Monday, October 31, 2016

'healthy'

I've had some pretty major weight fluctuations over the past month. I lost about 10 lbs over September, and gained them back in October. All these weight fluctuations make gymnastics quite difficult, as I'm not as in touch with my body.

I mentioned this to my training partner today, and she told me that when she saw me a month ago she was quite concerned and that I look much better now. I *know* that she doesn't mean that I look fat now, but that's the only way my brain knows how to take a comment like that.

looking better = looking healthier = looking fatter

I know logically this isn't true. But my brain still believes it.

My body image has gone down drastically as I gained back these ten pounds. I felt a lot better about my body ten pounds ago, and would really like to be at that weight again. But I don't want to look sick. I just want to like what I look like and not cause the rest of the world to panic over my weight. Why is that so difficult?

Cat pictures

I named my cat Prozac, because both Prozac and my cat make me happy.



















Sunday, October 30, 2016

Don't let the statistics tell you otherwise.

I never thought I'd find someone who cares about me like you do. Someone who will hold my hand and tell me everything will be okay when I felt as though the sky was falling. Someone willing to visit me when I'm locked inside a hospital room. Someone willing to talk to me, when all I could talk about is death.

They say that borderlines can't have successful relationships, that we're doomed for life. Well, I'm proving you wrong. I always believed in this myth, getting myself into destructive relationships, breaking up and getting back together time and time again, ending up hating and loving my partner simultaneously, making me feel as though my life is a tornado of emotions.

I found someone better. Someone who makes me believe that I can get my life back on track. Someone who makes me believe that I have a chance of making it in this world. Someone who believes in happiness and love.

I'm not going to lie and say that happy successful relationships are easy to obtain. They're hard. You need to work at it, and so does your partner. But it can work. It means having the hard conversations. Talking about the way you feel. Explaining what your disorder makes you believe and why you can't always function the way you would like to.

But it's possible.

You can find true love.

Don't let the statistics tell you otherwise.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween

The past few weeks have been rough. Tonight my roommate and I are hosting a low key Halloween party. I'm pretty nervous about it to be honest. We made chocolate bark which is super yummy but I'm so scared that it's going to be triggering. I'll be wearing a tight dress, and be surrounded by people and chocolate. I'm nervous I'm going to end up binging and purging.
I'm really proud of myself for putting myself out there and being more social, but I'll I want to do is curl up in a ball.

Time for nap.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Update

It's been a while since I've written, and let you know how I've been doing.

Things have been okay... well not really okay, but I've been getting by. My depression, impulsivity and dissociation as increased a fair bit over the past couple weeks.

I got a 60% on my real analysis (upper year math) test a couple weeks ago and it triggered a downward spiral. I stopped getting out of bed at the same time every day, stopped being consistent with my medication, let my eating disorder. I know having symptoms isn't my fault and that being sick isn't my fault, but at one point, it's my decision whether or not I decide to engage in self care. I wasn't filling in my CBT journal, so I was letting my thoughts go while and not reframing them. I wasn't tracking my eating patterns so I didn't know what to work on to improve them. I wasn't training effectively, so I got injured.

I know that getting a 60% on an upper year math course doesn't mean I'm stupid. It means I'm passing a fourth year math course. Which is tough to do. But I also need to accept reality. A 60% will not get me into grad school. I need to work my ass off to improve my marks. Which means focusing on school. School must be my first priority. That means I need to prioritize school over losing weight (as I mentioned in my last post).

My roommate is doing a lot better. She's no longer overdosing or hurting herself, and she overcame her restricting lapse. She's still struggling, but I no longer am worried about her all the time.

I have four tutoring clients right now, and quit my kitchen job. This is so much better for me than working in a kitchen ever was. I love tutoring and feel so good about helping others, while making money. It's enough to support me, and even get a bit of extra money (assuming I don't spend it all on binge food).

