I Am That Girl Now

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Feeling better

One of the recurring themes in my therapy sessions (damn me, I kinda miss them, can you tell?) was comfort. Self-soothing. The main reasoning there was that food has been my traditional form of self-medication, my response to being sick, being tired, being sore, being sad, being overworked, being stressed, being angry, anything, really. Back in October, I had a light-bulb moment when I discovered that the definition I'd had in my head for "comfort" wasn't so much a lessening of the emotion as it was the idea of blotting the emotion out entirely so I didn't have to deal with it anymore. Which was, in its way, a huge disappointment: here I'd been hoping that my therapist would teach me some magical new way to make the bad stuff go away, and now it turns out that I not only don't get that, but that I had to learn to accept merely softening the blow!

It's taken a few months, but I'm slowly assimilating the idea into my view of the world. As of today, I've finally started to get my arms around the concept that not only do I need to figure out what's wrong with me, but I'm going to need to have a comfort option tailored to each of the varying problems.

Yeah, I know. But years of a one-size-(supersize!)-fits-all approach to self-soothing makes a person prone to forgetting things like this.

Nothing fixes everything. A good hard jog might be just the thing to deal with anger, but when I'm sad I should probably just curl up on my Hub's lap and tuck my face against his neck. If my head hurts, I should take some Advil and drink a cup of coffee and rub the bumpy bits at the back of my skull; if I'm tired, I should probably take a nap. Garnering attention is a fine thing if I'm feeling lonesome and neglected is an excellent solution, but if I'm feeling pressured and overbooked, I should probably just hide, and if my Hub is making noise I should put on my headphones and listen to my meditation CD. If I feel poor and broke and in need of being pampered, I ought to buy a pomegranate and make some broiled fennel, and give myself a pedicure; if I feel stressed, I should put on some calming music while I get stuff done (Unwind.com streams calming music, which actually does help me concentrate). If I am hungry, I should eat something that will fill me up. If I am bored, I should do something. If my back hurts, I should adjust my friggin' office chair so that it actually supports my lumbar area. If I am sick, I should go to the doctor. If my teeth hurt, I should call the dentist. If I am generally cranky, I should cuddle my cat, who thinks that I am wonderful and likes very much to be treated like a teddy bear.

There are many problems in life. There are likewise many solutions. I just need to apply the right ones at the right times, for pete's sake. Can you believe I need to learn this at the age of thirty?


  • I totally notice this. When I feel lousy, things don't go my way, whatever, the first thing that comes to my mind is food. And it's sad that I can't use food as a comforter, because it's such a great comforter! It really makes me feel better. Darn it!

    By Blogger bloggest loser, at 11:36 PM  

  • Dude, I need to learn this at the age of 44! Good post.

    By Blogger M@rla, at 5:52 AM  

  • I can relate. In therapy a year ago (I too miss regular therapy sessions), I realized that I hold a lot of my negative emotions in my belly. Whenever I was feeling bad, rather than dealing with it I would cover it over with food. When I was feeling particularly bad, I'd cover it over with so much food that it made me uncomfortable and I could then blame my emotional discomfort on physical discomfort (and guilt at over eating when I was dieting).

    Food is still far too comforting and emotionally charged despite these discoveries and a year of working on them. Now I see that when I'm hungry I don't always feel hungry, but I may start to get depressed. But, if I eat, I feel better.

    By Anonymous Nikhila, at 4:48 PM  

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