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Update: Laci is doing great! She is healthy and feeling much more like herself. Getting treatment has been fantastic. We are absolutely thrilled how well she is doing.

This episode was Laci’s idea. She wanted to share the experience from her perspective. It’s her hope that being vulnerable with her story might help someone else who is struggling.

If this is your first time hearing about her struggles with an eating disorder, here’s a bit of backstory:

My wife’s eating disorder almost killed her (as I talked about in episode 456).

If you heard the previous episode I shared, you know how bad things had gotten. After starving herself earlier in 2019, her cognitive abilities declined so severely from malnutrition, she was unable to speak a single full sentence. We could not even communicate. I had to take off work for several months to take care of her full time.

Later in the year, she was having panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety episodes that would last 6–8 hours a day.

Treatment has literally been a life-saver.

I’m happy to say, thanks to the generous support we received from so many, we were able to pay for the intensive care Laci needs. For a little over one month, she was in 7-day-per-week partial hospitalization at a recovery center, followed by 5 days per week of outpatient treatment. She’s doing so well, this week, her team recommended she step down to 3-day-per week outpatient treatment. She continues to see multiple therapists and dietitians per week.

Her diet has been consistent, nutrition is good, and cognitive abilities have returned! She’s sharp and able to comprehend and respond quickly. Her sense of humor has also been restored.

Her friends and I feel like we have Laci back. We are so grateful for your help. Thank you.

As you’ll see in this episode, her speaking abilities have returned, and she’s able to communicate incredibly well. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to see her look and sound more like herself.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety, or depression, please see the many links and resources listed in the episode 456.

Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated by Descript and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.

Laci: [00:00:00] I had 20 years of a problem. There’s the eating disorder, then there’s all this anxiety and depression, and then there’s like circumstantial stress and top of like trying to figure yourself out in this process too, because when you have your coping skills stripped away, you stop knowing who you are.

Sean: [00:00:36] Hey, it’s Sean McCabe. I’m here with my wife, Laci McCabe. Laci, welcome to the show.

Hi. So a lot of people know, but by maybe some people clicked on this, they, someone shared a podcast episode with them, or they found a video on YouTube or Instagram or something and they don’t know. I recorded an episode.

Somewhat recently, episode four, 56 of the Sean West podcast about how well it was titled, my wife’s eating disorder almost killed her. And I shared what’s been going on that story, how it started last year, in 2018 we’re recording this in December of 2019. So it’s kinda been this whole like year long journey and I shared a lot of that from my perspective.

Really scary from my perspective. I know it’s scary from your perspective, but we were talking about how, I was talking about how we were seeking help for you and had some trouble with the insurance covering. And so anyway, there’s, there’s a whole episode on like what’s been going on the past year that I hadn’t been able to talk about, but it was all from my perspective, obviously you were getting help.

You were, you were in the treatment center full time. Seven days a week, all day. we want to give people an update today, but also you wanted to share from your perspective what happened, like your side of the story.

Laci: [00:02:05] So I do want to warn people just just a little bit. we are going to be talking about little bit of deep, dark things sometimes. so if you have like kids listening to this or, you know, you’re sensitive or triggered by topics about eating disorders, about suicide, depression, anxiety, things like that.

I just wanna. Want to encourage you to, 

proceed with caution.

Sean: [00:02:33] You’re, you’re not going to hold back. You’re going to share.

Laci: [00:02:36] I’m going to share a lot. I mean, there’s still stuff that I’m not ready to share for 

Sean: [00:02:39] sure,

And just to be clear, cause like it’s kinda, it’s kinda like, this is not the type of thing you normally talk about in public or that you share. And so I. I’m curious because I think people might assume like it’s Sean making his wife get on a podcast to talk about this stuff. Like, that’s terrible.

I’m not doing that at all. This is something Laci once, and I’m curious, I mean, you’ve told me, but I’m, I’m curious and I know a lot of people are curious, why share this stuff, why talk about this publicly? Why, why did you want to do this podcast episode.

Laci: [00:03:16] Well, and honestly, like I was the one that encouraged you to share, to begin with. I mean, I wanted, I wanted my story to be shared in order to help other people, in Sean’s also very much about documenting processes and documenting journeys.

Then, so this seems like a good thing to document and kind of look back on and, cause when you’re right in the throws of it and you’re in the middle right. Roll deep and dark and scary. And if you, can, kind of see how far you’ve come, it’s really hard to see how far you’ve come on your own. and so if there’s something you can look back on, they can help you see each step of the journey.

Then, that’s really encouraging and really motivating. And then also just wanting to help other people. And. I’m kind of wanting our story to be public too because, you know, it’s just been really hard. It’s hard, a hard topic on, marriages on spouses too. And I wanted Sean to be able to share what he’s been going through as well,

Sean: [00:04:16] Well, it was, it was huge for me to be able to talk about it publicly. cause you know, like I said in episode four 56, this was something that started at the end of last year, at the end of 2018 and it had been going on all year.

And. I wasn’t really able to talk about it with anyone because it was your private issue. It happened to affect me a lot, but it didn’t like, I didn’t want to expose your struggle, so I kind of suffered in private a little bit. So you giving me permission to share was also very helpful for me. But it also allowed people to help us, like once they knew.

And other people have said that as a result of episode four 56, they, they sought help for a loved one, or they themselves decided to go seek help. So we know that’s already helping people. but as far as like seeing how far you’ve come, I know something you told me as far as why you want to do today’s episode is impart for your future self.

Like being able to look back, like capture this, to be able to remember. Just, it’s, it’s still like, it’s, it’s weird for me. and most of this episode we’re going to hear from you. I just want to give people a little bit of an update and then I want to, I want to have you share your story. but I mean, I talked about this and in that episode four 56, it got, it got bad.

Like, you weren’t able to speak a single full sentence. You weren’t able to comprehend things respond. And like to see, you get to this point where you’re, you’re on a podcast, you’re talking like it’s totally smooth. It’s, it’s totally coherent. Like it’s, it’s, you’ve come a long way. Like you seem a lot more like yourself.

You look good. You sound good. Like your, your memories coming back, your sense of humorous coming back. it’s just really, really encouraging.

Laci: [00:06:23] yeah. it’s really, really hard to see it

Sean: [00:06:28] hard for you.

Laci: [00:06:29] on the inside. Yeah. already I know it won’t be like this the whole time.

I promise.

Sean: [00:06:37] Well, let, let me just acknowledge people. So real quick insurance. Insurance. We started getting treatment for Laci. Very expensive. It’s, I thought it was $1,000 a day. It was like $1,200 a day of treatment. Normally, like 30 day minimum is the recommendation for, for an eating disorder, like partial hospitalization program.

You’re in there. after like a week or two, the insurance was, they were like, yeah, we don’t think she needs it anymore. And, and everyone on her treatment team is like. No, she really does. And the insurance just didn’t, didn’t think so. And so it went into peer review and they tried to advocate for Laci and still didn’t matter.

Insurance was like, nah. So I wanted to share an update of just like what was going on. But a couple of people encouraged me to ask for help. And so that’s, that’s what I did in that podcast episode. I just said, I don’t know what else to do other than. Ask, ask for your help, like if there’s anything you can do and people, people responded in a big way, like we have been able to get Laci the treatment she needs because of people’s help.

People send in donations from all over the world. And it was just, I was blown away like it was, it was completely. Surreal, like the messages and the support and the comments, people sending donations. we, we were able to get Laci the full treatment she needed. Cause I told them, I said, I know, I know you’re going to tell me.

You’re going to try to tell me what we can do with what the insurance will cover. I don’t want you to tell me that. I want you to tell me what is the best coverage. Like what is, what will be best for Laci and regardless of the insurance company or not. We’re gonna, we’re going to do that. Whatever it is.

So you tell me your recommendation and because of people’s generous donations, we were able to do that. And so, I just want to say thank you on, on both of our behalfs. you are your sport is why Laci is still here. Like I was, I was genuinely scared, like genuinely scared. And. I’m just, I’m very, very grateful.

So thank you. Thank you. For those of you who have donated, thank you for your support.

Laci: [00:09:08] And I, I’m extremely grateful.

I can’t, I can’t think everybody enough. it has been life saving support, and I’ve been utterly humbled, completely humbled. By the response.

Mmm. It’s been

absolutely incredible. So just thank you

Sean: [00:09:30] So as a real quick, like update to the current situation from that last podcast episode, and then Laci wants to share her side of the story, like what, what’s happened?

so Laci did get a month of partial hospitalization, so seven day a week, all day treatment, a little over a month, and then stepped down to. Five day a week, intensive outpatient, which is like part time, not full time. And that’s, that’s where she is currently. Although, and she’s been doing that for some weeks, but, starting this coming week, which is probably by the time you hear this podcast episode, she will step down to three day a week.

Which is, which is really positive. So this is, you know, at their recommendation like, Hey, we think you’re ready to step down. And you know, she’s doing multiple, she’s seeing multiple therapists each week and dieticians. And so, you know, a lot of, a lot of professional help, like people are paying attention.

She’s logging her meals and all of that. but all that to say things are going really, really well, looking really good. we don’t know exactly. How long she’ll stay at three day a week. Will she stepped down to one day or you know, continued to see therapists and dieticians, like, I’m sure that will continue well into 2020.

We don’t know exactly what that looks like, but, everything is good. We’ve, we’ve been able to, you know, pay the medical bills and all of that. So, things are things that are looking really good right now, but, you want to kind of take us back. And share your side of, of what’s going on.

Laci: [00:11:08] Yeah. where do we start? so

I’ve had some version of an eating disorder since I was probably a little kid, for various,

you know, reasons. I know part of it was during like middle school.

and when my parents got divorced, it’s, it’s a coping skill, a skill. It’s a coping mechanism. It’s, when you feel out of control of your life, sometimes there’s things that you turn to as a way to cope, with hard emotions, hard situations, situations. with stressful environments, and the eating disorder is something that I didn’t, I mean, I never would have known that I had it until like way later.

But, looking back, I had, you know, some, some level of need for emotional support, that I wasn’t really getting. And so it’s like, just.

An area where you like, it’s something you need and you’re trying to fill, some kind of emotional void with something. and so it’s just a, it’s a, it’s what you can control when you can’t control what’s around you, you can control.

you. You know, whatever that means for you. and that might be emotional shutdown. you know, or it might be food or it might be body stuff. so there’s a lot tied in there from a very young age. and that kind of plays into depression and anxiety and things too, of just needing emotional support during a time, where you weren’t getting it.

so some of those things can be considered trauma really. Like. I’ve learned that like anything can be considered trauma. so, you know, a lot of times I feel like, well, my life hasn’t been that bad. I have a lot of people have a lot worse things happen to them and a lot worse things going on. you know, for them, for it to be considered traumatic.

Like, I haven’t had some of these other things. And really like anything can be trauma. And especially if you let things build up over time. they, you know, things compound. So if you’re not addressing things in your life and you just kinda like tuck them all away, they compound into much larger traumas, even if they’re small things.

my parents getting divorced was a, a big trauma for me. but. So, I mean, there, there’s some level there. and then all through all through my twenties and stuff. And it’s really, it’s hard because I’m known for really good food and I’ve always wanted to be a chef, and I’m a foodie and, 

Sean: [00:13:51] we learned that’s common

Laci: [00:13:53] very

Sean: [00:13:54] for people in the food industry to have eating disorders.

Laci: [00:13:58] Yeah. And so, I’ve always worked in like restaurants and catering. I’ve worked in, like, I’ve been in catering coordinator. I was the hotel, food and beverage manager. I was a supervisor at Starbucks, so like, I’ve done all kinds of things in the food industry and, and it’s, really

kind of a sad, sad situation to have.

And it’s just, it’s one of those things where, you know, just it’s control, it’s your passion, but it’s also a thing that you can control. so, you know, I did a lot of things for a lot of years in the food industry and, never really figured out. Like maybe.

