I should have been hospitalized

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Today I had a session with someone and I found out some very interesting and reassuring…and a little scary…things that I need to put onto a page. So here we go.

For a very long time now, I have been feeling like a liar. I have been feeling fake, and I have been feeling very confused. I felt like what I was telling people wasn’t accurate. Wasn’t true.  Even though I knew I was sick, I felt like what I was saying was a lie. Up until today I didn’t know why I felt that way, but now  I do.

Those feelings stem from a past of not being treated properly for the “diseases” or “illnesses” or whatever it is that you want to call what I had. A long time ago, I got help for an eating disorder, amongst other things, but the primary was the eating disorder. I didn’t tell the person I saw that it was my main concern, I kept that off to the side, but it was thrown around. The person that I saw for help claimed to specialize in eating disorders. So when I saw her, I was expecting to be told I needed to go to a treatment center or extensive outpatient therapy. Neither of those things were said to me. Instead, I was seen for the other factors that were likely stemming from or at least being triggered by the eating disorder. The eating disorder, which should have been the initial focus, was simply something to toss in from time to time. We would talk about it, but we never created a plan or really went into any detail about any of it.

The reason for this, I believe, is because I did not “look sick”, nor did I show many signs of internal damage occurring. By internal damage I mean GI tract issues, vision loss, slow BP, things like that. Well….I mean if I did have any of those things, nobody ever mentioned it to me. I had some GI problems, but I assumed they were things that just “happen sometimes”. You know? Like being constipated. It happens. Nobody told me that it could be happening because I am not eating enough.

I believe I wasn’t properly treated when I first went to get help because I did not “look sick”. My average weight was between 110 and 115. I am 5’4″, so that is underweight for someone of my height and also my build, my genetics, etc. However, I didn’t look like 110. I looked like 115-120 because of my build and the way my body distributes fat. I think this is why nobody really noticed my eating habits, my behaviors, my obsessions, etc. I think I looked healthy, therefor I was healthy to everyone around me when in reality, I was suffering.

The doctor I saw, I was truly expecting to give me an eating disorder work up of some kind. She didn’t even weigh me. She didn’t ask for a copy of my vitals. She asked me why I thought I was sick, what were my behaviors, and then she filed that information away and we talked more about the other problems I was having.

Back to the part about me feeling like a liar. I now know why I felt that way. I went into that therapy session thinking, “if I  really am this sick, she’s gonna send me somewhere to get help”. She didn’t do that. That doctor not giving me any kind of a work up besides a form to fill out confirmed what I believed, that I really wasn’t that sick. I was sick, and I had an eating disorder, but it wasn’t severe. I was fine. I was safe. I was in the clear. And I went with that. For years I felt like I needed to justify myself when I told people I had an eating disorder, even just my family, I justified it by saying “but it wasn’t that bad, I wasn’t hospitalized or anything.”

I felt like a liar. I felt like I was lying to everyone by saying I had an eating disorder because to me it wasn’t bad and if a doctor didn’t see it as much to be concerned with then why should I? I felt like I was also lying to myself because part of me knew I was sick. Really sick. Part of me knew that something was wrong and that I was telling people, not for the sake of having an interesting story, but so that they would step in and help me because I was still suffering. Part of me was still suffering.

Today I found out that my current doctor would have hospitalized me. I should have been hospitalized. I was sick and I didn’t get the help I needed because I didn’t fit the part; because the doctor I saw wasn’t properly trained in eating disorders even though her profile said she was. Even though she acted as though she was, maybe she wasn’t or maybe she just saw me wrong. I don’t know.

But I now understand why I thought the way I did and why I felt the way I did, up until today. Today I get it. Today I no longer feel like a liar. Like I need to justify myself. Like I’m fake. Today I know that what I was battling was very real. I just happened to see doctors who were not trained how I thought they were. And that sucks, but I’m so glad that I know now and I can stop that train of thought from continuing on.

I should have been hospitalized, and I am grateful to know that now.

This Is What I Am

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I have a habit of identifying solely with the mental disorders that I have, as well as what has happened to me in the past. I essentially introduce myself as “Hi, I’m Lauren and I have an anxiety disorder, a history with depression, and I am an abuse victim and previous self harmer”. I put those things first, and then include my good things. It should be the other way around.

I do this because those things are all I have known for a very long time. I don’t necessarily know what else I am. I feel like a hazard, like a complicated person so I give people a heads up, but that is not fair to me.

So I’m going to make a list, I don’t know how long, of all the things that I am. Well, at least all of the things I can think of at this point in time because this is something that I struggle with and am currently working on.

  • I am a survivor, first and foremost.
  • I am loyal to my family, my friends, and anyone else who happens to make their way into my life.
  • I am giving to those who need it, and even those who don’t.
  • I am a writer of many sorts, but my natural ability is in lyrics/poems and academic work.
  • I am an artist, whether I believe that all of the time or not.
  • I am intuitive, which likely stems from my love of psychology.
  • I am kind to all living things.
  • I have a heart the size of Jupiter.
  • I have an eye for nature photography.
  • I am smart and I enjoy learning about health and wellness.
  • I love to sing, although I do not feel I am good at it.
  • I am dedicated.
  • I love kids.
  • I love music of all kinds, but I am definitely a rock and roll girl above all.
  • I am passionate and romantic, but not in the stereotypical sense.
  • I like being different, but I hate being the center of attention if I am not in control of it…I’m a little bit of a control freak actually.

So that’s what I have right now.

But as I’m writing this, I was just told by one of my closest friends that I need to stop trying to identify with things and just “be Lauren”. Drop the rest and just be me and people will form their own opinions.

I do like his advice and his take, but that is difficult for me and that is something I have always struggled with. I label myself, I always have, I don’t really know how just say, “Hi, I’m Lauren”. There’s always more and it’s always, “I’m hard to handle, and I have quite a rough past” while also saying, “but I’m totally cool and worth having around”. I’m never just me because I have never done that. I’m human, we identify with things because that makes us who we are, but maybe I am putting too much emphasis on it.

 

Face It

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wallpaper-butterfly-photography-depth-of-fieldTo all of you out there who are in the middle of fighting off relapse…stop. Stop fighting it and start facing it.

I’m not telling you to give in. I’m not telling you to relapse. I’m telling you that sometimes, fighting the thing that’s bullying you, doesn’t solve the problem. Sometimes, you have to stop fighting. Let your addiction bitch at you all it wants. And just stare at it until it shuts the fuck up. Because it will shut. the fuck. up.

I’m not telling you this is how it works for everyone, but this is how I got through my first urge post my last relapse. I stopped trying to push it away from me because that showed I was scared of it. That showed that it still had some form of control over me. So instead of pushing it back, I stood still. I let the negativity surround me. I let my addiction yell to me and fill my head with thoughts that weren’t mine. I faced it.

And I continue to face it every single day, but I haven’t given it back the control. Because that night I learned something.

I learned that if I just keep facing it. Staring at it. Eventually, the thing that’s been controlling me becomes just another object in the distance.