It has been a rough month……year, actually. Every step forward was followed by multiple backward steps……and then this past month happened.
And I am struggling, trying to be strong, trying to take care of my family, trying to help my son through this hurdle, trying to help my son and family navigate the court, jail, probation system while navigating the addiction treatment options and still managing the mental health illnesses…..all while continuing to navigate and manage the “normal” day-to-day responsibilities……..and I have forgotten, somewhere along the way that I need to take care of me, that I need to make time for me, that I need to save some energy for me.
And I am struggling……..feeling as if I am drowning, trying desperately to just get through the day, to just breathe.
I have had many conversations with members attending the Weight Watchers meetings I work about making time to take care of themselves during times of stress and crisis. I ask my members who are going through difficult times, what they are doing to take care of themselves, even if it is just 5 minutes, just a moment where they can step back and just breathe.
And here I am……
I am exhausted, emotionally and physically…..too tired to add “me” to the “to do” list.
Then yesterday I had two conversations that made me think…..both of my friends asked me what I was doing to take care of me and asked me to set some time aside for me, because otherwise all of THIS is going to drain me…..leave me empty.
I am already there. There is not much left in the tank. But what they said to me made me think.
I am an addict. My addiction is food. I have not had the easiest life……the abandonment, the abuse—physical, emotional and sexual, my mother’s death at a pivotal point in my life….all left me needing something, needing comfort. And I turned to food to deal with the emotions and the emergence of long repressed memories……food is how I deal with the difficulties in life.
I realized that I was a food addict while on my journey to lose weight and get healthy with Weight Watchers. And that day, when that light bulb went off, I began to make changes…..I began to deal with my emotions and the memories and the worthless feelings in ways other than to eat them. And it worked. And I lost the weight. And I found my self-worth.
But this past year has brought about some real difficulties. Testing just how strong I can be. And last month when my son hit his most recent bottom, I was tested again…..and old habits came back. I am tired…..tired of being strong……tired of not having my life as my own…….tired of the fear, worry and yes, anger……….I am JUST TIRED! And I stopped doing the things that work for me, that re-energize me, that help me to navigate my emotions……
Instead I ATE them.
And now I am struggling……
But the conversations yesterday, reminded me of what worked…..of why I had made the changes all those years ago…….of why I don’t want to go back to that girl again.
And beginning this morning, I remembered what worked for me, I remembered that I am worth it. And I remembered that I can get through anything as long as I rely on those things that help me to take care of me.
So, I started writing. Writing about life and about my emotions helps me to clear all the clutter in my head and to breathe. My time spent writing helps me to take care of me. And I decided that I need that 5 or 10 minutes to write, to reflect and to deal with my life. To think clearer. Old habits creep in so quickly that before I knew it I was on my way back THERE again.
But like we talked about in meetings, the past couple of weeks, slips happen…..life happens and then we find a way to get back on track. We figure out where we veered, how we fell into the hole and what we need to do to get back on track.
I kept telling myself that I just needed to get back to tracking my food and then things would get better. So I would track and then go right back to feeding my emotions.
I would tell myself, just don’t buy that food…..and then I would go right back to feeding my emotions.
I would tell myself to get some exercise….and then I would go right back to feeding my emotions.
And then yesterday, after those two conversations, I knew……yes, I need to track—it works. Yes, I need to buy the right foods—it works. Yes, I need to exercise—it works. Yes, I need to go to meetings as a member—it works………….But NONE of that works if I don’t TAKE CARE of me, if I don’t make me a PRIORITY and find that moment each day when I can step back and JUST BREATHE!
My AHA moment!
And despite the stormy morning I had today, I have found a few minutes to just breathe. And it makes ALL the DIFFERENCE.
Life isn’t going to be easy for a while…….but I know now that if I find a way to take care of me, then I can get through this, WITHOUT eating my emotions and going back to THAT girl again.
I just needed to be reminded. Thankful for friends on this Weight Watchers journey, who get it and who ask the questions that get me thinking……..