The following does discuss eating disorder
behaviours and consequences –
it may be triggering.
I’ve sat here for a while now trying to think about what to write. I desperately want to write about how well I’m coping, the things I’ve achieved, and what I plan to do next.
I do keep slipping back into this belief that everything is okay. All I have to do is ask a friend or any member of my treating team if I’m okay and the answer is “No”. Everyone around me is saying I am not okay. Yet it’s still not quite sinking in.
In the last week it’s sunk in that I’m not physically very well. But ya know, it’s not all that bad either! I mean, well, it’s just not that bad. I’m fine. I haven’t stopped eating or drinking completely. I haven’t passed out. I mean… it could be worse.
I haven’t been well though. That did begin to sink in when I had a call from my GP at 7pm last week. I missed the call because I was in the kitchen staring at food I wasn’t going to eat. I came back and had the following voicemail:
Life as a Committee, it’s [GP]. Uhhh, your kidney function is not good as a result of not eating or drinking so your kidneys are starting to shut down. Life as a Committee, you need to eat and drink. If it’s too hard to do it on your own you need to go to [local hospital] emergency department. Get a friend to go along with you. Umm, and also call the [crisis] team please. I’m really quite worried and the blood tests are abnormal so you’re doing quite a lot of harm to your body. If you can’t drink enough and eat enough on your own and it’s too hard, please go to the emergency department.
That was the scariest voicemail I have ever had. Ever. I just froze. Then the panic set in. What the heck had I done? Not that I ever intended to cause damage… or set out with any conscious purpose. Or ever chosen to relapse. Then I started questioning how much I needed to drink in order to avoid going to the hospital.
I tried. Tried and failed really. Drinking an adequate amount was completely overwhelming. I felt like a completely failure for not being able to get in “enough” fluids…. so I went to the hospital. Turned out I’d managed enough fluids to get my kidney function back to normal.
I’ve done my best to maintain my fluid intake since then. Some days I’ve done well – like today! I’m somewhat proud because it takes so much effort. Other days I’ve failed dismally. Food intake? Less than adequate. I binged on one night, but other than that food is an issue.
I’ve taken another week off work. That feels like defeat. It feels like failure. Truth is… well, my body wouldn’t, I don’t think, handle five hours of standing. After a couple of hours of slowly wandering shops I’m wiped out and need to sit. Walking up a slope and my heart is pounding and I’m beginning to get puffed and dizzy. I’m trying to take it easy. Trying not to be cruel to my body. I’m already stressing my body with restricting food and fluids.
I have been blessed with a wonderfully understanding manager at work. Last week I called the night before each shift to say I wouldn’t make it. This week.. I went in and spoke to my manager. The store was packed, everyone was busy so I waited a little while. The first thing my manager said to me? That I didn’t look well. That makes my heart sink. I explained to her that I wasn’t well, what, roughly, was going on. I also told her I didn’t know when I’d be well enough to work.
There is also the possibility of a hospital admission. I have no idea what will happen there. It’s waiting and seeing for now. I’m not relying on it. It also makes me feel guilty. I don’t think that a hospital admission is necessary because, well, ya know, I’m okay.
I have to stop hiding in denial. I am not okay.
My psychologist asked how I was going with self-care. Showering? Going out? Work? Uni? When she asked, I paused. I realised that honest answers about those things would let me down in the “I’m okay” argument. I answered honestly. I was showering before I had to leave the house, otherwise I didn’t bother. I was only leaving the house for appointments. I hadn’t worked for a week. I hadn’t gone to uni for two weeks. I was (and am) spending the majority of my time in bed because I don’t have the emotional or physical energy to do much else.
My, oh so honest, answers lead to the discussion of a hospital admission. Seeing as I could do what I’m currently doing in hospital, and have more support. I think she has a fair point. With a friend’s help she’s been given the go ahead to look into it. Not sure what will happen. I’m hoping I snap out of dangerous ED behaviours before a hospital admission becomes a reality.
I wonder if hope alone is enough to turn this around?