My boyfriend and I are still going strong. In fact, we had a few really good conversations, and things are better than ever. It's hard to think that he might be on the other side of the world next year, but we're taking things day by day, enjoying the time we have together.

Although the last few weeks have been tough, I really feel like I can turn things around. I started off sleeping in and not having my planned breakfast, but I've really turned things around. I'm at my desk, showered, studying and blogging, and heading off to tutor in five minutes.

I hope you're all doing well. I haven't been keeping up with you all with all my midterms, but after my last one tomorrow, I'll be sure to catch up on everything that I missed!

I love you all

weight

I've decided I need to maintain.

I've been spending a lot of time trying to lose over the past couple weeks, and all it's done is increase my b/p tendencies, distract me from school and make me absolutely miserable. I'm at a weight I'm content with. I'm not happy, but I'm content. My muscle tone is showing more and more as I continue my gymnastics training. I can't let weight loss be my priority.

In an ideal world, I'd be able to lose weight, ace school and be an elite athlete. That's not possible. I need to prioritize. My first priority is school. My second is gymnastics. And if losing weight gets in the way of either of those I'm going to need to stop.

This is me trying. No I'm not magically recovering. No, I'm not going to stop engaging in behaviours. But this is my trying. This is me trying to get back on track with life, not with weight loss. This is me harm reducing. Don't say I need to do more. Don't say I need to gain, or exercise less or eat a bigger variety of food. Let me do me. This is me trying.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Recovering from reading week

I was excited for reading week this year. I was expecting to rest, read, study and workout. It was going to be great.

I was going to be all caught up on courses, back to a solid sleep schedule, my caffeine intake reduced and be all set to go last Monday when my school resumed.

I found the opposite happened. My depression worsened. I had no reason to get out of bed, so I didn't get out of bed. I was staying in bed until the early afternoon every day. I studied, but not much. And when I did study, I was distracted and not productive about it.

I need the regularity of school. I need to get up and have things to do every day. I need to have a lot on my plate so that I continue to get things done in a productive matter.

I found last week, my first week back at classes after reading week, to be a tough one. I only made it to half my classes. Not only that, but I only made it to the gym once, and instead of studying when I wasn't at the gym, I slept. I spent a lot of time sleeping. I got into the habit of sleeping over 12 hours a day, so when school started again, I was still sleeping over 12 hours a day.

The problem with weekends is that they're like mini reading weeks.
Two days where you don't have to leave the house, don't have class, don't have medical appointments and don't have gymnastics training. Even though that's true, I still have to leave the house to get fresh air, I still need to study, I still need to take care of myself and I still need to workout.

I'm working on planning out my weekends better. I have tutoring sessions both today and tomorrow so I have to get out of bed to go work. I got up this morning and went to Starbucks to study. My roommate and I are going to go to the gym together so that we have accountability. Then, I'm hauling my bum to the library to study somewhere were I can't get away with climbing into bed and watching netflix.

The problem with reading week this past semester, is not only did I not catch up, I got a week behind with my week of not going to class. But I'm going to catch up. I have no other choice. So this girl is going to do it.


Friday, October 21, 2016

protein bars

This blog post is going to be mostly me ranting about my love hate relationship with protein bars. I will be posting a blog post where I give my review of protein bars over the weekend, but for now I'm just going to rant. I'm in a complaining mood.

OKAY. So protein bars cost about a million dollars a box, and 2 million dollars if you buy them individually. So me, trying to be financially responsible, buys protein bars in boxes. But then I binge on them. And I can't purge them because they cost a million dollars. And they have protein, and I need the protein in my diet. But it was still a binge and I'll hate myself for it for the next week.

Now you're probably thinking, okay Niqi, just don't fucking binge on your protein bars. But when I don't keep binge food in the house, they're the closest thing I have to chocolate bars and so they become my binge food.

And thus, I have to buy my protein bars individually. And spend more money that I don't have.

*sigh*


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Exposure

I'm back in the children's hospital where I was first admitted for my depression and suicidal thoughts. It's strange. I'm not here because I'm sick (even if I was I can no longer be treated here as I'm an adult) but to participate in a medical study.

