Insidious Whispers and Deafening Screams

I mentioned in my last post the the dictator has been whispering in my ear lately, trying to convince me that a relapse into old behaviours wouldn’t be at all a bad thing. I mean, it wouldn’t be a *real* relapse, I’d just restrict and run and life would still run perfectly and I’d have no consequences for my behaviours, I’d just be thin. (Which is totally ridiculous and has never happened to date and, in fact, each relapse is worse than the last, so I’d probably be dead.)

So that has been floating around in my head the past week. Undoubtedly it is related to the stress of the new semester starting, my feelings of utter incompetence when it comes to my chosen field, my highly regimented/probably overbooked schedule, and somewhat overwhelming extracurricular obligations/responsibilities. It has absolutely nothing to do with the food, my body, my weight. Just the stress. (Or so Counselor-Jessica is telling Deranged-Jessica.)

Anyway, that is background for my tale, in which this whisper becomes a wailing siren call on Tuesday. It was the first day of class, so I was already a bit nervous, but our prof for this class is really, really great and very down-to-earth. (She brought brownies! And coffee! And tea! And stress balls!) Early on, she said that she went into counseling because it saved her life. So, ya know, same reason as me.

We were asked to go around and introduce ourselves and tell what drew us to counseling. So I was prepared to just say, “Hey, I’m Jess, I’m a second year CMHC with expressive arts focus and I’m going into this field because counseling definitely saved my life more than once.” For the most part, my cohort (the 15 students I entered the program with last fall) knows about my ED and treatment history and I’m fairly open about it. That said, I don’t generally introduce myself by saying, “Hey, I’m Jess and I’m recovering from an eating disorder.

I was, by virtue of the room layout, the last person to do an introduction. When it came my turn, here is what I said:

“I’m Jess. I’m in the CMHC program with an expressive arts emphasis and I am really going into counseling because it absolutely saved my life on more than one occasion. And I’ve been in and out of a few eating disorder treatment centers and had some really great counselors and some really awful counselors and hope to be one of the good ones.”

So why the mention of the eating disorder treatment?

Competition.

About halfway through the classroom introductions, a young woman explained that she was drawn counseling after her “five year stint with anorexia” (this is actually how she worded it). Alarms started going off in my head. The dictator started screaming.

I needed to defend my ground.

I needed to make sure that everyone knew that I, too, had an eating disorder.

I needed to make sure that everyone knew that it had been so bad I’d had to go to treatment.

I needed to make sure that everyone knew that I’d relapsed and had to go back again and again.

I needed to make sure that everyone knew that I was really sick. (Read: I was thin.)

Because that is just the way the eating disordered brain works. It’s sick and twisted, but my eating disorder still needs to be validated. It still needs that gasp of breath that people do when they hear how much weight I lost in less than a year, that look of pity when I talk about the tube, the almost-jealousy when they hear all the “bad” foods I got to eat freely in treatment to put on weight.

It pisses me off that I feel I so badly “need” this, even after all my time and work in recovery. It pisses me off that some part of me still glamourizes the eating disorder, some part of me still wants it.

I don’t need it and it isn’t glamorous.

It’s hell.

And I need to keep reminding myself of that, but damn if the Dictator isn’t loud these days.

Disjointed Thoughts

I wish I had it in me to write a brilliant, witty blog post. Heck – I wish I had it in me to write a coherent blog post. But time is money or time is sleep or something, so you’ll get the highlights. Low lights. Cliff lights. Cliff Notes. Whatever.

 

*My primary job now consists of watching a two year old boy and his six week old sister. Holy cow. Parents, how do you do this?!

*This has reaffirmed my decision to not have children, but just watch everyone else’s kids and hand them back at the end of the day. 

*Cuddling a sweet baby is the best thing for my mental health. So, friends – keep having babies!

*We are TRYING to decrease my meds, but it’s a slow process. Also, the first decrease made me an anxious idiot. 

