“I have been in a trance all day. In and out of enjoying the world today. I could not remember if Mondays were weigh in or Tuesdays. I didn’t sleep well today. I am feeling okay. I am at the point where I do want this disease to be gone. I want the feelings and emotions to stop. I want the voices to stop. I am bigger [stronger] than this.” – March 25th, 2013
Journal entries days before this were horrendous. I was filled with rage and anger. I did not see why I was in a residential treatment facility. I begged my counselor to let me leave. I cried over breakfast, lunch, dinner and the multiple snack times. I cursed every time I had to use the washroom. I was still actively engaging in my purging behaviors. I hated the washroom support and that it made it much more difficult. I was told if I was not willing to participate in the program I would have to leave.
“I am filthy, dirty and discusting… I am unloveable. I do not want to wake up tomorrow.” – March 20th, 2013
“I tried to purge. I do not understand who would eat ice cream at 9:30 pm. I cannot expect that they would try to make me eat that. I cannot do this. I hate myself for eating it. I hate myself. I can feel my body growing and my skin tighten. I want to be rid this body.” – March 22nd, 2013
“This morning I sat with the nurses and doctor and mental heath support workers. They told me that if I do not start engaging in the program that I will be asked to leave. I will not be allowed back into the program. I am pissed they would do this, can they not see I need help, why would they kick someone out that needs help…. I need help? WTF! – March 24th, 2013
I can remember my session with my counselor on March 25th, 2013. She asked how I was and tears began to flow like waterfalls from my face. “I need help.” as I collapsed to the ground.
March 25th, 2013 was the utmost life changing day of my life.
Sometimes there are little glimpses of light and hope that appear. Like the birth of a new baby. To see how precious and fragile life is, is breath taking.
Three years ago, I wrote in my journal,
I do not see why I have so much pain, anger and guilt. I can no longer take it. I hated my counselling session today. I hate it when she tells me to kind to myself. How can I be kind. Then she expects me to have a snack with her. I am not good enough for food. I cannot bare the feeling of having food in my. I hate myself. I hate those who have hurt me, I hate the voices that say I am no good. I have no control, this is too much…
You can imagine how that finished… With me calling the crisis line, because I was too scared to go to the hospital. I do not know who I was talking to, but that lady has a heart of gold. She stayed with me on the phone for two hours.
Until a few weeks ago, I was still trying to grasp the fragile state of life. I have been blessed to be able to meet a new member of my family. Until I first saw this (not so tiny) person lying there, I could not comprehend what a life is. Her hands and feet are so small. There are endless possibilities. I cannot put into words what I define life as. It has to be the most precious gift that anyone can give to us.
February 1 to 7th is Eating Disorder Awareness week.
Those with eating disorders typically have other mental health conditions as well. The concept of life may not exist for them. Be kind, be patient. It will come.
If you would have asked me 3 years ago what I am grateful for, I would have sad nothing. Last night, I got to thinking. I am grateful for my family, I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for the people that have entered my life, stayed or have left footprints. I could not be more grateful for the animals that have accompanied my journey so far. I am grateful that I am able to mostly manage my moods on a daily basis, with out medication. I am grateful for the doctors and physicians that I have worked with, and their tolerance and on going patience.
After two and a half years, I finally opened a letter that I wrote to myself.
What is Health?
“Health is being well rounded and satisfied with you current mental, physical, spiritual and social well being. Health is not just the absence of disease, yet the satisfaction of feeling completely balanced in all aspects of your life.”
Health is subjective. It can mean different things to different people. I may have a mental illness, but I will not let it take control of my health, or happiness.
February 1 to 7th is Eating Disorder Awareness week. Wear some purple to show support to those suffering and may not know they are even ill, those suffering and trying to get help, those who are in residential and outpatient treatments and those in recovery and fully recovered.
I am grateful for all of those who have supported me through my journey, and still support me.
Dear Laura’s Body,
I cannot simply express the gratitude I have for you. I have put you through hell and back again countless times. Somehow you have been able to bounce back. I am grateful for your tolerance over the years.
I thank my body and spirit for being able to bare the weight of the world, that I constantly chose to do. You have been working extremely hard to defeated your demons, and I commend you for that. The path of tolerating imperfection was the biggest challenge so far, but you did it. It has been over a decade, and I can finally say I am grateful to have the real Laura back!