I ended up, I, and I guess this is where I can bring in some burnout stuff.

you know, a lot of years it, this is actually really surprising, but there’s, I think a lot of suicide, high suicide rates in like the chef department. a lot of people are perfectionism. Sorry. That’s going to need to be kind of, a lot of people are perfectionist. That’s a major trait of people with eating disorders.

and people would, if we really surprised at the people that can have eating disorders, doctors, you know, and it’s really surprising for chefs too, but, that there’s just such in, in the like restaurant, in the food world, there’s this like pride in. Like, I can run myself into the ground. I can do it all.

I can, go, go, go. And

I can win every time and I can, maintain this 100 and operating at 120% a lot. and it’s not sustainable. It’s not sustainable for your health, for your mind, for your body. and. You can just end up burning yourself out real bad. which I did a lot. I was really passionate about my jobs and invested a lot, and I would give and give 120%, and then let myself fall apart in various ways.

and when I fall apart is when that like, and when you’re stressed, is triggers for, those coping mechanisms to kick in. And for you to start searching for things that make you feel better. whatever, whatever will make you like,

be happier whenever it’s a searching, searching for the next thing.

so I had a lot of that, later, I left those jobs. I started working for Sean West, and, that is where I really have always, you know. Been supportive of Shawn West. I love John West. The job that I was doing when I initially started was just not meant for me, and it’s where my depression took like a major turn.

Sean: [00:16:54] You were, you were writing show notes, transcription for the podcast episodes

Laci: [00:16:59] In a room that didn’t have like much light

Sean: [00:17:02] you’re, you’re a people person,

Laci: [00:17:03] very much,

Sean: [00:17:04] you had left your recent job because of reasons, you know, you’re burned out there and you were home and you didn’t have to work cause I was working, but you, you wanted to do something to feel productive.

So. You’re like, I can, I can do this work.

Laci: [00:17:22] And you were hiring people and it was like, this is, this is a great opportunity to, for us to be in on a business together, you know?

Sean: [00:17:30] Well, the way I remember it is I said, take off time. You, you were even thinking like, I could teach yoga. I could. And I was like, do those things, read books, cook.

But you kind of felt guilty not working. And . So you’re like, Oh well I want to do this job. Cause then you’d feel a little better about not not doing something with your life so to speak. That’s, that’s what you had told me. And, and I knew you were not enjoying the show note writing and like we had arguments a lot of times because like I would, I would say just just quit.

Like, you don’t have to do this. I can find someone else to do this. You don’t need to be the person to do this. Like, this is. You, you don’t, you don’t owe the business anything. And so like sometimes I would threaten to fire you, like, I’m going to fire you, I’m going to fire you. But it was this, it was this weird, like I didn’t want to fire you because I didn’t want, I didn’t want your ego to take the hit, but I did want to fire you because you were miserable and you wouldn’t quit on your own.

And you were doing the 120% thing again in an area where like you, you were miserable.

Laci: [00:18:41] My ego was keeping me there for sure. so that that year it was, I think 2016 was when I was very, I was pretty severely depressed and I had no idea that that’s what it was.

I didn’t know that. It’s, you know, that depression means you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning when, when you just want to sleep a lot. Cause that’s, relief from emotional pain. that whole year I, Had a lot of thoughts, suicidal thoughts that, I never wanted to act on. And I also didn’t know that that was depression either.

I didn’t know that that is what it was. I was in emotional pain. I wasn’t fulfilled in life. I felt very, I w I had a purpose working for Sean West, but I didn’t like it. And it makes you feel purposeless, in when you’re in emotional pain, you’re, Your brain and you’re not like satisfied in a lot of areas of your life.

Your, your brain wants an out. And I always thought depression was something people chose until it happened to me.

Mmm. It’s definitely, definitely not a choice. it’s,

it’s like a monster. It sits on your shoulders and breathe down your neck, and it has its claws in you, and it’s really hard to fight.

Sean: [00:20:14] So this is 2016 you’re, you’re experiencing this

Laci: [00:20:19] I wasn’t choosing to have those thoughts. They just came. but I didn’t know how to fight them. And it gets you sucked in real deep.

Sean: [00:20:28] and meanwhile you’re thinking, Oh, all leading up to this depression is people just choose to be depressed. Like they can just, you know,

Laci: [00:20:37] be happy

Sean: [00:20:38] and be happy.

Laci: [00:20:39] Yeah. so it took me about a year before I told Sean it was having those thoughts and how much, like, it kind of just breeds, it’s like self-hatred

breeds into, you know, purposeless newness and self-hatred breeds just.

It just festers and it breeds, 

and so there was a lot of self hatred there too, because it was like, I have this cushy job. I work for my husband and I get to be at home. I get to be in my pajamas if I wanted to.

Sean: [00:21:10] well, so what’s wrong with me?

Laci: [00:21:12] It’s what’s wrong with me that I’m not happy,

Sean: [00:21:14] Like, I have all these things. I have all this freedom. I shouldn’t be depressed. So then you’re depressed even though you shouldn’t be.

Laci: [00:21:22] Yeah.

Sean: [00:21:23] That’s what you feel like.

Laci: [00:21:24] Yeah. and so things started looking up for me actually when we did the conference. the first year, which was 2016. So, that was very much my thing. I love planning things. I, I’m a people person. It was getting to, you know, the catering aspect. Like I was getting to create a space for people, to like.

Foster relationships, foster business ideas, foster, this really cool experience. so I put on both conferences 2016 to 2017, by myself. I mean, I had teams of people that I hired and stuff, but, I did a lot of the work myself, and that was very fulfilling for me. It felt like purpose. 

Sean: [00:22:10] so was most of 2016 depression, but then towards the end of the year when the conference was held, that was kind of a highlight for

Laci: [00:22:18] It was the highlight. Yeah. And then,

Sean: [00:22:20] it go, did it, did you go back into depression in 2017 

Laci: [00:22:25] no,

I actually pulled myself completely out of depression in 2017

Sean: [00:22:30] That was when you were kind of getting more into fitness and did the half marathon.

Laci: [00:22:34] Yeah, so I started. running is something that I’ve always kind of turned to as like, I don’t know as my exercise of choice, and I hadn’t been running, I like off and on.

I would run for like six months and then stop in six months, you know, or whatever. and to 2017, I was like, I’m going to. Run and I’m gonna like work on fitness and have it be sustainable and like something, I want it. I want to be one of those people that enjoys it. I want to be one of those people that does it every day, or, that, you know, strives for, that kind of thing.

And so that’s when I started running again. I started, doing weightlifting. I’m very, I did a lot of stuff, but, I ended up, my goal was to run a 10 K cause I’d only ever, ever run like a five K in the past. and I was like, yeah, this year I’m going to run a 10 K, you know, and I had started running and by may I had almost made it to the 10 K and I was like, this is too easy.

And so I decided to run a half marathon that year. so I trained for the half marathon. For about four months. I did the half marathon in November, so I trained and we did our conference and Sean had his book launch all in that like four months, and there was a lot of other stresses actually. that year, that year, my, my mom had some major health stuff and that stressed me out a lot.

And so there’s that. there is the training, there is the book launch at the conference. And I was like, at one point I was working like 1820 hour days and training for a half marathon. I’m trying to do all this stuff. And it

Sean: [00:24:11] People may not even know you. You were the one who inspired me to get into running. Like I did not exercise for virtually all of my twenties I’m 31 now. You’ll turn 30 early next year. So I mean, I was just working, working, working, working, but it’s like that thing. How do you, how do you get. Your significant other to go to the gym.

Well, you don’t just tell them or mentioned that, you know, they look fat in that dress. Like the best way is to lead by example. And that’s exactly what Laci did. She, every day, you know, I’m, I’m in here working and everyday she’s got her workout clothes on and going and doing her thing. And so it was a little bit lagged.

But that’s, that’s what got me. And now I’ve, I’ve. You know, closed my Apple watch rings for 475 days in a row. And that was originally inspired by you back when you’re doing the half marathon.

Laci: [00:25:14] Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s awesome. something else I did, I was building on a lot of habits. We did. An episode about micro habits and how, you know, some, something that even like helped me pull out a depression was, you know, exercising, running, even things as small as like, you know, I want to be a person who flosses every day, you know, and I started flossing.

Sean: [00:25:39] And we, we did an episode, I don’t remember, you’ll have to look in the backlog, but it was from micro habits to running a half marathon.

Laci: [00:25:48] Yeah. so bill built a lot of healthy habits that year,

Sean: [00:25:52] And, you know, I think this would have also been the year that we. I might’ve eventually put my foot down. I can’t remember.

And just said, no, no more show notes.

Laci: [00:26:02] Yes. I, after the conference, I didn’t do shit. Yeah.

Sean: [00:26:06] So at least you had that kind of heavyweight removed from you as well, and not, you weren’t doing something that you hated every day. Correct.

Laci: [00:26:14] so, you know, I’d always like, I had been working out pretty hard. I still, excuse me. I still, you know, I was working and working super hard, working out super hard all that year, did the conference, and then when it was kind of like. We’re not going to do a conference next year in 2018 there was some purposelessness there that kind of came creeping in.

and then as far as like exercise and stuff, I kept kept running and I got to where I was like, you know, I was still running like five or six miles, multiple times a week. And then I was still, I was still doing high intensity interval training from the half marathon training. cause it was kinda like.

Sean: [00:26:59] the heart, you know,

which if I can interject real quick, in, in the episode I recorded four 56, I talked about these different forms of eating disorders, which I had not, I had not familiarized myself with until this whole incident.

You know, I knew about. Bulimia and anorexia, kind of the more stereotypical eating disorders. Someone who’s really thin, someone who throws up, I didn’t really know. There’s this whole spectrum that included things like, you know, things you might expect like binge eating, but then things you don’t really expect.

Like compulsive exercise is actually on the list there for eating disorders. So some people have. You know, one particular one that they stick to others kind of might bounce between where they’re overeating. They’re under-eating there, they’re dieting, they’re cutting out entire food groups, they’re exercising compulsively, get really irritable if they, if they can’t exercise.

and so looking back now, it’s like, it’s a little more apparent to me that these different things, cause I know in the past you’ve. You’ve done the overeating thing this year, you did the under eating thing, but then you also kind of had, I mean, we can say, well, I was training for a half marathon, but there was kind of a compulsive exercise a season

Laci: [00:28:28] For sure. I was, I was under eating for the, the half marathon too. I mean, that was, I did a lot of damage during that time too. you know, being obsessive about what you eat, you know, cutting out whole food groups, cutting out different things, not eating, you know, like eating clean, you know, that’s a big thing right now.

The wellness.

World is exploding with everything that you should be doing. and how, you know, veganism, gluten free if you’re not like celiac, like there’s all kinds of things you can get really obsessive about. and I have, you know, like, I can’t judge anybody cause I’ve, you know, been obsessive about all of it.

But, so, 

Sean: [00:29:11] 2018,

Laci: [00:29:13] I said, I’m going to fix my food problem. I fixed the exercise part. and so I was like, I’m going to challenge myself. And I did a whole 30,

Sean: [00:29:23] What does a whole 30?

Laci: [00:29:25] that I don’t even want to get into. 

Sean: [00:29:29] well, you have to describe what it

Laci: [00:29:30] okay. You cut out a lot of things. You, it’s like no grains, no dairy. No. 

It’s all whole foods. no grains, no dairy, no anything processed.

No. I’m blinking. There’s a lot of nos.

Sean: [00:29:46] Okay, so

Laci: [00:29:47] No sugar.

Sean: [00:29:48] no sugar, no processed

Laci: [00:29:50] no. No sulfates. No. I mean it like you have to check every ingredient. You can’t, there’s barely anything out of a package you could ever get.

Sean: [00:29:59] So some people are like, yeah, yeah, totally. No, and they’ve done all the diet things, and then there’s people like me who I don’t know anything about the dieting world, and so I hear no processed foods, no sugar, eat whole foods. Sounds like, you know, just from a layman, that sounds like that’s probably a good thing, you know, eat healthier.

