Jackie Times

EVERYDAY ADVENTURES

3 notes

Stepping into the Unknown…I Think I am Ready

Waiting at the gate, about to board a flight from NYC to LA. I’ve never been to California before.  I won’t see much of it on this trip. I am intensely afraid but throughout this process a calm sometimes washes over me..I think the frenzied panic and quiet calm have both propelled me forwards to this point and sit with me as I wait.  I have had A LOT of meltdowns, panic attacks, bouts of non nonsensical rambling and a fairly constant stream of tears…none of these seem to care about the time or place when they get underway. Deciding to go into inpatient/residential treatment was not a decision I came to easily or overnight but when it finally came down to it I realized it was the only option; all the reasons to go far outweighed my reasons for not going.


These last several weeks have been a terrible state of panic, anxiety, activity, sleepless nights, physical pain, deep sadness but with a little light of unwavering hope. I keep thinking how silly all of this is, all this fuss…I keep thinking there’s nothing wrong with me. (As if my healthcare team made a mistake diagnosing me with anorexia, as if everyone else’s concern is misplaced, as if the partial hospitalization programs I looked into turned me down for no reason). I  keep wondering why I can’t just do whatever I need to do to get better. Why can’t I heal myself? I mean it’s just about eating after all…that should be simple enough. (Actually, no on both counts).  Maybe i should have stayed at ERC? Was it really the wrong place for me or did my ED just push me to get out of there as quickly as possible? (Probably a combination). This line of thinking never gets me anywhere…except to make me feel more frustrated with myself, more critical of myself….throwing all the blame at myself when really I should use that energy to stop this ED from hurting me anymore.


Somehow (thankfully!) there’s a healthy part of me that wants to keep going, no matter what I won’t give in. And it all comes back to hope. That little bit of hope and belief that recovery is possible is everything…even when the idea is so far removed from my reality, even when I can barely see its light let alone reach out and grab onto it, I have felt its presence. I do have hope.

image

People milling about the airport. So many sights and sounds i would normally seek out to distract myself from being in the moment. Right now I am in the moment. I am sitting. I am waiting. And I am ready even though I can’t prepare, I can’t know, I can’t plan. I am just going to have to BE. That alone is a feat for me.


image

Image source


I wouldn’t be sitting here…preparing to fight for myself…if it wasn’t for my incredible healthcare team in NYC. MP, AL, and TK have been with me every step of the way and have found my voice when I had no words. They have fought for me, have been patient with me, have pushed me when i needed to be pushed, have believed in me and helped me find my way in this process. They have challenged me in the most meaningful ways (e.g. by helping me to question  and stand up to my ED thoughts and behaviors) but also steadied me when everything felt too much to handle. As well, at the doctor’s office M and D have made things like paperwork and lab work a whole lot more bearable and have done it all with great kindness. 


image

Image source

And thanks to JD in California for all her efforts preparing me for admission to Monte Nido. Incredible job not only coordinating everything but making me feel part of the process and not making me feel like a bother.


Very thankful for my colleagues, particularly SB and WW for making me feel valued and for being my “choir”. FE for putting up with me mini rants and meltdowns about insurance and paperwork, LM for reminding me to breathe and showing such strength in her own healthcare struggle, SK for always cheering me on, CM for assuring me things will get better and for surprising me on a day when I thought nothing could make me smile, MW for checking in and listening, MM for helping me get everything in order so I wouldn’t have anything to worry about, AB for all the good talks, understanding and hugs, EM for helping me to be a better advocate for my health, JG for liking almost every post I write (haha!) and on and on….to everyone for making our workplace a place of respect, creativity and personal growth.


To amazing friends, near and far, who have shared their words, experiences, love and time. EH for being a recovery warrior and sharing that journey through Instagram (so proud of you!) and to KO for being an inspiration through opening up about her own struggles and challenging herself each and every day (So courageous!|. And in particular to LS for adventuring with me around NYC to not only take my mind off things but to remind me of all the good things out there, like puppies, bus rides to nowhere and Christmas in July.  


To my aunt and cousin for picking up my bunny 2x and for keeping my mom occupied. Two dependable family members who are always willing to help. And my cousin, even though she is going through her own health battle right now, took the time and care to make some Crusader bunny earrings (Thank you! Thinking of you today and always!)


image

And i wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for my mom telling me I needed to do this, that I was deserving of a life outside this ED and that I could use the same determination and work ethic I use for other things to work on this. World’s best mom!


