Friday, August 3, 2007

There's no crying in the gym... Right?

I'm working really, really, really hard to just let myself feel what I feel when I feel it.

Somedays, it's easier than others.

Today was one of the harder days...

I worked out with my personal trainer and halfway through my workout, I just wanted to sit and cry. Granted, every muscle in my body was beyond fatigued and SCREAMING, but that isn't necessarily unusual when I workout with my trainer - I pay him to fatigue my muscles so that my body makes more muscles and thus, I get stronger.

But I never wanted to cry my eyes out before when it happens. I was extremely embarrassed, but would have been completely mortified if I had broken down into sobs in front of my trainer. I choked down my tears. And wheezed for like a minute. Scared me. I felt like I was having an asthma attack (not that I have ever had asthma...) So I swallowed my emotions and finished the workout (which I think was a touch easier than my trainer had originally planned. My trainer is good.)

I probably should be disappointed in myself - for not going with the emotion, however I am a firm believer in "there's a time and place for everything." In the middle of a gym with someone I have a professional relationship is NOT the place. The middle of an intense workout is definitely not the time.

Over the rest of my workday, my thoughts drifted back to the tears.


Add to it that I had a strange reaction to a relaxation exercise my dance instructor led us through last night after our workout. I was laying on the mat, on my back, palms up, and was trying to soften various body parts as my instructor directed. Then she told us to imagine a huge smile, a nice big cheezy one, but not to actually do it. "Feel the energy in your face, spread it to your head, your neck, your chest, your ..." and so on down the body.
The energy didn't get beyond my head before it was gone.
I tried to get it back.
And then I felt incredibly uncomfortable. Almost panicky.
I opened my eyes to bring me back to the moment.
Luckily, the exercise ended.

But my reaction bothered me. It was more that I am just a naturally tense person who has never learned to relax. It felt more than that.

But what?

I'm not sure I'm ready to dig it up.

I told my hubby about both things - the pseudo-asthma attack, the interrupted meditation. He said (among other extremely supportive things, of course,) "Go see John."

I know he's right. I know I should call up John, make an appointment, talk to him about all of this.

I'm hesitant.

I'm making excuses - it's PMS; it's just the end of a stressful month; it's just...

But there is the worry that maybe it's more than that.

But then, I don't really doubt that it might be something more and probably about my brother and the CSA.

I'm just scared. Scared to dig any deeper than I have already. I know it happened; isn't that enough?

My mind is telling me that it might not be...

And it's happening now because I'm even stronger. I'm not using my ED to cope anymore. I'm taking care of me better than I ever have.

So, I guess I need to make that call to John.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

To sleep, perchance not to dream

I'm so thoroughly exhausted.

And I'm not exactly sure why.

Okay, that isn't true.

I've been having strange dreams every night for over a week now. Ever since I stopped taking ibupr0fen for my ankle... I wake up feeling tired and disturbed as the details of the dreams vanish.

I know that my mind uses dreams to help me process emotions/events. I wonder if remembering the dreams would help me figure out what it is that my mind is processing...

I feel like I spend my days in a bubble. I think I'm depressed. Again. I don't want to socialize (except with my son and husband,) I have no motivation, I just want to sleep (although that could have lots to do with my lack of restful sleep.) ... I feel numb and yet, tears spring to my eyes at the mention of something remotely sad. Like just now, I was reading an article about the bridge collapse in Minnesota. I got to the part about the kids in the school bus and I just wanted to burst into tears. I went into the ladies to cry, but by then the tears wouldn't come.

Which is why I'm writing.

So if this is depression and not just exhaustion, why am I depressed again? What is my mind trying to process with these dreams???

What emotions am I not willing to acknowledge that need an outlet?

I suppose the good thing is that I'm coping without using food or exercise. Even though I've thought about it... But I know it won't help, so I don't.

So what is really going on inside of me?

I'm not sure I want to know. I'm not sure I want to dig right now.

More importantly, why haven't I told my husband? Why am I ashamed that I'm depressed? What is so wrong with it? Why do I immediately think that something is wrong with me?

Can't someone be depressed just because? Is it such a horrible thing? Isn't depression just another emotion? Neither good nor bad? Just is?

