On Tuesday I was talking about how I lashed out at a friend over email. Well his next email was worse, it felt like a personal attack on one hand but also a prime example of what I have been telling him I don’t like about our friendship on the other. I gave myself over two hours before I responded. And then I was brutally honest with my thoughts. I’ve felt for over 6 months that this friendship was coming to an end and I was ready to be done. We’ve both changed and in very different directions. I’ve even told him several times over the last few months how I felt and I didn’t know why we were still friends. That sounds harsh but I said it a little bit nicer. My brutal honestly made up for months of putting everything as nicely as possible. He chose to take something very personal and throw it back in my face. It confirmed to me that I was doing the right thing. I think I only held on so long because I don’t have very many friends and he is one of only two that I knew prior to my mother dying. I have to quit holding on to the past. It’s not like he ever even met her and we weren’t close yet when she died. He made a point then of dropping off a deli tray but only when he knew that no one would be there. I think I still resent that, that he couldn’t show more support than that. The other thing I really resent was a big letdown. We had just moved back and were staying an hour and a half from here but I had finally found a job here and he said I could sleep on his couch until I had the money to get an apartment. Then the day before I am to begin work, he calls and says I can’t stay there the first few nights because he has other company. I lost my trust then and I bounced around for a couple weeks before finding a room to sublet. He never could understand why it bothered me so much. The last few years we’ve seen each other less and less. He’s only met my husband twice in the 7 years we’ve been together. I finally realized that regardless of having been friends for that long, it wasn’t a healthy relationship. Sometimes it was even toxic. I can’t say that I don’t feel a void in my life but I don’t miss him either. I just miss having more people to talk to I think.
I talked to my therapist at yesterday’s appointment and she said something that really resonated with me. I’m going through a lot of changing and growing and it’s a lot like an earthquake. Things like this will happen the same way tremors and aftershocks happen. I have to be prepared for it and make my choices thoughtfully so that I don’t do something I regret. I’m glad I took a couple of hours to make such a big decision and I don’t regret it.
One of my new office mates that I know I’m cool with is out yesterday and today. The other, who I knew would be a small issue, is working my nerves already. She talks to herself all day long and then sometimes she actually expects me to answer instead of answering herself. I can’t tell the difference, she uses the same voice for everything. It takes her 5 minutes to say something that might take anyone else 1 minute because she has to stare at the ceiling in deep thought between her words. And then rephrase what she said just to make sure. The extra phone lines have not been moved yet and she kept picking up the phone while I was on it earlier trying to get someone to come give us some help mapping networks. She also tends to take advantage of anyone she can to do grunt work for her. I was warned about that when I took this job and, so far, have managed to stick to my own work. I will have to set the precedent all over again now that we’re sharing space. I don’t mind helping a coworker at all but she is the type who will ask you to sharpen her pencils for her (fortunately that happened to someone other than me). I think we’ll be fine once we settle in, it’s just a trying week here.
Unfortunately all of this has made me grumpy and I’m being snappy with friends instead of supportive. I usually am just honest with them but I don’t feel like I can be when I feel this way because I have a tendency to be more mean than honest. I just don’t have the energy to deal sometimes. I know, I’m a horrible friend. I try to be as supportive as I can but I often feel like I give more than I get and then I get tired of trying so hard. This is why I have so few friends now. And I avoid making new ones. I know I don’t have the capacity to be a good friend right now, I can’t even take care of myself. Most days I am just too worn down to care about myself so extending that to others just isn’t possible right now. I hope it will be someday though.
I’m looking forward to therapy Thursday. Not that it will be a necessarily positive session but a needed one. Truly, I probably need to go much more often than I do. The two nightmares I posted on here have been the absolute worst but it seems I’m having smaller scale nightmares most nights now and I’m exhausted. When I’m exhausted, I eat more and get even grumpier. I’m more emotional and snap easier. Like I just did with a friend on email. I read what he said and anger and disgust just overwhelmed me. I lashed out and hit send without thinking twice. Granted, when I feel this way, it often takes me hours to think twice.
I got stuck mid-week. I was at a point where I had processed my feelings about my mom but I didn’t know where to go from there. Is forgiveness the next step on the road to healing? I’m not sure it’s necessary as I don’t harbor ill will towards her. I don’t really know how to forgive. Maybe I already have without a conscious effort. Forgiveness is a problem for me regardless of whether it’s necessary in this instance. There are a lot of other things in my life that I need to forgive because I’m holding on tightly to the hurt.
I had a therapy appointment yesterday afternoon. We talked about the progress I’ve made with this issue and how it relates to so much of my life. Many people have hurt me in much the same way, it’s kind of a theme. And I don’t trust because of it. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. My therapist classifies it as a fear of abandonment. I’m not sure I feel that abandonment is the right word, maybe rejection is more accurate, but our time was up. She asked me to think about how I deal with this fear and how I should deal with it.
I know that I deal with it by typically leaving people before they can leave me. In more recent years, I simply don’t let people get close to begin with. I have a constant fear that my expectations will never be met, that people will always let me down. And so often, that’s exactly what happens.
It’s finally becoming clear that most of the problems in my marriage are mine. I fought to leave my husband for the first three years but I didn’t really have anywhere to go and he held on tight. I’m so grateful that he did. I still have my problems, and I still start a lot of fights, but it’s the only relationship in my life with any security. And yet, I fear if I was 100% honest with him, that he would leave. And I would deserve it.
I have been holding on to so much pain that I haven’t left room for anything else.
