On a Downward Spiral

You know that feeling when you can start to feel that your entire life is crashing down around you and you are at the beginning of a relapse? Yeah, me too. I’m there right now and it is the worst feeling in the world. I feel like a complete and utter failure and I want to die. Feeling this way gets so old. I’ve spent my entire life in therapy and on medication and going to Weight Watchers meetings and doing everything in my power to try to quash this demon, but it is ever present. Unfortunately, I know by now that this monster is just a part of my life that won’t be going anywhere. Attempting to live a relatively normal life takes every ounce of strength and energy I have and leaves none for being able to go above and beyond and/or really be able to succeed at anything. I’ve been considering checking myself in somewhere for help, but can’t afford to take any time off work, so, it’s just not a possibility. If I were to go try to get help to try to make it so I didn’t want to kill myself anymore, I would just end up in a deeper hole and still want to die anyway. Such is life.

So, life will go on like usual. I will bundle up and walk to work this morning. I’ll walk into the nursery and I’ll put a smile on my face and pretend like everything is fine. I will leave there and go to my Weight Watchers meeting. I will step on the scale and see this week’s damage and either pretend like I’m ok or just sit quietly and observe. Then I’ll probably come home and eat more cereal than any human being should ever eat. Because that’s just how I roll. God help me.

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Tidal Waves

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Often I feel trapped, as if there is nowhere to run, no way to escape the constant chaos in my mind. Most of the time I deal with it just fine, or at least the best I can. Other times… it comes in tidal waves and drowns me.

When my mom died suddenly when I was 17, my entire world fell apart. Any small shred of security I had ever felt in my life was snatched away in an instant. It is true that many people have no idea what to say to those who have experienced great loss. One thing I remember people saying periodically that was particularly hurtful was something along the lines of, “I don’t know how you do it. I wouldn’t be able to survive if I lost my mom.” I wanted to scream at them and tell them how extremely wrong their assumption was. I wanted to tell them that, as much as they may not have wanted to, they most certainly would survive, which is infinitely more painful than the alternative.

Chances are, just because a cherished loved one’s journey has come to an end doesn’t mean our story is over too. Whether or not we like it, whether or not we’re ready, it is the beginning of a new chapter of our lives- life without them.

There I go getting off topic again. I didn’t really mean for this to be another post about losing my mom. Let’s get back to the topic at hand- feeling completely overwhelmed with emotion and hectored by anxiety and self-loathing. Many of us live with these things every day. For whatever reason, those of us who struggle with these issues are constantly telling ourselves that we are inferior. In reality, we are fighters. We are taking metaphorical sucker punches left and right, day in and day out and, more often than not, remain standing. We are not failures. Do not believe the lies you tell yourself. We are hardcore bad asses indeed.

Boo-Hoo

Ever since I was a child, I have felt completely and totally worthless. I have never been able to see or accept any of my redeeming qualities, personality-wise or physically. I have failed at each and every endeavor on which I have ever embarked. I have never had a real career. I have never had a lasting relationship. I am so far from being a normal, successful person that I’m pretty sure I can’t even see its shore.

Recently I started seeing a counselor again (the excitement just never ends). Throughout our session I mentioned multiple times that my self-loathing is completely out of control… that I’ve never felt like a human being but always like a monster of sorts… that these things are impeding my quality of life. As I was about to leave, she said, “It sounds to me like you just need someone to talk to – a place to come vent.” Sure, lady. Nearly every moment of every day I want to die and have to talk myself out of it, but, yeah, I just need a place to come vent. Sheesh.

Rebirth

AliveLately I’ve felt alive for what feels like the first time. I want to do things I’ve never done before. I want to run, jump, dance, climb, skate. I want to drive again. I want to go hiking in beautiful wilderness. I want to travel and ride horses and feel the ocean splash against my face. I want to lie underneath a blanket of stars. I want to write poetry again. I want to do all of these fantastic things and so, so much more… and I will! Who’s coming with me? 🙂

I Am Less Than Half My Former Self

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Life is a crazy roller coaster, isn’t it? I have lost 240 pounds from my highest weight by following the Weight Watchers SmartPoints plan. This crazy journey will never end, honestly, as I am and always will be a food addict. The important part is that I am in recovery and I am currently kicking this thing’s butt!

