Saturday, 25 October 2014

Supplements and the Psychiatrist Countdown

When I saw the dietician this week, I was certain I'd have gained. I could feel the extra weight on my body.
I ate similarly to last week, but I also went out to dinner, and didn't have the fasting days. Plus I was convinced last week's loss was mostly water weight, and so I expected to gain half of it back.
I think I was more shocked this week, when she told me I weighed exactly the same.

Last week, before I was weighed, I felt like I'd lost a little weight. My stomach didn't seem so bloated, my hips less flabby, my arms and thighs a little easier to wrap my hands around.
This week, before I was weighed, I felt like I'd expanded again.

She said she always half expects me to look at the number on the scales, and I just shook my head. Aside from the fact it would be unacceptably inaccurate, I don't want to see the numbers on a weekly basis.
"I tell people all the time that once a month is more than enough."
"The last time I weighed myself properly at home was in January, and I'm planning on doing it again... next January."

And it's true. I may even wait until the same date, the 21st. I keep telling myself that I'm going to weigh at the end of the month, in a couple of months, but I think I'm too afraid to. It can do me no good. There were a few months earlier this year that I was weighing myself daily on the Wii Fit, but I never knew an accurate number - it was just to get an idea of gains and losses. She doesn't know about that though.

When I first stopped weighing myself daily, a few years ago, it was because I had this weird realization that there was no point in doing it. When I stepped on the scale, all it did was make me want even more for the number to be lower. Why? Because it would be lower. I can run through the numbers in my head, all the way down to less than half of my current weight, without having to step on the scale. It will never be low enough.

Then on Thursday I saw my GP, and she had my blood test results. It turns out my dietician was right on the mark with her concerns. Both my iron and vitamin D are low, which were the ones she requested they check. My iron levels have actually been low for quite some time now, but it was never really followed up on by previous doctors, and it hasn't been checked for a while. She wants me to start taking supplements, which I was kinda expecting. She also wants me to get my vitamin C intake higher, to help with absorption and whatnot.

For the vitamin D deficiency, she's recommended a type of calcium + vitamin D supplement that also has a few other minerals added. She didn't want to talk much about the dietary side, but she wants me to talk to my dietician about whether I'm better to increase my iron and vitamin C intake through food or pills. I am not looking forward to either.

Naturally, mum bought a bottle of the calcium + vitamin D later that day. I haven't so much as opened it (although the box would suggest a fabulous shade of purple pill will be brightening up my meds case).

I did try talking to the mental health nurse about my struggles taking supplements after the dietician brought it up (this was before I saw the GP). We were talking about how I tend to forget to take painkillers despite being in pain, and after I thought it'd be a good time to mention the supplements thing. She said it wasn't important, and to just try to take the painkillers. Sometimes I like her, but other times...

Anyway, back to the GP. She was saying that the next person she wants to introduce to my team is the psychiatrist who she's been consulting with about me. She calls her my 'specialist on the side'. Pretty much everything my GP and the mental health nurse do is at her advice, and she already knows my history so I wouldn't have to explain everything from scratch. It's probably a better option than the psychologist they were talking about recently.

She wanted to make me an appointment, since it'll take a few months to get in to see the psychiatrist, but I froze and started to panic. She asked if that was okay, and I said no, not really. I've only been seeing the MH nurse for a few months, and she's the first mental health person I've seen in years, and I don't even trust her yet. It's too soon, and I'm just fucking afraid after past experiences with psychs and the mental health system in general. She understood, and offered to wait until mid-2015 before she starts trying to get me an appointment.

Thank you all for your feedback on my last post. It's always good to know I'm not alone (but I still couldn't succinctly explain why I struggle to take supplements if I tried). You guys are amazing. I don't know where I'd be without this blog and all of you wonderful people. Okay, stopping now before I get all mushy.

We took Billy on one of our 'distraction drives' the other day, because he started whimpering when we went to leave. Cuddling and holding him was the only thing that calmed me down.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Nessus

Yesterday I went out for dinner with my family. 
Outing #6 for 2014, complete.

We went to a quiet little Indian place.
I actually quite enjoy going out for dinner, although it's only the third or fourth opportunity I've had in recent years. I don't really have issues with eating in public, beyond the issues with eating in general. Maybe because I've not done it enough to fear it.

Thankfully the restaurant was quiet and not in the busy part of town. I drank a glass more than half a bottle of Shiraz. I forgot to get a photo of the food (it was a majestic spread), but I did get a photo of the wine bottle. 

Between myself, my mum, brother, and his fiance, we shared two curries (rogan josh and chicken aloo), chicken biryani, and masala dosa, alongside rice and naan bread. I had a spoonful of the biryani, three pieces of the rogan josh, rice... I did try the dosa and a bite of the chicken curry but wasn't too keen, and a little of the naan bread. Oh, and we shared a Nutella naan for dessert. I would've been more panicked, but I didn't eat apart from dinner yesterday, and they weren't big portions; I just like to taste a little of everything if I can.

