Struggling So Much

I feel like a failure.

I am not going to make it to  yoga this morning.  Saturday morning yoga is my favorite part of my weekly routine and the class has my favorite instructor.  And I am not going to make it because I spent 45 minutes trying to will myself out of bed to shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and be ready to go….And I couldn’t do it.  And now, it is too late to get my shit together and go to yoga.

What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I shake this depression?  It is not helping me at all right now…Although I don’t think depression ever actually helps.  But really, it is impeding my recovery process.  I suppose it is a good sign that I still care, because when it gets to a point that I stop caring about recovery, then I will know the depression is out of control.

I didn’t struggle with the PTSD episodes last night.  Last evening, I went grocery shopping with a peer.  I didn’t have a good time.  Last time I went out with this peer, I didn’t have a good time.  I think I will stop doing things like that with her.  She just is always distracted, texting, doing her own thing.  I mean, that’s all fine, but if you are going to do something with someone, it would be nice to actually spend time together, iykwim.

We were out through dinner time, a tactical error for me.  She didn’t care because she isn’t eating right now. I cared.  By the time I got home, it was over two hours after I usually eat.  I was fascinated by the fact that I wasn’t actually hungry.  (When you mess up your body with an eating disorder, you mess up  your body’s ability to cue you about hunger.)  I did eat.  I made myself some quick mac n cheese and had tomatoes dipped in salad dressing.  I am guessing my friend went home and ate nothing.

After that, I video chatted with dh for a while.

I don’t know if it was the being with people, or chatting with dh, or change of routine, but the Friday night PTSD torture did not happen and I am sooo relieved.

But now, here I am, in the depression hole. I have self-harm urges, passive suicidal ideation, emotional pain and no energy for initiation of anything.  I haven’t even gotten out of bed to pee.  And…now, I am going to miss yoga.  F.A.I.L.U.R.E.

I have spent some time this morning, as I have been trying to will myself out of bed, asking myself why I feel so depressed, why I feel like self-harming, why I feel suicidal ideation.  What purpose is this serving me right now?  I can’t come up with much.  The last two days of programming this week were kind of tough.  Yesterday, I did that me-in-the-group check in.  I also checked in about the use of eating disorder behaviors I have had this week.  That was hard…and didn’t really make me feel better.  We had a really hard discussion in our sexuality group on Thurs about trauma effects on sex and masturbation.  I shared something I had written about it on my trauma timeline, which was really hard to do.  (And despite my shame about what I had written…I had several peers thank me both during and after group for my candor and putting words to a hard topic and opening it up for people to talk about it.  Because as ashamed and embarrassed as I felt, I was in a roomful of people who had the same experiences and felt the same way.)  Sharing that probably pushed me farther into trauma stuff than I should have gone.

I don’t know…I feel scrambled as I am blogging…and there is so much more that I want to say, but I feel like I am not making much sense and this post is going to get too long if I say it all.  Wait…this is a time for bullet points.

  • I am still reeling from my therapist saying I probably need to be here another 8ish weeks.
  • I am concerned about our finances and how we will afford to keep me here that long.
  • My anxiety therapist did the Y BOCS II with me yesterday (an OCD assessment) and I scored really high…I am still trying to process what that means for me.
  • I think my PNP is worried about my depression.
  • I am supposed to go meet with peers at Starbucks this morning and I don’t want to go
  • I have started to lose my boundaries with the peer that I wanted to keep distance from because our relationship is unhealthy.
  • I am furious at my friend who is not eating.  I am trying really hard to be compassionate, but why does she get to not eat?  And why does she smirk and look pleased every time someone asks her about it/confronts her about it/or clinicians talk about it?  And is she just trying to kill herself? Is it attention getting behavior?  And when she restricts at our group meals, why aren’t they following their protocol about it?  WTF.  Everything about it makes me mad. Which probably means I need to just ignore it so it doesn’t interfere with my process.
  • My PNP really wants me to do something “sweet,” as in finding something I enjoy for self-care and lifting my mood some.  I don’t feel like I enjoy anything.  How can I find something “sweet”?

Okay…now I know I am rambling. I am going to drag myself out of bed and take a shower, take my meds, get dressed, eat breakfast and try not to crawl back into bed.

Actually, I think I can hear water running which means the woman I live with is showering.  It gives me an excuse to just stay in bed for a while longer.

 

 

Self-Worth and My Body

(This was a homework assignment written Sunday evening)

How I Define Self-Worth and How This Became Correlated to My Body

I am not even sure how I define my self-worth.  What things make me worth anything?