Laci: [00:30:20] Yeah. It sounds like a good thing. And actually the owner of the, the, the founder of the whole 30 actually says, if you have an eating disorder, don’t do it.

It will feed into. More, 

Sean: [00:30:31] but you didn’t know.

Laci: [00:30:32] behaviors. I didn’t know. so I 

Sean: [00:30:34] end up being a problem?

Laci: [00:30:36] it did because I didn’t do the whole 30. Right. I messed up my hormones a lot. I wasn’t eating enough fat. Like I was afraid of fat for awhile, you know, and I was like, they want you to eat all these avocados, you know, or whatever. So I didn’t, I messed up my hormones a lot.

And you get, on top of that, like you feel like you have the flu for like at least two weeks out of the four, because, you’re only getting car, like, it’s not carb lists, but like, you’re only getting carbs from like fruits and vegetables. You’re not getting carbs from other sources. And, Your body actually runs on carbs.

So, for the most part in your brain runs on carbs. So you really, you end up getting what’s called the keto flu, which is like where your body’s not used to having carbs, and it starts switching from running on carbs to running on fat and protein. and a lot of people feel super awesome at the end, and.

I kinda did. And so I started doing different other things, like it morphed into paleo type stuff and et cetera. And I don’t even want to talk about like specifics, on food stuff. But basically, it was just different versions of obsessions around food. I’m cutting out whole food groups, cutting out all kinds of stuff.

and that was, and it was like, well, you know, having less dairy makes me feel better, blah, blah, blah. So.

Sean: [00:31:54] this in context, I think even one of the eating disorders listed in the research that I did is like this clean eating,

cutting out food groups. And so yet again, we’ve got another. Instance here all along, I had no idea about this. You had no idea about this, but so far we’re looking back, we’re seeing like at least four versions of eating disorder behavior.

Laci: [00:32:18] all while like exercising really hard still. I’m like, I would still, I would still do, like,

I remember doing high intensity intervals and stuff and you really aren’t supposed to do high intensity intervals, more than 15 or 20 minutes a day. And I was, I was doing 20 minutes a day and going harder and faster, and I was lifting weights and stuff.

I liked it. Like, I mean, I felt good. I felt like, I mean, I got in shape is what it felt like. okay, so. last summer or so.

Sean: [00:32:50] this is still 2018 summer?

Laci: [00:32:52] Is when I started getting, like, I basically was burning out on like, following all these food roles. it’s a lot of rules. You create a lot of roles for yourself and you’re probably missing a lot of key components of food that you need.

And, I hadn’t touched a carb and several months, and I like cookie dough sounded really, really appetizing. and so I went on, you know, kind of like a, just several months of. Almost like a refeed process of anything you hadn’t eaten in several months, and it feels pretty miserable for a little while.

And I got really depressed again.

Sean: [00:33:32] Is this like, is this binge eating or something else?

Laci: [00:33:36] No, it’s more just like eating all the things you haven’t had re-integrating food groups and, it,

you know, re-integrating process, food, re-integrating, whatever. And it’s just.

Not sustainable. It is. It’s like, I dunno, I don’t know how to put it. Like,

you know, like eating like normal person again, I guess, but when you’ve been eating so obsessively in a certain way, like it’s kind of miserable for awhile.

so then, last year ended up being like. That was last summer. I kind of pulled myself out as some of that. you know, kinda like isolated myself during that period of time, just because it was like, I don’t know, I wasn’t. I just wasn’t in a good mental place again, and it was like, ah, I was supposed to fix my food problem or whatever.

and then, in like August, September, there is just some major emotional stress that I went through. I lost a really close friend of mine and, it sent me on a hardcore. Spiral of depression, worse than I’d ever experienced. so

October and so during all of this time, you know, like, and, and I don’t want to talk about numbers.

I don’t want to talk about, you know, we are going to talk about having to talk about some weight stuff here, and I don’t want to like trigger anybody. I don’t want. Like, you know, any, any of that stuff to hinder us. But I had just been losing a lot of weight. you know, beginning of last year, I was, I was perfectly fine.

and then I, I even, I, even people who had seen me last summer, had said like, you know, like, Oh, you look great that, you know, whatever, which, you know, all those kinds of comments feed into stuff. But, 

Sean: [00:35:26] it was at its worst. We’ve, we’ve since shown some friends photos of that time and they’re like, who? Who is that?

Laci: [00:35:35] Yeah. So this was October.

and I had completely numbed out, like emotionally. and in that process I was eating very little. 

Sean: [00:35:44] But just, just to be clear, October is kind of when it started, you didn’t look any different physically. But emotionally you were struggling and then like the worst of it was probably in, in February, and that’s when you were pretty much unrecognizable.

Laci: [00:36:01] Yeah. So October is when it started. Emotionally. I was, I was, in pretty rough shape. I was, I mean, it was pretty bad. Then in October, physically, I mean, I have pictures from, from October, and it was pretty bad, and so people saw me at, Yeah. At the holidays and were concerned, but I didn’t, it didn’t like register.

I was kind of like, this is it now. Like I had just kind of numbed out emotionally and wasn’t eating very much and, 

thought like, I mean, it just fed into eating disorder behaviors. then in January, February, I mean, I had an intervention in January at the end of January. I, I was unrecognizable and I even like recently ran across a video, from that time, and I don’t even recognize that person.

and so,

it was a lot of emotional turmoil, during all those

Sean: [00:36:56] this is how, this is how you knew to cope with emotional trauma,

Laci: [00:37:01] the emotional trauma. It’s exactly it, it fed into that, it fed into the, like

just the compulsive behavior. 

so then, it, yeah, part of it was choices, like on my part where I had kind of chosen, I then. It turned into more physical thing.

So then it was like, I didn’t feel like eating very much. I didn’t feel like it.

Sean: [00:37:27] and the less you ate, the less you felt like

Laci: [00:37:29] in the like, I just wasn’t hungry and stuff and I didn’t have any kind of appetite and it just, it kept getting worse. And then, then I got busy too, and I was, I kind of like went back to that like. You know, clean eating stuff where it’s like, Oh, you know, like I did in, I did the whole 30 and January last year.

It was kind of like, you know, I’ll, I’ll make sure they want to eat it’s clean or whatever. And that just perpetuated it. That made it worse. around this time I was also working. so I was on my feet a lot. It was working at least like 30 hours a week. and I was on my feet a lot. So, and, and still doing like.

Little high-intensity things. I was still trying to work out, even though like I was barely existing. I don’t know how I did any of that, but, 

Sean: [00:38:21] you’re probably, you’re probably what walking like five miles a day, just.

At work,

Laci: [00:38:28] Like you, you’re burning a lot of energy. and it, you know, and during all this time, it’s like really busy at Starbucks. It was like really stressful days and stuff. but. I, 

Sean: [00:38:41] does it, does it hit like a a bottom at some point?

Laci: [00:38:45] yeah. So, I mean I had an intervention, then, I picked up and fungal infection. So is sounds just as fun is just as fun as it sounds. it was a mouth infection where I had like sores. you know, like when you get canker sores. Yeah. Like that except all over your tongue, all over your entire mouth and down your throat.

so that made things even worse and my immune system was down. couldn’t fight it. it’s like a, it’s like having a yeast infection, like in your mouth. 

Sean: [00:39:18] and maybe normally like, you know, people can get stuff like that, but if they were healthy, their body might be able to fight things off like that, that you never even knew would have been a

Laci: [00:39:29] Right? If you’re a malnourished, you can’t. and so I ended up going to my doctor then. and I had to do around of like a three day round of some medication. And when you’re malnourished, even medication, like hitting your system is pretty rough on you. So I did the first round and then I had to do a second round.

And so it was like two months straight of having this medication in my system and struggling so hard and the medication made me mean. My ears ring. There’s just so much stuff.

Sean: [00:40:02] So at this point you’re like, your Mel nourish, your immune system is shot. You have this infection, you’re on medication, but you’re also extremely thin, the thinnest you’ve ever been in your life. And there’s this combination of like medication affecting you strangely. And, but then also cognitively, when you starve yourself, you starve your brain.

you ha. How do you look back on like early 2019. Cause like to me, you were, you were just gone. Like you, you couldn’t hear anything I said like when I would say things slowly, like does it feel like a blackout or like does, what was your experience when you look back? Like, but the culmination of everything happening early in 2019 I had,

Laci: [00:40:54] I don’t know how it’s functioning.

Functioning, I had, 

a lot of brain fog, which like, and I won’t even tell you some of the scary stuff, like,

you have a lot of brain fog because, your brain has been starved. Your brain doesn’t have enough fuel to function or run on. essentially, I mean, the best way I’ve explained it to some people is like, When you have an operation and you’re put under, you,

it’s a little bit like that. you’re, you’re kept alive by machines. like anesthesia. You’re, you’re essentially, you’re being kept alive by machines, but your body thinks that. You’re dying. So let’s go of resources that it doesn’t need. So you’re really cold a lot.

You’re, you don’t have enough circulation to your feet and your hands. 

Sean: [00:41:47] stuff wasn’t healing on your body.

Laci: [00:41:49] I had, I had a lot of wounds that wouldn’t heal. I had, I had a staph infection on my nose that didn’t go away for six months. so wound healing, your hair falls out. your body just doesn’t have what it needs to. Fight itself, to fight anything and to be able to repair and heal itself.

Sean: [00:42:08] so you’re just down and then you’re beaten while you’re down. Right. So,

Laci: [00:42:12] from my understanding, and I’m not a scientist, I don’t know everything. I’m just from what I have heard and the research I’ve done and like the, some things that I knew about in the past when I’d counted macros and every, everything, your body burns through carbs and then fat, and then protein.

And so, like I said, about the whole 30, like there’s a transition where your body can start burning through burning fat and protein when you don’t have enough carbs or whatever. and so I had, when your body, when you’re not eating enough, your body burns through all of those things from your food. But when the food’s not there, your body starts eating away at itself.

So you burn through. Carbs, which your brain runs on carbs, you burn through fat. so I didn’t have any body fat, and then you start burning through muscle and I burned through all my muscle. and so anytime I have talked to nurses or doctor friends or anybody, when I say like, like for awhile it was like, you know, I have this thing and you know, I needed some advice.

Everyone says, how’s your heart? Is your heart okay? And I never, I didn’t understand why, but your heart’s a muscle and your body will literally eat away at all of its muscle to survive is trying to keep you alive. so your, my body had eaten away at, a lot of stuff, and your heart can stop when the muscles of your heart started deteriorating.

so I, my, my brain was starved too. And so there’s a lot of brain fog. When I had gone to my doctor for, you know, the medication, there’s, there’s a whole thing with the doctor there too. But, she had just said a lack of caloric intake, is where brain fog comes from, 

Sean: [00:43:53] so, so just kind of.

Going from February to March. March is when I took off work and made it my full time job to get you to eat, like keeping a spreadsheet and stuff. And you, you weren’t a big fan of that. Like you, you didn’t want to eat, but,

Laci: [00:44:13] want to, and it was very hard too because, I also didn’t realize this, but my stomach had shrunk a lot, so literally eating a banana would hurt my stomach. and so we had, yeah, Sean started keeping track. I vaguely remember trying to help keep track.

and I didn’t want to, and I just kind of like. It was hard to, and I was still mad. I was still, the eating disorder, still had a hold of me. And, my best friend and I, the way she puts it is she’s like, and, and how we talk about it at the place, at the facility and stuff is like an eating disorder.

Is this like other persona? It’s like this other thing and it tries to take over your brain. and that’s what it is. It’s like. Something took over Lacy and just trying to convince her of

bad things. so I mean I get, there’s a lot I could talk about Apollo at this stuff, but

Sean: [00:45:11] we’ll talk about the process of refeeding.

Laci: [00:45:14] yeah, so that was, it was pretty painful. I’ve had to repeat essentially multiple times. is pretty painful cause

You have to stress your stomach. Mmm.

