Food and emotion for me tend to go hand in hand.
In the past I used restriction and over-exercise to mask pretty much any uncomfortable feeling that would arise; for example if my mom and I were fighting, or she said something that hurt me, that just meant an extra few miles on the treadmill and that the Rita’s Italian Ice Ryan asked for was completely out of the question.
Her comments or the argument we may have had had absolutely nothing to do with nutrition or the gym, but for some reason the latter two things were easier for me to handle.
Well things have changed.
Cutting my intake isn’t an option because I don’t have the “willpower” to be THAT hungry anymore.
Running isn’t in the cards because anytime I go over a certain mile an hour my heart starts to hurt.
I no longer have the capability to utilize these coping mechanisms that were almost as natural to me as breathing.
I knew Ryan being away would be difficult…it always is, but this time was the worst.
Because my body doesn’t tolerate the old abuse, that means all sorts of feelings come up that cannot be suppressed, and as I hate to admit this, but I have trouble handling them on my own.
I was lonely and mad…actually resentful of my husband…because all my friends were busy and I was home alone.
I was sad because he would send videos and it made me miss him, my brother-in-law and the memories we have from past experiences on trips all together.
And I just felt downright terrible about myself because my legs were swollen, I have these ridiculous headaches and my stomach felt like it was expanding by the second.
On Friday I started to panic because I literally had NO plans for the next two days other than cleaning, which if you know me at all is probably my least favorite activity on the planet.
I became pretty darn miserable after lunch at work because I ruminatred about the impending boredom and increasing negative thoughts I “knew” were inevitable.
When I got home I decided a nap was first on my agenda and pathetically hoped by some miracle I could just sleep the next few days away so I could avoid the little rain cloud that was over my head like in those old Winne the Pooh cartoons (please tell me someone else remembers that!)
But when I woke an hour later, made dinner and started doing my chores I got an idea.
I busted out my old craft kit and bedazzled some sunglasses.
Sounds really weird, but sparkly gems can improve anyone’s mood.
Then I spent time with my sister.
Then I organized the pantry.
Nothing completely exhilarating for a Friday evening but it kept me entertained and from wallowing in self-pity.
Saturday started much like the previous day, where I woke up on the wrong side of the bed; absolutely miserable because all my friends had plans, my husband was camping in the most beautiful scenery in America and there was an event in Philly I really wanted to attend but knew it wasn’t the safest idea to go alone.
After completing a few of my chores, my walk and having lunch, I really couldn’t take it anymore.
I was making things worse by dwelling on my unhappiness.
Again I turned to occupying my mind and hands by doing a craft, went to the library to pick out a new book, enjoyed the weather outside with my dogs, cleaned the refrigerator, and called a friend.
This helped a little but the ED negativity just kept creeping in and trying to make me feel horrible.
Later that night, as the anger and sadness started to increase, AGAIN, I flipped through my Facebook and Twitter and noticed there was a DJ at a local restaurant/bar. Coincidently a few of my friends were going as part of a bachelorette celebration and invited me to go along.
At this point it was 9 PM, I was in my Lulu’s in front of the TV, and was already in stage 2 of self-pity mode.
Normally my brain would have said NO! “They would have asked you earlier if they really wanted you to be there, you don’t have anything to wear that will hide those disgusting legs…”
Thank gosh the healthy voice interjected and convinced me to do a quick change, swipe on a little blush, run the flat-iron over my hair and get my butt off the couch because I had an amazing time.
I was surrounded by people I love, doing an activity I love, and realized that I once again, had catastrophized the weekend and made it much worse than it really needed to be.
If I had started my Friday with a positive outlook…hello it is only ONE weekend, only TWO days where you don’t have a ton of exciting things lined up…then I would have been much better at decreasing the intensity of the “sick” thoughts, and been able to appreciate that regardless of Ryan being gone I still live with my sister, who did her best to cheer me up, have three dogs that unconditionally express affection and want to cuddle at all times, and that my hunger and lack of ability to run, are my body’s way of HELPING my recovery.
It is very difficult to focus on those things; the blessings I have in life, when my mind is consumed with being so negative.
I know I have discussed this before, so it is nothing new here, but I absolutely create a lot of my own struggle.
Being a pessimist breads more cynicism, but when I decided to be proactive and implement the coping strategies that help instil a better attitude, the weekend I dreaded, turned out to be pretty awesome.
Moral of the story: YOU have the power to change things; attitude, circumstances, health, etc.
You may not have control over everything in life, which is a lesson I am still trying to embrace myself, but there are certain aspects you can influence, and I am going to try to remember that as I progress in this journey, because it makes it much, MUCH, easier.
Happy Monday, Friends!