adventures in quarantine, Uncategorized

I can live and breathe and see the sun.

Alright. As my week wraps up and I review the hellish “through not around” that I waded in with my daughter this week, I want to take the opportunity to note some tangible tools I have learned.

Embrace the steps.

Step one. It’s not about me. It’s unmanageable. It’s not mine. Step two. Someone else has got this. Step three. Take a step back and let it be that someone else’s. Step six. Practice the pause.

I realize I’m skipping four and five here.¬† It’s not to minimize them. Those ones have deeper digging. They do not pertain quite yet within my immediate, tangible action.

Create the tiniest gap.

My goal–that I haven’t taken much time to write about–is that I want the voices in my head to quiet. That quiet is the peace I am aspiring to. That quiet is a return to my best and highest self.

When the thought loops run rampant, as they are wont to do unchecked, I spiral out. I want so much more than that for myself. I am so much more than that.

I have options. I can tell the voice to fuck off. I can turn my attention to constructive actions. I can write down the thought loops and walk away from them. I can mantra in my head “words and opportunity”. I can ask to have it taken away. I can journal longform about it. I can ask myself “Am I acting from a place of love or s place of fear?”

Whichever I choose, the act of pausing and deciding creates a gap for the universe to come in and support me.

Move.

This is just a good go to on any day. Gets me simultaneously in my head and out of my head. It grounds me to the earth and the universe. It provides the connection back to self.

Reality is kinetic.

Perspective dictates that not only can people have entirely different experiences to the same situation, but those experiences can morph and muddle with time. Reality can shift and transmogrify, and none of it is real and all of it is real. Whatever we remember and however we filter it creates a picture through our lens and it becomes our truth.

This isn’t good nor bad. It’s life. This is something I’ve always been aware of, but I had many attachment thoughts about it. It is now clear to me it is something I need to accept. I don’t have a “how” for that right yet. But all the other tangible things I’ve come to acquire this week tell me that I can ask for the how and then I can wait and it’ll be given to me when I need it.

So….I’m learning to do the work and also just stop. Both and neither. Click click and click.

~~~~~~~

I want to add. My process normally is that I write and then I share and talk about it with Chris. I’ve found in the past that when I talk it over first, I never write about it, and I don’t like losing that part.

I’ve been trying to write this particular post all week and none of it came. It was too wordy and circumvented all the tangibility.

I was finally able to, yesterday, share with Chris the events that unfolded over the week. His week began with a seizure and recovery, and mine was full of navigating Tuesday with R and the week with the boys.

After connecting with Chris last night to share the story of my week, and after he listened so attentively and responded so compassionately, it allowed this post to flow easily. We were us, with all the extra personal growth we’ve worked for. It is goodness.

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A song to take the pain away.

I sat in for a therapy session with R. It was supposed to just be five minutes. Enough to tell her counselor that we’d be starting the process to get her on antidepressants. It is time.

It was not a decision that I came to lightly. There were a multitude of factors. Mostly it was that she was getting so much more explosive, and to me, that meant her pain and hurting were at its max. Unfortunately the only factor that really stuck out for my girl was that her behavior was scarring her brother and his¬†trauma was my highest priority and that’s why I finally agreed to the medication.

This turned a five minute conversation into an hour and a half session.

She hurts. I know this. I never know just how much. And it always catches me off guard. The one person who it would be helpful to be privy to said information doesn’t get to know. It’s just part of the mom deal, I suppose.

Being a parent is hard. Knowing all the logical psychology doesn’t really help much. I mean, sure, in the long run sorta. The short run is a different beast.

The long run tells me that she can lash out at me because she feels safe with me. The long run tells me that she will viciously push me away over and over in order to see if I’ll abandon her.

Depression runs her short game.

It requires her to believe she is nothing and not worth sticking around for. Pushing me away and me following suit gives the depression its validation.

Depression begets depression. We feel like things are shit. That we are shit. We feel worthless so we seek all the ways we’re unworthy. And because we get what we look for, all she sees are examples of her nothingness. The cycle feels impossible to break.

~~~~~~~

Depression is a big fat liar and not even this strong, badass mama can contend with it.

I can show up. Over and over. No matter how much it hurts. No matter how it can bring excruciating heartache and practically break me.

But it can not change her perspective. I learned that today.

It hurt a lot.

I have always known that she is hard on herself. I have always known that she has ridiculous expectations of herself. Expectations that no one could ever meet. I know she thinks in black and white and that she truly believes perfection does, in fact, exist.

