Posts tagged armchair shrinking

comfort.

Everyone has their own very special comfort foods. I have a lot of them. Depends on what kind of comfort I’m looking for. Miss my mom? Something savory and creamy, like fettuccine alfredo. PMS? Peanut butter cups. General depression/angst/cloudy day? Ice cream.  I’ve had to work on reconfiguring my comfort food needs, because a lot of what I consider to be comfort food is now mostly off-limits these days. I have been eating much more in the way of salty snacks lately. This is probably sub-optimal, but it’s probably also better for me than eating lots of sugary snacks, so I’m going to let it slide.

I was talking to Sean during dinner tonight about food (no, really!), and how Christopher was eating pretty much everything we put in front of him (cheese, bananas, pasta, salmon, roasted red peppers, eggs), and how I was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to grow up being a picky eater (knock wood). I was a picky eater as a child, and I know it was probably difficult for my mom to deal with. Heck, I was a picky eater well into adulthood. I still am, but it’s not nearly as severe. I’ll try almost anything, as long as it doesn’t have strawberries in it. Almost.

Sean observed that a lot of my reluctance to try new foods comes across as fear to him. I thought for a moment, and realized that he was right. There is fear there. See, because I am such an emotional eater, just about every food I eat is comfort food, to some extent. If I try a new food, I might not like it, and if I don’t like it, I don’t get any comfort out of it. He’s learned to introduce new stuff to me slowly, and almost always when I’m in a relatively good mood to begin with. As long as I feel safe, and as long as there is something familiar that I can eat as a back-up, I’m comfortable trying new things.

I was talking to another friend earlier today. She has similar food issues with regards to emotional eating and boredom eating. She and her husband were enjoying an Ecstacy trip together, and she said something that really struck me: “I’m filled with joy, and I’m not eating anything!” Made me realize that I really need to get to work on figuring out where else (other than food) I can find reliable joy. As long as I’m on Zoloft, Ecstacy’s not really an option (not to mention, it’s a pretty damn temporary fix).

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halloween.

I’ve been avoiding writing about halloween for a while. I have the bare beginnings of a draft sitting in my draft pile that’s been there for weeks. I’d been dreading even thinking about the holiday, because it’s so utterly saturated in sugar.

Last year (and the year before, and probably the year before that (etc etc etc), I adored halloween. I looked forward to the mass of “fun size” candy, so many more varieties than there usually were. And candy corn! I could buy a tub of candy corn and eat the whole thing! Seriously, I would stop by Bartell’s every goddamn morning and buy a big bag of candy, and by the time I left work it would be entirely gone. That’s a lot of candy. That’s a scary amount of candy. Appropriate, no?

And so, I was worried about halloween this year. Every time I’d go to the grocery store, there they would be, staring me in the face. Bag after bag of candy. My favorite kinds. Kit Kats. Reeses Sticks. Dove Bites. 100 Grand. Twix. Old friends, lying there on the shelves, whispering “buy me! you know you want to…”

But I didn’t. Every time I walked past, I really wanted to. I wanted to buy two or three bags and take them home and hide them and eat and eat and eat. But I didn’t.

Sean asked me periodically, “what’s your plan for halloween?” I didn’t have an answer. I always replied that I was thinking about it. Really, I wasn’t. I was trying very hard to pretend that halloween didn’t exist. Well, the day before halloween rolled around, and I had to face the facts — we needed candy to hand out to the trick-or-treaters. I knew that we would be getting lots of them; our neighborhood is full of kids. So, I did the only reasonable thing that I could think of. I bought candy that I didn’t like to hand out. The plan was Snickers (I don’t like nuts in my chocolate), but the store didn’t have any, so I got Nutrageous bars instead. And then Jujyfruits, or whatever the hell they’re called. God, I hate those things. I didn’t stoop quite so low as to buy a bag of Necco wafers, however. I still have some pride. And… it worked. The candy was in the house for over 24 hours, and I didn’t have any of it.

However.

Saturday, I went to that women’s health day at Swedish, which I wrote about previously. They fed us lovely box lunches. Mine included a chocolate chip cookie. No problem. It’s just one cookie. And it was good, too.

Fast forward to late afternoon/early evening. I’m hanging out with Sonja. She pulls down the bowl o’ candy (giveaway leftovers from both our house and Sean’s mom’s house) and grabs something. I think to myself, “hey, I should have something, too…” and I eat a little fun pack of M&Ms.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Sean’s little sister Robyn is having a small birthday thing. We all go over to Sean’s mom’s place for cake. I eat chocolate cake. I stand there and stare at the chocolate cake. My mind is racing. Cake. I want cake. How can I get more cake? Maybe I can come over tomorrow and Bette will let me have more cake. She won’t want to eat it all herself. She’ll just offer it to me. Maybe I could go home and make a cake. CAKE. I want to eat it. I want to eat the cake. Please let me eat the cake. There’s got to be some way I can eat lots and lots of cake.

