It's been longer than I'd like since I've written a blog post, and I feel like that is reflective of everything that's been going on, both in a good and a not so good way. (Dialectics, anyone?)
Quick breakdown of everything that's happened since I last wrote:
-I started a dream job doing community health research
-I graduated with my Master's in Public Health
-I turned 24
-My first book, A Girl Called Shame was published
To say it's been a whirlwind would be a complete understatement. It's been a complete up and down, and while I'm so grateful, it's also been very challenging.
About 5 weeks ago, I had something pretty terrible happen to me.
I won't go into any details, but it left me reeling in a way that I hadn't experienced before. Words like "trauma", "acute stress reaction", "dissociation" have been thrown around and to be honest, it's one of the hardest places I've found myself in, in a long time. Here's the thing about surviving trauma and the aftermath: it doesn't just impact one part of your life, it affects all of it. My mood has tanked, my anxiety has been extremely high, and in the wake of this, I've become a little indifferent about my eating disorder recovery. And that's terrifying. There's nothing I want more than my recovery, and at the same time, these feelings have left me so drained that doing the right thing (following my meal plan and nourishing my body and mind) have felt so out of reach.
I'd been registered to attend Camp HEAL with Project HEAL for as long as I've been back from treatment, and the weekend was finally upon us. As much as I willed myself to be excited to touch down in Los Angeles and take a weekend unplugged, I wasn't feeling it. I left therapy on Thursday and my therapist told me simply, "I hope this weekend shifts something for you."
Today felt like the first real day of spring, and it was beautiful here--60+ degrees, sunny skies, and a little bit of a breeze. I met up with my good friend Dan after finishing up a grant proposal draft that I've been chipping away at for over a week, and it felt like we just needed a little bit of fun.
We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day we had in front of us, so we started wandering around the West Village, exploring a bit. I was telling him about how amazing this Indian/taco fusion place, Taco Mahal was, and as soon as the sentence came out of my mouth, we rounded the corner and literally ran into it! In a split second, we both had the same idea, "Want to get one and split it and do a food tour today?"
Hello everyone, I still have a blog, and I'm back!
Wow, it's been quite a while since I posted.
And the truth is, I was just not in a place for most of the fall where I felt that I could be talking about my recovery.
Because I was struggling. A lot.
I was on shaky ground for most of the fall, thinking that I "had it under control" or that my seemingly inevitable relapse into my eating disorder "wasn't that bad."
After about Thanksgiving I started to slide in a way that I hadn't seen before. My disordered behaviors got much more frequent and severe than they had ever been...
Wow, what a month.
I realize it's been just over a month since I wrote about my experience as an inpatient in the hospital.
To be frank, September was the hardest month of my life.
I got through it.
I was struggling a lot after I discharged from the hospital, as I was in the midst of several medication changes that left my body scrambling to keep up and my brain was pretty much fried. It felt like a chemical crash with my brain and body trying to go different ways and struggling to find equilibrium again.
I was also having a really hard time coping with some personal events that left me feeling rather hopeless and just completely deflated.
In short, I was extremely depressed, exhausted all the time, my anxiety was out of control, and I felt pretty defeated.
This is the way that E, a kind writer with a knack for dark humor, described the inpatient psychiatric unit I was in for a week.
So yeah, that happened.
I last wrote about how I was really struggling and overwhelmed with coming back to NYC. What I didn't really mention was that for the past three months, I've been in a huge depressive episode. This got especially bad after I got back from Italy, with my mood dropping and my desire to "do" recovery very, very low.
When I returned, I was struggling even more than I had before I left Denver. I had a couple of events really break me down even more, and by Friday, I hit the lowest low that I've ever experienced.
I want to recognize how truly amazing my treatment team is. I went to therapy on Friday, feeling completely helpless and the idea of seeing Saturday was next to impossible. I just didn't care. I had been struggling from this depressive episode for so long that I no longer cared about my recovery at all, I didn't want to be around anyone, and I truly felt like there was no point.
My therapist is a God-send. I've raved about her before, and I will continue to do so for years to come. She sat with me, and after about 20 minutes, recognized that the state I was in was one that couldn't be managed as an outpatient, at least not for the crisis period I was in. She quickly canceled the rest of her appointments, got me into a cab, and took me directly to the emergency room. She stayed with me there, helped me endure the painful and uncomfortable first hour in the ER and helped me talk with my family, and feel less alone.
I am SO thankful I got myself to therapy, and was honest with how I was feeling. I am so thankful for my therapist and her wonderful soul and the way she always looks out for my wellbeing.
I am thankful that I kept myself safe, even though that meant admitting to the inpatient psychiatric unit for a week.
Hi, I'm Charlotte! I'm a 24 year old navigating life in NYC and mental health recovery. I am passionate about public health and eliminating stigma.