quitting.

Wowzas. So I haven’t posted in a while. In my defense, I have a bunch of upcoming deadlines keeping me from setting aside some time to do this. It’s not even because I’m having too much fun :(.

Another reason I’ve not really been posting too much is to do with the fact that I’m struggling with recovery at the moment. I am eating enough and trying to force myself to walk less, but it’s harder than it had been recently. With my treatment at my EDU starting to wind down, support from my CMHT starting up, being physically larger than I’ve been in a long time and being unused to it (therefore feeling unbearably huge and uncomfortable) whilst dealing with the stress of work without restriction to get me through it is hard. Very hard.

For me, work and starvation go hand in hand like peas in an incredibly fucked pod. In the past, when I have deadlines, I eat less. It’s partly because I have less time to exercise, and partly because I find it makes my workload easier to get through. I get on this mad concentration and productivity kick when I lower my intake, plus the structure of study and eating get all tangled in each other and end up working together pretty harmoniously. It’s all “It’s time for breakfast, but I’ll wait. Once I’ve read this article/chapter/written 500 words, I’ll have breakfast.” It makes me work faster and eat less. It’s actually more stressful to work whilst eating than it is without. Having to cut into my work time to prepare and sit and eat a full meal every few hours really gets me out of the study zone, plus now I have friends that I actually want to see which makes working even more painful. At least when I wasn’t eating. I wanted to be alone so study became the best option available. Now, actually going out tempts me far too much. Anxieties about my body, diet and exercise levels run rampant through my mind as studying is doing nothing to keep them at bay (unlike my general distraction techniques), and seeing as I’m doing everything I can to go against them, only make me feel terrible. I may have them when I’m under-eating, but at least then I can settle them because I’m doing everything I can to make myself “better.” Plus my work right now is on “Women’s bodies as sites of improvement – Comparative assessment of FGM in West Africa and cosmetic surgery in Britain.” It’s depressing in and of itself.

My mood has been dropping rapidly over the past couple of weeks. I think it started with the super amounts of fear I somehow managed to work up in myself for my assessment with the CMHT. I hate assessments. What seems to happen is I get told things are worse than I think they are. I feel like I’ve been improving, and I think other people would agree with me. The past couple of months have seen me come leaps and bounds in terms of retrieving some sort of personality, having actual fun and being less focused on eating and food all the time. However, the assessment was immediately after a bad weekend (the Westfield incident), so when she asked about how often I get myself caught up in extreme negative spirals, although I was able to say “a lot less than when my referral was written”, when asked how recently, I could only say “… a couple of days ago.” Now there’s talk of more antipsychotics (though the doctor I saw says she’ll try to find a type with minimal weight gain effects), crisis support, possible diagnosis that make me sad and probably more therapy. These things make me feel crazy, even though I had been feeling significantly less so. I hate being told that actually, I’m still not functioning normally and my brain still needs more treatment. It’s not how I feel right now and it leads me to second guessing myself constantly, trying to figure out what parts of me need fixing.

Since then, with the increasing workload and the decreasing support, my mood is plummeting. Yesterday, I just started to cry on the way to the library. Alone. On public transport. Like a proper idiot. Because I miss the boy. Because I’m fat and ugly and no one will ever like me. Because I’m an idiot. Mostly because I just feel sad a lot of the time for no real, tangible reason. This sort of spontaneous crying outbreak happens a lot. I hate it. I hate crying because I’ve had it drilled into my head that crying is only a form of emotional manipulation and serves no purpose except to make others feel bad. I am ashamed when I cry. Ashamed that I cannot control myself better and it might elicit emotions in others that I never want them to feel. To me, it feels like I’m committing involuntary blackmail. I’m ok mood-wise if I keep myself going and doing something at all times, but as soon as I stop, it’s overwhelming and sometimes I freak out. It’s all those little, in between times. Making a coffee has become an emotional challenge, going to the shop makes my brain want to implode, showering is positively distressing. All those times of day where you have nothing but your thoughts to distract you, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, leave me feeling entirely empty and spiralling into horribly low moods. Sometimes I’m able to distract myself again, sometimes I’m not and I just sit there with a head full of distressing, scary and destructive thoughts. All of which reflect what I believe about myself.

