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It happened

As stated previously, I work on a medicine-psychiatry unit. Since the eating disorder program is exclusively on a different (general psych) unit, I knew that I wouldn’t have much contact with them. However, I did expect that at some point we would have an ED patient. We had one a few weeks back from a different unit (there are two adult general psych units, a child psych unit, a geriatric psych unit, and the med-psych unit in our hospital). I dealt with that one easily. Really didn’t notice any difference from other patients/diagnoses.

But the one last week…

Came from the ER with dangerously abnormal labs an hour before my shift ended. My shock came early on. We had met previously…when I was an ED patient at the hospital. It was a brief couple meetings in activity therapy/hallway passings. I don’t know if she remembered me, but I most definitely remembered her. I spent nearly an hour pestering her nurse to get a meal voucher printed so I could get her food (she hadn’t eaten all evening). I was able to think properly and treat her as any reasonable person would do…not as the eating disorder “voice” would tell me to treat myself. I was the only person concerned that she hadn’t eaten all evening; everyone else was questioning my obsession with getting her food. Honestly it was kind of surprising considering her labs and weight. I made it through the shift, but wasn’t able to stop thinking about her.

It really wasn’t about her though….it was about me.

Her weight triggered me, but there was something else too. I was slightly envious. She was getting help. She would go to the ED program, spend time in therapy and groups and restore weight and [hopefully] get her life back.

And I. I continue on through my life. Scared to ask for help, terrified that I will be forced to get help, but wanting so badly for someone to see how much I need more help so I can stop feeling like this.

I get to work and can barely stay awake. I get home from work, crash in bed and sleep as long as possible. I run with my dog because I “have to” and then when I return to work my legs are heavy and aching as I spend another 8 hours in constant motion. And the cycle repeats itself…

And I’m hungry. So hungry I can’t sleep, but there’s nothing I feel is safe to eat or that I even want to eat. It all turns my stomach.

I hurt. I can’t lean back on the city bus seat because my shoulders, spine, and hip bones hurt.

I get light-headed when I stand. Or that’s what I’ve told my doctors and therapist. In reality, when I stand my vision goes black, my head pounds and aches, my ears buzz, my face flushes, I stumble and sway, and hopefully I am able grab a wall or collapse on a chair to stop it.

I still don’t understand why I do this.

I don’t understand why I can’t stop.

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I have turned a corner, so to speak. I realized Thursday that I am happy with where I am in life right now. I have mostly adjusted to the changes and feel more comfortable with what I’m doing and where I’m headed.

I’m not sure what changed. Possibly become more confident in my job and feeling like I know what’s expected of me and knowing that I can meet those expectations. It’s great to come into work and fall into the regular routine of report and finding out how the patients are doing and how the previous shifts have gone. I love leaving work and feeling confident that I completed all my requirements and handed off all my patients. A lot of this comes from being done with orientation. While I was on orientation I was required to follow an aid and couldn’t have any of my own patients. I felt restricted by having to follow their lead, their preferred order of doing things, asking permission for simple tasks and whatnot. It’s quite freeing to head onto the floor and make my own decisions about how I want to do things that day.

I’m feeling more comfortable at home. Zef and I have gotten into a pretty regular routine with running/walking. I’ve sorted out the bus routes and deciding whether to [bike, bus, drive] to work and how to deal with each option. I feel more confident about grad school.

I hope things continue on this path.

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