Weighty Matters

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Calmer and Less Compulsive

Behind me, in the kitchen, the pressure cooker is blowing its steamy, rhythmic whistle.  Inside is a stuffed artichoke that will be my dinner.  Do you like artichokes?  I love them.  My favorite preparation is to do a little mix of bread crumbs, garlic powder and grated parmesan and then spoon a little into the base of each leaf.  I think cook it in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes and take out a tender creation.  Leaf by leaf, I pluck it and scrape the veggie to the bottom.  Yum!

I’m a big fan of using the pressure cooker.  It cuts off so much cooking time for a variety of things.  Usually it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to steam or boil a whole artichoke.  15 minutes in the pressure cooker.  I’ve done stuffed pork chops that come out moist and tender also in 15 minutes — a third of the time.  Last week I cooked beets.  I’ve done short ribs that fell off the bone.  This method of cooking also packs in the moisture so foods don’t get dry and tough.

Anyway, if you’ve cooked in a pressure cooker and have a recipe to share, I’d love to read it!

On to the blog post topic.  Tomorrow is a week since I had the acupuncture treatment.  My next one is tomorrow.  I’ve been out of the boot since Sunday and my followup appointment with the foot doc is also tomorrow.  I can happily report that I have experienced tremendous reduction in pain in my left heel and tendon.  So the combination of the plasma rich platelet therapy and the acupuncture is definitely working.  I’m adding in the effects of acupuncture, even if I only had one treatment, because I also was treated for pain in my right knee and, wow, has there been a big, noticeable difference!  So, I’m definitely a believer in the effectiveness of acupuncture!

You probably recall that I also spoke to the practitioner about my eating disorder.  I cannot claim that the treatment has completely removed the compulsion this week, but there has definitely been improvement here, too.  I am not obsessing so much about food.  Food and eating are not constantly on my mind.  I’m able to put some distance between a trigger and action which give me a chance to not act on the trigger and eat.

Perfect?  No.  Much better?  Yes, for sure.  Overall, these improvements lead to me being much calmer about myself and my disease which is also greatly beneficial.  It makes me feel better and healthier overall when I don’t feel like the disease is controlling me or that I’m locked into a downward spiral of eating-eating-eating.   It’s not a miracle and I don’t expect a total fix.  However, if the acupuncture treatments continue to help, it gives me peace and the ability to follow the healthy food plan; the healthy course of action.

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Emotional or Physical Damage – Which is Worse?

The physical and emotional damage of having an eating disorder are both horrible.  They’re also tightly connected and the effects of one have a strong impact on the other.

Earlier today, I was on the phone with someone I’ve known since I was in college.  She too has battled an eating disorder for most of her life.  While I don’t see or talk to her often, when we do we know that each of us “gets” it.  We were catching up with each other today.  Her husband is battling cancer.  As his wife, helper, chief support system, she’s working very hard to keep herself on track too.  “I have too,” she said.  “If I get into the food, I can’t be present for him, for anybody.”

I talked about how I’ve been struggling with the compulsion but am in there fighting.  I shared the insight I had a few weeks ago about how when I first got down to this weight I was delighted and excited.  Now that I’m at this number because I gained some weight, I’m not happy about it.

She said that the self-hatred we experience when we’re in our disease is the worst aspect of having an eating disorder.  I agree.  Most people might eat too much ice cream, cake or potato chips and feel the physical discomfort of being too full or bloated or queasy.  Those of us with an eating disorder feel those things — with a heaping helping of self-directed anger, loathing, dismay, and sadness piled on top.

Then, all of those emotions erode our confidence and make us feel so terrible that we want to medicate and anesthetize the feelings.  Our drug of choice is food and the destructive ways in which we eat.  We rip into ourselves, call ourselves horrible things and treat ourselves with so little love and kindness.  Overeating or compulsive eating, combined with the emotional backlash really results in a harsh form of self-abuse.

It goes without saying that if we are stuck in this behavior for long periods of time, we create physical damage.  Pounds pack on.  We become obese and can trigger numerous co-morbidities.  Over time, carting around excess weight strains our body, damages our joints, stresses our organs, creates conditions that shorten our life-expectancy.

Right now, I’m still overweight, but far less so than before I had surgery.  I don’t have the co-morbidities of Type II diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure any more.  I’m more physically fit.  So, in truth, the physical effects of my eating disorder are less prevalent.  For now.  I am ever conscious that I can lose this state of grace.

