Accentuate the Poisitive

There is the quote by Emerson or someone famous like that:

“Your attitude determines your altitude,”

My attitude, then, has me tunneling through life.  I know I’m tired, I know I’m a little burnt around the edges, but I don’t need to be so negative/nasty about they way I describe taking care of Mom.  For example, people ask how I’m sleeping, and I tell them I’m getting used to hearing Darth Vader on the baby monitor…..again, an attempt at humor with the intent to let people know just how put upon I am.  I wonder if this is something I do for everything?  Do I make sarcastic and caustic jokes about things that I have committed to because I’m regretting the promise and not liking the work load?  I don’t want to be seen as a victim, but when someone asks how I am, ‘fine’ doesn’t quite cover it.  I want to warn them if they are younger than me to move close to a home where you can visit your difficult older parent daily, if you have always had problems being in the same room with him taking in your parent will not magically make you and her get along together.  That is the mistake I made.  You can’t make anyone change, you can only accompany them on their road and support them love them and be present for them.  I need to stop telling people to move as far away from their parents, in an almost too small house or in a house close to an old folks home.  I can refer them to read “Coping with Your Difficult Older Parent“.   It helped in getting that aspect in my life put in it’s place so I could work on the anger, low-self esteem, eating compulsively, anxiety, depression, and everything else that I’ve been dealing with.

Okay, so changing my attitude with Mom should help me…. will help me.  Even if it’s just adopted the words when someone asks how I’m doing, “Fine.  Really, I’m fine”  No snarky comments about Darth Vader, no side remarks about her attitude or her roid rage.  Maybe I can shine up my personal reality by “Eliminate[ing] the Negative”

Small Victory

I had a goal in March that I wanted to be able to fit in to the opera seats at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. The last several operas required some creative sitting and resigning myself to not getting up during intermission without the Jaws of Life providing assistance. I’m not even going to get into the pain and bruising that goes along with it.

So the past two weekends I sat down and though I didn’t clear the arm rests easily I could position myself without going in at a 45* angle and then with brute force and with all my weight force the other hip into it’s confined space. VICTORY!

True not the victory I had planned, but no one can deny it is still a victory.

The Evolution of Abstinence

Food abstinence isn’t enough there needs to be more for me.   I realized this after troughing through a Chipotle burrito bowl a few days ago that though it was lunch, and I’m suppose to eat lunch, I wasn’t abstaining. I was shoveling it in my mouth as fast as I could to bury and silence the anger attacking me. Though it was the letter of the law the Spirit of the law was shattered.  However, it was still abstinence because I was eating a meal.

Everyone is supposed to define their abstinence, I have yet to really come to terms with what mine is….and I have yet to have a full week of abstinence.  Perhaps I’m expecting too much of weakling self.  I hear talks of people taking to abstinence right away, like a duck to water but I’ve not been that graced yet.  I tried to go on a diet earlier in the year.  It lasted all of three days and then cookies arrived and….Yum…..  Need I say more.  I realized then the work that it takes to start a diet; planning, cooking, thinking, was too much all at once for me.  My bandwidth for life in general is still quite limited with full-time work, part-time work, family, friends, working out and church.  I needed to start slow.  And slow I go….

My first abstinence was eating three meals a day with healthy snacks if needed.  I’ve never really stuck to eating just three meals a day my whole life.  I’ve started it, and I give it a good try but then I’d oversleep, don’t eat breakfast and eat a huge lunch to make up for it and then huge dinner, snacking all through the day and “tasting” while I cook.  I was fairly successful with that abstinence Monday through Friday, the weekend not as good.  The boon of eating three meals a day meant that I was taking all my medications in a timely fashion as well.  The way I worked the eating aspect of the program (since I’m sponsorless) is I would write down in my OA journal the date and the topic (Meal Plan).  The first paragraph is the Serenity prayer, then my meal plan of what I knew I could get a hold of for the day, then the Young Womans Theme slightly tweaked for the fact that I’m not a Young Woman any more and some of the things I’ve done.  It was a solid 10 to 15 minutes of writing.  Then I lost my hands (Okay, I didn’t lose them.  I know where they are, I just can’t use for that much writing without my thumb and wrist threatening to go on strike)  Writing it down first thing in the morning helped me to keep it in the forefront of my mind.  I use a program called Happy Ritual where every day you can tick off what you’ve done and then track it over the weeks and months.

