Tag Archives: Moving

Disordered Eating: A Cry for Help

One day when I was probably in seventh grade, I read an audio magazine for blind teens. It was really a mixture of its own content with content from other teen magazines read aloud. One of the articles from another magazine was about an eating disorders unit. I just remembered this as I read a passage in J.J. Johnson’s Believarexic, in which Jennifer remembers learning about anorexia for the first time in fifth grade and wondering how the celebrity who died of it, got as skinny as she did. Later on, Jennifer learns about people being hospitalized for eating disorders. She envies them because of their size but also because of the attention they get.

This hit home with me. Back in seventh grade, I had already firmly embarked on the binge eating boat, but since I was at a healthy weight for my age and height, I didn’t notice my eating had spiraled out of control already. I remember once, probably in the same year, being confronted by my classmates about getting five candy bars out of the vending machine and eating them all in one sitting. However, I just got annoyed and didn’t realize that my classmates may have wanted to protect me from unhealthful choices.

We didn’t learn about binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating in health class. All we learned about eating disorders was about anorexia and bulimia. I even did one of my gifted program projects on these eating disorders. I didn’t tell anyone that, as I was writing the paper, I was trying to figure out how I could become anorexic.

No, I didn’t “want” anorexia, like some teens say they do. No-one consciously decides to develop an eating disorder. But I did want the perseverance that I perceived anorexics had. So I began keeping food diaries. This was before I had access to the Internet and I couldn’t read packaging, so I couldn’t check calories. In truth, as I look back at my food diaries of the time, they show a pretty typical overeater’s pattern. But I wanted to have some control over my food intake by keeping these diaries. Not that it worked, of course. Over the years, my binge eating got worse.

Back to the article about the eating disorders unit. For some reason, I felt compelled to be like these patients. I don’t know whether it was pure attention-seeking. I mean, I got plenty of attention from my parents and teachers. What I might’ve been missing was someone who saw how much I was struggling. Maybe, if I became anorexic, they’d see how miserable I was.

The other day, I had a meeting with my psychologist. She wa spushing me to take steps towards independence in preparation for my move in with my husband. I can’t remember whether she said so, but she gave me the impression that she felt I was doing better because I had much fewer meltdowns and emotional outbursts. In truth, I may be a little better, but I still have a pretty miserable life and feel pretty crap. Instead of becoming self-destructive or aggressive, I lie in bed or resort to overeating. A fair quality of life is not just not being a pain in the neck, but also being able to experience pleasure every once in a while. It isn’t that I never do, but it’s quite rare that I do things that bring me any sort of satisfaction. For example, I don’t craft nearly as much as I used to, because I can’t handle the noise and crowdedness at day activities.

I was also telling my psychologist that I’m completely dependent on my treatment team. What I meant was close to the exact opposite: I have no control over what goals are set for me, but it is my sole responsibility to reach them.

In a sense, maybe this whole disordered eating thing is a way of showing peope I need help. It sounds so pathetic though: someone who’s nearly thirty-years-old needing to be taken care of like a little child. IN truth though, often I feel that vulnerable.

New Year, New Word for 2016

Last year, my word for the year was “nurture”. Because it means so many things, I can say that I more or less followed this theme. For example, I bought some new beauty products that I’ve been eagerly using. I also started up yoga, although I haven’t been practising much lately.

In other ways, however, I didn’t really nurture myself. I kept on overeating, maybe even worse than in 2014. The beginning of 2016 isn’t good in this department either.

When it comes to my word for this year, unlike last year, one hasn’t been on my mind for a long time. In fact, I am still not sure that this word is the one I should choose. It sounds a bit vague. The word is “progress”. Related words, like “move” and “forward”, have been going through my mind too, but “progress” seems better.

In some ways, we always make progress. We progress through life, whether we move forward or not. We get older, after all. Progress doesn’t necessarily mean positive change. A progressive disease gets worse, after all.

So am I setting myself up for failure, or for guaranteed success, by being as vague as I am with this choice of words? Possibly. ONly time will tell.

I will, however, share what I think progress means when applied to what’s going to happen in 2016. Firstly, it means moving forward on the road I’ve embarked on. In some respects, I should not wish to do this. LIke, I gained weight in 2015 and should definitely not follow along on this route.

I mostly mean progress in terms of my move out of the psychiatric institution. I need to keep progressing on this route towards independence. Way too often, I'm tempted to just give up and go back into my comfort zone. I need to remind myself that this is the year to take leaps forward, to grow, to progress. They don't need to be huge leaps. Sometimes, they can be tiny steps. But the road has been paved and I'll follow it.