Overall, I am much more damaged emotionally by the current struggle.  When I feel bad about myself, I want to eat more to bury the feelings.  That just makes everything even worse.  So, while I continue to work on refraining from eating compulsively, I also consciously focus attention on what I think and feel about myself.  Equal attention to both these aspects of my disease are the only way in which I can recover.

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Speak Your Truth

Every night for the last several nights I’ve said to myself that I wanted to write a blog post.  Then I’d get involved in something else for a few minutes, sit on the couch and end up nodding off.  Sorry about that.  I guess I’ve needed extra rest.

So tonight right after dinner I turned on the computer and resolved to write before I got involved in anything else!  My thoughts are revolving around the truism that we are only as sick as our secrets.  To that I say, yes, speak your truth.

I believe that we are more likely to talk about surface problems.  The run of the mill things that are more commonplace.  We’re more comfortable when we have an issue that we know is shared by many.  Other things — like in my case an eating disorder — we hold tightly within ourselves.  Perhaps we feel ashamed, or maybe we fear that people will think less of us if we “confess” that we have whatever deeper problem affects us.  Fear, shame, confusion, whatever the reason, we hide the truth within ourselves.  When we bury stuff deep inside, it can’t be brought out into the light.

If we don’t bring it up and talk about it; if we resist sharing these truths; we are left to suffer, and suffer alone.

The first night that I went to an OA meeting and said, “Hi, I’m Mary.  I’m a compulsive overeater, or binge eater, or something” turned out to be one of the most liberating, joyful nights ever.  I spoke my truth, kicked it out of the closet, and opened myself up to getting help.

Now, I don’t advocate sharing our selves with every single person in our respective universes.   It’s important to find the safe circle, to look for people who will understand.  If they don’t understand, at least it’s good if they are willing to listen without judgment.  The point is that staying silent and not going outside of ourselves to seek help, only keeps us locked in the affliction.

I was thinking about this again this week as I prepared for my first acupuncture appointment.  A good friend who has used acupuncture treatment for a variety of things was the one who first suggested I go for a referral about my heel/plantar’s fasciitis and my ongoing knee pain.  Even though I’ve seen doctors for both conditions, she reasoned that acupuncture could be a tremendous asset to the healing process and enhance my conditions, if not resolve them.

For many years, I’ve been open and interested in the body’s chi — our own internal energy.  I’ve seen mine develop and help through the practice of Tai Chi.  I know how effectively my massage therapist works with my energy to help during sessions.  So, I was definitely open minded about trying acupuncture.

My personality is such that I always want to do things right.  That includes any kind of medical examination.  You know when you go for an eye exam and the doctor is figuring out your vision numbers, he/she does a process of flipping between two options and asking which is better, option 1 or option 2?  Ever since I was a kid, that part of the exam has stressed me out.  I am so worried that I’ll pick the wrong answer.  Yes, the rational, adult part of my brain knows that there isn’t a wrong answer, but I never claimed to always think rationally!  (You want to see test-stress?  You should have seen me the days leading up to SAT day in high school.)

Anyway, knowing that I wanted to make the most of my acupuncture appointment (Doesn’t that sound better than do my appointment right?), I asked my friend if there was anything that I should do to prepare.  She advised me to review the physical issues I was experiencing so that I wouldn’t forget.  I asked her if she’d ever talked to the practitioner about the auricular acupuncture that’s reputed to be good for stress relief, quitting smoking, weight loss and other things.  She hasn’t but she said I should bring it up if I felt comfortable.

I thought about it and thought about it and decided that I was going to include it in the consultation conversation and speak my truth.  I’m a compulsive overeater/binge eater.  I’m having difficulty right now in abstaining from compulsive eating which means that, even if I’m not eating huge quantities, I am still eating compulsively and not sticking to my healthy choices.

So, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis-related knee pain, compulsive eating.  Check, check and check.

The practitioner and I had a great initial conversation about everything.  We then went into the treatment room for the first session.  I really liked her thoroughness, her manner, and her holistic approach.  She explained why the needles were being placed where they were.  She told me that after they were inserted, at some point during the session I might start to feel strange sensations, twinges, or some pains in various parts of my body as the areas where the energy was blocked began to open up.  When that happened, I should note it in my head, take some deep breaths and try to expand into the feeling rather than tense up and constrict if it was a little uncomfortable.

