I Am That Girl Now

Monday, October 31, 2005

Wow, it's been a while.

I know, I know. I'm sorry.

It's all about the mental health these days, and while I've got the exercise thing still going, the food is highly questionable. Sigh. I will work on it. I swear.

Zoloft is good. Therapy is good. My therapist seems to have reached the point at which she stops taking notes and starts making this into a conversation instead of a monologue on my part. It's left me gobsmacked a few times already, sitting there with my mouth open saying "Guh..." and not much more, because I'd honestly never thought of things the way she mentioned it before.

There's a big thing about how I respond to people being angry with me or disappointed in me, in that I seem to fear it more than death or needles or rabid squirrels. My therapist told me that I can't manage anyone's reaction to me, including whether or not they become disappointed in me; I have been putting a vast amount of effort into artfully obscuring my failures and working to make other people like me and approve of me, but because that approval is based on misdirection and lies, I don't trust it, and when a slight bit of disapproval comes up I panic because I think they've seen through my mask and discovered that I'm someone they don't really like... when in fact they're just not approving of that one small thing. And in the meantime I'm not confident in myself.

I realized that the reason that I fear discussing my weight and health with my father isn't half so much because it's such a disasterous issue between us (although, really, it is) as that it's something I can't cover up when I'm going through a rough time. Rough times for anything else, I don't have to mention to him, and he has no way of finding out for himself-- finances, work, my marriage, whatever. My weight, though, is there. It's right there. If I gain, he sees it.

I seem to have had this idea in my head that I could avoid people being disappointed in me by trying like crazy to "live up to my potential" in absolutely everything. And since the "good" example I had growing up was how my father handled life-- by working pretty much constantly and occasionally sleeping, no hobbies that weren't productive-- I was trying to do that. Y'all seem to have been around for the culmination of that saga: I crashed and burned in a very big way.

So the question is, what's the worst that can happen, emotionally, if someone disapproves of me? No idea. I've always thought of it as an end to itself, The Bad Thing, and so it's weird to have to think otherwise. I'm trying to hash it out, figure out a new option for a response, and come to grips with the fact that I can't avoid this happening, all I can do is to learn how not to flip out. And, well, learn how to push myself only a reasonable amount, instead of pushing until my brain blows up. Pushing when I fear failure so much, given the fact that occasional failure is inevitable even in the best of outcomes, is a very bad thing.

I need to embrace a happy medium, somehow. Divorce my self-esteem from my performance; love the worst-case scenario Meg as well as the best-case scenario Meg, and everything in between.

Another thought that my therapist brought up is that there are some things that I need to have off-limits with my dad, both in the good times and the bad. I got lured into sharing my accomplishments with him because it was a cheap way to get approval-- really, the "easiest" way to make my dad shower me with pride and affection is for me to lose weight. It's hard to resist that. My therapist told me that I can't have it both ways-- I can't enjoy his random approval for the wrong reason and then avoid his disapproval for the wrong reason on the same subject. I was betting that this would never become an issue again, and I bet wrong. I'm going to have to put this whole subject off-limits, because it's really a toxic issue between me and my dad, and I need to free my weight issues from my yearning for approval.

Which also means that I need to figure out what my reasons are for doing the weight-management thing. I mean, really what my reasons are, not the ones I tell myself, not the ones I tell other people. Truthfully, I started losing weight because I was sick to death of hating myself, and I thought I could fix that by fixing my weight. It doesn't work that way. It just meant that the first moment I "failed" at weight management, I started hating myself again. Tying my self-approval, my self-esteem, to my weight is just not good.

So I need better reasons. And I need to find those at the same time that I'm taking away the "if I don't lose weight I am a horrible human being" motivation. This is scaring the hell out of me, because I'm terrified that if I stop beating myself up then I won't have any motivation at all to eat healthy.

The good news is that I'm pretty much loving yoga for itself, not for anything else. Love it, love it, love it. Love being stretchy. Love being bendy. Love the way I move, love the way I stand. It's so good. I seriously need to find that kind of love for other forms of exercise-- more cardio-vascular-fitness type. Dancy stuff.

In short, I need to do the stuff that I've heard before that I should do but didn't think I needed to do because I was just fine, thank you. Yeah, well. Bleah. Not fine.

