So I know that this isn't the first time I've said this, but I did relapse a little today. BUT, today's near catastrophe wasn't necessarily due to my own choices or desires.

I have had high blood sugar practically all day. It started around 8:00a.m. and it has pretty much lasted throughout the entire day. I've tried to explain this concept before, but high blood sugar influences my appetite and even my mental state at times. Because of this, I usually either binge, have my blood sugar raise and binge more as a result OR I have high blood sugar and binge until I realize I have high blood sugar. However, today I knew I was high (and no, not on drugs) and I really tried to avoid the kitchen all together. Somehow, despite all of my efforts I still ended up eating half a serving of mini wheats, two cups of honey nut cheerios (with honey on top of it), banana bread with peanut butter, milk, cheese with pretzels and some frozen cool yes, I definitely binged. I did go to the bathroom after and I did try to purge, luckily I didn't get hardly anything out.

I'm not trying to use diabetes or my blood sugar as a passes for my actions (ultimately, I make the final decision to act on my cravings), but depression on top of whacked out sugar levels is almost like asking for a binge to happen.

This is all really hard to explain and probably even harder to understand if you haven't been severely addicted to anything in your life. I know I should just be able to walk away or stop eating, but it just isn't that simple. On top of the plethora of complications that an eating disorder readily provides, having a disease that has such a strong influence over so many aspects of your health makes recovery seem impossible. Gaining weight messed up my insulin ratios and I still haven't gotten a handle on it yet.

I'm hoping that withing the next month after seeing a psychiatrist and my endocrinologist I'll be able to at least attempt to get better control over my mental and physical health so I can finally make even more steps to permanent recovery.

Clinics, Confessions and Trips to the Library (Part 3/3)

Part 3- "Trips to the Library"
Ever since I've gotten a car, I tend to make a library run at least once or twice a week. It's turned into an escape for me from my house and my worries.

A few weeks ago, I was at the library searching for books on the library computer (that happened to have a modem speed of a Granny-wagon). After finding my books, I was became curious to see if the library system had any books on bingeing. Guess what I found?! At least ten and a few of them were at that time checked out. I decided to request to put one of them on hold so I could see if these "help" books really were accurate and helpful.

About a week later I went back to the library to return my old books and see if any of my holds had finally come in. To my surprise I found "The Binge Eating & Compulsive Overeating Workbook" (An Integrated Approach to Overcoming Disordered Eating) waiting for me!

I actually ordered this workbook off of Amazon so that I can
have a copy of my own.

When I got back home I decided to skim through it and see if it was even worth my time. After reading the first page I was seriously amazed! This book was incredibly accurate on just about every aspect of binge eating from the mental aspects to the physical consequences. They separate the disorder into reasonable causes and also give detailed plans on how you (or any individual) can overcome this challenge.

I'll admit that when I originally checked this workbook out I was more than a little skeptical. Now that I've read through most of the book, I can't say that I'm "cured" or that it made a drastic impact on my life, but it gave me tools that I can use to heal.

In the future I really want to write a book (or even publish this blog) to help benefit others with eating disorders. I want to take this negative experience in my life and allow it to become a positive motivator for others.

Eating disorders seem to be socially "taboo", but one day, I hope that through my efforts and those like Carolyn Coker Ross' (the author of the workbook) we can help publicize bingeing so that those who suffer from it not only realize that it is a disorder, but that they also aren't alone.

Proven Facts.

Yesterday seriously sucked.

Growing up, I remember whenever I would see a commercial for any depression medication I would scoff at the actor portrayals. I couldn't (and wouldn't) grasp the concept that an emotion could take over almost every aspect of an individual's life. Up until this last year, I thought that depression was something that could be controlled and those who didn't want to try to overcome their thoughts became "diagnosed" with an imaginary disorder. I still can't believe just how wrong I actually was.

Over the past few weeks my eating has drastically improved; however, my body hasn't. I still have the 30+ pounds that I gained over three months spread all around me. I have stretch marks, cellulite and flab in unwanted places. I've been forbidden from stepping on scales to see my weight.  Even if there have been any changes, I would have no idea if any weight has been lost or (my biggest fear) gained. Lately, my reflection has taken a toll on my self-esteem. I feel like a stranger in my own body. I was thinking about this earlier today and I've decided weight gain is comparable to losing a close friend-or in other words, my old body. Although you have distant memories of that person, you know that you won't ever be able to physically see them again. Instead that void has been filled with someone who will never quite measure up to that late-friend. Along with mirrors, I hate cameras.  I still have the image of who I once was in my head, but when I have to see how the world views me for who I really am, reality sets in and gives my confidence a beating. Facing the truth is always hard, especially when all you want is to believe a lie.

