Saturday, July 31, 2010

Visiting relatives from the past

I received a card back in June from my aunt, J. She was telling me she would be in this area at the end of July and would love to see me. I had meant to e-mail her, but my schedule got really crazy in June and July, so I had forgotten until my mom called me last week, wanting to know if I had talked to J.

I haven't talked about J. must here except for in this post awhile back talking about older women wait eating disorders. If you do not feel like reading that post, here's a basic recap on J.: J. is my mom's younger sister. I've known her since I was very young, however, I have not seen her in at least 15 years or so. We have corresponded here and there through cards and letters, but that's about it. J. is now retired, volunteers at a thrift shop and does therapy dog work, agility, and rally with her shelties. Before this, she was a schoolteacher and very unhappy, mostly due to dealing with administration.

When I was in the throes of my eating disorder, I had suspected J. had anorexia. We had one conversation about it, but that's all that has even been mentioned of it. She never admitted to having anorexia, saying that she did not fit the textbook definition. Of course, I retorted back with that just because someone did not fit a definition did not mean someone did not have the disorder. I don't remember much after that, but we were both teary. I asked my mom after that conversation her thoughts on J. All she said was that they always thought of J. as rigid--that she had always been like that her entire life. Then, I asked why no one ever sought help for her or why not at this point. Why was I somehow more deserving of help than J.? This never really made sense to me, though I know my mom and others probably thought that since I was younger, it would be easier for me to turn around than J. who most likely already had ingrained thoughts and feelings.

J. and my uncle D. will be stopping by tomorrow morning on their way back to VA. This won't be a lengthy visit, but still, there is a bit of awkwardness. Will J. still be how I remembered her--thin, gaunt, aged? Or will she look healthier? What will her thoughts be of me? (she never saw me at my worst, so it will be hard to gauge from any pre-existing appearance other than from when I was a young girl)

Of course, this is just one thought that has run through my head, and it's not my main focus, just curious to see I guess. I plan on showing J and D. the house, letting them meet my dogs + G (Cammy's dog--still away on her trip), and the facility where I work.

In the meantime, I have a lot to do by tomorrow--cleaning, vacuuming, laundry, organizing, dog stuff, etc. I'll keep everyone posted how it goes.

Mediation update

I had the mediation meeting on Thursday. Overall, it went okay. We each came in with a list of a few things that were both positive in what was working and negative on what wasn't working or needed to be tweaked. We were both very respectful of each other and didn't step on each other's toes or anything.

Truly, A. and I are good friends which can always make things a bit complicated when investing in a employer/employee relationship. One thing that is great though is that we do respect each other's strengths and comment on them with positivity. This was something the dog consultant mentioned as she does a lot of mediations where people are just bickering at everything that is wrong with the other person. A. and I are completely aware that you just can't change people--that no matter what, people can change some, but there is still going to be a core, set view of beliefs and personality. That's what makes the true essence of a person!

We also know that we are very different people and approach life and our dogs in different ways. She views me as laid back, herself as a strict. I view myself as somewhat laid back but strict in the sense that I do have rules and boundaries in place with my dogs, it's just that I'm not as strict as she is. And sometimes we differ about what should or shouldn't be done with dogs, but again always respectful of each other.

So all in all, it wasn't too bad, though I will say, I did adhere to my mother's first rule of importance self-protection. I was certainly honest, but I did not go into a defensive mode with something she may have forgotten we had talked about. There was just no use in doing that.

In three weeks, we'll have another mediation update to see how things are going. I still believe this mediation was more for her than me as the majority of stuff was what we rehashed a few weeks ago when we spoke in her office. I do know A. is trying to listen to me more, give me some more free time, etc. This type of stuff is hard for her, but I'm certainly willing to work with her to get there as I do think we can make a good team ideally, even with our differences which I look at as complimenting one another.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Whenever I think of the work mediation, I imagine two bickering parties who cannot come to an understanding, compromise, or any level of negotiability. Most notably, for whatever reason, those who are in enduring battle of divorce come to mind, NOT me!

This Thursday, my boss, A. has decided we are doing a mediation of sorts with her dog business consultant (we both know her, though A. has worked with her extensively the last 3 or so years) who lives across the country in CA. I've been very hesitant about this since I do not feel like we need this. We do not fit this profile of two bickering parties or a couple once joyfully together on the brink of breakdown. Instead, we are two people who have known each other for awhile, though as friends, and are now adjusting to different roles. Whenever this happens, there is bound to be transition on both ends.