For some reason I'm a lot more anxious then I was expecting to be. My heart is pounding in my chest and I'm shaking. I'm getting flashbacks from when my stepmom was sick which is quite common for me in hospitals, but I'm getting flashbacks from my admission three years ago. This has never really happened to me.. but I'm remembering the locked doors, the awful groups and the tears. I really was at my worst.

Being here is bringing back those feelings of intense sadness anger and loneliness. I'm remembering my parents faces as they cried because their baby girl wanted to die.

I want to bolt. To not partake in this study. It's completely voluntary and I can leave if I wish. But this is good for me. Although I'm being bombarded with feelings and anxious as hell I'm safe. I'm grounding myself and reframing my thoughts. Exposure is good for me, and I will fight through these feelings.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tomorrow

It's so easy to say.
I'll start tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day.

But this time I'm serious. I will continuously improve. I will overcome this bulimia. I'll be healthy, I'll be strong, I'll be smart I'll be powerful.

I'll be my own inspiration.

It starts with my eating. Healthy clean food makes me feel good and reduces the binging and purging. Yogurt, berries, bananas, peanut butter, protein powder, greens.
Then comes the exercise. Gymnastics four times a week. Cardio three times a week. At least. More if possible. But I need to have extra protein shakes to have the energy to workout this much.
Then comes school. With the confidence I will have from positive eating and exercise, I'll be ready to attack the math. I'll write a kick ass thesis. Ace homework assignments.

I'm going to rock it.

But first sleep.

"Let her sleep. For when she wakes, she will move mountains"

Saturday, October 15, 2016

How to support a suicidal friend

1. Listen to them
They feel lost. Things that used to cause them enjoyment seem insignificant to them. Listen to them talk about it. Yes, it may be a "depressing conversation", but they need people to listen. They need away to let their feelings out in a non self destructive way. They need someone to listen and to try to understand that isn't their therapist.

2. Be there. 
Whether you're studying beside them in silence, gossiping about whatever else is going on, helping them make a life plan, or lending a shoulder to cry on, just be there. Meet them after class with a coffee. Sometimes they just need someone in the same room to remind them that they aren't alone. Let them hermit when they need to, but be a constant reminder that someone loves them, someone understands them, and that someone genuinely wants to be around them.

3. Invite them out
No matter how many times they say no, keep on inviting them out. It feels worse to not be invited than to say no. Encourage them to partake in things you do to help your mental health. Walk to starbucks to get fresh air, go to the gym to get endorphins, take them out to lunch. Hygiene, exercise and nutrition tend to disappear when one is feeling suicidal, so partaking in activities that encourage these with them is a great way to get outside, help them, and also help yourself.

4. Accept that you aren't in control
You can't always be there. You need to sleep, you have appointments, you have school or work. You can't control what your friend does or think. You can help. You can reinforce positive thoughts and encourage them to get help, but at the end of the day it is their decision. Do not pressure them into making empty promises or to get treatment they aren't ready for. Leave that for medical professionals. It's upsetting to say, but if you have a suicidal friend, they might attempt, and it might be successful. It is not your fault. It is not their fault. It is depression's fault. Do what you can't but accept that you can't fix the situation.

5. Have the tough conversations
If they're on meds, should their meds be in their room? This is more applicable if you live with your friend, but should you be holding on to their meds. Are there any signs you should look out for, and what should you do to help if you notice these signs? Ask them if they're getting help. It isn't your job to make them get help, but have your friend be honest with you as to what steps they're taking.

6. Make the tough decisions
Is your friend completely uncontrollable and you're worried about their safety? If you know that they need to go to the hospital, you need to make the decision to call the paramedics or the police. If you feel comfortable taking them, then take them. Did you find your friend passed out beside a bottle of pills, or asleep and bleeding? Call 911. They might hate you for a bit. But they'll thank you after, and understand why you did it.