I know I have always been the first to say “you did great!” and “what do you mean a B on your chem test isn’t good enough?!” and “of course I’ll be at your musical!” I have supported her through countless endeavors. Providing moral support and transportation and peptalks and space when she asks.

Despite her spending so much time trying to convince me she’s nothing, I haven’t faltered in being her biggest cheerleader.

This is my lens. This is how I see it.

No, I don’t notice every single thing that happens. Yes, there are things she’s told me about that I’ve forgotten. Yes, sometimes I’m annoyed that she needed to be picked up at 5 and she still isn’t ready at 5:40. I’m human. I’m fallible. I make mistakes. I don’t always show up how she prefers, nor do I show up 100% of the time. But I show up. I show up often and to the best of my ability.

And then today, the short run played its game. She tells me that I make her feel worthless. That I make her feel like nothing. That she feels like a nothing because of me. That I have instilled this in her.

No amount of logical psychology could have kept my feet firmly planted. The short run won.

~~~~~~~

Her lens is so much different than mine.

I never knew–I never understood–that the voice in her head feeding her all that bullshit is my voice.

It is a devastating blow.

~~~~~~~

Not all hope is lost. I’m silver lining girl after all. Navigation is required. A whole fuckton of navigation. As well as extra reinforcements for this sad mama’s heart.

Above all else, I show up. I may not be able to contend with her depression through her lens, but I won’t go down without a fight. Especially when it’s my daughter’s life at stake.

I don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t quite know yet what I need to do. I know that whatever it is, I can do it. I will do it.

First tho, I will cry and grieve.

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I’m right there.

I’m not really sure what’s up with me today.

It was a good day by all accounts. And yet, tonight I found myself eating. Hell, this afternoon I found myself eating. I checked in with myself. Nothing really felt off. But here I was, eating.

I snacked when I don’t normally snack. I ate more, even if not a lot, after I snacked. I noticed I was doing it and was, like, curiously detached?

I checked in with myself even!

And still, I don’t know what it was about.

If I’m being honest here, I want to say that I didn’t check in fully. But I checked in. It’s a start–in this strange land of practice.

It really wasn’t about quantity today. It was this odd, nuanced quality. I don’t know what the thing was that triggered the response, but today I just…I wanted to give in a little bit.

I wanted the comfort of the familiar.

Unfortunately, it’s a short-lived comfort and what little it worked a month ago, it works even less now.

I ate some after 7. I ate some after 8 even. I could have eaten all night. It would never have provided anything.

In hindsight that is sad, but at the time, the “sadness” or “mourning” of that loss were not feelings that registered for me. What I thought about was “what feelings triggered this?” I didn’t come up with anything. But I asked the question. Which means I’m learning. And eventually, even without an answer, I stepped away and went for a walk instead.

Then tonight I was going to go to sleep. And then I decided to pick up the kitchen a bit. And I committed to writing this post, but then I found myself getting ready to wash the dishes and I thought, “damn, girl, whatcha avoiding?”

And I don’t know. But I traded the sponge for the keyboard and showed up for myself.

I got it all down even if I still don’t really know what the “what” was.

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Can’t you see the sunshine?

It’s fascinating to me what a difference time makes.

Here we are, always chugging along. Some days feel like molasses while others feel like that bowling lane oil. Yet we all just keep going.

Then sometimes, along with the going, we slowly change. We grow and evolve and become. With action, we are always becoming.

Nine years ago I was in therapy saying “I love myself, I do, but if only I was thinner, I would feel like the work I’ve been doing actually did something. I feel so fat. I just want to not be 160 pounds.”

My therapist, in all of her incredulous glory, looked at me dumbstruck and said, “You’re not fat. 160 pounds is average.”

I tried to argue that because of my lacking height, 160 pounds was much more on my body. That my body was not made to be 160 pounds. That I knew I was so much smaller than my body had currently allowed.

She wouldn’t budge.

She asked what it would mean to me if my body was just meant to be 160 pounds.

I stomped about it. Metaphorically. As I often did about things. I didn’t want my body to be meant for that.

And then life moved along.

Fast forward all those years. The last year, I have indeed come to think of my body as average. I look in the mirror and I feel neither fat nor thin. Just regular. I don’t feel my body makes me an outlier on any spectrum. I’m average. I’m comfortable.

