Monday, 24 February 2014

The You Yangs

With the month quickly drawing to a close, I finally got out to the mountains today after putting it off for weeks. 

We did a trail walk that took us a little over an hour to complete. It wasn't too busy which was a relief - we only really saw other people in the car park. I took a heap of pictures, though sadly we didn't see any wildlife (they have kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, wallabies, possums and lizards!).

I made a packed lunch this time instead of buying Subway en route, which took a little of the stress off. I packed a small wholemeal roll with mashed egg (129+66) with a Thermos of coffee, alongside my liter bottle of water. Mum had the same, just a larger portion. Normally I wouldn't eat rolls, at the moment I rarely even do sandwiches, but they just weren't practical, and neither was my usual fruit-based lunch, so mum suggested rolls.

Since K asked on my last post, I thought I'd explain a little about my challenges leaving the house for any newer readers.
To put it simply, I have agoraphobia, and the last couple of years have been pretty bad. I haven't really left the house regularly in over a year now, except for appointments, of course. When I do venture out into the world, there are a lot of internal rules and barriers about where's 'safe' to go and where's not. My New Years Resolution this year was to challenge myself to go out once a month, which mightn't sound like much, but it's a huge deal to me.

Anyway, apart from today's outing, the week's been pretty uneventful. I've been exercising a lot and smoking a lot to try to keep my head in check, but that's about it. I haven't even sewn for weeks.

Tuesday is my rest day, but on Wednesday thru today, I've done a grand total of 16 hours 20 minutes exercise (7:40 step aerobics, 7:30 Wii boxing, plus 1:10 today walking at the You Yangs). That's an average of 2:44 of exercise a day, though some days have been as high as three and a half hours. I've been burning off more than I eat everyday. But hey, on the bright side, at least the Lung Doctor Man will be stoked when I have my checkup in May (maybe not with my smoking still increasing, but I'm exercising for at least an hour a day). 

Right now, I'm totally drained. I think it's time to smoke the rest of the day away, toss together a lettuce-salsa-chicken salad (my fourth this week) and call the day done. Dietician first thing tomorrow, which after a week of so much exercise could be interesting. 


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Same old song and dance

I went out to visit my Great Aunt and Uncle yesterday. 
I don't get out to see them enough anymore. My uncle has been doing quite poorly for the past few years, but he's a fighter. By contrast, my aunt is 80 going on 60. She just doesn't act her age.

I made two choc mint cheesecakes, her recipe, and took one over to give to her. Uncle is on supplements only now, and while she still cooks meals for herself, she doesn't do much baking anymore. When I took it into the kitchen, she cheekily announced 'I'll only have a slice if you have one!'
I cut a small slice, about a quarter of what she and mum were having, and picked at it over the course of an hour. I'm honestly not that fond of cheesecake, but I make them for mum every so often. I'm really glad I made one for my aunt though - she told me she hasn't made one for seven or eight years.

It was just wonderful to see them both. I'm not sure if I'd call it my outing for the month, as it was relatively safe, not going out in public. I'm still hoping to go out to the mountains in the next week or so, weather permitting.

Dietician was the day before. An average day seems to have become 500-600 calories, though I drank three nights last week on top of that, pushing my intake up closer to 1,200. Disgusting. I am actually ashamed of myself. I had a few drinks this Tuesday too. No more of that crap this week.

It was the same old routine. She says Ensure and a minimum of 800, I cringe and nod, but already know I have no intention of doing it. The scales crept up a little, but every week she reassures me that it's really no different to a month ago, that she'll always keep me updated if there are any 'trend-forming' losses or gains. I trust her, but I am thinking about weighing myself at home again at some point soon.

Over the weekend, I kicked my exercise up a notch. I've still been doing 1-2 hours of step aerobics each morning, but I've busted out the Wii for the first time in years and am now also doing 30-60 minutes of cardio boxing. As far as I remember, the Wii was the original trigger for my overexercising.

I went hard yesterday, powered by my sugary beverages the night prior and the guilt-filled sliver of cheesecake. I did two hours on the step in the morning, and a little over 90 minutes total of boxing throughout the afternoon. It was my highest calorie burn day in a long time - 1,013 with an intake of 401. I'm taking it easier today. I did just one hour on the step earlier, and I'm aiming for 30 minutes of boxing later.

