I looked back at the title of my last post about managing life in a positive way. I had no idea that shit would hit the fan right after posting that. It’s been difficult getting back here (wordpress). I’ve been quite depressed. That means I’m essentially not participating in life outside my own difficulties. I’m escaping into books, TV, crochet, coloring… isolating myself as much as possible. I’m not doing it intentionally. It’s just that when I’m feeling too much stress, too much anxiety, too much depression and too many difficulties the best way for me to cope is to shut down and hopefully reboot. However, I have yet to reboot. It’s more difficult that it used to be.
Two weeks ago
I had my 6 month follow up appointment with the GI doctor. After listening to my summation he suggested I might have celiacs and wanted me to start eating bread again so he could test me. I did this without consulting my nutritionist who, I later learned, would have advised against it. What happened was that as soon as I introduced it into my system my mind was on fire with thoughts of binging/purging. It was so dramatic and overwhelming I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t realize what was happening enough to ask for advice. This happened Thanksgiving week (Monday through Sunday). By Saturday I was so worn down I ended up with a disastrous day. It was so horrible. It simply wasn’t me. I was having terrible gastric reactions and had to take in baking soda and gas-x just to manage. Finally I said enough was enough and stopped trying to eat that type of food. I was so afraid it would take me weeks to balance back out but surprisingly, the day I went back to my nutritionists meal plan, I felt physically better, my obsessive thoughts dramatically decreased and my impulsive behavior urge disappeared. Wow! It was during my appointment last Wednesday that my nutritionist mentioned his concerns abut changing my food plan. I wish I had talked with him first. He assured me the whole thing wasn’t my fault. I always feel guilty when I purge even if it’s a result of being ill. I felt better and got right back on plan. But then….. in iOP on that Monday, one of the girls came in really sick with a cold. She had loads of symptoms meaning she was contagious. The iOP room is very small. Since I have a surgical procedure this week, Wednesday, I contemplated not going to iOP. Last Wednesday was my appointment, as mentioned. I found out she was staying, despite being so sick she lost her voice, so I asked if I could leave, then came home. I ended up staying home Thursday as well. Here was the problem – I have yet to recover well after general anesthetic so I really needed the support and the structure. The other thing is I was going into a weekend alone after the previous disastrous weekend. Looking back I realize the whole thing was stacked against me. So yeah, Saturday was another disaster. It was awful. I was so depressed that I decided that it happened because the thing I’m best at is being a failure (I know this is an irrational thought but it’s how I felt at the time.) I called my therapist and left her a message just so when I saw her she would be prepared. My appointment isn’t till Friday, 2 days after my procedure. Yesterday I did get back on track. I started to restrict in the morning but knew that if I did it would make it that much harder to eat regular amounts so I made up what I skipped and got all my food in. Today I’m on track as well.
Just to back-track a little.
A couple of good things that came out of my GI appointment. I told him I get nauseous after I eat and it isn’t getting any better. I even get nauseous when I drink too much water. My nutritionist said it’s gastric paresis but the GI doc said no, that my symptoms aren’t consistent with that. He said I have something called gastric compliance. It means that my stomach won’t stretch to accommodate a regular size meal. It’s from years of restricting and it won’t get better. My meal plan has been set up as 3 meals and 3 snacks so I switched foods around and made it into 6 small equal size meals. He used the example of a sandwich: eat half and than wait a couple hours and eat the other. Essentially I need to aim for no bigger than 1 – 1 1/2 cups of food. Since I’ve been doing that I haven’t had any nausea. It gets tricky though with having to get fluids in too but I’m doing okay. The other thing he said was that it’s not uncommon for people to have a reaction to raw fruits and veggies. Raw food has been causing a lot of bloating and pain. Since I’ve been eating everything cooked I’ve felt better. I had a large bag of apples so I put them in a slow cooker and made applesauce. That worked.
Things I’ve learned (hopefully)
After a slip, before a surgical procedure, or after any kind of traumatically stressful situation, I need more than a list of tools and some verbal support. I need a plan, a concrete, realistic plan that I can do. I need to set up a daily contact point with someone who understands my situation, who can be more supportive than saying “just breathe.” I need to think outside the box and understand that what I decide to do, as far as a plan, is just temporary, to get me through, so I’m not overwhelmed with anxiety that I’ll I have to keep up such a structured schedule.
Here’s the thing. It’s easy to see what needs to be done. It’s easy to look back and figure out what to do in the future. What’s hard is actually doing it. There’s just no getting around it. I have to put in the effort to develop a strong method of handling all this. I’ll be getting those surgical procedures every 5 months for the rest of my life. It used to be every 6 months so it’s plausible to assume it’ll become more frequent.
I have iOP in an hour. The usual monday therapist is off this week… a big disappointment since she knows me well. Last monday when she was asking for suggestions to give to the substitute, I actually spoke up despite miss ‘know it all’s suggestion of what should be done. I said I’d need support since it’s my last day before surgery. Now that I think about it, I don’t know what we’ll talk about. I don’t need anymore tools. I think what I need to talk about is how I feel when I’m in the holding area. I’m all alone, no control, no distractions, nothing. Being a trauma survivor, it’s overwhelming. That is the issue I have. I don’t think any support will help but maybe if I talk about that it will help. Also, my therapist just called and said she thought I should come in and see her and set an appointment for tomorrow. That’s a shock since she doesn’t see people on Tuesdays. It’s nice to know people care. It doesn’t make it easier but it does make it less lonely.
All I can do is do my best.