So I'm going to back up here for a moment as this all started exactly two weeks ago. Yes, I've been thinking about this post for awhile, trying to figure out how to write it without feeling like some sort of jerk. This all really began with a comment I made. This casual conversation was one we were having--just our normal talking. It started out about cleaning and just evolved from there.

A.: The "old A." is back.
Me: Oh.
A.: D. (husband) said he kind of liked the "new A." (she was referring to cleaning here but really my thinking is that it was more than just cleaning)
Me: Well, just be careful, okay. (this was said as a calm, cautionary note). Make sure to find balance between the old and new A.
A.: Well, what is wrong with the old A.?
Me: There isn't anything wrong with the old A., just that you need to find the balance, that's all--make sure you are enjoying life, know that if something doesn't work out, it won't be the end of the world, etc.
A.: Well, I know that. I just don't understand what was wrong with the old A.
Me: I can't explain it exactly.

That was the catalyst for all this. After that, I had the whole being called in the "principal's office scenario." The closest thing to this type of scenario I ever was once being questioned by what felt like an Inquisition by my former boss. It is certainly not a feeling I like.

A. wanted to say what I was feeling, basically spilling out my grievances. We went over schedules -I insisted on an 1 1/2 lunch (this was the only thing I wanted, especially as I work some 10+ hour days), being a little more prompt on time (I said I could do this and have), employer/employee relationship (she said how she really couldn't treat me differently, though there are only 2 employees and our jobs are very different), a few things that I felt a bit insulted by (I suggested she just needed to give a brief explanation for her reasoning). I also said a few personal things in that yes, I do tend to get a little miffed at something at first on some things, but easily get over it in a day or so (I'm the type that forgives but doesn't necessarily forget. This doesn't mean I hold a grudge but just that I do keep a note in my head), that most times I only need to be told something one time, then I know it, and that sometimes it was difficult for me not to compare her to my former boss (we both know her) since there were some things she did that was similar and other things that were not. A.'s reply to this last comment was that 1) she was not like my former boss and 2) most dog trainers are controlling, so she and my boss would have to be in this business. At the end of our meeting, she said she felt better. I felt okay, but it really made me think further about how I've changed in some ways.

When A. and I had this meeting, her first comment out of her mouth was "I was born wanting to be the best at everything." This got to me a lot, because damn, I was the same way for many, many years. And I know in the end, that type of thinking can ruin you. I know it does not for everyone, but it can with our similar histories (she had Anorexia in high school--recovered through I'd say a modified Maudsley approach) I'd say the big difference between us is that my perfectionism of sorts was solely internal based, whereas hers has been both internal and external/environmental based, meaning that she wants others around her to be too.

To me, it seems that her AN was replaced with wanting to be the best at work or her dogs (she used to be very hard, controlling on her dogs) or cleaning or at whatever. And with this new facility, she wants it to be the premiere dog place around here. There's of course nothing wrong with that, and it is definitely an aspiring goal to get to--one in fact that I think could get there in the next few years. But I'm not thinking so much about that as in getting ourselves established and out there without spreading ourselves too thin (example-too many events to work on in a short period of time).

I guess what this boils down to is that A.'s thoughts and actions remind me so much of ED filled days that I no longer want to be a part of that. My Ed filled days were black and white with hardly any gray in between. It's taken me a long time to find some sort of middle ground, to be able to relax a bit, have a little more of a life, actually enjoy it more. I came here partly for more opportunity but mostly for change. In my old environment, it was definitely chaotic with my former boss. Our relationship was very complicated and that wrecked havoc on me, and part of my ED was manifested by this.

This is not to say that I've become some complete slacker. I'm still perfectionistic no doubt and still have to fight being less so. However, the difference is that it's not quite as meaningful as it once was. I'm able to let go a bit more, be open to more things, not feel too upset if I don't get something done that day, etc.

This post is not to knock A. at all. She's a great person with a lot of knowledge, and we're just going through a rough patch right now, though the last week has been better (at least she's talking to me like normal than just saying what needs to be done). I know A., herself, has come a long way in how she sees things. I've told her that I know she has had a lot going on, has had a lot of transitions to deal with, and is always evolving as a person. For example, in her earlier years, she invested in the attitude "it's my way or the highway," so the fact that yes, she did hear me out some, I commend her for this. However, I still do not think we really need this mediation. But, being the good natured person I am, I said if she felt she needed this, then I was fine with that.

