“You know, go eat a hamburger.”
I kid you not, this is what the doctor doing my physical said to me on Tuesday. He noticed my thinning hair and asked about my thyroid and I admitted that it probably has/had more to do with my eating disorder. Once I told him I was recovering from anorexia, he started into a 5 minute discussion of how much he loved Karen Carpenter and how sad it was when she passed.
(A disclaimer: I am at a healthy weight. I do not, in fact, need to eat a hamburger.)
So that’s how my Tuesday morning began on my first day of work. This week was mostly training, so it was a lot of mornings sitting in a conference room and discussing how to therapeutically deal with crises that are bound to arise in this setting. The nice thing was that we were usually done with our training hours by 2 or 3, which is roughly when the boys get done with school. So I got to spend the afternoons getting to know the guys by playing basketball and ultimate frisbee and “apples to apples” with them. (For the record, I now have 2 skinned knees and a jammed finger. All from “apples to apples.” Kidding.)
The other advantage of my week was that I stayed in the “T.O.” (time-off) housing each night, so I was able to control what I ate for breakfast and dinner. I also had the option of packing a hummus wrap or cheese sandwich to eat for lunch instead of whatever dead animal the kitchen was serving up. Starting tomorrow at 8 am, I will no longer have that luxury. I will be staying at the camp 24 hours for 5 days at a time. (Actually, I’m only working Sunday – Wednesday morning this time as they try to ease me in. I’ll start my “real” schedule on Friday morning.)
There are a couple of vegetarians that are also youth counselors, and have told me to let the kitchen know about my dietary restrictions and they may be able to accommodate a mostly vegetarian diet. Sometimes this means that they’ll throw a few extra starches in the bowl so that I can eat more of those (oh. joy.). That, obviously, is not going to work when I have difficulty regulating my blood sugar. I need protein and fat to maintain my blood sugar for more than 2 hours at a time. (I have already had to use my glucose tablets at the camp to avoid a potential disaster.)
So with my clothing and meds, I am packing food. Lots of protein bars. A few fruit strips. And a 6-pack of Boost. BOOST, PEOPLE!! I have officially lost my mind if I am going to voluntarily drink supplements.
All that said, I’m still probably going to have difficulty maintaining my weight and sanity for 5 days at a time. Nobody at the camp knows about my eating disorder, and I really don’t plan on disclosing that if it’s not necessary. So I need to be accountable to somebody, and given that I’ll be unable to go home every week or even every other week for therapy and nutrition appointments, I’m hoping you guys will keep me accountable.
I’ll post every week on my days off. (Look for a post on Wednesday or Thursday — this is also the best time to try and call me!) If I’ve lost weight, I’ll tell you. If I haven’t eaten enough (especially upon arriving home), I’ll tell you. If I notice more and more food rituals and eating disordered thoughts, I’ll tell you. Is this plan as effective as being able to see a therapist or dietitian every week? No. But it’s better than nothing and better than me continuing on as if everything is fine when clearly it’s not.
I’m allowed to have my phone at the camp, apparently, but I’ll be pretty much unreachable from the hours of 7 am to 10 pm. You can write me, though! If you want my address, e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or facebook or call. I will give you my address at the camp. I love mail. :)
Also, on a completely unrelated note, I decided to stay at the T.O. housing this weekend (as opposed to going home for 24 hours) and go out with my co-workers last night. We had dinner, came back to the apartments for a few drinks, and then everyone else went out to a bar. It was tremendously fun. There were a few comments about my eating habits at dinner, but not enough to arouse suspicion and we generally just had a great time. I laughed so hard that I cried. Twice.