Tag Archives: family

2015 In Review

Seeing as how it’s almost the end of the year (I know, this year flew by!), I wanted to take the time to sit down and reflect on the past 365 days, even though we still have a couple more weeks left.

By far 2015 was one of the hardest years to date. It was filled with loss, pain and also a lot of self-discovery.

Losing my biggest influence, besides my own mom of course, was earth shattering. I still cry about my Grandma dying. It’s still hard and I have moments where I feel like it was just yesterday I got that phone call saying I need to get to the nursing home right away. Starting my senior year of college, the first semester without her, was brutal. There were so many times that I got a good grade on something and found myself wanting to call or stop by her place to share the good news, but then I was hit with the sobering reality.

I also lost my friend, Heather. We lost touch a bit due to the fact we were across the country from one another, but when we talked on occasion it was like we never really stopped ya know? It’s strange how some let distance come between a friendship, yet I always knew that if need be, we’d be there for each other. I miss you girl, and I hope you’re spending your favorite holiday partying it up in footie pajamas and making everyone around you laugh.

But I also found myself more this year. Through all of the pain and grief, I pushed myself harder than ever before to be a better version of myself. I made a promise to my Grandma an hour before she passed away that I would be ok, that I would stay in school and continue to succeed and graduate. Yes, that promise was hard to uphold, but I continued going forward even though everything in me wanted to just stop and drown in the crippling sadness I felt.

Through that fight, I began to recognize that I am capable of reaching my goals when I fight and work hard enough. I was never one to quit something I was passionate about, and I found myself this year putting my whole heart into the biggest dream I have: my future.

I began another research project, working with one of my professors, and in that I had another sense of self-discovery: I realized that I no longer wanted to work with eating disorders and young adults. Now, and I believe it has almost everything to do with what me and my family lived through for the past 2 years, I am pursuing a career in gerontology.

Even after all of the pain, my Grandma still continues to influence my life in more ways than I once thought she did. I discovered I want to work with older adults and their family members/ care givers who are in hospice/palliative care.

Although this year started out rough, and still continues to be, I am actually in a weird way thankful for all of the experiences I had. I became more thick skinned, mature, grew a stronger appreciation for the people I have in my life and more confident in my own abilities to go for dreams I never thought I was good enough to reach for and achieve.


Anger & Anticipatory Grief

As a lot of you all know, if you’ve been following this blog, I’ve lived with the excruciating pain of something known as anticipatory grief for almost a year and a half. I won’t relive all of the details for you, but if you want to know what exactly I’m talking about when it comes to what happened to my Grandma you can find the posts on my page.

After my Grandma died I felt lost. Yes we all knew it was coming but even with that it’s still hard as hell when it happens. For the past week or two I’ve been thinking a lot about the people I’ve lost over the past year and I’ve come to realize that I was living a life fueled by anger.

All of the things I thought I believed were tested during that time of my life and instead of feeling those emotions I hid a lot behind anger. To sound all clinical and stuff, I was projecting my own disbelief in things like God or a higher power onto those in my life, using friends I held dear to my heart as a scapegoat.

The weird thing about anger and living through a grief process where you’re grieving an eventual loss before it’s happened is that in those moments when you’re hanging onto your last shred of sanity, you don’t realize that almost everything you say or do is an emotional reaction to something nobody can see or help you with. I’m sure if you were to ask those who saw me regularly during this time they would probably tell you I was not the easiest person to get along with. I was pushing a lot of people away who meant a lot to me because being alone was easier than letting people in when there was nothing they could have said or done to give me what I really needed: my Grandma to be ok and back to normal. I blamed God, those who believed in God and were praying and my anger grew and grew.

Now that I’m in a place where I can think more clearly, and the pain I feel now on a daily basis is that of missing my Grandma and still wanting her back, I see the damage my anger caused. To put it in the words of what a Dr. told me a while back. I was angry, I was firing bullets and those who were in my life got hit with the shrapnel. I was always good at anger because as I said previously, feeling anything else besides that when I am going through it makes me uncomfortable and is something I refused to allow myself to sit in and feel. But now that I’m learning how to feel and process my emotions I’m learning that living a life of anger when I was experiencing that anticipatory grief was doing more damage than good.

