Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Loss, Change and Food

For the past 2 1/2 months it has been almost constant motion. From the moment I dialed my mother's home that night and she did not pick up through even today, I have been busy. From when I was busy praying I would not get bad news when my brother arrived at her apartment 30 minutes later to being busy reaching out to my siblings, getting everything in order, getting past the funeral,  losing her apartment, the disbursement of her belongings. Busy making sure I could keep my business going while I spent three weeks away. Busy making sure someone knew what I was eating so I did not have to rely on my own idea of what was okay. Busy making sure I was feeling the feelings, allowing the pain to penetrate. Busy accepting death and life and not trying to control it. Busy stretching to see all the wonder and miracles that came even in the tragedy of my mother's loss. Busy, busy. 

"It" has not been busy. "I" have been busy. I have stayed so busy. I have found every opportunity to be busy. Even though there are genuine things to keep me busy, I have been finding other things. Important things like spending eight wonderful days with my sister and family. Necessary things like organizing some new marketing for my company. Essential things like planning two short trips next month with my husband so we can take time to breathe together.  And stupid things. Stupid things like a solitaire tournament on my iPod that I was playing for a hour or more each day. Where's My Water - an app-game I downloaded and obsessively played until I have done every level with speed, garnered every achievement, found every hidden object. Stupid things like thinking I could slide through this without doing what I need to do every other day of my life. 

My hero
Every time I make a significant change in my daily routine I want someone standing in front of me waving a flag. I admit I need that more than I want it. I have not been seeing that flag. I have been getting up and praying less but playing with my iPod more. I have been cutting back on exercise to do mindless stuff or suddenly find something else I need to do. That was okay in the initial shock but it is not okay today. It will not be okay tomorrow. 

Six months ago, with my mentor's guidance, I became more honest in my daily food accounting and in the way I reported it. It felt good. It felt right. Somewhere after I returned from the funeral, I started to lose that again. Who/what caused that? Me; not my mother and not anything or anyone else.  My food has changed. I have been giving it lip service but not really paying attention to what I have been having. My weight stayed the same so I thought I was okay.  Let me be honest: I ignored that I was not okay. I knew it on some level but it was too hard to pause and really look at each day. So I made a poor choice and stayed busy. 

I am not okay. I am realizing now that the pain is just subdued in the busyness. There are moments when I have nothing else to think about and I suddenly scream in agony because it hits me again - and again. The other day I cried out and it scared my dog enough that he cried out.  I allow the pain level to get only so high - and then I push it back down again. Either with work, or mindlessness crap or with a hit of something to eat from my yellow list that really needs to be looked at for possible promotion to the red list. 

Loss causes change. I cannot change that. Loss is traumatic. Change does not have to be.  Losing a mother is life changing. The last time I had a painful, significant, life-changing event in my life I walked away from what recovery I had started. In 1992 I ran at full speed into a weight gain of 162 pounds - double what my lowest weight was in the scale the last time I looked. In '92 I took a traumatic event and added Trauma's friend Drama and used the excuse to hurt myself with food. Some people comfort themselves with food. I see it as the a legal but lengthy and agonizing way to commit suicide.

I will not do that again. The life I have is changed because of the loss of my mother. I will not use that loss as an excuse to hurt myself. I will stop being so busy with mindless stuff and when I feel pain, I will say so. I will cry. At some point I will get better. A life changed is better than a life stopped. 



Rebecca said...

Aw Jane. Just reading your busyness makes my head spin. I've been guilty of using "busy" to avoid the pain of loss as well, and also to avoid exercise AND food. I guess it has it's place, but not in avoiding what you need to "feel" your way through.

Good for you for seeing where you really are, and planning a course away from what could come from your distractions.


KCLAnderson (Karen) said...

This is truly a time to allow yourself to feel your feelings. You can't use food...and you can't use busyness to distract yourself from your desire to use food. Understand that your feelings can not destroy you...feeling them as they are will allow them to pass on through. Ride them like a wave...don't paddle against the tide.

E. Jane said...

I agree with Karen--let yourself feel. If you need to take a day or more just to be by yourself with your grief and tears, it's okay. The grief will show itself in other ways, if we don't ride through it. I've been where you are, and it is hard. I still have days where I miss my parents very much. Hang in there and take good care of yourself.

Vickie said...

I am not sure I understood you were the one who first realized something had happened. What a shock that must have been.

I think I understand about busy-ness. I hid behind busy-ness for years. And it wasn't even my stuff. I was the queen of volunteer jobs and other things that had nothing to do with me and mine. It took a long time to extricate myself from all of that.

I also understand how easy it is to let things slip under any circumstances, and you have had complex times.

Once a week I have to take myself back to the basics and have a good hard look. Any longer than once a week and my life can really slip. It is so easy to lose focus.

Sorry of the circumstances that lead you to write this post, but you did a really good job.

bbubblyb said...

Jane I can sure identify with this post. I am often guilty of the "busyness" issue. I also at times use exercise, food, internet, etc to stuff my emotions. I've had long discussions with my therapist about this and he seems to think if it's busyness that doesn't cause harm to me then it's ok. He feels I will feel my feelings when I'm ready and only I know when that is. Lately I've been crying in the car or here at my desk and so I know I am letting those feelings out sometimes. I don't think we have to be in full blown grief or dispair to feel our feelings and honestly I don't know if I could handle that and actually get done everything I need to in a day. So having those moments of crying or busyness is my own way of dealing with my emotions without doing real harm to myself. But I know we all have our own way of handling and dealing. Just know you have friends out here if you ever need someone to talk to. *hugs*