PHP Day 3: “You Didn’t Fail.”

Today makes my third day of Partial Hospitalization, and I already know I need to stay more than a week—and I’m mostly okay with that, but not sure whether my body will allow it.

Looking back at the last few months, I’m starting to see that, as usual, my psychiatrist has been right in saying I need to be here. As it turns out, it doesn’t much matter why I’ve lost this much weight below my healthy place because I’ve ended up with the same physiological consequences and even some of the distorted thinking of anyone with an eating disorder… My hair was starting to fall out. Continue reading “PHP Day 3: “You Didn’t Fail.””

PHP Day 1: “I Won’t Put It On.”

Today was my first day of Partial Hospitalization, and it went both better and worse than I expected.

I don’t normally post two days in a row, but I’m in a writing mood and thought a few people might be interested in reading about my time in a partial hospitalization program for eating disorders over the next few days. I’m not sure if I’ll post every day or not, but today I need to talk about what happened. Continue reading “PHP Day 1: “I Won’t Put It On.””

The Perils of Partial Hospitalization—And Why I’ve Agreed to Go

“You need to go back,” my doctor warned me one day this summer.

I wiped the tears off my face and sighed. “I haven’t been able to walk more than a hundred feet in two months. You think I have energy for three hours of therapy three times a week?”

“You need the support… You’re getting worse and worse.”

I paused, knowing he wasn’t wrong—my psychiatrist is never wrong, and it’s maddening. “I know. But if going to therapy takes up all my energy, I’ll be too sick to participate. Isn’t there another way?”

Continue reading “The Perils of Partial Hospitalization—And Why I’ve Agreed to Go”

The Problem with Having an Anxiety Disorder AND Another Chronic Illness

“Just go to the lab,” the doctor says, handing me a long list of tests.

“I have a port,” I remind her. “You’ll have to send this to the infusion center since my veins are too scarred.”

She paused, mulling it over for a second. “Well, the lab is where you get blood drawn, so I’m sure someone there will help you.”

“But phlebotomists can’t access a port.”

“They’ll find someone,” she ushers me out of the office, leaving me to hang out and dry and ignoring farther warnings about what will happen to me if I go to the outpatient lab…

Continue reading “The Problem with Having an Anxiety Disorder AND Another Chronic Illness”

8 Ways to Help a Loved One with Chronic Illness During Holidays

This Thanksgiving week, at a time when almost everyone is stressing out over travel and preparations and relatives, for those of us with chronic illnesses, the season brings additional sets of challenges.

Chances are, if you don’t have a chronic illness yourself, then one of your family members that you’re about to see does. It can feel awkward wondering what you should and shouldn’t say to this person, but as someone with both physical and mental health challenges, I’ve assembled a few tips for loved ones.

Continue reading “8 Ways to Help a Loved One with Chronic Illness During Holidays”

Why I Don’t Care What You Call Whatever’s Wrong with My Brain

It was a typical Sunday morning a few weeks ago when it happened. My mom was cooking me an omelet, and dad was reading the paper. I was rummaging through the cupboard to get some honey to drizzle on a banana when I heard it:

“CLAW.” And then there was whispering in a female voice I couldn’t make out, which I somehow knew was about me.

“What’d you say, mom?”

“I didn’t say anything.”

I paused for a moment. “Did you say something, dad?”

He shook his head.

“So neither of you heard it?”

“Heard what?”

A chill ran down my spine as I suddenly realized what just happened: Continue reading “Why I Don’t Care What You Call Whatever’s Wrong with My Brain”

Why Ignoring Adults with PANS Hurts Everybody

After twenty years in and out of group homes, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment centers, at twenty-nine, Jo* has never been stable enough to have a job. Jo lives with his parents between hospitalizations. Despite being incredibly smart, Jo barely finished high school due to several learning disabilities. Jo’s frequent panic attacks render him unable to drive. Jo almost died of cardiac arrest from anorexia and has attempted suicide multiple times. Continue reading “Why Ignoring Adults with PANS Hurts Everybody”

Why These Myths About Suicide Are So Harmful

[Trigger warning: this post contains discussions of personal experiences with suicidal thoughts and misconceptions. If you’re in an emergency, please call the National Suicide Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or dial 911.]

 

No one needs to know, I told myself as I sat frozen, staring at my phone. I don’t need to call him, I tried to convince myself. I remembered how I promised I would if the thoughts came back, yet as soon as I pulled up my doctor’s number, I set my phone back down and started talking myself out of the call once more. Continue reading “Why These Myths About Suicide Are So Harmful”