I’m on the ascending side of the cycle now. Things are starting to seem more do-able, more manageable. I figure I’ve got 2-3 months of this before I crash again. And (ideally) around that time my finances will allow for a therapist. So I’ve got a few months of a grace period here.
Sunday night I had a little too much to drink and a LOT too much to eat, though. I was trying to at least pinpoint the feeling that I was trying to quell, and I realized something that I’ve known for a long time, but never really been conscious of. When I’m in a bad state, I have this horrible beating in my chest. It’s not my heartbeat; it’s more like trapped energy, looking for a way out. Have you ever gotten a bird in the house? When it looks for a way out, it flies frantically all over the place, crashing into walls, windows, doors. Its wings beat in a frenzy against whatever it runs into before it picks itself up and flies across the room, only to run into another wall. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as much fear from another being as from a trapped bird.
That’s how it feels in my chest. As though some small white bird were beating desperately against my ribs, trying to get out, get away, find someplace safe. And if I eat enough sugar or if I drink enough alcohol, I can sedate it. It’s not gone, but it’s calm. The unbearable, frantic beating stops. I feel like I can breathe again.
Suddenly all those studies about treating addicted people with anti-anxiety meds make sense, LOL. I’m not a big fan of the drugs though, so I’ll probably feel my way through blind. We’ll see how it goes, and if I really need more help, well, that’s what the therapist will be for in a few months.
But starting yesterday morning, the bird is quieter. I woke up yesterday suddenly feeling like I could eat better, exercise, go to bed earlier – it was all possible, and none of it was daunting. I’d like to think that it was just a miracle, but I know that it’s really the upswing of the next cycle. I hit bottom, and now I’m on the way back up. I’ll probably be able to head back to the gym late this week or early next, and even eating well suddenly seems easier.
It occurs to me that if this is really part of the cycle (which for some reason, I’ve never REALLY recognized before), then I would be well-advised to remember that I’m working on a deadline here: I’ve got approximately 2-3 months before I crash again. So I’d do well to work HARD on developing new habits NOW. Not go to the gym 3 times a week and oops, missed that week, and then go every day, and oops, missed 3 days the next week. But make a concerted effort to go EVERY. DAY. Without fail. Same for the food. Time to develop a routine of planning, EVERY. DAY. Not Monday-Friday. Not “forgetting” to write it down when I go home to Mom’s. EVERY DAY. Because I’m thinking that if I bust my ass over the next few months, then maybe, just MAYBE I’ll be able to develop habits that will be strong enough to keep from completely deteriorating when I hit the next downward cycle. And those habits will in turn help mediate the downward cycle into something (hopefully) more manageable.
That’s the theory, anyway. But I have to remember that I’m on a timetable. I’m a consummate procrastinator, but I don’t think I can afford to procrastinate on this.*
I also have to learn to think of this whole process differently, though. I have to let go of the mental image of an iron fist closed around the Exercise Plan and the Perfect Eating Plan that Must Not be Deviated From Else I Am a Failure. I have to think more about being NICE to myself than CONTROLLING myself. I have to think more about willingNESS than about willPOWER.
Are you familiar with FlyLady? She divvies up her cleaning into a little bit every day, and then once a week does a one-hour cleaning that she calls the Home Blessing Hour. It’s a little saccharin for my taste, but I have to admit that I like the idea behind it: the theory that you keep a clean house because you DESERVE a clean house. You deserve to come home to someplace warm and welcoming, someplace that makes you smile when you walk through the door. And cleaning your house is a way of enacting gratitude for the space that you have, a way of expressing that gratitude by taking care of, and honoring, the space you’ve been given.
I’m thinking of applying that to my workouts and my eating habits. I might even (to remind myself) have to start calling my workouts my Self Blessing Hour, or something equally lame, because at least it points my mind back toward a more constructive way of looking at it.
Also that “Progess” page I mentioned in my last post will not be happening. Turns out I can’t (or just can’t figure out) how to be able to post multiple entries on a new page. So I’m posting them here. They’ll ALL be titled “Progress [date],” so you can just skip them if you want. I won’t be offended (they’re just minutiae, after all). 🙂 But I need some accountability, so I’m posting them.
*Do you know the joke?