Monday, May 31, 2010

My Roller Coaster Life (Revised)

The other day I was driving down the road thinking about what I might write about next.  I was thinking about the caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly.  I had a few really good days under my belt.  I was dealing with life, I had energy.  I was happily exercising and eating 3 square meals a day.  I even fell on the way into work the other day and there were no emotional repercussions, no embarrassment.  A few people stopped to help. I couldn't get up by myself, but a couple people helped me up and I was fine with it.  I wasn't thinking anything disparaging about my overweight self.  I was just a human being who fell and a few other human beings stopped to help me up.  It was surprising and refreshing that it didn't ruin my day.  So as I drove, I was thinking, "Finally I feel happy.  This is what it feels like to feel happy."  My sad little caterpillar self was emerging into a happy, beautiful butterfly.  And for a moment the thought occurred to me that I really was beautiful.  I literally felt and saw, in my mind's eye, a ray of light enter my head and fill my whole body up with the truth and understanding that I was beautiful.  It was crystal clear.  It was pure.  It wasn't a sense of physical beauty, per se, but more like my entire self, my entire being was beautiful.  I felt light and free for a moment, like I was at the summit of great mountain.  My glass of optimism was overflowing.  But, it wasn't long before doubt crept back into my head.  I wish it could have lasted forever.

A couple of days later, I started tumbling down the proverbial mountain and landed in a heap at the bottom.  I had been pushed off my mountain peak and spilled all the optimism out of my glass.  The culprit?  The Lonelies. They visit all the time, but this time was more difficult than usual.  It makes me angry and sad sometimes that I don't have a partner to go through life with.

One day the air in my tire was low so I stopped to get some air.  I was miffed to discover that I had to buy the air for 75 cents.  So I rifled through my car to find some change, got out and shut the door.   "Oh crap," I said to myself as I realized that I had locked my keys in the car.  I needed to find a ride home to grab my extra key, so first I called my mom.  Her car was being repaired, so she couldn't help me.  Then I called my sister.  This was not the first time she and her husband had helped me when I had locked my keys in the car and I was feeling foolish.  She said she would come.  As I sat on the curb waiting for them to arrive, I was feeling more and more disgusted with myself and more and more alone.  If I had a husband and family of my own, I wouldn't feel like I was imposing so much on others who don't have any commitments to me.  I suddenly wanted to take my "neediness" back and undo my call to my sister.  I just felt like I had to take care of myself and not need anyone else.  And I was angry that I didn't have a "Number 1" to call.  I called my sister back and told her not to come.  Then I called the locksmith.

And now, after awakening from a "long, winter's nap" of about 2 days, I find it strange to think that just a few days ago, I was skipping through life happy and on top of the world and now it takes all my energy to put one foot in front of the other.  Opposition in all things, right?  You can't know happy unless you know sad.  You can't appreciate companionship unless you've experienced loneliness.  I would like the opportunity to appreciate some companionship now please. :)

As expected, my food issues follow my moods.  The first of the week, I was eating regularly.  The last few days, I was not.  Same old, same old.  And again, I do it alone.  I can't help wondering what it would be like to  have someone with me to take care of me when things are difficult.  Someone to gather a healthy meal for me or just be there while I lay in bed, trying to get my s**t together.  Or maybe knowing that someone depends on me might help me shake the insanity away in order to take care of them.  Who knows.

Heaven help me remember that I am beautiful and of worth.  Help me make it through another day and instill in me the will to endure to the end.  And somehow help me feel loved and cared for.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Goals and Gratitude

My assignments from my dietitian for the next few weeks is to feed my body regularly and to include more of my food/eating progress in my blog. I am hoping that just having to eat regularly and knowing that I need to blog about it will subtly get me to think about food a little, but not put me over the edge into obsession. The blogging part is also for support. The support of my physical therapist and his staff has proven invaluable in getting me to exercise. But since my dietitian can't follow me around between appointments and make sure I eat well, this a way for her to support my efforts between appointments.

So, to start, I've decided to be "official" about my "get healthy" goals.

1. Exercise 3 times a week.
2. Feed my body regularly
3. Include food/eating progress in my blog.

So there it is...my goals for the universe to see.

I also wanted to thank everyone who has supported me so far, whether it be here, facebook or face to face. Blogging has given me an outlet for the good, the bad, and the ugly of a part of my life that is a great struggle and while I feel incredibly exposed at times, you're words of encouragement and understanding have reassured me that you and I are not alone. You have all helped keep me sane.

