Saturday, June 18, 2011

Growing up

I tried on a new me today. As I mentioned in my previous post, Lost and Found, I had plans today to put on my grownup, big girl shorts and attitude and drive my fraidy-cat self to down-town Atlanta for a practice run for the Peachtree Road Race.

And I did it!

I woke up unnaturally at 5:30 (damn alarm clock) and ate my normal pre-race breakfast of half a bagel with 2 tbsp of almond butter and a banana (so much food is still a fear for my E.D., but I do it anyway). I was so nervous my stomach decided to grumble and complain about the food until it recoiled at even a hydrating drop of water. But I didn't let it deter me. At 6:30 I left my house and turned on my GPS and navigated the suburbs, highways, and byways to find Big Peach Running Company, the meet-up destination for the participants. Just making it by myself to Atlanta was a score, so I didn’t care if I ran or not.

Not really. I was all about the run.

Since I left early, I arrived early: 7:00. As we were waiting until 7:30 for everyone to arrive, I sat down on the sidewalk and looked down and noticed something funny. Can you tell what it is?

In the 5:30 am, no-coffee-allowed-before-a-race mind fog, I changed out one sock and not the other. So I have on two different socks. Someone less anal than me would have been, “Oh, well,” but not me. So I went inside the store and found a pair of socks.

I didn’t know what to expect, if anything, from “special” running socks, but they were SO not worth the $10 bucks I paid on the fly for them. Boo. But at least I matched after that.

Anyway, at 7:30 we divided ourselves into wave groups according to pace, and when it was my group's turn to go, all I could hear was the sound of beeps going off from everyone’s Garmin being set. I found it amusing. I don’t know why, because I have a Garmin and mine was one of the many beeps playing music, but, still, it made me chuckle. Runners are a peculiar lot.

So I had no warm-up and foolishly didn’t stretch, and I paid dearly for it in the beginning of the run. It wasn’t until after the first mile that I finally began to get in my zone. I had my iPod playing and I was feeling pretty good and was looking around at all the Atlanta landmarks I’ve never seen before. I turned around and looked behind me, and I saw no one. I was the last one in my group. I was the freakin’ caboose. Did this bother my recovery minded, compete-with-no-one, compare yourself to no one attitude? Hell, yeah! But I was still making great time, so I just focused on the backs of the runners in front of me and kept going.

I was warned that around mile four we would come to what has been affectionately known as Cardiac Hill/Heart attack Hill/Heartbreak Hill. Take your pick, they’re all freakin’ true. For one whole miserable mile, it was all uphill. I stopped once, but only for two seconds. Then kept right on going.

All in all, the run took us from Brookhaven to Midtown, a total of 7.0 miles. When we were done, we were given Marta Breeze passes for free to transport us back to Brookhaven where we were parked. Aside from the sock incident, the no stretching, and being the caboose, my run had gone off without a hitch. . . until I made it to the Marta station. I didn’t know what the heck a Breeze pass was or how to use it. I felt really scared, lost, and overwhelmed. I didn't know what to do without looking like a total incompetent. There were other runners in my group using Marta and I could see them staring at my indecision. Finally I summoned the station attendant and asked him what the heck I was doing. He was less than helpful, almost indignant that I didn’t know what to do. So I just copied what my fellow runners were doing and how they were doing it.

I know I looked na├»ve, but that’s because I am. And that’s okay. I grew up a little today by taking on a new experience, putting myself in new situations, opening myself up to the possibility of good things happening. New experiences always have bumps and curves in the road; there’s no shame in that. It’s how we navigate those turns that prove how successful we are.

And I consider today to be a success!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lost and found

I’m finding my Husband again. Today was his fourth treatment of ECT (of which I will speak more in a later post), his second bi-lateral shock, and I think I’m starting to see results in him. He is less withdrawn, more engaged, and literally there seems to be a light coming back into his eyes. His days of being glued to the bed are lessening and he shows interest in things other than dying. It’s been hard living with his illness and coping with mine. How hopeful it would be if we were both on the mend.

After Husband’s ECT treatment today, we decided to go out. I had some workout clothes to return to TJ Maxx (I ended up buying more!), and he wanted to eat at Olive Garden. I am still not in a place mentally where I can eat out and not feel guilty, but I wasn’t about to say no to the first time he showed interest in food other than cereal. So we went. I already knew what the “safe” choice was: soup, salad, and bread.

