First -- a brag on myself....The BIG boss came to my storytime this morning before she went out to lunch with my bosses. She told them that I was really good at doing storytime! Patting myself on the back now...
I saw my therapist yesterday and she totally put her finger on one of my biggest problems. I suppose I already knew it, but didn't want to admit it. She said that I am not taking enough downtime for myself; I'm not doing enough that's just for me. She advised me to take just 20 minutes a day after dinner and go out on my bike, go out for a walk, or hibernate in my bedroom with a book. Then, at least once a week on my day off, carve out a good 2-hour plus block of time to do something for myself -- and refuse to feel guilty about it. When I shared this with T, he said, "Did you tell her your husband has been telling you that for years?"
We discussed my wasted weekends, and she thinks that because I'm not taking any time for myself, it's my way of trying to do it subconsciously. Because T views his days off as days to relax and do nothing, but I view them as days on which chores should be done, I feel resentment that he is able to lie around on the couch all day, doing nothing. My restlessness is caused by being torn between thinking of the things I "should" do versus the things that I "want" to do. She told me not to let T's issues become my issues. His laziness, crabbiness or illness has nothing to do with me and I shouldn't assume it does or try to fix it. When he was lying around feeling ill, I could have just herded the kids into the car and gone to do something fun without him.
I said that I thought I needed more structure on my days off -- a to-do list, at the very least. She agreed, but advised that I put no more than 3-5 things on the list. I can do that. We also discussed the irrational thoughts I often have regarding food and relationships. Rather than simply recognizing them as irrational, I also need to ask myself what evidence I have for them, and reframe them as positive thoughts. When I feel really "bingey", but don't know why, I can take a look at the feelings list she gave me and try to pinpoint a feeling or two.
Last night I was driving home from work, hungry, and kept thinking I wanted an ice cream cone from McDonald's. I'm not sure why that popped into my head because I rarely go to McD's, but I love that soft, sweet kind of ice cream and find it very soothing and comforting. I was seeking decompression after doing a program at work that I'd been really nervous about. I told myself that I was hungry for food, not ice cream. I got home, ate a veggie dog on a piece of Ezekiel bread, and I really wasn't hungry anymore. I wasn't satisfied yet though, and I ate a handful of Cheetos, 1 1/2 cookies, and a cup or so of ice cream. Then I felt guilty and my hand hovered briefly over the cookie jar, knowing that I could binge and feel so nice and full of chocolate chip cookies.
My hand hovered, hovered, hovered. I thought about the talk I'd had with the therapist about my "brownie day" last Sunday. I told her that I knew that, at several points during the day, I could have thrown the brownies away to change the pattern, but I didn't want to. I know it's not about the food, and I don't want the solution to always be to throw everything away. That CAN'T always be the solution because I can't possibly throw away all of the brownies in the world. I want to learn to live with the brownies. She agreed, but said that, for now, sometimes the answer might be to throw them away. As the food and feelings become less connected, the brownies will sit there and it won't occur to me to eat one because I'm agitated. I didn't throw the cookies away, but I took my hand away from the cookie jar and went off to bed, telling myself, "You are learning to live with the cookies."