Quickie Updates + A Poem

I’m not going back into treatment.  It’s prohibitively expensive, even with insurance, and the general consensus after a half dozen assessments is that I’m not sick enough for inpatient, but too sick for day treatment.  And, of course, my insurance doesn’t cover the residential that I qualify for.  So I go back to work on Friday and I’m going to try to make the best of it.  My motivation to at least maintain this weight (though I HATE IT) is higher than it has been, given that if I have to leave this job again, it will likely be for good.  I love my job, I really do, and I don’t want to let this eating disorder rule my life.

Unfortunately, I wonder if by going back to work and just maintaining if I’m not just setting myself up for a massive relapse later.  Going back to work isn’t going to fix my eating disorder, you know?  At best, I’ll be able to live with a sub-threshold eating disorder and still be just as obsessed and miserable, but not acting on (as many) symptoms.  At worst, I’ll completely fall apart and actually wind up being “sick enough” for inpatient.  Of course, if that’s the case, I’ll have to leave my job and be without insurance, so clearly my best option is to get my shizz together and make this work.

In other news, apparently my potassium is low and this is the cause of my constant chest pain recently.  It got worse in the past week to the point of my actually considering going to the ER, which I finally did last night.  My EKG was “great!” but apparently my body is lacking in potassium, so they shoved a couple of pills down my throat and sent me off with the instruction to call a cardiologist in the event that the pain continues.

The nurses looked at me as if I were some sort of idiot, a 26-year-old coming into the ER with chest pain and difficulty breathing.  I told them that yes, I know I’m only 26, but I also have an eating disorder, which often comes with cardiac implications.  After I admitted to having an eating disorder, the nurses asked my lowest weight.  When I told them, one said, “Oh, that’s not too bad.”  After a moment, she said, “Oh, but you’re tall…” Yes, I am tall.  Yes, that weight on someone who is 5’2″ or 5’3″ is totally acceptable.  Yes, thank you for validating my eating disorder’s constant earwig that tells me that I am not, nor have I ever been, really sick.

The nurse practitioner seemed to have a better handle on eating disorders and he was actually quite kind.  He reminded me that, as a person with an eating disorder, I am at a higher risk for cardiac episodes and so A) totally cool that I came into the ER and B) maybe I should lay off the strenuous exercise a little.  He also covered all his bases quite thoroughly, asking if I was feeling like I wanted to hurt myself — imagine!  Someone who actually bothered to read my chart before walking in the room!  (This is the same ER I visited in the spring when I was suicidal.)

It was strange for my labs to actually show something.  In all the time I’ve been getting labs and EKGs and bone scans for this stupid eating disorder, everything has always come back perfectly normal.  It has been a constant reminder that I’m not actually sick.  I mean, even with a lower-than-normal blood potassium, I’m not actually sick — if I were actually sick, my EKG would have been a little screwy.  And since I’m not actually sick, it’s totally okay that I’m going back to work.

My head is jumbled and nothing makes sense.  Can you tell?

A little poetry for today.  I wrote this a couple of months back and, in a departure from my usual style, it actually [sort of] rhymes!


You call me a “bitch,”
not knowing my story,
not knowing the heartache we share.
My actions have reasons,
even though you don’t see them,
So your assumption’s a little unfair.

You call me “hot”
and think it’s a compliment
not knowing that he did the same
With his hands on the body
he had recently violated
So that word holds a great deal of pain.

You call me “fat”
not knowing the years
that I starved as I tried to be thin.
Shaking hands, low pulse,
and months gaining weight
So there’s more than you see to this skin.

You call me these things
and think they’re just words
not knowing the power within.
Sharper than swords
with the power to kill
So think before you speak again.