7. Take care of yourself
It's not your job to take them. It's your job to take care of you. If you're texting each other but you need to go to bed, let them know they can keep on talking to you and you'll read the messages in the morning. If you can't visit them in the hospital because of bad hospital anxiety, call them. If they're triggering your mental illness, let them know gently, and steer the conversation in an other direction. Feed yourself. Sleep. Go to the gym. You're friend will get better.

Food plan

After reading your responses to my Diets and Bulimia I have set up a new meal plan. There are rules. I feel as though I need rules to get through the day without binging and purging.

Today's meal plan looks like this:
Breakfast: banana, PB2, chocolate milk, coffee
Lunch: breakfast burrito (tortilla shell, egg whites, salsa and lettuce)
Snack: oats with  Arbonne protein powder.
Dinner: spaghetti sqash sweet potato stir fry on a bed of lettuce and cucumber

The idea is that I only eat foods that make me feel good and confident. As the binging and purging reduces I'll increase more food into my meal plan. I also always set up my meal plan the night before so I have a guideline. I say guideline because I will change it if I feel like something different, but I have a basis for what I can eat if I don't know where to start.

I often have a fifth snack because I go to the gym, and I need to have extra to compensate for that. A typical post workout snack would be a smoothie made with chocolate milk, banana and protein powder, or a bowl of oats with protein powder.

Friday's are 'free' days. By this I mean I challenge myself to eat intuitively without a plan. Yesterday it led to two binge/purge sessions, but as time goes on I'll get better and better at it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Diets and bulimia

Sometimes I wonder if being on a strict diet would help my bulimia. I just started a new diet that I've wanted to try out, filled with safe foods and protein.

The problem is, this new diet I'm on involves calorie restriction. Is this really a good idea? It's light restriction, and only net calories count, so I can exercise loads and eat more appropriately. It's only been a couple of days, but it has helped. I'm binging and purging less and feel a lot more in control over my intake.

I had my roommate hide some of her food in my room. I often steal her food when I'm in binge mode, so I had her keep the food I tend to steal safely tucked away in her room so that I don't get that temptation.

I went grocery shopping yesterday. I want to go back to posting my grocery haul every week, but this won't start until November as I have no money right now, and food to last me the month.

What are your thoughts on diets as a recovery method for bulimia? Are they a good idea or not?

Psychiatry appointment

I had an appointment with my psychiatrist today and it went extremely well!

She congratulated me on not binging and purging since Monday (I'm on day three!!), as well as not engaging in other behaviours such as cutting.

I really am getting better, I'm on an upward slope right now.

We discussed how I really have to be careful about taking my meds at the same time every day. Two days ago I took my meds in the afternoon instead of the morning and I felt really low and my urges were high yesterday. I managed to fight through though, which means that non only are my meds working better, my coping strategies have improved a lot.

I'm struggling with flashbacks of my mom getting very angry as well as my stepmom being in the hospital. I'm having a really hard time dealing with those, but I've been using my ativan and thought records ground myself. Since it's reading week I've also been taking a lot of naps to ignore life, which is one thing I'll need to stop doing come next week.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

You can't pour from an empty cup

It's hard to remember this sometimes.
The past few days have been tough. My best friend attempted suicide again. She told me shortly afyer her overdose and we went to the hospital and she's medically stable. She's going to be okay.

I have no doubt in her ability to fight these demons as she's one of the strongest women I know. But she doesnt know that right now.

Im doing my best to be a good support. But my past trauma with hospitals has been brought up in therapy recently and so flashbacks have been strong. She's still hooked up to machines and getting fluids so that repetitive beeping sound is loud when I visit her. I want to be there, to stay with her, but I get flashbacks so damn quickly and can't function myself.

I know I need to distance myself from the hospital for a bit. And my friend will be home today. But it makes me feel like an awful friend not being able to be there with her.  I'm on my way to see her and drop off some stuff for her. I'm going to have to be assertive and tell her I need to go home, but it's such a hard thing to do. I'm no use to her though if mg flashbacks send me spiraling back into a pit of darkness.

