Weighty Matters

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Compulsion Grip

on June 21, 2014

I wish I could come here today and say that I’ve missed blogging for a few days because I’ve been super busy, but that would be a lie. I’ve been avoiding blogging for several reasons, none of which are good. I’m weary in my spirit, in turmoil with my emotions, and locked in the grip of compulsive eating. Unfortunately, when I eat compulsively, I don’t choose celery or lettuce. Instead, I’ve been diving into chocolate, but if chocolate isn’t available, I find other stuff to eat. And eat. And eat some more of. Although the compulsion occurs with small servings, it’s all relative and even small bites can add up to damage when they occur over time.

A couple of days before I left for my recent trip, I went through a bad, emotional time, centered around one of my community involvements. My service with this particular organization had been weighing heavily on me for sometime. I increasingly felt more stress and anxiety and I’d lost my passion and energy for it. No fault of the organization. It’s great and fills an important need. This was all on me. However, I firmly believe that when this happens, it’s time to step away not only for my own good but, ultimately, for that of the organization. Things kind of came to a head the night before my trip and I woke up knowing that I needed to make the break, so I did. While surprised, most of my colleagues wrote understanding, supportive emails. Unfortunately, one friend was/is very upset and angry with me. She expressed hurt over my lack of trust that I didn’t come to her first and discuss it with her. Emotions ran high with both of us and, in short, it got very messy. Unfortunately, I believe our friendship is a casualty in my decision to do something that was meant to be a health choice for me.

That’s the background. I’m working my way through the emotions, but here’s the thing about a compulsive eating disease. Once I engage in the behavior and fall into relapse, it’s really difficult to put on the brakes. I’ve talked about that before and don’t want to engage in whining, but it’s my statement of fact today. I imagine it’s not all that different than an alcoholic who falls off of the wagon. Once in the grip of compulsion, the compulsion rules.

Even if mentally I tell myself to not start or, if started, to stop . . . even if I have the best intention, when my disease takes hold, the physical act of eating overrides everything else. I have to say that it really, truly sucks.

So right now, in addition to feeling all of the residual emotional upset from the situation I was in, I have piled on the dismay, disgust, depression and dis-ease of being in the compulsion. Oh, and there’s also the physical discomfort of eating undesirable food in less-than-healthy amounts. One small chocolate as a treat isn’t bad. Eating a series of them, even stretched out over hours, results in queasiness.

I would like nothing more than to curl up in my bed, under the covers, and cry for an hour or two.

Instead, I’m here in front of the computer screen, sharing my status regardless of how pitiful it makes me appear. I’m fighting the “stinking thinking” that tells me I’ve blown it. I’ve blown everything. I’m never going to be able to stop eating and will gain all of my weight back, cripple myself and die early.

Yes, my “stinking thinking” can be incredibly dramatic. So, I blog and remind myself that relapse does not have to be forever. I’ve gone through some messed-up days, veered far from my appropriate food plan, and not attended to my regular exercise routine, BUT and, yes, that deserves to be a big BUT, a few messed-up days do not mean my entire effort is blown. I am not doomed.

I may not be able to change how my friend feels about my choices. I can, however, break out of the grip of compulsion and stop the relapse behavior. I can build acceptance and find serenity. I can treat myself with compassion, practice good self-care, undo whatever weight gain damage I’ve done, and move on.

I just caught myself thinking, “Oh Jesus, Mary. You’re writing about this again?? These people don’t want to read about this same problem, same old struggle another time.” Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. The point is that this is my journey and the blog is a tool to help me along the way. The eating disorder, the damned compulsive disease, is always part of me. There are always going to be times when I struggle to stay on track, and there will be times when I fall off. Not blogging about it, not forcing myself to confront and think about my issues and actions, doesn’t help. In fact, not blogging helps me creep into the denial stage. It does me no good to ignore what I’m doing. In fact, ignoring is the worst thing that I can do.

So I’m not. I’m not going to cower under the covers and cry either.

Onward and upward.

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4 responses to “Compulsion Grip

  1. Lynn Viehl says:

    We all stumble and slip and back slide. The toughest part in this is seeing it for what it is, accepting that it happened and moving on in the right direction — and not as if nothing happened, but with the knowledge that it did and it’s a marker for that moment. Just that moment, though, not the rest of your life.

    It’s also tough to be mindful and have the courage to shed things and people that have become obstacles or burdens for you. It’s hard to let go and see that as a good thing. But there is just so much you can carry with you, and if something is dragging you down or yanking you backward while you’re trying to move forward, holding onto it makes no sense.

  2. hoperoth says:

    I’m happy to read about *this* if it helps you to process what happened and move on. 🙂

    Relapse sucks, but the way that you are able to handle it and then get back to the program means that you’ve made the lasting changes that you needed to make. Nobody can be perfect 100% of the times. It’s what you do after a slip-up that counts.

  3. pinkpelican says:

    You can write about *this* and anything else you want and/or need to write about, however often and whenever. We are here to support you, just as you support us. Sometimes it’s kind of nice to know that we aren’t all alone and isolated in the travails we experience, especially if it’s a “same old same old”.

    Compulsion & emotion are not rational; if they were, it would be so much easier to deal with them and overcome them. You do the best you can to cope, to divert, to distract, to overcome, and just know that I believe in you and that you will come through this. Many hugs on that.

    And I’m sorry a friendship appears to have become a casualty. It sounds to me as if you made the right decisions – first, putting your health & well-being at center stage, and second, making the hard choice of actively doing what needed to be done to improve & maintain your health & well being. Certainly, your friend was entitled to her emotional response, and sometimes there’s just no good way to resolve these issues. It’s very hard when you do the things you think are necessary, and things still go sideways.

    All I can say to that is, it hurts now, but the hurt will ease with time, will heal. Maybe someday your friendship might be revived, but if not, then it was not meant to be, I suppose. There’s really nothing to be said that makes it easier to bear right now, but you did what you thought was best, and what you needed to do, and that’s the most important thing right now.

    Many hugs, and I hope you find comfort and peace sooner than later. In the meantime, again, you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I believe you will move past this in due course, stronger and healthier than before.

  4. Cathy M says:

    I’m glad to see you’re back on your blog and that you haven’t let this setback destroy your desire to lead a healthy life. We all have have times when we don’t live up to our own expectations, but accepting this doesn’t mean all is lost. I think your attitude of refocusing your efforts will turn a big negative experience into a teaching moment for yourself. If you had suffered a broken leg and couldn’t exercise, you wouldn’t berate yourself. You had an emotional experience that broke the momentum of your progress, but it sounds like you’ve examined the situation and found a path to healthier thinking. That’s excellent emotional first aid.

    From what you’ve written, it sounds like the person so angry with your decision to leave the organization is more concerned with her feelings, rather than seeing that your decision was made for your own emotional health and well being. If she can’t see beyond her own feelings, perhaps you’re better off keeping her at a distance.

    Congratulations on restarting your forward progress.

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