You feel super. I felt super out of it. I felt really, I felt like I was going to pass out a lot from when I wasn’t eating. you know,

I would shake a lot, there just so you don’t, when you’re kind of in that state, you don’t have hunger cues for a long time.

So my, like, my body wouldn’t tell me when I get hungry.

Sean: [00:45:53] we’re just going off of the clock. Like time to eat, time to eat, time to eat.

Laci: [00:45:58] Yeah. Timers and stuff. 

Sean: [00:46:00] I did that for six months. Yeah.

Laci: [00:46:03] So

it would be like. You know, and I asked a lot of people advice too. You know, I asked like, people who are pregnant and stuff we like, needed to gain weight or need, you know, cause I was, I was so severely malnourished, I had to, I like it.

It was really important to gain weight. Like that was a big deal. So, it was. I’m trying to think, you know, a lot of people say like carbs and protein. You know, I asked like fitness people to, you know, cause it was like, I want your advice like, well, what kind of weight are you wanting to gain? You know?

But it’s like focus on carbs and protein, like all these things, you know, everyone has their own advice for whatever. I was just trying to eat, it didn’t matter what it was, I was just trying to eat.

Sean: [00:46:46] but it, it kinda, it got to a point where, yeah, mentally during all this time, I know it’s hard for you to. Talk is not, it’s not difficult. It’s, what am I trying to say?

It’s not like it’s hard for you to talk about it. Like you don’t want to, it’s a, it’s more like, it’s impossible for you to talk about yourself from the third person cognitively.

So like during these six months, say from March to August where like I’m keeping a spreadsheet, like tracking the calories, like setting the timers and like.

Eating with you, making it my full time job to help you eat during this time. that, that was like the period where your cognitive abilities were just completely shot. Like, and I’m not exaggerating when I say you, this is for the listeners. Like Lacy was not able to speak a single full sentence all day, like four months.

That’s what we’re talking about. I would say something, she’d have no idea what I said. She couldn’t tell me the most recent thing I just said, like cognitively it was, it was really scary and I, you know, I’m like, I’m afraid, like, is this, is this ever going to come back? Even if we do all the right things?

And that’s why at the top of this episode, I was just sharing how overjoyed I am at. Being able to sit here and have a conversation with you on a podcast, like you’re representing yourself so well articulating everything so well. Like clearly you’re still there. And I know in, in just the past week, kind of jumping forward to the future for a second, one of your therapists had said that your IQ doesn’t change when your cognitive abilities go away.

So you were really encouraged to hear that.

Laci: [00:48:37] Yeah. it’s very, it’s, it was very frustrating. I have a lot of memory loss from that time. which, and it’s so hard because depression and anxiety in the eating disorder, they’re all very intertwined. and there’s a lot of things within depression that, We’re, you know, that are affected any way.

And then when you are not eating, you know, the cognition and the, your, your actual gray matter, your brain doesn’t have what it needs to, to function. so I was March. I remember I still wasn’t taking things like super seriously. I remember my 29th birthday and kind of just being glad I made it. April was when I thought like, I need to get my rear ending gear.

And

Sean: [00:49:32] You started being a little more cooperative with the eating. It was less like feeding.

Laci: [00:49:37] yeah. I, so, and what I was going to say to you about like the hunger stuff, like, I like, since I wasn’t, I wasn’t getting hungry. It, it was like I would shake and like your blood, my blood sugar would drop cause I didn’t have, like my body was burning through at all. Like I couldn’t, I, I would get hungry in the sense of like shaking as opposed to actually, 

feeling like a stomach growl or anything.

So I felt like I was going to pass out a lot cause your body’s burning through stuff. So, yeah, I was more cooperative. I was

ready. I was invested at that point where I was like, I have to get better. cause I, it felt like those six months from October to April, I missed out on my life. I wasn’t functioning.

I was.

I felt incoherent, you know, like he said, he, I couldn’t speak a lot of times. I, I just remember I felt like I was hanging by a thread to my cognitive abilities. I remember being terrified. I just remember being scared and like, no one could help me.

I. Was

extremely close to death. 

and.

it’s essentially like if you were to drop yourself in the wilderness and try to survive

with nothing, like that’s essentially what I had done.

And I was scared for my own life, but I couldn’t know. I didn’t know how to communicate it. Yeah. Like I just couldn’t communicate it.

Sean: [00:51:28] here so. Some of your friends at this point, you’re, you’re working. You were driving,

which, which was concerning. like friends would be in the car with you.

And it’s not like, you know, we all miss something or we’re, we’re changing the air conditioning or looking down at the wrong moment, you know? But. It wasn’t like that. It was like an overwhelming number of very scary things. Like you weren’t able to,

Laci: [00:51:59] pay attention.

Sean: [00:52:00] your response time was

like four seconds, four for anything.

For like someone talking to you, a car driving past you, like you would completely not see an entire thing that just happened where like six other cars are having to drive defensively. To avoid a situation that you’d cause, you’d have no idea. And so you know, people around you started being concerned about that.

And it’s like, this is, this is a serious situation. All of your energy and focus needs to be on recovery. So there was kind of like a little mini second intervention that was, I guess there were maybe a few more because one was. Me and some of your friends saying, we think that you should, we think w we should pull you off the road, like no driving right now.

And the other one was like, we think you need to, quit your job and just focus on recovery.

Laci: [00:53:07] Yeah. I was pretty upset to have to do that, but it, I mean, it was serious. I trusted the people around me to know how, how much I needed to be taken care of. I needed to be able to focus on getting better and on health.

Sean: [00:53:26] And it was, it was actually like progressing steadily.

You went on a trip with your mom, which like for the first time that year I felt okay with I, you know, mainly spending like. All hours of the day with you. Like it was to the point where things were stable enough that I felt okay with you going on a trip with your mom for a couple of weeks and you came back and things seemed pretty good.

we ended up going to Hawaii on vacation and, you know, you’re still struggling. There’s still struggles with food and stuff and, you know, emotions and anxiety and depression. But like, you know, we, we were still able to go.

But things, things for some reason took like a really bad turn in September.

Laci: [00:54:14] Yeah. So I did want to mention, July, I remember I went to the doctor for a followup, the first week in July, and I was still a little bit under weight.

Like, that’s how. Long, it takes it in it. Nobody wants to talk about somebody who needs to gain weight. Everybody in the world wants to talk about the other. 

and, it’s extremely difficult to do. and it is not fun. And, it, it’s out of pure, like survival. And so there’s. You know, like I’m a strong believer in beautiful food and beautiful things and beautiful.

there’s a lot of beauty in food as a chef

Sean: [00:54:54] and this couldn’t be about beauty.

Laci: [00:54:56] no, this is, like when I talked to Sean’s aunt one time, she was like, you gotta eat ugly. like, just, you know, it. I couldn’t even remember my own recipes. I’m still struggling to remember the recipes I’ve made a hundred times, or a thousand

Sean: [00:55:15] still still regaining w way, even in July. into August. What, what do you think happened in September that caused things to take such a turn for the worse?

Laci: [00:55:27] It was a realization of, well, one, I’m a very determined person and I’m not very patient. I will admit that right now. I kept telling myself, nobody takes this long. Nobody needs this long to recover. Nobody needs this long.

I’m better. Like, I just need to get better. in things, you know, Rome was built in a day and things take a lot of time. And when it felt like,

like the depression hit pretty hard again, I, 

I realized. How this entire year I felt like I missed this entire year and I was having, panic attacks about it.

So, I, I felt like I felt again, like

I was scared for my life. I don’t, and I didn’t know how to undo this whole year. I felt like I needed to fix it all and I was so overwhelmed by it and didn’t know how to communicate that stuff again. And my brain was wanting an out again. So, 

Sean: [00:56:30] this is, this is where, just for context for people, when I say things took a turn for the worst in September, Where I had mentioned in the episode four 56, like six to eight hours a day of

Laci: [00:56:43] almost catatonic,

Sean: [00:56:45] stream of consciousness,

Laci: [00:56:47] panic attacks, like incoherent.

Sean: [00:56:50] stuff, you know, OCD behaviors, like, you know, twitching and, and, and like suicidal ideation. Like to the point where I was afraid to even go to the bathroom. Like.

Laci: [00:57:04] he’s afraid to leave me alone

Sean: [00:57:06] for even a moment because of the things that you, you had said and like what was going on like it was, it was scary.

Yeah. 

Laci: [00:57:16] I was scared. And that’s the only, it’s almost like, you know, I kept my feelings down for a very long time and all this happened and then I wasn’t able to communicate that I was scared for my life now, like by September, it got to this point where it’s like my psyche, my subconscious was getting stuff out for me to save my life.

Sean: [00:57:42] But it was, it was incoherent like I sat down. Cause like when it’s happening for six or more hours a day, like you got nothing better to do. Like sometimes I would just sit and I would just transcribe verbatim everything you were saying.

Laci: [00:57:56] 30 seconds between sentences and,

Sean: [00:57:58] Well there was that. So like, you know. Difficulty speaking, but then what you, what you were able to speak was completely incoherent.

Like when you read the transcript of like what I, what I wrote that you were saying like it didn’t make any actual sense, but it’s coupled with like self-harm. Like you were hitting yourself. You were choking yourself. You were like. Hitting things, throwing things, breaking glass, things, talking about knives and guns and like, that is why I was scared.

And, and, so that, that was like, this had kind of started like going back down like another downward spiral in September, which, Hm. My best estimation is by September. Your, your cognitive abilities had gotten a lot better, I think, to the point to be able to realize what you’d done to yourself.

And then that started this next downward spiral into October.

And that’s when we started seeking help. And like, you know, we were trying to get treatment where you can go somewhere and it’s like, okay, you know, we’ll, we’ll schedule the assessment. And I’m like, man, you don’t know how long 24 hours is here. It’s like, okay, we have an assessment tomorrow. We need to survive another 24 hours.

Like minute to minute. We make it to the assessment. Okay. We’ll let you know. Okay. You’ll start on Monday. Okay. Billing department. We’ll get back to you. And it’s just like you’re on the edge of your seat.

Laci: [00:59:34] On thin ice. Yeah. I, I was very frustrated, like

very upset and that’s the form that it took is, 

Sean: [00:59:45] What were you frustrated or upset about

Laci: [00:59:48] the last year and that I wasn’t

Sean: [00:59:50] with yourself?

Laci: [00:59:51] better. Yeah. Yeah. Very frustrated in did, I didn’t know how to dig myself out. Of this whole, and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. I wanted to make sure I was doing it right.

Sean: [01:00:03] So they, they, diagnosed you then with an anxious depression

Laci: [01:00:07] yeah. and, and that I could have some kind of panic disorder. I mean a little bit later they said I could have some kind of bank disorder cause I was having, I mean, hours a day of panic attacks. and so something I did learn and something that might help other people is that anxiety attacks build over time.

Panic attacks happen suddenly. so I don’t really know what was panic attacks and what we’re anxiety attacks because it was all the same. Like something could trigger panic very easily, but I was already so anxious and already IX, you know, I’ve had so much anxiety that has built up.

Over the last year that, and I already struggled with things at eight.

I had panic attacks when I was a kid and stuff. or when I was a teenager, I remember having a couple, but, so I’ve had some version of something like that, but this was

like full balloon panic constantly. And it’s like your heart’s racing. You’re, you’re sending yourself into. Shock every second of every day.

and I just, I needed help cause I, I couldn’t, I was operating at such a high level of anxiety all the time that even just the tiniest stuff, like I wasn’t functioning at all.

Sean: [01:01:24] I want some, some people have a bast are mentioned and I don’t want to like talk about. Eggs, you know, which kinds or dosages or whatever. But, they did put you on some medication pretty quickly once you were admitted, and that was just lifesaving. Absolutely lifesaving, just incredible. And like I’m, I’m the type of person, I don’t even take an Advil for a headache.