If I could say anything to those I pushed away over the past 2 years it would be this:

I’m sorry for the things I said or did out of my emotional reactions. Almost none of the things I said were coming from things I actually meant. Did I mean to hurt you? It sounds harsh but yes, I did. It’s almost as if I needed someone else to be in pain with me. For those of you who believe in God, I was projecting my anger that I have towards God onto you because you were tangible and represent everything that was in question at that time. I do believe in God and I am so sorry that I allowed my anger and grief ridden state of mind to dictate the things I said to you all and wrote on here. I was immature, in so much pain and angry but I know it’s no excuse for what happened. I know some of you forgave me, and on the off chance anyone else reads these words I hope maybe one day down the line we can sort things out as well.

Comparisons & Competition


Whoa two posts in one day?! Someone must have course work to do or something that she’s putting off!

So here’s what’s up for tonight: my “schema” as the professionals where I used to go to treatment n therapy call it, is fucking up a lot of shit in my life.

Example #1: Comparisons

I was up at the mall getting an upgrade on my phone, when this woman and her mother walked in. It took one look at the both of them to trigger me, to want so desperately to look like they looked. They were tall, skinny as fuck and I was jealous. I was with my parents when I saw these 2 and in the most sick way I was fascinated by them. I wanted to know how they can get away walking around like that, how they got to look like that. The poor guy at the store probably thought I had A.D.D or some shit because for the life of me I couldn’t stop looking at these people. It’s totally fucked up right? I was talking to my mother today about it, how I was jealous they looked like that and I was forced to “restore” weight. But here’s the most fucked up thing: I didn’t see them as looking sick, I saw them as something I wanted so badly to look like. My mother said they looked like they belonged in a hospital or treatment center, that they didn’t look healthy but they looked really sick.

Example #2: Competition

My dad is on this mindset lately to lose weight. Please don’t get me wrong it’s not a distorted eating disorder thought or something, he needs to shed a few pounds because he is overweight. So for the past week or so he’s been asking me for help and tips on how he could lose a few pounds (triggering as fuck? Yes. Completely moronic on his part? You betcha!!). So I’ve been genuinely trying to help him in the last triggering ways I know how (disclaimer, it’s still triggering to me). Yet I find myself, again like with those two in the phone store, completely jealous of my father and the fact he is allowed to lose weight.

It’s totally fucked up, but even when he’s trying to eat right, I find myself having this sick sense of accomplishment whenever I see he is eating/has eaten more than me. Even when my mom eats normally, it’s so sick that my eating disorder thoughts get all jazzed up that it’s “winning” the eating competition in my house. Like, there’s no fucking competition even going on here! The voices always have to win, and winning in my head is being less. Less weight, less food, less calories consumed.

I really fucking hate having this mentality come wedging its way in my life again.

Fuck. You. Eating Disorder. Thoughts.

Goodbye’s the Saddest Word

I lost one of my biggest role models on March 4th. It’s crazy to think that the day after I wrote the post about my Grandma being in palliative care, she would pass away not even 24 hours later. In the weirdest way it made me feel better that I saw her an hour and a half before she died. I got to say my goodbyes to her and had one of the most heartbreaking conversations I’ve had to have in my life, yet for her it was liberating. She had been hanging on in this state for over a year, and as her condition got worse, she still  continued to fight to stay alive. Grandma always worried about others, and it wasn’t until she passed away that I learned of how she especially always worried about me. I’m the youngest of her 3 grand kids, and I was the closest to her. So that morning when I went to go see her before I had therapy I decided to have the conversation I got my mothers blessing to have with Grandma.

I told her that it was alright if she wanted to go; I’d be alright, the family would be alright and I’d still be in school. I told her how well I was doing, and that I’d continue to do ok after she was gone. I told her I loved her with all my heart and that it was ok for her to go…. Almost 2 hours later she was gone.

Now it’s been 2 weeks, and my heart is still grieving. People tell me there’s no time limit on grief and that I shouldn’t make myself kick out of my grief process. School has been particularly hard to go to, I think because I now associate it with making Grandma proud, and at the same time knowing she won’t be there when I graduate next May. Life goes on even after the goodbyes, the wake and the funeral and we who still have breathe in our lungs and a beating heart can do nothing but get back into our lives the best we can.

It feels like a giant piece of my life is gone, but that promise I made to Grandma that I’d be ok makes me want to continue living my life and making her proud by my hard work in school. She wouldn’t want me missing classes or not going to work because of her, and as much as it’s hard to get out of bed in the mornings, I make myself do it in an honor to her.

Palliative Care & Anticipatory Grief

So yesterday the nurses stopped the majority of my Grandma’s medication and reduced her tube feed a little bit. She’s in what you would call palliative care, so now it’s all up to her when she wants to go. For those of you who don’t know what palliative care is the World Health Organization defines Palliative Care as:

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

I thought hearing the update from my mom today would make things easier on us, but the anticipation is still there, and it’s getting worse now. None of you have ever met my Grandma, but she is such a strong, independent and stubborn woman, so the fact that now her days are up to her scares me because I know she’s stubborn enough to keep going like this for months or even another year.