13 thoughts on “Quickie Updates + A Poem

  1. As per usual, I LOVE your poem. I love your poetry. Period. Also, if I’ve ever called you “hot”, please forgive me. I should know better.
    I’m glad that doctor was kind, and those nurses are just dumb-bells, Jess. I had nurses in the hospital telling me to eat salads, that I looked normal, drinking my water FOR me, telling me I could skip out on snacks, yadda yadda yadda. Leave it to the professionals to know who’s sick and who’s not, m’kay?
    Love you,

  2. Labs, EKGs, bone density scans etc. always mess with my head. Half the time I want them to show something wrong, just to validate how terrible I’m feeling. The other half, I’m terrified that they actually will show something horribly wrong, which would leave me guilty and ashamed of the damage I’ve done to myself. I also convince myself that if my labs are “normal,” then I should be able to remain underweight because obviously, I’m fine! It’s tough when screwy lab results prove that your body needs recovery, even if your mind isn’t ready for it.

    Anyway, I’m glad the ER doc took you seriously, even if the nurses were idiots. Are you still getting outpatient treatment, even when you go back to work? Are your bosses/co-workers aware of your situation? I wonder how many people you can get in your corner. Maybe recovering in “real life” could be a good thing, even with the added stresses of your job. My dietician keeps begging me to get meal support, show my meal plan to someone, eat with others, etc. because the live, real-time support is what keeps the ED behaviors at bay in the moment.

    The poem is beautiful! I love it. Take care.

    • A couple of my co-workers know about the situation and one has invited me over on my days off next week to cook a meal and hang out with her. Another keeps serving me food even when I don’t request it in the hopes that I’ll at least eat some of it (which I usually do). I’m still going to see my outpatient dietitian, but I don’t have a therapist at the moment. This week went okay, but I’m concerned about the long-haul.

  3. Dear One, since you wrote this I have not stopped thinking about you. I totally get it with don’t call me hot because he called me hot and he hurt me. I am so very sorry that you know that hurt. No one should have to and it is heartbreaking that so many of us do. Let me tell you a different word, you, my dear, are BEAUTIFUL. You are a precious treasure. You are valued. You are loved. I want to tell you some powerful words that were said to me earlier this year. “The beauty that God placed in you cannot be taken away by the evilness that was done to you.” You are not the abuse, you are not the eating disorder, you are not the pain, you are a beautiful daughter of God.
    Don’t let the nurses lack of knowledge validate the voices of ed in your head. Stop comparing yourself to someone elses sickness to decide if you are truly sick or not. Listen to those who love you and are begging you to get help. Your life is far more valuable and touches far more people than you may ever realize. We love you, and we want you to kick ed’s ass!

  4. That poem brought tears to my eyes :'(

    The heart problems must be so scary :( I am praying for you <3 I know that you can do this, and don't think that IP is something you need without question, you can do this with help while making it work for you.

    Sorry that was a bit rambling, but basically, I know you can do this! No matter what the circumstances, you are strong and will overcome <3

  5. I feel like I could have written this post. I totally know how you feel. I know the low potassium symptoms. I know the feeling of being young (I’m 27), walking into an ER to complain of chest pains and breathing problems, and being thought of as a total idiot. I am in the situation you are in right now. I just left a residential facility (my third stent there) and have a job waiting for my return. Unfortunately, I am not doing well at all and at this point residential is too much support – too contained, and an IOP program is not enough – too much freedom. So my only option seems to be throwing myself back into my job, which I absolutely love, but fear it won’t be the savior I hope it to be. Like you said, I’ll be managing (probably pretty poorly) symptoms and behaviors while I attempt to perform decently at work, all the while anxiety and perfectionism ravaging me. I don’t know what the answer is. I’m far from “fixed” and know the job won’t make this go away, but I also feel treatment-ed out. I’m worried and I’m worried about you.

    • One of my coworkers told me when we were discussing my ED that I just needed to find something I wanted more than starving (of course, he’s a guy, so he thinks things are far simpler than they actually are). So my mantra at every meal since going back to work is, “I want this job more than I want to starve.” Some days I believe it, some days I don’t, but on the whole, being back at a job I love is definitely motivation to keep myself at least holding steady for now. I pray it will be the same for you.

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