Like I never take anything for anything. I’m not against medication. I just. I just never have. And I’ve been okay. I’ve been fortunate. so if anything, there might be a tendency to be like, you know, let’s just figure it out, you know? Because for me, I’ve been okay without medication, you know? But man, let me tell you like it w it was literally saving.

Laci: [01:02:17] It helped within a couple of days. They brought the panic down to maybe two hours a day, one or two hours a day.

Sean: [01:02:24] So there’s, there’s, you know, con combinations for different things and, you know, they adjust the amount and stuff, and we don’t need to go into that because that’s subjective for different people. But, I D I did just want to say that was a very positive thing. And so I would just say some people have stigmas about medication and, and I would just say, Hey, look.

Be open to different combinations of solutions. I mean, the, at the treatment center, you’re going to, there’s all like, it’s, it’s CBT, it’s DBT, it’s art therapy, it’s gardening therapy, it’s animal therapy, it’s talk therapy. It’s,

like, it’s so much, right? There’s, there’s so many tools and specialists who that can help these types of situations and.

You don’t want to try and do this alone. Like don’t be afraid to get professional help. Go with their recommendations, try things out. In our case, it was just absolutely lifesaving.

Laci: [01:03:32] It helped a lot. It helped immediately. 

Sean: [01:03:35] what was your, Oh, sorry. I was going to say, what was your experience at the center like?

Laci: [01:03:40] yeah, so, well, and so what I was gonna say about the, the medication is it helps balance out your brain chemistry and obviously something was wrong. and still is.

Sean: [01:03:50] And on that note, like one of the things you, you know, your stigma and like, we’re trying to battle stigmas here, cause like, people don’t talk about eating disorders, you know, and you gotta you have to shed light on this stuff.

One of your stigmas is just this idea of like being on medication like you didn’t like the idea of I don’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life. This like what they talk about in cognitive behavioral therapy, all or nothing. Thinking like, I don’t want to be on meds for the rest of my life.

Well, that’s just all or nothing thinking, right? Maybe right now there is a chemical imbalance and sorting that out. What, and in your case was. What enabled you to even do the work of learning the coping skills? Because until that, that chemical imbalance was addressed, you couldn’t even do the work you needed to do there.

That would help you. So it’s like, don’t just, this is just for the people with stigmas. Don’t think like, Oh, you know, this means I’m going to be on meds for the rest of my life. It might just be something that helps you right now so you can do the work you need to be able to recover.

Laci: [01:04:59] The way I’ve heard it explained, my best friend explained it this way, that it acts as a tourniquet.

It stops the bleeding so you can address the wound. And it for that, for me, that was exactly the case. I was also concerned that it would know me out or that I wouldn’t have feelings, and then I couldn’t address the, the wound, the trauma. so

yeah, so like, I, you know, responded to trauma in this way, and then I just traumatized myself a bunch.

And it’s, I desperately needed something to help, like take the edge off of some of that pain, because the emotional pain was too much to handle. 

and I’m a very strong person, so it, it feels like weakness. but just to know that you need help and you can ask for help, 

Sean: [01:05:54] you ended up at this, at this place full time, seven days a week for a little over a month. What was that? What was this experience like?

Laci: [01:06:02] So the first two weeks I was on a mood and anxiety track. they have an eating disorder track and Mooney and anxiety track.

Sean: [01:06:09] This was at their, at, as a result of their assessment, you. You weren’t like actively starving yourself or bingeing or anything like that.

And so they wanted to address, so they, they put you on the mood and anxiety track even though they have also a dedicated eating disorder track, which is maybe like a little more immediate, whereas in your case, like we had kind of done like some of the refeeding for some months before you went in.

Laci: [01:06:38] So I, I was on this mood and anxiety track and I was still having a lot of panic and I was asking a lot of questions about.

Because I want to know I’ve been doing this right, like, or not like what I need to do differently. It’s like this is common. This is what we see. This is, you know, I wanted to know that some of the things I was experiencing cause physical stuff was still pretty rough. I mean, sometimes it was like, I felt like I was going to pass out so and so.

I needed extra support around the food stuff. but I wasn’t getting it and it was a little bit, you know. We can talk about the trauma quite as much as in the eating disorder track. So we, you know, we were able to talk about things and learn a lot of things, but like sharing specifics wasn’t like super, I dunno, encouraged,

Sean: [01:07:30] So in some of the, some of your therapy sessions, you would have them call me and I was on the phone and I, and through that I was able to kind of prompt you on certain topics and I prompted you on one of those things. And I think they hadn’t, they hadn’t quite realized it. And so your answer caused them to say, yeah, I think you should be.

On the, the actual dedicated eating disorder track for some weeks. And so he ended up switching the tracks. and so, you know, it’s a little bit different. There’s like a nine to five, there’s an eight to six. You were at like a sleep at the place full time. You know, you’re locked in there kind of a thing.

you would come home and sleep at night, but, at this point you’re having three meals a day. They’re snacks group therapy. So what was that experience like?

Laci: [01:08:24] it was, it was good. I was scared because. I wanted some answers on the way I was feeling a lot, and we, I was able to learn a lot about the eating disorder itself. And

Sean: [01:08:38] you have this binder with just, it was like school.

Laci: [01:08:42] yeah, it’s like, it was like going to school or camp or something, like just learning a lot. and so we found out a lot of things. So like. learn that three to six months after, like even restoring to a normal weight or a healthy weight. there’s a hypermetabolic period, which we don’t have to like go super into, basically,

it’s just your metabolism is going crazy and it kicks in.

And then like the nurse at the place would asked me, she’s like, about your metabolism is kicking. And I was like, yes, it’s driving me insane. I mean, just literally, you know. It would be like I would eat a normal, you know, not a normal, but like a Hardy breakfast, and I would stand up, walk down the hall and be exhausted and hungry.

Sean: [01:09:27] You would say like, eating makes me hungry. You’d be halfway through a meal and you’re like, I’m hungry.

Laci: [01:09:33] so it was, it’s rough. I’m three feet on that, on that aspect is, is rough. It was, it’s, it’s basically like your, your body and your brain and stuff like is like I’m getting nutrients and I need more nutrients. Like, and also it takes more nutrients. It takes more to like, at some point it, it takes more to gain weight and it takes more nutritional stuff.

Sean: [01:10:02] Yeah. Like, You, you would think like, Oh, 3,500 calories is a pound, or whatever, you know, rule of thumb. And so if you eat that much over, enough, then you’re going to gain this many pounds. But it’s, it’s not linear like that. Like as you go, you actually need to increase the caloric intake to be able to gain the same amount of weight.

So it’s kinda complicated,

Laci: [01:10:25] It’s very complicating. That’s why it was like, I need professionals in on this because I’m at . This was.

First week in November or so, and I had been in, you know, July, I was still considered underweight, so it really hasn’t been that long. I could technically still be considered underweight.

I could technically still be actively in the eating disorder as recently as July. and so from. You know, I’m at this point where I’m, they told me that it’s actually pretty risky to have done what we did on our own, and that,

you know, without much guidance and without like professionals and doctors and stuff.

I had a

Sean: [01:11:09] because of that, that they said that whole, like. You have to increase the caloric intake. Like if you, if you don’t know that and you do it on your own and you’re not eating enough, then you stay in that starved state and like, that’s, that’s not good.

And so they, they were actually really surprised that we were able to do it.

Laci: [01:11:31] Well. And you also think like, Oh, you reached a goal, or you reached a certain way, or you reached where you were before or you reached just the bare minimum healthy weight.

Okay. Time to reduce the calories or like plateau or whatever. But that’s not how it works. I’ve even. Oh, I’ve done a lot of research. and I’ve heard that, you know, I mean, it’s going to sound crazy. I’ve even heard upwards of like 9,000 stuff, that it’s just crazy town. It’s no small feat. And it is. No, I don’t know how to put it.

It

Sean: [01:12:06] hard to do when your stomach is small.

Laci: [01:12:08] hard to do in your stomach. Small. It’s hard to do. when you’re angry, it’s hard to do when you don’t have guidance because you can do it all wrong and you could do damage.

Sean: [01:12:19] knew, you know so much about all this food stuff.

Laci: [01:12:22] I do, I mean, but I forgot a lot of it. I mean, if you think about like my cognitive abilities in the last year, like. Honestly, I’ve done a lot of, I learned a lot of coping skills and I learned a lot of stuff that I’ve had to completely relearn. Like I said, I can’t always remember my, 

own recipes, you know, sometimes.

So how I, I’ve just had to realize I can’t expect myself, I don’t know everything. And I had to admit, I don’t know everything because some of the stuff that I was experiencing and how, and I’m still experiencing is like.

I don’t like, I can’t explain it. but other people can’t. The professionals can. And so there’s a lot of stuff around wait and set point theory and things like that.

A point where your body is kind of happy and, and your body’s not in starvation state. Your mind’s not going to be, Oh, that was the thing that drove me crazy too, is when you starve yourself like. Your brain is on food a lot.

Sean: [01:13:25] Your, your brain is on food.

Laci: [01:13:27] your brain is thinking about food a lot, and there’s this desire to eat a lot.

at least for me, that’s not for everybody. For me, it was just like, eat as much as you can when you can because it, it was so severe. 

Sean: [01:13:43] so let’s,

Laci: [01:13:44] and I was scared.

Sean: [01:13:45] stay in like. November time period. What is it like at the facility?

You’re there for a month before you stepped down to outpatient?

Laci: [01:13:54] Right. So, there, you know, I meet with dieticians, we have group therapies, we have, you know, dedicated meal times, dedicated snack times.

and it’s all about talking about your feelings. so you can talk about your trauma. You can talk about. How the food makes you feel and how you feel around meal times too, which was a big thing. Sean is tired of hearing of it cause I was like, this makes me feel a certain way, you know? And like,

Sean: [01:14:19] to be fair, I didn’t say that you’re perceiving that. I think I was pretty patient.

Laci: [01:14:24] You are very, very, very patient. But, so it’s very much encouraged for you to, to talk about your feelings, to talk about, your anxiety levels, and especially around food and stuff. You know, and, and like, basically

I had stopped trusting myself. I couldn’t trust my own brain. I couldn’t trust my own psyche.

I couldn’t, I didn’t trust myself to eat. I didn’t trust myself to keep myself alive. I didn’t trust my body and I didn’t trust, my mind to not play tricks on me in the, like, self-harm department.

Sean: [01:15:01] you, Didn’t want to be alone.

Laci: [01:15:04] Yes, because being alone with my thoughts was pretty dark and scary.

Sean: [01:15:07] So they would do these exposures is what they called

Laci: [01:15:10] Yeah. So we had a lot of different kinds of therapy, and we learned a lot in classes and stuff, but they, exposure therapy is one thing, and it’s like. exposing yourself to something that you’re extremely afraid of. and so for some people it’s like social situations that they’d actually have them go like to a place and order something and like be around people and you have to talk to a random stranger and like things like that.

you know, if that’s your thing. for me it was being alone. And, so I mean, there was a point where I did sit alone with her in a room for. Too long. I mean, you know, 

Sean: [01:15:43] we talking minutes? Hours?

Laci: [01:15:45] like over now, you know, and I’ve had to do multiple things like that. 

Sean: [01:15:49] had you like write things that, 

Laci: [01:15:52] it was, yeah, a big thing was like, I have all these questions that I wanted answered because it’s like I’m with these professionals that will have some of the answers to some of the things I’ve experienced and some of the things that, Are upsetting me. And you know, so, one exposure was to write down as many questions as you can think of and be fine without getting answers to them.

And I wrote down

Sean: [01:16:13] in the discomfort of not knowing.

Laci: [01:16:16] And so I wrote on like four pages worth of questions and it was just like, Oh, like in, it sounds weird and it sounds like a, why would you want to expose yourself to hard feelings? But like, this builds up a tolerance and it builds up a, your sensitivity and stuff to hard things.

So it helps you learn how to cope again with stressful situations and emotional stresses and nasty one. and so the way I like to explain it is I like why all of the why I think things took a turn in September too, and why it’s just not, it’s not something that’s going to be all better overnight is.