They took her off the thyroid medication, blood thinner, antibiotics for her pneumonia and as I said before they reduced her tube feed because they can’t legally remove it from her. The scariest thing is that she’s no longer on the blood thinner that has been keeping her blood clots in the brain and heart from getting bigger and causing another stroke or heart attack.

With all of this happening my mom and I have been talking and we all agree that we think Grandma needs to hear that it’s alright if she wants to let go. Truth be told I avoided going to visit her today because I know what I eventually have to say, and I don’t want to have an end of life talk with my Grandma. Even up until now I’ve been her Grand-baby, and I don’t want to say goodbye to her and give her that permission to go. I know I have to tell her that I’ll be alright, that I’ll get through it but I don’t know how much I believe it. I’m already fighting like hell to keep it together. I’m working my ass off in college because of her, I’m trying like hell to keep my recovery for her. I want to be alright because I know she always worried about me and everyone else.

Being in this position isn’t easy. The past few months her nurses have told us she wasn’t going to pull through this pneumonia but Grandma always did. So now with her being in palliative care I don’t even know what to expect. I don’t want her to die, I’d give anything to have her stay alive and be my Grandma again, but I don’t want her being this hollow shell of a person any more.

I live everyday wondering if my life is going to change forever that day. I never go without my phone any longer and when I’m out I have the ringer on and I always dread the day I see my moms name pop up on my phone at an odd time of the day. It’s all killing my mom too. She’s reaching a breaking point with this and she’s not herself as of late. She seems distant and exhausted. I understand why she is the way she is, I just wish there was something more I could do for her to help get her through this.

Anticipatory Grief

For 1 year now I’ve been experiencing what psychologists would call anticipatory grief. On the website abouthealth.com they give a pretty simple definition of what exactly anticipatory grief is; they say “ Anticipatory grief is the normal mourning a person feels when he is anticipating the death of a loved one. Anticipatory grief includes sadness, concern for the dying person, preparing for the death, and adjusting to changes caused by the death   (http://dying.about.com/od/glossary/g/anticipat_grief.htm).

Every day for a year this is what I’ve been living with. My Grandma got sick in December 2013 with a stroke and heart attack; pretty much removing any semblance of who she was my whole life. An independent 86 year old woman turned into a vegetable, unable to talk. The memories of walking in her house that night and finding her laying there, face almost blue from the dangerously high blood pressure levels, will never leave my mind. I suffered from intense flashbacks for nearly 6 months after; I’d find myself reliving the entire night in great detail over and over and over again.

A few months ago I got to a point where I was able to accept that the woman who played a major role in raising me, and who I always looked up to as a role model/influence, was no longer here and not coming back. Thank god for therapy, because I wouldn’t be able to work through that on my own. But yesterday, all of this changed. My Grandma turned 88 on Wednesday, and the day after everything in me and my family’s life changed again..

7:30 in the morning my home phone rang, and I saw on the caller id it was the nursing home. My heart always stops for a second whenever I hear the phone ring, but yesterday as I saw the name pop up I knew something wasn’t right. Her nurse practitioner was on the other side telling me how my Grandma has pneumonia in both lungs now, a fever that keeps going up and down throughout the day and how they don’t think she’s going to make it out of it this time. I felt my whole body shake as she asked me what my mom’s plan was in this case; leave her at the nursing home and keep her comfortable, or send her to the hospital. I didn’t know, but I wasn’t the one they should be talking to so I called my mom and she called them.

Enter in the anticipatory grief all over again. Now, all we can do is wait. I went to the nursing home after class yesterday and spent time with her. I refuse to have regrets this time. My Grandma means the world to me and I would do anything in my power to keep her here with me, but at the same time I want this all to be over. Her quality of life is none, she spends all day in bed because she’s unable to move and seeing her like that isn’t who she is.

Nobody teaches you how to cope with this type of grief, but I’m thankful I’m not alone. I have some of the best friends with me now that support me and are here for me. But that doesn’t stop the fact I’m starting to grieve and nothing has happened yet.

Regret and Recovery

I’m living with every step. I can’t live with regret. The past is the past. I’m not worried about it. I can’t change it. I can’t fix it. It is what it is. I’m just living.
-Ryan Sheckler

I’ve been thinking a lot about the person I have been over the past few years and all of the things I’ve done that unbeknownst to me removed the trust people, especially my parents, had in me. Now that I’m working my way back to a healthy, well balanced life of recovery I’m finding areas in which my trust still needs to be gained back; and the majority of those areas circle around food.

