Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back to Basics (i.e., reaching out)

I don't know if it's just me...
But i have a really hard time reaching out for help when I'm struggling.
Three reasons why I can't reach for the phone when I'm either crying hysterically/about to purge/cut or just generally in distress:
1. I don't want to burden/bother/waste the time of the person I am calling
2. I convince myself that I am fine/ my current problem/situation doesn't warrant any attention
3. Part of me would rather just go through with one of my self- destructive behaviors, and calling would mean that I would be "giving that up".

My therapist, D, has been asking me to please call her when I'm having a hard time. My problem with this is that I don't really know what i would define as a "hard time". I told her that for me there's no grey area, and having a hard time basically means "about to jump off a bridge" (and I, luckily, don't find myself looking down at the Brooklyn skyline often- 'cept when I'm in the car) 

But tonight, after what i would classify as a really shitty weekend, I came home and was doing the whole crazy debate in my head about whether or not to binge&purge. I was feeling really lonely and unloved and hopeless. I had ordered a ton of food that I didn't really want and was curled up in a ball on my bed, waiting for the buzzer to ring. 
On a whim, I called her. Actually, it was a little more than a whim- I tried to imagine that i was in her shoes, that i was a therapist (as I do REALLY want to be one day) and I had a patient who was struggling, and how i would feel if they called me late on a Sunday night to ask for help. 
I decided that I would want me to call, so i picked up my phone, hit the send button, and closed my eyes, awaiting my (awkward) fate. Her answering machine picked up (and after a five- second {aka an eternity} long pause when I was deciding whether it would be rude to just hang up) I left the awkwardest of all awkward messages and quickly hung up. 
She called me back basically thirty seconds later. I hesitantly answered and told her what was going on.

I have to say, it wasn't as terrible as i thought it was going to be. I mean, she basically spoke and sounded just like i had imagined, but I didn't feel as awful as I thought I would. It was kind of nice to be one the phone with someone and just have them know what was going on with me. 
After I hung up, the food arrived and I panicked. I put on a movie and tried to eat normally but was so freaked out by the type & quantity of the food I had gotten that I ended up eating a lot really really fast. Afterwards i was pissed and upset and wanted to purge. I made a pros and cons list and then decided to just waste time by calling people for a little bit. I ended up calling my friend L and talking to her for a while. By the time I hung up I didn't even want to purge anymore (physically & mentally). 

Moral of the story? Reach out when you're struggling! 
I bet you never heard that one before, right!? 
In all seriousness though, I do think it makes a big difference to figure stuff out on your own, even if it's stuff that you know intellectually because people have been telling it to you since day one. I mean 'reach out' or 'call a friend' is basically eating disorder treatment 101, but sometimes, i guess, we have to just re-start with the basics.

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