So maybe my depression is just a compilation of a lot of "little" things that I haven't thought much of because each alone are "little" - a friend at work leaving, work with no base-touching with my boss for a few weeks (to keep me in the right direction, especially on projects she's asked me to be involved with,) not able to walk with the same vigor because my ankle is healing slowly (well, in relation to my expectations,) missing the daily interaction I had with the friends that I made at my son's former childcare center, thinking about how my parents and my in-laws aren't getting any younger (my mom-in-law just turned 60) ...

All sad things. Naturally depressing. Normal.

And maybe I am feeling it more acutely because I haven't shared this with my husband? He has so much more energy and he is happier. I really love seeing him so excited! I guess I just haven't wanted to bring him down, and yet, I have been (unconsciously and innocently) bringing both of us down, haven't I? By not stopping and figuring out what it is that is bothering me so that I could share it with him.

I suppose I should take my own medicine sometimes - "Take care of yourself first or you won't be able to care for anyone else."

I'm glad that I am being true to myself, letting myself be, feeling what I feel even when I don't have time to think about the whys.

[deep breath]

But wow.

Amazing how much better I feel just writing this down (with the intention of publishing it, after I email it to my husband.)

Tagged for Monday Madness

Carla tagged me with Monday Madness. I've been avoiding answering these; I really want to give the answers thought and lately, I haven't wanted to delve into the depths to dig up anything.

But avoidance never was a viable long-term coping mechanism... So here it goes.

1. Are there any weird "food rules" you have?
When I listen to ED, I have lots of "food rules," most of them are "weird."

Jeanne, however, doesn't have rules around food or eating. Guidelines, definitely - based on my nutritionist's recommendations, but I try not to follow it rigidly. I try to allow my body's signals to guide me as well.

2. When you were growing up, what ONE thing did your parents always remind you of, when it came to meal time (or cooking)?
Don't waste food.

3. Is there anyone you know whose food you won't eat (for one reason or another)?
Personally, I steer clear of unidentifiable food of any origin. I need to know what is in something before I will agree to try it.

4. Is there anything you "specialize" in cooking, that people actually ask for?
My husband asks for so many things that I make! But I think he would agree that my sauteed veggie dishes are particularly yummy.
Oh, and a co-worker devoured my banana bars with cream cheese frosting.

5. When you were growing up, what one meal do you remember as being your favorite?
Mish mash.
Okay, it was a creation of my very own. I would mix equal amounts of Spaghetti-Os and Campbell's baked beans with a little mustard and a lot of ketchup. Sometimes, I would then put the mixture into two slices of bread and eat it like a sandwich.
Interestingly enough, I've tried this a few times in my adulthood and for some reason, it just doesn't taste the same. 8-(

But yeah, that was my favorite... [wistful, watery smile]

Maybe because I remember my grandpa, grandma, and I making it together when I would get my week's vacation at their house each summer.

Sometimes, I miss those days. Life seemed so uncomplicated when I was five/six.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Unscientific, perhaps, but revealing...

I admit it. I've been reading the Dilbert Blog faithfully, ever since Scott Adams was a keynote at a conference I went to in June. He is just an amazing character - even more interesting than Dilbert himself.

Today, Scott posted a question on his blog - asking his readers to respond to two questions:
1. Standing in a fog, you glimpse a doorway. Do you go through the doorway?
2. What is your gender?

I generally don't post comments unless I feel that I could add something worthy to the conversation, and even then, I still hesitate to post. For some reason, after a few moments of hesitation, I chose to answer his questions.

1. I hesitate.
2. Female

Later today, he posted his observations about the first post. To sum it up, he thinks that men plow ahead unless there is something explicit in the way (like a big sign that says, "Do not enter,") where women may need more of an invitation. He theorizes that this is why men negotiate and receive higher salaries.

Interesting, to be sure.

In my reply on the second post, I said that I often hesitate before posting comments. I am reminded of a sign that my father had in his classroom about proving ignorance by opening one's mouth. I can't remember the exact quote, but the point is that if you don't open your mouth, ill-formed (implication - dumb) thoughts can't escape to prove that you are not intelligent.