I just realized too that “progress” can mean continuing to follow the path I’ve embarked on in 2015. Like I said, I didn’t nurture myself in every respect, but I did in some. For 2016, I need to continue pursuing self-care, which was my word for 2014. I need to continue nurturing myself, which was my word for 2015. I ned to progress along the road I’ve paved for myself.

Mama’s Losin’ It

December 2015 Goals

Wow, it’s December, the last month of 2015. Last Thursday, when my husband and I got the keys to our new home, we had to pay the rent for the rest of the year. It’s amazing and shocking at the same time how we have only less than 31 day sleft till the end of 2015. Today, I’m going to list some goals I have for this last month of the year.

1. Blog at least twice a week on each of my blogs. I have restarted my Dutch blog (again!), which means I now have to divide my blogging attention between two blogs. It’s not much if you see how many blogs I’ve created over the past years, but the fact is I’ve never kept up with more than two, so this is hard enough. I am terrible at dividing my attention, so I hope that this time it’ll be a success.

2. Not put on any weight. I’m not going to aim for weight loss in this festive month, because I know that’s just not going to happen. However, last week I was at the exact point weight wise I was last March, which was the heaviest I’ve been ever. It’s only a bit heavier than where i was in September of 2014, but it’s still significant that this is my heaviest weight. I just can’t keep on cutting mysef slack, because then my BMI will be over 40 in no time.

3. Finish at least one of the books I started reading earlier this year but haven’t finished yet. I’ll probably go for Girl in Glass by Deanna Fei.

4. Spend at least one week-end at my new home. I’ll most likely have no difficulty reaching this goal, as we’ll have to hand in the key to our old apartment on the 18th.

5. Buy my husband and father their birhtday presents. My husband had his birthday in mid-November, but he wants a tree for in our garden. I really do hope we can still plant it. My father has his birthday in mid-January, but I want to be early.

6. Not end up in crisis. December is one of the hardest months of the year for me, because the staff are often busy with holiday preparations and stuff and the whole unit is decorated and furniture moved. I have been in crisis each December since being on this unit. Since my medication can’t be increased any, as it was last year and in 2013, I just hope I won’t end up in crisis.

I really do hope I’ll be able to enjoy the holidays some, but that’s going to be hard. I am already thinking of what to buy myself for the holidays (or for any occasion). Last week, I bought myself some products from The Body Shop and I won’t promise there will be no more spending on gifts for myself this month.

Mental Health Goal: Move In with My Husband #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 26 in the #Write31Days challenge on mental health. Today, my husband and I accepted the house to the right side of Arnhem we were offered on Thursday. I am therefore cheating a bit with the 30-day mental illness awareness challenge and choosing the question from day 29. Actually, it isn’t cheating at all since I never followed the challenge to a T. Anyway, for day 29, the question is about some of your goals with regard to your mental health.

My main goal that I’ve been working on for the past nine months now is to eventually be able to move in with my husband. Since we’re moving to the right side of Arnhem in probably less than a month, you may think there’ll be a bit of a delay in finding me care, but things never went that fast anyway. I hadn’t had an intake interview with supported housing on this side yet. Neither had a definite decision about allocated care hours been made. Remember, we’ve been working on this goal for nine months. Things go that slowly.

One factor in this slow-going process was the fact that my treatment team and I were waiting for the consultation with the autism center we didn’t have till the middle of May. Looking back, there’s not a single thing this center has been helpful with. Another factor, however, was the fact that my husband and I had been planning on moving for months. Even though my psychologist said she’d make arrangements as if we weren’t going to move, I at least have a bit of hope (or illusion) that now that the elephant is out of the room, we can actually start making arrangements for my care.

Apart from preparing for living with my husband, I don’t have any real goals for my mental health treatment right now. However, living with my husband requires a greater level of emotional self-control than living in an institution with 24-hour care. My husband works irregular hours and may be working long days. I won’t have support available when I need it right then during my husband’s work hours. If a support worker will be able to come out to the tiny village on call at all, it’ll take at least fifteen minutes if they can leave right away. Fortunately, I am relatively good now at spending time without care if I know at what times I’ll be abe to enlist a support worker or my husband will be home. I still need to work on improving this ability, because my husband cannot always tell when he’ll be home.

