Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sing, Sing a Song...

I saw my therapist last week. She said that what I did on my mom's birthday couldn't really be labled a binge -- more like a bad choice. I made a few more bad choices on mother's day. I wanted so badly to be happy. The girls and T were very excited about giving me new deck furniture and chocolate and wanted to take me out to breakfast. I just didn't feel like it. I still felt sad about my mom's birthday and mother's day just made the sadness worse. On Sunday, I didn't really realize that's what the problem was. I just knew that I felt crummy and restless and just wanted to eat all day. The commenter on my previous post was exactly right -- sometimes it is just easier not to fight and just to give in to the old ways of doing things; to give in to the comfort. It wasn't until I was in support group on Monday that I felt the actual sadness. Barb asked how everyone had coped with mother's day and I got choked up when I tried to talk about it.

I still feel quite self conscious at support group. There can't be more than 3 of us over the age of 25 and there are only a couple who aren't recovering from anorexia. I will soldier on though -- maybe I'm providing comfort to the other non-skinny women. Barb gave some handouts to the group and I think one will be quite useful for me. It's a sort of worksheet for emotional eaters. It's not the usual food diary, but rather a sheet of questions to ask yourself each evening. There are things on it like "did I eat mindfully today, without distractions?", "did I make myself eat food I don't enjoy?", "did I eat from boredom, anger....(etc)?", "will there be a time tomorrow when I may struggle not to eat and what will I do about it?" I will post the entire thing when I have it in hand (not at home right now).

At therapy last week I whinged about my obsessive thoughts and Barb suggested that when they start popping up, I should recite a nursery rhyme, sing a song, or tell myself a story (even if it's nonsensical) -- preferably out loud. That will force me to use the opposite side of my brain and take my mind off my other thoughts. I tried it a few times and it actually works pretty well.

She also urged me to stop personalizing everything. I tend to take responsibility for everyone else's feelings and for the way they act toward me. I am not responsible for anyone else's feelings. Wow. After a few days of ruminating on that, I remembered trying to make my mom happy when she was angry with us (my sibs and me). We hardly ever knew exactly why she was mad -- she would just suddenly stop talking to us. It was very stressful and I'd walk on eggshells and scramble around cleaning things and trying to do things to make her happy again. Usually the storm cloud would suddenly pass one day and she'd start talking to us again like nothing had ever happened. I remember even asking dad why she was upset and he never had any clue either. I felt such a responsibility to make her happy -- and I tend to do the same thing currently with anyone who is upset with me.

I had shared with Barb a day when I struggled with my eating after having breakfast with three friends (all former coworkers). We eat breakfast together every month or so and I really enjoy their company. One of them, B, was advised three years ago by her doctor that if she lost 15 pounds or so she'd probably be able to quit taking her blood pressure meds. She joined WW and was a model dieter. She never ate one single point over her allotted amount, lost 40 lbs in just a few months, and has maintained that loss ever since. At this month's breakfast, she ate plain oatmeal and I commented that she hadn't had her usual peanut butter with it. She said that she had switched programs with WW and wasn't counting points anymore, and she wasn't sure if peanut butter was an okay food. I was surprised that she still counted points and said so. She told us that she had been put on a new medication for her fibromyalgia and suddenly started gaining weight. She cut her points and was still gaining weight at 20 points a day. (20! I'd be ravenous all day long!) So she switched plans and stopped taking her medication. She said, "I just think I'd rather hurt than gain the weight back." I was rather speechless. I wasn't sure if I should admire her tenacity or feel sorry for her.

At the same breakfast she asked me if she should still bring me castoff clothing from her daughter (which she has done for several years). I, of course, took her question to mean that hey, I was kind of fat now and could never fit in to any of her daughter's clothes now so why should she still bring them to me? Barb pointed out that she may have simply been asking because it had been a while since she'd brought me any and that I should not assume she was implying anything. I'm still not convinced, but I think B's dedication to her weight maintenance along with the clothing comment made me feel deeply ashamed. All day I had that "I might as well give up and eat like a pig because I'm never going to lose any weight and I'm going to hate how I look for the rest of my life" thoughts. So, I need to work on NOT PERSONALIZING. The whole world does not revolve around me, right?


Isabelle said...

Yes, silly me - of course you work. It's just that you never mention it (or my senile decay has caused me to forget this) and you seem to do so much else! During term time I never seem to do much apart from work and family things.

Anyway. I like your therapist's idea of singing nursery rhymes. I wonder if my son-in-law (who has many problems including OCD) has tried this. I might suggest it.

You're so pretty and not at all fat. I do wish you could realise this.

Joc said...

This line;

She said, "I just think I'd rather hurt than gain the weight back." I was rather speechless. I wasn't sure if I should admire her tenacity or feel sorry for her.

just blows me away.

Like you I am not sure whether it is admiration or pity I feel.