So, scary stuff. Big stuff. I'm working on it.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So, so, so tired

This is what taking a long weekend will do to a person: you catch up on sleep, but at all the wrong times, and then you start not getting enough sleep again because you're not used to falling asleep at the time you'll have to in order to get up at the time you have to and still have slept more than five hours. Damn.

I'm zonked and zoned. So is my Hub. Great times for everyone. I can't imagine that tonight will be good for much of anything except Veronica Mars, and I imagine the battle of avoidance that will be waged over who will make dinner will be an epic one. It's a tough call; he's on antibiotics, I'm on antidepressants, we're both tired as hell today. No judge in residence to figure out which one of us looks more pitiful.

Fascinating times with the therapist yesterday. Having decided that I trusted her and that I needed to get more out of my money than going over material I'd already covered elsewhere, I did a huge info-dump to get her caught up on everything and spelled out what I wanted out of therapy.

That was fun. The problem here is that I don't know how truthful I'm going to be, long-term. I'm okay with being a newbie as long as it means I have the chance to move ahead swiftly and keep on going; always want to make the teacher/parent/boss proud, keep up my image of being the shining overachiever who learns quickly.

Which is, frankly, part of my problem. I'm okay with starting out bad, I'm just not good with a loss of performance that will lead me to feel that I've disappointed someone in authority. Or, for that matter, anyone. And I can't operate like that-- okay, granted, I can, clearly I've worked that way for almost thirty years. Thing is, I can't keep doing this and keep sane. Maybe I could handle it alone, but not married. I have to be able to be human with my Hub, otherwise I'm just going to keep stressing myself into depression.

As my therapist told me yesterday, I need a kinder inner voice than the cruel, perfectionistic one that preens when I get it perfect and kicks me for anything less. She says that talking about what life was like when I was younger is part of that, since my family didn't discuss my father's temper back when it was shaping my personality. I hope she's right. I'm just itching for something more pro-active, I guess.

Best part about this therapy thing is the totally non-judgemental listening thing. I don't owe this woman anything at the end of the hour but a check; for one of the first times that I can remember, I don't have to give anything back, I don't have a responsibility to the other person, I can operate without filters. I filter EVERYTHING, depending on who it is, depending on how I know they'll operate. It's one of the reasons I often find it so much more refreshing to go out among strangers than to be among friends; I don't owe anything to those new people and they don't have any prior conceptions of me, so I can just do whatever, whereas friends...? friends require more specialized treatment. Family, too. Husband? Definitely.

Finding some way that I could cut down on the filters would be nice. Very nice. No wonder I usually cut and run after a few years of knowing people; I've never developed a system of being able to handle the accumulated load of knowledge. I need this. A lot.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

SO much better

Okay, as of today I've been on Zoloft for three weeks. This morning, for the first time in I don't know how long, I rolled out of bed, pulled on my exercise togs, put up my hair and went directly to exercise, without dragging around for ten or twenty minutes first, and without that heavy-head, despairing exhausted feeling. Didn't particularly feel like putting it off. I was even sort of looking forward to it.

Oh, man. This is fantastic. THANK YOU, MEDICATION. I haven't binged in weeks. I've been making some questionable food choices, but over the past week or so I've started easing back into moderation where portions and food selection are concerned. I weighed myself Sunday (the first time in weeks and weeks), accepted the number, didn't panic, didn't beat myself up over it, just incorporated it into my knowledge of where I am right now.

I've started over where exercise is concerned; gentle jogging with the TV playing Firefly DVDs (due to my Hub being sick, we haven't made it to Serenity yet, damn the luck) for three miles, and on alternate days I do the 50-minute yoga DVD that, before this week, I hadn't looked at in months. I have a vague plan to re-incorporate weight lifting next week, alternating weight-lifting weeks with yoga weeks. I'm not going to stress over this. It will be okay.

Slow and steady.

I've got my third appointment with the therapist today, and am looking forward to it. Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that if I don't want this to be a massive waste of money, I'm going to have to avoid bullshitting and try to get everything I can out of this resource. I'm working on it. I've identified two big issues that have been lifelong problems for me, 'cause dude, if I am going to be paying for this therapy thing I am damn well going to get my money's worth, and my money's worth would be being able to motivate without terror of authority (inner sensation of same counts just as well) and to be able to deal with other people's negative emotions or opinions without feeling as though I have to either fix it, flee, or fight. I want those things fixed. I'm pretty sure that if I get those figured out, I'll be able to deal with other life changes much better. And if, along the way, this leads me to be able to deal with my Hub better, and calm my terror over the idea of children, so much the better.

