Tag Archives: deconstruction

When it’s difficult

Sometimes life can be really difficult and uncooperative.   Demands on our time and energy come, even when we don’t have any of those things to spare.  And such is my life right now.

I’m in some pretty serious adrenal distress and I’m having trouble keeping my anxiety in check.  But that doesn’t seem to stop life from asking the impossible.

My parents have sold their home in California and are getting ready to move to Idaho.  My father has been ill for over a year and my mom is drowning in this down-sizing project.  She needs me.

J asks me what I need and I don’t really know.  I feel like I need a pause button in my life so I can catch up and feel better before these things come up.  She doesn’t want me to make the trip as she’s afraid it won’t be good for me.  But how do you say “Sorry, mom.  You’re on your own”?  I can’t bring myself to do it.

My logical mind tells me that I should be able to just keep an eye on my stress and health and if I grit my teeth and keep leaning forward, I should be able to do all of it.  But I’m starting to see that attitude is part of why I’m so ill all the time.  I push forward when I should be stepping back and taking a break.

This kind of difficult situation comes up a lot.  Times when I “should” be taking care of myself, but the needs of others feels more pressing and important.  It seems like there’s always going to be time to take care of myself later, but that time never seems to appear.

When there are difficult demands, I always just find a way to push through and make it happen.  Am I doing myself a disservice?  Should I be taking care of myself first and others later?  But what if later is too late?  What if they need me now, regardless of how much gas I’ve got in my tanks?

I never seem to know what the right thing to do is when I have difficult decisions to make.  Any tips?

When You Are Told You’re not One Crazy, But Two

After a few months of working with my wonderful nutritionist, M, she asked me how I felt about adding other members to the team.  She said that we were pretty limited to food related issues on our sessions, but maybe I could use some help with mindfulness in the other areas of my life.

I looked at her and asked, “Are you saying I’m not One Crazy, but Two Crazy?”  She looked confused and I said that I had some feelings of judgement about her suggesting I’m so nutty that I need two therapists.  She laughed.

But it’s true.  I needed some help with some mom-stuff and some more help with getting my monkey-mind under control.  She referred me to a mindfulness coach/therapist here locally.  I’ll call her J.

J is a beautiful person, but wow do I find myself saying awful things about her sometimes. It’s not about her, but about me and my feelings about the work that we do.  It’s HARD!!!  It seems simple.  You breathe, you focus your mind, you set intentions and you don’t beat yourself up through the day to get things done.  But it’s not easy at all.  It’s some of the hardest work I’ve ever done to break those old mental patterns.

And J has this way of finding those dark and painful places and then suggesting I shine a flashlight in there and look around at all those scary thoughts and beliefs.  Not my favorite activity as it stirs up all kinds of feelings I thought were long buried.

She also has this way of suggesting things, letting me fiercely resist them and then pointing me back to them again and again.  For instance, before Thanksgiving, she said, “You seem kind of spun out about all these things going on.”  I was super sure that she was way off base.

“I’ve got this, J.  I’ve got this to plan and this to prepare and this to get ready for that and then this other thing and I’m just busy.”

Boy was I wrong.  Three weeks later I wasn’t able to make it to our appointment because I was sick.  Talked to my doctors and they don’t think it’s part of the protocol I’m on, but my adrenal issues flaring up again.

What!?! But I’m so on top of it!  Look at my To Do list! Look how many things I’m crossing off.  I’m busy and I’m doing things and oh…

I forgot about just being.  I got all lost in all the things that were coming up.  Holidays, work, health labs, protocols, family, work, etc.  It all just sort of crept up  on me and without even realizing it, I was back being “mindless” and stressing myself out by running ferociously on that treadmill of life.

For me, that space brings up all my bad habits.  I get focused on doing things and crossing them off my list and forget all about just being and taking care of myself.  My inner diaglogue goes from being mindful and calm to saying things like, ‘What’s the matter with you!?! Why aren’t you getting more done!? Faster! Faster! Faster!”

So, here I am again.  I’m back to watching that internal dialog and dismissing all that negative self-talk.  I’m practicing self-care and getting the important things done.  Is that enough?  It has to be for now.

When You Are Suffering

When you are suffering, you feel like you will try anything to get some relief.  I often start to lose perspective on things and I suddenly can’t remember ever feeling good before and lose hope for feeling good ever again. (I acknowledge this is more than a tad dramatic.)

I am in it right now. I’m coming to the end of a 10 week protocol with my naturopath to combat these biofilms and candida to get my gut healthy again. I liken this process to chemotherapy and my husband rolls his eyes a bit.  I understand, but as a care-giver to someone who went through chemo, a lot of this was familiar.  Lack of appetite, tiredness, constant nausea, muscle aches, joint pain, excessive vomiting, hot/cold flashes, headaches, vision changes, migraines and I even had significant hair loss at one point that was starting to really freak me out.  However you describe it, this has not been a fun year for me.

And here I am at another potential break-through spot in my life with enthusiastic team members cheering me on, but all I can see is darkness, suffering and more suffering.

I’m tired of this restricted diet and eating food that’s “good for me”. Because I’ve been feeling so ill, I’ve completely socially isolated myself.  It has been months since seeing anyone other than the occasional cashier, my husband or a team member.

