As I drink my morning coffee, I would like to give a big thanks to all of you who responded to my last post “Deconstructing Regain: Part One”
I feel very good about this step in the right direction. When I began my blog and weight loss journey in 2011, I would write almost every day. I did not always have some big plan or topic pre-decided. I would just very simply write not always knowing what would come out on the other side. To me, writing is therapy. It just wasn’t until I opened a blog that other people would actually read what I had to say.
(Unless you count the time my Mom found my diary back in high school!—that was a tough day!)
Often as I write, things pour out that come from unknown places. Sometimes it even surprises me. Somehow writing opens doors to areas of thinking you did not even know were brewing. For me, it has helped to clarify at times the feelings I already have. At other times, it helps me to put closure to things that need to be put to rest. It may uncover uncomfortable emotions that I did not even realize were right below the surface. Yet somehow, writing always feeds my soul. And feeds it in a ‘good’ way. One that does not damage me or add unwanted calories!
People that suffer from eating disorders, depression or other similar issues may tend to isolate. I know that for me this has always been the case. Isolation feels comfortable to me. I would often imagine myself inside a big fortress. Walls that climbed so high you could not see the top. No one can see me or hear me. I am in my own world. To many this sounds suffocating. To them it would be a prison. But for others, this is where safety lies. This is the layer of protection we crave from a world which seems full of more harm than good. When you combine the practice of isolation with an eating disorder, you begin to build a prison that leaves your imagination and becomes very real.
Isolation feels very safe and warm. Yet many times it is the breeding ground to exacerbate any condition which already is causing me pain. If I am lonely, isolation only serves to highlight how very alone I really am. If I am depressed, isolation surely provides the moist ground in which to grow this emotion at record speed. Isolation is the lamp that shines a light on all the despair I might feel. When I completely isolate myself, I will not be alone for long. Despair, depression, loneliness and anxiety will come as guests to fill the empty chairs. In the end, I am never really alone. Surrounded all the time by my own thoughts. If they are the only thoughts I have access to then overcoming my struggles becomes much more difficult.
Sometimes when you isolate it is hard to reach out. Writing though can be a vehicle to do this. A way to reach out even from the very midst of your isolation to a world just beyond your fingertips. Even right now when I am deep inside my own head, I can write. And from inside the ‘matrix’ and through this medium of blogging, you can still hear me. It is often in the writing that we begin the small step of isolating just a little less.
I love to write but I have silenced it too often because I feel disconnected lately from what people may want to hear. For me writing is therapy. And while some topics may seem unrelated to weight loss, anything going on in my life can lead me to overeat if I don’t process it correctly. Yet the other topics I explore are often met with comments from many that this is a distraction. An excuse. Some reason for me to not focus on my weight. To many out there, anything I write about not related directly to food or exercise is off topic. And so I choose not to write on many things. Yet by doing that I silence an effective tool to process my life. It all ties together in the end.
I would hope my readers can understand that my blog is not simply that of weight loss. At least that is not ALL I have to say. I would like for there to be more to me than just this one thing. When I recently faced what I thought might be a deadly disease, I began to think to myself…..Is this the only thing people will remember? What did she weigh on the day she died?
I need to be more than a number. I need to be more than my vice.
Sometimes I want to rename my blog to something else. To just simply my name. ME.
So that I can write freely about more than what I weigh. I feel it is confusing at times when people read my blog and they expect only to hear a number on some scale. A food list for the week. An exercise log. If they hear the rest of life they think…”What does this have to do with weight loss? A diet? A menu plan?” But for me, my life is like a mosaic.
Seemingly disjointed and yet all connected somehow.
Many people see weight loss only as a formula. I imagine these people love math.
For them, 2+2=4. This issue is nothing more than an algebraic equation to them.
Any discussion of emotions or feelings is grounds for chastising. Enough of that!! they say….It’s all excuses to them. They know the answers. They have the formula! And to them I say, thank God! The world needs you. We need the scientists and the mathematicians and those who look at life through a lens devoid of the complexities which with so many of us may feel weighed down by.
But this is not the flame of my soul. This is not what burns inside me. For me it is the letters and the words that I unscramble which fulfill me.
It is in the searching and yes even the ruminating that I find what I am looking for. It may take me longer to get where we are both heading as I did not choose the map of simple formulas but for me there is no other way. Perhaps my words and my thoughts often seem to go in circles. But this is me! This is where I find joy. I don’t pour my soul onto a page for the commenters that cannot really hear what I am saying. For those whose only reply is simply “Put down the fork”. If that is all you can see and all you can hear then we are cut from a different cloth. I don’t give a voice to my feelings on this blog as a means to make excuses for my plight. I do it as a means to process. As I write this, it is one hour I did not spend eating. It is one hour I was not head first into a wine bottle. For me, this breathes hope. It gives me something to look forward to. And for the people who can really hear me—hear me from a place that feels familiar to them as well—those are the ones I write for.
I got to the path of peace and contentment before by exploring more than a math formula for weight loss success. If that was all I needed in 2011, I would never have started this blog. I would not have written pages that explored my feelings about my life if all I needed was a fact sheet. A calorie counter. And someone to track my steps.
I credit the creation of this blog for much of my success. And my silence has not served me well. I did not lose 250 pounds simply through diet and exercise. I did not lose it from just surgery. It was in spilling my thoughts upon these pages. Letting tears flow from a bottle. By allowing myself to tap into another way to feed my spirit without a donut.
I find clarity through my words and through the words left for me by others.
I do not believe that we can use our past to excuse our present. Things done to us or things we have done cannot serve as permission to continue negative behavior. In no way do I believe that we should authorize our dysfunctional conduct as acceptable simply because our feelings or tendencies lead us towards it.