*I am terrified at the thought of not having therapy any more. Likely, it’s just two or three more sessions.

*I gained weight. I both care and don’t care. 

*I like eating, but I don’t want to be “fat” (whatever that means).

*A lot of times, dietitians will remind recovering anorexics that they aren’t just going to gain weight indefinitely and yadda yadda yadda and become overweight yadda yadda yadda. But I have gone from sick to well to overweight and the thought is a bit scary. 

*Okay, a lot scary. 

*Sometimes, there is this little whisper in my head that tells me I could restrict and run again, but do it better this time – just be thin and numb and no other consequences.

*That is a load of bullshit.

*Instead of running tonight, I went for a walk.

*I found apples and berries on my walk (hello, breakfast)!

*At one point I was walking and thinking to myself how lovely the woods smelled.

*I looked down to find myself standing in a field of spearmint. I sort of wanted to roll around in it.

*I just took some for tomorrow’s breakfast bowl, but sniffed it the entire way home.

*Everyone else on the greenway probably thought me an idiot.

*I don’t care.

*I am, mostly, happy.

 

Good News/Bad News

Good News: I seem to have figured out what is causing my stomach pains!

Bad News: It’s soy, which is a) my primary source of protein and b) in ev.ery.thing.

Good News: I have a new job caring for a young adult with special needs.

Bad News: He’s male, which I have some issues around, because trauma.

Good News: Only four days until the semester is done for me!

Bad News: Still need to write four papers, complete two presentations and not die from sleep deprivation.

Good News: I finally managed to say some very necessary words to a person in my life with the intent of ending the friendship.

Bad News: This was done in response to his calling ME to apologize for things I assumed he was totally oblivious to – and wanting to repair the friendship. So now I’m confused.

Good News: Since realizing how my lack of self-care was affecting my mood, I have been showering every day and feeling, on the whole, much better.

Bad News: No bad news there. Sincerely thankful for that.

 

On the whole, life is good. The only thing I really need right now is more time cuddling babies. Good thing I’m headed to my hometown this weekend. :)

I Said “Breathe,” Not “Hyperventilate”

So, yeah. All that adorable optimism and chutzpah in my last post pretty much went out the window by Wednesday. I honestly don’t know that I even have the energy to hash the whole thing out, but suffice it to say, my recovery had a VERY close call this week.

Between Wednesday at about noon until I woke up on Friday morning, I was a hot.mess. I’m not entirely sure how I survived Thursday, honestly, as I was extremely dehydrated and undernourished and in a post-SH induced haze. Add a cup or two of shame and a dose of fear and you’ll understand why I was utterly shocked to hear my professor suggest that I go on to a doctoral program.

Me, the girl who had just met with her dietitian because she couldn’t fathom the idea of a meal. Me, the girl that went to health services for an SH wound and was not allowed to leave in the hour that passed between my arrival and the first available appointment. Me, the girl who had gone to bed at seven the night before because she could not deal with life any more. Me, the girl who had seriously considered ending her life for the first time in almost a year.

It started with a therapy session on Wednesday, though to understand the whole story, you need to know that these things were playing in the background:

  • I was at the state counseling conference and listened to a presentation about the new DSM-V eating disorder diagnostic criteria and discovered that they now rate the severity of EDs as from “mild” to “severe”
  • At the same conference, I made the mistake of sitting in on a session about working with traumatized women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where “trauma” = “sexual violence” and I spent an hour outside trying not to jump out of my skin

And I totally thought I had done a good job recognizing and processing it and told my counselor about it first thing during our [phone] session. What I did not anticipate was her pushing and pushing on the physical reaction I had during the trauma session.

Why was I so hypervigilant? I needed to keep an eye on everything. Why? So I don’t get hurt. Where did I learn that? …in college. When? …at the bar. When? …I can’t go there today. That’s as close as we’re going to get today, April. 

