Puzzled and pointless

I’m still feeling wretched. I have moments of feeling ok – like the first twenty seconds of being awake, until I remember what has happened – and then I fall apart again. I thought I was ok to go to work today, but as soon as I left the house the tears started again (actually they started in the shower, but you don’t need those details). It’s like in the early days when I didn’t understand how the world could go on; when everything in my world seems to be falling apart.

I can’t sleep. I’m not hungry. Everything just feels wrong and I feel broken. The food thing has me puzzled, as I’ve traditionally been captain of the binge eating club to squash any emotions. Why not this time, too?

I haven’t been able to see my therapist yet. She wasn’t able to see me last night as there were workmen at her office. I’m pleased she didn’t subject me to them or their noise, as tradesmen are a big trigger for me. I’ll see her tonight instead. (For those of you worried that I won’t go, I will. She shuffled another client around to see me, so I will go, if for no other reason that not to muck her about given she did this.)

I’m puzzled that you all seem to think this wasn’t my fault, that there’s not something inherently wrong with me. If there’s not, then why can’t I find anyone who wants to be with me? For some reason the universe has seen fit to deny me the things I most desire. I don’t understand why.

I never thought there was much hope, but my therapist thought there was. So I put my faith in her. Silly, silly me. That’s only led to heartache and pain, as I should have known it would.

There seems no point to anything anymore. I can’t see how I’ll get over this. I know I can’t go back to hiding in loneliness and isolation. But I also can’t go forward. That’s where my thoughts turn to the pills.

Emptying my head

I think I’m depressed. I’m back to blah. Sigh. I’m sick of it. It’s a long weekend here next weekend and I thought I might go away to try to break the cycle. I even thought I’d go to one of my favourite places (the one pictured in my header). Alas, the person who normally kitty-sits for me can’t do it next weekend. Sigh. (Totally as an aside, how this person runs a pet minding business when she’s not available most holiday weekends is totally and utterly beyond me.)

Anyway, having binged my way to emotional numbness, I thought I’d try to empty my head. Here goes…

I’ve been “dating” – or trying to. Only no one’s interested. I’ve been doing that online thing. The Wonder Therapist has been encouraging me to try to meet (or at least touch base with) as many men as possible, as a self-esteem booster. So, I contacted (another) eight guys last night. Six have already said they’re not interested. Terrific self-esteem booster, that one. Could this be the first time the Wonder Therapist is wrong about something?

The Wonder Therapist is going on holidays next week. For six weeks. Count them: six. She’s travelling the world to exotic locations. I’ll be seeing the Famous Back up Therapist while she’s away, and even though I know this will be ok (probably more than ok), I’m still panicking about the Wonder Therapist going. I feel childish and pathetic. Sigh.

My own motivation to go to exotic locations has totally evaporated. I don’t know where it’s gone, and I can’t seem to find it. My travel agent is still doing things for me, but really, I don’t know if I can do it.

I had to go to a work retreat this week – an overnighter with a bunch of colleagues I pretty much don’t like, and who pretty much trigger a whole lot of sh1t for me. I went. People are telling me I should be proud of myself for going. I’m not.

I haven’t been totally honest here lately. Well, I have been, but I just haven’t talked about the “real” issues for me at the moment. It’s all tied up with dating, and being rejected, and feeling like a fool. And my deepest, most intimate hopes and dreams. I’m a failure. There, I said it. I’m a failure and the things I want most in life won’t happen, so what is the point of anything?

On top of all this, every time I walk past the refrigerator I put on weight. The new “healthy eating” plan the dietician put me on has been working very well – NOT. It’s so hideous. I can’t stand the sight of myself.

The little pills I fought so hard last year have started calling to me again. I know that sounds crazy and I know I shouldn’t listen. I’m just so tired. So very, very tired.

The Food Thing Part 834 – or: Progress? Or not?

I’ve written a few times about the Food Thing (starting here, with lots more here). In a bid to start addressing this, I saw a dietician this week. My therapist wants to tackle it physically as well as psychologically. I didn’t want to go, but I did. My therapist thinks this is great progress. I’m not so sure.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be honest with the dietician about my f***ed up relationship with food. She said and did a couple of things that made me clam up and retreat. My walls went up… BIG TIME.

