Old Demons Resurfacing 

My waist is down to 27 inches and all I can think about are the extra 3 inches and the 20 lbs need to lose, and FOOD. Before you judge or assume that’s some kind of humble brag, there’s more, something deeper and it’s not pretty.

I long for the food I can’t eat. I dream about it. I create fantasy grocery lists. I touch the things I miss eating when I walk by them in the grocery store. 

And you know what? It pisses me off that I can’t even indulge. Since I treated my body like the midway at a cheap carnival for 17 years even a little sugar, a little dairy, a damn fortune cookie puts on at least pound. I ate sugar free candy and dairy over a weekend and gained 4 pounds! Not water weight, actual weight.

I send the following fantasy grocery list to my husband and told my son I feel guilty when I ask him to bring home protien pancake mix.  

This behavior is bad. Saying fatter is bad. I know what it means. I know 400-600 calories a day is a huge red flag. I know obsessing over food is an even bigger red flag. The demon bitch is back. The demon bitch that says you ate yesterday, you can skip the next 2 days. The one who carries the tape measure in her purse (yeah, it’s in my purse right now). The one who makes me obsess every minute of every day over what I ate or didn’t eat or the water I didn’t drink. I know why she’s here. 

She wants control. She really misses someone, not the food.

I lost control of a situation recently and it’s caused me to spin out in a significantly larger way than I ever expected. I have a hard time sleeping, getting up on the morning, just facing the day. They’re gone and I couldn’t stop it from happening. I couldn’t fix it. I didn’t have enough time with either of them. I fucking miss my dogs. 

Our most recent loss was the most painful, so much so I can’t talk or write about it without full on weeping. I wake up and touch both of my dog’s ashes and whisper good morning and I love them and miss them. I watch videos of them a few times a week. I scroll through pictures of them. I disappear into the bathroom and sob until I can get a hold of myself again. I sleep with the toy sheep they shared. 

I couldn’t control their passing or my emotions. The only thing I can expertly control is my weight.

Little Tucker Butt

Bubba Ein

If this was 2007/2008 here’s what my day would look like:

  1. Hit Burger King first thing in the morning, get 2 crossanwiches, hash brown bites, French toast stix, Coffee with 5 sugars and cream, and a large orange juice. Eat in the car, most likely while hiding.
  2. Smoke 3 cigarettes.
  3. Hit Maverick and grab an Arizona Iced Tea, Doritos, a king size Twix and a pack of smokes. 
  4. Smoke 3 more cigarettes.
  5. Eat all of that in the first 2 hours at work. 
  6. Hit Wendy’s for lunch (my best friend can confirm all the food I could put down, she was there). Order 2 Triple Cheeseburgers, Fries, chili, a large Pepsi, and a Frosty. Most of that would be gone before I got back to work (which was 5 minutes away if I wasn’t driving).
  7. Smoke 3 more cigarettes. 
  8. Hit the freezer a couple hours before I went home, I usual had a hot pocket or Mac and Cheese in there. If not I had chips, trail mix, gummy bears (I’d eat the biggest bag I could find), or a theater size box of Dots in my desk. 
  9. Smoke 3 more cigarettes on my way home. 
  10. Eat a bowl of Reese’s Puffs with half n half (yes, I said half n half not milk), or if I had it, eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s before my husband got home. 
  11. Drink another 40 oz of Pepsi or sweet tea. 
  12. Make a giant scratch lasagne, buttered french bread, and salad with cheese and ranch dressing. We usually didn’t have anything left. 
  13. Smoke another cigarette
  14. Eat a bag and a half of Pop Secret Homestyle popcorn with extra butter I melted myself and red vines. 
  15. Eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food (I’d stop at the store and buy extra if I knew I was going to eat one before my husband came home).
  16. Drink wine or a cocktail with my last cigarette.
  17. Eat a piece of left over pizza if we had it. 

I have no idea how many calories that is, but I do know I ate like that for a really long time. I’m a stress and emotion eater and to be 100% honest, I miss the comfort. 

Today it’s coffee, no lunch, steak or chicken and salad or a vegetable for dinner. Rarely over 700 daily calories since mid February. One day it was a piece of salami and a pickle, that’s right back to 1992 when I’d eat 2 pepperoni and a bell pepper slice in the span of 3 days. That was peak anorexia.