I had, you know, 20 years of a problem. There’s the eating disorder, then there’s all this anxiety and depression, and then there’s like circumstantial stress and all these things and top of like trying to figure yourself out in this process too, because when you have your coping skills stripped away, you stop knowing who you are and when you are having catatonic panic attacks and you don’t know how to.

Function, how you used to, you don’t know what’s real. You don’t know who you are anymore. You don’t know what you want out of life. I’m on top of depression, which is hopelessness and purposelessness and things like that. So there’s, it’s a big spaghetti ball of a mess, and I had like put a bunch of things in little boxes and put them up on shelves and the tiniest earthquake.

Shook ’em all down, and all those things landed on my face, and that’s when I needed to get help. and so, a lot of it is talking about your feelings at the place. And, at first it’s kinda like,

this is going to be forever. Like, this is like, you know, I, you know, people come and come and go. You know, you’re seeing people who’ve been in there for months, seeing people who’ve been in their very short times.

but when you first get in there, you’re like so overwhelmed. It’s like, it’s like going to a college class and not knowing what the class is and 

Sean: [01:18:25] you’re the new kid in

Laci: [01:18:27] yeah, like hearing all these terms that you like, don’t know and things like that. So you kind of get situated. Eventually you acclimate, and you, you start learning about your anxiety.

And when you can manage your anxiety, they want you to be emotionally regulated. And so there’s, there’s a few States, there’s, well, and something I want to mention too, is like in all of this food stuff, and in the psychology stuff, I’ve been fighting my own biology for a very long time. Like physically and mentally.

My body was never supposed to be where it, where it was. and so.

there’s all this like, you know, mental stuff around trauma too. And so, which, you know, there are some people who can preach, be predisposed to an eating disorder. It’s kind of like alcoholism or addiction or something. you can have genetic predispositions, for mental health issues.

And, I’ve heard too that, you know. Addiction and eating disorders are cousins and stuff like that. So, you know, who knows what’s, what’s out there. That what I was, you know, what’s in my genes or whatever. But, so, a lot of what you’re learning there is just new coping skills for stressful situations and, and understanding what triggers you.

And I didn’t know what triggered me cause everything triggers me sometimes. or at least. Eight hours a day, eight hour a day. Panic attacks is like everything was being triggered. and so you’re trying to figure out what caused your trauma, trying to figure out how to prevent it in the future. and so like a big, a big practice that they had me do was write a letter to myself six months from now.

no, write a letter to myself now as myself in six months. and so when I think about like, if I could talk to myself six months ago, that would’ve been July. or, you know, whenever I wrote this letter would have been a month or two ago. So like April, if I could write a letter to myself in, in April, what, where do the things, I would say if I get to write a letter to myself back in October, there’s a lot of things I would say, and I would have gotten help then.

Sean: [01:20:40] but this particular exercise is not today, advising your six months past self. It is writing a letter as your future six months self to yourself

Laci: [01:20:53] today. Yeah. and this is a practice and really helping you understand how far you’ve come because I, you know, me being impatient and me being like,

Sean: [01:21:03] it was really hard for you to tell, like  pretty bad shape, not only by my estimation, but you can tell they were like, Oh, you know,

Laci: [01:21:13] my therapist was even like, we have a lot of work.

Sean: [01:21:16] Yeah. It was pretty rough. but after a few weeks, like. I was seeing tons of progress and I’m, I’m only seeing you a couple of hours outside of this. You’d come home to sleep. but they were also saying like, we’re seeing a lot of progress. And I remember during that time, like you, you weren’t seeing it at all cause it, there kind of seemed to be like a theme or a pattern of like how you felt or how you were thinking being kind of like a few weeks lagged behind.

Laci: [01:21:44] much. so some, something I keep, I’ve explained before is that I feel like, you know, the six to eight hours a day of panic attacks, I felt.

Like that for a long time, but the meds were helping me control it. So it felt like when you have a dream and you’re like running and you want to scream and like no sound comes out, it’s like you feel the panic, but you can almost be above the panic enough to like see it and like try to bring yourself down as opposed to just drowning in it constantly.

Sean: [01:22:21] So it felt for you, like everyone else is looking in from the outside, like, Hey, she’s good. And on the inside you’re like, no, I’m not, but I

Laci: [01:22:28] I’m like, try, I’m trying to scream and I can’t. and so there’s kind of a, like, you know, multiple States. There’s, we talk a lot about, the brain and, like the kind of, they have like the reptilian brain, them a million brain. And I can’t remember the other one. I’m blinking. but it’s like your emotional brain, your physical brain, your biological brain.

and like you have emotions and stuff to help prevent you from. it helps you recognize threats. You have feelings, like you feel things, cause you feel like unsafe or whatever, and then you are able to act on those feelings. Like you need to run from the tiger type of thing. and so there’s. What they call hypo aroused and hyper aroused and hyper aroused is like in that fight or flight, panic state.

Sean: [01:23:18] hyper is like really active.

Hypo is underactive,

Laci: [01:23:25] And so that’s when you feel depressed. So like, anxiety is hyper, depression is hypo,

Sean: [01:23:31] And you, you had an anxious depression,

Laci: [01:23:33] so it’s swinging.

Sean: [01:23:35] You’ve got like, you know, vertical thirds. The top third is hyper arousal. The lower third is hypo arousal. And then in the middle is the, the normal zone.

You, you want to

Laci: [01:23:47] That’s emotional regulation,

Sean: [01:23:49] regulation, but with an anxious depression, you were oscillating from one extreme.

To the next,

Laci: [01:23:57] The goal there is to be able to regulate yourself and be in the middle and recognize what triggers you. Mmm.

Sean: [01:24:04] and may, maybe at this point, since we, since we just, we had some notes here, things you wanted to touch on.

Since we’re here, I’m talking about maybe like anxiety and depression symptoms. So what does it look like when someone is hyper aroused or, or anxious.

Laci: [01:24:24] so a lot of times you can feel it in your body. something can trigger. physical sensation. So like for me, my heart beats really fast. it’ll almost like skip a beat. it’ll, it’ll start like having like palpitations. you can either get like, cold and clammy or really hot and search, sweating.

I, I start fidgeting a lot. I, I feel the urge to like, fidget. This is, kind of like a particular. Self-harm behavior that I have. it’s considered a self harm behavior, even though it sounds weird. but like picking it skin, so like, picking at cuticles, I’m picking at stuff in your face or like picking it things just because they’re there.

It’s like a fidgety thing. so that’s an anxious tic that I have. sometimes like your muscles can Twitch, your. Your mind, like you can start to not be able to like, focus or concentrate like you can, I mean, that’s not a physical sensation. That’s like, that’s the mental part where it’s like, it’s like you’re freaking out.

Like you start to freak out in your head and you can’t, you start not being able to make good decisions like your is kind of off. 

Sean: [01:25:35] on the extreme and of. Anxiety, not, this wouldn’t be like mild, but on the more extreme end, you have panic attacks and, from the outside. So you might not be able to recognize this in yourself as much, but from the outside, the person has, tends to have like saucers for eyes,

Laci: [01:25:53] Ah, yeah.

Sean: [01:25:54] like their eyes are like really wide.

Laci: [01:25:57] Darren had like in the

Sean: [01:25:58] yeah, that’s not so much with just like mild anxiety, but that’s one

Laci: [01:26:03] That’s like when I have panic attacks for sure. as far as depression goes, depression is the high hypo aroused. So like, you kind of feel like you’re dragging through mud a lot. You are losing interest in things that once brought you a lot of joy or happiness, even the people that you love. the activities you loved.

Don’t seem interesting anymore. and this is a weird one too, but, you’re not interested in food. Like food doesn’t sound good. appetite stuff. 

Sean: [01:26:33] a disassociation or detachment.

Laci: [01:26:36] Yeah. So like isolation, detachment from

Sean: [01:26:40] not just other people, but I mean even from your, from yourself or from your

Laci: [01:26:44] Yeah. I’m feeling like you’re having out of body experiences that can be like panic attack too, but also like.

Depression, you feel, at least for me, I feel like separate from my body. Like I feel like I’m out of it. 

Sean: [01:26:57] her distant 

Laci: [01:26:58] distant, I’m not connected to it. And, 

there’s like hopelessness. Purposelessness sometimes if you’re having trouble sleeping, sometimes you’re sleeping too much or you’re, having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Like maybe your mind is racing. Maybe you have, you’re easily overwhelmed or you have, have a hard time doing super basic daily activities and that they call this avoidance. when you’re not wanting to do the dishes, you’re not wanting to even like, not wanting to brush your teeth, not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, not wanting to take a shower.

Yeah. basic hygiene. You’re, you’re not interested in, you’re not wanting to do it. You’re not wanting to wash your clothes like. Basic daily activities. you’re just avoiding them. You’re putting them off.

Sean: [01:27:42] So if someone’s listening right now and they’re recognizing some of these things in themselves, what would you say to them?

Laci: [01:27:50] I would say to keep an eye on yourself, like to notice those things about yourself.

and, talk to somebody about it. it sounds simple, but even if you’re just like, ah, I just don’t want to. I’m not wanting to brush my teeth and not wanting to shower, like, it, that’s kind of an embarrassing thing, but like, if, if you’re just wanting to avoid your life and avoid those most basic things, and you’re not wanting to eat and stuff like that, definitely chat with somebody about it.

someone might have

a way to help you, you know, they might help you. You know, come up with the list, come up with a system that, that would help you achieve some things, help you feel like you’re accomplishing things. cause depression for, at least for me, and I think for a lot of people too, is you feel like you have so much to do, but you sit down and you just don’t want to do any of it.

and you can be easily overwhelmed. So enlisting help delegating if you can. you know, like. Keep things simple for yourself, like, you know, realize what’s reasonable to accomplish

in a 

Sean: [01:29:01] tell me about this. A note that you mentioned, identifying areas of your life where you need support and what kind of support ticket.

Laci: [01:29:07] right? So like, if you’re needing support in the area of eating your food, or you want to know more about like, nutrition or eating enough, or, your diet or anything like that. you know, maybe enlisting help from a nutritionist, you know, or if a doctor making a doctor’s appointment to learn about that stuff, seeking out, like research on, on things like that, or, hiring somebody to help.

you know, even like, I’m sure there are free resources to like, you know, the government, you know, once, once people to be healthy and stuff. So I’m sure there’s free resources from the city or. state, you know, information.

Sean: [01:29:48] I put some links in the episode I did@shawnwest.com slash four 56 socialist four five, six. There’s links there. lots of symptoms, resources, hotlines, websites for international support. So a lot of resources there.

Shawn, west.com/four 56. So what, when, when should someone seek help? Like if, if they’re like, I recognize some of those things. Okay, maybe I’ll talk to someone. But like, when should someone definitely seek help?

Laci: [01:30:22] You should definitely seek help if you feel like you’re floundering, he feel like you’re drowning in your own life. and you’re not able to keep up with all the areas that you’re working on. and you feel like something’s got to give. And. what’s giving is resulting in bad things, or you’re not coping well with stressful situations, or if there’s a big emotional thing going on in your life and, you find yourself in a position of like, wanting, you know, to do things that would harm yourself or anything like that.

especially, I mean, to me, like, at least for me. I mean, getting to the point where you’re having suicidal thoughts or you’re thinking about harming yourself, or you’re actively harm yourself. That’s like, for sure get help then. But like, if you can get help before it gets to that point and you

Sean: [01:31:14] You D don’t, don’t wait till you have suicidal thoughts or you starve yourself close to death or, you know, it doesn’t have to be some extreme version before you seek help.

