Wow, what just a few days can do when one lets those thoughts back in. Did I let them in? Or at they simply a response to my overly stressed and physically debilitating existence. Okay, I’ll back up…
I had surgery on Wednesday, hopefully the last in a very long time. Everything seemed to go well. I was authorized to be given the absolutely strongest anti-nausea medicine in existence. It is apparently extraordinarily expensive and is only given to cancer patients doing chemo. It make all the difference in the world. I experienced no nausea after surgery. However, the anesthesiologist refused any pain meds beyond what I take post surgery at home. The thing is, that med takes an hour to kick in so I was in agony for an hour and nothing any of the nurses said, to her, would make a difference. Fortunately after about 75 minutes it started to taper down to a 7 out of 10 level pain. Now most people can’t handle even that but it was considerably better than what it was.
I was then transferred to upstairs to the unit where I could get dressed, get my paperwork and leave. I was fine! I left in a more or less good mood. I was a bit woozy but felt better than I ever felt after surgery. I called people and texted that everything went well. And then it hit, that evening. All those meds wore off and I was slammed with the worst nausea I have experienced in memory. It was so bad I was dizzy and couldn’t walk straight. I thought it might just be pain so I took a pain pill and went to bed. When I got up I felt horrible. The instruction sheet said to remain ambulatory so I thought that meant to go walk. I went to the gym and walked for about 24 minutes and came home. OMG! I was so dizzy I had to hold my head down. I made something to eat thinking maybe that was the issue. I had taken a pain pill that morning too. After awhile I realized that this is the reaction I get from pain meds, that is, pain meds I can no longer take.
I laid down on the couch and kept perfectly still. The med sheet said that if I’m experiencing nausea and vomiting to call immediately but I wasn’t vomiting although I felt like I was going to, if I moved. I called and the doctor figured it was the pain meds and the left over anesthesia in my system so recommended I simply wait. “If you still feel this way at noon, call back.” By noon I was able to sit up for very short periods of time so I didn’t bother calling. What would be the point. A few hours later ASU (ambulatory surgical unit) called to followup. I explained how I felt and she recommended I come in and get fluids. I was already drinking plenty of fluids but she was probably right, I probably should have gone in except I hate the ER! Yes, it is far better than any that are outside the VA but still. Last year I was in and out so often that it is extraordinarily difficult for me to go.
I managed to feel better enough to see my therapist at 230pm. I’m not sure how productive it was other than to have someone I could process with. My friends are certainly burned out on that so I don’t bother them anymore; not that I bothered them in the past actually. You know us anorexics, we like to bear everything alone. It plays into that old thinking that I’m not worth wasting other peoples time, etc. Also, I assume that what I’m going through is simply a post-anesthesia depression that will pass. At least that is what I’m telling everyone else. It’s really hard to lie to myself anymore.
So, at this point… triggers:
- extraordinary pain which triggers bipolar moods and increased fibro symptoms
- extreme nausea/dizziness triggering a feeling of loss of control
- post-surgical pain, unmedicated
I was resting in bed before my therapy appointment and found myself looking through a google search of thinspiration. Honestly I wasn’t really tempted. Thinspiration never had any effect on me, in fact, nothing online ever did. Having an ED for 32 years means I’ve done everything and am more or less at a graduate level for behavior. Besides, it was never about how I look but rather about how I felt.
What I was experiencing was a yearning to go back to the familiar. It was similar to the feeling of going back to visit a long time friend who hasn’t been in the picture. I felt/feel lonely and (the lie of) anorexia is that it is/will be comforting. I live alone. I don’t have people who come over and comfort me. I never have. I never had it growing up, nor any time in my long life. I’ve always had to do everything myself and eventually preferred taking care of myself because it was easier than facing the idea that maybe someone cared enough to waste their time on me. I used to harm myself terribly just to go to the ER and be cared for. How sick is that?!
Guess what I’m doing now, I mean, in the evening? Yep, binging. I binged for two weeks after my last surgery. Do you realize what the idea of binging is like to an anorexic? I can’t even describe it but the word shame comes front and center. Shame and humiliation. I have to get it together. I have to monitor myself throughout the day better. Perhaps weighing more often to keep my mind on staying compliant with my meal plan? – old behavior. Restricting my calories just a little to stabilize my weight to my safe number (old thinking) and then going back to my normal meal plan? – old behavior. Isolating – old behavior.
It’s been torture going to meetings. I couldn’t for two days but did make it to one yesterday. I’m going to another one this morning. Here’s one of the issues that has started haunting me even before my surgeries. When I go to meetings I identify as Lexy, alcoholic. I feel like I’m lying. I really don’t think I’m technically an alcoholic. Yes, I drank like a maniac but even in the big book it says:
Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone.
Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason—ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor—becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.
The first time I stopped was because of the calories. The second time I stopped was because I was diagnosed with hep C. I was eventually cured and even tried a beer once or twice. I barely got through half because I didn’t like how it made me feel. I also tried wine but it gave me a headache and wasn’t worth it.
I know people in AA who drank anyway. One even ended up with a liver transplant but still didn’t stop. I have no desire to drink. I simply don’t. My only addiction really is anorexia. Do I continue to go to AA, even under false pretense? I hate lying although I did a lot of that when I was in the eating disorder. I don’t know…
I’m meeting with my sponsor on Monday and will tell him all this. No doubt he’ll tell me I’m full of crap, or just let me go. If I leave AA then I have to be willing to lose them as friends. I will also lose many other people that I’ve befriended in AA.
I don’t want to share at meetings anymore. In “how it works”, read at every meeting, it says that the result of alcoholism leads to 1 of 3 ends: jail, institutions or death. I feel like if I shared I would probably say something like, “I’ve been to jail, I’ve been to institutions more times than I care to admit, and death just doesn’t seem like a deterrence.” What people will assume, of course, is that those things relate to alcohol. They don’t. Jail was for my wee bit of time using drugs. Institutions were all mental illness and the eating disorder. I did go to rehab but, in truth, it was an easy way to escape the situation I was in. I happened to be drinking so that made it easy to get in. There were no programs, at that time, for women with trauma related PTSD. Apparently there are now but I’m no longer at risk so those are not options.
I just took an additional 25mg of my mood stabilizer to help with the depression. I probably shouldn’t of because I’m starting to feel woozy. Ugh, never had that before when I took the small additional amount but I recently increased in general and maybe this was too much. I’m feeling a little dizzy, darn it! Stupid, stupid, stupid! The meeting isn’t for 2 hours so I’ll go lie down for a little.
Oh well, such is life as a crazy person…
*edit* Feel a bit better. The wooziness was temporary and may have been my not having a full sized breakfast this morning….. going to the meeting although everything in me is screaming to not go.