After encouraging me to relax, even fall asleep if I wanted, she left the room while the needles did their thing.  I know I fell asleep for part of the time period, but for most of it I was awake and relaxed.  I’m not sure how long into the session I’d gone before I started to feel a few things, but at no time was I uncomfortable.  Mostly I began to experience sort of a warming vibration… almost like my internal energy really was waking up and flowing better.  Different sensation but not unpleasant in the least.

When the session was over and she returned to remove the needles, I immediately noticed a reduction of pain in my right knee.  I think that was the most dramatic difference at the outset.  My left heel feels pretty much pain-free too, but it’s been improving over the days and the boot stabilization and cushioning assists with that too.  I think the real test for that part of my body will be this weekend when I can give up the boot for a few days and just walk around in sneakers.

I came home and ate the sensible dinner that I’d planned and I haven’t eaten anything compulsively since.  That could be me, or me enhanced by the treatment.  It’s too soon to tell, but you can bet that I’m paying attention and taking notes.

Taking notes is something that she asked me to do.  She wants to know what I experience and how I feel between now and the next treatment next Thursday.  It’s important to know not only in the first few days immediately following the acupuncture, but also, even more so, in the 4th-6th days after.  That will help her see how my body holds the positive effects over time.

Even though I don’t know at this point what the benefits – short term and long term – may be, I am so glad that I decided to speak my truth about my eating disorder and struggles.  If having acupuncture doesn’t help, it doesn’t help.  However, not bringing it up and not seeking treatment would mean that I never even gave it a chance.

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Taking Care

It is much easier for me to take care of other people than it is to take care of myself, or to let others help me take care.  I’m learning.  Okay, at least I’m trying to teach myself.  The whole boot experience is a good teaching aid.  Since it is physically more awkward for me to get around, it sort of forces me to not overdo.

Since I never asked the doctor why the boot is necessary, I’ve assumed it’s to stabilize and cushion the foot while the healing process progresses.  It could be all that and also the whole awkward-can’t-overdo thing too.

Today for example, I opted out of a lawn party benefit for a local shelter.  I wanted to go and then thought practically about the fact that there wasn’t going to be a lot of seating.  Knowing that, I assessed how I’d feel about standing for an hour at the minimum.  I didn’t feel too enthusiastic because I’ve discovered that standing for more than a few minutes gets uncomfortable.    Weighing everything I realized that if I really wanted to take care of myself during this time, I should stay home and limit my activities to things around the house.

I’d like to always be good about taking care of myself.   How many times have I circled around to this before?  Self-care is so hard to perform and maintain.

I do better externally.  I have manicures and pedicures.  My hair appointments are scheduled like clockwork.  I usually remember to get a facial every couple of months.  Lately, I’ve gotten massage therapy more regularly too.  Hey, it only took me a couple of months before I went to the doctor about the plantar fasciitis. ;-)

Unfortunately, the truly good self-care when it comes to my food plan and eating is not nearly as consistent as my manicures. I’ve improved when it comes to the quality of my food, but that whole compulsive behavior continues to be a tough challenge.  I’m not sure what need I’m feeding when I compulse, what owie think I’m taking care of.  Puzzling.  Upsetting. Annoying.

Tomorrow, all I can do is get up with do my best.  Resolve to be abstinent.  Take care of myself in ways that truly do represent actually taking care of myself.

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Food, Fat and Fitness Focus

Before I launch into the real topic, I just want to circle back and say that, yes, I got out on my boat yesterday!  The day was not without its challenges, like one of the two engines not wanting to stay running and then, when engaged, not wanting to kick up to full power.  However, at least the second engine ran great and, between the two, we were able to get to our destination.  It was a beautiful day so none of us truly minded that it took longer there and back.  Here are a couple of photographs from the day.

P1010117 Sea Fans & Parrotfish

SgtMajors

Now that I got in a good day of boating and snorkeling, I’m prepared to take care of my heel with that plasma rich platelet treatment and wearing the restrictive boot for the prescribed length of time.  Hopefully the treatment will accelerate the healing of my damaged tissues.  At the same time, my boat mechanic can work on fixing the engine.  See — bonus!

For today’s topic, I thought I’d talk about the overwhelming amount of emails, spam ads, and just plain internet exposure I see to all things having to do with diets, food, and getting in shape.  We seem to be a people in dire need of help.  It’s not like I don’t know that obesity is a prevailing health challenge; that it is the underlying cause of several other illnesses and health risks.  I get that.  For some reason, however, I am recently even more aware of the fact that this is all a huge business for a seemingly endless number of people and companies.