I know A. expects me to be as honest as possible, but I'm slightly leary about that. As my mom says, "Self preservation is the most important thing!" Things said can truly come back and bite you in the ass! So, I'm nervous about this whole mediation thing and have to come up with two lists of what is working and what is not working. I know logically I should look at this proactively, but it's the connotation of "mediation." that somehow makes me feel like I am disagreeable, cannot come to compromises, etc. which is so untrue. I guess ironically it makes me feel like the "un-perfect" person. :sigh:

Has anyone else had to deal with business mediations or have any wonderful words of wisdom?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Learning about your neighbors

First off, I have to say I had a great day yesterday! I went with R., from my previous post to a grooming show locally. I had never been to one, and though I'm not a groomer, I still found it worthwhile, especially since I know we'll eventually have grooming at the facility. It was also good, because I finally got around to buying a small brush and nail clippers (only have dremel here) for Clover. Clover has learned to not mind being brushed, but nails are another issue.

After that, we went out for early dinner where we talked for an additional 2 1/2 hours about random events. She learned a bit more about me and vice versa. When I got home, I had planned on an evening to just do house stuff. I desperately need to organize my bills, mail, magazines, etc., but I got stopped by my neighbor while out scooping my yard. B. asked if I wanted to go for a swim.

When she asked me this, I about panicked and at first said no. B. urged me how refreshing it would be since it was so hot out. True, it was hot, but if I said yes, this meant I was subject to wearing a bathing suit in front of someone I hardly knew. As I wrote here, you would not catch me dead in a bathing suit outside visibly gardening or weeding let alone while other people were around. (You can read about my bikini aversion here as well)

I decided to take the plunge anyway, saying to myself it was only one person and in her backyard pool. Besides B. said she is not a vain person, so that put me a bit at ease. Before I go on, let me give a little background of B. since I have not discussed her here.

When I first moved here way back in November, I actually met B. the day I was moving. She made small talk, saying she was my neighbor, and if I ever needed anything to just come over. Naturally, I'm just not that kind of person unless specifically invited, but still it was a nice neighborly invitation. I remember even the previous owners of the house had told me about this neighbor and said that they really liked that she was there but never overstepped her boundaries. And she never has at all. We have spoken a handful of times over our fence while we've been outside working, but that's really it.

This impromptu pool gathering was the first time I had really gotten to know her. We talked about random stuff--dogs, her kids (she has 3 boys aged 23, 21, and 19 who all live at home, go to college, and have jobs), losing her job (this was before I moved), etc. But then something odd happened. She told me she was an alcoholic, that she had lapsed since the 4th of July, that she's been going to AA meetings everyday since last August, that she is trying to find a job (this does sound like it is something that would help), that she is journaling, that she is thinking about seeing a therapist, that she know she needs to stop drinking.

The interesting thing is that she thought I knew or had figured out she was an alcoholic. I did not have a clue as I was not around her enough to know, and she had never drunk in front of me. The only thing I ever noticed was that she was forgetful, but I attributed that to just a short term memory--she'd tell me something she had told me, and 30 minutes later said the exact same thing)

I tried not to go too "therapist-like" but nodded my head, commended her for committing to AA, to journaling, encouraged her to see the individual therapist she had spoken of earlier, but mostly I listened. She told me a few other things like how one of her sons has Tourette's and OCD, and how it has been difficult since he refuses medications or therapy. There were some other things she said in terms of figuring out her feelings, dealing with some transitions in her life, etc. that I think a therapist could really help her with.

At the end of the night, she apologized for throwing this all on me, but I reassured her it was okay, and that I'd certainly dealt with similar things, saying that we all have our own issues and inner demons.

Just from my first glimpses of her life she has shared, she is a fighter. I just hope that she will be willing to fight for herself just as she has for those surrounding her. I'm hopeful she'll kick the drinking again (she wants to stop smoking as well--had been for seven years before relapsing) and rediscover herself and her feelings

In the meantime, I think I'll let her borrow my book Drinking: a lovestory by Caroline Knapp. It's always been one of my favorite books. Though never a drinker, it was a book I could easily resonate to eating disorders.