There are so many moments where I mention I’m not all too hungry for a meal or that I want to wait a bit to eat as to let myself feel that hunger because I still cannot justify eating when I don’t feel hungry. I never really noticed it before, maybe because I was in treatment and my mother didn’t have to worry that I wouldn’t eat, but lately when I talk to her about food I notice this look of worry and concern as if to say “I don’t care if you’re not hungry, you’re eating. I don’t want you getting sick again”.

It wasn’t until a couple of days ago where I realized I was lacking trust when it came to eating dinner, and it was discouraging to say the least. All I can think of doing is to continue eating the meals my mother says we’re eating (even though I’m pretty sure she doesn’t eat a lot during the day which I still don’t see as fair but I’m a grown ass adult and I can’t base my life and actions on those of others… still a big struggle of mine, but whatever). I want to make another goal of mine for this year to work on gaining that trust back.

I’m finding that when you really start working on yourself all of these moments from the past when you weren’t thinking straight come back to the surface; and it’s in those moments I’m also learning that you need to face them head on. I regret losing the trust of others, and seeing that as them pushing me away and out of their life. Now, I don’t believe they were pushing me away, I think they just distanced themselves and watched as I continued to ride out the shit storm of an eating disorder and depression and letting me get to a point where I couldn’t continue living the way I was. I think it’s that distance that allows us in our sickness to make our own choices and because loved ones know that we won’t listen to heed their warnings that all they can do is sit back and hope we don’t hit rock bottom and drown in our illness before they can reach us again.

I regret not listening to my friends and family and even more so I regret worrying the shit out of my Grandma. I love her to pieces and am so blessed that I have such a close relationship with her. I remember a couple of weeks before I went into residential I was down at her house spending time with her and she looked at me and flat out asked me if I was losing a lot of weight. I remember the worried look on her face as she gave me a glance and as I lied to her face with my classic “yeah I am. I’ve just been working out and eating a little less than I was before”. I regret that moment more than anything because I lied to the one person I love to death. She played a big part in raising me and too see me deteriorating must have been fucking terrifying for her.

Recovery comes with a lot of regrets about the past but like they say, all you can do is learn from them and better who you are in the present.

What You Can’t See From the Bottom

I’ve hit rock bottom a few times in my life with mental illness stuff and it’s never pretty or glamorous like the movies or television shows have it appear to be. Rock bottom isn’t a place I would wish on anyone because it removes any and all rationale or clarity from your life. It removes the ability to think rationally and the entire world around you becomes black and white, this or that. It’s terrifying, heartbreaking and the most lonely of states one could ever be in. I was thinking a lot about the times I’ve hit this rock bottom, and I realized that there are things you cannot see when you’re there lying on the floor with the surface of that pit millions of miles away.

1. You Can’t Feel Love.

Do you know how many times I would think to myself that nobody loved me? A lot. Do you know how many times that was actually true? None. When you’re in the pit the ability to feel loved is nearly impossible. People say they love you and they don’t want you to hurt yourself, but with everything in you, you can’t accept that as truth. So many times I’ve heard something along the lines of “I love you and I don’t want to see you hurt yourself” but I never once believed it. Maybe it’s because I was so far down and that because all self-love and respect towards myself was gone, I thought there was no way others could love me. They didn’t know who I was, and the “lies” of being told I was worthy of life and recovery and all of these positive things that were said to me about who I was all seemed to be lies because I didn’t feel that way about myself.

It took me getting admitted into a psychiatric hospital to feel a shred of love, and it was the love of my dad that I never even knew existed that I finally felt for the first time. I’ll never forget the petrified look on his face as he and my mom walked in to that check in station; he looked so scared I thought he was going to either cry or shit his pants. Up until that point he didn’t know of the cutting, the impending eating disorder or the fact that I was suicidal and was on the verge of killing myself (which obviously landed me in that place in the first place). But after that first or second visit I’ll never forget how he wrapped his arms around me, squeezing me so tightly that I was certain I was going to pop, and with the most sincere voice I’ve ever heard him have tell me he loves me. My new combo of meds were making me see/ feel clearer, and I knew for the first time in my life he meant what he was saying to me.