Everything in me was screaming under the weight of shame.

In a lot of ways, I have made a LOT of progress since I have come back from treatment. Unfortunately, after God-only-knows how many hours and thousands of dollars on therapy, I still believe that I came out of the womb a priori fucked up. My life has been idyllic, nobody has done anything to me, and there is basically no reason that I should struggle because my life has been PERFECT. It’s ME that’s fucked up.

On Wednesday, when I said for the millionth time that I’m just fucked up, my therapist refused to play along. She said that we are at the point in counseling where I need to either dig deep and challenge that (by acknowledging how people hurt me, failed me, missed me) or there’s nowhere to go. And if we don’t go there, what are we going to do in therapy? Keep me from going crazy; maintain the status quo, I said.

She won’t. Either we dive into my story or we need to consider terminating the counseling relationship. If I want a therapist who will help me to maintain my behaviours where they are, I need to find a new one. And while her motives are so pure (she wants true freedom and healing for me, but that means I’ve got to push ahead), I was (and am) upset nonetheless.

April has been my counselor for YEARS. She calls me on my shit. She knows more of my story than anyone else. She has cursed at me, challenged me, eaten with me, laughed with me, comforted me. The idea of losing her as a counselor is terrifying.

Equally terrifying is the prospect of acknowledging how and when people have hurt me and coming face-to-face with the brokenness in me. I insisted time and again in Wednesday’s session that I’m just not ready for that kind of work, and she repeatedly told me that she thinks I am. I cried as our session wound down and she told me that I needed to seriously think about if I’m going to continue therapy.

Above all, she said – it’s an issue of trust. Do I trust my friends, family, and community to hold me up when I’m so weak I can barely stand? Do I trust April to be a wise guide and to walk me through this? Most of all, do I believe that my God and my Saviour is waiting to bind up the broken places in me and heal them?

Yes. And no.

The fear is positively crippling. I feel like I am just barely keeping my head above water this semester. And if I messed up so much and so badly over the course of 36 hours just talking about the possibility of doing this sort of storywork…

How much worse is it going to be when I actually do it?

 

 

Just. Breathe.

Today marks the beginning of my third week back in classes. My course load is considerably heavier than last semester, which makes me unbelievably nervous. 

My favourite class last semester was Multicultural Counseling, which was also the most challenging class I was taking. Because I loved it so much (and because I did not know when this professor – whom I adore – would teach a class I could take again), I signed up for Advanced Systemic Multicultural Counseling. About a week before class, he sent an e-mail with the eleven-page syllabus for this class. I freaked. Actually, a lot of us did. This class overwhelms me a lot and last Thursday’s class was positively miserable. Most of the students in the class are second or third years in Marriage and Family Therapy, so not only do they have more education than I do, but they approach counseling from an entirely different theoretical perspective. I felt incredibly outsmarted in Thursday’s class and can only hope that my negative thinking cycles were due in large part to a lack of sleep.

My sleep over the past couple of months has gotten progressively worse. Waking up multiple times in the night, staying awake for hours at a time, inability to get my head to shut up long enough to even fall asleep. Last Monday I woke up at 4:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. By Thursday, I was dragging. I played the “everything is fine!” face as long as I could, but after class, my head was spinning with unhealthy behaviours I wanted to behave in and I didn’t know how I was going to make it safely through the night.

So I finally took advantage of my permission to do cardio. I hit the gym in the apartment office and pounded out a couple miles on the elliptical. I didn’t even spend my entire allowed time, only about half. But by the time I returned back to my apartment, my brain was slowed enough for me to actually use coping skills. My therapist and I had a long conversation last week regarding whether or not reintroducing exercise at all was wise, and she was not at all a fan of the idea. (My dietitian is the one who gave me permission to exercise again.) 