Second Abstinence was to add exercise.  So, like I do my morning meal plan I would write out what I would do for exercise.  I put that on my Happy Ritual, both what to work out and that I’ve committed to it.  I need to move every day.  I’m good at the committing but not good at the doing.  At least not of late, but you know what we say ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Third Abstinence is to add Emotional abstinence.  Which is where I’m at now.  I can’t eat when I’m angry, I can’t eat when I’m bored, I can’t eat because I’m frustrated or when I want to celebrate.  I need to be mindful, and yes, there are books for that.  I wish I could ingest the book and then have it be so.  Learning and fiber in one fell swoop would be very helpful.  To help with this I’ve started praying again, and yes, I have to put it on my HR because I will forget and I am addicted to check-off things because it makes me feel productive.  I commit my food every morning to Heavenly Father, then when I’ve got a few minutes I type it into my To Do list for the day.  Google Task lets you do sub tasks so I can spell out Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner AM Snack and PM Snack and if I want desert I can put that on as well and as I click them off it gives me a percentage of how much I’ve accomplished for that task.

I will eventually get back to writing it down, I think it writes it on the brain when you sweep the pen across paper leaving an guide map for the day and then sleep sort of erases it, well things like this anyway.  Important things are normally filed before it can be erased.  Kind of like a blog.

I’m curious as to what the next step in my abstinence will be, and when it happens, gentle reader, I will let you know.

Control is an Illusion

I know this. I’m not stupid. Yet to gain the serenity promised in the SERENITY PRAYER I need to exert the kind of control over my life that I’ve never really wanted before. I need to become a machine. I need to make a list, check it twice, and then methodically, mechanistically go through each one with the promise there will be sleep at the end. It doesn’t help that my goal of coming off the anti-depressants isn’t working as well as I’d hope and staying in bed hiding among the varied dreamscapes I find there is all I want to do.

The lack of meds, the lack of control over the type of control I want in my life and the anger that’s welling up in me for having to have to shut down a goodly portion of my emotional life again in favor of sanity is making me want to take back the realization of March 2013: my name is Pamela and I’m a compulsive overeater. Maybe I’m not. (Anyone else catch the compulsively long run-on sentence?)

I am. I know I am. And try as one might you can’t unknown something without a fairly major stroke. It’s just right now it seems like one more thing on my over crowded to-do list.

Mom Was Wrong – Finally

Okay, so she’s not nearly as right as she thinks she is and far more times than I give her credit for. Mom mad a prediction for my last birthday…..I would be dead. Obviously I’m not because I don’t think wifi or smart phones would be allowed in the space between death and judgement, so she is WRONG. I know it’s petty to take such pleasure in that statement.

However, it’s not like I’ve stood still for this past year. Though it took me 9 months to join OA and I’ve just now started exercising I am making strides. I’ve reduced my meds and it looks as though I’ve gone down as far as I can on my Lexapro I’m hoping exercise (crap) will take care of it and I’ve heard yoga is a good drug replacement too. Again it comes back to caring enough to making myself a priority….I know all this I’m not totally feeling it right now. That’s suppose to come as I work The Steps. And again that goes back to caring enough to make myself a priority. Just like a dog chasing its tail; these are the days of my life.

It’s All About Me……

Everyone has a favorite word or phrase.  Lately my word has been anachronistic and my favorite phrase is “It’s all about me,”  Which, really, it is.  I’m aware of the narcissistic vein that runs through my family line, have been for decades.  And I realize I struggle against that tide of self-interest on a daily basis.  It’s a bit like trying to paddle upstream with anvils as your oars.  I don’t always make a lot of headway, but it keeps me anchored when I’m too tired to row any longer. As long as I struggle to keep ahead of it, the better off I feel I am.

I bring this up because I heard a comment on Sherlock (BBC version) that I liked….”I’m not a psychopath I’m a high functioning sociopath.  Do your research,”  I have been called a sociopath before, never bothered to look up the definition because the person that called me one was just projecting and was mean-spirited child at the time. There are ten questions on the Urban Dictionary that I took, and it turns out I’m just a touch of one, but I think everyone can be everything (unless they are truly stuck in a diagnosis and can’t pry their way out with meds of EST). So, no I ‘m not a sociopath. I have a conscious, I don’t take pleasure in making people cry, I can have an acid tongue, but I use it jovially instead of as a jousting lance.

I have been known to tell people they can’t do something because I don’t like the way it will effect me, but I don’t require them to keep that in mind when they make their decisions. If they don’t want to hear me whine they should do it because my whining can make dogs ears bleed.

Of course blogging is sort of a self-fulfilled sociopathic exercise in me. I’ve said things here that I felt at the time and now I’m sorry I put them in writing. Not enough to take them down, but I am ashamed at some of the things I’ve called some of my family members, I might do some redacting to take out bits, but not the whole, so they won’t get hurt if they should read it…..I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to figure out how it’ll truly affect me either way.

