?
2154. Oh wow. . . . . . I just finished with Dr. Dan. We talked for well over two hours about my entire ED, family, psychiatric, and physical history, and then about childhood abuse, how I got emancipated, and the pathology of my eating disorder. I am EXHAUSTED. I was tired BEFORE Dr. Dan got here. . . . . . . . let alone now. He gave me a ton of assignments to do, but for now, I am GOING TO BED. This whole 3 hours difference thing is draining me. Night night, all!

Picture Update!

23 03 2010

Check out the house, the scenery, the horses, our trip, and the start of my art project!

Nevada, Day Three

22 03 2010

I’ll be updating this throughout the day!

0525. Well, good morning, Nevada! Today the program actually starts. I’m not supposed to be up until 7, but here it is, 5 o’clock again. . . . . . gotta love this time change thing. 🙂 Going BACK East is gonna be hard. . . . . . . I’ll GAIN several hours and it will be all KINDS of backwards.

I’m spending the entire morning with Alex. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s very relaxed and fun. . . . . It should be quite interesting. . . . . . . I know that we’re for sure going grocery shopping, doing yoga, and perhaps starting some artwork. It’ll be grand. For now, though, I think I’m gonna go find a couple of extra blankets and curl back up. It is, after all, 0530 in the morning!

0748. I’m in PDT, and breakfast was wonderful. I mixed crushed cinnamon cereal with Greek Yogurt and it was SO good. 250 calories for breakfast. . . . . . supposedly a bit low, but it is what it is. We of course did vitals this morning. . . . . . that’s the time of day in which I get to strip and put on an EVER-SO_SEXY hospital gown, get weighed, blood pressure, and temperature. It’s a prelude to breakfast. During this PDT, I caught up with a couple of friends and talked with Julia about a few political situations. She’s warmed up a good bit since I’ve gotten here, and she’s got some wonderful insight, and is great for some good conversation. She here during the nights, from about 10 pm until 9 am. Alex should be arriving shortly, and from there, who knows what’ll be going on?

It’s frigidly cold. Those massively huge picture windows that dot nearly every wall make keeping the temperature in the house regulated difficult. I’ve got fuzzy PJs on, a heavy long-sleeved shirt, and I’m curled up with a big fuzzy blanket. I had to dig a down comforter out of the closet this morning, but I’m SO glad that I did! It’s thick, heavy, and comforting.

1617. We just got back from bowling. It’s been a crazy fast paced, fun day. I worked on an art project all morning, and it’s not anywhere CLOSE to finished. It’s gonna take me awhile 🙂 I’m excited about it, though. I really think it’s going to turn out well. After I worked on my project (which is an inspirational poster on which I was given the FREE FOR ALL), I had lunch, and then Alex and I had a meeting. We talked about family history and ED history, and we talked a bit about empowerment. He said that while ED has a strong voice, I have the academic knowledge, and that I need to weigh ED’s voice with the REAL voice, mine. That if my goal was to end up dead, that I should listen to ED, but otherwise, I needed to fight to allow my voice to be heard.

Melanie, one of the staff, met us at two, and we headed into Carson City for a friendly game of bowling. We met a graduate of Nouvea Vie there, Ashley. There were four of us there, and we laughed, bantered, and egged each other on. I creamed everyone the first game, but my energy quickly dwindled. . . . . . I was creamed the second round, coming in last place. It was fun, nonetheless. Ashley, continuing with her tradition, made me a hemp bracelet with the word “Hope” in it. She’s made one for every girl who has come through, and will continue to do so. It felt like I was kinda being drawn into this group, and that I was finally settling in.

Alex isn’t all that happy with my calorie count today. . . . . . . all said and done, if I don’t add anything to it (which doesn’t seem feasible at this point), it’ll end up at 999 calories. He’d wanted me to eat a Luna Bar, but we didn’t have any here. I’m REALLY having a hard time getting over that 1,000 calorie mark. Even when I think I’m adding a TON of stuff in. . . . . . stuff that I would never DREAM of doing at home, I can’t get there. I’m working on it. 😉

For now, though, I’m gonna go back to my art project.