As a side note, I met one of her sons and his girlfriend. I felt slightly awkward since I was in my swimsuit, but at least I was in the water and it was at night, so a little less self conscious for me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finally, a few appointments made

I've been in this new area for 9 months now, and in that time, I finally made a few much needed appointments this week. First, I made an appointment with an optometrist. I don't have awful eyesight, but I do wear contacts, and my stash of those had dwindled to just one pair. I think I may have stretched this last pair for a month which isn't the most healthy thing to do.

The appointment went well, the optometrist was super nice. We decided to up my prescription by 0.25 and try a new lens, Biofinity. This lens is actually made to last a month and so far are very comfortable. I hardly notice they are there at all. Once I get these contacts ordered, then that will be it for a year unless I wind up with some major eye problem.

Then today, I saw a new internal medicine doctor. I originally made the appointment a few weeks ago when I was still itching, but the itching has finally ceased other than the mosquito bites I get upon forgetting Off! With the humidity here, the evening time is the absolute worst!

The appointment itself went okay--pretty much just going through paperwork and history. As I filled out the new patient info. prior to my appointment, I debated once again whether to disclose the ED stuff. I decided to wait and form an opinion about the doctor first.

She seemed okay--kind of on the hard side, asking very direct questions quickly. I really went back and forth on the issue of disclosure of the ED. I was not going to unless some problem arose, but literally right as I was leaving, I told her I was in recovery for an ED in a "oh by the way" fashion. She congratulated me, asked a few questions, said if I needed referrals she would be happy to give, and that was that.

Whenever I'm in this situation, I vacillate in telling. Part of me wants to erase the ED history, though it's still not far enough away in the past to delete. Another part of me feels like someone should know in case, well, something goes wrong, or I majorly relapse or something to that effect.

The thing is the ED should be something you can just say as if it was cancer, but there is always some negative connotation for me. I keep wondering if this is something I'll always think about. Will saying I dealt with an eating disorder for many years ever get easier? How far removed do I have to be?
In the end, I guess I'm glad I let her know, but still, it leaves me feeling off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A reminder in insurability

A few days ago, I was talking with R, the office assistant at work. To give a bit of background: R. came to work at the facility earlier in the year. She was a former client of my boss. When R. first came, I was my usual self--quiet and reserved. Some people think I do not like them, but truly, I haven't formed an opinion at all. By nature, I am shy until I get to know someone.

R. started talking to me one day and asking me questions about dogs and such, and that was all it took. After that, we began talking about all kinds of stuff. Despite the fact she is 20+ years older than me, we get along well and have become fast friends. Surprisingly, she and I are very alike in how we feel, what we are thinking about work, etc. It's a really refreshing relationship as we each learn from one another--me about raising kids and her life with grandchildren and her about dogs and their behavior. In both instances, we are learning, and there is no intimidation factor.

So the other day, R. told me the details of what was really going on in her life. She was afraid she would have to quit this job due to finances. And this saddens her greatly. She feels like she has almost no choice, because her health insurance is up at the end of the month. And she can't afford it. And she learned she is uninsurable. This is how our conversation went:

R: Is A. (boss) going to have a coronary if I quit?
Me: Yes. Why would you have to quit?
R: I just can't afford this job. My health insurance is up at the end of the month. I also learned that I was unisurable, because I am too fat. That was the call yesterday. (R. is crying while telling me this) I sent out 10 resumes yesterday. And the thing is that I think I'd really enjoy this job in the long run, but right now, I just can't afford it.
Me: Is there any way, you can do part-time job and this one?
R: But then, there would be no benefits.

I really felt for R. Just like how those with an ED history are often times uninsurable, the same can happen with those who are overweight. Looking at R., she is like the average size person in the US, nothing more than that. And it sucks, that beyond her weight, she is fairly healthy. This was such a good reminder how so many of us face inscrutable insurance practices.

I honestly don't know what will happen with R., but if she does have to go, I will really miss her. But, I will hope for her return if possible.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Possible red flags of dating?

Here's another episode of Tiptoe's latest dating drama. If you are bored with these posts, then feel free to give this a pass.

Since my last post of my FAIL weekend, I haven't had any more awful dating experiences. But then again, I haven't put myself out there much due to my busy work schedule. Except for one case--a guy who winked and e-mailed me on match last month. He is a surgeon a few hours away from me. And yes, I did google him to see if he was legit, and I'm glad to report he is.

