Last week’s post, and the behaviors that triggered it, have generated so many great conversations and I am, for the first time, taking very openly and frankly about the issues behind these behaviors. I want to tell you all about some really great realizations/epiphanies/ah-ha moments I have had and discuss some of the feedback I have received but that will come later. First I want to talk to you about what is behind these behaviors- my baggage. Since I have already exposed the outer most layer of my secrets (which has been both highly beneficial but also has left me a bit raw) I think it would be good to dig a bit deeper and talk about what’s truly behind the scenes.
See what I've realized is this….
I don’t have an unhealthy relationship with food. I have an unhealthy relationship with myself and I use food as my punishment/coping mechanism.
My method of escapism is binging. No purging for me though. I opt to wallow in the shame and guilt and let the self-loathing fester. That is me present day. But that wasn't always how I escaped. Before food there were other things (things maybe better left off a public blog) when I was younger, I had many unhealthy behaviors. But you are smart, if you can think of a way to forget/drown away pain I probably did it. And once I wised up to knowing that was probably a very dangerous path to head down I cleaned up my act.
But I still had unresolved and unhealthy feelings towards myself. And so I turned to food. Easy access and legal. Always available. And damn tasty. What better way to drown my sorrows than with a box of tastykakes or an ooey gooey cheesy pizza?
No, this wasn't my every day norm and it isn't now either. But when shit got really hard to deal with this was how I coped. It didn't help that my normal eating behaviors were already excessive and indulgent. I was already behind the eight ball when I turned to food as my ‘drug of choice’.
Now before I go into the back story here I need to preface this with this one very important statement- this is nobody’s fault but mine. So if you are reading this (Mom, Dad, family, friends) and you think maybe you could have done something differently or helped me or fixed this mess you couldn't have. We all have our own baggage. We all have problems. Yes, we do need support to help us find our way or get better or change but it is a path we must find and walk alone. There is no blame in this story nor should there be any guilt because of what I am talking about. I write this today to maybe help someone else feel safe/comfortable about their baggage and in turn feel safe/comfortable to move past it. Like I am trying to do.
Growing up, and I mean from a very young age (maybe 3 or 4 I think), I was filled with resentment and anger. My mother suffered through bipolar disorder and spent time throughout my childhood sick and in and out of a hospital. This was very scary for me. Honestly, there is not much I remember from my childhood other than that feeling of dread and not really understanding what was going on. I was a child. I couldn't fully process or understand what mental illness was. But I do remember loving my mother fiercely (which of course I still do) and blaming/resenting everyone around me for her sickness. My poor father took the brunt of this misplaced rage and anger. I didn’t hate him. I hated her illness but I couldn't take it out on her. So I took it out on him instead. It took a long time to get past those feelings (the ones that shouldn't have even existed in the first place) and develop a normal relationship with my father.
My very close friend committed suicide a week before my 20th birthday. That was really hard for me to deal with. Suicide really messes with those people left behind. I harbored so much guilt and pain that I didn’t really know how to move past it. My life has since forever been changed and my heart still aches because of this loss. I know (like the logical me knows) that I should not feel guilty because he chose to take his own life. But I do. I think we all do. I honestly believe that all of us who have lost someone from suicide will always carry some morsel of guilt for feeling that they let them down, didn’t do enough. That it is their fault, they could’ve done more. Or at least that is how I feel. But I do know better. I know what it is like to be on the other side. I know what that feeling of desperation feels like and in that moment when you decide you want to die you don’t think of anyone else. You don’t think that if so and so would have just called/spent more time/loved me things would have been different. You just feel like you do not have the strength to fight your demons any longer and you concede. In that moment it is about you. Not us. But knowing all of that, having lived through all of that, did not make his death easier.
I have always had these personal issues that have caused me to make not the best decisions. When I was younger (think teens and twenties) I was still struggling with the mental shit from my childhood, the ‘I’ll never be good enough’ feeling that came from other family issues, and I always felt like I needed to make everyone happy and in turn always be happy myself. I had a lot of friends but I never had one best friend. I think that stemmed from the above mentioned baggage and a fear of letting people see it. I had really bad taste in guys. I had a series of really unhealthy relationships. I was cheated on. I cheated on people. I was immature. I didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship. And I was afraid of being alone. So I latched onto someone that was also immature, didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship and (I am almost 100% sure) was also afraid of being alone. And I married him.
Are you surprised we are now divorced? I am pretty sure if you ask anyone who knew us then they would have said the most surprising thing was that we lasted as long as we did.
But I do know that through this all- through all of the packing and unpacking of my baggage- I have finally started to work through some of it. Not all. Trust me, I know there are still more issues and more pain in there that need to be sorted through. But I try.
I made amends with my father and I try to maintain a healthy and loving relationship with both of my parents.
I let go of the ‘not good enough’ feeling when it comes to pleasing people in my family. Although, some days it is becoming clearer that I still have that need to people please within my relationships. That behavior right there is how I mustered through a decade long relationship that I had no right to be in. Meaning- I was in it for many, many wrong reasons but stayed because I just wanted to make him happy.
I still have sadness over the loss of my friend but I have learned to work through and move past the guilt. That took at least a decade.
I am committed to having healthy relationships. I try really hard to be honest about how things make me feel. As someone that passively watched their life pass them by because of my weight I also found that I was passive in other areas as well. I am now a very active participant in my life. Not saying that it is always the Dacia show and I do whatever I want whenever I want but I am vocal about my dreams and goals and I because of this I have found a partner that wants to share them with me and in turn allow me to share in his.
I am not perfect, I am far from it. I know there are still issues in there that are causing me pain. I know that I am not the best when it comes to handling and processing pain and sorrow. I have things I need to work on. I still have baggage, I know this. But I also know the more I talk about it, the faster and easier it is to find the root of the problem. And finding it and acknowledging it and accepting it allows me to heal and move forward towards a healthier and happier me.
This is my mantra right now...
Love and hugs,