Thursday, January 31, 2008

3 months, 1 week.

on october 19, 2007, my mom picked me up from work not even half an hour after i arrived to take me to the ER (thanks to bri). i had a severe panic attack that began the night before when i realized that what i was doing could kill me and i didn't know how to stop.
later that day, at newton-wellesley, my EKG, blood work and vitals all came back fine. obviously, i was relieved, as was my mother, who i'm sure must have still been a little shaken up from her daughter's frantic phone call to drive her to the hospital. but now, i would have to tell bob, who already knew i was struggling to keep my head above water. he had already been discussing the possibility of a higher level of care and i knew i was on the line of losing my right to handle my own life.
at my appointment the following monday, he told me exactly what i didn't want to hear. "fine," i said, evasively, "i'll do IOP." i was holding 2 desperately needed jobs and was only 3 months away from graduating CDIA. my health was certainly not my top priority. (sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?) i was sure that if i was in IOP, i was considered to be "in treatment" and could keep my head above water, at least until i graduated and my work was over and done with. then my OPT could put me wherever the hell they want. just 3 months of eating just enough to survive...
2 days later - wednesday, october 24 - i sat in craig's office, curled up in a chair with my knees hugged to my chest, puffing my inhaler. he was on the phone trying to track down an emergency room with the shortest wait for a psych evaluation. my mom was already on her way up to my apartment to start packing some things, just in case. and just like that, in this demented and sick starvation for control, i was stripped of whatever control i might have (thought i) had. now, i thought, i'll never be as skinny as i wanted to be.
that night by 8:30/9ish, i was admitted to the EDU at 92 lbs (78% of my ideal body weight) and my bags were searched for contraband. i didn't feel much and i remember very little from that point on for the next couple days. i do remember that in all my experiences in treatment, i had never felt as welcomed by other patients as i did that night. there was no hesitation with introductions and i could tell that everyone knew just what it felt like to be up there for the first time.
the next 3 days were a blur. i was petrified, i was angry, and i was utterly and chronically confused. by saturday, i could have sworn to you that it was still wednesday. the red sox won the world series sometime that week and i remember nothing about the game. i was hardly excited. i was rather apathetic towards the entirety of the outside world for that first week, but all of a sudden...things started to turn around.
i started to really evaluate what i was doing with my life. i think i can partially thank the 14 and 15-year-olds that were filling up beds in Alcott. they were so young and they didn't want to be there; they weren't ready for treatment. they were under 18 and had no choice. i couldn't believe what i was watching. and then, seeing the patients that are older than me... is this where my life is going? do i want to be on an NG tube on the EDU when i should be home with my kids and my family? this has got to stop. i can't do this anymore. i deserve so much more than the life my ED is setting me up for.
i promised my treatment team that, from that point on, whatever they say goes. no leaving AMA again, no refusing boost, no nothing. i gave up my right to make my own decisions when i left work for the ER that day. i had no right to make choices about my life at this point and i was ready to accept that.
i left Alcott on nov 3 and went to partial the next day. i spent over a month in partial, and now close to a month and a half in IOP. after years of behaviors and program after program and years of therapy... i've been discharged. i am officially done at walden. and what a fantastic feeling that is.

i have some things to say to the girls that i've "left behind" (for lack of better phrasing). first of all, the words that were said to me during my ceremony tonight meant more to me than i can ever describe. i could not have chosen a more amazing group of girls to end my treatment with and i was so blessed to get to know you all. there were 2 comments in particular that really completed the experience. one was betty's, saying that i really had dbt down to an art and that sometimes, it felt like i was just another counselor in the group. the other came from a certain beautiful girl who i've watched grow through my own experiences. i don't even have to watch her through treatment to know that she's going to be just fine - i've already seen it happen.

and, for my final parting note, a thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart: i wouldn't have made it this far and been able to grow in the way that i have without the help of 2 of the most astonishing people i have ever known.

bs: you've been with me since the very beginning. even when our time together included immoral and destructive rituals, you always had my back. we've both been back and forth many times, but you were the first person i ever had to really connect with on this level. i will never forget the night you braved the horrendous connecticut rains to come visit me while i was inpatient and showed me the true beauty of full recovery. you are so strong and you've been such an inspiration to me. i will always believe that you were the reason for my attendance at dean.

bd: sometimes, i wonder if i thank you too much. and if you think i do, stop reading now, because i'm gonna do it again. you were the first person i was ever able to open up to about...anything. i've never felt so comfortable around anyone before and i could never put into words how that's really affected me. however, the thank you is really for the morning i left for inpatient. the very, very early morning. it was a painful conversation, but i needed to hear everything you had to say. it was the final push i needed to finally turn my life around. you've saved me several times, in several different ways, and i hope to God that's the last time you'll ever need to.

now, to find me 20 lbs and kiss this demon goodbye for good.


Labyrinith said...

I am so proud of you and I thank you for writing this because I know it is something I will re-read, as I do with some of your posts that speak to me, inspire me and plain old give me a kick in the ass. Your journey is inspiring and I cannot WAIT to read a book written by my lil Emmy.

Keep up the AMAZING work. You ARE done with this disease. You are proof it can be done.
I love you, truly.


Kylociraptor said...

Congrats. I'm sorry I haven't been reading that much, it's hard when you don't show up on my friends page!

--the boy