I’m hoping that after this next uni push is over in 5 weeks, I’ll calm down again. It’s not all bad right now. I’m still able to have more fun sometimes, I can actually be distracted, I’m being sociable and enjoying the company of others etc. It’s just that my low moods are increasingly regular and are increasingly painful and distressing again. It’s hard, but it would be naive to think this is easy for anyone. I often feel like I’m making a mountain out of nothing and this is just normal moods. I don’t actually know anymore what normal is really (still working that out). I’m not very good at regulating my emotions. The only ways I know how to end up with me slowly destroying my body in various ways, some of which have started to slip back into my life.

So obviously, I did what any complete moron would do. I decided that now is exactly the right time to stop smoking. So I have. I’m on day three smoke free now. I figure quitting smoking leads to weight gain, so better to do it now whilst I still have a little weight to gain maybe and the support of my EDU than when I’m fully weight restored and support-less. I feel like quitting at a weight restored place involves a higher likelihood of restriction, so if I can do it now, it can only help prevent possible future relapse. But my gosh it’s rubbish. I recommend the NHS Stop Smoking Service entirely though. They have loaded me up with nicotine to get me through the first few weeks and it’s all entirely free!

For now, I’m just trying to keep working and not smoking. I have no idea how much I weigh and that bothers me every single day. Especially as there are staffing difficulties at my EDU so yesterday, I was told that my next dietetics appointment had been cancelled (my last one was three weeks ago), with no appointment lined up, and possibly not for another month or two. This is seriously bothering me. I don’t know how much I weigh. I was going to find out on Tuesday, but now I have no idea when I’ll next know. And I’ve quit smoking, which I know effects your metabolism and appetite in scary ways and I was hoping for some guidance with that. Plus I was hoping I’d be told it was the right time to start making the transition to normal, intuitive, maintenance eating. I can’t stay on a weight gain plan forever, and right now another month definitely feels like forever. I cannot just keep growing and growing. It makes me want to restrict and right now, every meal and every snack is difficult. I’ll keep eating though I think. I don’t like it, it’s not enjoyable, but somewhere in my mind there’s a part of me that knows that it’s just not an option to start slipping right now when I’m so close to physical recovery. It doesn’t even feel like a choice to eat anymore, but just something that has to be done. It’s painful at the moment though. I am trying to get in contact with the dietitian, but she hasn’t called me back. Honestly, I’m not sure how long I can keep eating and not weighing myself. I’m a normal weight now, so maintenance is what I’m after. I’m closing in on breaking point and really need some direction from my team as to what to do next because honestly, I don’t even know if I am or should be gaining weight right now. And without that knowledge, starting to cut back on my intake, increasing my activity levels and trying to maintain seems like the right thing to do for my ongoing health and stability. I don’t know. I don’t think I even know how to maintain my weight. Especially as all I want to do is lose it.

My life right now is predominently freaking out. Freaking out about my mood, my body, my diet, my work, my addictions,  my social life, my treatment. It’s just a lot of freaking out.

My Bedside Table - NRT, Reading, Journals, Water and Gum a.k.a. A Rubbish Time

Uni work, confusing dietary needs and quitting smoking. Gah! Wish me luck.

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12 Comments

Filed under general, recovery, university

12 responses to “quitting.

  1. Oh for goodness sake, I just wrote a giant comment, and it didn’t post, and it’s now completely disappeared, so I will write again…
    Geez, you haven’t room to breathe have you?!
    1. The productivity thing, totally know what you mean. I had to quit my course so I could do “recovery” because I just knew I couldn’t do both. So much KUDOS for continuing on regardless, and eating regardless, even though it’s freaking tough. Well done hon.

    2. Quitting smoking, Good on you!!! Don’t worry too much about weight gain. Seriously, I put on 2lbs in 3 months, and then it came off again without me doing anything. The people that put on the most weight do so MOSTLY for these reasons:
    a) If you haven’t got enough NRT in your system, you’ll start feeling like you “want something” but you don’t know what. It’s very similar to early recovery, and it can be mistaken for hunger. If you feel like this, you need more NRT.
    b) taste sensation. It will be a lot stronger, people like this, so they eat more, sort of a novelty thing, combined with the above point it can cause them to eat too much hence weight gain.