But still I will examine them because that is what I need to do.
I NEED TO WRITE.
I am not a math formula. My life cannot be summed up by a number.
I did not major in accounting or economics. I majored in Psychology and English. And many times this is to my disadvantage. Perhaps I am too much of an over thinker. For sure that is true. My imagination can run away with me at times. The melancholy state of my own existence overtakes me. But this is why I love poetry. Why I love to read between the lines. I believe there is more than what meets the eye. And for me to explore that is to reach into the well and pull out what needs to see the light of day.
Maybe it’s the stage of life I am in. Maybe it’s the darkness I have walked through lately. But for me this is where I am. And for those that feel frustrated by that I would implore you to move on. The internet is a wide and open space of choices. There are many out there whose journeys can be boiled down to a simple formula of recipes and workout logs. Nothing more is needed for them to find their way out of this struggle to beat obesity and/or whatever addictions draw them in.
But I see more. I do not see an empty battlefield. I don’t only see the enemy and its prey. I see the ‘demons’ if you will that appear invisible but come to haunt us. And I see the ‘angels’ who though invisible appear to come to our aid when we call. I want to open my eyes to what is all around me. Because even in my isolation, I must be aware that we are never truly alone.
When you write openly about your struggles and then post them publicly, you invite others into your world. Some will relate. They will share their struggles too. This makes me feel more connected. It makes me realize that others think the way I do. They struggle with many of the things I struggle with. When you write to me, I am filled with hope that I am NOT unique. Different. I am a kindred spirit with many I will never meet.
I am not everyone’s cup of tea. But for those who drink the same tea as me….welcome!!
Today I will write freely and I will not hold back. If I annoy you, please move on. If you find something here that sounds familiar, please stay awhile.
Every day for longer than I care to admit, I have felt some level of great sadness. Some level of great defeat. My spirit thirsts for God to open my eyes so that I can see beyond this. I do not want to believe the lies anymore that I cannot overcome the battles in this life.
Isolation may feel safe for a time but it builds walls around us that are hard to climb over when we need to. In someone with an eating disorder, those walls are made of flesh. They are heavy in pounds but heavier with the weight of our despair. I lived in that prison for years until God allowed me to break free. I do not want to yet again become enslaved to the bonds of food. I do not want to become enslaved to the bonds of addiction. Nor alcohol. Or depression. I want the freedom that I know is out there. Freedom which I have experienced before. A freedom I had embraced for quite awhile before slipping back into the abyss. Many of you know what this is like. To glimpse freedom and lose it. It hurts all the more, doesn’t it? When you no longer simply imagine what freedom would be like. But you KNOW. KNOW what it WAS like. Past tense
Because you did have it. You HAD IT.
Only now you cannot seem to find the mental fortitude to get back!
Today I will commit that situation to the Lord. Asking for His strength to see it through even when I feel nothing more than a busy signal through most of our conversations. I will continue to seek Him anyway. I will continue to seek freedom once again.
If you are also struggling today, to break free from the pit of food addiction (or any other addictive behavior ) and/or depression/anxiety then I will share with you what I was reminded of through many comments left here recently. It is to take small steps. A strategy that I KNOW works as I have implemented it in the past with great success. So today I will make a plan of small steps. Nothing fancy. Nothing monumental. But a few goals for the day. Perhaps those of you also living in the pit right now will share with me your small steps as well.
Because you are the ones I am writing for. Not the ones out there who have it all figured out. Those that can stand upon the mountain top annoyed by the rest of us who are still finding it a bit hard to climb. I have been to the pinnacle of success and I have been in the valley. If I ever make it truly to the top, let me never forget where I came from. When we can only tell people the “solution” without having any understanding or compassion for why they struggle to ‘just do it’ then we cease to be of use to them.
When our length of time living in freedom makes us unable to recall what it was like to be blinded by addiction— then we no longer can relate to the lost. And we fail to be of help to them as well.
For a time I was really free. You can go back and read my own words that I wrote during that time! Lengthy articles from such a free and clean perspective!! How addictive sugar really is. How we should never cease to see it for the drug it is to those of us who cannot handle it. How deadly this disease of obesity will be if we fail to take precautions. Yes I have written all of this and more! And many times at the height of my freedom I even began to see the solution as so ‘easy’ and so ‘simple’ that I wondered why more people didn’t just stop all their nonsense and get with the program!! Why didn’t I just do this earlier I would think? It’s so simple if you just follow the ‘rules’. Why can’t others just do it too??
Never let me be so arrogant again.
Pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). And this is true. For it is the moment you decide you know it all that your enemy is closer than ever. It is when you no longer can relate to those struggling that you are one step away from the cliff yourself.
Perhaps in some ways God has allowed me to fail so miserably right now that if I ever again do reach a point of total freedom, it will not be without scars deep enough that I will never ever forget what it’s like to be back in the trenches.
I have a very simple food plan laid out for today. And I pray God gives me strength to follow it.
I will spend time in prayer and filling my mind with the hope I feel only God can provide.
It is so hard to move yourself in the right direction when everything inside you feels it’s hopeless. And yet I know in my heart hidden deep the words of my childhood. The words my mother told me so many times:
I will go for a walk outside in the neighborhood with my children.
AND….lo and behold!!!…I will empty the dishwasher!!
For those of you in my corner, I truly thank you. I am in your corner too. For those of you who find me too wordy and believe my ramblings are nothing more than excuses then please feel free to go find another corner where the Type A’s live. There are many of them to choose from! Meanwhile the more melancholic temperaments and I will hang out here for a bit waiting out the passing clouds while hoping for the light to shine through :))
I plan to blog tomorrow and the next day too. I may not be able to do many things to completion right now but I can write. Writing helps me and I pray it will help me again.