I scared myself today.

And this is probably a very good thing indeed.

So yesterday I got sucked back into deliberate starvation mode. I don’t think I cleared 600 calories intake all day. In the meantime, on Wednesdays I spend about 2 hours cleaning the dance studio – sweeping the floors and cleaning all of the vat acres of mirrors and windows, it’s fairly physical work. Then I go back for an hour of yoga – which is fairly intense (and we spent a lot of time in Plank this week). I’ve had this song completely dominating my life of late, and Diana’s been encouraging me to choreograph something to it, even though I’ve never had any ability there – and I started playing around with it, since I wound up having to finish some of the cleaning after everyone left, so I was alone and safely locked in the studio anyway. So I spent another 45 minutes or so working on that – and it’s rather athletic. So I was in SEVERE calorie debt after that. Then comes today – in the same self-destructive mode.

Now, this day began with my crazy cat waking me up at 3 am. I had a hard time getting back to sleep – had the song I’m working with stuck in my head, and I thought of some more moves I think would be good. I wound up getting up to write them down, because I knew that if I didn’t, then I’d probably forget them by the time I got up again. Got them written down, sent an email to Diana laughing at myself for getting up at 3 am to write them down, and went back to bed. Still couldn’t sleep, thought of a few more moves, got up again – at least this time I got a clue and brought my notes into the bedroom. Went back to bed again. Probably didn’t get back to sleep until almost 5 – and had to get up at 6 to be at work.

So now I’m in severe caloric debt and short on sleep. I head in to work to find out that I’ll be there for 24 hours – and promptly eat as little breakfast as I can convince my stomach to get away with. Probably about 300 calories. And go on with my day. Granted, it was a pretty quiet day, but I’m still up and down all day, not sitting in front of a computer or a TV the way I am at home. Found myself getting soooooooo tired – even two cups of green tea weren’t keeping me going. Around 3 or so I finally “broke down” and had some lunch – probably another 300 calories. And I had a HORRIBLE desire to purge it. I was talking with one of the apprentices in the kitchen, which I think was all that kept me from bolting for the downstairs (staff only) bathroom. When she had to go into an appointment, I took my charting up to the reception area – I usually stay out of there during appointment time because there are just too many people trying to be in the same space and it makes the receptionist crazy. But she’s a friend of mine, she knows a little bit about what’s been going on, and I flat out told her that I needed someone to keep an eye on me, not let me go purge my lunch. So I was working up there, doing some charting, updating the menu list, etc – and I start noticing that I’m getting cold. And I don’t just mean cold – I mean COLD. I’m shivering. Now bear in mind, I’m one of those people who run hot, so for ME to be cold means that something weird is going on. And then I find that I’m shaky. And getting light headed. And almost dizzy. And suddenly thinking “holy shit, am I going to pass out? Should I call someone else in to cover the shift?”. I’d finished the projects I currently had, but I told the receptionist how crappy I was suddenly feeling – and she did the smartest thing possible, she gave me a project. One I know how to do and isn’t difficult, but is time consuming and something she rarely has time for, so I can feel useful – and will keep me under her eye and focused on something outside of myself. Because by now, my anxiety is kicking in too and I can’t tell what symptoms are related to malnourishment and calorie debt and which are related to anxiety. So I start working on her project. And I focus in on it. And there’s a lot going on, and I’m trying to stay out of the way, and chatting with people, and generally not being allowed to obsess. And when I get done – I realize that I’m feeling better.

My theory is that it was triggered by plummeting blood sugar and a level of malnourishment that was finally too much for my body to deal with – and while I had just eaten, it clearly hadn’t had time to absorb yet. Then when I started feeling the effects, it freaked me out, so the symptoms got magnified. By getting me focused on something else, the anxiety had a chance to drop – and the time it took me to do the project (over an hour) gave my body time to absorb some of what I’d eaten, staving off the physical effects.

But yeah. That scared me pretty thoroughly. It’s the worst physical reaction I’ve had. Since then, throughout this evening, I’ve been pondering the dry skin, the frequent breakouts, the increased bruising (both frequency and severity), the reduced strength and stamina, the low energy levels, the delayed recovery from my usual activities… and really seeing them, possibly for the first time, instead of just brushing them off.

I stopped counting calories. But I had a frozen pot pie a few hours later (Marie Calendar’s, I love those), then ordered some pot stickers when the family ordered Chinese food for dinner, and just had a banana. Oh, and when Madi reminded me about olive oil being such a good fat, a couple of pieces of bread dipped in olive oil instead of smeared with butter. Sounds like a lot – but given the debt I’m in, I’m okay with it. And that was over about 6 hours.

So… who knows. I’ve felt like I’ve turned corners before – but this feels different. I think I quite possibly really have, this time. Which doesn’t mean that it won’t still be a hell of a struggle – but hopefully, I’ve at least finally convinced that one voice in my head that starving is a bad idea.

Anyway, this is the song that I’m currently in love with:

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