Sunday, September 30, 2012
The rent bill arrived Friday night. When I did my forecast of funds for the next two weeks, I was stunned to see that, after all of the bills are paid, I will be in the hole about $16. No groceries for two weeks, no nothing else. My finances are a mess and I can only blame myself. That is a huge admission for me, but I am not prepared to share the details.
I did nothing yesterday and nothing today. Depressed. Stressed. Scared. Full of loathing and self-hate. My BF is in a 12 step program, so I stumbled into the Overeaters Anonymous website today. I had forgotten about it. I am not sure that that's the right thing for me, but I am willing to explore the possibilities. I found an OA team here on SP and joined it today.
Make an inventory of your compulsive eating history. Look at your self destructive eating and any attempts you have made to avoid obesity... failed diets, exercise, etc.
To characterize my food issues as “compulsive” inaccurately simplifies my very complex relationship with food. Yes, there are elements of compulsion, but there is far more than that. Couple that with a lifelong aversion to exercise and it’s not hard to see why I am morbidly obese.
First: the history. I learned to walk when I was about 4 and spent most of my childhood wearing a leg brace and/or having physical therapy. When I was not wearing a brace, I had orthopedic shoes. Ugly things. Mother’s favorite form of punishment for me was to withhold food. Most days, I did not have 3 meals. I remember once, for some by now long-forgotten misdeed, she gave me the choice of a spanking by my stepfather or missing dinner. I chose the spanking even though he certainly knew how to make a belt hurt. As it turned out, I received both punishments.
More than once, I got up in the middle of the night and stole food from the kitchen. I was not allowed to leave my room without permission, ever, let alone go into the kitchen. I was caught a few times. The food I stole became my breakfast and my lunch for the next day. Often, it was a peanut butter sandwich. Once, it was a handful of candy bars (those I had to forfeit). I stole some gum or candy from the store when I was in second grade and had to go back that night with my stepfather and make amends. I mooched food from schoolmates and, more than once, took change when I found it so I could buy food.
I went to live with my dad and, for the first time in my life, I had 3 meals a day and, sometimes, dessert. When I came to live with Dad, I was 63 pounds and 4 foot 6 inches. By the end of the summer, I was about 83 pounds. Many years later, I realized that was probably the only time I was at a “healthy” weight. I was sent to a girls boarding school and the eating continued. My schoolmates joked that I was the human garbage can because I cleared my plate and theirs. We weren’t allowed to have food in the dorm, but most of us did. I had a footlocker and hid my peanut butter, crackers and pickles. I could put it away! I ate because I could not do the things the other girls did, because I was embarrassed about having to crawl for physical therapy, for wearing a leg brace, for the nicknames and my own emotional baggage. I tried to cut back on food. I did a no carb diet one school year, long before that was a popular diet, I encountered diet drinks used for meal replacements and hated them, but still tried them in the hopes that magic would happen.
At the same time, even with my physical limitations, I tried everything. The school would have field trips once in a while to go hiking, roller skating, ice skating or swimming or…I went to everything. Looking back, I joke and say that I have yet to find a sport in which I can succeed, but I have eliminated a lot. I was not good at anything, but it did not stop me from trying. Part of that was that it was free. Had there been a fee, I would not have gone.
Two things happened the summer after I graduated from high school. I went on an archaeology dig. It was the most physically demanding job I’ve ever had, but I loved it. It was also my first chance to interact with guys and that was a very awkward thing for me. I was acutely aware of my weight. During the 2 weeks between the end of the dig and the start of college, I shattered my right elbow. I spent my entire freshman year and half of my sophomore year with my arm either in a cast or recovering from one of several surgeries. This ruined my plans for a career in music (I could not play the piano) and was a huge financial blow because I could not do my work scholarship.
I was states away from family, alone, in pain and struggling with the adjustment to college life. I ate for consolation and, because I was even less active, my weight climbed. I started college at about 120 and graduated at about 135. During my junior year, I learned my gramma had cancer. I gave up on my studies and my GPA tanked. I stopped caring about anything. I also roomed with a friend who had food issues and we were not healthy for each other.
After college, we became roommates again and, because money was tight, we ate cheap bad food and both of us ballooned. The roommate situation ended badly and I moved far away. Three years later, after being laid off, broke and alone, we moved in together again and it again ended badly. She was laid off shortly after we got together and went into a deep depression. I could not help her and was frustrated by the situation. We split up again and I was back on my own, broke, in debt and using food for comfort.
A few years later, she died due to complications from obesity. We had just started working on healing our relationship. She died on my 39th birthday. But that was not enough of a warning for me to change my life.
Fast forward to about 9 years ago. I started a new job that included a very long commute. Being a scaredy cat about driving, I used public transit and that meant walking. I did that job for 2 years and often walked the two miles to the office from the train station. I seldom walked it back, but I did have to walk even when I took the bus from the office to the station, so it was not a total loss. It was a small satellite office and almost everyone was dieting. I joined in and actually got down from a size 18 to a size 4. The scale said I still had another 20 pounds to get to goal and I was getting discouraged with the slowness of the weight loss.
Then my father died. I stopped caring about the weight loss journey. I stopped being honest about what I was eating and I started using food for comfort again. A few months later, we were all laid off when the company decided to close the office. I could not find work and it did not help that I did not interview well. Stress and depression made all thoughts of healthy living go out the window.
