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Coming to Terms With the Truth

Sunday, February 16, 2014

This has been a long time coming as I've been in complete denial. I can no longer pretend like I am anywhere close to where I used to be. In fact, I weighed in 10 pounds beyond my heaviest the other day. I don't have excuses, but there have been a lot of contributing factors that also deserve some recognition because they played a part in my journey.

First, I've been in therapy over a year now as I've been diagnosed with an eating disorder. It's the hardest work I've ever done and some of the revelations that have started to surface have triggered me into seeking numbness. I find myself in a precarious position now, however, because I've changed enough where my former behaviors (binging, restricting, compensating with exercise) no longer serve my needs now that I am aware of their role in the process. Amazing what awareness will do for someone. So with not relying on the old, and not having any new behaviors established, I find myself in this weird limbo. I have bad days. I have good days. And it's hard. And it's a solitary process.

Next, I am halfway through my master's degree program. I'm on the countdown. I have never appreciated my time and energy more in my life because balancing working full time and going to grad school full time isn't a joke. Here's another place of lack of balance. My Type A, Can't Ruin My 4.0 GPA, personality turns me into a little bit of a whackadoodle because my expectations of what I am to accomplish are really a little unreasonable. Working 40+ hours/week for work and then 20 hours a week for school, that's insane. I've found my limits by taking on this and I'm close to burnout. Even this brief respite of no classes the last two weeks hasn't afforded me any rest because I've been busy tending to the other pieces of my life that have gone largely ignored (cleaning my house, my bathroom, grocery shopping, laundry etc.) A lack of time, energy and motivation has wreaked havoc on my nutrition. I'll leave it there.

Next, we have the fact that my almost 14 year old cat was diagnosed with diabetes a couple months ago. So now, I have the routine of feeding and administering insulin shots twice a day. All that wouldn't be noteworthy, but I didn't mention the fact that he no longer likes his litter box and so I get to clean up his messes on a near daily basis not to mention that his almost 14 year old brother isn't taking to the new food well, so I get to clean up his messes as well. Daily. My steam cleaner has become my best friend.

Then we have men. Well, I don't have a man, but I did. A couple times this year, but they didn't work out. The first one, I learned to never date someone who just got out of a long term relationship. The second one, oh... that one hurts. It was great, but he ended up being too consumed with his life and I just faded into the background. Faded into the background until I said enough. I miss him.

Of course, exercise is non-existent. There isn't even any interest in the idea.

And all of that is the truth of where I am. I had to go out and buy a new pair of pants yesterday. A size bigger than it was. Not a proud moment. I found myself walking into a couple stores wondering what was the largest size they carried... I never thought I'd be there again, but here I am. Shame is the word that comes to mind.

When I think back on my journey, there have been two times in my life that I lost a significant amount of weight. The first was in my early 20's, the second in 2010. The common denominator between the two is that they were both done with complete rigidity, all-or-nothingness. On my first round, I ate vegan and lost 60 pounds in 4 months. On my second, I lost 60 pounds in 7 months by working out 1-2 hours/day, 6 days/week and restricting my calories to 1500-1800. Both worked, neither were sustainable for me.

As I find myself back at the starting point, I know that this time has to be different if I am going to have a different outcome. If I let go of the idea of rigidity (which is terrifying), the replacement concept is gentleness. I don't have any familiarity with that word. Gentle... slow...kind... these are words that I do not associate myself with as it's certainly not how I treat myself and conduct my life.




It's so foreign. But here's the thing, the one thing missing from this entire equation... this entire blog... is me. I'm missing. I am not involved in my own life because I am just doing things. Doing things as a way to be recognized. Doing things as a way to accomplish. Doing things as a way to be in the world. I am not BEING. I have created a life where there is no space for me to just BE.

It's pretty profound coming to this realization. It's painful. It punctuates the fact I've built walls to ensure I am not hurt. It reiterates that my way of being in the world is by doing... doing things for OTHERS, not myself. I'm never in the proverbial equation.

And so, there it is. A conglomeration of reasons why and how I ended up back to my starting weight. Here I am. Instead of following my instinct to make a plan and get out, sitting with these emotions is a more difficult alternative, but the road I never go down. Acknowledging the truth takes some of its haunting power away. Replacing the harshness and cruel behavior/thoughts I inflict on myself daily with just recognizing the moment... well, it's different. It's a heavy feeling, but not impossible to sit with. Who would have thought?

Thanks for reading and allowing me to process.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow, what a story! Good luck in your journey to health! You've done it before and will succeed again.