He's been different from some of the other match guys. Instead of doing the usual e-mail thing like the majority have, he texted me instead (btw coffee and scrabble guy still texts me occasionally with very bizarre notes--nothing risque, just a bit odd). I found it slightly odd that if he had my number why he didn't just call, but I wasn't going to dismiss him for that. I knew as a surgeon, he was likely a pretty busy guy. Therefore, I asked when a good time would be to chat.

We chatted a bit--he seems like an interesting guy. He loves dogs which is a big plus. We talked about medicine and other common interests. I thought this might be a winner here, or at least eligible for a date or two. Then, he said a bombshell. His brother had passed away 6 months ago out of the blue--apparently was healthy and just keeled over. Naturally, he was still dealing with this and sounded like he was throwing himself into work, working a lot more overtime. But at the same time, he said it made him not want to regret things in life. So okay, he was being honest. It was commendable.

Since my schedule became free this weekend, I asked if he would be in town. It turns out he was visiting some friends nearby, so I told him to give me a ring if he wanted to meet. We met yesterday at a public park square type of place and headed to a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant. The conversation went well overall, with each of us giving more details of our background, etc. Again, this looked a bit promising.

Afterwards, we briefly walked around and looked at some shops. Then, as we were both about to depart (he was exhausted from a long work week), he said that right now he is really depressed with everything--work (he's actually thinking about leaving his group practice), his life, where he is, etc. Immediately, red flags go off in my head. First off, how many people really divulge they are depressed on a first date? Secondly, do I want to be involved with someone who is depressed or better yet found me when he was in a depressed state of mind? This of course is not to stigmatize those with depression. My teens and twenties were depression-induced years, so I certainly know how it feels. It's one of those moments where I ask myself if I want to be in a savior type mode? And truthfully, I don't. I've been there and done that, and it was time-consuming, stressful, and worrisome.

So this leads me to the question, if you see these red flag signs, what would you do? Would you wait to see if he is able to sort it out, then perhaps presume dating? Or would you just nix this possible match all together? I think a part of me would feel really guilty about dumping him since I know how it is to feel rejected--awful!

On a side note, the Latin-Asian dish I had last night was quite tasty. It was a summer salad consisting of greens, avocados, and carrots with a lime cumin vinaigrette. If anyone has any good Latin-Asian fusion recipes, feel free to share.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The pitfalls of psychiatry

Earlier in the week, I heard a snippet on NPR's Fresh Air about the pitfalls of psychiatry. Dave Davies who filled in for host Terry Gross interviewed Dr. Daniel Carlat, psychiatrist and author of the new book Unhinged: the trouble with psychiatry.

Dr. Carlat touched on a number of different topics, but the one that has always troubled me was that so many psychiatrists typically do not do any counseling at all. Instead, it's literally a 15-20 minute med check where only questions of whether you had any side effects are asked, a decision of med adjustment is made, and then you are on your way. There are never questions of what is going on in your life, how you are truly feeling, etc., because that is left up to the therapist whom hopefully you are also seeing.

Now, I know this is not always the case, and there are psychiatrists who also counsel, but in reality, the number is few and far between. (1 in 10 or a measly 11 % is cited in his new book based on a Columbia University survey who give counseling to all their patients) I think psychiatrists are missing out a lot in not looking at the whole patient. They miss that the patient may be drinking alcohol while also taking a sleeping medication. Or the patient may be purging their medication or not eating enough to make the medication effective, etc. How does that help the patient in the end? Why is it difficult to ask the right questions that would enable the most amount of information? Even more so, if you are seeing a therapist, there is rarely communication between the two.

Just think how much better the off the patient would be if there was more collaborative efforts between professionals. This is not to say this never happens, but the majority of time, everything must be separate, at least in the case of outpatient care.

I realize with the way insurance us set up, the idea for most psychiatrists is to see as many patients as possible, and if they were to do an hour long session with each one, they would have less patients. Still though, as many psychiatrists are seeing hundreds of patients a week, how are they even to remember who you are in the first place?

Maybe I'm slightly biased here, because I never had great relationships with the psychiatrists whom I saw versus my therapists. They just did not have the time, and there was always a feeling of a rush to get you out the door. Even years ago when I had wanted to go to medical school, I had decided that if I were to be a psychiatrist, I would not become a pill pusher but rather do a combination of both meds and therapy.