Even my dog isn’t able to make me smile like she usually can. I find myself annoyed when she wants to play and enthusiastically brings me toys.  I think, “Not now, I’m suffering.”

My mental attitude is also in the toilet. I have lost focus on my intention for doing this whole process in the first place.  I have somehow convinced myself that this is a punishment the people supporting me are subjecting me to.  Of course, this is an illusion I create to distract me from reality and my responsibility in this.

I’m having a difficult time and that is an indisputable fact. There is quite a bit of suffering going on, both mental and physical. That’s real.  But I really did choose to be here.  I knew this was going to be a rough road.  I had hope that I would be through the worst of it by now, but I’m not and I need to acknowledge and respect that.

Five weeks ago, I was making huge portions of our dinners to stock some away in the freezer for nights I’m not able to cook. I cleared my calendar of all things not health team related or absolutely necessary things.  I even let my co-workers know that I’d be scarce for the duration and to do their best without me.

But here I am, wishing it wasn’t happening instead of appreciating the fact that I’m here and this is exactly what I wanted.  I want to be well. And getting there isn’t easy.  But if I keep my eye on the prize and keep my head straight, I will get there.  Eventually.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It

2001SouthBeachOR

Whenever this photo of me from 2001 comes up on our digital photo frame, my husband always says, “I love that picture of you.” I say “Mm hmm,” but inside I have a completely different dialog.

That photo was taken shortly after a really unfortunate incident that hurt me more than I’d like to admit.

A little background – The year before, I had traveled to Newport, OR to see Keiko (aka Willly, the orca from the Free Willy movies) before he was to be moved on the path towards freedom. I had a really amazing trip, got to meet Keiko and we had a wonderful day together. I wanted to do the trip again with my husband, so we planned it for 2001.

About a month before our trip, his employer was talking about layoffs. Couldn’t possibly involve us as my husband is their only IT guy on the west coast. SURPRISE! Two weeks before the trip, he was officially “dot-com’d”. We took the trip anyway, determined to have a good time, but there was some stress and worry that joined us on the trip.

We had rented a yurt at South Beach Campground and were trying to enjoy our time on the coast and in the redwoods before having to go home and find a job. The campground was busy, but not busting at the seams. There was one group of teenage girls wandering around and they all stopped to have a giggle across from our campsite. I was on alert, but my husband said, “They aren’t talking about you.” It has been my experience that at 350 lbs, you know when people are talking about you. 🙁

A few minutes later, he noticed my mood was falling and suggested we walk out into the dunes to watch sunset. I said I’d just run to the bathroom and meet him at the trail head. I walked into the bathroom and inside was that group of teenage girls. Two were by the sinks and two were in the bathroom stalls. One girl in the stall was talking…..

MeanGirl1: (from stall)… I mean she was SOOOO fat. It’s disgusting.
MeanGirl2: (from other stall): HA HA I know!
MeanGirl3: (standing next to me and my death stare): Um.. c’mon.. let’s go!
MeanGirl4: (leaves)
MeanGirl1: Just a minute! But seriously. How can she even leave her house when she looks like that?!?! I’d kill myself if I ever got that fat. I mean, have some control. Does she just eat donuts all day or what?
MeanGirl2: (emerges from stall, looks at me, flees)

I just stood there by the sinks and MeanGirl1 just kept on talking. Her friends were making a beeline back to anywhere I wasn’t and she was alone. With me.

I will admit having some really awful thoughts about how I was going to handle it when she came out. I considered going all American Psycho on her, but didn’t. She was still talking about how disgusting I was when she opened the door and saw me standing there.

She briefly looked around for her friends and walked to the sink. I just stood there and she would not make eye contact. I’m ashamed to admit that anger got the best of me then and I said, “Seriously. How can you even leave your house with curly hair like that girl? How disgusting to have hair like that. Why would she ever make me have to look at that. UGH!!” …. and then she was gone.

I spent a few minutes trying to get myself together. I wanted to hurt her. Badly. I wanted her to feel what I had felt when she was talking about me. I wanted her to know this wasn’t something I chose or something I enjoyed, but it was my life and who the hell was she to pass judgement on me? I wanted to tell her mother to beat her with a switch. I wanted to run her and her bratty friends over with my car. I wanted them to feel my pain. I wanted them to HURT!!!

I got myself together and walked to the dunes with my husband. He was taking pictures and I just wandered around with my thoughts.
-You ARE disgusting!
-Why ARE you out in public, making people have to look at your fatness?
-Why don’t you kill yourself? You know the world would be better off without you.
-You’re just fat, and stupid and lazy and dumb and worthless and…. and…. die.. die… die……

*Snap* And that’s what that picture means to me. It’s full of shame and anger and pain and hurt feelings and suicidal thoughts all rolled into one great big story about how I am unworthy because I am fat. A story about how my worst fears have been confirmed by a 14 year old girl in an Oregon State Campground restroom. Clearly everyone’s best source for information, right?

That story still hurts, but not for the same reasons. I fell victim to my anger and lashed out at a kid (who should have been taught better, but). I let that incident stick with me for the rest of that trip and well beyond that. I let myself tell that story about how my lack of worth had been confirmed and was TRUTH. It may have been that girl’s truth, but it wasn’t mine. I was just a person in a lot of pain, trying to do the best she can with what she had available at the time.

Who can ask for more than that?