Tag Archive | self loathing

Learning to Trust…Myself

Trust is Hard. But that’s okay because hard is a marvelous improvement on impossible.

At some point I stopped listening to myself and what I need or want. Did I ever listen? Actually maybe not. I was never permitted to create my own identity as a child. I never went through the finding myself stage as an adolescent. I believe I am doing that now. Teenage angst at age 40, yeah, that’s exactly what I need. Yay.

I am noticing that in the midst of this angst, once in a while I notice little sparks of wonderfulness. These sparks are so startling and so powerful they stop me in my tracks and fuel me for days. What was that? Why did it happen? How can I make it happen again? Is it possible I can feel good one day? Is it okay to hope? Is it safe to dream yet?

After some of these sparks, I noticed a difference in myself. It’s tough to put this in words because it is only a hazy sort of feeling. But I noticed something more solid inside of me. Less dead? Less empty? Something instead of nothing. When you have perpetual nothing, believe me a spark of something almost knocks you over.

I recall caring about stuff, having dreams and motivation, being driven towards goals and achieving, hell overachieving – but I don’t think those were my goals or dreams. Not entirely anyway. I’m still unraveling. It’s not such a painful process at the moment, only a slow one. Like walking through deep water with my eyes closed. Slow going and once in a while I feel something new. Mostly I just keep trudging along because I don’t know what else to do.

But when I feel this new something, I have less doubts in myself. I used to feel confident in my choices and decisions. I used to walk around with a fierce internal driving force, yes a quietly burning one, but still there it was driving me towards my future that I planned. This new confidence, although fleeting, is making small ripples of change. I’ve been stuck for years now, without a plan, unemployed, waiting, healing, recovering. I’m hopeful these glimpses, these sparks of strength and confidence will keep coming, and will help me to learn to trust myself, my judgment and my decisions. Feeling like every decision you ever made has been wrong tends to undermine your own trust, a major component in PTSD. So I’ve been working quite hard to go back and look at those decisions with compassion, understand I did the best I could with the tools I had available at the time, and that truthfully, there is no way of knowing if past decisions were bad, maybe they would have had different outcomes but not necessarily better outcomes.

 

falcon-1570803_1920.jpg

I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of one of these handsome fellows perched in a tree the other morning after I dropped the kids off at school. I was unable to capture my own photo sadly, so I’ve borrowed one here to show you. We have a decent population of peregrine falcons and their bright white chests always catch my attention if their size didn’t. These birds are huge, majestic, strong, fast, and beautiful. They tend to sit just like this with their wings out a bit, I imagine ready for flight in an instant.

Why am I telling about this bird? Because of how I feel when I see one. I feel alive. Instant tingles of joy spread through my body. I feel lucky. I feel stronger, like his strength is on loan to me. I feel like we did something right, well, after we screwed up and nearly killed them all unintentionally with that whole DDT nightmare. These birds almost disappeared, due to humans, but humans saved them and now they choose to live in my trees and grace me with their presence.

I guess these birds remind me that we can change the world, or at least make an impact. Our actions do matter. We can wipe out species or bring them back. We can lift up and support people or cut them down and trample them. We can choose to ignore our problems or we can work on improving the situation. Change takes time, but when it works, it works beautifully.

I’m applying this to my own recovery and trying to be more patient with myself, and to celebrate improvements no matter how small. This helps to build trust in myself that I can care for me, and that I’ll stop hurting me. When you self-harm, self-sabotage, and self-punish you see yourself as an enemy too. I hope this makes sense because I rewrote three times and I still think it may be out of sequence somewhat, but its the best I can do with it. I’m trying to show how my thinking is changing, that I’m starting feel alive in fleeting moments, which leads to new self care behaviors (like establishing and protecting my boundaries, eating healthier, getting social support, making friends, better hygiene, etc), which builds trust in myself and stops the self loathing cycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Junk Food and Self Loathing

Empty Wrappers

Empty Wrappers, evidence of a binge (Photo credit: Another Pint Please…)

The vicious cycle of self loathing and eating every bit of junk food I can stuff in my mouth has been paused.

I know the two actions come together and work together, feeding each other like pond scum feeds on excess – but I don’t think it begins with a causal relationship. Not directly for me anyhow.

I’ll try to explain these thoughts, and how I can be confused by them. I am coming off a depressive episode. Actually, no, I made it through again. Past tense. Days ago, weeks ago? See this is where is gets blurry. My memory is impaired each time I enter the fog and emerge again blinking in the sunshine that life truly is. So frustrating.

When I feel poorly, I absolutely crave junk, and nothing else. If left on my own, I will eat ice cream for breakfast, chips for lunch, cookies for snacks, and candy for dessert. Days of ZERO nutrition. It’s disgusting really, and completely sad. I want to stop hurting myself this way. I want to care enough about my body to stop harming myself with food. I want to watch over my limits as well as I do for my children. I’d never let them consume so much junk. And mostly I do watch over myself better now. But for some reason, when I go to that dark place (or does the dark place come to me?) I lose control of limits of every kind. I watch too much TV-obsessively watch season after season of something on Netflix. I lay around too much. I drink too much alcohol. I eat too much junk. I want too much sex. (Hubby has limits – I found them 🙂 )A fairly typical view of depression, as glorified in movies, usually after a big romantic break-up. All that is the same – except the big break-up. I have no idea what happens to get me down. I have no idea how to completely prevent it. I usually know when it is coming, and I for sure know when it is here. But I can’t get out, for days.

So when I do get out, then I start thinking. Hmm, I wonder if I would get out sooner if I could somehow keep my healthy limits in tact, and not also have sugar coma/hangover to strangle my hurting brain cells?

Today I was in house cleaning mode, restoring order to the chaos that ensues each time I visit that dark place.  And today I craved my favorite greek yogurt/banana/pumpkin seed granola combo. No desire for junk at all. I feel full so quickly on these energized days, uncomfortably full actually, when just a few days earlier I felt bottomless and never satisfied with any amount.

So then I wonder, do I actually eat the junk food to comfort myself – or to punish myself? Do I stuff myself like a pig because I feel myself to be a pig on those days and must act accordingly as proof? Must I ensure I never lose the last ten pounds, so I have proof every time I look in the mirror? I don’t think so, because could that be true if I can wonder consciously about it – but throwing that out as a possibility. I actually think the fluctuating chemical imbalance in my brain causes the darkness, causes the self-loathing, disables the full sensation and also triggers panic hunger mode.

Now, I have actually fought this off before. Back when I was (I say likely, nearly anorexic because I was undiagnosed at the time) anorexic in high school. I remember fighting those cravings and winning, and feeling high off the win. I also remember feeling light headed and weak from not eating and pushing myself to perform anyway. I don’t want to feel like that again, another danger zone. I’m actually afraid to control my hunger too much and fall back into not eating. But oh how I loved being thin and feeling so in control. I loved when people would say, my poor dear, you’re too thin, don’t you ever eat? I would think quietly and proudly to myself, no, no I don’t eat, isn’t is wonderful?

My wish is that I could get my head out of my stomach, and just eat food because it is food. Simply get hungry, eat food, and therefore get not hungry. No other thoughts. No control, self loathing, punishments, over thinking, over eating or vomiting. But how? Notice I said wish, because I don’t even see that as a goal right now. Ugh. So many issues, and only so many hours in a day. Maybe I have enough progress in some areas to tackle this one again in therapy? And would it then actually make me more stable mentally to have constant good nutrition? Another possibility, but seems so out of reach.