It has to stop. My dogs are gone. I have to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have another dog, I’ll never wake up to another happy little corgi face or thumping into the door to wake me up for belly rubs and that’s just the way it is. It’s time to accept this and understand that I’ll never be able to control who comes in and out of my life. Death is part of life, no matter how brutal the decision to contribute to easing the end of life for a little being who can’t tell you what to do or if they love you or if you’re doing the right thing.

It’s hard to find other ways to comfort yourself, to gain some control, to feel safe. It’s a lot of work when those demons start screaming at you, poking you, lighting your mind on fire with self doubt and depression. 

The fact is, I have to fight. I can’t continue to go to extremes. Exercise, ok great, but don’t be crazy every day. Let the scale say what it’s gonna say without me standing on it staring at a number that rules my life. Stop with the measuring tape, measure happiness with the love and support given to and received by others. Stop obsessing over the loss of my dogs and focus on the humans that are still here. 

Like this human

Let go. Eat some chocolate…

…just not ALL the chocolate. 

The Big, Bad Depression and Stuff

It’s like sliding into a steaming bath on a frozen day. It makes sense at the time, feels great, it’s comforting. After a short time you’re warm and drowsy, 10 minutes later you’re dizzy, moments later you’re nauseous, your skin is burning and flushed. You need to get out, but it’s so cold outside the bath you’re afraid to freeze. So you stay in because you know eventually it will cool down and you’re unlikely to drown. 

This is what my depression feels like. It’s familiar. It feels right. I feel like I’m allowing myself to slip into it without a second thought. No big deal, I’m getting depressed, it’s happened before, it’ll go away like it always does. But, what if it doesn’t? 

I’m in it now. I can feel a fairly severe bout of depression coming on and I can’t stop it, maybe curve it a little. Anxiety is on its way, social situations will be nearly impossible to handle, crowds are out of the question, even the grocery store will be challenging. My focus will be hard to hold on to and the memory loss is no fun.  

Sure I’ll take my meds. Sure I’ll take care of myself and try to avoid the negative self talk. Yes I know this won’t last, my mood and behavior will even out, life will return to a balance. What I don’t know is how this cycle will affect my relationships. Some haven’t faired well during the storm, either chipping away or breaking completely. Some are constant, always by my side no matter what, but I wonder if that will last. Will they be there next time, the time after that? Should I just go it alone? I often hide these cycles from everyone with happy selfies and a forced smile, but these cycles tend to spark migraines and make me sick so it’s inevitable that friends and family will notice I’m either mid-depression or just coming out of one. 

I know why this happens. I let myself get run down, I put myself in anxiety and self-doubt causing situations, I gain a few pounds, I don’t eat the right foods, I don’t sleep enough, I’m affected by the seasons changing. It all adds up to down. By the time I realize all the elements are there it’s too late, the bath is drawn and waiting. 

So here we are. I have to cancel plans and hope no one resents me for it or believes I don’t care or I’m stuck-up (do people think that? I wonder.) I have to hide away, clinging for dear life to my # 1 support system and ponder how many more times he’ll go through this with me before I’ve completely exhausted his patience. I have to do everything possible to prevent migraines, flu, colds, etc. I have to get some kind of exercise (which I abhor). I have to stay away from whatever triggers anxiety or makes my depression worse (goodbye Facebook). 

I really should give my friends and family more credit for sticking by me. Sometimes this lasts a couple days. Sometimes weeks. Sometimes longer. They’re a persevering group of people. I love them for it, I can’t thank them enough for putting up with my moping, sobbing, long silences, and general avoidance. 

I know I’m not alone, not even close. This is inherited. It was passed to me by genetics. I passed it on. It will be passed to other generations. I know my brain is starving for chemicals it’s missing and I’m not simply sad for no reason. I know it’s the most commonly diagnosed condition in the US. It’s not just me, but I still feel alone. 

I’ll get through this, though it will happen again. I won’t drown. Eventually I’ll get out of the bath and a fluffy, warm towel will be waiting in the arms of my husband, ready to wrap around me tightly and shelter me from the cold. 

Until then I’ll hug myself, touching the dopamine and serotonin molecule tattoos on my ribs and remind myself that these two small, but very important friends will come back to live where they belong and I’ll gain my equilibrium soon.