Endings

My last shrink appointment was Thursday, so therapy has come to an end.   It was a good ending.  I told him why I thought I was done, that I wanted to come in person instead of just calling to cancel because I wanted him to know that I wasn’t quitting on me, just quitting therapy.  My recovery continues.

On a good note, he told that he read something about “mindful” eating becoming an acceptable thing in the treatment of eating disorders, that he never heard of “mindful” or “intuitive” eating until he had me for a patient and now he is hearing more and more about it.  Said something about it being good for people with “strong personalities”.   

Like me? Oh my… what negative things that implies?

No, it all good.  I do have a strong personality, but my strength is not in bad things.   It may sound wacky, but my strength is one of the truths about myself that I had to come to terms with because it is part of the me I tried to hide, shove down, and deny. 

“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” pops into my head. (It is a Bible verse, Phil. 4:16.)

It does NOT say “I can’t do a damn thing.  God has to carry me, tend to my every need, and tie my shoe laces.”  To me, that verse is about empowerment.  If you too weak or timid to deal with what comes your way, God will strengthen you. 

So why deny or hide internal strength when strength is a blessing?  I’m not talking about boastfulness or arrogance.  You can be humble and strong at the same time. 

Maybe that why I had such a problem with OA?

OA is a program that uses the AA twelve step program. They scratched out the word “alcohol” and replaced it with “food” and for some people, it does work.  Unfortunately, I cannot lie to myself to prove that I am not lying to myself.   I cannot pretend to be powerless over food, that I need devine intervention to rescue me from carrots, those evil and cunning tomatoes, or sneaky chocolates.  Sure, I could assign power to particular foods, my choice of foods to binge on, and at times I felt powerless in the midst of a binge while silently screaming at myself to stop, but food is not the problem.  Logic tells me that if I were as powerless over food as an alcoholic is to booze, where a bad chemical or whatever reaction to alcohol is going on, then it would be ALL food and not some.  Have you ever met an alcoholic who only had a problem with SOME but not all?  I haven’t… I’ve met alcoholics so lost in addiction they poured perfume in a tea cup, drank things obviously not intended for human consumption in their despiration.  If food were equivalent to booze, if all food were the problem.  I could buy into the OA program.  Of course, they getcha with a Catch-22 by saying if you cannot admit that you are powerless over food, you are incapable of being honest with yourself.  Maybe I am TOO honest with myself for OA?

Mindfulness and/or intuitive eating offers an alternative for people who, like me, cannot embrace OA.  I found it to be empowering.  I made peace with food (its just food) and more importantly, I made peace with myself.  I am losing weight, slower than would suit most people, partly because I still have bad days (not the end of the world, recovery is a process) and slow partly because I refuse to diet.  I can go out with friends and eat cheesecake in public without one drop of guilt, shame, or remorse. 

image

This photo was snapped to share with a friend in Illinois who had dropped a five for cheesecake in a greeting card, part thank you and part teaser, as she knows that the Mocha House makes THE BEST cheesecake in NE Ohio. 

The thing is… there is a big difference between enjoying a slice of cheesecake now and then and bingeing on cheesecake.

Binge behavior would be to buy or make a whole serves 12 or 24 size cheesecake (or two) pretending you are taking dessert to a party, then secretly eating it all yourself while hating yourself for doing so, feeling so much guilt and shame and out of control that you have to hide the evidence so no one else will know, followed by self punishment in the form of dieting or exercising to counteract the excess calories.  It is a horrid thing.  You may feel powerless, but that cheesecake (or whatever) has no power over your behavior unless you assign it imaginary power. 

I guess what I am saying is… dealing with why I binge and using the principles of intuitive or mindful eating to break the cycle has proven to work for me.  I can live a binge-free life now free of all the internal strife that goes along with binge eating disorder.  Some people find help in OA, but I would rather feel empowered than powerless.

UPDATE FROM PREVIOUS POSTS:

I blew off the “nbarnbees” email addresss (temporarily set up when I forgot my “barnbees” email password) and created a NEW email address that is rather dull (n4barnes) but it is something I can live with.  It may take me awhile to start get email and notifications at the new address as I have to figure out where all it needs updated, but in time, I will stop using the barnbees email, too.

Yes, I have been doing some serious thinking about  ending my use of the word barnbees.  I haven’t decided exactly how to do that, all I know is it just doesn’t feel like mine anymore.  

I really hate the idea of blowing off this blog… barnbees is not just the name on top, it’s the wordpress URL.

I have “Barnes: Artsy Things” pretty much just hanging out in limbo as I haven’t done much posting on that blog.  I launched it as a blog to show my art to friends & family who don’t need to read my rambles.  I could add a poetry category, move poems and art posted here over there before blowing this barnbees blog away… it will take time.

I think I’m done rambling on about eating disorders anyway.  It is becoming a non-issue, and that in itself is a very good thing.

Edge of Reason

“Nancy, don’t be like that.”

I cannot count the number of times that I have been gently scolded with those words. I am not allowed to express anger, not allowed to vent rage, not allowed to speak my mind if what I have to say might upset somebody or be construed as not nice.

This is not just an echo from childhood inside my head. I am fifty-two years and still being scolded.

Nancy, don’t be like that.

But I am like that… and there are times when I should be like that.

PRIME EXAMPLE:

When my husband left me, I could not afford to continue living in the home we shared, so I moved. And then I moved again. So to be very clear – this was MY home, not his. And everything in it was MY stuff, and yes… it was old stuff: a mix of antiques and used things that I had slowly gathered. It was my home and I liked my stuff.

By then, we were getting along okay and doing the co-parent thing, so when he volunteered to watch our daughter at my place so I could go out for a birthday drink with a friend, I said okay.

I came home to a house-full of smiling people, including my parents, all waiting to see the expression of joy on my face when I walked in the door and saw a big red bow on the couch of a brand new living room set. Yes, while I was gone, my ex-husband redecorated MY post-divorce home to HIS tastes.

I was angry, demanding “where’s my stuff?”
Mama scolded me. “Nancy, don’t be like that.”

I felt robbed. My stuff was GONE… replaced with huge fluffy contemporary furniture, all neutral beige, the fabric in the living room matching the fabric on the dining room’s padded chrome swivel chairs.

I bit back the tears and ran to my bedroom to see if he redecorate that room to his tastes, too. Sigh of relief to see it unchanged. Thank goodness I had moved the little antique horse-hair couch out of the living room or it would have been gone too, hauled off to the dump with everything else.

I took a moment to compose myself before I had to go back out and say what was expected of me, to thank the man who stole my stuff.

END EXAMPLE.

I picked an example that doesn’t matter anymore, one that clearly explains how I am “not allowed” to feel what I feel. I have to swallow it down, quench those emotions, let things slide, never seek resolution, restitution, just let it slide… hide those feelings, keep them locked inside, let it slide… again and again and again and again and never say hey, we need to set some boundaries here, this is unacceptable… or can we sit down and talk, try to reach a mutual understanding? No… supposed to let it slide. I am not allowed to be angry. No matter what, I am supposed to let it slide.

I can’t do that anymore because I don’t know how to shove down “inappropriate” emotions without bingeing. I can’t do that anymore. It is not an option.

I guess I am out in left field, learning to deal with emotions as they come. Nancy, don’t be like that?

I am coming to the conclusion that there are no “inappropriate” emotions, just inappropriate ways of expressing them.

Thanks for reading… it really helps to write.