It’s like everybody wants a piece of the crisis, or a piece of addressing the crisis.  The ads that I see in the newspaper are often full papers in full color.  Wow, are those expensive.  Helping people lose weight is profitable.

If shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss didn’t score strong ratings with lots of viewers, they wouldn’t last on television, would they?

I wish they could all get on the same page for what works best and what is the healthiest plan to follow to lose weight and maintain weight loss.  It would certainly cut down on the information onslaught.  Perhaps I’d  be satisfied if we only achieved consensus on how much fruit in a day is too much.

It feels like we overcomplicate matters.  Why can’t it just be “eat fewer calories and exercise more consistently”?  Instead, it’s “eat fewer calories and make sure that they’re 30% this, 40% that, 20% this and 10% the other stuff” or “eat fewer calories but stay away from w, x, y, and z and eat all you want of a, b, c, & d” or some other plan.

I’m not sure why I’m so annoyed by this tonight.  I’d like to put out a strong reply to those numerous emails that I get practically every day and write letters to the editors of allllll the publications at the check-out lines of supermarkets.  the message is: Please stop trying to sell me a product or plan that only you provide.  Perhaps you can get all of your brains together and devise THE plan.  Even three plans to suit different ages and accompanying health-conditions, but that’s all.

I like the K.I.S.S. rule – Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.  It’s hard to maintain focus on food and fitness when our brains are besieged by an overabundance of info.

 

 

 

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Perspective and Attitude

When the scale was moving steadily down and I got to my current weight, I was over-the-moon delighted and excited.  I felt powerful, supercharged, able to take on the world and pursue any activity or adventure.  Oh, it was glorious!

All those wonderful, positive feelings really fueled me in the first couple of years.  Since I’ve had this long period of off and on struggle, I’ve noticed another way in which the situation and my disease messes with my head.

Me at this weight when on a losing trend felt strong in body, fit, healthy and beautiful.

Me coming back to this weight — really only a few pounds in the grand scheme of things – feels weak, out of shape, out of sorts and not attractive.

So which is the truth?  Which is the real Mary?

The one I choose.

This comes down to perspective and attitude.  Thank goodness I realize this, even when beset with diseased thinking.  Once more I make the choice to not be defined by my eating disorder and, furthermore, not permit that disorder to poison my self-esteem and self-view.

I’m not where I want to be, but I am still a whole lot better than I was.  I have challenges, but I keep making the effort.  It’s not great right now, but it’s not as bad as it was last week.  My attitude is definitely improving.

In other news, I had a follow up with the foot doctor today.  I have some improvement but not as much as I’d like.  There are times when I can walk more easily mixed with times when each step is uncomfortably tight in the tendon and sharply painful in the heel.

So, I’m continuing with the running sneaks.  Oh, how happy I was to at least find jazzy ones with purple and pink!  Hey, if I have to wear them all the time, I should have ones that make me smile, right?  I’m staying away from sandals, wearing the splint at night, and so on.  I flex on the steps to loosen my calves.  I might whine to myself about it a lot, but I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.  After meeting with the doctor today, I’m 95% sure that I’m going to proceed with the Plasma Rich Platelet injection therapy he recommends.  My health insurance policy covers it and the doctor is sure that it will speed and intensify the healing.

He would have done the therapy today but I put it off for a week.  The downside is that I have to wear a boot for a week to ten days after the shot.  That will drastically cut down on my mobility.  Next week I have a couple of things going on at work that definitely require me to be more mobile.  I can suck it up and deal with the pain in order to get those things accomplished.  Also, darn it, it’s supposed to be really nice this weekend and I am determined to go out on the boat.  I didn’t get out last weekend due to a slight problem with the engine but that should be fixed now.  I can’t imagine that I will be able to clamber on and off the boat when booted, so I’m taking this opportunity while I can.  I need that boon emotionally and I know that it will do me a world of good!

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Extended Funk Part Deux – and the “D” Word

First I want to say that you all are terrific and I am grateful for your concern.  I appreciate you checking on me. This funk and the food relapse have really taken hold and I’m having more trouble than I anticipated fighting my way through it all.

