Oh, lord, it's been a while.
Life continues. The good news is that I'm in the midst of physical therapy to fix my bum shoulder; the bad news is that I'm in the midst of physical therapy to fix my bum shoulder. (Ha.) On the up side, it will fix my shoulder and I enjoy chatting with my therapist, who is not the type of person I would generally chat with (I don't think she watches anything on TV but reality shows; seriously, WHAT?) but who is cheerful and nice; on the down side, I hate actually doing the physical therapy. For one thing, it hurts. I get fewer manic twinges from the shoulder than I used to, but I lost a fair piece of muscle mass from my upper body this past year and more than that the muscles affecting my shoulder, so I get very very sore and very very tired over stupid amounts of exercise for the dumb thing. It's very disheartening. Anything I once had, I'm going to have to rebuild. I'm looking forward to going back to yoga again, but now I'm kind of scared of it, too. I'll probably plant myself face-first on the floor the first time I try downward-facing dog again. Eee.
I get an MRI today in order to make perfectly sure that I didn't manage to tear anything. Everyone's pretty sure I didn't, but understandably they want to know. Me, too. I get a little careful of my shoulder, still, which is to be expected after having it fucked up to some extent for most of the year, and knowing it's not seriously injured would make me feel a lot better.
I'm still meditating. Mostly (and this is hilarious when you think about it) on the train every morning, but I'm also trying to incorporate it into my daily life. For example, if I stay in the moment and don't freak out over all the bajillion things attached to any given piece of work (it's too big, too complicated, I'm going to get yelled at if I do it wrong, I should have done it earlier, I'd rather be Christmas shopping and that says a lot because I hate Christmas shopping), I can get work done. If not, no work gets accomplished until I'm pushed into it. So staying in the moment is kind of a requirement.
More in that vein: I've ordered a new CD set of little meditations, since I'm still no good at just doing it myself when I'm in a pinch; these are shorter, so I'll theoretically be able to pop them in when I need to take a break. I've also ordered a book on mindful eating, since... well, therein lies the post.
There's this ramble at the beginning of an Alabmama 3 song that uses the phrase-- lewdly stated but accurate-- "whatever you fuck your brain with". It's linked to references to drugs, alcohol, too much sex, TV, and so forth. In my case, whatever I fuck my brain with is food.
When I'm paying attention-- and I'm trying, trying, trying to pay attention to my life these days-- I can tell the difference between a "hey, I'm hungry" pang and a "want want want, give me something easily attainable that's all mine" vibe. Clearly the latter is something that should not be fed, but that's a lot harder than it ought to be. When I want food, it's not the food that matters, it's the want. It sings out so clear and so loud that I can feel it in my skin, this rampaging desire to get and to have and to devour. It drowns out a lot of other things, both when it's ramping up and when it's sated.
The main thing is that that want isn't hunger, it's a desire to fuck my brain with food. It's maybe the most blatant sign possible to indicate when I'm going haywire; that I'm scared, that I'm stressed, that I'm nervous, that I'm angry, that I'm frustrated, that I need to take that part of my brain and knock it sideways, and food is the big hammer. Not just food, but crackfood, binge-food; candy, chips, cookies, big-taste things. I didn't need this when I first went on Zoloft (ah, the honeymoon period), but it came back, big time, and it feels like the defining feature of my life over the past ten years, really: no matter what else changes in my life, I always end up diving face-first into crackfood when under stress.
Besides the obvious problem of oh my too-tight pants, the bigger problem with using food to fuck my brain with is that, well, I'm fucking my brain. I'm avoiding things, pushing things under the rug, denying problems to myself, and getting absolutely nowhere. And when I do make progress, when I push myself to write or to complete things at work, I never think about food; I can dismiss it and just keep rolling. It's when I start worrying again, or when something gives my self-esteem a slam, or when I get sick and slog through my life, or when I'm frustrated and biting my tongue over something-- then, boom, all progress stops and I'm back to cursing myself and reaching for the candy bowl.
As they say in the mindfulness books, the only answer is to learn to be in the moment, no matter what the moment is-- to be able to exist and stay present when stress occurs, in spite of really really really not wanting to be here because the moment sucks. In a crisis, the one who can keep all their marbles is the one who gets out with the least damage. Right now I'm not set up to managing a crisis, I can barely manage to plow through a stack of overdue paperwork without shying away and getting all avoid-y. The bottom line is that I gotta keep working on this.
I have made progress, of course. I haven't had a meltdown since March or so (which was back when I was still on Zoloft!)-- none of those crazed, nigh-suicidal oh my god everything is so fucked I am in such trouble nothing can solve this nobody can help me everything is horrible aaaaah times. So yay for that. And I can answer the phone and remain calm in the face of freaky customers, without getting my very curt voice happening and without saying random rude things. Big improvement! I went through my annual review at work very calmly, and it all worked out very well in spite of the fact that I got none of my goals accomplished due to the new database being a piece of crap. So I suppose the progress indicated is, on the whole, that I am better at handling things that are thrust upon me. Taking the initiative to go out and do them, on the other hand, is a whole 'nother step.
So, that's life at the moment. I'll try to be better about posting. Again, I'm sorry for the mammoth huge delay!
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