I'm not much looking forward to the next few months. Trauma anniversaries are like a minefield, dates burnt in my mind, and triggers are everywhere. The best I can do is try to keep myself distracted and not dwell on it too much, but it's always a hard time of year. 
For now, I'll leave you with a few pictures. 

I actually wore something that isn't exercise gear or pajamas for the first time in weeks. Shocking. 

Uncle and I, Christmas 2011. 

My lazy throw-together dinner last night. 74g of iceberg lettuce tossed in 20g of mild salsa, topped with 42g of chicken breast cooked in 2g of burrito seasoning. 71 calories - definitely a new standby. No points for presentation, though. 


Friday, 14 February 2014

Same place, same time

It's been a week. It seems I struggle for words more and more as time goes by.

What can I say? Tuesday was dietician day. 8:10am, every week.
I got there late, for the third time in two years, with tear-smudged makeup and my head down. I'd been crying on and off all morning, stuck in my armchair blubbering on about how it was all pointless and a waste before dragging myself out to the appointment. I barely said twenty words throughout the appointment, and ended up crying on her too.

My weight's been fluctuating up and down small amounts, much like my intake, but is much the same as it was when I weighed myself at home - around 44kg. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. Stubbornly, I still want it to drop further.

She asked me to try for an Ensure every second day, and to get my calories up to 800 everyday. I shrugged. We'll see. I haven't been so far, but I'm glad she's given me a number to aim for at least.

Over the weekend, I tried to spend some time in my bedroom. It's a long story, but I haven't used my bedroom for a long time. For years, I've slept on the couch.
So I lay on my bed, put on the final season of Futurama, and after smoking two cones to calm myself, I passed out.

I woke up 90 minutes later, feeling disoriented, panicked and horribly low. We'd been planning a no-oil stir-fry (stir-dry?) for dinner. Half an hour after waking, I went in to chop up the capsicum, the green beans, the carrots. When it was time to start on the chicken, I broke down crying on the floor. I couldn't do it. I had soy sauce with my rice instead.

All I want to do is stay in bed all day, but I don't have a bed to do it in. 
There is no place for me to just be. 
There is no place for me to feel safe or relaxed. 
There is no place for me.

I'm trying to keep up with my New Years Resolution of leaving the house once a month. I've started planning what I'm going to do next. I want to go back to the You Yangs, but I want to attempt a trail walk this time too, and take lots of pictures and make a day of it. Now I'm just waiting for a day when it isn't too hot, or too windy, or raining.

Thank you to everyone who's been reading and commenting with words of support. It means more to me than I can ever express. I'd be utterly lost and alone without all of you wonderful people. Apologies that I rarely have anything interesting or positive to say anymore.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Medication and Obligations

I had an appointment with my GP yesterday for the first time in two months. 

Part of me had hoped she'd forgotten about it, but the first thing she asked was if I'd made an appointment with the mental health nurse yet. She reminded me that last year I said I'd see the nurse, that she had me on contract and I need the extra support. I cringed. I'm being backed into a corner and I don't like it.

We talk about days and times, and she asks me to make an appointment for sometime before Easter. She wants me to meet the MH nurse briefly at first and then to have monthly appointments, working towards fortnightly and eventually weekly. She tells me they work at my clinic two days a week, or could also visit me at home if I'd prefer (I think not). I start wringing my hands and shifting in my chair.
'I'm just letting you know what your choices are.'
'It's not really a choice though, is it?'

She checked my arms and legs for self-harm, and the only wounds were some scratches, a little burn on my finger and a lot of mozzie bites. I've still been self-harming, but it's not several times a day like it was even a month ago, and generally I don't leave marks.

I told her that I've been taking lorazepam since just before Christmas, hence the decrease in self-harm. When I initially mentioned it, she asked where I got it, forgetting she herself had prescribed it back in May (where did she think I got it?!).

She asked if it'd helped with my anxiety at all, and asked mum if she'd noticed a change too. She had, quite dramatically. It's no longer a daily occurrence for me to spend several hours straight in hysterics, crying and panicking and breaking down over the smallest things. I mean, my mood hasn't particularly improved, mornings are difficult and I still have episodes, but they're no longer a constant and they usually don't last as long.

She agreed to keep me on it, much to my relief, but she can't raise the dose, which is fine. It's the most useful thing I've been prescribed in a long time.