Laci: [01:31:25] Right. Exactly. you know, and something like an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, like all of those things are just, you know, everything is just a symptom. You’re just showing symptoms of the, a big root F a deep root thing. So figure out what the root is, you know, whether that’s emotional stress, stress with your job, work, life, balance, your family, your finances, whatever that is.

there could be something big, deep going on that can affect you more than it’s, than you’re realizing. so something that helps is like, it for me is asking people that I know, if they’re noticing changes in me. and that was a big thing I wanted to know when I, when I got on medication too, is I wanted people watching me to see if anything was different.

in in bad negative ways, and then be open to receiving some of that if it’s like, yeah, you don’t seem like you’re doing so well, you know, like be open and be like, okay, what, what areas of my life do I need to, to address? and it’s not easy to address them all at once and it’s overwhelming to try to adjust them all at once.

So. I’ll be, I’ll be honest, like don’t get to the point. like where I am at, we’re literally, I have like three therapists right now. I’m doing all kinds of different kinds of trauma work and therapy and I’m in an eating disorder recovery facility. Like, you don’t want to try to fix it all at once.

It’s very overwhelming. so tackle a few things at a time. and be patient.

Trust, the process. Trust the professionals, trust your friends and your family. cause sometimes on the outside they can see a lot of things that you can’t on the inside. a big thing too is, 

self-hatred. not loving yourself, not caring for yourself.

not practicing self care. We a huge, huge part of being in the facility is literally self care. you are caring for yourself by eating, you, caring for your life. You’re caring for your mental health by practicing rest.

Sean: [01:33:31] Just out of curiosity. the eating recovery center also helps people. Not who are just struggling with, anorexia, but also, like binge eating as well.

Do they like, so when you said you’re taking care of yourself by eating, depending on someone’s situation, they may actually be doing themselves harm by eating, but this type of place would help them with that.

Laci: [01:33:55] Yeah, absolutely. No, it’s, it’s every kind of eating disorder. Any kind of.

Body image, just morphic, how you feel about yourself in any, any kind of way, any kind of depression.

cause all of it’s so connected. teenagers, adults, older people, like, I mean everybody, anybody.

Sean: [01:34:17] Did you struggle with, like, this is a, this is a young teen girl problem and I’m nearly 30 years old.

Yeah,

Laci: [01:34:24] for sure. For sure. But there’s people of all ages in there. yeah. Like it does feel like a teenage, some kind of teenage phase and it’s embarrassing.

Sean: [01:34:33] but there’s people that are 40, 50, 70,

Laci: [01:34:36] Oh yeah. For sure.

Sean: [01:34:37] and it’s, it’s, not just one gender.

Laci: [01:34:41] No, no, there’s guys in there too. yeah, it’s, it’s everybody. And cause it’s, everybody can have mental health issues, doesn’t matter what age. And it’s not too late to seek help. Ever. That’s a, that’s a big, a big encouragement is like, you know, seeking help while you’re young is great, but also like,

it’s a place to help you get back on track, in any, any area of your life that you’re, wherever you’re struggling.

And that can be depression, anxiety, not just an eating disorder.

Sean: [01:35:12] so just to kind of catch us up to like current times and then maybe also hit on a few of these notes that you have.

I remember his is a little over a month in, and you know, we’re talking to them and they’re saying in, in, in our professional opinion, she’s ready to step down from full time PHP or a partial hospitalization program to five day a week IOP or intensive outpatient program. And I remember at the time, like you were.

Really resistant to that. You know, like, I don’t, I, I need, I need the help. I don’t want to, I don’t want to step down treatment. but, and so I’m, I’m kind of conflicted because like, there’s, there’s the professional recommendation that you should step down. And then there’s also you saying like. No, I want more treatment.

And I’m like, what am I supposed to do? Like what is the responsible thing for me to do? You know, should I advocate for you wanting more treatment? Even though the professionals say it is time to step down, you’re okay to step down, you should step down or do I go with the professional recommendation? I personally wrestled with that.

but ultimately decided to go with the professional recommendation because they said if it’s problematic, we can always go back up. And I remember like realizing that part of this is kind of like with the exposures, you know, being on your own for a little bit or like these different things that make you uncomfortable.

The idea of reentering society and leaving this safe space. Is uncomfortable, but that discomfort is a part of the process. And so stepping down treatment while uncomfortable and a little bit scary is a part of like re-integrating.

Laci: [01:37:01] Yeah, definitely. And I mean, the whole point of this is to get uncomfortable is to be uncomfortable with safety behaviors.

Sean: [01:37:08] would say the whole point of this is for you to be able to function and live your life.

Laci: [01:37:13] sorry, in, in the facility, they want you to learn how to be uncomfortable instead of just

Sean: [01:37:19] in a healthy way,

Laci: [01:37:20] in a healthy way instead of just being in your safe little bubble of coping behaviors that are,  affecting you negatively. they want you to learn new things and it’s not comfortable or easy, to do something.

one of the group leaders said was, if you want a recovery that’s sustainable, it has to be forged in fire and it’s not going to be fun. so none of this is just for funds you use. it’s hard work. it’s uncomfortable. but it’s worth it on. It’s worth it to save your life. It’s worth it. to get out of the dark and twisty place if you, especially if you don’t even realize that you’re in a dark and twisty place, but, to help help you see light at the end of the tunnel, for sure.

Sean: [01:38:08] So this coming week as we record this episode, you’ll be stepping down to three day a week. So that’s, you know, part time. You go in a few hours, three days of the week. You still continue to see therapists and dieticians outside of that as well. But starting to phase that out, which is really nice because you’ll be able to see family for Christmas.

And, You know, kind of taper off. we, so just a little bit of context. Longtime listeners know that for many years now, I’ve been planning to take 20, 20 off as a sabbatical year. That’s been the plan for many, many years. You know, I’ve been training Dan to run the business in my absence. and then.

You know, this, this year happened and it wasn’t exactly like we planned, you know. So originally we were thinking, Hey, you know, January 1st, 2020, that’s our sabbatical year. We’re just gonna, we’re going to travel, travel the world, you know, go all over. and we still want to do that, but it’s a, it’s pending your full recovery and we’re still, we’re still evaluating what does that look like?

How long are we doing certain things? obviously. Therapy would continue throughout 2020 but what of that could be like video conference and you know, all this stuff, right? So we still don’t have any kind of definite plan. We can say that we’re not going to just move out of our house January 1st and start traveling the world.

We don’t know exactly when, you know, it’s a little bit up in the air, but we’re just, we’re okay with that. So, That’s kind of, that’s where we are right now. And I mentioned in my, in my last article, it’s, you know, different people have had different impressions, like, wow, Sean, you’re taking off a year, but you also ask people for financial help for all of these medical bills.

You know, what’s, what’s the deal? Like, they just assume that I’ve got this huge stockpile of money enough to live off of for a year and we don’t, the way we were going to do it is just continued to take. The modest salary I do from the business, and instead of paying rent on a house, we would just travel on the cheap.

And so that’s, that’s still what we want to do. We just don’t know the exact timing of it. but officially, like I have started my sabbatical year in December, so I’m, I’m right now, I’m not actually working. Mainly just focusing on spending time with you, making sure your recovery and like. Stepping down from treatment is all smooth.

So that’s kind of like the update on the personal front. But, you know, I do plan to continue to share the journey while on sabbatical, whether that’s, maybe I’ll do some podcasts on the go or sharing on Instagram, things like that. but that’s, that’s kind of catching up to like current day. But you had a few notes.

Laci, I just wanted to, give you some of these prompts if you wanted to address them. worthiness. You just had a note about that. Is that something you want to talk about or are you, do you feel like you touched on it?

Laci: [01:41:17] Yeah, it’s a little bit in that like self care, self love, self hatred, realm. A big thing for me is I’m just not feeling worthy of care or worthy of the support that I’ve gotten.

to get better. And, you know, depression, depression, or an eating disorder or, anxiety or anything will, whatever that persona is, we’ll tell you. It will try to tell you that you’re not worth, you’re not worth what other people are worth or you’re not worth. I’m getting help. You’re not worth getting better.

You’re not worth the people in your life that love you. You’re not worth

the things you want or need or deserve. 

Sean: [01:42:01] And what do you, what do you do about that

Laci: [01:42:04] there’s, we did at the facility, we talk a lot about, you know, it’s kind of a big leap to go from. Feeling unworthy, purposefulness, dead inside. I’m kind of feeling too positive. Self talk. So, positive self talk or like having your positive inner dialogue. so a big thing is just getting to a neutral point.

It’s like, if, you know, zero is neutral, being below that is the like, I’m so stupid. I keep screwing up. I can’t do anything. Right. That kind of stuff. if you’re feeling like any of those, talk to somebody about it too, because that stuff will feed into itself, and can breed all kinds of problems for you.

you know, just not being worthy of, of support or the people in your life or, whatever, whatever it is that, that you’re needing to address or take care of. like. Just being able to come to a neutral point of feeling like you’re okay with yourself. It doesn’t have to be like, I’m awesome, I’m a champ kind of thing.

But just being okay with yourself and coming to a neutral point. Working hard to come to neutral point is taking big strides. You don’t get to a point, you know, you don’t get somewhere overnight, where you’re. You know, just absolutely glowing with happiness about yourself all the time, that, that kind of thing.

and so neutrality is a good one.

Sean: [01:43:34] I know one of the big things they focus on there is values and highlighting the incongruencies in your actions and your values.

Laci: [01:43:46] Yeah. So a big coping skill that, we talk about a lot is called diffusion, which is where you. like address the situation and act on your values versus what your mind tells you to do.

Sean: [01:43:58] And can we take one step back and. And maybe help people who are thinking values. I don’t know what my values are. Like

how did you get to the point where you even knew what your values were to be able to see whether or not they align with your actions?

Laci: [01:44:14] Yeah. So, they have us do a value sort there, which they give us, way of big stacks of little pieces of paper that have different values on it and the explanation for each value.

And you sort through them, like, you know, you go from like a hundred of them and you narrow down to 20, that like stick out to you.

Sean: [01:44:32] What are some examples?

Laci: [01:44:33] you know, and this is a great resource we can add. James clear has a list of values on his website. Like, I think if you were to just Google with James clear values there, he’s got a whole list.

I mean, it can be anything from like, integrity, humor, beauty, fun, honesty. You know, like, I mean, I’m not doing a good job coming up with a ton, but, but there’s, there’s a lot, faith, you know, service to other people. Like it can be, you know, anything that like is at your core. so I would encourage you to.

kind of figure out what those are. And that list is very helpful and being like, Oh, that sticks out to me, but I’m like coming, like looking at 20 of them that stick out to you and kind of narrowing that down and then narrow that 20 down to 10. So having like a core 10 values, and then you’re able to kind of, you know, when your mind tells you something that isn’t true.

Like a lot of, a lot of, Things at the facility and just kind of in the mental health world we talk about is that your thoughts aren’t always reality and that your thoughts are like electrical currents that you can like tune into or you can accept or not accept. you might think like, Oh, but my thoughts are like always my own and always real.

It’s. you know, sometimes it’s not reality. Like the reality is that I’m here and I’m alive and well, not that now what my brain wants to tell me, and the, the out that it wants, you know, and so I’m coming up with these values can kind of, it’s like a compass for your life. It helps you be able to act on something you believe in and can find a grounding in as opposed to.

I’m just going on your feelings all the time. Cause feelings don’t always equal logic or reality.

Sean: [01:46:20] Last thing, you had mentioned EMDR.

Laci: [01:46:24] Yeah. So I started an EMDR

Sean: [01:46:26] So this is eye movement desensitization reprogramming. And

Laci: [01:46:32] MIB. The R might be something. It’s similar to reprogramming. I’m not 100% sure.

Sean: [01:46:37] Okay. So you had tried to do this before going in and they were saying, you’re not quite ready. You need some more serious treatment.

Laci: [01:46:46] You need emotional stability and you need, like he, he recommended like going into the facility too.

Sean: [01:46:52] And so since you’ve gone in, you have, what’s the word re reinstated.

You, you’ve, you’ve started doing it again and it’s been going well.

Laci: [01:47:06] Yes. it’s very like, there’s a lot of talk therapy involved, but, 

Sean: [01:47:12] maybe what is the who, who is this for? What is the goal? What is it? What is it trying to do?