So the person who went to the dietician’s appointment was a different version of me: a not-quite-honest version; the person who fronts banks and the like; the person who deals with things totally objectively as if she’s talking about another person.

Certainly not the person who writes this blog. And certainly not the person who has been so brutally honest with you, and with her therapist, about the Food Thing.

If I had DID I might describe this person as “Management”. She steps in sometimes when the “real” me can’t deal with things. I haven’t seen her for a long time, though – not since I started therapy. It was quite odd to see her again.

My therapist is just about having kittens that I was able to talk to someone about the Food Thing – and its close cousins the Weight Thing and the Body Image Thing – even if I wasn’t honest. Not entirely. The other me stepped in and spoke objectively about things I eat, but wasn’t entirely honest about the binge eating and other stupid behaviours.

The whole experience was kinda triggering. Being weighed. Talking about weight. Talking about foods (some of which are triggering as well). To her credit the dietician suggested a couple of easy things that I’ll try, but none of it was fun – I cried all the way home and then pigged out on chocolate when I got here – but the therapist thinks it’s great progress.

From my perspective my biggest achievement was in not wigging out when I had to drive through the tunnel that runs under the river here (the bridge at the other end was another matter, but that’s another story for another time).

Control – I lost it

As most of you know I’ve been having a rough time lately. As if the work situation isn’t enough, I am possibly/probably heading for another round of gynae surgery before Christmas (unexpectedly but not emergently) and have scratched/smashed two cars in two weeks. Sigh.

I’ve found myself turning to time honoured strategies… in particular, The Food Thing.

I hate to admit it but I have been binge eating quite a lot lately. The worst episode for a while was last week. I got sick. Quite sick. So sick that it took me a couple of days to recover. And then I turned to another time honoured strategy: not eating anything at all. 

I have been trying to think about why I do this… if there are any triggers or any clues about what’s coming. I think there are. I know that as soon as work gets stressful, I start craving chocolate. And when I get upset or anxious, I just want to run. And when I can’t run, I eat. Even when I can run, I still crave food. Not just chocolate. Any food. Anything at all.

Sometimes I’m not even aware of what I’m doing… not until afterwards when I can see the mess, or when I’m suffering the consequences.

I know this can’t go on. For one thing it just generates more self loathing. Not to mention the potential weight gain that is itself a giant trigger. A ridiculously vicious circle.

I talked to my therapist about it this week. I foolishly gave her permission to tie me down and bludgeon me into talking about it. For some reason the stupid little leprechaun who lives in my head thought this was a good idea. Now I’m not so sure.

I came away with one side of my head screaming, “I HATE MY THERAPIST” and the other side saying, “No you don’t. She’s just trying to help.” In the cool light of day I realise she is just trying to help. It’s just incredibly hard and incredibly shame-inducing dealing with all this.

Sigh.

On eyes and cake and failure to set boundaries

I saw my therapist yesterday. It helped – sort of. I still feel like a mess, and have been in tears for much of this week.  My therapist says it’s better to let the tears out. I guess, but it’s hard now that my mother has helped me bottle them up again.

I told my therapist the good news about seeing something positive in my toes and my eyes. She looked like she thought I was a bit weird. At least until she asked me what was wrong with my eyes before? When I told her, she just looked at me with such sadness and said, “Oh, Kerro.” So now I feel bad for upsetting her. Doh.

I came away from the session craving junk food. This sometimes happens, and more often happens when I’m at work and things turn stressful. I don’t always give in, but I did yesterday, albeit unconsciously. I ate…and I ate…and I ate…and then I ate cream cake until I was sick. Binge binge binge. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. And of course this is more heroin for the inner critic. (Yes, I am deliberately glossing over this.)

This Food Thing and the endless tears lead me to think that something’s not quite right. I’m perhaps not ready to face it, but I am sick of this pain and the dark clouds that are following me about. Perhaps, to use David’s analogy, I’m trying to walk again before the latest round of toxic infection has been dealt with? My therapist says I need to cut myself some slack after the time away with my mother. I guess.

In other news, I had another Pilates session today. And again I received a barrage of PTSD related information and tips from the Instructor. I came away stressed and upset – mostly upset with myself for not telling this woman to shut up. She’s one of those people who could talk under water, and it’s downright annoying. Not to mention that I generally don’t want to hear what she’s saying. Yak yak yak. Incessant banter about her own traumas and her own experiences with PTSD and all the varied things that have and haven’t helped her and all the people she’s met who have PTSD and who she’s rescued helped. That’s all fine, but I can’t deal with all that as well as my own mess. I did a better job this week of letting her yakking just float off into the ether but it still affected me.

