iOP (intensive outpatient)

Remember everything I said about not getting into iOP? Well, I may actually have a chance although I’d rather wait before writing this blog. I went in to the nutrition clinic for my appointment and was able to sit down and talk with the insurance person. She explained everything as well as the difficulty getting ahold of Veterans Choice. She later called me at 4pm to explain how many hours she gave up in her day on hold, only to be hung up on. Well….. I called Veterans choice and had words with them explaining they were messing with my life and recovery. The woman I talked to simply had no solution. At the end I said I recommended my person call into the veterans line as opposed to the providers like I do since I get answered right away. She said the only way she can do that is if I call and we do a conference call. Seriously? Why didn’t she say that initially? I called and left a message with my person so hopefully she’ll call me at 9am this morning and we’ll get right in to someone. Ugh, what a nightmare. If I had known this I’d already be in iOP. This is, of course, assuming they actually follow through with approval, like they assured me a week ago! I have doubts. My expectations have risen but the chance of getting in is minimal which will, once again, crush me, sigh.

Mindfulness and so forth

As mentioned I simply suck at this. However I recently skimmed through a book my program therapist had suggested: Full Catastrophe Living. It’s like the mindfulness Buddhist books without the Buddhism. It’s not that I don’t like Buddhism, it’s that I’ve had enough after trying to practice Zen. I skimmed it since most of the stuff I already knew. The interesting thing was the guy mentioned an 8 week course that seemed doable so I checked out the website: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and thought I’d give it a go. It’s free, always an excellent price, and is step by step which I like. Typically though I can study nearly anything but putting it into practice is where I fail. However, perhaps practicing this along with the program will get me into the habit. I’ll see.

Mood update

After increasing everything, as mentioned in an earlier post. I didn’t wait the week, just increased and am glad I did. I feel better and what’s more, I’m getting a solid 6 hrs of sleep a night. I’m still going to go to the insomnia appointment since technically 6 hrs is still considered insomnia. I haven’t gotten more than that in years. Before the med increase I was getting 4 ½. I’m still exhausted since REM is diminished from meds, fibro, and the cell death/phase angle thing. However, if all I ever get is 6, even though it will decrease the years I live, I’ll take it. I’d rather live a shorter life with some semblance to sleep than without it.


Okay, are you all sitting down? No, I’ll wait… sitting down now? Yeah, I gave up my scale at my appointment. I was all set to let her know I’ve accepted being eating disordered forever and even though it would cause some amount of misery, that would be my lot in life. I also was fully committed to only giving up the scale after serious negotiation on decreasing my meal plan. However, the appointment was directly after talking with the insurance gal so I had a wee bit of hope and therefore was thrown off my guard. I pulled out my scale and held it tightly too my chest, crying, like this was some kind of security blanket. Well, it is in a way. She took it before I changed my mind, sigh. She then informed me I have to eat everything on my meal plan. I told her about the weight gain which she simply didn’t believe. She said my lean muscle mass has increased (by one pound only), body fat has decreased, cell walls are better meaning my phase angle has improved form 3.something to 4 (healthy being 7.something) so wasn’t going to argue with me. My anorexic mind screamed, “Failure, failure, failure!!!” but my tiny, tiny core self was tentatively relieved by her sternness. It meant I might be able to exercise in the future. I got an idea of what might work but that’s another post.

By the way, I’m hungry, like nearly all day. I had stupidly mentioned that to Carolyn last week which is why she increased my meal plan, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Feeling hunger is a two-fold thing for me. One – I feel utterly betrayed by my body and all the fears that I’m going to eat and become a fat blob plague me all day. I feel like a fat blob already. Two – when I’m fully into ED mode, I relish in feeling hunger because it means my metabolism is burning what I think is fat, although now I know it is burning muscle and organs, like my brain. When I stop feeling hungry it means it has crashed and my body is into survival mode holding on to everything for all it’s worth. Ugh


I got a calendar yesterday that has listed times of the day. I decided to simply schedule my entire day and stick to that as much as possible. If I want control, this is a way I can get it in a healthy way, assuming I stick to it of course.