My mom, brother and I ran down to Provo yesterday to watch my niece and nephew while my oldest sister ran some much needed errands. It was fun to play with my nephew (not so much my niece) and we left to go back home after a few hours of  laughing, sleeping and temper tantrums. My mom had bought our family passes to go to Seven Peaks this summer, but we needed to stop at Trafalga to have photos (barf) taken for our identification cards on the way home. I've already touched on how much I hate pictures of myself, but I was already on the verge of a mental breakdown prior to our "Pass of All Passes" photo op.

My friends S. and K. had been planning to make a "Somewhere in Time" parody for week and yesterday was supposed to be the big day we shot it. Even though originally I was really excited to hangout with them, when the time came to leave I couldn't bring myself to going. On the way to Trafalga, I was overwhelmed by the thought of having to see myself in the state I'm in YouTube or Facebook. I began to cry as my mom was asking me about the video and what my plans were for the night. I told her I couldn't handle being filmed, I was extremely self-conscious and even a little embarrassed with the way I look. I guess when I originally agreed to make the parody I was thinking I was still my old, skinny self. I sent them a text saying I was stuck in Provo and wouldn't be able to make it (luckily it had already been cancelled about an hour before I had sent the message).

As I was standing in line waiting for my I.D. to be processed (after they had taken an extremely unattractive head shot of me), I couldn't stop thinking about all of the pictures that had been taken of me recently. Last weekend I had volunteered at Special Olympics through my high school. After the games were over we took group and individual pictures. I seriously looked terrible in each one.

I'm the one on the right. I really hate this picture, but I think it proved my point.
The night Special Olympics ended, I went to a party at a friend's house where, you guessed it, more pictures were taken. I think what made me the most upset about those photos was the fact that I thought I actually looked decent.

Definitely not how I thought I looked.
You can tell I've packed on more than a couple pounds.

Needless to say, yesterday I felt more than overwhelmed. Not only because I had to see how I looked, but that others had to see it too...on social networking websites and in person.

I came home feeling really depressed. I decided to lock myself in my bedroom and fall asleep so I could just forget about my emotions and every negative thought I was having. Eventually I had to wake up for dinner, but I still couldn't get out of the mental "rut" I had put myself in earlier.

I've started to notice that whenever I feel the worst about myself, my cravings to binge become even stronger than usual. It's a self-defeating coping skill. This is exactly what happened last night. I had my dinner and then snacked on anything else I could find for a couple hours after. I guess it wasn't as extreme as some of my past binges, but I definitely overate big time. The same thing happened on Monday of this week for the same reasons. It was brought on by some pictures I had to look through from Special Olympics. I was able to stop after a few minutes and it was around lunch so I counted it as a meal. Afterwards I distracted myself with chores and yard work to avoid getting depressed about bingeing too. Most people only consider certain foods as binge triggers, but I've found that emotions and thoughts hold even more power over me when it comes to eating.

When I realized what I was doing after dinner, I went downstairs to get away from the kitchen. Prior to yesterday and Monday, I had been binge and purge free for about three weeks. Thoughts about both had come and gone, but I didn't act upon them. Last night I felt disgusting, I even went as far as walking into the bathroom downstairs and debating on whether I should pretend to take a shower just so I could purge without anyone hearing me. For some reason or another, I decided to go into my Dad's office instead to check Facebook. Eventually, I ended up on YouTube because of a link one of my friends had posted.

Here's the video it led to:

Watching this led to about two solid hours of watching Julian Smth's videos. After and during, all of my thoughts were shifted. The more I laughed, the less focused I was on how depressed I felt. I know that in the past I've mentioned that "Laughter is the Best Medicine", and what happened yesterday totally supported my belief. I know that depression is going to follow me for the rest of my life, but maybe next time I feel overwhelmed, I can turn to my new best friend Julian to change my mood and my thoughts for the better.

