Friday, June 28, 2013

The Rest is Still Unwritten

In group therapy we were asked to think of a title for the book of our life, and what chapter we would be in.
The girls came up with really deep, creative answers that revealed a lot about how they thought about their illnesses. There were titles like "Survivor" and "Fighting to the end of the Tunnel," which show just how dedicated to recovery these people are. I admire that. 
I thought my title was stupid by comparison, and I made the mistake of mentioning that to the room. They all immediately told me I was being stupid and I felt bad for "fishing for compliments." I didn't mean to!

But anyway, 
the title of my book is :
The Ordinary Adventures of Emily Anonymous

I chose that title because it sounds quirky. Because I feel like my life is happy but mundane. I don't do anything really really interesting, and I'm a mundane kind of person. The Anonymous is about the fact that I don't like revealing my identity- to anyone. Even people that know me don't know a lot about me because I like to hide parts of myself and learn about others instead. 

I envisioned the book as a children's book, with one line per page, and big illustrations adding meaning to the text. Simple, quiet, happy. 

My chapter is called:
Emily Smiles in Therapy, Again

I intended for it to be ironic, like I was smiling through therapy in order to cut off my feelings, but people took it to mean the opposite, and then they all complimented me on coming up with an idea for a book that makes therapy okay for kids. 
It's actually a good idea. 

What is your life book called? What chapter are you in?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Group vs. Individual Therapy

For anyone out there considering therapy for themselves or someone else, I thought it might be helpful to have a comparison of some of the types. 

group: Free, as far as I've seen.
indiv: usually there's a copay. 

group: less attention is paid to you but when you do get attention you have the added benefit of 9-10 other heads helping you out.
indiv: all attention is on you and your own issues.

group: The group I went to was very supportive. It feels like I can talk with any of them. But it takes longer to get to really trust someone in group because you spend less time talking with each person.
indiv: There is only one person supporting you, and it's a professional setting. But you know this one person deeply, and it takes very little time to build up trust. Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing that this person can't abandon you since you're paying them, and that they won't break confidentiality, since that would be a legal violation.

group: therapy in group doesn't always pertain to you, and sometimes topics can be vague because they have to cover bases for people with a lot of different experiences. 
indiv: The therapy is always focused on you. Plus sometimes you get to direct it so it's sure to have an impact.

group: It's about meeting others who share in your plight. You are not alone. Seeing recovery in action and learning from others are major benefits.
indiv: It's about changing yourself. Putting in effort to find out about yourself and using that knowledge. Preparing to deal with the world on your own. 

Which one do I personally like better?
I'm a bit enamored of group therapy right now. It really does depend on the group though. I was in group therapy before with patients from a psych hospital, and it was horrible sometimes because we didn't have enough time to get to know each other very well. People were in and out and a lot of them didn't improve during the time they spent in group therapy. 
The one I recently joined has core members who come all the time and are happy to be there and work during therapy. Everyone is honest, which creates a great atmosphere. 

I think that doing both individual and group therapy at the same time is the best. 
What do you think? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don't Be Afraid to Tell a Friend

Me: You can say no to this, but I have an eating disorder, and I was hoping you'd come with me to a therapy group today.
Him: Sure!
Me: Good, I knew you'd say yes. 

That was it. He was happy to go, and the conversation turned to other things.
My worry with him was that he wouldn't really care. That he was say "Oh," and that would be the end of things. But I didn't feel that way because we went right to a therapy session where Charlie took everything in and we discussed it a little bit afterwards. He didn't think less of me, he understood what a huge step it was for me to tell him, and he listened. 

The best thing about it was how liberating it felt to tell someone. I felt free. And it dispelled some of my fears about telling other friends. 
The therapist made a good point during group: that if you tell a friend and he/she judges you for it, then that person really isn't that great a friend. 
I don't know if I agree with that, but it's something to remind yourself if you ever need to work up the courage to tell someone. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Goals of The Week 48

Last week my goal was 5 days without binging. 
HA. HA. HA. I made it two days, I think. I put this down to my horrible motivation and the abundance of evil food around the house. My sister's birthday party was a few days ago, so I was charged with making and decorating the cake. I did pretty well at not binging through that, and I had fun, but when the time came to actually eat the thing I went crazy. My b/p goal for this week is to not binge for three days in a row. I am also going to try to keep a food log every single day this week, no matter whether I binge or not. It's hard on days I work since I get up so early and don't have access to a computer during the day, but I'll make it happen. Maybe I'll write it on a piece of paper and then put it into caloriecount at the end of the day. 