    3. The depression thing. I have different depression when I eat more. Yes, it is easier to distract myself but, it usually makes the thoughts in my head when I am alone worse. The all consuming emptiness is horrid, and I often feel like someone I love has just died for no apparent reason, it is a physical and mental struggle to get out of bed in the morning most days and yes I often feel destructive, and quite angry (another emotion I totally hate). I am also quite like you in the way I hate crying. I feel it is an emotion of the weak (just in myself, Im fine if someone else cries, just hate it in me), and hate myself for it. The quitapine did help with that, but I quit because of the weight gain side effect (which I didn’t actually experience but was scared of happening) then ended up relapsing and now I’m here. Assessments suck and normally I find it difficult to convey all the stuff that goes on in my head, because I find it highly.. um.. shameful. I often feel like, “Oh, well it’s not like I’m Jean Slater on Eastenders, so I’m not that mental”. I was told that CBT would be helpful for these symptoms, but I ended up just being given meds, and then denied anything because I quit quitapine (despite them treating me for an eating disorder previously, and telling them that I was having troubles with eating).

    4. The dietetic thing. That sucks. Totally. I hope you can get it sorted out. I wish I had some insightful helpful comment. Can you go to your GP or practice nurse to get weighed? Usually they can help with ideal weight, your calories etc if you cannot get hold of your dietitian. This is what I have been doing between my fortnightly appointments. 2 weeks and in your case more, is too long a time when you have a heap of questions and have to fill them in a one hour rushed time slot.

    Hugs Scrunchy. The first comment was more um, succinct, and clever, so I apologise if this is a bit mixed up and rambleful but my fingers are now tired lol!
    Good luck with the non smoking and your studies. And well done on the eats despite not wanting to. xxx

    • The stupid ED part of me spent a good 3 hours yesterday looking at various articles and research papers and healthy living websites and forums, purely just researching smoking cessation and weight gain. I freaked myself out. A lot a lot. It all says “it’s fine, just don’t eat anything extra, have lots of sugar free gum/diet soda/celery, and add 30mins of exercise to your day”. So now I’m on some mad sugar free and 0 calorie drink kick. It all feels very reminiscent of ED times, but at least now there’s food as well. Thing is, I’ve got enough NRT in my system for it not to actually be an issue, plus I eat beyond my hunger anyway so an increase in appetite can only be good right? I duno. I’m just working myself up. I kinda feel like most people gain weight because they purely just eat more, and I’m not that likely to do that seeing as I’m so super conscious of every bit of food I put in my mouth and the calories that includes. I don’t mindlessly snack. I’m glad your experiences weren’t too extreme though as your situation is probably closer to mine than what I’ve been reading :D. Plus you’re right, have the NRT if I need it.

      Thas really awful that they denied you treatment due to non-compliance with meds. Seriously. Shouldn’t they realise that part of the treatment should be dealing with the anxieties behind the non-compliance rather than assuming it means you don’t want help? I hate when professionals do that. I mean, they should be properly up on the fact tham mental health issues don’t exactly tend towards rational choices. Grr. I’m really hoping the depression symptoms I have will get fixed at some point, but it doesn’t feel like depression to me. Pre-ED, depression for me was an inability to do anything at all. I didn’t get out of bed for weeks, couldn’t talk to anyone, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. All I did was lie down and feel rubbish. This is why I struggle to know whether how I’m feeling right now is normal. Like, I know it’s horrible, but it’s not like that, so it’s not so bad. ED depression was different as well, it was a dramatic, proacitve depression if that makes sense. Kinda like me on SSRIs. But both of those are constant, all the time, no distraction possible. Now it’s whenever I give myself space to breathe, I end up freaking out and feeling horrible. As long as I keep moving at all times, then I seem to be ok. But then I get overwhelmed and crash and spend a couple of days feeling more awful than ever. I duno.

      Maybe I should try and get weighed by my GP, but they’re not very up on EDs and also, the scales won’t be calibrated the same and probably won’t be as accurate. I have a thing about “representational” weight. So using different scales/times of day etc. mean that it won’t be an accurate representation of my gain. I know it’s stupid and ED of me, but it bothers me a lot. Because I’m out of the danger zone weight wise as well, it’s ok for me not to know my weight weekly and I’ve been tapering off my weigh-in sessions so I’m less reliant on them. Now though, I’m feeling pretty lost and scared. Grr. I’m ok with my sessions every 3/4 weeks, but now they’ve just been taken away entirely without any feedback as to what to do next. Grr. Maybe I’ll just buy scales :(.

      Thank you though. I hope you are well x.

