I Am That Girl Now

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Nothing more than feelings

I had a post last night, but hit the wrong button and deleted it. D'oh!

The antibiotics have finally done the trick and I had a completely headache-free day yesterday, for the first time in weeks. Not quite as good today, but we'll see how things go. I'm grateful to have any time off at all from the headache, because damn, does it put me off my game.

I'm sort of cranky today. I spoke a little too disparagingly about my husband's choice in breakfast (McDonald's, although he did choose the Egg McMuffin over the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit, which was a promising step), and I narrowly missed having a fight with a friend over-- of all the damn things-- Easter dinner. I should not speak to people when I'm hormonal; I say things I wouldn't say drunk and feel perfectly justified. Aieeee.

I started this blog, I have to admit, to give myself an outlet for everything I wanted to say about food, exercise, habits, choices, and all the weird epiphanies that go with taking your life in your hands and saying "No, it should be more like this." It had to go somewhere, and recently I've been getting the feeling that my friends are really tired of me talking about it. There's no chattier Christian than a recent convert, and there's nobody more annoying to talk to about food than someone who's still working through weight maintenence one day at a time.

I'm feeling self-conscious about it, anyway. The good thing about getting to hold forth on this blog is that I'm not doing any harm with it, I'm not posting under false pretenses-- this is a weight-maintenence journal, not one about my life, so anyone who stumbles across it gets exactly what's advertised. I'm not out there forcing this down my friends' throats.

Man, am I hormonal. I'm feeling guilty and judgemental at the same time. Very exciting.

I've been thinking lately about the way I deal with my more negative emotional states. I used to have a one-size-fits-all answer for it-- eat! I got to the point where I wasn't even waiting for the emotion to kick in, I was insulating myself against it ahead of schedule. I was operating at arm's length from my own emotions, and worse, I didn't even realize this wasn't normal. I barely gave a moment's thought to my dialed-down emotions; it was just how things were.

It's normal to use food, alcohol, sex, drugs, smoking, or, hell, shopping as a way of self-medicating for emotions or stress that you just can't deal with right now. It's when that self-medicated state becomes standard operating procedure that you have a serious problem, not just because of what the overdose does to you (or your credit card), but because when you try to quit and hit your first mild emotional bump, it feels like a huge crisis. You think of everything in these huge, overdramatic terms because you're used to listening to yourself with earplugs in, and now the earplugs are out and this shit is deafening. You may not have realized that you'd been using your bad habit as a way of avoiding the full IMAX experience of your own emotional state, but boy do you want it to stop, and indulging in the old bad habit calms the waters.

Earlier, I wrote that the problem with being sick last week was that none of my usual tricks-- things that I do that actually help my emotional state, things that I do instead of eating-- none of those tricks were working, and I turned to food in desperation because I just wanted to feel better. When I was composing the first draft of this post, I kept saying that the problem was that I didn't have enough experience being sick as That Girl, so I didn't know any tricks that would make me feel better. (Beyond, of course, the obvious answer of going to the doctor and getting medication.) It occurs to me, though, that there's a deeper level to that: maybe part of the problem there is my expectation that I will be able to do something to make bad emotions stop.

The things I've been tackling before this have been negligable on the great scale of emotions. Stress and vague "bad mood"s are nasty, short-term fears and anger and irritation are bad, but they're all conquerable. What happens when an emotion is more long-lasting? What about real grief, or a long illness, or depression, or a large-scale conflict with another person, or the stress of something huge and unavoidable like losing a job or moving from one city to another? Sure, I may be able to deal with the symptoms of those sorts of things, but the problems themselves will just keep aggravating those symptoms. I lose patience quickly when my usual methods don't cure the underlying problem (or relieve the symptoms enough for me to get past the problem quickly)-- and there's this flawed idea underneath it that in a pinch, I should self-medicate with Kitchen Valium and it will fix what the "lesser" methods won't.

Problem is, Kitchen Valium never fixes the real problems, either. And while I never really got tired of continually applying Kitchen Valium in spite of its lousy track record, it seems that I am more easily disillusioned by my newer methods. It seems to me that I'm really in need of three things:

1) The awareness that all symptom-treating methods are created equal, and that just because they didn't cure the problem doesn't mean I should stop applying my current treatments,

2) The ability to distinguish between the symptoms and the problem-- and go beyond treating the symptoms and get a move on actually treating the problem at the root of it, and

3) The willingless to actually experience the emotions I'm feeling and not panic over them. They're there, they're fine, they're normal. Freaking out over feeling them only makes matters worse. Okay, so I get angry: people get angry. Guilt? Same thing. Sorrow? Ditto. Sick and miserable? Fine, whatever, I can perfect the art of whining. The problem is not that I'm feeling something; the problem is something seperate that I am reacting to. The reaction is normal. It will continue to happen while I deal with the problem and treat the symptoms. That's life.


Post a Comment

<< Home