Love you always, Laura
“Well today is my first day. Feeling overwhelmed by all of this. I am exhausted, my brain is killing me now. My mind keeps wandering… zoning out. ”
I can remember my first day at treatment like it was yesterday. First it was ‘snack time.’ I wanted to throw that dam plate up in the air and walk out. I was numbed by my emotions. I sat their between a nurse and a social worker. Peanut butter and jam square. To this day I am so proud of myself for some how managing to eat that and keep it down. It was no easy task. We were timed, I sat their crying. As tears roll down my face, the social worker and nurse coach me through taking a ‘normal’ sized bite. Then they tell me to sit in a room with people I have never met before as we discuss how we feel. They later took me into a large room with eight health professionals. I have never felt so emotionally naked before. They saw through all of my lies, and sneaky tack ticks. That was when I was told I was to be on bathroom supervision indefinitely.
“I feel so FAT! I am the FATTEST here! I hate that I am here. I do not need to be here! I am NOT sick! I am normal and in control!”
I could not believe that I was actually in Residential treatment for an eating disorder. I was having terrible headaches since the beginning. The doctor and nurses kept telling me it was because I was withdrawing from caffeine. I did not believe that, so I researched it. I was indeed having withdrawal from caffeine. I went from drinking about 4 – 12 cup-pots a day to 200 ml.
“I do not want to wake up today. Why do I have to? I do not want to eat today! You know they wont even let me go for a walk!!?!!?? Apparently I am high risk. I cannot handle this! WHY IS MY EXERCISE RESTRICTED?!”
After seven days of restricted to house only activities, I was going mad. I had so many feelings and emotions, that I could not handle. There were times where I would burst out crying at any given time. It was so much. At the time I was not able to tell people what I was feeling. The best thing I was given was a feeling and emotion sheet. It had faces expressing the emotions. For nearly ten years I have taught myself not to show or feel these emotions. If they started to come up I would use my eating disorder behaviors – binge and purge and exercise to keep those emotions hidden. At the time I 100% believed that I was in control of this. In my mind, this was the only think I could control in my life. Food, exercise and caffeine were my vices, I abused them to a point where I thought my family was going to find my lifeless body curled over the toilet. I am now sure if I did not go for treatment, you would not be reading this.
I still remember the day where I ran out of class and straight into the counselors at university. It was my most humiliating day at school. There I was, the girl who would barely lift her backpack, running through the halls, tears streaming down my face. When I made it to counselors office, they asked if I had an appointment. I looked back saying no, but I can’t anymore. The lady looked at me, told me to sit down and she will see what she can do.
From that time for the next two years of university, I saw every singe counselor the school had. I did not want to deal with talking about my childhood, I wanted to talk about the now. But I really did not want to talk at all. I just wanted someone to care.
Finally I was paired with this counselor. She was excellent. She listened when I told her I was not here to talk about my childhood. I wanted to deal with the here and now. After a few months, I was able to trust her and open up. She then sent a request to the local mental health organization. I was seen within weeks of her requests. From here I saw 2 counselors. It took the two years for both of them to convince me that I was sick enough for additional help. Residential inpatient help. This was possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. My doctor, counselor and myself signed the papers. Seven months later, I boarded a ferry, arriving at residential treatment for eating disorders.
As the weeks have flew by, I cannot believe that it is nearly December. I remember thinking back a year ago, saying I was going to change my life. I guess parts of my life have changed, others have remained unchanged.
For someone how knows there needs to be a change, however is terrified to actually make the dam change, I fell I only got a third of my goals completed. I am happy that I was able to do that.
I am now looking to finish that list. I know it will be some time in 2016, but the exact date is unknown. The year has been an interesting one. I have found myself working 6 to 7 days a week with 50 to 65 hours of work a week. I have challenged myself on my bike riding, food and exercise boundaries, mental dispute challenges and personal issues with others.
I am slowly narrowing down what, where and who I will strive to become. The last 3 years have been a never ending learning experience of who I am without my eating disorder. I remain to dislike potatoes, not because they are super carb loaded, but because I actually do not like the texture, taste, or smell of them. I do however like yams, sweet potatoes, and squash. I may not love yoga, but I know it help control anxiety. I want to work in a hospital or with special needs kids. I also love coaching sports skills such as basketball and physical literacy. I know I will need a pet (preferably a rabbit or a dog), I would ideally like to live somewhere close to a hiking trail. I know that, as I want to continue working 65 hour weeks, I do need down time for self care and to look after my own mental and emotional well being.
For now it is one step at a time. Time to look after myself.