  2. My reply disappeared too and now my battery is dying so a fast one here;
    And for the crying part? YAY FOR YOU! Sounds odd you’d think? No! I SUCK at showing emotions. I crop it all up inside. And you know what? That’s WAY more destructive than letting it out. So have your cry. Whether it be on the bus or over coffee. Let it out. At least that way you (&others) can deal with it. Keeping it all inside is only gonna make it pile up and rot, which leads to loads of stinky mess. (You’re welcome for the visual image there!)

    PLUS; Maybe extra therapy etc isn’t so bad Ellie? if it’s gonna help? Why would it be bad? Don’t let that little ED-Ego get in the way of recovery!!

    Sending you hugs and energy for Uni-stuff. I know how draining it can be!!!
    Love, Sooz

    • My crying is always so stunted looking. I try so hard not to cry that I just look so ridiculous. I hate it. I know it’s not good to bottle up emotions, but that’s what I have a journal for. It’s less awful when I’m alone, but I hate how it makes other people feel. It’s not fair on them. Does that make sense? Maybe I should let it out instead instead of looking like an idiot trying desperately to hold it in.

      Extra therapy may possibly help, but I don’t feel like I deserve or need it. I feel like I’m fine now. I’m not scary small anymore, I can manage my daily life ok. I struggle with certain things, but I get by. I always feel awful when I’m offered things. I know that it’s not easy to get the support you need through the NHS sometimes and I always feel like other people need it more and can’t get it. Then I get monster guilt. The other option is that I do need it and therefore I am more crazy than I thought. Hopefully it’ll help with the PTSD stuff though. Fingers crossed.

      As I was writing this comment, I was drinking peppermint tea and some of it came right out my nose! I’m a really attractive lady sometimes.

      Hope you are well x.

  3. Urgh I hate crying. Know exactly what you mean about feeling week and a bit rubbish, plus, the patchy tear-stained face look isn’t all that attractive is it?! I do see it as a good thing though, as Sooze said, it shows you’re not bottleing everything up until you crack. So yeah, even though it feels pathetic, it’s actually good.

    How brave are you quitting smoking?! Huge admiration for you. I’ve been half considering it, but don’t think I’m strong enough to not kill anybody without cigarettes. Keep us updated on how it goes, and 3 days in is major so well done you.

    Try not to worry about how much you weigh (I know, I KNOW it’s almost impossible), but ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you haven’t cut back on your eating, it should really matter what number you are, because you have to push your body further in order to get your period. Sounds like you’re working super hard at Uni, but you have to keep working super hard at eating too because you’ve already identified that it’s times of stress when you’re likely to slip.

    I know you said you want a maintenance type plan from your Dietitian and not a weight gain anymore, but maybe you’ll have to give it a bit more time. Until you’ve had the party – it might be an idea to keep going as you are. I hope you get an appointment with them soon though so they can talk you through your worries.

    Did you have a good Easter Ms Scrunchy? xxx

    • Easter was super stressful this year. I ended up panicking entirely over Easter dinner, so had to just leave my house. Thankfully, a friend of mine went on a walk with me round part of Epping Forest, then we cotched at his yard and had non-Easter based chats and coffee and tea. It lifted some of the pressure I put on myself and got me out of the house over the scary meal time. I know that isn’t perfect, but in the end I did better than last year and did actually manage to eat about 300g of chocolate. Seriously – half my calories were chocolate. I felt so sick, but I was proud. After last years epic fail Easter, I think it’s a step in the right direction. My biggest problems in recovery right now is eating food other people cook and eating in front of others. I’m ok in restaurants, but at home, I freak out way too much and honestly don’t know how to fix it. It’s rubbish, plus it makes famo celebrations and friendly dinner parties impossible :(. Your Easter sounded pretty great though. I hope you got all your chocolate in too!

      Crying makes me feel like I’m cracking if that makes sense. It’s like overspill when there’s just no more room in me. I really hate crying so much. I’ve got it in my head that some people can cry and look lovely in a sad way, then whenever I see my tear face I’m like “ARGH!”. I think it’s come from watching too many films. My makeup never runs in an aesthetically pleasing way and I go all blotchy. Not good.

