The Last Month and a Half

It’s been a really wild month and a half or so. 

To pick up from where I left off, I saw my psychiatrist in person for the first time in five years, just three weeks after our last phone call instead of three months. We again talked much longer than usual, and I brought some data on paper and my wife as a witness. 

While we didn’t change my meds at this appointment, my psychiatrist was still seeing both manic and depressive symptoms, along with the usual (the anxiety, autism, schizophrenia stuff) and wanted to see me in person again in four weeks. In the meantime, she ordered bloodwork and urged me to call an eating disorder institute about starting therapy. 

So I got on the bloodwork and the therapy intake, excited but also nervous at that point. I’d heard of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the first time recently at a conference, and started burning through related resources. Over my nerves, I had my first appointment with my new therapist about two weeks later.

That’s the point when I really think I started to see rapid change. My new therapist recommended I read the book Anti Diet, which I found myself reluctant to put down until I finished it a few days later. It was eye opening. Life changing, and I don’t say that lightly. My head was absolutely spinning with notes from the book and a few things I’d discussed in therapy, way too busy rethinking everything I thought I’d known about health to bother much with the eating disorder.  

We talked about a lot of that, and more, in my second therapy appointment, also going over more of my history. And, she recommended me to the institute’s nutritionist. 

Within a week after that, I met with the nutritionist for the first time. With an end goal of intuitive eating, she got me set up with a meal plan—three meals and three snacks per day at agreed upon times—meal, snack, meal, so on—no more than a few waking hours apart. And a way of selecting them—the Plate By Plate Approach. I would log the food and more—like sleep, exercise, symptoms, mindfulness, coping skills, and eating environment—in an app shared with her and my therapist: Recovery Road. 

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about how my body is supposed to work. Even before the eating disorder, I’d never eaten like this, and, in many ways, I’ve never felt this good. It’s also interesting to be logging things for my team at least six times a day, instead of max once a week. There’s a lot more information to work with. At first, I thought I had time to do nothing but eat. When was I supposed to write? And I never felt hungry—the hunger cues we were working to reset were not there yet—and I rapidly found myself running out of food ideas. But I pushed through, and it got a little easier. 

Going back, the very next day, I saw my psychiatrist again. We went over my bloodwork—a few numbers were out of whack, so she ordered another round so we could keep an eye on it. Still seeing certain symptoms, I went up on the new mood stabilizer I mentioned in my last post, though a med change might be needed if that doesn’t improve things. The numbers on my blood labs being off makes me nervous—though there’s not much to do but wait for more results—and the idea of a med change makes me nervous—even the dose adjustment tends to result in at least a rough day or two to power through. But it might be necessary. 

And the next day (you see how these appointments add up?), therapy. More good thoughts discussed—including about all of the above—and we really dove into what my goals for treatment are. 

One more therapy appointment, and then a week of travel threw off some of my new normal routines. 

A few days after getting back, Monday, yesterday, I saw my nutritionist again. She was largely happy with my progress, and we discussed all of both of our questions from the first three weeks of logs. She offered me a few easy ways to spread my protein intake out a little more and maybe add a bit more variety, and assured me that pretty much all of my random symptoms were normal, which was a relief. And everything seemed easier than I’d made it out to be in my head. 

Today I had that next round of bloodwork done, now waiting on results. 

Tomorrow I’ll be back to therapy—the first appointment where we’ll starting weighing me in session, though I largely got a head start on an important part—not weighing myself outside of sessions. (I’ve only weighed myself once in the last month, down from multiple times per day.) The possibility of attending group therapy through the institute is on the horizon—but I’d already missed two of this eight week module when we first discussed it, and I knew I’d be out of town for another one, so we decided to wait for the next module at least. I also have appointments with my primary doctor and dentist, and more appointments with my nutritionist, therapist, and psychiatrist coming up.

It’s a lot of work, but things are definitely changing. I just wanted to illustrate my first steps and tell anyone who needs to hear it that recovery is possible, and it’s about so much more than the numbers. 

(Also, I obviously found time to write in between all the eating.)