I had one bowl of Minestrone, 1 breadstick, and 1 plate of salad. Though I didn’t go overboard, E.D. still wouldn’t let me feel good at the milestone of eating in public, eating healthy, and doing so only with earning my food on a measly 3.2 mile run in the morning.

But E.D. can talk all he wants. It doesn’t mean I have to listen. And as many of you know, night time is the hardest time for me. It's when the E.D. thoughts and self-destructive thoughts are at their peak. So I’ve prepared to occupy my time by finishing my book, Looking for Alaska, and watching probably the dumbest movie ever, “Grownups” with Adam Sandler.

On the plus side, I treated myself to OPI’s new Shatter nail polish in Black Shatter and OPI’s other color, “Shorts Story” for the underneath color.

So I’m looking at the positives of the day: My wonderfully made legs ran me 3.2 miles, I ate lunch out with Husband, and I have some cool new nail polishes to try!
I hope you did something positive for yourself today! You deserve it!

Changing my outlook on change

For some of us it’s pretty uncomfortable. For me, it’s down-right painful. But to grow in life and to change, unpleasant situations are necessary.

I remember for Spring semester an assignment Professor had given the class that was met with profound and immeasurable moans and groans. We were to complete an extensive amount of writing in numerous genres in a relatively short amount of time. Many of the genres in which we were to write we had no experience with, so, the class was a bit overwhelmed to say the least.

The Professor said something I hope never to forget. He remarked, and I paraphrase, that in order to grow and learn we must step outside of our comfort zones, our homey little boxes in which we live and know intimately. We must attempt situations and goals of which we have no experience and pretend to DO what we wish to learn, so that we can eventually master the task through horrid trial and error. It’s how we grow. Something like that anyway.

What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?

I’ve never been good at new situations. I’ve never been good at going outside my comfort zone and making friends, exploring new places to visit or eat. I stay wrapped up in my safe bubble. But this weekend will be different. I’m competing in the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA on July 4th and have NO idea what to expect, except for unbearable heat and humidity. However, there are participants going out on a practice run Saturday and I’ve sheepishly decided to join them. I’m not worried about running the 6.2 miles. What I’m worried about is the drive downtown (I don’t like to leave my subdivision, much less trek through Atlanta traffic and fight for a parking space so I can breathe heavy with 200 other people) and the aforementioned 200 other people frighten me as well. Crowds scare me. Normally Husband would accompany me, drive me where I needed to go, be my familiar in an unknown world. He would be my safety net, my comfort zone. But because of his ECT treatments, I wouldn’t dare ask him to drive me downtown and wait an hour while I run with strangers. He’s not feeling up to it, and that would prove counterproductive to my growth and recovery.

So I’m putting my big girl Nike shorts on this weekend and driving my grown up self to Atlanta to do a practice run with 200 strangers. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m hoping to meet some people, share a few laughs, swap a few stories, and just have a good time. I am attempting to grow and learn by taking on new challenges; working out my proverbial muscles so they will get stronger, so to speak. We’ll see how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

And as for the assignment Professor gave the class, it was an uncomfortable journey, but I got an A, and hopefully it has helped me to become a better writer.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No more Groundhog Day

It started out a bitter day. Up at 5:30 to take Husband to ECT treatments. I’ve discovered I’m ill-equipped to be his nurse. Husband’s being ill brings out the child in me. Perhaps it was from years of playing mother and nurse to the birth mother. I was her caregiver, not the other way around. I was her mother, her nurse, her caregiver, her everything.

But as we were waiting for all the paperwork nonsense and the IV’s and the ever late doctor to arrive, I sat and cried. Not because I was worried for Husband (which I am), but because I feel overwhelmed and lacking in resources to give him the attention that deserves but I feel I need. Which sounds selfish, I KNOW. I realize I’m NOT the one being induced with a seizure in order to scare away my depression temporarily.

But it is what it is. I was reduced to tears and hiding internally, which he noticed and only served to stress him more. So I’ve decided to have birth mother take him so I can take care of myself while I’m still trying to recover and find the internal part that can take better care of him than I can.