1909. Dinner was relatively good, and I did end up working the extra 200 calories in that I needed to for today. It isn’t often that people get the privilege of going, “Oh, well, I HAD to have a second piece of pizza!” Ashley gave me her phone number and told me to text or call at any time; that having someone who understood what you were going through here made it SO much easier. I’m just painting and working on my project, hanging with Melanie, and watching The Notebook. I’ll eat a snack in an hour or so, and that’ll wrap up my eating for the day. I’ll probably paint until I head to bed.

Nevada, Day Two

21 03 2010

I’ll be updating this throughout the day.

0846. So it’s my second day here, but the program doesn’t officially start until tomorrow. Yesterday was a long day, full of doubt and fear. All I could see was the calorie count I was supposed to be striving for, and the fact that I’d gained almost 15 pounds since I left for Virginia almost 2 weeks ago. All I could feel was the anxiety, the self-loathing, and the fear. KY (my mentor) tried time and time again to tell me that I needed to take full advantage of this opportunity. . . . . . that I needed to maximize it. Yesterday, I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted to come home. I hadn’t slept Friday night. I was tired, cranky, and irritable, and these people wanted me to eat 3 times my normal amount, and then “relax” afterwards. Rightttttt. At the end of the day, I was still 500 calories short. That was AFTER I’d. . . . . Well. . . . I planned dinner, and then put half of it back. When asked, I’d noted that I didn’t eat it, and then, I ate a Luna bar to make up the difference. That 500 calorie deficit was AFTER the Luna bar (which, by the way, was ABSOLUTELY amazing. Alex (the therapist, and resident comedian) brought me a Chocolate Mint bar, which was just. . . . . Well, it shouldn’t have been health food.).

At that time, I couldn’t see trying to eat any more. I just couldn’t. I can’t imagine working around to meeting that calorie count, and it was KILLING me.

I woke up this morning relatively dissociated, which means that the anxiety is close to none. I’ve got one phrase running through my head. “Tell me I can’t, and I’ll show you I can.”

I made breakfast. . . . . and I had 107 more calories than I did yesterday. Now, that really doesn’t seem like much. . . .  but it’s a step in the right direction. I’m in PDT right now, which is the time after meals (about an hour) during which we get to hang out, relax, and stay in sight. We’re not allowed to move around, which means pacing is out of the question. We have to sit quietly, and allow our food to begin to digest. Today, I’m really not having a problem with it. Yesterday, it was bad. Really bad. Today, though, I’m barely anxious. I can feel the food. . . . . but I’m dissociated enough that anxiety isn’t even a part of it. I’m going to start researching alternate food choices so that my list of “safe foods” can begin to grow. Right now, it’s REALLY limited. I prefer extremely high protein, low carb foods, and, well. . . . . 60% of my diet is supposed to be carbohydrates. That number seems more illogical than any I’ve ever seen, but we’ll see what happens. I did have some fruit this morning. 😀 I feel that is a step in the right direction.

I’m a compulsive calorie counter, and here, that is encouraged. We have to write EVERYTHING down. Calorie count, fat grams, protein grams, and carb grams. We have to write down EXACTLY how much we are planning on eating (before we sit down with it, while preparing it), and then, eat it all. They feel it empowers us, and gives us the control over food. I have freak outy moments when I’ll see a label and go, “OMG I did NOT want to see that.” All in all, though, meal planning is pretty cool. We have some high techy gear here that makes it more fun. It’s a bit difficult right now, because there isn’t much here (and that’s MY doing. . . . my list of safe foods is very limited right now.)

From Inside the Mirror

18 02 2010

From the outside looking in, an eating disorder is an exceptionally mystifying creature. The solution seems simple; just eat. . . . . but the roots dig far, far, far deeper. Come on a journey with me as I discover the feelings, emotions, and behaviors associated with this strange monster, and begin the process of recovery. I’ve been seeking treatment for 6 months, and it was a battle to find anything. Finally, though, the prayers of my friends and family were answered as a center in Nevada agreed to take me for nearly a 90% discount.  Called Nouveau Vie, this center is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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