My non b/p goal was to make goals by 10 PM. That didn't happen, but I did make more goals than usual. I don't know what's happened to me this summer. I used to make my goals without fail every night before I went to bed. Now I just watch TV until 1 AM or talk to my boyfriend and then go straight to sleep without a plan. My goal will be to keep a mistake log this week. Write down all the mistakes I feel I make and then write out the worst possible consequences for those mistakes. This might help me feel better about making them. 

What are your goals? 

PS. I guess my other goal is to tell my friend what's going on. He's coming over today and my plan is to sit down with him and explain what's happening before we go to group. I think I can do it, but I don't know. I've chickened out many times before. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks for all the advice it really made me change my mind about how I wanted to go about things. 

PPS Here's the cake I made for my sister. She loved it, I thought it looked messy. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to Tell Him?

I need advice.
I recently went to my first group therapy session, and they invited me to something on Monday which is all about support people. So I thought I would bring one of my friends who doesn't know about my ED. I don't think I can tell him before walking into the room of the group. Do you think it would be mean to not tell him beforehand? Do you think it's a wise idea to bring him at all?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Automatic Thoughts Day 7

I'm seeing my therapist in an hour, so I might as well use this time to record the last automatic thoughts for this week. We'll see where all this thinking goes in the session today. 

Situation: I was making a cake for my sister and I really really really wanted to binge on the batter. I'm a batter junkie. It's more delicious than cooked cake in my opinion.
Stress: 3
Ate: a few spoonfuls of batter (for taste testing, of course...)
Thoughts: You'll never get the chance to do this again. No one is watching, it's right in front of you. Just eat a little, no one will notice. You've been good for two days, you're allowed to go crazy now. 

What have your automatic thoughts been?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Automatic Thoughts Day 6

Situation: Another work sitch. Basically I dropped a resident. Technically, I didn't really drop him, but it amounts to the same thing. It's my fault, and it wouldn't have happened if I weren't trying to be all high and mighty and independent and competent. I was being stupid. 
Stress: 10
Ate: Marshmallows, yoplait, smarties
Thoughts: I hate myself. I should be fired. I was being stupid. Everyone hates me now. My coworker definitely hates me and he thinks I'm stupid and mean and a horrible caretaker because I did this. He probably talks about me behind everyone's back about how horrible a caretaker I am and turns everyone against me. He hates me. I know he does. And I ruined my reputation with everyone else too. I hate myself. I wish I could erase people's memories. I'm stupid. I can't believe I yelled at him. I just seem more guilty every time I open my fat mouth. Everyone hates me and everyone is going to catch on that I'm horrible and they'll fire me and yell at me. 
I don't know about you but I'm more afraid of people yelling at me than if they fire me in a quiet voice.

Situation: Going to my first group therapy meeting (I'll post about it soon!) and I had to buy food to eat. I didn't know we had to bring something, so I had eaten a big meal beforehand. 
Stress: 5
Ate: candied nuts, cheezits
Thoughts: I don't know what to get. If I get this then everyone will think I'm doing it because I have an eating disorder. But if I get something unhealthy they'll think I'm doing it to fit in. And I need to get something big enough that people won't think I'm being anorexic, even though I don't look anorexic. But I already ate and I'm not hungry. Ugh.....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Automatic Thoughts Day 5

Today was a success! No binging and no purging. I even exercised too and had a great conversation with my boyfriend. 
That being said, there were a couple situations which almost made me binge, but I managed to deflect them.

Situation: I lied. It wasn't life-threatening and it didn't harm anyone but I'm ashamed of it. I lied to make myself seem more capable. I lied yesterday and nothing bad happened, but someone suspected me of lying and it made me feel so guilty. I woke up today feeling horrible about it and I can say that I've learned my lesson, at least for the near future. I will never lie on the job again. 
Emotion: guilt/shame
Ate: Nothing. I just curled up in a ball on my bed and tried to breathe deeply. 
Thoughts: He knows. He knows I lied and I should be fired. I deserve it for lying to make myself look better. I suck. I'll never do it again, I promise, just let it blow over, please. I don't deserve anyone's trust. Everyone knows. Everyone is talking about me and none of them trust me anymore. 

Situation: I got back from exercising and just had to have a piece of dessert. What I ate fit into my calorie limit, but then I wanted to eat more. 
Emotion: craving?
Ate: grapes, instead of dessert
Thoughts: That tasted soooo gooooood, I need more. There's more of it and no one else will eat it if I don't. I should get it out of the way while I still can. No, I should eat grapes instead. They're low in calories and they'll taste really good. Just eat five and then see if you still want dessert. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Automatic Thoughts 3/4

Yesterday was horrible. I binged and purged six times in total, and there was no reason for it. I wasn't under any stress, so why did I do it?
I came up with one emotion: boredom.