The only time I post comments on others' blogs is when I feel what I have to say would be worthwhile, supportive, thought-provoking. I worry about saying the wrong things, at the wrong times, in the wrong ways. After all, I was never invited to read in the first place, let alone butt in with my pennies.

So many times in my life, I've been mocked for things that I've said innocently enough.

In elementary school, I was Hermione Granger (with glasses, but no bushy hair.) I raised my hand; had most of the answers and was willing to share them. Not because I felt superior or because I wanted to gloat that I knew something no one else did. I wanted to help the teacher move the lesson along. It was painful to see the teacher patiently wait for an answer. It was painful to wait to learn more about a subject.

One instance in particular stands out in my memory. In fifth grade science class, we were talking about the parts of the eye. Cornea was mentioned. I raised my hand to share, "I had herpes on the cornea of my eye." The class started laughing. I was puzzled. I knew that herpes was the medical term for a coldsore. That coldsore virus messed up my cornea, which is why I have worn and will always wear glasses. Of course, I didn't know that to every other fifth grader, the word herpes was only ever used to refer to the STD.

This wasn't the first or only time that my "big" mouth (as my family referred to it) got me into what I viewed as trouble.

Somewhere around junior high, my classmates started picking on me. "Neanderthal" is the insult that resounds in my mind - when I went to school with unshaven legs and crop pants. "Porky Pig" - the chuckled comment from my teacher after I stuttered over the challenge spelling words for the next week - Psychology, Psychiatry, and another psy- word that I can't remember over the sounds of classmates giggling.

I became self-conscious. I only wanted to hide.

And I stopped volunteering answers until it was excruciating to sit in the stalled classroom any longer. It just wasn't worth embarrassment. It wasn't worth the pain.

I was silenced.

So here am I. Twenty odd years later. Still tentative in expressing my thoughts, let alone my feelings. Even to the most trusted person in my life, my husband.

Just like with this blog, I often wrap my feelings into a nice neat bow; a rallying cry or a rebel yell, a conclusion. I rarely have shared the raw emotions. When I can compartmentalize them no longer, I release some of these feelings in my private journal - the one which only I am allowed to view. Because I'm ashamed of them.

Because it shows the truth.

That even though I am far along my road to recovery where I choose not to cope with stress (emotional, physical, what-have-you) by using food, my emotions are not all dressed up in boxes with ribbons and bows. I am not perfect.

And I'm not quite okay with that...


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Whoda' thunk? Jeanne as Rebel

"Fashion's influence on the standards of femininity keeps us anxious, uncertain, and dependent. Sexism in fashion is dictatorial and unforgiving of individual variations in body shape and weight, or personal preference. It takes on a tone of "fashism," unapologetically sapping women's freedom, creativity, self-esteem, health and wallets." page 187 of The Body Myth by Margo Maine and Joe Kelly


I was in the fitness class that's offered at work today. As we were all crunching our abs into knots, one woman told us about her trip to Jamaica, and how gross so many women looked in bikinis on the beach.

"They shouldn't make bikinis in sizes larger than 12!" The other women agreed.

And while I do identify with their overall chagrin at many clothing choices made by people of all ages and sizes (most quite unflattering, all in the name of "fashion,") I said (something like,) "But you have to admire the fact that those women are obviously comfortable in their own skins."

And I was resoundedly booed.

Okay, so no actual boos were issued, but more descriptions followed about the sagging this and the bulging that in tones of utter disgust.

I tried.

[sigh] Failed miserably.

But I did try.

Somedays it seems like everyone is obsessed with weights and sizes. The instructor for class wouldn't take off her T-shirt because she had "gained five pounds." WHERE??? I think I even asked her.

I mean if this remarkable mid-thirties woman can't even be comfortable in her body that helped to win her second place in a figure competition, what hope do any of us have???

It's days like this that I wonder if being a rebel is worth the effort.

But then I think about how miserable I was - counting calories in and burned, weighing myself, worrying for days about what to order at a celebratory dinner with my family to the point where I would plan every detail - restaurant, menu choice, quanity ahead of time thus missing out on the joy of serendipitous restaurant finds, denying myself the pleasure of a scoop of chocolate hazelnut gelato in Little Italy ...

Rebelling is definitely worth the effort.