Clinics, Confessions and Trips to the Library (Part 2/3)

Part Two- "Confessions"

Gym is normally the class that I dislike the most. Scratch that, I hate gym. From the noisy locker room, to wearing unflattering uniforms, to team sports (that you always happen to get picked last for), a lack of close friends to hang out with and the smelly body odor that lasts until the end of the school day, gym is definitely not a fun place to be. I guess I could ramble forever about my utter loathing of "physical education", but last week in gym class, I had a life changing experience. Now, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but if there is one lesson that I personally have had to relearn multiple times, it's that you can't judge a book by its cover.

Last year at this time, I was at EFY with my friend Kristen, it was a great
experience, but I haven't had a desire to go back since

It was the last day of gym and quite frankly, no one was there for class (who would want to be?). I happened to be there along with my friend J. and a girl named T.(who was more like an acquaintance than a friend). After doing absolutely nothing for the first half of class, the three of us decided to go to the locker room to get the rest of our things out of there so we wouldn't have to go after school and fight our way out of the crowded back parking lot. Since we were about three days away from being seniors, naturally scholarships, majors and college choices became the topic of discussion. J. asked me where I planned on going for college and I told her I was either going to Brigham Young University or the University of Utah. She asked me why and I went on to tell her about my plans to be an eating disorder specialist or psychologist for teen girls hopefully at Primary Children's Hospital. I had heard that Brigham Young University had a good psychology program, but the University of Utah had the best medical courses and students there often had access to their hospitals(including Primary Children's).

T. had walked up on us and she started to ask me questions about my planned career choice. I began to stumble over my words not wanting to give away the fact that I had an eating disorder and I wanted to help others overcome theirs. Eventually I was able to assemble slipshod responses to her questions, trying to stretch the truth as much as I could. After I was done, she told me that she was really proud of me for wanting to help girls with eating disorders and that she had been bulimic up until a year ago (this month was actually her one year anniversary of her official recovery but prior to that she had been bulimic for 1 1/2 years). I couldn't believe the courage  she must have had to come out and tell someone she barely even knew about her disorder (I think poor J. was a little creeped out), I could barely talk to doctors about my condition without crying! After listening to her, I confessed about why I really wanted to be an eating disorder specialist and that I too had a disorder, but with bingeing (this was the first time I had told anyone about what was going on besides my close family and doctors) I can't begin to explain how amazing it was to not only talk to someone who also had an eating disorder, but someone who had overcome it as well. We talked for a good twenty minutes and then separated for lunch. I was honestly in shock after our conversation. We pretty much had gone through the same motions despite the differences in our disorders. She had told me that it was hard for her family to accept that she did have a serious eating disorder (her Dad didn't even believe that there was anything wrong with her and that it was made up), that it was like a drug addiction, that only people who had gone through a similar experience could understand how she felt and that it seemed impossible to overcome. Eventually her parents found a counselor to help her recover through LDS Family Services and T. went on to tell me that she wouldn't have made it without her.

It was almost like a form of therapy to be able to talk to someone my age who actually understood what I was going through. She really helped strengthen my resolve to change and gave me hope to keep trying. After that discussion in the locker room, T. and I became instant friends. I think it was because we shared something so intimate that we were able to bond through it. I know I can count on her for support and hopefully she knows the same of me. I really admire all that she did and the fact that she overcame something so difficult. I guess in a sense she counts as one of my heroes.

A few days later we found each other at the yearbook stomp. She wrote in my yearbook that she was glad we "'discovered each other'", and I couldn't agree more.

J. pointed out that she would have never guessed either of us had eating disorders and I think that's how it is for most people, even those that are suffering from a disorder themselves. I think this supports the fact that you never know someones full story. Often we only accept what we want to see or what they have caused us to believe. I don't know if T. was inspired to speak up about her past when she did, but a day hasn't gone by that I haven't appreciated her tenacity since.

Clinics, Confessions and Trips to the Library (Part 1/3)

Part One-"Clinics"

I finally feel like my life has finally started to take a few turns for the better.
I guess it all started a few months ago with the end of my AP classes and the conclusion of soccer season. My dad had found a car for me and my friend drama was dying down. My mom also found an eating disorder clinic at Primary Children's Hospital and we were able to set an appointment for last week. I'm getting ahead of myself now, but literally, the past month has been a blur (in a good way).