As for the antidepressants... It looks like I'm stuck with Zyban for a while longer, even though it hasn't really helped at all. My insurance pays back a certain amount per year, but not enough for it to be affordable for longterm treatment as my pension no longer covers it. Mum said she was willing to pay for it, but it's just not practical for longterm treatment, especially for when I move out, and I couldn't carry the guilt.

But my GP won't take me off them. She and mum talked numbers and insurance and pensions and rebates, and it all went over my head. Long story short, I can get them at a reasonable price for the next 3-6 months, then she'll review them.

But here's the problem. No matter what, I won't be taking them in six months time. Even if they did eventually help, they're too expensive to be a viable option for longterm treatment. I don't see why I have to keep taking them, especially when they aren't helping. No matter what, I'll need to be on another antidepressant in six months time.

I'd barely been speaking but at this point I just gave up, feeling that my voice wasn't being heard anyway. She tried to ask about my weight and exercise, but my only response was nodding when she asked if I was exercising. She said we'd talk about it next time as I obviously wasn't in a talking mood today. I was quiet to the point that we wrapped up my double-appointment markedly early.

Just before I left, she asked if there was anything else I wanted to mention to her. I had a list running through my mind but I just shook my head and pushed out the words 'I just don't want to take Zyban anymore'. She insists.

Once in the safety of the car with mum, I broke down into tears and rambles that continued for hours.

I don't know what to do. 
I don't want to keep taking these antidepressants. 
I don't want to talk to this mental health nurse. 
I don't want to work forwards with my dietician. 
I don't want to deal with any of this.
I don't want to do anything.
I just want to hide away from the world for a little while. 
And I'm doubting myself more than ever.


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Spiraling Downward and Slipping Away

I'm slowly trying to come to terms with raising my intake and maintaining my weight again. It's not going to be easy, but I know I don't have much choice. 

I need to eat a little more to avoid having to eat a lot more. I need to maintain to avoid gaining. I need to keep away from hospital to keep anorexia close.

I have been pushing myself to eat something a little more 'substantial' each day, but it never adds more than 50-150 cal compared to the 'safe' options. My intake's been sitting anywhere between 350-700 cal for the past week or two and it all feels like too much. A couple of days pushed into the 900s, and I wanted to tear my stomach off.

The dietician asked me to have an Ensure everyday this week. Hah. To be honest, I haven't had any. I know that if I drink the Ensure, I'll just eat fewer calories from actual food. I don't work well with such variable goals. This is why I've always had calorie-based goals with my dietician, like "950-1,000 calories a day, eat what you can and top the rest up with Ensure". Otherwise I play with the numbers and twist the goals to keep my calorie intake lower.

I haven't been feeling too great the past few days. I've got an annoying little headache and a touch of fever, and enough phlegm that I practically wake up choking on it (gross, I know). On the plus side, it's helping me keep my exercise capped at one hour. I've been smoking like a train again which I'm sure hasn't helped. I'm back up to 40-50 cigarettes a day after getting down to ~35, and I'm smoking more of them, *ahem*, 'other stuff' than I have for months. 

I crashed in a heap after spending all weekend hunched over my sewing machine. My motivation has been sapped and I feel utterly useless. I do my step aerobics in the morning, and I do obligatory food prep throughout the day, but most of my time is spent chain-smoking in my armchair, still. Lorazepam is actually keeping me relatively docile. I'm self-harming less, and my panic attacks and breakdowns have reduced dramatically since I started taking it.

Speaking of, I see the GP next Thursday. I have to tell her that I've been taking lorazepam everyday since just before Christmas, despite her telling me it was a once-off prescription when she gave it to me back in May. I also need her to find another bloody antidepressant for me to try. Zyban was covered by my pension for two months as a 'quit smoking aid' (hah) and she was hoping my insurance would cover it afterwards, but they won't. I think this is the first time my health insurance has ever failed me.

Also, I'm pretty sure it'll be the last appointment before she corners me into seeing the Mental Health Nurse, so I can start panicking about that again. Yay.

I did mess around with a little sewing on Wednesday/Thursday. I made this little patchwork pin cushion wristband one day, and the big heavy pin cushion and scraps bag in the background the next. It was nice to have a quick no-pattern-required project to distract me as a break from the frustratingly precise dress.