Two Weeks Of Hell
Disclaimer: This post contains details pertaining to the specifics of my treatment, so read on at your discretion.
It was two weeks of hell. And once again, I'm not being dramatic.
For a couple of days, I was experiencing intense nausea with no determinable cause. When I would go on staff-accompanied walks in the area, the smell of food made me want to throw up. I could barely finish meals on the unit because food was so incredibly unappetizing and the sight of it made my stomach turn. I remember not being able to stand up straight because I feared throwing up and I feared passing out. To this day, I don't know what the cause was. My guess is that it had something to do with anxiety and my body's response was to deter me from eating food and gaining weight and going against what the eating disorder wanted.
Later that week, my doctor and I decided to take me off of a medication that I had been on for nine years due to its current ineffectiveness, and were afterwards going to have a discussion about starting me on a new medication that might alleviate some of the extreme anxiety that I was experiencing. All went well at the beginning; there were no withdrawal effects and surprisingly, my anxiety did not get any worse when the medication was being tapered off. However, after the last "baby dose" was removed, the insomnia set in. Night one: slept two hours. Night two: slept one hour. I then didn't sleep for a whole week PLUS I was restricted to the unit for not making weight, and the combination of both drove me insane. For those of you who have experienced insomnia, it is pure torture. Watching the clock tick and DESPERATELY trying ANYTHING to induce sleep becomes overwhelming and draining.
Therapy groups were a blur and I really don't remember much from that week. My doctors prescribed me Ambien to help me fall asleep and were shocked when it had zero effect because Ambien usually puts people right out. We tried and tried to find something that would work and finally decided to put me back on that "baby dose" of the initial medication. Thankfully, my sleep was restored. I'm telling you, not sleeping and attempting to undergo treatment for a severe eating disorder is a recipe for disaster. I am so thankful that things are back to normal now.
After the insomnia, the crying spells started. And I'm not talking about regular crying. I'm talking about crying FITS. UNCONTROLLABLE SOBBING every single day with no specific purpose. There were no triggers. There were no events that set off the emotional meltdowns. I would be fine one minute and the next minute I would be pacing back and forth in my bedroom with make-up smeared all over my face, unable to break free from the pain until staff members would come to my room and say: "you have five minutes to wash your face and then get out of your room".
I have a theory that the crying spells were a withdrawal side effect of coming off of a higher dose of medication. But please don't underestimate the difficulty of crying through groups. Crying through meals. Crying so much that I believed that it would feel better to just not exist at all. I was living in complete misery and what made it scary was that I had no idea why I was crying. The fear of having a sudden onset of tears terrified me every day.
It was one thing after another. One issue would resolve, and another issue would pop up. I really felt like I was playing that carnival whack-a-mole game. To make things even worse, my primary doctor, a man I trust with my life, was gone on vacation. But here I am, leaving in less than a week, reminding myself that because I got through those TWO WEEKS OF HELL, I can get through the difficulties of discharge and the transition back to "normal" life.
Sometimes I amaze myself.
I am so incredibly thankful for both the staff here at NYSPI and the other girls here on the unit. The hugs, the words of encouragement, and the reminders that "this too shall pass" helped me beyond belief. I stopped journaling during these two weeks because the intensity of what I was experiencing did not allow for me to sit down and reflect about what was going on. Who knows if my journaling will continue. For now, it is on hold, but sharing my story with the world will not stop for a long, long time.