      Not smoking isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be yet. I’ve been smoking for a long time and I’d just had enough really. NRT helps though. So much. Literally, as long as you keep pumping NRT into your body, I think it’s less hard for sure. If/when you’re ready to quit, go to the NHS service. Seriously. So much free nicotine. I get through about 40 roll ups a day so right now, it’s just about getting me off tobacco, not the addiction itself. I have one of those crappy inhalor/tampon things lolz. I look like such an idiot.

      I always worry about how much I weigh. I don’t actually think I’ve grown all that much size wise in the past few weeks, but not knowing my weight means that that might not be true and I might be making it up to feel better and that I’m probably huge with a bmi of 28 or something and just haven’t noticed. I say all this, knowing equally well that I (finally) managed some successful jeans shopping the other day and am still a size 8. I ended up with a 10 which I could grow into for fucks sake, but at least I got my stripy jeans yuss! Yet I’m convinced I’m a planet and my weight is huge. Grr. Right now, I’m just trying to get in touch with my dietitian all the time in the hope that she can give me some direction as to what to do now. But she never calls back and is never in her office. Urgh.

      Hope you are well x.

      • Show us the jeaaans!!

        And WHO CARES if Easter wasnt perfect?! WTF is a perfect easter anyway?!

        PLUS; I thought ‘Epping Forest’ was like… I don’t know. Like an ‘effing’ forest. I really thought it was a nickname for some city forest with a bunch of dealers and crackheads around or something.. hahaha sorry ^^

  4. And as the ‘And.. part’ already revealed; there was more to that previous comment too than showed up. WTF! Will try again;

    Anyone would be struggling with the Uni workload. And ýou’ve got recovery (draaaaining!) and even giving up smoking (frustraaaating) as well! You have every reason to feel stressed out! So don’t b harsh on yourself. You’re an absolut champ. And if something’s gotta give, it’s not your recovery Ellie.

    And let go of the weight knowing Ellie. It’s not gonna change anyting about anything. You won’t gain a lot more if you’re almost at your healthy weight, because that’s the whole point with finding your ‘balance point’ or ‘set point’, it means you don’t have to think about it anymore or make changes, it means your weight will just stagnate even though you don’t lower or increase your intake. So don’t worry about it. And besides, did you get your periods yet? If not, than you’re def not in the position yet to start lowering intake or stop gaining. You and I are in the same shitty boat. But life aint a cruise mylady! ;)

    Oww hun, Im sorry to hear you’re struggling. Dont give up. Like I said, you’re an absolute champ! And sorry for the chaotic commenting, the posting kept shitting up

    >>>> And to your reply? Crying is good. Let it out. Also when other people are around. It doesn’t make them feel guilty, the opposite! Maybe they’re able to help!! And therapy? You’re trying to cram things into the last few sessions now already, so it’s only a relief to have some more time? There is no hierarchy of needing it, and even if you don’t NEED it, it can still be a welcome gift to make use of? What doesnt kill you makes you stronger?

    And I had the tea thing with a bottle of water yesterday. I thought it was a bottle of water at least… but it was sparkling. And I’ll drink ANYTHING except for that. So I thought I was taking a sip of water whn it was sparkly water and I blew it right out again (nose/mouth etc). SO GLAD there wasn’t anyone sitting in front of me in the train cuz I’d spat it right in their necks!!

  5. I moan about my team sometimes, but my dietitian called me back, settled me as to what to do, and gave me another appointment for a week later. Thankfully, my team are lovely. I feel a lot more settled with my intake right now then I did this morning x.

    • Ahh glad your team got back to you! It’s horrible when you’re left hanging around not knowing exactly what to do or where you stand.

      I’m with Sooz, I know crying can be embarrassing but it’s normal, and rather than making people feel awkward they may see that they can be there to help you. It’s not a weakness, as much as it feels as though it is.

      JEANS! Woop, where from? Can you buy some for me too? I can’t do it!

      Glad you got out and about with your friend at Easter to ‘Effing (!) Forrest, as you said, it’s a huge improvement on previous years and it’s just hard because ‘events/celebrations’ make everything a lot more stresseful than it has to be. At the end of the day, you got your Chocolate in – so that’s good :). Loves xx

  6. scrunch have you got my letter yet? xxx

    • Sorry about my lateness – deadlines init.

      I totally got your letter on Saturday! Thank you! I really appreciate it. Imma reply soon (while I’m between deadlines) else I’ll be too swamped for ages.

      So good to hear from you though. I’m glad you’re doing ok. Love x.

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