It's Been Quite A Week
Firstly, I just wanted to thank all of you for the outpouring of love I received on my latest post. Treatment has been anything but easy, but I can say I successfully survived my first week. The staff have been incredibly welcoming, and I sensed no judgment on their part with the fact that I am a “returning patient”. And, I am inspired every day by the girls I am living with. Although each of us have the same illness, we all come from different backgrounds, and we all have unique stories to share. It makes for continual learning opportunities and I do feel united with them by the bond the illness creates.
I am facing a lot of fears while I am here. Part of what we undergo is exposure therapy - exposure to food, exposure to weight gain. Science states there is no better way to “cure” a phobia than by repeated exposure, so that is what we do day after day. Facing your fears creates a lot of anxiety, and that anxiety is heightened because I cannot, for the time being, retreat to the comforts of my own home. I am in an environment that is somewhat familiar, because I have been here before, but it is not mine, and that stresses me.
My doctor in New York once told me to be a “reminding machine” for myself, and that is what I am trying to be. I am constantly talking to myself, reminding myself of why I’m fighting, why I’m eating, and why I’m gaining weight. It feels so wrong a lot of the time… heck, it feels wrong all of the time. But while I am receiving tons of encouragement from the girls, the staff, and my friends and family, I am also trying to act as my own coach through the difficult moments.
So, I have faced a lot of fear foods. I have shed many tears while dealing with my anxiety surrounding these fear foods. I have stepped on the scale and seen the number climb and have had a couple of panic attacks about seeing my weight increase. I have felt claustrophobic in the confines of this inpatient unit and I have felt the literal need to crawl out of my skin.
But as I sit here typing this, I am cognizant of the fact that I am still sitting here, still breathing, and still fighting. And that has got to count for something, right?