And thank you for your patience as I try to create a more positive life for myself. I've discovered lately that I not only think of the glass half empty much of the time, but I wonder if I can even perceive the 'half' part of the equation. I just think the glass is empty, period. I am slowly understanding that there is a better way to live...at least see that there is something in the glass...a couple of drops maybe? :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The "Joys" of Exercise

I promised my physical therapist a couple weeks ago that I would exercise 3 times a week for the next month. He said that I was to come in even if I didn't feel like it and he would help me get going. I promised and then he asked if my word was good. "Oh crap," I thought, "this is serious." I told him my word was good. So now I'm strangely committed to going 3 times a week. My integrity is at stake.

I had slept a lot last weekend and, surprisingly, Sunday night I was unable to sleep. So by the time work was over on Monday, I was really struggling to stay awake and put one foot in front of the other. I thought about calling the PT and canceling, but he said my only excuses could be if I were in the hospital or a family member died. So I drove over to the office, dragged my body out of the car, grabbed my work-out clothes and went in. I spent 10 minutes in the bathroom trying to change. It didn't work. For one thing, the thought of the energy required to change was overwhelming me. I thought I didn't have another muscle movement in me. I kept fantasizing about being at home, nestled in my bed. And for another, I kept catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It might as well have been Medusa looking back at me. I just saw this big fat ugly creature. I couldn't look at myself without bursting into tears. So, I sat on the toilet trying to think of a way to leave gracefully and not get in trouble.

The plan for these scenarios was that I was not to leave without talking to him first. So, I came out of the bathroom and waited. He asked me what about this was making me cry. I told him how tired I was and I just couldn't imagine getting my other clothes on. "You can exercise in the clothes you have on," he says. Okay, I conceded, that is true. Then I explained, through my tears, "And I'm feeling a little extra fat and ugly today." To which he responded, "I don't care if you're fat and ugly." After a millisecond of shock, I started laughing hysterically. And it sort of gave me warm fuzzies. Isn't that the ultimate acceptance? Not caring if you're fat and ugly? "Fat and ugly people exercise all the time," he explained. There was nothing I could say to that. He patted me on the back and said I could do it, that I'd feel better after.

Well, I got in 40 minutes that day and everybody said good job. "You feel better, don't you?" I reluctantly agreed. I lived to fight another day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weighty Matters

I saw my weight the other day!

I have been weighing blind for a few weeks with the dietitian and I was under the delusion that I had been losing a good chunk of weight.  Well, it was all lies.  I have been exercising for several weeks now and knowing that my weight hasn't really budged has taken the wind out of my sails.  I wish I could now say that it has spurred me to work even harder, that it has jarred me into reality, that I now eat a well balanced diet within normal calorie ranges.  I wish I could, it would make for a much more inspiring story.  But, my reaction?  The logical one, of course.  Binge on junk food all day long.  Sleep as much as possible.  Notice all the beautiful, thin, women in the world and tell myself that I'll never be there.  (Having the Miss USA contest on TV didn't help last weekend!)

I can imagine all the fingers that are shaking in my face, telling me not to think that way and how it's crazy to deal with weight problems by bingeing.  I know it doesn't make any sense, but that is where I go when I have to deal with something hard.  Heck, that's where I go when I have to deal with anything really.  I do it over and over and over.  For years I've been doing it.  I can confidently say that I've been doing it that way most of my life.  I know it's not working.  I know.  I'm stuck in a hamster cage running around and around on the wheel that goes nowhere.

The other day, I was eating lunch with some co-workers and one of the women had brought an ice cream cake to share.  It was left over from a family member's birthday.  The reason she brought it was that it would just go into her freezer and sit there for a few months until she had to throw it out so she thought she would share it with us.  I was stunned.  I want her brain.  I want to be able to put an ice cream cake in the freezer and forget about it until freezer burn sets in and I throw it out.

I talked to my shrink about my weigh in disappointment and acknowledged that while I have been able to get myself to exercise, I have still been avoiding paying attention to what I eat.  When I pay attention to what I eat, especially in the beginning, it drives me insane.  I obsess about food, when can I eat again, how many calories are in this, did I eat too much.  Oh no, I ate too much.  If I keep track, I know on paper, right in front of my face, that I've failed and the shame and guilt weigh down on me.  Yes, I feel shame and guilt now, but I do my best to push it to the back of my mind... I eat some more to deal with the guilt and shame of eating.  Aaaaaaaaaaaa!  My shrink said that what I need is to have my food locked up and have a structured environment concerning food, so I'm forced to deal with life without it.  But, he says, that's not possible.  It made me think for a few days that I needed to go back into full-time treatment and see if it sticks this time.  I never thought I'd even consider it.  Maybe it's like childbirth, after time passes, you forget all the pain.

Well, after a week or two of eating sugar, I decided I might feel better if I ate something real, so last Sunday I started back on human food and I cooked some carrots and potatoes.  It's crazy what happens when you try to take care of yourself.  You feel a little better.  It's a lesson I need to learn over and over and over again.  I have a very short memory.