When I do live with my husband, additional goals for my mental health will have to do with other aspects of emotion regulation. I want to finally learn to kick the binge eating beast, for example. There are undoubteldy other negative coping skills I need to learn to replace, but I can’t think of them right now. In short, I hope to eventually be able to participate in day activities and live with my husband without too much emotional turmoil or behavioral outbursts.

Transitions: Moving Out of Student Housing

One of today’s prompts for Friday Reflections is about moving out of your last home. I have not truly lived in a home since being institutionalized nearly eight years ago. Before then, I lived on my own for three months in a student housing apartment. For this post, I am going to write about moving out of that home.

I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital suddenly in the middle of the night on NOvember 3, 2007. I also couldn’t be sure then that I would never return to the student housing apartment, although the psychiatrist admitting me did say so more or less. The apartment, like I said, was from student housing. This meant you needed to be in college in that city to be allowed to live there. I formally quit college three months into my stay at the psychiatric unit, but persuaded the student housing corporation to let me keep the apartment for a while, then was never given an eviction notice. I held on to the apartment until I could no longer afford it, which came when my long-term care copay was increased in May of 2010.

I was by now relatively stable and had moved from the acute unit to the resocialization unit. I was sure however that I’d not return to this home. I formally left the student housing accommodation on May 3, 2010. It wasn’t a coincidence that this was exactly 2 1/2 years after my admission to the hospital, as long-term care copay started at one year in a facility, you pay the low copay for another year and my social worker applied for an extra six months of the low copay for “resocialization into the community”.

Interestingly, I don’t remember much about letting go of my student housing apartment. I remember the packing. Because we packed rather inefficiently, some boxes were over 10kg and others were just five. I sent them to my parents, so this matters, because you pay extra for sending boxes over 10kg. I remember the argument with my parents (and especially my sister) because I wanted to get rid of my old keyboards that I’d gotten from my grandma. I also remember getting a friend of a nurse to take the stuff I no longer wanted to the garbage collection place. (I can’t believe I trusted that man, whom I had never met, in my home even with the nurse accompanying him.) I didn’t want my husband (who was still my boyfriend then) to help me much, so he did some packing and lots of cleaning. We probably left the apartment cleaner than I’d gotten into it.

Moving out was a bit emotional of course, because it meant, or so I thought, letting go of the idea of living independently. Roughly at the same time that I handed in the keys to my student housing apartment, I handed my parents my key to their old home, which they were selling. This signified my letting go of the home in which I’d grown up. It also signified my letting go of the idea that my parents would always be there for me. Not that they were. After all, since I’d moved into the student housing apartment and especially since I’d been institutionalized, they felt I had now grown up and should take care of myself. I almost said it signified that my parents were no longer the most important people in my life. This is true in a way, because a month after this, my boyfriend proposed to me.

In many ways, moving out of student housing was bittersweet. It was freeing, because it helped me let go of the requirement that I be in full-time college. It also in some ways made me sad, having to let go of the hope of being in full-time college again. The same goes, to a lesser degree now, for living independently. Of course, I plan to go live with my husband, but I didn’t know this back then. Moving out helped me let go of the requirement of living independently, but it also sort of crushed the hope of my living independently again, at least until my husband and I got our current apartment.

As you can see, my moving out of student housing was in many ways a transitional point in my life. It helped me make the transition from daughter to girlfriend and eventually wife, but more so it helped me become my own, independent self. This seems a bit paradoxical, but what I mean is, I no longer held my parents respnsible for making my decisions, and I didn’t hold my boyfriend responsible for making my decisions either. At least not yet. Unfortunately, now that I’m married, I have fallen a bit for the habit of holding my husband responsible for my decisions. I don’t believe in the submissive wife type of bullcrap, so I need to let go of this habit.

Reflections From Me
Everyday Gyaan

Grateful Friday

I tend to be a pessimist, not naturally looking at the positive. I truly had to teach myself to be grateful for the things I do have in life. Gratitude, however, has helped me in many ways. For example, it helps me lift my thoughts off of the negative. I, being borderline, still may experience sudden shifts in emotion towards the negative, but practising gratitude has helped me have a more positive basic outlook. I still can’t say I’ve turned into an optimist, as I still see the future more as a threat than as an opportunity. However, when it comes to the here and now, I am more happy with what I do have.

Also, gratitude spreads kindness. When I take everything for granted, people don’t feel worthy of doing things for me, because I am not appreciative. There have been times when I was really tense and asked for a walk. I still cannot prevent some irritability if the staff can’t take me on that walk yet – am working on that -, but I can make sure I show appreciation when they can. That hopefully makes them feel less frustrated at my irritability when they can’t meet my needs or wants.