  • My intelligence
  • My sense of humor
  • My persistence/perseverance
  • My work ethic
  • My creativity
  • My compassion
  • My love of nature
  • My love of my family

What makes me feel like I am not worth anything?

  • That I am not smart enough
  • That I am not skinny enough
  • That I am ugly
  • That I am disgusting
  • That I am never good enough
  • That I am damaged
  • That I am bad
  • That I am stupid
  • That I do stupid/embarrassing things
  • That I am fat

Just looking at these two lists, it is clear that my sense of worth revolves around things that are intellectually/brain based and the things that make me feel worthless are all about my body.

I guess that the reason my body measures my lack of worth is because of messages I got over and over as a child. I was never good enough because I wasn’t lady-like enough. My body betrayed me by attracting sexual abuse.  Puberty came before I was ready.  My peers teased me relentlessly, first about my early puberty, with ogling and snide remarks about my breasts, and then because I got fat and thus my peers bullied and tortured me for the next 6 years over my size.  Basically, I learned at school to hate my body because my body was what made me a social pariah.  And it was my body’s fault.

I also had lots of criticism about my body at home.  It was never spoken directly, my mother never said to me, “Heidi, you are fat. Lose weight.”  But I was told how to dress and what to wear to make me look good/smaller despite my body size.  I also was told what to wear and how to dress to minimize my busty chest.  And then there was the time that my parents made me do Nutrisystem with them.  No…no one at home ever said I was fat, but the message was there loud and clear.

And the constant focus on my size and my feelings of shame and subsequent hatred of my body because of that focus, consumed my thoughts and emotions and became the central point of my self-worth.  Being smart wasn’t good enough, being funny wasn’t good enough, being kind and compassionate wasn’t good enough.  All people saw when they saw me was my body. And then that’s all I saw too.

So…the past few weeks, at HillTop, I have been feeling a bit better about my body.  I had started to accept my body…I mean, in tiny baby steps, but I was starting to like what I was seeing.  Maybe it was just over-confidence, but I was seeing my body as smaller and feeling some acceptance of it.

But then this afternoon, I undid all that.  I went out shopping with Mel and tried on a bunch of shirts because I wanted some new shirts to wear with my new leggings.  I have been wearing the leggings because they are really comfortable and I really want to be comfortable.  I am also really attracted to the prints and patterns on the leggings.  But when shopping, none of the shirts I found fit right.  And I got to actually look at myself in a mirror and I got to look at myself in my leggings…And I hated what I saw.  And I realized that I have been fooling myself and that I still am disgusting and ugly.  And not worth having any self-confidence.  There is nothing about me to like or feel good about or to even tolerate.

When I look at my body now, like even just sitting in this chair, it looks different.  I am huge.  I can see how big and fat and ugly I am.  I feel stupid and embarrassed that I actually thought any differently.  And that I let myself start to feel comfortable.

This means that everyone is wrong.  I can’t eat food the way I have been eating it.  I can’t not-exercise.  And Mac is wrong.  I do need to know how much I weigh so I can keep everything under control.

And what I really need now is to lose weight.  And a lot of it.

So…I guess the only way I can define self-worth is by my body size.  And right now, I am not worth anything.

 

Tuesday update:  After losing my shit and crying most of yesterday because I hate my body and I am so disgusting….I woke up this morning and pulled out my favorite pair of leggings, put them on, put on a tunic top (which is super comfy and shields some of my awkward body spots) and am trying to wear my leggings again.  I am going to try to tone down the hatred and dial up the fact that I enjoy the comfiness of the leggings…Not sure how this will play out…But I am giving it a try.

 

 

Yesterday Sucked

When I woke up this morning, I had to check to see if I was in one piece.  Yesterday was a brutal day emotionally and I wasn’t sure if I had actually survived.  Honestly, the best part of yesterday was going to bed so that the intense emotions would turn off.  And yup, I still feel a bit sensitive/fragile, but I am indeed in one piece today.

Basically, I had one of those days where I just ended up crying. A lot.  It started with texting my PNP in the morning and she said something that I got both angry and hurt about.  I put my phone down and just cried.

A while after that, I had an intake assessment phone call with the residential facility that I am hoping to go to.  Now, these phone interviews are long, at least an hour long, and pretty intense.  They go over every detail of your eating disorder and of your co-occurring mental illness(es).  It is like being stripped naked emotionally and made to stand in front of a crowd…Just exposing every detail of what I struggle with the most and to a total stranger. Awful.  Plus it totally highlights exactly how fucked-up I am.