David was right when he said that she needs to “stay in her own space”. I don’t need this. I see that now. Yes I experienced trauma and yes, I have PTSD, but I need to heal in my own way. I know that my healing needs to include something for my body as well as my mind – and Pilates will help with that – but I don’t want to have breakfast with her. I don’t want to write a book with her. And I don’t want to go to her retreat in Bali. The best thing she can do for me is focus on Pilates. Pilates will be good, but only if it doesn’t come with all this mess. I feel mean saying that, but I really need to set this boundary or she’ll do me in.

Random ups and downs

I’m guessing that putting on weight is triggering for me or something. I went shopping today and the sight of myself in the fitting room mirrors made me feel sick. I was truly repulsed. I felt I didn’t deserve anything, let alone anything good or nice. I certainly didn’t deserve to look good.

I guess this comes from my parents (and particularly my father) who spent many years laughing at me or mocking me or telling me off for how much I weighed. He’s even done that to me as an adult. I remember a few years ago not having seen him for a few weeks. His first comment to me wasn’t ‘hello’ or ‘how are you’ or any other greeting; it was, “you’ve put on weight”.

Those comments, and the sight of myself in the mirrors, make me want to crawl into a dark hole for a very long time. This is the inner critic’s utopia.  

In other news I was offered – or sort of offered – another job yesterday through a former colleague. It sounds good – really good. If I were willing to go “freelance” I could start tomorrow (a salaried position may take a little longer). “Freelance” would be great as I could pick and choose my work, work more flexibly, work on the good projects (or the money spinners) and leave the rest.

Trouble is I have never been a risk taker so think I’m probably destined to indentured servitude for a while longer yet.

In which the father turns 90 and I find something to be proud of

This is long, I’m sorry, but it’s been a big weekend and I’ve got a lot to process.

My father turned 90 yesterday. My mother organised a party. I was dreading it. Dreading my father being critical and nasty to me, or humiliating me in front of everyone (a familiar experience, but hurtful even after all these years). I was also dreading seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time, and them quizzing me about my life (or lack thereof) – my endless embarrassment about not being married, not having children, etc etc etc. And I was dreading meeting my other half-sister.

My therapist said I shouldn’t go, but I didn’t have the heart to disappoint my mother. In all, it wasn’t as nearly as bad as I anticipated.

The day didn’t start off great, with my father being his usual critical, horrible self but once his guests arrived, and he was the centre of attention, everything settled down. The day ended up quite well…good even. My father enjoyed himself and, were he anyone else, I’d say that’s all that matters. But, my father being my father, I don’t really care if he enjoyed himself or not. There is part of me who does care, but I don’t see why I should.

I spent most of the day hiding in the kitchen or playing hostess, but it was nice to catch up with a couple of family friends I haven’t seen for a long time. B – who is a lovely, gentle man. He has always been kind and was one of the few people who looked out for me when I was a kid and my father was going off. Back then I wished B was my father. He’s not, but I am grateful to him for his kindness.

And E, who is also a lovely lovely man. He and his parents were in the displaced persons camp with my father in Europe, and came to Australia on the same ship. Unfortunately he took it upon himself to make a speech, but it was ok. I “checked out” quite a bit, but the bits I heard were mostly about those very ancient times, with very little eulogising, so they weren’t really that traumatising.

Even meeting my other half-sister and her husband wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. We didn’t get a chance to talk that much, but her husband spoke to me a few times. He seemed nice. He said that he and my half-sister are grateful that I found it in my heart to share my father with them (their words, not mine). I didn’t really know what to say. All I could think was, “my god, if only you knew…” but thankfully when any of those moments came up I was able to make a quick escape to the kitchen and relative safety.

My father went beyond himself afterwards and thanked my mother for the party. She said he’d been an obnoxious a$$ all week. Rationally I know that this doesn’t make up for his bad behaviour – that a single thank you, a nanosecond of gratitude, can never make up for the decades of abusive shyte he’s meted out against my mother and me. But there’s still a little kid inside who thinks “omg, I did something right. Everything is ok now.” I don’t even know where this comes from, because rationally I know I can never please him and he will never be happy with anything. But for some reason that little kid, the little girl who could never do anything right even though she tried and tried and tried again… for some reason she hears everything he says, and responds in the same way she always has.