This week started off particularly negative. I had severe temper outbursts on both Monday and Tuesday. However, when I talked to my psychologist on Wednesday, I was still frustrated but a little calmer. I was able to talk over one of my outbursts with the nurse who had been in charg eof my care on Tuesday, after I had talked to my psychologist. I was able to appreciate my nurse’s attitude and apologize for my own the previous day.

Today, I had a meeting with my social worker and came back truly grateful. We discussed my support needs for when I’ll move out of the institution and in with my husband. The nearby autism center had recommended I get an autism coach, but I feared they would not be able to provide the out-of-hours support I’ll need when my husband is at work. We’ll therefore need to get the mental health supported housing agency involved for this. My social worker wasn’t sure which would be the closest care office and thought it would be the nearest major city. The town our apartment is in doesn’t have a care office. Turns out however that there is a care office right on my institution grounds, which is about a ten-minute drive from my apartment.

My psychologist is going to get the outpatient treatment team for personality disorders involved for community-based support. This will likely mean just a weekly or biweekly meeting with a community psychiatric nurse and medication monitoring. My psychologist said I only need med monitoring, but I disagree. After all, if I end up in severe distress again while living independently, like in 2007, I don’t want to have to jump through a dozen hoops to get more help. Back then my GP managed my meds and the crisis team didn’t have a clue about my situation but ended up being called every so often by the police, because there was no-one within mental health services responsible for my care. Ultimately I landed in a crisis while in another city.

My social worker applied for me at the supported housing agency and is hoping to get a meeting next week. If not then, it’ll be in a month, since my social worker will be on vacation after next week.

The most exciting news is yet to come. My social worker asked when I expected to move out. I said I had my hopes up that it’d take only half a year. At that point she said: “If we can get all care in order by the end of the year, would that be okay with you too?” Of course it would! Of course, she didn’t promise I could be discharged at the end of the year, but I have my hopes up a bit.

Reflections From Me
Everyday Gyaan

Prepare #ThePrompt #WotW

We got new carpet in my husband’s and my apartment yesterday. It is one item ticked off our list of things we needed to get done before I’d move out of the institution and in with my husband. Not that I need new carpet myself, but it’d be great if all refurbishing in our apartment is done before I move in. The cats did need new carpet, because the type we used to have was hard to clean.

This week’s prompt over at mumturnedmom is “prepare”. In honor of this, I will be talking about the other things we need to get done for me to move in with my husband. I’m also choosing “prepare” as my word of the week.

First, there are the adjustments we need to make to our apartment. We already got a Senseo coffee brewing system, or at least a system which uses coffee pods. This makes it easier for me to make coffee, because, though I used to be able to work a regular coffee maker, I find ours quite hard to operate. We also got an electric stove, so that I can cook with some help myself. The laundry machine and microwave still need to be labeleed for me to operate them.

We got me a new desk for in the living room. My husband has his own study, but the tiny room that was meant to be my study is taken up by the cats (by my choice). The couch still may need replacement too.

Then there are the arrangements we need to make for my home care needs to be met. In this respect, we’re not yet going anywhere. We got a letter with recommendations from the autism center this week, but my psychologist didn’t agree with most of the recommendations. The center recommended I get an autsim-specialized coach involved to determine my needs for care and help me learn independence, but we aren’t yet sure whether any of the coaching agencies they mentioned are contracted for care by our local government. They also will most likely only be able to provide scheduled services, and that won’t meet my needs.

What I need most, after all, is someone to be available for support when I need it and my husband is at work. My husband works irregular hours too, so office hours are not enough. Ideally, the support worker would be able to come out to my home on occasion if I were in a really bad condition, but most times, phone support would probably be enough. The care officer with the local government didn’t say whether this is a possibility. She only said we can get at most three hours of care a day. She meant direct care, so that’s quite a lot.

My psychologist is considering getting the mental health supported housing agency and the assertive community treatment team involved. Both are not autism-specialized but do provide on-call support. I haven’t yet heard whether she has been able to contact either of these agencies yet.

Before I move out, I need to practise being at our apartment when my husband is at work. I haven’t yet been able to do this. I need to discuss taking this step and actually take it soon.

I have been setting a goal for myself. My subscription for mobile Internet access on my laptop expires in late May, 2016. I have a goal that I want to be living with my husband by then. It’s not that I can’t renew my subscription, but it’s just, I want to move out so badly and having a clear date in my mind helps me stay focused.

mumturnedmom
The Reading Residence