I haven’t wanted to post because it’s been difficult for me to face facts and talk about them, but my agreement with this blog, myself and everyone that reads it is that I don’t come here and post bullshit.  I’m not going to come and lie that all is great with sunshine, roses, and sparkles when all is not great.  This blog is my gut-check honesty place.    So, rather than lie, I emotionally isolated.

My relapse continues and it’s the worst it’s been since before my weight loss surgery.  I’ve gained weight, although I don’t know how much because I haven’t stepped on the scale.  I can feel it in my clothes and in the way my body feels.  More than the physical results, the emotional and mental effects are the worst.

I know I’ve said this all before and I’m like a broken record right now, but there isn’t anything original about binge eating disorder.  Relapsing sucks.  Feeling out of control messes me up in a myriad of ways.  I’m unhappy and that also has an impact in other areas of my life.    Also shared before is the chronic heel pain from which I’ve been suffering which severely limits my ability to exercise.  Not only do I not reap the physical benefits, but I’m lacking those uplifting endorphins.

At least I took positive action for that condition and saw a doctor last week.  I’d properly self-diagnosed the condition – plantar fasciitis.  I am now following the doctor’s instructions – wearing good sneakers, stretching to loosen the tight calves, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds, using a splint at night.  I am mostly following the no bare feet/no flip flops directive although that’s honestly the most challenging.  I hate wearing anything on my feet when I’m home.  However, he told me I can wear original Crocs so I truly am trying to be better about this too.  I want the condition to get better.  Constant pain is, well, a pain, and limiting the types of exercise I can do interferes with my recovery plans.

Yes, I do have recovery plans.  I can’t let all of my hard work and effort fall apart.  It is never too late to begin again, unless I’m dead, and good Lord willing, I’m not going to die anytime soon.

I need to go back on a diet.  The dreaded “D” word used to describe programs and methods of eating and making food choices to result in weight loss.  That runs counter to a lot of my accepted knowledge about having an eating disorder and being in recovery.  Heck, it runs counter to a lot of popular medically-influenced thought these days.

On the other hand, it can also mean, to me, an actual plan that embraces healthy food choices  with frood eaten in planned-for, structured, non-binging, non-compulsive ways.  That’s the kind of diet I need.

However, I also know that, as much as I hate admitting it, I need that validation of seeing pounds come off of my body, seeing the number go down on the scale.  Sure, keeping to my food plan of healthy eating and abstaining from compulsion should be enough positive reinforcement and engender the feel-good spirit and emotions that keep the abstinence rolling.  But, I’m human.  At least in the beginning, if I see that I’m losing weight again, I will feel better.  I am less likely to then engage in attacking myself with ugly thoughts, angry labels, and shame-inducing negative comments about my weak character.

So, here I go again, my friends.  Once more into the breach.  This really is a never-ending journey, an eternal process and, to be honest, a constant effing struggle.

It isn’t easy and never will be.  However, it is always and absolutely worth it.

Thanks for hanging in with me.  How are all of you doing?

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Extended Funk

Man, oh man, when I get into a funk about my eating disorder, I really get into a funk.  I stopped wallowing in self-pity but could not shake a number of other negative emotions and behavior.  I went from depressed to disgusted with myself.  That’s where I’ve been, saying all kinds of mean things to myself about myself.

I would never be so mean to someone else.  If I was, I’d consider the someone else totally within their rights to bitch slap me.

So, because I’ve been calling myself names and castigating myself for being a weak-willed, lying, denying, fat slob idiot, I’ve been doing my level best to manifest those traits with my eating.  Nothing like negatively reinforcing bad self-directed behavior.

This all began to, naturally, effect my self-esteem and confidence.  It’s the same old vicious cycle.  I began to doubt my physical abilities.  I also instantly started viewing my image in the mirror with “fat eyes” in which I no longer see my real body but an inflated, swelled, fatter one.

Today my emotions began to shift back to reality.  I can’t claim that a switch got flipped or anything so automatic, but a combination of things came together and I began to change back to a healthier mindset.

I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I know a couple of the factors that I think have helped turn the tide.

I’ve gotten on top of the heel pain so every step I take no longer causes me to flinch and wince.  I am much more inclined to be active.

A couple of things that were stressing me out at work were resolved and I was able to get more caught up.

I got a truly terrific share of organic produce.  I ordered a larger share than I normally do just because doing so meant I received celery root.  I love steaming and mashing celery root but my local supermarket rarely carries this particular veggie delight.  So, I got excited about cooking and consuming something healthy that I love to eat.