After we brought him home and he retired to bed with fatigue, grogginess, and a headache, we had a decision to make: We could continue to lock ourselves away inside our head, go to bed, binge/purge, or we could do something positive for ourselves.
So we decided to go for a run. We made sure Husband was okay, and we put on our running gear and fled the scene. The run was a little more than our usual 10k; that was our E.D. talking and trying to make up for the debacle of binging/purging that ensued yesterday. But we were well fueled and could tolerate the extra mileage with ease. The only problem we encountered was our slow pace. Running is as much mental as it is physical, and our depression dominated the first part of our run, insisting that we run at a slower pace than usual.

But the beauty of a run is that the world slips away and you get lost in the pounding of your feet on the pavement, the allure of the mile markers waving goodbye, the thump of the music in your ear. Soon we were running at a pace faster than normal. . . and it felt therapeutic.

The run saved us from ourselves.

We came home to the same Husband tied to his bed, which would normally drag us down. But while he is recovering from his ECT and depression, we are in recovery, too, and can not forget to take care of ourselves.

So we showered, applied our face, which we have neglected lately, feeling all too ugly, and endeavored the thirty minute drive to Secondary Therapist’s office for our scheduled appointment. Why is this an accomplishment, you ask? Because yesterday we could not pull ourselves together to save our life. We canceled Primary Therapist’s appointment and reduced ourselves to a brief phone session with Dietician.

In retrospect, we’ve realized what a mistake we made. We realized that we only take ourselves to our therapy appointments when we are doing well. What sense does that make? It is because we don’t want others (our treatment team) to see us at our worst for fear of embarrassment and judgement, especially of Primary Therapist. However, it’s when we are in the deepest pits of hell, as we were yesterday, that we should have taken our tear stained face, pajama clad body, and blistered knuckles from purging and hauled ass to Therapist and Dietitian's office. A lesson learned indeed. If they can’t handle our lowest of our lows, then they aren’t the treatment team for us. However, I think they can handle it and would have welcomed it over missed appointments.

So, for today, nothing changed but us and the way we reacted to Husband’s ECT treatment. For our recovery, we went for a run and made it to Secondary Therapist’s appointment. Score two for us! Go Team!

What positive step did you make today toward recovery, whether it was your eating disorder, your depression, your cutting, your anything?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some days are better than others. . .

But today, not so much. It’s challenging today, Evenings are the worst, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel I have hours to kill before bed, and I’m trying to do so without bingeing and purging.

If I look at it honestly, I’m not using any of the coping skills in my repertoire, because I’m just too damn tired. I don’t want to do Sodoku, play with the dogs, read a book, watch a movie, play cards, ect . . . , and I have no friends to call to help me get through the rough moments, hours, days, and weeks. For now, I don’t want to do anything except will the panic away. I rented two movies earlier in the day preparing for this moment of panic and anxiety, but am uninterested in what I rented. All that I care to do is eat something, anything, and purge it.

But I’m trying to follow the actions through. In the short term it might make me feel better to purge, but in the long run I will feel worse, both physically and mentally. I realize this truth in my MIND, but my HEART hasn’t caught on to the notion. And my heart is wondering why the hell it can’t feel better right now. My heart is breaking open desperately. And it bargains if I can’t binge and purge, then let me burn myself. Just a small place on my arm and it will feel better. I will give anything to feel better. Just don’t ask what is wrong, because I fucking don’t know. It’s just all wrong. And I feel so alone.

I know my internal tantrums are partly because my meal plan is increased, and I haven’t worked out today. It’s a rest day. Shit on that. I skimped on dinner to make up for it. I took an ill-advised trip to the grocery store with Husband (he can’t drive as he had a 2nd round of ECT today. More on that later). I peruse the aisles, looking at all the means to an end, fantasize about all the food I could easily purge. I know through past experience if I just let myself relax and have some of those “forbidden” foods, I won’t crave them so much or want to binge on them. But I will not find the bridge to that nirvana anytime soon, because I’m soooo terrified of gaining weight and adamantly refuse to gain weight that the joy of eating what my body craves must remain a mystery to me.

This is not a way to “live.” It’s a self-induced, slow acting death.