Oh, and for a general update on me…..I’m down 15mg on my Lexapro and 20mg on my Buspar…..and I haven’t unraveled yet. True it’s only been two days on the Lexapro so I’m still floating at a larger dose, but still, I’m working both sides of the program….getting drug free and trying to work the 12 steps…..it’s exhausting, but I’m feeling better all the way around. I cringe at the amount of work that is left to be done, but I will do it. I’m the only one who can because, well, it’s all about me.

Slowly I Turn, Step by Step, Inch by Inch

There are twelve steps and twelve traditions in the OA handbook. I’ve been stymied by the first three.

  • Admit you have a compulsive eating problem

Okay, admit you have a problem. I wouldn’t allow myself to believe it even when I admited aloud that I have a problem, even though we are required to introduce ourselves at the meeting as “Hello, my name is Pamela and I am a compulsive overeater”. Even when they are listing the things that overeaters do and I’m nodding my head in a silent confession, even when more of me oozes off the folding chair than is on the seat, I’m not a compulsive overeater. I’m not, I’m not I’m NOT!

I am.

With the lightening of my psyche, coming out of the depression and controlling the anxiety I see myself more clearly. What used to be hiding in the shadows or under all the other fluff of my life is cluster of barnacles that won’t come off by wishing, hoping or praying. My standard operating procedure in things that I don’t want to do, say housework, is to either shut the door or turn off the lights. If you can’t see it, it’s clean. Tada! I could do just that, deny that I have a problem, let the barnacles continue to infest, grow legion until they ultimately sink me. Careening is the process of beaching a ship at high tide to expose one side of the ship to scrape off the parasites. The sole purpose is to allow the ship to reach its full potential on the water. Yes, I’m well aware of the easy fat jokes I’m not utilizing, but the days of being the jolly fat girl has come to an end. In my own best interest I’ve beached myself and scrape back the shell that hides the real reasons for my compulsive overeating. Believe me, I don’t think I eat this way because I’m physically hungry. I need to do the hard work but thankfully, not alone.
 

  •  Locate your Higher Power (Heavenly Father/God in my case)

I have always had a Higher Power. Even when I wasn’t actively engaged in His good cause. I’ve always known God lives, that He loves me. I’ve been blessed with this innate knowledge that seems to have eluded most of my family. However, knowing it and living that knowledge hasn’t always gone hand-in-hand for me.

 

  • Admit you can’t handle your life anymore, God can. I’ll give it to God to deal with.

I’ve seen His miracles, both large and small, I’ve seen the power in the Priesthood, and felt His healing touch when I was sick and afflicted with things I didn’t want or need any more. Knowing that the path I’m on will only lead to a double sized cemetery plot of I don’t do something about it, I still won’t can’t seem to reach out to Him for help in this. It’s my problem, my weakness, my life and I am trying to live it as close to His book as I can. It’s like I want to be perfect now and then give myself to him as a testament to my beliefs and how I’ve lived them in the world.
Unless perfection weighs in at 300+ lbs, I’m as far away from perfection as the Mariana Trench is for shell-seeking scuba divers. Perfection isn’t for this life, I’m not even sure it’s attainable in the next, but it is the conglomeration of knowledge and our ability to act on that knowledge that perfects us for exaltation. I know this. And yet perfection seems to be my goal in EVERYTHING. This is a trap because I know I’m not perfect yet and I need to be perfect, or at least perfect in all the things I can be perfect in, otherwise I’m sinning, and as a sinner I cannot ask nor expect help from a caring, loving Heavenly Father.

Yea, I caught that little oxymoronic paradox. If He is a loving and caring Father in Heaven, He wouldn’t care that I am perfect or not, only that I’m struggling and suffering. Even if the suffering is self-inflicted. He loves me, and He wants what’s best for me. I lack faith. I have been going through a dirge of hopelessness for what seems like ever, but it twinkles back every now and again, so I know it’s not dead, but those two small words are the key. We are to have faith, even if it’s the size of a mustard seed, and when planted in prepared soil (hope) it will grow to bring shade and provide homes for small helpless animals of the meadow. I lack these things, the hope and the inner-wherewithal to act on that faith. Faith, is a verb, I know it doesn’t sound like it is, but it is. Faith without works is dead. Maybe I’m afraid of the work, maybe I’m afraid of the success, all these things need to be examined but nothing, ever, will get done unless I jump.

I’m not ready to jump.

Last night I did it. I took the first small step, well actually all three. I am a compulsive overeater. God knows this and I have turned my life and sanity over to Him. Yes, I’m still prying fingers off one at a time to relinquish full control over to Him, but slowly I’ve turned and, step by step, inch by inch I will turn my life from compulsive overeater to humble personal achiever.

 

Footnote:

[1] When I hear the word “Careening” I think about careening out of control, which is what I am, but now careening seems to represent “caring” and that is the type of careening I need done.

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