Hard Times (Week 2 Recap)
I knew going into Week 2 that it would be stressful. As I had previously mentioned in my last blog post ("Why This Week Will Be Terrifying"), my calories were upped every second day and I was continuously weighed on a daily basis, having to conquer not only more food, but more weight gain.
This week was far from easy.
Monday was met with the first of the increases and a poor body image. I could already feel everything getting bigger. I just wasn't in the mood to eat anything at all, and had such a negative attitude towards food; because food equaled weight gain and I wasn't ready to accept that. I also hesitated to play any table games on the unit because any time I have some kind of fun, my eating disorder would make me feel so guilty. How dare I enjoy myself when I'm eating all of this food? How dare I laugh at anything when I keep going against the eating disorder's voice time and time again? I kept feeling like eating was the wrong thing to do but my doctor reassured me that he is 100% sure that what I am doing is NOT wrong and there is a 0% chance that my weight gain and caloric intake are wrong as well. He also told me that I have a wonderful mind, but my mind is very eating disordered right now.
Tuesday began with a huge increase in my weight despite my wish for the number to go down, at least one last time. The afternoon is generally the hardest period for me and my anxiety got the best of me around 4pm. I was hyperventilating and my doctor pulled me into the back interview room. "I might say something insulting", he said, "but this is the worst I've ever seen you. I've never seen you this bad". And he wasn't talking about weight; he was referring to my mental state. He said I really have to recover NOW because he worries that if things ever get bad again, I won't seek treatment because of how difficult it is for me to let go this time. That conversation freaked me out and I panicked at dinner. I was trying to convince myself to pick up my fork but I couldn't. I was frozen and paralyzed and in incredible distress. And I didn't eat a thing.
Wednesday was the day that put me to the test. My doctor came to see me in the computer room and threw his hands up in the air. "What?!" he exclaimed, referring to my inability to eat dinner last night. He looked almost mad. He told me that they made a clinical decision to put me on bed rest for the rest of the afternoon because since I had missed a meal and lost weight, they were concerned. I had many meltdowns while on bed rest and even though my treatment team's intentions were good, I took their decision very poorly. I refused to speak with anyone and spent the day crying in my bedroom. I had thoughts about leaving. I called my mom and asked her to take me home. The eating disorder was just too powerful and I wrote in my journal, over and over, "I DON'T WANT TO EAT".
Thursday was probably my best day. I was off bed rest and allowed to go outside, so right away that put me in a better mood. Instead of expressing my anxiety in hysterics, though, I was feeling it more physically. Trouble breathing, heavy chest, heart palpitations. I asked to speak with my doctor before lunch to clear the air about what happened yesterday and I told him I was angry with him. We had a long talk and it ended with me saying: "so you're not frustrated with me for being difficult?". He shook his head no. He told me that with every relationship, there's at least some instance of someone being mad at another. And that doesn't change the relationship. At all. He also told me that he knows it's hard for me now, but he remembers me laughing and coming up to tell him all the funny things that would happen over the weekend, while he was away. He remembers me happier and he's looking forward to seeing me that way again. And I laughed that evening. It was something so small and meaningless, but it was not a fake smile. It was not a fake laugh. I am beginning to heal.
Friday is always a hard one for me and it started with a very challenging breakfast followed by an emotional family therapy session. In my session with my doctor later that day, he suggested that I brace myself for the meals and the weigh-ins. And that by bracing myself, I'll suffer the blow a little bit less hard. I had to resort to squeezing ice that afternoon due to my high anxiety. It literally felt like my world was caving in but once again, I chose to be recovery-minded and reach out for help. After talking to my doctor about my worries and finally moving towards a conversation about Montreal, I calmed down. I was smiling. It just goes to show you that anxiety comes in waves. What might feel like the most painful moment in the world eventually becomes more and more tolerable.
Yes, I rely on my doctor a lot. I know I need to learn how to self-talk and self-soothe. But I got through the week from HELL and I am damn proud. Recovery is not easy and most of the time I feel unable to do it. Yet somehow, I get up every morning, head to the dining room, and eat. And that's all that matters right now.