Situation- home alone, bored.
Ate: tons and tons of pie crust that I made in order to binge on it. And pie. And milk and cookies.
Thoughts: I should make some pie crust so I can eat it. My mom's not here so I can probably get rid of all the evidence before she gets back. Go do it while you still can. 

And then later:
Situation: I'd already been binging and purging the entire day. 
Ate: tons of food.
Thoughts: Might as well do it, this day's already wasted.

Today was the same thing as situation number two. 

These have been my worst days so far this month, and it comes from boredom and habit. Why can't I stop it? I hate living here. I want my own apartment so I can buy vegetables and not have any dessert in the house. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Goals of the Week 47

My goal for last week was to keep my calories under 2000 as many days as possible. That didn't happen, but I managed not to binge for 4 days. It's just that my job keeps me active so I ate over 2000 calories. This week my goal will be 5 days without. Hopefully all in a row so I can finally see some results on the scale. 
My non b/p goal was to make mini goals. And I did that for most of the week. But I missed a couple days because I waited to make the goals until 1 AM, and then I was too tired. So my goal for this week is to make the goals by 10 PM. That way they'll be sure to get done. 

What are your goals? 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Automatic Thoughts Day 2/ 200th Post

Today is my 200th post! 
I wanted to let everyone who reads this know how much I appreciate you reading. It means a lot to me. The comments especially, because they're always so supportive and honest and I love hearing what other people think about things. I have responses to every single comment that's ever been posted, it's just that usually I respond in my head and then forget to write it down. So just a shout out that I love all your blogs, all of you, and I love that you take some time to read my thoughts once in a while. :)

Continuing with my automatic thoughts, here is what I came up with: 

Situation: I was working on getting people up and once again I was late.
Urge: 0
Stress: 8
Ate: nothing
Thoughts: Why couldn’t she have come four minutes later? It would have taken me just four minutes and I would have been on time for ONCE. I’m so not cut out for this. Penny probably hates me. She’s talking about me right now. Telling the other nurse that I’m not a nursing student. Complaining about me because I’m so slow. I feel horrible because Penny has to do all the work and I’m just useless. She probably hates it whenever she has to work with me. I’m not even good company for her to work with. Calm down, it’s just because the nurse was late putting up our schedule. It’s not fair. I would have been on time if the schedule hadn’t been late. I hate this.

Situation: Home, tired, foggy, I know my family is about to leave for a party and I want them to go so I can eat alone.
Urge: 5
Stress: 6
Ate: handfuls of raisins
Thoughts: Can’t they just go away? I wish I could just tell them to get the fuck away. I want to be alone. I just want to eat dinner. Why can’t people in this house ever be quiet? 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Automatic Thoughts Day 1

This week my therapist told me to record thoughts I had when I was feeling stressed or had an urge to eat. I'm going to use this blog to write down everything every day for a week, and then I will print out the pages to show her. Feel free to join me if you wish in the comments or wherever. 
Even though I didn't get to write down my thoughts until a while after the events occurred, it still felt like a big relief to get everything out of my system. 
Today was pretty much a success, so there's nothing in the way of intrigue below.

Situation: At work, I was called in for a new shift because they wanted extra people to help out with a picnic. The picnic was for residents and their families, so there were lots and lots of people there. Other workers were laughing, having a good time with the residents and families, and each other. I don’t like crowds and I don’t feel like I know my coworkers well enough to interrupt their conversations. I feel awkward talking to the families. I always feel like I should be doing something.
Urge: 0
Emotion: Stress (8)
Ate: nothing
I just need to calm down. This is just not a situation that I’m comfortable with. Too many people. I don’t know what to do. It’s not my fault. Just take the time to walk around here and calm down. There are just so many people and I feel so stupid because I don’t know what to do. I’m just going to pretend that I am being useful by walking around like I’m doing something. People are thinking that I’m invading. They see that I’m just blundering around, not doing anything. What am I supposed to be doing? I am so out of my depth. So overwhelmed. I feel so stupid. I hate myself. I just need to calm down. Other people don’t like me. They say I’m too quiet when I’m trying to be friendly. I’m just not cut out for this. The families see right through me. They think I’m not nice to the residents. They think I’m weird. The people I work with think I’m weird. What do I do?? 