But Thursday night, I finally slept. Through the night. Thank God! I had done a handful of “new” things that night, so the rest of the week and weekend has been an experiment trying to figure out which of the three (or a combination) was the thing that allowed me to sleep so solidly. After a few days, it seems that ditching one of my pillows and taking one of my anxiety meds with the rest of my evening medications. I’ve woken up a time or two over the past two nights, but it’s usually just for a moment and I’m immediately back to sleep. It’s really delightful. The only kink in this plan is that my psychiatrist does not want to prescribe this medication for me – and I agreed with her initially, because I feel like it is more of a “crutch” and doesn’t allow me to actually work through the anxiety. However, if it’s going to help me sleep, I’m going to have to lobby for it. (I cannot take sleep medications due to a tendency to overdose and/or make “plans” with them, so I do not feel comfortable having them in my house.)

On the bright side, I am taking a class on music and the expressive arts and I am LOVING it. Unfortunately, it was canceled last week due to snow (it is a late night class) and this week I will be at a state counseling conference. I am truly bummed to be missing it. The class is so laid back! (Our syllabus is a list of books and ideas – no quizzes, no tests, no papers. Everything is experiential.) And the professor is amazing. In just three hours, he made me fall in love with music all over again. He retires after this semester, so I’m glad I’m having the opportunity to study with him now. (And – bonus! – he is also listed as faculty for our summer expressive arts institute, so I’ll get to have one more week of class with him.)

And now, I should return to schoolwork. Basically every moment of my day is scheduled this semester and I need to stay on top of things. The moment I fall behind it will snowball and everything will be off schedule. This is exacerbated that I just got an assistantship (10 hrs/wk), though on that note, it is extremely flexible, so I am hoping that it is just a good way to get my head off classwork.

Oh, and one of my semester-long assignments is to zentangle three to four times a week. I’m literally being graded on this. Twist my arm, will you?

Oh, f**k

I just discovered that I can stream (for free!) the exercise videos that I abused most during my ED. Thank you, Amazon Prime!

This is actually not where I was going at all with this post. In truth, I’m not entirely sure where I was going, but I felt the need to update. The fact that I can count the number of updates I’ve written since I’ve been home on two hands is somewhat distressing. I don’t know where I’m processing stuff. I’m not really journaling, so it’s not as if I’m writing it all out elsewhere. I’m not even e-mailing my therapist on a nightly basis like I was before treatment. 

But I’m dealing with stuff, it would seem. My therapist commented on Monday that I seem to have matured greatly over the past month. And I can definitely see that.  I feel like I’m making strides in therapy and am getting far better at seeing things quasi-reasonably versus letting my irrational, emotional brain make all the decisions. Even with a couple of incidences of self-harm, my therapist thinks I am doing really well. I don’t know if my parents would feel the same way if they knew the severity of the self-harm (I have told them that I self-harmed), but I’m kind of hoping that doesn’t come up.

In other news, I am kicking ass dietarily. As long as I don’t think about it. I have a dietitian appointment in half an hour and I’m afraid that if I hear that I’ve gained (which I’m supposed to be doing anyway!) that I’ll be more fearful of my oreo habit and pbj and chips for lunch. I don’t want to be, because honestly – it’s nice not to overanalyze every.single.bite that passes through my lips. 

In large part, I am able to do this because school is keeping me busy.  I have a 60 question multiple-choice test and four short papers due and then my semester is over. OVER.  I will have survived a full semester as a graduate student.  What?!?!

That said, I am a touch worried about how my month-long break is going to go. I’ll still be nannying, but without school, there won’t be much in the way of structure and I fear that I am just going to sort of laze around and not do so well on the eating front, because loads of unstructured time means that I generally forget to eat or put it off entirely too long. However…

My therapist and I have agreed that my dietitian here is absolutely crappy (she actually suggested I get a grilled chicken sandwich instead of the sandwich I was actually craving, but which left me feeling guilty) and so, assuming my break goes well, I get to step down to once monthly dietary appointments.  Which means I can also return to my dietitian at home. If this happens, it will be the first time in almost four years that I haven’t seen a dietitian on a weekly basis.  That is insane to think about. 