Even though I can do the 'eating in public' thing, I do get anxious about not knowing an accurate calorie count. Usually I measure everything, from instant coffee to fruit to liquids to hot meals, using my trusty kitchen scales for accuracy. But every once a while I can justify estimating one meal, even if it leaves me with a nagging anxiety.

In other news, I saw the dietician on Tuesday. When I got off the scales, she said it had dropped a lot. She looked concerned, and I couldn't resist asking how much. She asked if I wanted to know numbers, and I figured once couldn't hurt if she just told me what I'd lost.

I lost two kilos last week.

I haven't lost that much that quickly in a long time. Not in the two years I've been seeing my dietician, at least. I barely even exercised last week, but my intake has been lower than it's been in a while.

She asked if I could start taking multivitamins again, but I'm not keen. I had a blood test this week though, and she wants me to agree to start taking vitamins again if the results come back low, but I don't know if I can. 
It's hard to explain, but I struggle to take them, knowing I'm doing something beneficial for my health, and just taking extra nutrients... It's challenging in a similar way to drinking supplements like Ensure, but on a much lesser scale.

Please tell me I'm not alone on this one.

Today I have crashed, and just want to hibernate from here throughout eternity.
I just don't know what to do anymore.

"A centaur, a mythical half-horse half-man. Like all centaurs, Nessus
was caught between two natures, the wild beast and the thoughtful
teacher. Most famously, driven by his animal side, he made a
bold play to steal the wife of Hercules. Ultimately, his clever plot
ended tragically, with the death of both Nessus and Hercules."
The first strawberry from my new plants


Saturday, 11 October 2014


Saw my GP first thing yesterday. More antibiotics, more steroids, go back on Tuesday. Today I've been pukey and feverish and generally unpleasant. I've been trying to write this post in chunks during the day, so hopefully it's somewhat cohesive.

My fever was in the 39°s for a few hours today, reaching 39.7°c, which I don't think I've experienced before. Mum and brother started saying I'd need to go to A&E if it gets to 40°c, even if they have to call an ambulance. I thought it was a bit of an overreaction and would rather just wait to see a GP if it got that high, but thankfully it started dropping a couple of hours ago. 

Mum's asked a couple of times already if I think the Gabapentin's having a negative effect on me, as in making me more depressed, but I honestly don't know. I get that she's still on-alert from the Fluoxetine-OD incident, which is fair enough, but how would I even know? How could I tell the difference between Gabapentin making things worse, depression just getting worse on it's own, or feeling worse because I have less hope? Even if I did, would I be able to say anything?

I'm crying for hours everyday again. But I think it's just that I feel less hopeful. After months of being told repeatedly that there's no point trying new antidepressants because Mirtazapine's the best I'll get, I feel like she just gave me these to shut me up. Whether that's true or not, my head has me convinced. 
"I think you really need to give them feedback on this."
"Why bother? She said she wants to leave me on it for two months before re-assessing."

And really, if I don't stay on them for at least those two months, they won't have any reason to give me anything else, because why bother if I won't even try?

On Wednesday and Thursday mum had to do a clear liquid fast for a routine procedure. I bet you can guess where this is going. I always struggle when I'm supposed to eat by myself. The bulk of my intake is liquid already, but things like smoothies, yogurt, Milo, soups, opposed to all clear liquids (definition below). But even with that, I'd feel so guilty having a hot Milo while mum has broth.

Needless to say my intake wasn't spectacular either day. On Wednesday I had a sugary icy pole (popsicle) (43 cal) after my blood sugars inevitably started to dip, plus 1.5 liters of diet soda (my trusty Coke Zero and my new obsession, sugar-free Sunkist), and of course water and a couple of black coffees. Thursday was harder because I knew I'd be having dinner. I asked mum what she wanted me to cook for dinner for when she got home, and as soon as I asked she said tacos.

We do tacos simply. I cook the chicken coated in dry seasoning with a little water, and gave them with salsa, lettuce and reduced fat cheddar. I had two with about 44 grams (raw weight) of chicken between them (226 cal) plus a hot Milo before bed (132), and during the day I had a little over two liters of diet soda.

Yesterday was a little higher, around 500 cals, and today will be closer to 650 after my Milo. I made a really simple Potato & Leek soup last night. I sautéed a leek, some celery and a few cloves of garlic in a little olive oil (10g for what made twelve cups of soup), then added the potato and chicken stock and puréed it all. No pictures, but it was so simple and tasty. 