But that wasn’t the worst part.  The worst part was the trauma history part.  The facility wanted to know details…Physical abuse? Emotional abuse? Sexual abuse?  And details…If you were physically abused, how often? By whom? With what?  Emotional abuse: In what way? By who? For how long?  Sexual abuse had the same questions and, Did you tell anyone about it/report it?

After the phone call was over, I hung up and burst into tears.  The phone call was sooo triggering!  Of course, the timing of the call was such that I had to immediately make and eat lunch (ha!) and then run out to triple-decker appointments.  So, I forced food into my body and launched into the afternoon, even though I was emotionally raw, PTSD triggered and feeling fucked-up beyond repair.  Basically, I was holding out for my AT appointment. I just needed to keep myself together until Art Therapy and then it would be okay to fall apart.

I actually did keep myself corralled until therapy.  And that occurred even though I had an embarrassing/shame part of my doctor’s appointment.  The shame didn’t help my emotional misery, but I didn’t cry…So I consider that a win.

I did cry during therapy.  Honestly, I didn’t really do much during therapy, I was too triggered to do anything.  After a little bit, I asked if I could draw and I sat at the art table and drew purple spirals over and over on a piece of paper.  It made me feel better and I was able to self-regulate enough to talk to the AT a little bit. But then the appointment ended.  I really didn’t want to have to leave.  I feel safe with the AT…I didn’t want to have to leave that feeling .

I don’t actually remember much about the rest of the afternoon or about dinner.  But after dinner, I snuggled with dh on the couch and felt warm and safe.  And finally, I decided to just go to bed and make the day end.  Sometimes, the easiest thing is to just throw in the towel and start over again the next day.

And today will be better. I have a fun play date with SS, Pixie and Blossom that I have been looking forward to for a looong time.

I also will hear back from the treatment place today to and will find out what level of care they accept me at.  And then the ball will really be rolling and I will soon be off for round two of treatment.

 

 

Why I Cried and Philly

Why I Cried

Yesterday, I showed the AT a piece of art I made while in treatment.  It was the day my lovely friend, Biebs was discharged.  As a matter-of-fact, she left about half an hour before that particular art therapy group.  I took her leaving really hard.  I really grew close to Biebs (and still keep in close contact), she is smart and insightful and caring and we spent many hours together in the late afternoons walking back and forth on the sidewalk in front of the facility.  When she came to say good-bye, I just totally melted.  She and I had started the same day, and I was the last of us left.  Everyone else I really cared about or who were from the core group I hung out with for the first month had already left.  And now, my amazing friend, Biebs was leaving too.  It was just too much.

By the time I got to art therapy, I had not pulled myself together.  It was so bad that even people who never offered hugs offered me hugs.  And there was nothing anyone could do to make me feel better.  I was just broken.

So, I went into art therapy and cried.  I cried for the whole session, even while doing my project.  The art therapist running the group put a box of Kleenex beside me and I just grabbed tissues and cried and worked on my project.  It was horrible. And then when we were done, the art therapist asked me to stay after the session and we talked a little bit and I cried some more.

It was just an afternoon of raw, unrestrained sorrow.

Yesterday, while I was showing the AT the piece of art from the day Biebs left, I felt that deep aching sadness again.  Of course, not as strongly as it was a while ago but it was enough to make tears spring to my eyes.  And for that sadness build and come right up to the surface.

And then, I realized something.  Or…I didn’t realize it, it was something I already knew, but I guess it was just really driven home for me.  One of the reasons I hate dealing with the childhood trauma stuff is that I can’t bear to feel all the feelings that come along with it.  All the feelings that I had as a child who had been sexually abused.  All the feelings that I refuse to feel and that has led to a life of stamping out and not allowing feelings. All those feelings are still there.  And if looking at the piece of art from the day Biebs left evoked the feelings from that day, looking at the me child-me will surely do the same.  And I can’t do it.  I can’t feel those feeling.  The overwhelm of pain and sorrow and all the rest of it is far beyond my ability to handle it.

I was able to articulate my concern about the art triggering the feelings of that day and how I am scared about dealing with child-me stuff triggering those feelings.  And I did it between tears and dissociation and terror (and I am impressed that I was even able to be articulate in all that emotional mess!).  The AT was very compassionate and reassuring. But I am still terrified of the mess of feelings I am going to have to deal with at some point.  I don’t know if I can do it.  However, it seems to be the key to everything….Or at least to lots of my dysfunctions.  But how do I deal with the agony of it without engaging any of my maladaptive coping mechanisms?  And how do I manage the feelings without restricting?  How do I stay safe?