It's funny how this issue is still at the forefront and probably even more so. It'll be interesting to see what will happen in the field of psychiatry.

What are your thoughts and experiences with psychiatrists? Have yours offered therapy and should they?

Links to listen to the story: "A psychiatrist's prescription for his profession" or to read the transcript.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Modeling behavior

This is another post about the neighbor's with kids, but it's not so much about the children as it is their mother. Their mother is the guidance counselor at a nearby school. I've talked with her a few times, and she seems incredibly nice. Amazingly, she has lived her entire life in the house beside me, so she and my neighbor on the other side of me (she has 4 sons aged 19-23/34 all living there) have filled me in on the past history of my house, the people who live nearby, etc. It's not really gossiping, just what I'd call neighborly tidbits of information.

Anyway, something I've noticed about my neighbor with the young children is how much she wears her bathing suit outside. I'm kind of awed by it--in a good way. It's certainly been hot and humid here, but still, you wouldn't catch me dead in a bathing suit out weeding or gardening. Now, I realize I do not know her well enough to know if this is just her personality or how she feels about her body, but I do think this is good modeling behavior. She doesn't appear to wear the bathing suit as a flaunting type behavior--she is modest-a one piece with a skirt, but rather more for comfort. And this is even after she had her youngest child a year ago. My thinking is along the lines that there is at least some body comfort, or else should not wear one at all.

I know everyone is different about wearing bathing suits, and just because a parent might wear one doesn't mean their kid is going to have bad body image. But I do think modeling this sort of behavior can be positive. There are many studies that show how children are influenced by their parents' habits, behaviors, thoughts, and comments.

The oldest child is 6 or 7 and not as svelte as her siblings, still carrying much of her baby body, so I worry about her especially as she becomes older. M. is articulate, intelligent, and has a lot going for her from what I've seen. I'd just hate to see her fall into the bad body image trap that so many young girls do. I'm hopeful that her mother's modeling behavior will have a positive effect on her body image. As always, only time will tell.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The line between fear and phobia

I know I've talked about the neighbor's kids who live beside me before (here and here), and I probably will do so for some time. I truly marvel at them, just observing how innocent and free they are at this age (kids are ages 1, 4, 5, and 6 or 7) and I love the fact that I have the chance to actually watch them grow up. The kids now know all my dogs and me by name, including any new dog I may have (currently, taking care of G., Cammy's dog). They remember that Daphne is deaf, they know how to ask them for a sit, they ask me questions--sometimes slightly awkward ones like "what is G. doing to Tovah?" (my answer, "we call that piggybacking"), etc. The only sad part is that the little 5-year old boy (T.) is very allergic to dogs but he loves them. Because he is so allergic, he cannot have them licking him. He even reacts if his siblings have been around dogs, and they've washed their hands well. I've heard him say to them out of fear not to get too close, so he doesn't have a reaction. Poor thing. His mom fears that he may develop a phobia, because he worries that a dog will lick him. And I worry that later in life there could be resentment from his siblings or guilt from him as all the kids loves dogs and other animals.

*I'll just put a warning here that this talks about past ED life so if you happen to feel triggered, just don't read the next few paragraphs* I try to be careful with this stuff, as that's the last thing I would want to do. There are no numbers, just a few details.

This whole scenario with him made me think back both to a time period when I was very restrictive and also early in recovery. Though they are not synonymous, they are related. This specific active restrictive period happened so quickly that I hardly knew what was going on. By this time, fluid intake was the only thing my body was existing on. This was probably the worst starvation period I had during my entire ED life. I would open the fridge/pantry, look at food, really think I should eat it, really wanted to, but the fear had already developed into a serious phobia. This phobia wasn't just a specific food or food group, it was any food, including foods like vegetables which had been my safe food staple. All I could do at the time was cry. I talked to my therapist and told her how deathly phobic I was of food, but she encouraged me to try bland foods as such in the BRAT diet which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This used to be a diet prescribed for those with GI problems but no longer is due to its nutritional deficiency. My therapist at the time, just wanted to get me to eat something, saying off hand that if I continued this way, I would wind up in the hospital.

I'm not sure what helped eased me back into eating foods again. I know it was a slow process and each bite was difficult wrought with tears and made me feel more bloated. At the time, like many with EDs, my stomach was distended, and I had an awful flatulence problem. (I realize this is a bit TMI but seriously I have still always wondered exactly why this happens as no food was entering my stomach) It was not easy by any means, but small bite by bite, I did manage to lessen my phobia of food. By then, I was able to find my way back to eating something, even if it was a return to my staple foods.