Also, consider the following: 

  • I had never in my life finished a jar of peanut butter, even though it was a binge food.  I have finished FOUR since moving three months ago.  I have also finished three jars of jelly.
  • Oreos have always scared me a bit because they were a binge food, so I hesitate to buy them even in small quantities (like single servings at a gas station), much less in large packages. I bought oreos two weeks ago and finished a pack in a week. Not because I binged on them, but because I ate them in normal amounts whenever I craved them. So I bought another pack. Not feeling the oreos as much this week, so I’m not eating them as much.  NORMAL.
  • I visited a treatment friend last weekend and we went out to eat. At a fast food restaurant. I had hushpuppies and onion rings. The weekend before, I ate fries twice. 

Awesome, right?  Also, I discovered what the problem with my body was – apparently, I am lactose intolerant.  Cheese doesn’t have lactose (it’s a carb) due to the enzymes, and yogurt is usually broken down to some extent by the cultures in it. So those don’t bother me too terribly. But ice cream? Milk? White chocolate covered pretzels? All out.  The only thing I can figure is that when I got out of treatment, I essentially stopped eating dairy other than cheese and yogurt (before treatment, I was eating ice cream regularly to appease my dad). Lactase is a use it or lose it enzyme, so I guess that not eating ice cream or milk for a few months was enough to throw my body off when I tried to institute a nightly milkshake or bowl of ice cream in an attempt to gain weight.

The most depressing part about this is the fact that my favourite ever candy bar (Skor or Heath) is essentially 90% dairy because that’s what toffee is.  LAME.  This is why there is lactaid.

Okay, off to another session with the less-than-awesome dietitian.  Then class.  Then CATCHING FIRE.  

I’m just a little excited about the last one.

500 Words or Less

I have a ton of papers due in the next two weeks and the words just are not coming.

So in an effort to save words for those that will be graded, I am attempting to give you the update of my life in 500 words or less.

School: Love it. The structure, the reading, the difficult discussions, the ACCESS TO ALL THE JOURNALS I WANT TO READ.  Awesome.

Work: I get paid to play with an adorable munchkin three days a week. Stress relief plus money! And nap time! Awesome.

Social Life: Basically, I have one. At least once a week, I’m going out with someone up here, be it to a meal, out for froyo, or for a hike. I’ve had to be very intentional about this, because mostly, everything in me wants to stay at home every night and curl up in front of a movie on amazon.

Service: I started volunteering at a local homeless/transitional shelter as part of a class assignment, but I absolutely fell in love with the place and have been spending a few hours a week there ever since. The residents are so awesome and I love hanging out and talking to them.  It also reminds me just how truly blessed I am.

Spiritual Life: It’s been shaky, and I don’t think I realized just how much emotion I had tied up in my church in my hometown until I was crying in my therapist’s office this week. But I think I have finally found a church home here in the mountains and it brings me lots of peace and joy.

Health: I feel exhausted and shitty all the freaking time.  I thought I finally had it figured out (eat more, drink more water), but that doesn’t seem to be doing the trick any more, so I spent an hour at health services today getting poked and proded and letting the vampires take my blood.  Hopefully, when I return Thursday there will be some sort of answer.  Of course, it could always be related to…

Eating Disorder: I’m no poster child for recovery, but I am doing my damnedest.  Unfortunately, “my damnedest” means that I’m consistently losing weight no matter how hard I try and how much I’m sitting on my butt. Awesome. Not.

Therapy: Basically, my therapist is amazing. Like, fucking awesome. And, after four years, it’s finally gotten to the point where I can cry in front of her. Which is good, since crying is easier than eating, which is what I have to do in next week’s session.

