End of the Road or Change in Topics?

I’m not sure what to do with this blog anymore. While I still struggle with my ED, it’s not been a primary focus in about a year ’cause I’ve been concerned with other things, like facing homelessness and chronic illness/pain, and realizations about myself. Plus I had to have a surgery and I’m still pretty messed up from it. Sometimes I think I should just delete this blog ’cause, while I started it in hopes that my words might make people feel less alone, I don’t know what to say anymore that’s even remotely on topic.

I don’t need this blog to be a journal or venting space ’cause I have a semi-private one for that. I do have a couple ideas about what I could write about from time to time but I’m not sure if my audience (if you’re all still there after my repeated unannounced hiatuses) would be interested. I’ve got some recipes to try, could talk more about chronic illness in general… I don’t know.

Thoughts, comments?

IMAlive – My Review and Experience Using A Crisis Chat Line

This post contains mentions of self-harm, suicide, homelessness, and disordered eating. Read at your own discretion.

I’m writing and posting my experience contacting IMAlive, a crisis support chatline, to hopefully help people use it if they need to. I almost didn’t contact them, myself, because I didn’t know what it was like. However, this is only my account of the one time I used IMAlive and everyone won’t necessarily have the same experience.

About a month ago, my partner, birds, and me ended up having to sleep in a hotel lobby for a night, not knowing what we were going to do the following night, because our resources to stay in the hotel had run out and we still had no income, despite our best efforts. I had already relapsed on self-injury several times during our stint in that hotel due to the extreme stress we were under, I had lost a significant amount of weight because not only was my ED triggered but we usually couldn’t afford food, and I was fighting suicidal idealizations on a daily basis. That night was one of the hardest of my life and I didn’t get much sleep because a disturbed older man woke me up in the middle of the night to ask me where he could smoke (our state has a ban on indoor smoking in public buildings so I told him he couldn’t and he got irritated with me).

The following morning, we desperately tried to find somewhere, anywhere, to go so we wouldn’t end up on the street in the middle of winter. We didn’t have any word back yet and I was actively planning suicide at that point so I went to IMAlive’s website because I knew I was in crisis.

I’d tried to use them in the past but every time I tried previously they were closed and I never could find hours posted anywhere. But this time I was taken to a page I hadn’t seen before. It asked me to enter my age range, zip code, and gender (I selected “other”). You could remain as anonymous as you can when entering that information or put in your email address. I chose the former.

Within minutes (two or three), I was typing to one of IMAlive’s trained volunteers who called themselves Alex. They asked what they could call me and I told them my name. They also asked about my situation, how I was feeling, and generally just listened and offered support. I could tell they had been trained in how to deal with people in crisis and that made me feel better, especially because I tried another chat service (NOT a crisis line) that left me feeling less than helped at the end since the people on that service weren’t trained.

I don’t remember the details of what we chatted about but I felt more hopeful by the end and Alex asked me if I would like it if they sent me a followup email in a few days. I said yes and they asked for my email address, which I supplied.

My friend helped us get into a new hotel that evening and then a couple days later, Alex emailed me to see how things were. I updated them but didn’t hear back; I’m unsure if that’s policy or what.

So, that’s my review of my experience using IMAlive. I hope this might help someone feel more comfortable using the service who otherwise might not because they don’t know what it’s like. Please, please, if you’re thinking of hurting yourself, contact IMAlive or another crisis line. You’re worth than you think you are in those moments.

Housing Update + Eating Disorder Discussion

This post contains discussion of homelessness and eating disorders.

The last week has been super rough. We lost our housing and my fiance lost his job within 12 hours of each other. It’s all been really scary and difficult. The first night, before we found out he’d lost his job, we slept in B’s little Saturn coupe with our birds. We couldn’t even partially lay down due to how small the car is inside and the birdcage. The second night and for most of the others, we’ve slept in a tent we acquired from a local homeless and at-risk group. We’ve set up in my friend’s back yard and they’re letting us use their kitchen, bathroom, and wifi.

Sleeping in a tent is weird. I’ve never camped before because I just didn’t understand the appeal. Apparently a lot of people like it but I have trouble sleeping with the knowledge that it’s just a couple layers of fabric between me and the outside. I get a bit paranoid about what could be lurking out there and every little noise sets me off and wakes me up. I have to be super exhausted to fall asleep.

But, we’re safe and with people who genuinely care about us. So that is something of true value.

Food has been difficult. The stress has my eating disorder running away with me and every meal is a calculated effort to eat. Eating makes me feel sick to my stomach ’cause my ED doesn’t want me to eat so I have to chew very slowly and not be left alone while I’m eating now. I’m very concerned about food, like, how we’ll get food and other things.

I don’t know. I don’t want to talk more about this. I just thought I should update.