I hate much of my life right now and feel trapped. However, because the depression has lifted I do have moments of feel okay. I like practicing my guitar, working on jig saw puzzles, playing cards with the ladies. I feel pulled apart because of this. When you miss taking a medication, the prescription says to take the missed dose as soon as possible. I am trying to convince my brain that food is the same. If I miss a snack, I should add it as soon as possible, even if it means adding it to my next snack. Meds are mandatory for bipolar, should’t food be mandatory meds for anorexia?

4 thoughts on “Hope…

  1. If I miss a snack, I should add it as soon as possible, even if it means adding it to my next snack.

    …there are a lot of simillarities in the recovery from any mental illness, I like how you’re adapting one recovery lesson to the other recovery. The hourly-calendar idea is a good one, just don’t get disappointed if the calendar doesn’t match the reality. I started to use one when I was first in recovery for the manic depression, and I found it got in the way until I realized it was only a guide, not something set in stone.

    …my tiny, tiny core self…

    …nuture that core. There’s a lot (LOT) of strength in that core. It’s what got you into recovery in the first place.

    I’m getting a solid 6 hrs of sleep a night.

    …congratulations! Which medication was increased?

    I like practicing my guitar, working on jig saw puzzles, playing cards with the ladies.

    …and congratulations on getting out with “the ladies”. I know how hard it can be to get out anywhere to do anything when the depression sets in. What medications are you on for the bipolar stuff? Do you see a psychiatrist specifically for the bipolar?

    I hate much of my life right now and feel trapped.

    …when I was early in my recovery, I found it hard as well. There’s a certain amount of trepidation involved because we’re heading into an unknown. The mental illness becomes comfortable, because it’s always the same behaviours. Recovery adds new behviours, some of which we’ve never had to live with or in before.

    Plus there’s the feelings of hope to deal with. When I was untreated/unmedicated, I never really had to deal with the hope that recovery offers. And it can be a double edged sword. Hope is a graet thing, but if things don’t move as fast as we think they should, those feelings of Hope can lead to feeling trapped/despair.

    It’s great you’re reading books by and about people who have lived in and around mental illness. The road to recovery is remarkalby similar for everyone. The symptoms are the same, and for the most part, so are the recovery’s. Have you ever read “An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison? It’s about her recovery and life with manic depression. If not, I highly recommend it.


    1. I’ve been working with the same psychiatrist for many years, actually since 1995, on and off depending on where I was living at the time. She treats me mainly bipolar stabilization at this point. My current medication protocol is: 500mg tegretol xr (tried years ago but had horrible cognitive issues till I tried the xr), 275mg lamotrogine (lamictal). Once I increased the tegretol, giving it time to stabilize in my body, I was able to stop the antipsychotic (stelazine), although I keep it handy for when I feel I am tamping up too much in my mood. I might go up to 300mg lamotrogine but since I just increased to 275, 4-5 days ago, I’ll wait a period of time to see if that works. I’ve had bipolar for, oh lets see, 28 years now.

      I have read Redfields book but it didn’t really speak to me. Marya Hornbacher’s book “Madness” though spoke out and clear. Even though I didn’t do the drugs and alcohol, at least not after I developed, I related to her ED and mood swings. I was however diagnosed with cyclothymia a couple years before this. Fortunately I do respond to medication, unlike Marya, however I went through many years without anything, waiting for them to invent something that worked. I now know that (once invented) earlier mood stabilizers probably failed do my extensive ED behavior. Lithium doesn’t work with my type of dx.

      Structure is the best thing for BP. My psychiatrist recently commented on my great discipline in this area but I had to correct her. I am very disciplined but only when I’m anorexic. Outside of that it seems I have little. I’m good at organizing what to do, and starting it, but not following through beyond a day or two. For me it takes work, lots of work. She has a difficult time acknowledging my difficulties as being anything but fleeting things because she knew me when I was on the borderline of being institutionalized. True, I am better than that now but it doesn’t negate the difficulties I have now. I’m finally working on the core of my problems whereas back then it was treating all the symptoms only.

      I have an insomnia clinic appointment tomorrow. I’ll see what they have to say.

      Liked by 1 person

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