Coping: I am tangling like a fiend. Mainly because I’m really trying to do this recovery thing right and not switch symptoms and go crazy with alcohol or a blade. It’s not perfect, but I’m trying. Plus, I’m pretty sure someone will commit me to the hospital if I need any more stitches.

Overall: Pretty awesome, though I am often overwhelmed with pangs of loneliness and wishes to be with my friends at home.

Damn. 502 words.  Whatever.

 

And It All Comes Crashing Down

Okay, so it’s not entirely crashed down, but this week has been pretty shitty.  And it’s only Wednesday!  At least I’m over the hump, right?

The quick recap:  Therapy Monday.  Insanely difficult.  High self harm urges.  I decided to stop for a 6 pack of beer on the way home and proceeded to drink most of it.  Then, around three AM, I decided in my drunken stupidity that I may as well just self-harm.  What could go wrong?

As it were, a lot could go wrong.  A lot of Tuesday was spent nursing a hangover and forcing myself to eat, not to mention the hours I spent at the Student Health Center.  I had a meeting with my new dietitian, then sat and waited in the health center for someone to see me.  They don’t even bother to look at my leg and make an appointment for me for later that afternoon.  I start freaking out over the fact that my appointment is really close to my two PM class, but the triage nurse assures me that there will be no problem and I will get to class on time.

Luckily, I thought ahead while I was sitting and waiting for my appointment and e-mailed my professor and told him in the vaguest of terms that there was an incident related to my “documented disability” and could I please make up the quiz if I get to class late.  An hour and some stitches later, I arrive to class in the middle of some sort of presentation about the honor society and while interested, berate myself for ever thinking that I might be able to qualify for something like that.

I skipped my Tuesday night class because I just could not deal.  I couldn’t handle the thought of being awake and alive for three hours worth of research methods so I bailed and asked one of my classmates to catch me up on anything that I might miss.  (Most of the notes, etc. for this class are online, making it really easy to miss a class without getting behind.)

Among the accommodations I requested when I went to my school’s Office of Disability Services at the beginning of the year was my “worst case scenario” accommodation:  my disability may at times require me to miss class or need an extension in deadlines.  This was there just in case I wound up in the hospital for some reason.  But there was no way that was going to actually happen.

Or so I thought.  Last night was the first time I really considered that I may not be able to make it through this semester.  2013 is the first year in a few that I’ve NOT had a trip to the psych ward.  I sort of assumed that I’d be able to make it the whole year and break that little pattern.  But last night I seriously wondered about how the next month or two are going to go — while my depression isn’t so bad that I’m thinking of suicide right now, there is definitely something going on with my brain chemistry and my depression is worse than it’s been in a while.  (And yes, I am taking my meds!  Every day!  As prescribed!)  And I’ve proven to myself that I can do quite a bit of physical damage — so what happens if I accidentally cut a bit too deep?

I am certainly not posting this to be attention-seeking or to make people freak out.  I’m posting this to try and make sense of my own thoughts.  I am posting this because I need my hands to be occupied.  I’m posting because I need ideas on how to make this insane depression abate so that I can be the totally kick-ass grad student I know I can be.

Because I will kick-ass.  Grad school ass.  ED ass.  Self-harm ass.

The Safety’s On, Right?

I am feeling all kinds of out of sorts this week.  My self-harm urges have been steadily climbing for the past couple of weeks and have basically hit fever pitch this weekend.  “Triggered” isn’t even the word.  It doesn’t matter WHAT I’m thinking about — books, eating, schoolwork, email, friends — self-harm is the obvious answer.  

I switched dietitians about two weeks ago because the dietitian on campus is pretty competent when it comes to EDs (and she’s free) but it has left me feeling unsettled.  She’s not Lindsey and I’m just not comfortable with her yet.  I know Lindsey said I was welcome to email her during the transition and after because she genuinely cares and wants to know how I’m doing, but I feel guilty emailing.  And I don’t trust Janna enough to try and explain things.  Maybe it’s because she had known me so damned long, maybe it’s because she had seen me bounce in and out of the hospital on multiple occasions — but Lindsey understood the self-harm aspect and how tied it can be to the eating.  (My dietitian and therapist at CFC had a really good grip on this, too.)  I don’t think Janna will know what the hell to do if tell her about my urges.

