Hey. So, I’m going to talk about anxiety and eating disorders in this one, okay? This is your heads up to nope out if that’s a thing that won’t work well for you.
Surprisingly, that title is not a Blink-182 lyric. Although when I was doing The Googles to confirm, I found out I am not at all the first person to think so, and there is a certain amount of comfort in that.
(it’s a Lit lyric, and you are welcome)
So, anyway. Yeah. Being the rather on-the-nose, beat-you-over-the-head writer that I am, it might be rather easy to guess from the title that I am totally going to dive in and talk about the state of my head lately. Subtlety, said the Duchess, schmuttlety.
Shit has been Not Good lately. I mean, it hasn’t been Holy Crap Bad, so that’s something, but really, Not Good is not at all a frolic through Six Flags. I mean, the laundry gets done, and I go running and shopping and the bathroom is actually really tidy right now. I haven’t called into work and taken a mental health day, and of course, as we all know, I promoted my latest book.
“That all sounds fine,” you say, perplexed, and I am hard-pressed to disagree.
The thing is, all that up there means is that my depression is taking a break. Thank God. Maybe it went to Tahiti, I don’t know, but right now, that is not the biggest of my problems, and let us all raise a glass to that.
Shame it didn’t take the anxiety with it, and did it have to leave the cage door open on my eating disorder while it was at it?
The ED was…something of a surprise. I’ve been grappling with my emotional eating problem for the last little while and actually making headway, which is great. I’m doing a food diary, identifying issues, all good. But it hasn’t been all that long that I have been doing this, which made it all the more of a shock when I realized I was getting really comfortable with calorie tracking.
Not a big deal for most people, but for me, red flag.
It took a bit to notice. I actually stopped doing it for a few days. “No need for this anymore, I know what my problem foods are, I know how to watch out,” I said, and ignored my calorie intake tracker for four days or so. And I was pleased but…uneasy. It didn’t feel right to not track.
In fact it felt not like freedom, but rather like I was dangerously unfettered. I felt uncomfortable with the lack of control. “I have no discipline,” I fretted out loud to myself–and that was it, that was the problem moment.
I’ve already had to crack down on this before, earlier this year when I realized that my attempt to maintain a vegetarian diet was less about being kind to animals and the earth and more about assigning moral judgments to myself based on the food I was eating. If I successfully avoided eating meat, I was good and virtuous and if I chose to eat it, I was a bad failure of a human being.
So, you know, this has actually been going on for a while. And now here I am facing the fact that I do not feel comfortable if I am not tracking calories. I am not comfortable if I am not controlling my food intake. I am happier controlling my food intake because a) it makes me feel like a “good girl” and b) it is something I can control. Oh, there’s some familiar language right there for my fellow ED sisters and brothers. Yeah.
I look back over the last few months and I go, oh. Oh, I should have spotted this before now.
Well, I didn’t. So, now that I do know it’s a thing and I need to grab hold of it before it gets any more out of hand than it has, I go back to therapy, right? It’s been about six years since I have seen Dr. Dana, I should call her and go back while I know this is going on, so we can work on it and so we can also address the underlying issues I have going on that are contributing to the problem. Right?
Oh, well. No. Dr. Dana does not take my current insurance.
Today, I am fine with this, or at least coping with it. Yesterday, that was the source of a horrified, hurt panic attack. Like, wow, I have not had that kind of meltdown in a while.
I don’t easily acknowledge that I need help, I sure as hell don’t easily acknowledge it out loud. I don’t talk on the phone easily, either, while we are at it. Me picking up the phone and calling someone to say, “I need help,” that was a big, big thing, and I got shut down with a quickness.
I disengaged and got off the phone as fast as I could with the receptionist still apologizing even as I hung up because I was on the verge of tears already. And, you know, freaking out. Because hey! Anxiety. Anxiety does not hear, “we don’t take that insurance” and translate it correctly into something like, “that insurance company causes too many problems to work with” or “we have reached our quota of patients with that insurance,” no, that would be helpful.
Anxiety hears, ” we don’t take that insurance” and translates it into, “you are a garbage person who doesn’t deserve help, you deserve only suffering, you giant failure of human existence.”
Always fun. It took a little bit, but I got a grip and pulled myself back together. Not easy, but doable.
So that’s where I am right now. I know I have a problem, I know I need help, I cannot get help right now. But I am aware of all of it, and I can get it sorted out once I have organized the mental and emotional fortitude to do so. I don’t know when that will be, but I have perfected the art of hanging on by teeth and toenails to survival over the last few years, so, I’ll just keep on pushing through until I can get to a point where I can set this down and fish through it and work things out.
It should probably be soon, but I have work, and I have a book to finish writing, and the holidays are coming, so, I am going to have to grit my teeth and handle it, while still being good to myself and aware of problem spots.
Breathe in, and one, and two…