2. You Don’t Know Hope.

Not having hope is terrifying, at least for me it is. I remember the few times I had a plan to commit suicide that feeling of hope was only a dream. I could see the end of my life, and I was certain there was no way out of that endless depression. Days on end I’d walk around feeling empty inside and wondering why this is the best my life would ever be. Not even with depression but with my eating disorder as well. I’d try and envision my life in recovery and without it, but all I could see was the present moment. That hope of a better life didn’t seem real. Being so entwined in something whether it’s mental illness or an addiction or an eating disorder fucks with your mind and picturing a life without any of it seems like a fairy tale. When hope isn’t an arms length away, it feels like it will never happen.

3. Help is Seen as a Threat.

Being propositioned with treatment a couple of years ago for my anorexia seemed like a threat. I was so numb to everything and on the verge of landing in a hospital any ways from medical complications that when I was told about getting help I felt threatened. It was help and hope, but I was so far down in that hole that I couldn’t see it. Instead, I saw it as a threat or punishment. My eating disorder was mine and mine alone, I was good at it, and in a weird way it separated me from everyone else. I was so blind that I saw my constant losing weight and excessive hours spent at the gym as an accomplishment. People would bitch about how hard it was to lose weight, and I would sit back in a sick way and think “but look at me! I’m clearly finally doing something right!”

Having that taken away from me was hell. I would get so pissed off when my friends and mentor (of the time) would talk to me and voice their concern about my deteriorating appearance. I felt like they wanted me to stop finally being good at something and that in a fucked up sense they were jealous. I know, this is all so shallow but at the time it was important to me. Concerned talk after concerned talk only seemed like daggers being thrown at my bubble.

I would never wish rock bottom on anyone. It turns you into someone you’re not and places such strong blinders on you that it’s nearly impossible to admit that you’re on your way to being 6 feet under the ground. I don’t know exactly how to end this, so I guess I’ll just say this:

When you can’t feel hope or love and feel like there’s no way out of your mental illness, addiction or whatever is controlling your life and dragging you down into the depths, when loved ones and friends talk, just listen. Don’t react in the moment, listen. Let their words at least settle in your ears for a moment.

Holding On and Moving On

There’s been an internal fight I’ve been having with myself the more I look at possible schools to apply to once I graduate from undergrad: is it really alright for me to be that far away from home?

It’s not that I’m scared to be away from friends and family for a bit, I experienced what that’s like when I was in Arizona for treatment. What I’m scared is being away from my Grandma. It’s been a year since she got sick and in a few weeks she’ll be turning 88. I promised myself that night last December that I would be here through it all until the end. I’ve said it before but it unfortunately took this shit circumstance for me to realize how much I loved her, admired her, aspired to be like her and the relationship we had since childhood so now that I’m planning out my future, I’m scared I’m going to miss it.

I’m scared that I’ll be at school in Arizona or Florida and receive that call from my mom that she’s going. I’m scared I won’t be able to get home in time to be with her when she’s dying and I won’t get to say my goodbyes. I know without a doubt she’s beyond proud of me. I’m the only grandchild who graduated high school, and even more went on to  college. That thought is what keeps me going. I love visiting her and telling her all about my successes in school and the grades I’m getting from working my ass off, even though she is unable to respond or show any sign that she is happy for me; I still know she is.

I still fully intend on applying to the schools I have been looking into out in Arizona and down in Florida, even though the fear is telling me to stay local. I know Grandma wouldn’t want me to put my life on hold or not go for my dreams because of her, so I’m trying to keep that in mind when I think about the future.

Family= Trigger

So my worst fear about seeing my family happened today and I’m not dealing well with it. I was down at my Aunt & Uncles house this morning, feeling anxious and the xanax wasn’t helping me. I was watching them eat and looking at what they had for me to possibly eat (which was nothing as I was expecting) when my 15 year old cousin made comments that started a mental tailspin.

At first she grabbed my upper arms, squeezed them and made a comment about how “skinny” I was. I felt my heart stop as the panic began to set in and I did all that I could to stay calm and not flip out. I tried telling her how that’s not appropriate or helpful, although I don’t think she realized the weight of her comments/actions. Then a bit later she flat out asked me what I weighed and that’s when I flipped out. I told her that that was way out of line and you never ask someone how much they weigh. She asked me why, and I told her that it’s not appropriate. Of course I know how much I weigh and that number began holding significance in my head again.

I was scared something like this was going to happen and the fact that it did is seriously fucking with my head. It’s like I don’t want it to ruin my day but those eating disorder thoughts are so fucking loud right now.

I hate the holidays, I hate spending time with my family and I hate letting the people who trigger me, trigger me again on a day where I was hoping my eating disorder wouldn’t be an issue.