This type of phobia differs from my early recovery when it wasn't a phobia of food, but rather fear of eating certain items--that I'd balloon up, that I may binge, or that if I added in exercise, I'd become compulsive again. This type of fear hasn't felt as rigid as my ED restrictive phase. After all, I was still eating, but just limited in both quantity and variety. This fear felt easier to manage and get past than the consuming fear of all foods which of course makes sense.

Another point this reminds me of is how easy it is for many of us with/who have had eating disorders can go from fear to phobias. As Carrie has been writing in her relapse prevention series this week, it is important to watch for our own signs of when we may be heading in the wrong direction. I know for me personally, the fear to phobia thinking doesn't take long, though I'd say certain factors have to be in place for that to happen. Therefore, it is important for me to remain vigilant. Though I know completely recovered doesn't elude me, I still know I'm not there yet. My hangs up there, just a little intense than they've been in the past.

So going back to little T., it is important for him to remain vigilant around dogs due to his severe allergies, but at the same time, I hope his fear won't turn into a phobia. It would be sad for him to live a life of a phobia of dogs when it is something he enjoys so much. He even recently got his face painted like a dog! Only time will tell what will happen. I'm hopeful he will outgrow his allergy to dogs (he's also allergic to some other things), but that's up in the air for now.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rolling along and Happy 4th!

First off, I want to wish all US readers a Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has fun and stays safe, especially as it is a prime target for underage binge drinking, accidents on the road, and your pet running away.

I myself don't have many plans but to get stuff done and possibly catch up on some of my dvds from oh say last year. That's one thing about having long hours with a job--you really feel a need to play catch up on any day off/holiday off you may have. I'm still asking myself how people keep up! And sadly, I am missing my computer time, albeit, it is good that I'm not on the computer so much. Still, I miss staying caught up on all the latest research, blog entries, feeling in the loop, etc. There truly is not enough time in the day. Okay done whining.

If you've read my blog long enough, you know holidays are just not a big thing for me, and the 4th is included. Even with fireworks, I'm no longer ooohed and ahhhed over them. There was a time when I used to love seeing the fireworks displays. Years ago, when my dad was living in Northern VA, we went to D.C. and watched fireworks set off over the Pentagon. I distinctly remember one shot of fireworks exploding in the air just as a an airplane was passing over. I thought it was an absolutely gorgeous scene.

Now, I'm just glad when they are over. Over the years, I've gone more into more of a "mommy" mode after observing how so many dogs become scared with the loud noise. As Hank's gotten older, he's become slightly more storm-scared and just doesn't handle the loud noises as well. Where we lived before, our neighbor used to practice target shooting. As soon as Hank heard that, he'd run inside. I think part of this was due to getting shot in the flank, at least this is what I was told at one point long ago. Hank doesn't go frantic with fireworks or thunderstorms but he will lie close to me. Cammy's dog, G. who is staying with me while Cammy is on her research trip, is also not a fan of them and will lie near me as well. Though I do appropriate firework safety things for the dogs, it is still not an enjoyable time for them.

Supposedly, the really big shows were last night, but I know there will be many local ones for the next several days. So hopefully, everyone will just deal with it okay.

As for other news, work is busy with upcoming classes this month, a pet event next weekend where we are speaking, and the start of seminars and workshops soon. Boarding has a tentative beginning date of September, but we'll just have to see how everything goes. I'm still hoping I can go to my annual conference in October, but that's up in the air at the moment.

Lastly, I'm still itching from whatever bit me almost a month ago. I tried calling to see a doctor as I wondered whether this might be an allergic reaction, but there are no appts. available from several weeks out until October. Part of this is due to being a new patient versus an established one. Cross your fingers I can get in somewhere, because I've tried everything from benadryl spray and oral (can only take at night since it knocks me out otherwise) to clear finger nail polish to bag balm to anti-itch creams and none are working for long. It's now gotten to the point where I have developed bruises from scratching my legs and scratched skin off my finger and hand. I've truly never been this itchy before. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

Again, Happy 4th, do enjoy yourself and the holiday!

Below: Tovah, Hank, & Daphne showing their support for our troops. Clover giving her own shout out.