So, my wagon hit a little bump in the road today. It’s does not mean I’m completely off the wagon. I woke up this morning, and I began mindlessly binge eating. It started with a healthy breakfast, followed by crackers and candy. I looked down at all the crumbs and torn open wrappers on my lap, and just started to cry.
I had to take a second and HALT. In binge recovery, that stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. We use the acronym as a reminder to stop what we are doing, and figure out WHY we are over eating. Honestly, it’s almost never hunger for me.
I believe this morning was a combination of tired and anger. I was definitely in a “just woke up” haze, and the sick kiddos have cut into my sleep allotment. The anger I’m feeling is a very mild, subtle anger. I’m mad at myself. I’m mad at some of the financial issues my husband and I are facing, I’m mad that I’ve been at the same weight since June. I’m mad about some of the social decisions I’ve made recently, and (mostly) I’m mad at some things I’ve done in the past.
One of the worst times in my life was planning my sister’s wedding shower. I had just found out I was pregnant, and had to stop my psych meds cold turkey. The stress was too much, my social anxiety was out of control and I was so mean to the other girls in the wedding party. A few years have passed, and I’m in a much better place but it doesn’t stop that anger and embarrassment from surfacing.
My sister’s baby shower is this weekend. Everything is so parallel between her wedding and baby showers, I feel like I’ve been here before. Things have been smooth sailing thus far, and I’m so excited to celebrate my niece to be.. that was up until Friday. I realized this weekend that I’ll have to work with the same girls both in preparation and day of. The worst part for me is that I actually really love these girls, but I feel like my past behavior really ruined our relationships. It’s the dread, the embarrassment, the guilt that’s dragging me down. It’s hard to shake, and it’s tempting to fall back into my old coping habits.
But recovery and therapy has given me tools, and I need to use them.
The first step is just to stop. Put down the bag of candy. Pause. Do not dig the hole any deeper. Next, reflect. ‘Why am I doing this?’ Today, it’s because I wanted to heal my angry wounds from years past. Finally, How do I move forward?
The ongoing theme in my whole-body healing has been accountability. I have to take responsibility for the awful things I’ve done. By acknowledging that I was wrong I can take the steps to fix it. In this case, I have dual accountability. First, the reason my relationship with my sister’s friends is so horrible is because I treated them badly. My depression did not hurt them, my anxiety did not hurt them. Although they may have fueled my actions, I was the one who made things the way they are. The second is admitting that I made a mistake by over eating this morning. It happened, it’s over with, I can’t take it back. There is no moving forward until you can admit your own mistakes.
Making a plan of correction. For my social woes, I know that my friends deserve an apology. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do that, since it’s been about 2 years. I tried around Christmas time to get up the nerve to mend things, and ended up not seeing the girls during the holidays. I’m using EMDR and coping mechanisms to be kind, and trying my best to be honest about things that make me overwhelmed. Nipping those overwhelming feelings in the bud will hopefully avoid that angry word volcano.
In both problems, there is no changing the past. No time machine. It’s also important not to go too far in the other direction to over- compensate. Restricting my calories or skipping meals will only end up making me hungrier, and one emotional straw will break my back into another binging episode. I also don’t want to over-do it with my friends. Going too far will come off as fake or insincere, and that’s the last thing I want.
When I get in a rut, a binge eating mistake or a social problem, it’s easy to want to punish myself. I have a huge habit of beating myself up, or “trying to make up for it.” ..Pretty much anything to avoid taking accountability for my own actions. I can treat myself so harshly. I am my own worst critic. I was once told that I needed to treat myself more like how I treat others. ‘How would I treat my child or my best friend if this was their problem and not mine?’
I would not tell my children to restrict eating to make up for indulging. I would not tell my best friend she was worthless or undeserving of friendship for a past mistake. I might feel those things for myself, but I don’t truly believe them.
Just like with anything else, I’m taking my steps to get better.
I admit that I have emotional issues, and I’ve coped with them incorrectly in the past.
I believe that I can get help.
I accept help from my medical team, my family and my supporters.
I analyze myself- why I do things, what things I’ve done, what I need to stop doing and what I need to fix.
After analyzing, I admit that I have done wrong things, and I can not keep going the way things are.
I trust that the help I get from my doctors and supporters will assist me in my shortcomings.
I am willing to make amends for my past wrongdoings.
I would like to correct the relationships I have corrupted.
I continue to look into myself, and work on myself. I admit when I am wrong.
I seek education and betterment on my conditions, with intent to use them to live a healthier life.
I intend to carry the message of these 12 steps to others in need, be it in person or via my blog.
These are the 12 steps associated with AA, but they have been incredibly helpful on my own journey with food addiction and mental health recovery.
Bad things happen. Mistakes happen. You can’t take them back. The only thing you can do is admit you were wrong, and do better going forward. It doesn’t matter what the mistake is- you “cheated” on your diet, fought with a friend, broke your New Year’s resolution- it doesn’t matter. Just admit you were wrong, and move forward. DON’T GIVE UP. There are bumps on every road, but you have to keep going. You’ll never reach your destination if you don’t keep pushing on.
Forgive, do better, but don’t forget.
With healthy hearts,
Kate and the kids.