Sorry I've not had much positive to say lately.
The tatters and rags skirt is coming along much more slowly than I expected, so I thought I'd share some progress pictures instead of posting them all at once when it's finished. There were some 200-odd individual scraps when I took these photos (yes, I'm counting), and there'll be around 600 by the time it's finished.

Now I'm going to go watch Frozen for the hundredth time because the songs makes me feel slightly less shitty for 102 minutes.

A scale model I made to see what the shape would
be like before I cut it out full-size


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Stuttering, Stumbling, Mumbling

When I saw my dietician this week, she spent some time talking about what improvements I've made in the time I've been seeing her. I started to panic that she was going to say I've made so much progress in terms of eating/weight/mood, when none of the above are true, but it wasn't like that at all.

Firstly, I make more eye contact now. I still stare at the floor for most of the appointment, but I can hold eye contact for more than a split second.
More than that, I can make conversation and talk and joke instead of just giving one-word answers.

And I don't run out crying anymore.
"That was only when I gained weight."
"But you don't do it anymore.
"The first time you ran out, I was like 'wait, what's going on here?'"
That would've been the fourth or fifth appointment, when the scales showed a gain for the first time.
"I don't have many clients who run out on me." she laughs.

I think it's because I'm much more comfortable around her now. I still struggle with the GP and mental health nurse and can't make eye contact or talk as freely, but I'm pretty comfortable with my dietician. But hey, even with just one person that's something.

I've been seeing her for over two years now, and I don't know if I'd be here without her. She's helped me get my intake to a level where I'm not constantly hypoglycemic, and for a while she helped me get my calories as high as 1,200-1,300 and still maintaining, which were both goals when I first met her, but I couldn't keep up with the higher calorie intake for long. She monitors my weight and tells me of weekly changes, and assures me she'll tell me if I start to gain or lose significant amounts. 

Anyway, then I saw the MH nurse for the first time in a month.

I didn't get to say my piece on meds. I know I need to talk to them about it, just to voice my feelings and clear the air, but I just couldn't talk.
One of the first things she asked was if my meds had changed, and I mumbled that I've started on Gabapentin. She said she hopes it helps with my anxiety, and I just sat there.

After a while of me giving one word answers, she asked what was going on in my head. I stuttered and stumbled and mumbled that I didn't know.
Eventually I started talking a bit more, slowly, hesitantly, stopping and starting. I didn't want to waste another appointment.

She asked me how I've been spending my days, and I just wanted to cry. Everything is just so hard. Sewing, blogging, writing in my journal, exercise, cooking, eating, gaming, tapestry. I can push myself to do things for a little while, but it's so forced, and everything just ends up stressing me out more. I don't want to do anything but I can't do nothing either.

It's not just that I feel overwhelmed by it all and it's not just that it all seems pointless, there's more to it than that. I spend most of the day staring at the wall. I can smoke and pick at my skin for hours on end, but I can't pick up my phone or write in my journal.
She asked what goes on in my head when I'm like that, if I'm "away with the fairies" or if my thoughts are running, but I honestly don't know. I try to identify it, but I just feel stuck.

I wish I was away with the fairies.

She asked if I was having any suicidal thoughts, and I sat there silently, thinking about what I should say before shrugging my shoulders.
"You don't want to talk about it?"
"No... I just... It's not that I'm suicidal, I just wish I was dead."
"Oh, okay. But that's different to saying you want to die?"
"No, I do want to die, I just don't have thoughts or plans to actively kill myself."
Call it a Passive Deathwish, or Anorexia's warpath.

"It's not acceptable for you to be this way. You can't go on like this."
Tears finally started leaking out. Not because she's probably right, but because it made me feel like an unacceptable fuck-up. I know she meant well. I marvel at my ability to take things the wrong way. But even now, I'm regretting not just keeping my mouth shut when the subject of mortality came up.

At one point we were talking about self-care. Admittedly I'm not the best at it. I don't think I really deserve it. I wear the same clothes for days, and bathing is even harder both mentally and physically (I'd be more embarrassed to admit it, but I know I'm not the only one). Since I struggle with those, she wants me to try doing some other things for self-care more often, whether it's listening to music (I don't anymore unless I'm exercising), painting my nails, or even just burning some candles or incense.

So yesterday I had a bath and burnt some incense, and then freshened up my hair color. I can't say it made me feel any better, but at least now I look half presentable.

In other news, last week I bought myself my first new pair of shoes (non-exercise shoes) in years. They are fabulous. Being so tall, I've constantly been told that most shoes are 'too tall' for me. But you know what? I. Don't. Care. I'm tired of not being able to wear 90% of shoes because of my height.
They have a 9cm (3.5") heel with a 1.8cm platform, making me 195cm or 6'4.5".

And thank you all for your comments on my last post. You guys are amazing. Sometimes I don't know if I'm being completely irrational and out of line or not, so I really appreciate the feedback and input.

For now, photos.