Tuesday, March 11, 2014
That is what I told my therapist that I wanted to talk about, when I saw her earlier today. I have been going to see this therapist for a couple of months, roughly once per week, after a hiatus from any type of counseling for years, because I had lost faith in the value of therapy. Fortunately, I met A, upon the recommendation of a friend of mine who is a therapist, and my faith in therapy has been restored. One of the things to spurred me to seek help is my weariness at fighting and fighting and fighting my disorderly eating, to what seems like no avail. Of course, disorderly eating is like most emotional/behavioral disorders - it is mostly a symptom of other things. Plus, add that to the fact that I am sick to death of thinking about/talking about/writing about/reading about/hearing about/worrying about food and weight and food and weight struggles. One caveat, I am not sick of my Sparkfriends or their struggles and triumphs around food and weight, but if I see one more "surefire" food plan, aka diet, in a magazine, I am going to throw said magazine across the room. Or, if I am feeling like a grown-up, I will just turn the page to something more interesting. Anyway, back to therapy and the lovely A, who is so easy to talk to. She agreed with me, and understood my weariness. I said "honestly, I am willing to look at and talk about pretty much anything else, any other struggles or problems", so that is what we proceeded to begin doing. We talked about various events in my life over the last ten years - taking in our youngest son to rescue him from a very troubled environment, the estrangement from my eldest son at his behest, various struggles my youngest child has had as a result of his rough beginning, the difficult teenagerhood of my now 21 & 23 year old children.....I just gave her a brief overview as to what the last decade brought and she briefly, gently stopped me at one point and said "it sounds traumatic". Now, my nature is to want to underplay my own struggles because someone else always has it worse, and in many cases, way worse. Also, I am not one to dwell on the past - my motto is "learn from it, and keep moving ahead". But, I really heard her when she said the word "traumatic". I fought the urge to turn away from that assessment. She's right. I dealt with some traumatic stuff and I just kept pushing myself and pushing myself because I thought if I stopped for too long, I wouldn't be able to get up and move on. But, with some of the worst of it, hopefully, in the rearview mirror, it occurs to me that I can slow down a bit. I can lessen my expectations of myself. I can focus more of the loving care I give others, to myself. I can give myself a break from constantly challenging myself. I can rest more. I can ask for more help. I can share responsibility with other people in my life, instead of my natural role of rushing in to take the burden off of others. I don't have to fill in everyone else's gaps - if they choose a difficult path, than I can wish them well and love them as they make their way, but I don't have to haul their baggage for them. I have no desire to become completely self-involved and self-indulgent, but I also no longer have the desire to continuously set myself aside for other people. If I don't take good care of myself, who will? If I don't take good care of myself, I will set myself up to be a burden to others, and I don't want to be a burden to anyone, if there is anything I can do to prevent that from occurring. I read a powerful article yesterday about a woman and her son, whose lives ended in the worst possible way. The person writing the article said that many people make the choice between the days, and the years. His opinion, and I share it, is that based on all the evidence at hand, this woman allowed herself to be mistreated while continually catering to, and caving in to, a mentally ill son. She chose the days (less immediate conflict, less immediate discomfort) over the years (better health for her and her son, making the difficult choice to ask for and accept help that her son would fight against). I empathized with her at the same time that I allowed myself to judge her. And, the phrase "choosing the days over the years" deeply resonated with me. I have done that in various areas of my life, at various times, and have paid the price for doing so. It isn't always wrong, of course - there are times it is much better to be right here, right now, instead of always planning for a future that may not come to pass. But, my instinct tells me when I am choosing the days over the years, and a bill will be coming due - sometimes I heed that instinct, and other times I ignore it, knowing I will pay for my choice. I have been told I over-think things. Perhaps I do, and this blog is evidence of that, but I promised I would take you along for my therapy sessions so here you go....this is me, underneath the food and the weight.