My goals center toward health and strength. And while I still have a picture in mind of a number on a scale and having less hips in the mirror (not no hips, mind you! I love my curves), those things are fuzzy background images. The foreground picture is health and centeredness and a love of my body no matter what.

I’ve done intermittent fasting since last November. It was a boundary point as I learned to navigate food and feelings and life and safety. I remained 157 pounds no matter what I did. Sometimes it would fluctuate a pound or two, but then back up it went. In the past, I would have said I was stuck there. But I never feel stuck anymore. I’m too busy navigating more important to me things.

But my point. My point is that I’ve looked in the mirror for the last couple months and I feel good about my body. All the while staying 157 pounds. And it was okay. It didn’t trip me up.

The last couple weeks I’ve been really proud with my relationship with food. Consistency has loaned me momentum and that switch in my brain has allowed consistency to not feel so grueling.

Earlier this week I weighed myself and I am 150 pounds.

It’s not about the number. It’s about the fact that I’m paying attention to the right things this time and life followed suit. That is very cool.

Most days growth is like molasses, and time is just chugging along. Other days–those rare beautiful days–the molasses thins and I can suddenly see all the progress my growth has afforded me. Today is one of those days.

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For all the roads you followed.

There’s a thing I do with food. To not make things about food.

I decide.

It’s not always easy. But it’s simple.

And the more times I do it, the more often it is just easy.

In November I decided to intermittent fast and have my window be 9am til 7pm. Soon I decided to changed it to noon til 7. That felt okay until no behavior changed beyond the decision.

Enter more decisions.

The last couple weeks I’ve really driven into not only who I want to be, but who I am. Not only entertaining what my future ideal self would say, but also what I want to say right here, right now.

I don’t want it to be so grueling. I don’t want it to have to be so hard.

So I decide.

And then I execute the decision.

An eating window always benefitted me because once I had food, a switch turned on in my head and I couldn’t “off” food. I didn’t off food. But the eating window just shortens the issue. It doesn’t address it.

After weeks of thinking “what would the future, ideal Jill do?” and sometimes answering honestly, and sometimes fooling myself, I finally realized it was all just a stopgap.

It’s all important and I’ve needed it all as part of my journey. But I need something that feels more sturdy. I need something that makes all the chatter dissipate. I need the quiet.

Deciding helps bring me more quiet.

So I eat my meal and then I make the conscious decision “Don’t eat anything else for an hour.” And then I execute it.

I focus my energy and action elsewhere. I write or clean or play or move my body. I do the thing that quiets my mind.

And eventually I eat again. And then I decide. And then I execute it.

There’s no stomping or loss or grief. It feels like healing.

It’s not easy. But it’s easier than it was last week. And it’ll be easier still. I’m not ignoring myself or my feelings. I’m not distracting myself or skipping out. I’m just choosing to thrive in growth instead of drown in food.

It’s a perfectly imperfect system. I’m no robot. This is about being human here. I get tripped up and I go again. Getting back up is just as vital as decide and execute. Getting back up is decide and execute.

I know that in time, as consistency lends to routine, and routine turns to habit, it will be the foundation that changes the behavior, which is the whole point. It will be the answer to the question “what would future, ideal Jill say?” that I’ll no longer have to stop and ask myself. Because I’ll just know. Because I’ll just be.

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Escape is never the safest path.

I keep making the not constructive choice. I mean, I realize it serves a purpose, the destructive choices–the eating choices, but they’re not constructive. They feed something in me. No pun intended. I’m just not certain they are fueling anything for my greater good.

So I came here to say that I want the muffin. And sure, I don’t want anything more now. But if I eat the muffin, I’ll want the pretzels. Or the cookies. And then after eating crap, I’ll decide I should eat something nutritious. All the while never actually wanting for food.

And I can pretend to justify “just this once”, but it is never once. Eating disorders do not work that way. And I could try to justify “if I don’t do it now, then it’ll provide momentum to saying no later”. But really, that’s bullshit too today because by the time later happens I’m going to be all out of energy to make constructive decisions.

Therefore, what I’m going to do today, and just for today because it’s 9am and already I’m almost out of decision juice (and that’s not so promising) is decide that there’s no need for decisions later. Today I’m making the decision now to just abstain. There won’t be decisions later. I made the decision now.

That also means I need to fill my basket with other things because I’m taking the food tool out. So today can be about cleaning and doing a couple things from my checklist and rest. And probably lots of writing and accountability.