So dietarily, I’m feeling a little on my own. 

And to make matters worse, my therapist hasn’t been answering my emails this week, which is rather unlike her, especially given the content of the email I sent her Thursday night (re: self-harm urges).  The urges are getting really bad and are happening almost 24/7 at this point, but even so, I feel like to text her would be a violation.  I have an entire fucking list of coping skills, right?  That’s what they’re there for.  Use them, you idiot.  (For that matter, she didn’t respond to my text on Monday either.)

So yeah — I feel a bit like I’m doing this thing on my own for the week.  I’m incredibly grateful for my amazing friends both in real life and in the blog world because I’m pretty sure I would have already lost it if not for you.  But things seem distressingly on-edge right now.  Even my attempts to get ahead at schoolwork (or hell, just keep up) are coming back to bite me in the ass and I don’t know how I’m going to survive the rest of the semester.

I love everything about my life up here:  the courses I’m taking, the family I nanny for, the non-profit I volunteer at.  

But wherever you go, there you are.

And it doesn’t matter how far I run, I’ve still got a mental illness.

I’ve just got to make it until Monday and keep the safety on this damned gun or there’s the possibly of serious damage at the next trigger pull.

 

Meltdown in T-30 Seconds

Okay, so I’m exaggerating slightly.  However, I am having a small panic attack at the thought of going to a “Welcome Potluck!” that starts in 40 minutes.

Surprisingly, this panic attack has absolutely nothing to do with the food.  I’m totally cool on that account.  People have posted what they’re bringing on the event page on Facebook to ensure that nobody brings the same thing.  Handy, right?  So now I can get some idea with what food I’m faced with before I go.  

The panic is directly related to the fact that I am going to have to be around people.  People I don’t know.  People who don’t know me, save for what they’ve seen on my Facebook (which is basically, “Hey!  I’m a nut job!  I have an eating disorder!”).  I left graduate orientation this afternoon shaking after having spent an hour with 250 of my closest friends.  I was literally shaking as I walked down the stairs.

I tried to go to the library and check out a book for class so I could begin reading and was immediately confused by the library layout.  I walked in and tried to log onto a computer and couldn’t. So I got up and left the library barely 2 minutes after I walked in, sure that people were looking at me as if I were the biggest idiot in the world.  (That cognitive distortion is called “mind reading,” y’all.)  I followed the sign that said “stairs” and still never.found.the.stairs.  But I didn’t want to turn around and look like a fool in front of the one girl who was sitting in the atrium and not paying attention to me at all.

So I continued on to my car, probably looking something like a Parkinson’s patient with all the shaking I was doing.  I got to my car and opened it and immediately downed a milligram of klonopin — which my psychiatrist said “should put me to sleep,” but in fact has done absolutely nothing to reduce my anxiety over the past 30 minutes.

I highlighted the section about the Office of Disability Services as we were in orientation, wondering if my vast array of diagnoses ought to be declared should anything happen during the semester.  However, this level of anxiety is, in fact, limiting my ability to function and thus — I probably ought to ask for some help with that.  (I should also probably find a new psychiatrist who will prescribe me medications that actually have some effect.) 

So, yeah.  How far do I go in asking for accommodations?  What are “reasonable accommodations” when you’re anorexic, bipolar, generally anxious and could, at any moment, lose your shit?  Or maybe I’ll keep it all together nicely by using my new coping skills.  (Blogging is one of them, BTW.)  The point is, I DON’T KNOW WHAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN THIS SEMESTER.

But if today is any indication, treatment didn’t CURE ME OMG! — it just helped me to be able to deal with it.  And what if dealing with it looks like asking for help?