My sister, Holly, took decided to take me to an LDS Family Services meeting for church members with eating disorders about two weeks ago. After having her check to see who was there, I chose to not attend because there would have been at least a ten year age gap between me and the other victims there; however, this was a huge step in the right direction. Not only did her kindness help me realize that I wasn't as alone as I thought I was, it helped me look at my life in a new light. In a sense, it prepared me for the change that would later take place within that same week. A few days later I attended my first of many clinic visits at Primary Children's.
I can't begin to tell you how wonderful that experience was. After my experience at Dr. Foster's office two months prior to this visit, I have to admit I was beyond skeptical. I guess I just didn't want to be disappointed again or have someone take my disorder lightly when it is something so serious.

We signed in and were immediately taken back to a patient room and was told to get put on a gown so I could be weighed accurately. They had me stand with my back to the digital screen so I couldn't see my weight, it wasn't hard to tell that they specialized in eating disorders after this. They obviously understood the sensitivity that eating disorder victims have towards viewing their weight. After we were met by a doctor, nutritionist and social worker/therapist. They were beyond helpful, they were my saviors. We spent the most time talking to my social worker (apparently we had set a "record" for the longest visit), she was so understanding. It felt nice to talk to someone who was experienced with what you were going through. She helped mediated between me and my mom along with giving excellent advice. Luckily, I was able to be honest with her. I told her about my purging, eating habits, emotions and pretty much anything else I could think of. It felt fantastic except for the moments I would look over at my mom and see the pain that would shoot across her face as she heard about things I had been keeping secret for months (purging, suicide, bingeing while she was gone). I could have never said the things that I said in that doctor's office to my mom alone. I needed someone else's support and expertise to soften the blow.

Later we met with the nutritionist and she definitely helped me adjust the way I viewed food. Now, don't confuse this with recovery, in fact, I'm no where close to that yet. Relapse will always be an all too eminent reality for the rest of my life and even more so in these vital following months. However, because of this changed mentality, my habits and thoughts are slowly starting to shift away from the extremes in which I have been living in. I'm finally gaining ground against the disorder that I allowed to define who I was for far too long.

 A few days ago I was talking to my Mom about the progress I had been able to make that I frankly wasn't capable of even fathoming prior to the clinic visit. After discussing this for a few minutes, I think she hit the reason why right on the head. I finally had hope. (I can't begin to express how liberating hope can be when deprived from its presence for a prolonged period of time.) I guess it felt like I was trapped in a small, uncomfortable concrete box that allowed no light in. Then after going to Primary Children's for the first time, the walls of that prison began to expand outward in every direction. Light broke in through cracks formed in the concrete cell I had built up around myself as its foundation began to crumble. (I'd like to imagine that one day the cracks would become so large as to cause the walls to crash down, never to form again.)I had room to not only stretch my legs, but to see glimpses of the world around me again, ending my self-induced solitary confinement.

Its been two weeks since my last clinic visit and also two weeks since my last binge or purge. Since then, I have been diagnosed with moderate depression and severe anxiety. Both can induce eating disorders to take place. I was advised to officially tell my immediate family about my disorder and that I would need their help to end this vicious cycle. When I decided to, I seriously wanted to cry I felt so relieved. I was terrified at first, but their support overwhelmed me. My therapist said that this is a family problem and that we're going to need everyone to come together in order for me to heal as an individual. After talking to them, I've decided she couldn't have been more right. My disorder is no longer something kept or talked about behind closed doors, but a topic that is openly (but still carefully) discussed. My Mom also has been doing some online researching and we discovered that Diabetics are more likely than "normal" individuals to gain eating disorders due to changing blood sugar levels and mental instabilities that can follow. Insulin (which is a steroid) can also promote weight gain in Diabetics due to excessive usage and the way the body may react to the substance (double-edged sword, anyone?). I guess this disorder wasn't just formed after one event or one flaw in my character. It was ultimately made up of seemingly small factors that ganged up to become one big problem. 

As recommended, my mom arranged an appointment for me to meet with a disorder psychiatrist at the end of July and I have my next clinic visit this Thursday. As much as I wish that medications and doctors could solve this dilemma for me, I know that my future is in my hands and based upon my resolve--not a bottle of anti-depressants. It's such a relief to finally feel like we're going about this the right way and I have educated professionals to support me. I feel alive again. I feel like I am gaining control. I'm starting to feel like myself again. I feel...happy.

My brother and nephew playing around while we were out
celebrating  Dad's 50th birthday, it's nice to finally
look outside of myself and notice moments like this again