A friend and I planned a paddle boarding adventure.  I’ve been wanting to try the activity again so we finally scheduled it for Saturday afternoon.  I had a bunch of trepidation at first because we weren’t climbing onto the boards from the shore.  Instead we were in a private area at her condo and would have to clamber up and down a dock ladder to get on and off of the boards.  Remember, that in my mind’s eye, I’ve been a cow the last few weeks so I experienced a return of the “you’re too fat to do this” false fear for everything from handling the ladder to staying on the board, etc.

It was a huge boost for me to handle the activity and provide ample evidence that I’m not “too fat”.   We practiced for about an hour and that was enough.  Once I’m on the board, I’m sort of nervous about moving my feet and throwing off my balance.  Unfortunately, this resulted in my feet cramping up and beginning to hurt.  So, even though I was successful with the whole adventure, I’m not sure it’s something that I want to frequently do or try for extended periods of time.  All in all, I prefer kayaking.  However, the important thing is that I challenged myself and succeeded.  It was a booyah moment.

Oh, and earlier in the day I’d gotten out on my bike for a nice 10 miles ride which also contributed evidence to my still-existing physical fitness.

Friends and I were hoping to go out on my boat on Sunday, but a persistent high wind deep-sixed that plan.  Instead, I invited them to come over and hang out on the porch and by the pool.  With that plan in place, my thoughts returned to the produce I still had from the organics share.  I Googled eggplant-zuccini salad and found several yummy-sounding recipes.

Oh, the scrumptiousness!  I roasted eggplant, zuccini, red onion, and baby sweet colorful peppers, tossed in a little bit of olive oil and herbs from my garden.  When they were done and cool, I mixed them with drained chick peas, crunchy raw celery, feta cheese and sherry vinegar.  The resulting dish was absolutely delicious!

I derived a lot of happiness from making something healthy and delish for myself and my friends.  Seriously, I felt my mood elevate.  We had a really nice, relaxing afternoon.

There might be other things, but these are the key mood-shapers that came together.  My spirit has been much lighter today.  I even dared to go to the local clothing store to see if there were a couple of nice tops/blouses that I could buy to rev up my wardrobe.  I have a trip to see family and go to my high school reunion in a couple of weeks, followed immediately by a conference that I love to attend every year.

I had been dreading trying on current clothes, positive that I’d blown up in size and nothing would fit.  Obviously, finding out that my clothes fit fine helped me counter the F.alse E.vidence A.ppearing R.eal.  I did find a couple of new garments that I know I will enjoy wearing.  I came home and further gave myself a boost by making some more progress with the ongoing decluttering project.  Then I made a tasty, and healthy dinner for myself with grilled chicken, some of that roasted veggie salad, and a skewer of grilled pineapple and watermelon.

I’m waiting for the sun to go down a little more and then Nat, Pyxi and I are going for a walk.  A little last exercise for the day will only serve to help maintain the upswing.

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Wallowing

A good friend called me last night because she hadn’t seen me post anything to this blog since I talked about the car accident.  Every night over the last week I’ve meant to write a post, but I always found a reason not to.

Her sweet, loving concern gave me a wake up call.  I realized that I’ve been wallowing for the last week.  First there was the accident.  Even though I wasn’t seriously injured and I was mostly incredibly grateful and seeing the bright side, I experienced some residual emotions while my body gradually got over the twinges and soreness.  My energy level was much lower than normal for several days, which was probably from the combination of physical stress to my body and the emotional drain.  This rolled into Mothers Day which, frankly, is never a great day for me since I am not a mom and I always miss my mom a lot, particularly on this day.  To cap off that already difficult time, I dropped an empty bottle on my foot and cut my toe.  The wound didn’t need stitches and, thankfully, no bones broke, but it hurt like the devil – particularly if I wore close toed shoes or sneakers.

I believe I’ve mentioned that, in addition to getting the injections in my knee, I’ve been suffering from plantar fasciitis in my left heel.  It has hurt to walk for six weeks.  Frequently in that same time period, the heel has hurt even when I just have the slightest pressure on it when lying in bed.  Between the knee injections and the heel pain, I haven’t been able to do Tai Chi and taking the dogs for our twice daily walks has been torturous.

Monday rolled around and I got the less-than-pleasing news that it will probably take at least a month before my car is repaired.  Yes, I have my older SUV, for which I’m incredibly grateful, but given my already less-than-stellar mood, the thought of this dragging on for four weeks just compounded things.