Monday, October 10, 2016

World mental health day Facebook post










Today is #worldmentalhealthawarenessday

Mental illnesses are life threatening conditions that have caused me  and many others several hospitalizations, treatment programs and medications. What's even worse is that many individuals don't have access to treatment because of the stigma or lack of finances.

I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about medication. Below is a picture of the medication I have to take daily for my mental illness. Yes it's a lot. No it's not big pharma trying to take advantage of me. Finding the right medication has changed my life and this drug cocktail is what's keeping me alive.
I've seen many people talk about how exercise, healthy eating and all sorts of other things are natural anti-depressants. And this can be true to some extent. But when there is a chemical imbalance in your brain, you need medication that will help fix that imbalance.

I'd like to thank everyone who's stuck by me over the past three years of hospitalizations, relapses, ups and downs. It hasn't been an easy three years, but I'm glad I'm still here to talk about it. I personally suffer from borderline personality disorder, bulimia, depression and anxiety. If you have an questions about any of these illnesses or my experience with them please ask.

Money part 2

So .. I spent more money. Oops.

Is it an oops though? I bought two bras that actually fit - something I haven't had since the start of my eating disorder, and hence since the beginning of my bra wearing experience. My weight fluctuations have always been too drastic to buy proper fitting bras. I went to Victoria's secret and finally got measured after years of guessing my bra size.

I now have two bras that fit, and three that are close to fitting - old bras that are close to my current size.

I also bought socks. With winter coming I desperately needed socks. Should I feel guilty for all this shopping? I feel almost out of control. I guess I'm going to have to get back in control because I only havr two dollars left in my bank account.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Money

I finally have some!

... well not really, my tuition isn't fully paid. But my student loans finally arrive so I feel less stressed about my financial situation.

Of course, being the irresponsible little shit I am, I went out shopping. I didn't do too much damage; $100 spent at the nutrition store (which included a huge container of protein powder), $40 spent on new running shoes (which were desperately needed), and $30 spent on things for my cat.

It was nice to get a bit of retail therapy in, especially when I was buying things that were between wants and needs. I don't need protein powder, but I need food. I don't need a scratching post for Prozac, but I do need a box spring that isn't ruined. And, I don't need new shoes, but I need to stop getting injured.

It's the start of my reading week - which means the start of 11 whole days of unstructured time. I'm worried about the binging and purging increasing but I'm hoping I can keep myself in check with exercise, studying and relaxing. I want to re-read all the Harry Potter books over the next 11 days. I have a few letters to write, some to my pen-pals, some to the government.

To all the Canadians out there - happy Thanksgiving weekend! I hope the food and family situation doesn't get you too stressed out.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

New therapist

I had my first session with my new therapist yesterday and it went incredibly well. I have to say, we did a lot more than I expected us to and actually made some treatment plans.

His way of treating bulimia isn't the typical eating disorder treatment method. He goes by harm reduction and treating the binge eating. If I can stop the binge eating the cycle will stop. He's okay with me cutting certain foods out of my life because all I do is binge on them. Having some of my roommates food locked away because I tend to steal it is okay.

If I never eat chocolate again, that would be okay. It wouldn't be good, but it would be okay. If I binge and purge on chocolate for the rest of my life that wouldn't be okay.

Right now I have what he calls bad problems. Let's replace them with something else. If what we replace them with becomes another problem we'll deal with that then. But the idea is changing the destructive behaviours into less destructive behaviours.

He's very supportive of me using my gymnastics as motivation and turning towards healthy eating and exercise as a way for me to overcome my bulimia, which I'm very excited about. It seems more realistic to me than dropping gymnastics, and eating fear foods all the time.

We'll see how it goes, but it's off to a good start.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fitbit-orexia

Fitbits have gone from being something athlete's wear in order to specialize their training and diets, to a fashion accessory that everyone - from my slightly active family members, to my therapist - are wearing.