I don’t think any of these people will know how much I appreciate them and all their support…I am tearing up thinking about them…I will miss all of them while I am away.  I am sorry if I upset, frustrated, confused or bothered you along the way…I don’t imagine I have made things easy. If it wasn’t for each of you, I wouldn’t be here.


I could write about all the unrelenting ED thoughts attacking me as I wait here but I can’t be bothered. I could talk about my current weight and symptoms but what’s the point. The thing is I needed my ED for a long time because it was my security…it’s how I coped…it felt protective and it shielded me from a lot of things that made me afraid to live. Obviously an ED is not safe, it is not a good thing but it did serve a purpose, and it served it well.

But this past year I realized I didn’t want it anymore. I began to think maybe I didn’t need it anymore. But getting rid of something so embedded, something which has been a faithful but brutal companion isn’t so easy. It seems that as soon as I attempted to loosen its grip my ED got stronger. It kept telling me that without it I would be nothing, that I am pathetic to give up on it, that I don’t deserve to live. If I let it this ED would deny me everything. And even though I have been feeling worse each day and seemingly just standing by as my weight kept falling week to week again, letting physical symptoms become more pronounced…I actually have been preparing for battle, stealthily making arrangements to go somewhere safe, someplace where I’ll have 24/7 support to disengage from this ED.

image

Image source

My ED has known about these plans…weakening me a little more because it hates that I am trying to take away its hold on me. And still I went through with my plans wishing I could shut out the ED thoughts but unable to for very long. You don’t deserve to go. You are too heavy to go…you don’t seem sick. There is nothing wrong with you. You are taking a spot someone else could use. You won’t be able to succeed if you do go there. People will laugh at you for going. You won’t be the same person if you go. What will happen to you there? You are letting everyone down. You have work and other obligations. You are lazy. You will never be happy. You’ll be nothing without me.  And on and on…

Okay, so I am barely hanging in there…it’s hard hanging in there when you have an ED ripping you to shreds, eating you from the inside out and rampaging all the more as you prepare to wage war against it…fighting a part of yourself that really isn’t you, not really.  But guess what, I am about to get on this flight…I will land at LAX…and I will walk through the doors of Monte Nido Vista and slowly get myself back. It won’t be easy.

image

Image source


I am worried about being under observation so much, not being able to get away from everyone. I am wondering whether people there will like me. I wonder what my roommate will be like. I am afraid of all the therapy sessions and appointments I’ll have to go to…It’s so hard to open yourself up completely and I know I will need to do that work. I don’t know how I will be able to trust people. I am worried that I won’t ask for help when I need it. I am going crazy thinking about how much of my time there will be spent being restful…not walking and walking to nowhere to deal with feelings as I normally would do. And I am terrified of the food. The amount, the variety, sitting around a table, going to restaurants….doing everything I never would choose to do on my own. The thought of not having the same thing at the same time is frightening…how will I respond to that. I’ve only had fruit and occasionally yogurt for months…and now I will be trying new things every few hours. I am beyond terrified.  Instinctively I know that food is medicine. I know that the only way to fight these ED thoughts is to challenge it through exposure to food. I know my body and mind need refeeding. Knowing doesn’t make it any less scary…it just makes me accept this is where I am. And where I am is not forever. 

image

Image source

I know it’s going to be painful, physically and emotionally…I know there will be things I really hate about being in a treatment program and I know there’ll be times I want to leave but I think it will get better the longer I stick it out…I think my life will change. I know I am about to have an experience I will never forget. I am about to surrender for the first time in my life because surrendering is sometimes how you win the battle. And do you what? I am grateful. I am so very grateful to have this opportunity. I feel like my life has been moving towards this moment for awhile…and I have that awful anxious feeling I get when things are going to change but by now I should know that change can be an incredible thing. Somehow I know some doors are about to open and I will finally be able to not only see through them to what lies beyond but to walk through them.

Thank you to each of you! 

One of the best things I have ever done this year was to open myself up and share my experiences because everyone’s love and support is why I am here today. I wonder how things would be if I had done that sooner…than again, sometimes things happen at the time and place they are meant to.

I think I am going to be okay. In the end, I will be okay. I’ll find whoever it is I was meant to be before this ED consumed so much of my energy and thoughts.

image

Image source


Lots of Love!
image

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Filed under Recovery Eating disorders anorexia life Monte Nido gratitude health wellness