Laci: [01:47:17] It’s for trauma and it’s for anxiety management work.

Sean: [01:47:21] So someone with PTSD might benefit from

Laci: [01:47:24] Yeah. So, or high levels of anxiety, or stress and things like that.

So they either use a light or their fingers and they make you follow your, with your eyes, in a sweeping motion. and what this does is this releases happy chemicals in your brain. it’s a, it’s a biological thing. like, it releases like, I don’t know if it’s serotonin or. Oxytocin, like one of those that, that is released, in your brain.

And while that is happening, you, you, it helps you connect thoughts and feelings. So a lot of times you’re like, thinking of images and words and kind of like putting them together and, around different situations. And so, like, for example, I did a situation, Something I didn’t talk about earlier is how to scale your anxiety.

which I’ll

Sean: [01:48:14] Oh, anxiety scale. Yeah.

Laci: [01:48:16] Like how to, kind of measure your anxiety levels. so this, on a scale of one to 10, like, you’re supposed to, like in different sessions you go through, like things that bring your anxiety from a zero to a three, like in that range, a four to a six or seven or 10, seven and 10 is like the panic stuff.

Sean: [01:48:33] so very gradually over weeks exposing to these various levels of anxiety, starting with mild, going up to more extreme, but gradually doing that and starting with a base of establishing like a happy place and like making connections,

Laci: [01:48:54] right? So it’s supposed to help reroute your brain. So you think about like. Situations, places, things, events that are really, anxiety inducing for you or make you feel a certain way about yourself.

So if there’s something that happened that you told yourself, like, I’m so dumb, I’m, you know, like hating on yourself about it. you’re supposed to like, think about those things and then think positive things, during different sessions and then like, bring those together. And so like, you are basically training your brain.

To release happy chemicals when you are having, when you’re thinking about stressful things so that it is much easier for you to manage anxiety or stress, because you don’t feel so stressed out about it and you’re able to, at least for me, it helped me see things about a situation that I wasn’t able to see before.

And it helped me realize like where some things are not as big of a deal as you think they are, kind of helps you connect your reality a little bit better. so I’ve only been doing this like two weeks. and it’s already been extremely helpful and there’s a lot of research on it that it’s extremely helpful,

Sean: [01:50:08] We’re doing twice a week,

Laci: [01:50:09] right.

Noon, twice a week, only for the last couple of weeks. But, it’s supposed to be really helpful, especially if you have flashbacks. which I have a lot of flashbacks from traumatic events. they get triggered and they start firing in my brain. That was inducing a lot of the six to eight hours of panic too, is I was having images of myself and images of traumatic events that, wouldn’t stop.

It was like gunfire that like wouldn’t stop in my brain. and so. It’s really supposed to help you ground and help you function better when you have trauma. Oh, this is how it was explained to me. so the amygdala in our brain is what controls our like fight or flight response. and people who can emotionally regulate.

They, between people who, you know, aren’t hypo aroused, hyper under aroused, they’re kind of like in that middle range, or they’re able to bring themselves in that range. they’re able to control the megla and turn it off and on, like they’re able to turn it off and like relax after like anxiety inducing events.

Someone who’s experienced trauma that amygdala turns on and doesn’t shut off. And so EMDR is supposed to help you be able to shut off your own amygdala and help you control the fight or flight response. so

it’s really cool.

Sean: [01:51:30] It’s seems like it’s been really good. Well, I guess we can wrap up there. I know I’m. Something that I struggled with was just when, when people reached out to help donating and stuff. feeling, feeling guilty, receiving that. And what I’ve had to remind myself of is guilt and gratitude are opposites.

You can’t feel both at the same time. And so if I’m, if I’m choosing guilt, then I’m not choosing gratitude. And. So that’s, that’s what I’ve been focusing on is like, people care about us, like by, by humbling myself and asking for help. Even when, like when I talked about in that last episode, about asking for help, like, it was very humbling for me because I felt like I wasn’t able to, you know, provide or I wasn’t.

I couldn’t handle a storm this big. I wasn’t successful enough, you know? And like, just kind of swallowing my pride and my ego and, and just asking for help has been, you know, just really overwhelming and Mmm. You know, thinking about it more like, we, we’ve allowed people to be a part of our story like that.

We’ve allowed them to. Play a part and like show that they care about us. And that’s just, it’s, it’s been amazing to see and, weird. We’re just both very, very, very grateful. So thank you.

Laci: [01:53:14] Yeah. guilt is a big feeling that, we talk about at the facility and, it’s just, it’s, it’s very humbling. It’s, 

I, I’m just, I’m extremely grateful and, you know. There is a lot of guilt tied to depression and anxiety and eating disorders and stuff, and to just, Mmm.

To be able to be grateful instead is, and just knowing people want to help and people here is, is a big refreshing feeling for me.

Sean: [01:53:46] And for me. I’ve also learned, to, to not like the way I, I kind of packed it all up is never give nothing because I know I’ve been guilty of that before.

Like maybe there was some cause that, you know, you could donate to or someone needed help and I wasn’t in a position to give like $1,000 or something like that. And so I thought, what’s the point. And then I, but I realized like, I mean, people would send, I would see a donation from someone from India for $2

and it was just like, it w it w just touched me so much.

Like it’s not about the amount, like those times where I didn’t give because I couldn’t make a big splash or something that was about me. Trying to feel a certain way about myself, you know, instead of just helping. And so I didn’t, there were times in my life where I haven’t given, because it wasn’t, you know, it wouldn’t make a difference.

But because so many people didn’t think that way and they, they gave whatever amount enough people thought that way, that you were able to get help, you know? And so just moving forward, like even if I’m in a position where I’m, you know. I don’t have a lot of money. Like I’ll never give nothing, even if it was like $10 or $5 or something like that, that makes a difference.

And, you know, just realizing like giving isn’t about, isn’t about you. Right? So I just like the amount of lessons and stuff that I’ve learned. Like it’s, it’s all just incredibly humbling, but I also can’t, you can’t help but feel like it’s, It’s cool timing. You know, it remains to be seen what 2020 looks like for us, but presumably you’re, you’re doing really well and things are progressing really well.

I imagine we will get to travel in 2020. I don’t know when that starts, but, just being able to go various places around the world and be able to meet the people who have helped

Laci: [01:55:59] us

Sean: [01:56:00] and like see them face to face, like that would just be so cool.

Laci: [01:56:04] I want to give you all the hugs.

Sean: [01:56:49] Well, you did it. You did did the podcast.

Laci: [01:56:53] Did it? Is this the after show?

Sean: [01:56:55] Oh, I dunno.

Laci: [01:56:58] Yeah. It feels good. It feels scary, but I hope, you

Sean: [01:57:02] feels scary having done this podcast. Why? Why?

Laci: [01:57:08] Oh, cause it’s just all the stuff that I’ve, it’s old, that my life has been about the last year. it’s all out there.

it’s, it’s embarrassing and

humbling. And, 

I don’t, I don’t know how to, I don’t know what else. There’s all those things.

Sean: [01:57:31] So why put yourself through that?

Laci: [01:57:34] I desperately want to help other people and I’ve even heard like my EMDR therapist was kinda like, you should, you know, maybe be a year out of your recovery before you start digging in other people’s business. And it’s like, I’m not trying to dig in other people’s business. I just want to help other people.

Sean: [01:57:51] you talk about helping other

Laci: [01:57:52] yeah, they have wanting to, and he’s like, calm down, you know, be patient with yourself. Be far enough from your own problems. They say like, years, you know, like if you, if you want to think about, you know, helping people with eating disorders, you have to be like six years out, like, you know, and stuff like that.

Like, so

Sean: [01:58:14] that makes a lot of sense. But also, you don’t have to like. Tell people what they should do to help them. Even just sharing your story and your journey as you’re going through it is help,

Laci: [01:58:28] right? Because people can see within themselves things that they might need to be seeking help for or things that they didn’t know might be a mental health issue or might be red flags for them or triggers for them.

there’s been so many times where I say, I feel this way and. Someone will say, that’s depression and I’ll, but I feel this way. That’s anxiety. Oh, like there’s words for these things. I’m like, I don’t know. I’ve said some of the weirdest stuff. It’s like, I feel like my head’s a balloon. It’s like full of air and my body’s a robot.

And I’m like frustrated that like, like I’m in here, but like my outside isn’t working the way I want it to. And they’re like, that’s depression and anxiety. You know? Like, like. You know, I’ll ask John, do you feel that way? And he’s like, no, I don’t feel like my head’s a balloon. You know, like you’re crazy.

And, 

Sean: [01:59:18] I don’t say that that’s, that’s your internal

Laci: [01:59:21] Right, right. Like, like, no, I don’t understand. And somebody out there will like, does understand what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. And maybe, you know, like some of the things you’ve experienced are normal for your situation or your current status. And. at least if I can bring some relief to someone that it’s going to be okay.

You can get help. identify your red flags, and so that you can better be able to help yourself in the future is, is my desire here. just to let others know they’re not alone because.

Eating disorders breed in isolation, mental health disorders breed in isolation, and, none of us can do it alone.

Like connectivity is, is a huge thing. you know, sometimes like you need a mentor checklist of like, did I get enough social time in this week? Did I get enough? Am I feeding myself in all areas of my life? Am I. You know, did I do things I enjoy that I did? I find pleasure in the things that I’m doing. and what do I need to change if that’s not happening?

Sean: [02:00:35] What are you looking forward to?

Laci: [02:00:41] Mm, EMDR

Sean: [02:00:44] Is that good? Huh?

Laci: [02:00:45] is very good. I’m really excited. but Christmas with the family. 1000%.

Sean: [02:00:50] What does that mean? What does that look like?

Laci: [02:00:52] We are going to go to Dallas for like six days, something like that. and that just means all the fun with the family.

It’s really nice. It’ll be a nice, like, break things are a little hectic right now, but, it’s just

love the fan.

Sean: [02:01:11] how do you feel about 2020.

Laci: [02:01:16] Not ready for it.

Sean: [02:01:18] Not ready for the calendar year.

Laci: [02:01:21] No. It’s more I’m, I’m,

Sean: [02:01:24] Do you feel like, well, what do you feel like 2020 represents or means?

Laci: [02:01:29] 2020 represents traveling for me for this battle

Sean: [02:01:34] And you right now, you’re not ready for traveling and stuff,

Laci: [02:01:37] Right? Like, I’ll just be. Totally honest, like the way I put it, to the one of my therapists is like,

I feel like I’m not super safe within myself yet, and the world is just full of threats.

Sean: [02:01:53] and it’s probably easy for people to forget. This is not Lacy talking about like inexperienced she had a few years ago. Like you’re still in this and you’re sharing as you go. So like, it’s still very, it’s still very raw

Laci: [02:02:05] I’m still struggling in normal life, much less in whole new variable situations with different people across the world in places we don’t know.

so that’s a little intimidating and overwhelming, and I’m just trusting that we’re not going to leap into something before I’m ready. And, you know, 

Sean: [02:02:25] like the original plan years ago was January 1st, 2020 sabbatical year starts, we’re going to travel. That’s no longer happening. At the rate you’re progressing. It seems like we will get to travel next year, but we’re not like rushing into it because of some arbitrary calendar thing.

Right.

Laci: [02:02:46] so honestly, like part of me is like. Looking forward to in this sounds, this is going to sound ridiculous too, but, like having less stuff, like kind of living the minimalist lifestyle.

I feel a little like, you know, like we have a really nice big house right now and you know, and that has been fantastic and we’ve needed all the room and stuff, but it’ll, I’m looking forward to simplifying our lives a little bit, cause things have been real messy and real scary and real complicated for a very long time.

Sean: [02:03:19] So it’s like a combination of

things. Things were unstable this past year. Like. You know, I want to make sure things are good before this big change, but also kind of excited about like a new season of life.

Laci: [02:03:34] But wanting to be ready for that new season of life and kind of heal the wounds of this most recent season.