    1807 days ago
    I so very much appreciate your openness and honesty. I always have. I've lost and gained and lost and gained a number of times too, but recently, I had a quick gain, brought on by a pretty serious week-long binge (a response to my own sick cat), which finally made me see that I was actually trying to kill myself with food. I'm not sure why this time was different. Maybe it's all the other work I'm doing...I don't know. But, I finally accepted that the problem was out of control, that I clearly did not have the means to "fix" things on my own, and the next day I went to my first OA meeting. Holy Crap! It was amazing! I've only just begun, but I am filled with a wonderfully overwhelming sense of hope. It sounds like you are on a beautiful path to self-acceptance through love and kindness too, and I celebrate that with you.
    1851 days ago
    Paula I struggle with so many of the issues that you mention in this blog. Thanks for putting it down in words for me to read and think about.
    1878 days ago
    you have so much going on but you will find away to balance it all. Remember you are worth even just 10 15 minutes to take care of yourself! Best of luck!!
    1879 days ago
    Hang in there! Grad school is not easy, and it will be worth it in the end, even if you end up graduating with a 3.8.
    1881 days ago
    I'm glad you are here...it's a good place to be because it is a place of rebuilding. You can do it and in the process you can learn to love YOU in every moment. (((HUGS)))
    1884 days ago
  • -CORAL-
    I'm sorry to hear about your kitties. I have a cat that is having vomiting issues and the vet can't figure out what's wrong with her. She has lost a lot of weight over the last several months and I'm cleaning up at least 3 piles of vomit every day all over the couch, carpet, tables, pillows, blankets, etc. Not as bad as poop, though! It sounds like you are really, really busy. If i were you I would just focus on getting through grad school with your sanity intact. After that, you will have some more time and energy to focus on "you." I'm so sorry you had to buy bigger pants, I know how that feels and it is such a depressing feeling. I'm back at almost my highest weight and I talk a lot of negative things to myself. Thanks for sharing a very personal blog.
    1886 days ago
    I love how honest you are and I appreciate that you share your process with your SparkFriends. Very inspired by you...
    1886 days ago
  • SHEILA1505
    Big hugs
    1886 days ago
    I know that you can do it!

    It's one day at a time, one choice at a time.

    We just need to stop and think before putting things into our mouths.

    1886 days ago

    I was back close to my starting point also. Obviously there are underlying issues that were missed when I was losing weight the first time.

    I am glad that you are working through your problem areas. I think a lot of times we focus on food and exercise without addressing the mentality/emotional aspects, which are most important.

    1886 days ago
  • FRAN0426
    Thank you for sharing your truthful blog. Coming to the realization that you have work to be done is part of the journey. Take the time you need, slowly is the long term key., I know that working full rime and working on your Masters degree are difficult, as our son is doing the same and it is tough. Hang in there you are worth it.
    1886 days ago
    Quick thought about the kitty litter issue--try getting a new box, with a different brand of litter in it. Often they associate the litter box with any discomfort they may have or had with eliminating, and stop using it. A different one/smell may solve that issue.
    1887 days ago
    These moments of growth are so painful but soooooo worth it. You are worth it!
    1887 days ago
  • JEREMY723
    Wishing you all the best Paula. I don't have any advice to add except you seem to be in a good place of understanding, and hopefully that's a good step in the right life direction.
    1887 days ago
    A very truthful blog. Thank you for sharing, you can get a handle on this and take care of yourself emotionally
    1887 days ago
  • PJH2028
    i hear you my beautiful lioness hearted friend
    and i get it i'm pretty sure i do resonate and insight too
    with you in spirit … and in closer proximity if you like, too

    (write or phone if you like)

    K I S S comes to mind
    for me, need some redefining S I M P L E and K E E P
    re-learning how to walk with intention
    newly learning what walking the talk may mean

    BEing : DOing
    ahhh yes…. ahhhhh Ommmmm

    Grateful for
    All the Things and Yous You Are

    Be in touch
    Love, Paula

    1887 days ago
    Thank you for sharing Paula, proud of you. Slow and kind and gentle sounds good, sounds reasonable. And that is all we are trying to be, reasonable. I know how much you have struggled, and I know personally what a trial my own Master's was, and I wasn't working full time. So my hat is off to you. I wish you only success and happiness as you move forward. Love!
    1887 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    I applaud you for your honesty and being able to get it out. That was probably the best thing you could do. It sounds like you are very determined in life which is great but can cause burn out when you take on too much.
    I wish you the best of luck in your new journey with SP and losing weight slow and gently! It is never to late to learn a new way of living and being happy with yourself.
    You can do this. Just take it one day at a time, one goal at a time!
    1887 days ago
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