Sunday, February 12, 2012
Oh my gosh, so much typing...
This semester has been crazyyyyyy. I have been far too busy. Why? Because my stupid thesis is eating my life. I have officially begun Phase Two. I selected participants during Phase One through a series of questionnaires. I was looking for participants with disordered eating (NOT eating disorders; disordered eating is different. Go here to learn more.) My participants do a series of tasks:
- An anxiety inventory
- A candy taste test (M&M's, Skittles, and Reese's Pieces- they rate the candies on a variety of scales)
- A food word search
- Creation of an advertisement for a fictional restaurant
Some participants are observed through a one-way mirror during these tasks (and they are told that), and some are not. Some participants are told that they must present the advertisement that they created (and be filmed), and some are not. What I'm hoping to find is this:
- Anxious participants (no observation) eat more than all other participants.
- Observed participants (all groups) eat less than non-observed participants.
- Participants who are both anxious and observed eat less than all other participant groups.
I don't know if I will find these things, but those are my hypotheses!
The point is that my life is getting a bit crazy. All I do is run participants. Literally. I did 18 participants this week. Each person takes 35 minutes. Set-up takes 20 minutes. Clean-up takes 20 minutes. Data collection takes 10 minutes. That's a minimum of an hour and 25 minutes per participant. And sometimes I get side-tracked, or the participant asks a ton of questions (which is fine, I like that). So I'm spending 1.5 to 2 hours on each person. Luckily, I am able to do people back-to-back, which helps a ton (less set-up and clean-up). But I'm pretty sure that I spent at least 20-25 hours this week on participants. That's a part time job! And that's on top of my two classes and my 11-hour-per-week job. I don't do homework much anymore. I had an exam on Monday in Psych Disorders, which I had to CRAM for, because I hadn't had much time to study for it before then. Plus I have no motivation. But that's a different story. Anyway, it's a blessing that my two classes don't have much homework. But I have a paper due on Friday for Psych Disorders and a digital story draft due sometime this week (I think) for Creative Writing... and I'm not sure when I'll do them.
That's another thing: I have absolutely no motivation for ANYTHING. I just want to sleep all the time. I don't want to do homework. I don't want to go to class. I don't want to hang out with friends. I don't want to go to meals. I just want to sleep. I skipped dinner tonight to take a nap. I either have serious senioritis or depression. Or both. It's like I just don't care anymore! It's getting really annoying.
And finally... I have been having some mental health issues. I'm okay right now, but in the past month, things have been a little dicey. I have done some cutting. And I had a fairly serious issue with food this past week. I decided that it would be a great idea to not eat for five days. I mean, I was kind of eating. Like 0-300 calories per day. But that doesn't really count as eating. I was pretty convinced that it would turn into a big relapse, like spring 2010, when I started this blog. And I was happy about it. That's what always scares me; I miss my ED sometimes! I miss the feeling of losing weight. I miss the high of a fast. I miss the solidarity of the other people online with EDs. I miss having a secret.
But here's what I don't miss: lying all the time, being really freaking hungry, hating myself, isolating myself from friends, not being able to concentrate, being tired all the time, sneaking around, avoiding social gatherings because there might be food, bingeing, purging, worrying constantly about my weight, using any methods possible to get thin.
Oh yah, I purged too. Oops. I forgot about that.
Luckily, I remembered these things on day 5 and made myself eat. No one had to tell me to eat this time (yay!); it was my conscience (actually, it was God, but you guys don't care about that). I had just finished running a participant through Phase Two. After they do the tasks, I tell them about the experiment and why they were selected. I am SO TIRED of telling people that they have disordered eating. But anyway, I always tell them that there are ways to be healthier (and I send them resources), and I encourage them.** Sometimes, people tell me about their eating issues, and/or they realize that what I'm saying makes sense. (sometimes people get upset and refuse to believe me, but whatever). The participant I had just run through the experiment had told me about her struggles with an eating disorder. I was entering her data and cleaning up, and I suddenly reached my breaking point. I mean, I am such a hypocrite! Who am I to tell these women that they are unhealthy, when I'm just as bad?? So after much freaking out and crying, I ate lunch. I've been okay since then. Once I eat, then it's easier and easier to eat each time after that. But anyway, that sucked. That's the third or fourth brush with relapse I have had this semester, and they all have had to do with my thesis. Whether directly or indirectly.
Ok, this is ridiculously long. I will post more some other time and tell you about other stuff. There has just been soooo much going on in the last month!
**Btw, I'm not forcing anything on them. I just tell them that they were selected because their scores on the initial survey packet indicated disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. And I tell them about disordered eating, and leave the rest up to them.