Is it making us miserable? After reading this piece in the New York Times I really think I’ve internalized a hatred and fear of being fat. What it looks like, how it makes me feel, what it means about my will and worth. I definitely feel miserable. I’ve gained 5-8 pounds in the last month. Binge eating and overeating and under-exercising. I really feel miserable.Embed from Getty Images
I decided that OA wasn’t for me. I’m seeking outpatient help from an eating disorder clinic. Just had my first intake interview. A lot of tears thinking about much of my now 38 years has been spent thinking about food, weight, and my body size. Since the crane collapse in Tribeca on my old office block in February I’ve been eating with abandon. A man my age died, and my friends and former co-workers were traumatized. I felt horrible because for years when I’m unhappy I wish I’d get hit by a bus. And now a crazy accident did happen…and I was so sorry that I’ve wished to be killed so many times. I don’t really want to die, I just don’t want to hate myself.
I reached out for the first time and called someone from my last OA meeting. She’s willing to be my sponsor if I feel like I’m ready. I will try to think about something small to abstain from and to “turn over” one day at a time. Otherwise I get very scared and overwhelmed…
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I feel like I’ve been doing this for 20+ years. I know my faults to a tee; however, I don’t seem to have been able to do anything about them. I think they’ve even gotten worse since I’ve become a parent.Embed from Getty Images
I think I’ll still cry a ton when I actually sit to write down my inventory all at once. I like to think that I’m generous and empathetic, but with each passing year I feel like I get more and more selfish and insecure. I still feel anxious around people, which keeps from from making or maintaining meaningful connections.
At Friday’s OA meeting (my first in several weeks), I shared and felt like no one really shared in my pain. But one woman wrote that she was available to sponsor, so I texted her. After a day she wrote back that we could talk about her sponsoring style. I’m curious what it will be like. I don’t think I’m ready to email someone about my food every day. I think I need to focus on my spirituality and faith in my HP. Because I don’t see how I can abstain without some sort of HP…
Right now I just feel like I want to eat myself to death. I’ve also been drinking more. I really am struggling with taking care of the kids and chores after work. I just want to eat or drink and make it go away. I hate having to sleep on a camping cot in my daughters’ room to help my youngest go to sleep. I hate that my oldest has eczema in her school pictures. I hate that my hips and feet hurt so much, four years after starting PT for plantar fasciitis and one year after starting PT for a labral tear and 9 months after arthroscopic surgery.
I got a new job that relieves my financial anxieties and difficulties, but I’ve been in a 5-week limbo before I start. I’m mostly excited, but also sad and scared. I’ve been at my old job (3 positions) for 12 years. Like a cocoon, while I dealt with my mom’s suicide and my not wanting to have a wedding because of my size and weight. But of course I’m still not happy, and most days I still want to die…
This is my 4th week going to OA meetings at one location in Greenwich Village, and I’ve only talked to one woman. I’m usually shy in big groups where I don’t know people, where I feel like I don’t belong, or even in small groups where I know people if there’s someone who’s more outgoing than me (which happens a lot). Part of OA is that you’re supposed to get support from the group and talk and text with other OA members on the phone. I have yet to do that. I don’t even know how to begin. I don’t really want to put myself out there. And that’s part of the problem. I think I just need to do it. Ask for help. Text someone. Call. There’s a list that goes around, but I’m too nervous to write down peoples’ names.
This week has been pretty stressful, with the situation with my boss’s car, my back going out on Tuesday, and starting school again (which I actually really enjoyed–one year down–two more to go!). I binged a few days ago and today. Yesterday I overate but didn’t binge. Ugh, I feel so stressed, I just want to sit somewhere in the sun and read and not do work or worry about anything.
Next week I’m going to try a location in midtown. Really I just want to hear someone mention their kids instead of always talking about their parents. Sometimes I just feel like I don’t belong anywhere. When I’m in Queens I feel like I should be in Brooklyn. When I’m in Brooklyn I feel like I should be in Manhattan. When I’m in the Village I feel like I should be on the Upper West Side. Why can’t I be happy where I am?
I met with a nutritionist on Monday since OA literature writes that you can choose a plan of eating with the help of one, and I really want to get going with this. Although my therapist says I should take it slowly and not jump in and then run away. Key takeaways: food has been my most enjoyable pastime since I don’t know when, and it seems like I’m addicted to sugar. The nutritionist recommended that I remove added sugar from my meals and snacks as much as possible, but that I shouldn’t see it as all of nothing. I’ll take it one day at a time, and get right back on the horse if I fall off. Ah, cliches.
She also recommended that I write a list of things that I like to do other than binge and eat sugar-laden foods that make me feel good for a minute or two.