Holy shit. That, my friends, is the voice of a serious addiction.

It’s subsided since then, but it’s still there.

As a result of this weekend, I have a couple of new sugary-food rules.

  1. No desserts without Sean.
  2. One dessert a week, tops.

It’s scary how quickly my mind flipped back into must-eat-sugar mode. It’s like I turned into a sugar zombie, single-minded in my search for sweet sweet brains. It would be so damn easy to slip back into that space. This is going to be a lifelong struggle for me, and not only does that make me feel sad, but I also kind of resent it. Life isn’t fair.

Oh well.

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memories.

My father and his wife are in town visiting his grandson. This is difficult for me; he and I have always had a somewhat strained relaitonship for various reasons which I don’t really have the energy to get into right now. Suffice it to say that I’m stressed. And when I’m stressed, what I really want to do is curl up with a nice big pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Can’t do that.

Okay, okay, technically I can do that, but I’m not letting myself do that. Instead, I’m busting into tears on the way home after picking Sean up from work, freaking out in the kitchen, and then hiding out in the bedroom with the laptop while Sean and Critter play in the living room.

I was thinking earlier about high school. About how, once I had my license, I would stop at the store after rehearsals to buy those aforementioned pints of ice creamy goodness. About how I would sneak them up to my room when I got home and eat them furtively. About how, when I didn’t have enough cash on me to do that, I would instead mix up a bowl of confectioner’s-sugar-and-water “frosting”, and sneak that up to my room for the furtive eating.

I think there was a lot of “nobody loves me. I guess I’ll eat, because it tastes good and it’s not like anyone will notice and/or care if I gain fifteen million pounds” in my actions. And the problem is, I was kind of right. I went from a size 16 up to a size 22 during high school. My mom noticed, I’m sure, but she never said anything. I can kind of understand that; she has dealt with her own weight-related demons for her whole life, and she probably thought that if she said anything, it would destroy whatever shreds of self-esteem I had left. I wish she’d said something. I might have gotten off of the path I was on a lot sooner.

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depression.

I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember. At some points in my life, it has been easier to manage than others. Right now? It’s pretty managed. I’m on a small dose of Zoloft, and it really does make a difference, most of the time. The main place where it fails at all is during every month’s bout of PMDD.

Luckily, my cycle is fairly regular, and I’m self-aware enough these days to notice what’s going on, and to give friends and family warning that I’m going to be cranky/sad/introverted/agoraphobic/tired/more-helpless-than-usual for a week or so. Sean takes good care of me. The system works well.

This month is different, though. Like in the past, I can see the depression hovering around my brain. Unlike in the past, I feel like I am actually right there in the middle of it. I’m not hiding my self off to the side somewhere. I feel great clarity in the middle of what has in the past been a great fog.

I’m certain that this change is due to the fact that I’m not self-medicating my depression this month with sugar.  Normally, I’d have the initial onset of low serotonin, and reach for the peanut butter cups, and eat for a week, and come out of it a week later feeling bloated and fuzzy-headed but emotionally okay. This time, the depression seems deeper, but I feel incredibly calm about it, and I’m actually experiencing it, rather than avoiding it.

Sean’s worried about me. I’ve promised to make an appointment with my doctor and talk about possibly upping my meds (possibly even just for this one week out of the month).

I think this is a change for the better, even though on the surface I have been feeling worse. It’s really strange, the layers of emotions that are going on. Deep down, I feel very good about actually feeling bad.

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changes.

I’ve noticed a few physical changes lately.

The good:

  • I have more energy in general.
  • I feel stronger.
  • I fall asleep faster.
  • My skin is clearer.

The bad:

  • My PMDD is worse. This has been manifesting not only as straightforward depression, but also as insecurity, irritability, fragility, confusion.
  • If I wake up in the night, I have a hard time going back to sleep. This would not be a problem if the kid would sleep through the night.

The ugly:

  • Really fucking bad dreams. This is probably related to the PMDD as well. So, I get the double whammy of waking up all shaky and full of anxiety from the dream itself… and then I can’t get back to sleep. Or I don’t want to go back to sleep. Some mixture of the two.

It’ll shake itself out.

And now I have a mental image of me pulling my head off of my neck and shaking it until my brain falls out on the floor. It makes a splooshy sound.

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revelation.

I figured something out yesterday.  Now, when I look at it, it seems like such a “duh” thing, that I should have figured this out a long time ago.

I’m not craving sugary junk.

I’m craving the emotions I get when I eat lots of sugary junk.

Now I just need to figure out what all of those emotions are (trivial!) and then figure out other ways to produce them (easy-peasy!). Simple. I should be done with that in a couple hours.

HA.

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