Today I read a series of blog posts that I know was intended to be helpful but they really rattled my cage. Allow me to explain a bit. Throughout my life, I’ve not only struggled with obesity, I’ve also struggled with both anxiety and depression. When I was in my early twenties and was working a very high stress job, my anxiety got so bad that I was having panic attacks, severe insomnia and was experiencing physical manifestations such as bleeding gums, hair loss and throwing up several times a day. I eventually ended up locked in the loony bin for 4 days after it all reached a crisis and my mother found me sobbing on the living room floor unable to calm down or even speak coherently of what was bothering me. I joke calling it the loony bin; it was the best thing for me and it saved my life. After that, I landed in an out-patient program where I received cognitive behavioral therapy, medications and learned bio-feedback techniques. I also changed my career path to something far less stressful. In the process, I was diagnosed with mild depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
Those two diagnoses are still valid today. I am not cured of them; I manage them. Yet sometimes, one or the other, or both in tandem will rear their thorny heads. Sometimes, things get stuck in my head and I will worry, fret, chew and mutter over them. They will keep me awake at night, nattering about in my brain and thumping on my emotions. Then the blues set in, the feelings of inadequacy, of worthlessness, of bone deep fear that something bad is going to happen and it will all be my fault.
I’ve learned coping mechanisms over the years and for the most part, I do well. People who don’t know me would never think that this strong, intelligent, assertive woman wrestles with silly anxieties, atavistic fears and depression demons. But I can, and I do, get ridiculously triggered and overwhelmed by the most innocuous stuff. This takes me back to those blog posts I read today.
The posts were by someone here that I’ve come to admire in a very short time. She is a role model to me and I find that she is full of sensible and positive advice. If I didn’t have these mental aberrations, I would have read her posts in the spirit in which they were intended and that spirit was all about sharing and helping. Instead, my blasted brain took them, twisted them into something ugly, and now I’m worrying, fretting, chewing and muttering over them. The posts were lists of things to stop doing in order to be successful. As I read them, I ran headlong into things that I do now and while I know I should just stop, I can’t. Each stop this, stop that, stop the other, in that list that I found applied to my current behavior was like being thumped on the knuckles with a ruler. “Bad girl!” my brain said. “Bad, bad, rotten girl! YOU FAILURE.”
*takes a deep breath*
*takes another deep breath, wipes her eyes*
I am neither bad nor am I a failure nor am I a girl. I am a smart, strong, intelligent woman, full grown. I just have some junk in my attic that I need to toss out but when I look at the whole mess in there, I get overwhelmed. When I look at the total weight I need to lose, I get overwhelmed. When I take everything on at once, I get overwhelmed.
I. Must. Take. Little. Steps.
Little steps. Daily battles. Small victories. Move a little junk here. Clean a little junk here. Toss a piece out over there.
I have lost 16 pounds since January. I have 14 pounds to go to my next goal weight. I don’t have to change everything at once. I don’t. I can do this. One little step at a time, one pound at a time, one small piece of junk at a time. Take that, brain!