Yesterday I went shopping for a pair of jean shorts. I went to the plus size section and there was only one pair of size 18. I tried them on and they were super short and therefore uncomfortable to me. I was bummed and ready to leave and then decided to take a peek in the “normal” size section. They had a bunch of size 18’s in different styles and colors. I ended up getting a really cute pair of Mossimo ones that cost a few bucks less than the generic nearly Daisy Duke-esque pair I had tried on before.

When I was in elementary school a lady from church used to make my mom’s and my clothes for us for a few years. I don’t recall exactly when that stopped happening. When we started to buy clothes toward the end of grade school it was from the plus section. Therefore, yesterday I shopped for myself in the “normal” sized clothing section for the first time in my life. It is a truly amazing feeling!

Earlier this evening I posted the above comparison pic on a couple of WW groups on Facebook. I received so much love and support and then there was one lady who was very insistent that my before and current pictures are of 2 different ladies.  She said that in the first picture I have a tiny nose and straight teeth and in the current pic I have a big, long nose and crooked teeth. I got such a good laugh out of her comments (no joke). I think it is so wonderfully fantastic that my accomplishment is so incredible to her that she just can’t believe it!

A lot of people asked 2 main questions about my journey, the first of which being how long it has taken me to loose 240 pounds. This is a tricky one to answer as this truly has been a lifelong journey for me in every sense of the word. I’ve lost and re-gained so many hundreds of pounds throughout my life that I lost count a long time ago. This time around I have lost 146 pounds since I re-joined WW last July after my most recent relapse where I had regained around 130 pounds. This is the closest I have ever come to being thin, and I have zero doubt that I will make it all the way this time. I know there will be future relapses, but I also am confident that they will have much less impact than in times past.

Of course, the other thing people want to know is if I have any good tips. The only tips I have are pretty simple. Track everything you eat, every day. If you bite it, write it.

Be kind to yourself. I tend to be a very caring and nurturing person towards others but unbelievably hard on myself. I’ve spent much of my life trying to take care of everyone else and now I am realizing that the only way any of us can efficiently do that is if we are taking care of ourselves.

One of the most important things for me is to constantly fight against all-or-nothing thinking. I have to always remind myself that each and every decision we make pertaining to this journey is important. Every bite that we do or do not take matters and is going to make a difference one way or another. If you accidentally drop a few eggs on the floor, are you going to toss the rest of them on the floor too? No way. That is essentially what we are doing when, say, we make some not very good food choices and then give in and decide to eat everything we want afterward.

Last but not least, my most important little nugget of advice is always to never, ever give up! We owe it to ourselves to do this. We deserve to be healthy. We deserve to be able to do all of the little, basic things that most people take for granted. We deserve to be able to walk into any clothing store and grab something off the rack. And, no matter what size we are, we deserve to walk with our heads held high among all of the other people who help make up the rich, beautiful tapestry we call humanity. Each and every one of us has struggles we deal with every day, some just happen to be a lot more visible than others.

 

See Yourself Through My Eyes for a Moment

Last night a friend of mine mentioned he was feeling suicidal. The first thought that came to my mind was, “Don’t you dare even think about taking my new friend away!”

The thought process that followed was an epiphany of sorts. I started thinking about the things he may have been lamenting. I know he struggles with health issues and addiction, but those are just tiny slivers of who he is. He is also smart, funny, talented, etc. Then it dawned on me… these are probably the same thoughts the people who care about me think when I am wanting to end it all.

I am going to think about that the next time I am the one trying to claw my way out of despair. I am so much more than all of my faults and there are a lot of people who think I am a pretty awesome chick. So, friend, the next time you’re lost in the darkness, keep in mind that you are so much more than you even know.

Grief Roller-Coaster

Tonight I am angry. Right now is one of those times that I just can’t understand why I never got to be a mother and it is ticking me off. I don’t get why I always have wanted children of my own so much if that is not meant to be a part of my life. In a little over a week, I will be turning thirty-five. I feel that this is the stage of my life where I need to give up on that dream and learn to accept it… and, I will, eventually. But for right here, right now? I’m going to let myself ride the roller-coaster of emotions that is grief, and that’s ok.