So far here’s my list (seems pretty solitary):
- Reading the New Yorker
- Reading OA stuff
Here is the start of mine:
Red: Chocolate, Candy, Hazelnut wafers, Cookies, Nutella
Yellow: Chips, Rice & beans, Pasta, Cheese, Hummus
Green: Vegetables, Quinoa
Seems a little unbalanced, huh?
3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.Embed from Getty Images
I’m so tired of trying to lose weight and not binge on my own and being unsuccessful. I need help from others who have entrusted their will to the OA fellowship and have been abstinent.
However, I’m very independent, selfish, and prideful. If I achieve something, I want the credit for it. And I want other people to see me as “doing a great job.” I care a lot about what other people think of me. But weight and food are two areas where I’ve always struggled. It’s time for me to do something different. It’s time for me to surrender.
This weekend was a rough one. And today was no better. My back is out and I’m in a lot of pain. But Saturday was traumatic. And I had been feeling so much better since starting Zoloft again and starting OA.
We live in Queens without a car so occasionally I gripe that it takes so long to get places on the weekend with the bus or subway. My boss was going away so he asked if I could watch his car. It would save him the trouble of paying for airport parking since we have to move cars in NYC for street cleaning once or twice a week. I would be free to take it on trips. The only thing is that it’s a manual/stick shift. I had one for years in the 90s but haven’t driven one since 2001 when I moved back to NYC.
So I was looking forward to taking lots of little car trips this past weekend and next. And I wouldn’t have to pay for a Zipcar or an Uber. Saturday we were supposed to see my extended family up in the suburbs. My husband couldn’t come because he had to work, so it was my first time driving with the girls without someone to help entertain them/keep them from whining/crying/screaming.
I think I was riding the clutch too hard in the stop and go traffic because I kept seeing the RPMs go up and it would rev too much. On the highway by Yankee Stadium it was smelling like something was burning and when I got on the George Washington Bridge the clutch stopped working and I couldn’t move the car. I felt like an absolute idiot stalled on the GW and was so scared someone would read-end us. And my youngest was screaming to get out of her car seat. Had to be pushed by a port authority guy to a gas station in NJ. There I was on my phone trying to get a tow truck trying to see if we could still see my family, while still dealing with tantrums and corralling the girls. But ended up being towed backed to Queens.
I’m very thankful no one was hurt but I’m still so upset that I couldn’t drive it properly, now my boss knows what a bad stick driver I am, I have to pay $1100 to fix it plus $270 for the tow, and our 4 days of happy day trips are ruined. My adrenaline was pumping Saturday and now I just feel like I’ve crashed. A zombie.
It seems like it just takes one little bad thing to cause me to back into a depression spiral.😞
I suppose at least I don’t have to worry about parallel parking it for a few days…
And apologies if you were stuck in horrible traffic on the GW because of me. But thanks for not rear-ending us!
2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.
This is a tough one for me. When I was in my teens and twenties, and even into my thirties, I thought I could lose weight on my own. I knew a lot about nutrition, I could do it if I just set my mind to it. It was a question of willpower.Embed from Getty Images
In my late twenties, I accepted that I would need some “help,” but that I would still need to do a lot of work on my own. I tried diet books, Weight Watchers (4 different times), and Jenny Craig. I paid for meal planning services to make shopping a cooking easier but still keeping it healthy and interesting for me and my family.
Now I’m 37 and I’ve finally realized that I can’t deal with my addictions without an HP–the fellowship of other sufferers who attend OA meetings, follow the steps & traditions, and use the tools to manage their addictions. After two and a half weeks of reading some texts, attending meetings, and listening to some podcasts, I already feel calmer. (I’ve also started a new anti-depressant cocktail at the same time…damn you confounding variables!)
I need more than just me.
As part of OA, we have to work the 12 steps. I’m using an agnostic set of steps, using the OA fellowship as my HP. I haven’t picked a sponsor yet, and I’ve only talked to a couple of people briefly. I think part of my disease is isolation and my social anxiety. I judge myself (and sometimes others) too harshly.
I wanted to write down my thoughts about each of the steps over the next few weeks.
1. We admitted we were powerless over food—that our lives had become unmanageable.Embed from Getty Images
I really do admit that I am powerless over food. It consumes me. I think about it every few minutes, it seems. I really can’t manage it and it feels like it interferes with my emotional health, my physical health, work, school, my relationships with my friends and husband, and my kids and home life. I don’t believe in god, but in a way, food has been my god, and has ruled my thoughts and actions for so long.
Even though I’ve managed to get a meaningful job and get promoted twice, get married, have kids, and get accepted to a graduate school for the second time, I still feel like my life is unmanageable, because I still obsess over my body image, my weight, and food. I feel like I haven’t been able to live up to my potential because of my compulsive eating and the shame I feel about it. And that’s linked to my depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem, which has caused me such grief over the last 20 years–really my whole life: 37 years.