This might sound silly, but I’ll confess that I woke up this morning hoping that my father had died overnight now that he’s reached this grand milestone. He didn’t, but perhaps this will enable him to start (and finish) checking out. (Don’t even suggest that it’ll give him the zest he needs to reach 100 or I will personally come out there into the blogosphere and whollop you!! LOL) I still feel bad wishing him dead like this, even though I know I shouldn’t. I should go back to my therapist’s little mantras: “Just because he’s a sperm donor doesn’t mean he’s a good father” and “You owe him NOTHING.”

I survived the party. More than survived, I even came away with a few things I am proud of:

  • When my father was being horrible, I said to my mother, “Mum, I’m not staying if he’s going to behave like that.” She wasn’t happy, but I also said, “I’m only here for you, Mum, and to help you. Not for him.” This was the best I could to do stand up for myself this weekend.
  • This is the first time in over a year that I’ve seen the parents and not had the urge to binge eat, cut or do something else destructive afterwards. (Ok, the eating thing may have had something to do with a mild hangover and an ice pick-headache, but I’ll claim it as progress anyway!)
  • This is the first time in over a year that I’ve driven home from the parents’ house and haven’t wanted to run my car off the road. Actually, it’s better than that – it’s the first time I’ve driven home and thought, “you know, it’s important that I DON’T drive my car off the road. I am important and I don’t want to die today.” 🙂 (I’ll admit that the inner critic piped up with some commentary about, “who are you important to?” but I chose not to listen. Just turned the music up and kept going.)
  • This is the first time in I don’t know how many years that I’ve felt reasonably comfortable talking to people in a social situation. Even, or perhaps especially, people I know. Ok, that might have been Dutch courage, but I think it was more than that. I think, or at least I’m hoping, that it’s a sign I’m no longer as embarrassed as I was to be me. No longer as worried people will find out about the dark secrets. And no longer as concerned about what they think of me.
  • My bathroom at the parents’ house has a hideous mirror that displays far more than any mirror ever should. That fact not withstanding I did notice that some of the awful stretched skin is coming back. Strange as it may seem, this makes me happy. I’m hopeful it means that some of the evil anti-depressant weight may be starting to shift.
  • I even remembered some of back-up therapist’s advice about preparing myself to see the parents, not berating myself afterwards… and, are you sitting down? I even remembered to be gentle with myself afterwards. I’ve listened to nice music, put my favourite sheets on the bed, and just been generally gentle. I even did the ironing, which isn’t exactly soothing, but does help turn my brain off and help me process stuff. There’s something about the repetitive motion of the iron… back and forth, back and forth, and the “tshshsh” of the steam that I find … almost restful. 🙂

In which I ramble about a bunch of stuff

I nearly abandoned my quest to complete NaBloPoMo today. The pressure to deliver a post every day is quite hard, almost intolerable some days really. But, here I am, and seeing this as an opportunity to just download for a bit, so please excuse the ramble.

I’ve had an odd day, really. Another day of hauling myself out of bed, crying because I have to go to work, and draaaaaging myself into the office where my boss saw fit to bite my head off – again, for the sixth time in as many days.

Since admitting to myself that I don’t like my job I’ve found going into work twice as hard. I don’t know why I complain about this job. It’s a good job. Good people, interesting work, good salary etc. So, what’s wrong with it? Or what’s wrong with me that I don’t like it?

I realise now that my loathing for the job isn’t about me. Well, it is about me, but not about me in the sense of me being weak and pathetic and useless and incompetent. It’s about me in what I almost think could be a good way. I’m changing. I’m different to who I was twelve months ago. I’m looking for different things. I’m no longer willing to put up with the cr@p. And I might even be finding the courage to do things that I have wanted to do for a very, VERY long time.

I saw a job advertised this weekend that interests me. I even mustered the courage to pick up the phone and make some inquiries. Sometimes I don’t know who I am when I do that stuff. Seems so “grown up” and not like the me I’ve been for the last year or so. Hard to explain.