The company rehired me for another position, but I have yet to break that cycle. Nearly 3 years ago, I discovered SparkPeople and, for the first year, I had some success. I started to exercise (mostly walking) and lost more than 20 pounds. I have since put it back on. The sense of shame and failure, of being dishonest about logging in my food, of feeling powerless over food, money, my living situation, life, has me completely defeated.
I am powerless and I need help.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Last night, on TV, I saw Shuttle Endeavor fly low over Phoenix so former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her astronaut husband could see her overhead. It was an inspiring clip! She also flew over White Sands, NM (one of my favorite places) which was an alternative, emergency landing site that was used only once during the entire space shuttle program.
I went to bed and kind of forgot about it this morning. At work, someone told me that the shuttle would be flying over the Bay Area on her way to her permanent home in southern California. I confirmed online that this was true and emailed our GC about this once-in-a-lifetime event. (For those who have not followed, this flight was the last-ever flight of a space shuttle.)
She ended up leaving late and was later getting to the Bay Area. I read that the parking lot at Moffett Field was packed, that traffic on highway 101 was a parking lot and the same was true up near the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the crowds left after she flew over the Bridge and they missed it when she looped around and flew around it again for that classic "money shot". I can picture a 2013 calendar!
After what seemed like too long, she appeared in the haze! It may be the closest I ever get to the Smithsonian, Cape Canaveral, the Johnson Space Center or Edwards. They say she was about 1500 feet up, so very close to the tree tops, at least as it looked. She still looked very small, too small for me to get a photo, but I got to see her!
I could not help thinking of my older brother as I watched her and I felt unaccountably emotional. We were young when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. That caught his imagination and he learned all about the space program - knew about the rockets and all the astronauts. I'm sure he was smiling from heaven and waving to the pilot.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
One of the twins posted a note on her facebook page that Mom Angell is returning to the convalescent home, to the high care wing where she will be getting hospice care. The twin is
flying there next week.
I've never been in this situation before. Most of my grandparents were dead before I knew they were terminally ill. I was with Dad when he died, so I have never been in this "should I go now or should I wait" mode. I am really torn about this. On one hand, the fact that Mom has seemingly overnight gone into full-blown dementia and would not know me means I don't have to rush there, but the other part of me aches because I hate this distasteful "death watch" mode. That happens in the media when someone famous falls ill and we get bulletins about their health troubles that, frankly, make me feel uncomfortable. Not from a point of squeamishness, but as a point of dignity.
Mom deserves as much grace and gentleness as can be given. The youngest daughter has promised to let me know when she passes and I will be on the next flight out. My heart is already there.
I ordered a black and purple muumuu for the service and hope it gets here soon enough. Black for respect and purple because that is Mom's favorite color. A muumuu because that is my style and because, I hope, it will hide some of my tonnage. My weight makes every social encounter very uncomfortable.
I went to Target today and quickly ran out of energy and interest in buying anything to wear. My lower back was killing me in short order. The Give Thanks Walk for St Judes is in November and I do not need to be struggling with this ache now! Losing even a little will help.
Mom's mother lived into her 90s and knew no one for the last decade of her life, so I should not be surprised about this news for Mom, but I am. I suppose the series of strokes are a major factor for the sudden onset. I know that dementia covers an entire category of diagnoses.
I pray that she goes gently into the long night and that I can support the rest of the family during this incredibly sad time.
Friday, September 14, 2012
I have not heard any more news about Mom, but I did learn that the girls do not expect that I will be able to fly out there to see her before, as one said, Mom transitions, but they will have the service in the town where she lives in MO. Then in the spring or summer, we will take her ashes to AR where they will be buried with Dr. Angell, one of my college professors.
Matter-of-fact statements above give no hint to the emotions inside. One of the daughters is onsite and she was to have had a talk with the doctors today about whether Mom can go to hospice care. If/when she's moved and settled, I may get the chance to talk to her. I pray for discernment about what to say and about what to be silent and to steel myself so that I don't distress her by my reaction to her diminished state.
One of my cowowrkers in the legal department has not been happy at work. She has been with the company about 2 years and the newness has never worn off. She feels overwhelmed and that means the annoyance of a long commute becomes more burdensome. She used to work from home for a very large tech company (IT/Patents/Trademarks). The huge company downsized and she was laid off. After months, she found work with me but has not been happy. Today she got a job offer from an attorney with a couple of offices who wants her to work from home. The hitch: will they come to financial terms? She has to cover her own benefits, so that's a risk. I don't know what will happen, but she naively thinks I will get her job when/if she leaves. I had appllied for the position when she got it and I still don't have what they were looking for then! Not sure I would want the job anyway - my current job has a lot of variety and I love that!
Thank you, Sparkfriends, for your support. Grief has made my system completely upset, I've mostly lost my appetite and food has no flavor. I got about 3 hours of sleep last night. A sad but welcome side effect would be a derease in tonnage...The week my dad died, I ate next to nothing the entire week, did not sleep at all and could not talk. I am numb...
Thursday, September 13, 2012
I just learned that Mom Angell has been in a convalescent home for two months, was moved to the hospital (another stroke is suspected, and I did not know this was not the first) and may be moved to hospice care tomorrow. The girls think this may be her time.
My heart is broken and any of my other issues pale to insignificance.
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