So, blah blah blah.  Whine whine whine.  Bitch bitch bitch.  Wallow wallow wallow.

You know, I don’t like to be around people who are negative and who complain a lot.  Pity parties are not my idea of fun… particularly when I’m the hostess.  Self-pity brings out the worst in me.  First off, it’s a miserable energy state in which to exist and then, it’s a giant food and eating trigger.  It doesn’t matter how much I tell myself that it is impossible to eat away the sadness or truly use food to smother any feeling, this is, unfortunately, my go-to response.  When my positive personality and attitude take a dive, I mistakenly think that food will buoy me back up.

When I’m wallowing, I also have to cop to a certain amount of “f*#k it” in my attitude, like I don’t care.

That’s bull of course.  I do care.  Even when I snack and then get upset with myself for eating off the plan, I still care.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time effectively using the caring to alter the poor behavior in that moment.

Since I’m not willing to chuck it all, give up on myself and eat my way into oblivion, it’s seriously past time for last-call at this pity party.  There honestly is no payoff for me to allow it to continue.  Tonight I’m putting a time limit on the wallow.  I have dinner plans with a friend for tomorrow night and I’m heading into a weekend.  So, I’m basically telling myself to suck it up and move on.

I have too much good in my life with endless potential for more.  There is no more space on my calendar for being a downer in my own life any longer.

 

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Perspective After an Accident

My day started with a car accident.  I’m okay, or at least not seriously injured.  I have some whiplash and twinges in my lower back, but some soreness in my shoulders and arm.  I went to the ER where they took x-rays so nothing more serious showed up.

I was very lucky.  I was slowing down to a stop because of a red light.  Unfortunately, a truck in back of me was not timely in his own slowing down process.  Once he noticed that the light was red and cars in front of him were stopping, he hit his brakes, but ran out of room and hit my car in the back.  Again, I was lucky because he didn’t hit me at full speed.  I was also far enough behind the truck in front of me that I wasn’t knocked into him.  My car is fixable.  The other driver is also insured.  My insurance company is already all over it and my car was towed to the local body shop.  Fortunately, the local body shop happens to be very good at their job, since we don’t have a large choice of establishments from which to choose.

Right after the impact, I knew that I was sore.  What surprised me was how shaken up I was after the accident.  My hands trembled and I had to force myself to focus on calling the sheriff’s department, locating my insurance info and registration and just thinking about what I should do, who else I should call.  The EMTs came and I couldn’t make up my mind whether to let them strap me on a back board and transport me to the hospital or whether I could take myself there after finished with the police.  Thank goodness for the deputy who kept checking on me.  When I apologized for being shaky and weepy, she looked at me and told me I had every right to be after getting hit from behind.  That little bit of affirmation and validation helped a lot.

Where I live, we only have one main road.  It was no surprise to me to soon get a text from a friend and co-worker who’d passed the scene on her way to work and wanted to make sure I was okay.  She would have stopped but it was a busy intersection at the time.  I texted work.  Before the highway patrol was even finished checking out the situation, getting everyone’s info and writing up the report, my top boss and friend arrived to provide a ride to the ER and moral support.  The tow truck driver is also a friend of mine and he was able to tell me exactly where he should transport my car to get fixed.

At the hospital, the manager to whom I directly report showed up after her own doctor’s appointment to see if she could be of any help.  Others were texting the boss to see what they could do.

All told, I wasn’t at the hospital very long and, after a quick trip to the pharmacy for my meds, I was home, resting on the sofa, and answering texts of other friends at work expressing their gratitude that I wasn’t badly hurt and asking if there was anything that I needed.

I spent the afternoon with ice packs, puppy cuddles, and a nap… followed by some serious reflection.  I know that in times of trouble, friends reach out to assist each other.  I’m the same way to my friends.  But today, tonight, experiencing the outpouring of love and support from my friends and work family is really hitting home and filling me with great gratitude.  (We do consider ourselves family at work, in case I haven’t mentioned that before.)

Maybe it’s because I’m older, single, and live far away from my blood family.  I don’t know, but all of the kindness truly resonates.  So, on a night when I could be grousing and grumpy over the inconvenience of an accident and the residual aches and soreness, what I feel most is happy, humble, and blessed.

My heart is full and that fullness comes out in a smile.

 

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