I am also moving house this week and starting to lose sleep over it. Tossing, turning, tossing, turning. I just keep reminding myself that this is one of the most stressful events in life… and that this too shall pass. That no decision like this is irreversible. If I do end up hating the new place (which I don’t think I will), then I can always move. Ok, expensive decision, but there’s still choice here.

I got a call from my lawyer this afternoon to say there’s a problem with settlement. Aaarrrggghhh!!! Of course, my anxiety went from 0 to 1,000 in about half a nanosecond and I spent the rest of the afternoon on the phone trying to sort out this mess and stop my lawyer from sending a very lawyerly letter to the other party. I think it’s sorted now (thank all implausible deities)… or could be sorted. Keep your fingers crossed.

Anyway, by the time I got to therapy I was a jittering mess. Thankfully my therapist was able to calm me enough to proceed with the session, so we talked about the work thing. She was impressed – impressed that I’m finally nutting through some of this, and VERY impressed that I rang the CEO to discuss the job. The little kid in me who constantly craves approval is doing a great big happy dance right now. 😀

Given I’m moving house, I haven’t wanted therapy to be too icky the last couple of weeks, so I kept things mostly light. Or light-ish. I did do one brave thing. Or two, may be. Neither of which I want to acknowledge. Just want to run and hide under the doona (that’s a quilt/duvet for those of you in the northern hemisphere). I’ve wanted to weigh myself for awhile – at least since the Food Thing started taking over again, and the Body Image and the Weight Things started haunting me – but I’ve been too gutless to do this on my own. I knew the scales would reveal bad news, and I knew that would upset me. So I did what I partly consider a brave thing, and partly consider just weird and stoopid… I took my scales into my therapist’s office. She didn’t bat an eyelid of course, but I felt like a doofus.

The main reason I took the scales in was so that she could support me when I got the bad news, and stop me tail-spinning into the dark place with which many of us are all too familiar. It worked. There was bad news, but not too much tail spinning (even when she did ask for the number on the scales). Thank you, T.

Enough rambling for today… it’s late, I’m tired, I’ll pick up more tomorrow.

An alternative to food

Some of us use the Food Thing to bury emotional stuff. Some of us use (or have used) other things like shopping, cutting, drugs, alcohol, sex… they’re all the same. Or they serve the same purpose in our minds.

This week I got out of my hermit hole and went to the place most of you call “The Mall” where I indulged in a bit of retail therapy. It has the same effect on me emotionally as the Food Thing. In the early stages of therapy I used to go shopping after session…I can’t tell you how many DVDs, bits of makeup, clothes and even a digital camera I have from a post-therapy thrashing.

Here are the fruits of this week’s labours:

Shopping 

Sometimes I don’t understand… I go out for one thing, may be two, and come home with a bunch of stuff.

I did need the facial cleanser and the hand moisturiser and was hoping for a new pair of pants for work (coz some of the others are getting a bit tight, as embarrassing as that is). But as you can see I picked up a few other things as well.
 
Did I need the facial masque? Probably not, but that and my cleanser came with a $20 gift voucher I can use later on. I’m thinking of putting it towards a hot stone fusion massage… mmmmm. Bliss.

Did I need the mascara? No, but it was 20% off and I had a gift voucher, so it really only cost me $1.25. Cheapest mascara I’ve ever had (and one of the best)!

Did I need the books? Not really, but I finished the book I was reading this morning and the store had 40% off if you bought two. I really enjoyed The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, so thought I’d try his second book (even if I believe that an author’s second book is never as good as his/her first). I also bought “French Women Don’t Get Fat” thinking perhaps I could write a quasi-sequel… “Yes, But Australian Women Do”. 😉

I certainly didn’t need the scarves, but I thought they were nice. The pink one will go nicely with the black cardigan I also didn’t need… and the spotted one? Well, I just thought that was cute.

I can’t really explain the makeup purse (I need another makeup purse like I need a hole in the head) or the lil cards with the birds on (though they reminded me of my friend over at Like a Bird on the Wire).

It was about at that point that I realised I probably should go home. The lunchtime crowds were starting to come out and the shopping centre was starting to fill up. I knew it was definitely time to go when I started having a panic attack. I’m not sure what brought it on, but I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

It’s been months since I indulged in any unnecessary shopping…I guess the Food Thing has been a substitute. Here’s hoping this is a sign the new meds are working…I’d rather be broke than fat any day.