Right now I'm just enjoying the fact that my brain feels clear. I'm not getting that overwhelmed feeling of dread whenever something pops up in my e-mail at work or when the phone rings. I can clean the kitchen without having to push myself so hard to get started that the whole thing is torture. I'm starting to enjoy things again; I'm starting to feel a little creative, feel like making things and writing and playing. Life has just been this endless series of chores and drudgery for so long, even the stuff I knew I was supposed to be enjoying, and now I'm starting to get the swing of why again, remembering that I do this stuff 'cause I enjoy it.

Wow. How the hell did I make it through this year?

I'm not counting chickens yet; I've had a few weeks of clarity happen every few months and really the test of all of this is going to be if I can stay normal instead of lapsing back into that lousy state again. Knock on wood.

I'm a bit dismayed at what I've lost, fitness-wise, over the past month or two, when I was running on fumes and just could not push myself anymore. I managed to keep exercising every morning, but just barely; I had to resort to my 20-minute yoga DVD (which is barely anything, by my normal standards) several days a week and oh, how my endurance and speed has faltered on the treadmill. Gah. Again, I'm not kicking myself over it, and not mourning too hard; "dismayed" is about as harsh as it gets, 'cause now it's time to work back up to where I was. So far, so good.

And I'm not binging. I don't even feel like it, and I barely ever think of it anymore. I'm not obsessing over food in any way, shape or form. God, I hope this lasts, because the past few months have been really scary. There's nothing quite so freakish as having O/C behavior start to take over your life. ::shudder::

Anyway, that's the current situation. I'm going to try to update more than once a week, but I'm not pushing myself; like everything else, I'm just going by feel.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I am... hrm.

I'm okay. Balancing. It's very strange. I don't have much of an appetite these days, and some days Zoloft still gives me indigestion. The cycle of weirdness settled down, though, so that's good. Very good.

I'm having to come to grips with the idea that much of the way I operated before was due to a certain amount of obsessive-compulsive tendencies-- the binging, but also the things I did to make up for it, the ways I taught myself to get myself up and moving and working. And the thing is, I'm having to teach myself how to do everything all over again, because I've relied on that part of myself far too much.

There's also this thing where I internalized my father's voice to kick myself into action, and it's only now occurring to me that action vs. inaction should not have a decision process that I'm so scared of, where I drive myself or avoid the thing completely so that I don't have to go through the fear of failure. I have this feeling that I could be great if I wasn't terrified of being mediocre, if that makes any sense.

I got a sense, for the first time today, of what had gone missing in me, something I haven't seen for a year or more. The crazy part, the girl that went out and whirled around and had exhilarating times. I love to go out after dark, to stay up late in order to make a crazy 1 AM ride to the all-night video rental place, to spend irresponsibly, to eat thoughtlessly, to drink margaritas and dance like a crazy thing. And I... when did I lose that? Somewhere between how frightened my Hub is for me when I go out and how hard it is to haul him outside himself I've become housebound, tense, responsible to a fault, and the innocent crazy girl got used as a whipping post until she went into hiding.

It's that I got married. It's that I'm turning 30 next month. It's that we have finances and plans and that it all turns around the idea that we should have a house and kids at some point, and maybe I'm panicking still. I waited so long to be young and free and crazy and then I fell in love with a guy who is goofy and darling but in some ways oh, so much more cautious than I am. I don't know how to be all of myself with him, and I can't lose him, I don't know what I'd do. I want to bring him with me, but I hate that he'd think it's his fault and that he's wrong and bad. I want to fix him and I want to fix me, and I don't know how.

I'm so scared. I want to be married, I want to stay with my darling boy forever, but I hate being old married. I want us to sparkle.

I feel old and sad and lost, and I'm 29 years old. I feel like there's a time bomb waiting to go off, I feel pressured to get everything under control before we have kids except that kids have to happen before I'm too old, and that doesn't seem like enough time, and the harder I try to get it all under control the less I enjoy life. I hate this.

On the up side, I guess this is progress. I didn't know what was wrong with me before, and now I have an idea. Progress.

Cut for length-- click to read more.