But why? 

In most cases, calorie counting is the wrong way to go about dieting. Healthy eating choices, being aware of hunger cues and moderate exercise is the current recommended method to lose weight (if weight loss is needed). It seems that individuals at their set point weights are trying to lose more weight in order to be thin, thinking that thin is synonymous with health. 

Thin and healthy are very different things. In fact, many elite athletes are less 'healthy' than a moderately active individual, due to the strain they put on their body to be at the top of their sport. Looking up to fitness models as inspiration is not the same as looking up to health. Trying to sculpt out a specific body type is actually quite destructive, leading to poor body image. 

What do Fitbits have to do with this?

Many behaviors of those who use Fitbits are similar to eating disorder symptoms. These include: 
  • Calorie counting
  • Tracking food intake
  • Tracking exercise
  • Over exercising
  • Restricting food intake
  • Making up for overeating with excessive exercise
  • Having weight loss competitions
We've been tricked by marketing companies that these are good behaviors That these behaviors make us stronger and healthier. They don't. They encourage disordered eating patterns. These behaviors can trigger eating disorders in those who are genetically pre-dispositioned.

There's also the issue of trusting these little devices. Many get very attached to the number they see on their Fitibit. Whether it be how many calories they burned, how many calories they ate, or how many steps they took. How do you know that this is accurate? Waving your arm around makes the device think you took more steps.

When it comes to fitbits, my first thought is of how destructive they can be. I see why they would be helpful in some situations, but I don't think that's the general case. I especially don't think that fitbit competitions should be a part of the system.

If you're planning on getting a fitbit, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons, and that you don't start sliding down a very slippery slope. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Promises

It hurts to know that I can't promise you my existence. That I can't look you in the eye, and guarantee that I'll never self destruct again. It hurts to know that you have to worry about this.

If I were me all the time, you'd have nothing to worry about, because when I am me I know that the storm will pass and the rainbow will appear. It's the demon, the dark ghost haunting my lungs, suffocating me from the inside out tearing at my throat letting go only when my head is in the toilet.
She always comes back after, catching me from behind, yanking my arms and pulling me back into hell. She starts to whisper. Quietly at first. Hinting towards my razor blade. I lock myself in the safety of my room but demons can pass through closed doors. I cling to my bed but the force is too much. I start to hear screams. And next thing I know I find myself paralyzed in the shower, red stained water flowing down the drain.

I hide. You can't see blood stains on my dark purple blanket so I curl up inside. I worry, because the next time you see me, you'll see more darkness than I wish. You'll see the scars the demon has left.

It hurts me. It hurts to see your face when you see my thighs, the sadness in your eyes when you look up and ask me when it happened. It hurts to feel the lump in your heart as you hold me so closely acting strong just for me.


Some tv show is being played on my computer in the hopes that my speakers are louder than her voice. Her voice is meaner today. She's yelling at me from behind the walls and no one else can hear her but I swear that she's their please believe me. I start to get angry and decide that today's the day, the day that the demon lives no more. I'm not myself anymore. I'm a murderer. My only goal is make the demon suffer the same way she made me suffer. I drown her in acetaminophen.

I wake up. I'm myself again and realize that the demon is within me and that I've poisoned myself. I lay in a different bed with needles in my arms. I watch as people come in and out. I get asked questions and I try to explain that I didn't want to hurt myself I wanted to hurt the demon, but they don't understand. They don't believe in what they can't see or hear. I succumb the thoughts of the demon and fall asleep.

I wake up in another new bed in a locked ward. I'm me again and I'm relieved. I'm safe here. The demon can't catch me. Several days pass and she doesn't come to get me so they let me go home.

It hurts. It hurts to see the fear in your eyes when I head back to my bed, the bed where she first attacked. It hurts that I'd be lying if I said I had control over her. It hurts that I can't promise you my existence.