Situation: I was printing a loooong document: 80 pages. And I screwed up 20 of those pages because of a stupid mistake. It is late at night and I am tired.
Emotion: Frustration (5)
Urge: 3
Ate: two wheat thin flatbreads
I’m so mad at myself and the computer. I can’t believe I printed everything wrong and now I have to take time to do it again and I wasn’t planning on it. So much effort that I shouldn’t have to go to. I hate this. I hate this. So annoying!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Therapy Session 4: Sometimes I am Good Enough

Today I got to complain about my job. It made me feel a lot better getting everything off my chest, all about my inadequacies and how I feel like I'm not good enough and should be fired. Sometimes talking and having someone reassure you is enough. 

But today was mostly about my supposed core belief: I am not good enough.
I came up with that line when she asked me what my core belief was. Is there any such thing as just one core belief? Everything I am does not fall back to the phrase "I am not good enough." I'm sure not all my stress results from thinking this. It's too simple. Nevertheless, it's a thought that I believe and it would be nice to change that. 
I'm not good enough at my job. I'm not fast enough.
I'm not a good enough girlfriend because my bf got mad at me a few times over the course of the year and a half we've been dating.
I'm not good enough at programming to get a job doing it.
I'm not good enough at recovery to recover.
I'm not good enough appearance-wise to attract lots and lots of men.
I'm not good enough personality-wise to attract lots and lots of friends. 
I'm not smart enough to earn tons of scholarships.

There's more, I just can't think of it right now. 
Anyway, the idea of the session was to chance this thought, the "I am not good enough" into "Sometimes I am good enough."
I'd never thought of phrasing it that way before. Because I do believe it. Sometimes what I do is enough. For example, I get up by myself every morning at 6 to go to work. 
And putting the thought in a more positive way makes it sound a lot better. It makes ME sound a lot better. 
I am good enough to get into orchestra. 
I am good enough (appearance) to get a boyfriend.
I am good enough to have a few friends.
I am good enough to get As and Bs in all my classes.
I am good enough to write at least one outstanding story. 
I am good enough to stop my binges and purges sometimes. 

Still sounds pathetic, but it's better than the first way. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lean on Me

Telling people the truth. It's the hardest thing to do for someone with an ED. 
"I'll be judged."
"People will think I'm disgusting."
"They won't like me that way anymore."
"They'll think I'm selfish."
"They'll know I'm not perfect."

But it seems to me that the best chance of recovery comes when the most people know about your illness and can fight it with you. 
I have been putting off telling people about my bulimia for so long because I'm afraid of the consequences. I'll probably still put it off even longer but I know it has to be done. I'll make baby steps. 
So I made a list of people that I can tell. 

1. My friend E
2. My friend C
3. Mom
4. Dad
5. My cousin

I've already told my boyfriend, so that's one out of the way. Phew. And I told my parents last year that I had an ED, but they think I'm all better now, and it's not like they really cared last year. My friends that I want to tell are both guys, and they're both really supportive and understanding. I know that they'd support me and help me, but I can't bear the thought of them knowing. 
What would happen if I told these people?
Well, E would probably be disgusted but still agree to help me, or he'd understand because he's gone through some hardships with depression and knows about mental illness.
C would probably not be surprised, and he would take the news lightly, just because he wouldn't know what to do with it. It's his nature to be funny and happy no matter what. He might not understand the gravity of the situation.
My cousin... I have no idea. I've grown more distant from her throughout the years. She probably wouldn't know what to say and then I'd just feel uncomfortable around her.
My parents... well. I don't know. My mom would be crushed and worried sick. My dad would probably also be worried sick and a bit annoyed that I have to have the illness. They might walk on eggshells around food with me. They would feel guilty. Mom would always try to make me eat MORE because she knows nothing about bulimia. Ugh. 

Are you considering telling anyone? Who?
If you were me and had to pick one person to tell, who would it be? 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Goals of the week 46

I have not been doing well. I didn't post last week because I had absolutely no motivation to do anything. I didn't write any mini goals, I didn't do any work for therapy, I didn't exercise, nothing. 
And yesterday I weighed myself and found out I've gained 10 pounds in the month I've been home. Not happy. So I have to pull through and that means trying to post more and keep myself on track. I'll get to commenting on everyone's blogs, but writing this is as much as I can bring myself to do right now.
My b/p goal for this week will be to stay under 2000 calories as many days as I can. All 7, hopefully. And that will bring my weight back down to something a little more reasonable. 
My non b/p goal is actually 2 goals: make mini goals every day and to write/blog all the things that are spinning in my head. I've had a lot of ideas for posts that I want to write or things that my therapy sessions have made me think about, but they've just been congealing in a dull gray mass in my brain. 

I hope your weeks have been going well!
What are your goals? Did you complete the ones you had last week/2 weeks ago?