I wanted to write before today but I just had so much going on in my head that I couldn’t make sense of it. I had an appointment with my psychologist this morning and it was tough but it was great. It’s only been four sessions with this new one and I can tell we are going to make so much progress. Her approach is so much better suited to me! We talked about the things in my last post. She doesn’t know about the blog but she encourages me to journal. Those (things from my last post) were still the primary things on my mind and I was getting stuck. She helped me make more realizations and connections and start processing it. I was looking at my childhood and my grief (for my mother) as two separate things. Today we put them together. Accepting the past for what it was and feeling everything both negative and positive are essential to moving on and to grieving. They are part of the process. Putting my mother on a pedestal and refusing to have a negative thought about her prevented me from feeling anything but loss. Just because there were some negative things does not mean she was a bad mother. It does not mean that I did not love and respect her. It means she was human. And I am starting to understand a lot of the things she did and the way she treated me. It wasn’t always right, but none of us ever is all of the time.
We then connected how I feel about my childhood directly to how I feel about myself today and the struggles I face. Whoa! It seems so obvious now but I was clueless. And, as my therapist says, it will be a long hard road, but I can turn things around. I can still heal and change my future.
So this was meant to be a weight loss blog. And it still is, really! My problem has always been that I binge eat and emotionally eat to stuff my feelings down. Part of the problem is I couldn’t deal with the feelings but a large part of that was that I didn’t understand what I was feeling. It was like walking under a waterfall and having no idea where the water was coming from. Now I know. Look up! So I will. I will look up to heaven and I will look up to God and I will face the truth so that I can heal. And someday I will realize that I’m no longer under the waterfall. And throughout this process, dealing with my feelings will allow me to quit the compulsive eating altogether. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. In the meantime, I will try to feed my body the best I can and take care of it.
I recently finished reading a book my therapist loaned me called “When Food is Love” by Geneen Roth. The description from Amazon.com says “In this moving and intimate book, Geneen Roth…shows how dieting and emotional eating often become a substitute for intimacy. Drawing on her own painful personal experiences, as well as the candid stories of those she has helped in her seminars, Roth examines the crucial issues that surround emotional eating: need for control, dependency on melodrama, desire for what is forbidden, and the belief that one wrong move can mean catastrophe. She shows why many people overeat in an attempt to satisfy their emotional hunger, and why weight loss frequently just uncovers a new set of problems. But her welcome message is that change is possible. This book will help readers break destructive, self-perpetuating patterns and learn to satisfy all the hungers—physical and emotional—that make us human.”
I struggled a lot with the book because she bases this behavior on our past however I didhave a pretty good childhood and there was never any abuse. My therapist however believes that the behavior can also be learned from our parents or be from more subtle issues and that helped me to move on with the book. I can see the progression of my weight gain over the course of my life. As a child it was slow. We were brought up on horrible foods – everything came from a box or a can. The only emotional issue I dealt with prior to the teen years was that I was always competing for attention with my twin sister. I still feel like she received most of the attention and I have a reason for why although I’m not sure it’s a reason and that I’m not just making excuses for my parents. Then there were the rebellious years and I actually ate less from 15-18, probably due to getting attention from other activities, mostly negative attention as I stayed in trouble. I have never in my life thought of myself as the attention seeking type so this was a major realization. At 19-20, I lose my cousin, my aunt, my grandmother and my mother while my first marriage fails and I have an abortion. I was overwhelmed and I simply shut down. In the 10-11 years since then I have gained an average of 10 lbs per year. Over 100 lbs.
I didn’t struggle with mental illness until 2004 when I was diagnosed with depression. Since then, there’s been anxiety, bipolar, and talk of borderline personality disorder. I find it interesting that my weight gain did not speed up at this point. Before this point I lived as if I didn’t have a care in the world. In 1 year I managed to go from having it all to nothing. Literally nothing as my boyfriend at the time managed to get me an old chevy blazer, I had to go back to school and take a student loan to pay $290 a month for an apartment and get food stamps to feed myself. Maybe it did speed up and I just don’t remember well enough to see a difference. Actually, that’s probably very likely. My memory is shot.
Basically, I need to do 2 really big things. I need to deal with the feelings I have about my childhood. (And I have a particularly hard time with that because when my mother died I put her on a pedestal and have refused to even think a negative thought about her since.) I also need to grieve the losses I suffered that I never grieved for after I shut down in 2001.
I have to do these things in order to fix my life in the present. I will probably do a lot of writing here (so much for making this a less negative space!). A lot probably won’t make sense but I’ll do my best. I would like to be able to look back in the future and understand this myself.
It seems I was in an emotional tornado yesterday. I left and had a long phone conversation with my husband. We’re trying to work on things and we just don’t communicate very well. It really hurts us that we only have quality time together on the weekends. I went to my psychiatrist appointment nearly convinced we needed to add a medication but she saw things through a much clearer light. I’ve been dealing with a lot the last month and I still will for a few weeks. However, medication can’t change my current circumstances. If I focus on decreasing my stress and anxiety, I will get through this, and likely before a new medication would even have time to take full effect.
It also seems like I have a lot of break-throughs lately. They’re not necessarily earth-shattering by any means, more like “a-ha” moments that happen to have a big impact on my life. Yesterday I began to realize that I am so tightly wound and easily angered because I am anxious about money, food, etc. But I am obsessed with these things to the point of having multiple large spreadsheets for each. The part I have not figured out is this: am I obsessed because of my anxiety or anxious because of my obsession? It’s actually an important distinction if I’m going to try to make it stop.
There is one other thing I’ve been mulling lately but I thing it requires it’s own post. Let me do some more thinking on it over the weekend.