Journey on the Emotional Highway
If you recall a few month's back, I wrote a post about an extra 45 pounds I gained in under a year. I dubbed it *grief weight*. To get you up to speed, my Mom had passed away last April, and I just gave in to cravings. No limits. No regulating. Just hurt. Who was going to check me? I was in so much pain and couldn't see my current reality. Food was...and is...comfort for me.
THE CYCLE of depression
And I was empty. I was completely unaware of my habits, until I wasn't. So I then vowed for change, and at the start of this Spring, coming up on the 1 year anniversary of Mom's death, I wrote that post. Determined to lift the veil on this depression, I joined a gym, bought new workout clothes and a snazzy water bottle. I thought for sure by the Fall I would be writing letting you all know what amazing progress I've made. Metaphorically speaking, I wanted to tell you I made it out of the house, into my car, and was headed down the road to a healthier future. For some reason, although I made it to my “car”, I kept going back in the house; repeating this ritual every few weeks...essentially going nowhere.
THE EMOTIONAL HIGHWAY
So what to do with this new awareness? I could easily get back into a routine of no limits, and no regulations, but that didn't get me anywhere the first round. I got to thinking about this “healthier road” I was desperately trying to get to, and I think I set myself up for failure without knowing it. The truth is….and the way I see it...roads end. So I was trying to hard to get to a place that ultimately had an ending, and it’s not that simple. It takes time to heal and recover. I changed the lens on my though process’ I re-imagined my goal. I was on a highway, not some dead end road. Highways reconfigure; adding twists and turns, confusing signs, and feel like they go on forever. That pretty much sums up my battle with this grief weight. It's a long emotional journey on a long highway. Eff my life.
A little bit of truth: I still continue these trips in and out of the house (depression sucks). Luckily, I gain a little more clarity around this cycle each tie and a little bit of peace. It’s due to this “peace” that I have been able to make progress, and ultimately….take fewer trips (yay!). I’m sharing them with you, because….growth.
1. I'm not Alone.
I realize how much this affects the people around me too. My husband, children, family and friends are right there with me through every up and down, having their own ups and downs. When you lose someone, I think it's understandable to question "why me"...but don't get stuck there. I did, and I was consumed by that hurt, and it changed me drastically. I was blinded by my feelings and couldn't recognize the emotional battle my family was fighting. So when I went in and out of that house and I saw their faces-happy to see me determined to change, and sad to see me return defeated, I realized something powerful. Not only were they mourning Mom, they were struggling with another loss….Me. I'd gone into hiding for safe keeping...and though it was necessary for healing, it simply wasn't fair. Knowing I have support; people rooting me on...people needing me...it keeps me from giving up.
2. What my homegirl Karen Said.
So it seems like a given right? Obviously eating that giant slice of cheesecake isn't going to change what's really bothering you...even though it tastes so damn good. Face facts...you've got to deal with those issues babe. I'm figuring that out. Sure, it didn't do amazing things for me emotionally to lose my Mom, but I wasn't gaining weight from that alone. I switched jobs and had a kid in kindergarten (whole new world), but even that wasn't all of it. Emotional issues were just waiting in line to get there turn at driving me to the next comfort food....my grief was just another big push. Stress is a trigger for me, so I try to be conscious of that when I go to grab grub. Am I going to sit here and say I don't run to the cheesecake anymore when I'm sad/happy/hungry? No way....but I am aware...and I wasn't before. I'd like to think it has curved a craving or two.
3. Forgiveness is needed to make it *Out of the Driveway*.
And honestly, it's my biggest struggle. I get so overwhelmed with my past slip-ups. I think about all the time that's gone by, and just.get.sad. "How did I let it get this far?", I sometimes ask myself, "Why can't I stay on track and get to this road!", I'll cry silently...but then I'll step up to be my friend again, and cut myself a little slack. "Sh*t happens" I'll tell myself, and then turn my efforts towards moving forward. Forgiving myself reduces my stress, and gives me another chance...we all deserve that. *Shifts gears to drive*.
So, as far as an update goes on my progress, I'm 5 pounds down from my first post on this. I struggled even writing that because I'm disappointed, but the braver part of me won this round :). I'm not going to say this journey is going to be bump-free going forward, hell- I may even take a few more exits off this emotional highway, because I'm human and it happens. I am working on it. From multiple angles, I am shedding light on the darkness. Stay tuned.
What have been some of your emotional struggles that sent you to comfort foods? Let's start a discussion and help each other below.