Ugh.  Too much to think about!

Philly

This morning, I am off to Philadelphia.  The treatment facility is having their annual reunion and I am going.  I am really excited about it and looking forward to seeing friends and staff and feeling the safety bubble that is Renfrew.

Join us on Saturday, June 4, 2016, to reconnect with old friends, reinvigorate your recovery and discover new ways to seek support. We invite you to experience a new reunion schedule where you will have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and activities that will stimulate new thinking and further support your journey in recovery.

Look out Renfrew, here I come!

 

12963936_1590397867944881_6937435206480629289_n

I Am A Fucking Warrior!

I had a rocky start this morning…Made some poor choices in relation to my ED. How long has it been? 6 weeks since I got home? I thought this would get easier.

I messaged Glitter H today…spoke briefly of my ED issues this morning.  She had some good insight,

They say with recovery it NEVER gets easy, but things get easier

and the hard days get easier and less frequent

I hope you are right, Glitter H, cuz right now, it just feels hard and harder.

Then I kind of mindlessly wandered around the internet and found this:

13 Affirmations to Strengthen Your Recovery.  

1. My happiness does not depend on my weight or size, but on who I am and what I do.

2. Today I will abandon my destructive behaviors and start using behaviors that are good for me.

3. I am a survivor and I am a warrior. I don’t need my eating disorder to be good enough.

4. I am courageous and from today I will stand up for myself.

5. My life is just beginning, not ending.

6. I will not define myself by my past.

7. How I feel about myself has nothing to do with what I eat or don’t eat.

8. The process of recovery may be an epic one, but it’s worth it and I know it.

9. I deserve to be happy and I deserve to fulfill my dreams.

10. I deserve to treat my body with respect.

11. I will love and appreciate myself.

12. I don’t need to do excessive exercising to deserve food.

13. Everyday I become stronger and healthier.

RecoveryWarriors.com  (This a good ED recovery support site. I like it a lot.)

And then I was reminded of this:

wpid-fb_img_1437841066835

I feel sort of jumbled and scrambled and my brain is making connections between the past and the present and I am kind of overwhelmed and unsure.  But this much I know…I am going to heal from the sexual abuse. I am going to heal from my eating disorder.  And I am not going to do it perfectly. As a matter of fact, I am going to move forward and slide back.  I am going to re-write my inner dialogue and then I am going to listen to the old dialogue.  I am going to want to do it all alone and I desperately need help and support. It will be progress and setbacks. And joy and tears.  And I will love it and hate it.

But, I am  fucking warrior.  And today, I am not giving up.

12963936_1590397867944881_6937435206480629289_n

What if….?

What if……?

Okay…I woke up this morning with a thought.  Usually, when I wake up, my thoughts are kind of dreary especially depending on my dreams.  Even though last night I had some unpleasant sex themed dreams, I did not wake up as dreary as usual.  As a matter of fact I woke up thinking about a dress.  My dress.

Now, this probably flies in the face of yesterday’s post about Femininity. Sort of anyway.  I do not wear dresses. I especially don’t wear skirts.  I never feel pretty in dresses and/or worthy of wearing dresses.  And I never feel worth the expense of dresses. But…..Comic Con.  The local Comic Con is at the end of August and I have been pining over a dress for months, like since January.  And my want for this dress has been pretty constant and it is perfect for Comic Con. PERFECT!

10460268_hi

Torrid.com

So…I waited and waited and waited for the dress to go on sale and a week or so ago, it did.  So, I pounced. Ordering the dress was kind of an issue because I had no idea what size I would need.  And I had to break one of my ED Recovery Rules and measure myself to find out. (Weighing and measuring fuel ED urges.)  But I measured anyway and then I ordered two dresses. One that fits my measurements now and one a size smaller because <ahem> since restricting is never far from the surface, I wanted to make sure I had a dress that fit properly at Comic Con.

Yesterday, the dresses came.  I tried on both and the dress that fits my measurements fits PERFECTLY.  Like it was tailored for me.  And you know what?  I felt amazing in the dress.  I love how pretty it is, how nicely it fits and how it looks on my body.  And I even love the little bit of twirl to the skirt.  And as I looked in the mirror, I thought that my body looked pretty good in the dress.  Yup, I actually entertained a positive thought about my body. (And maybe I will be brave enough to post a picture of me in the dress someday!)

When I woke up this morning, I was still feeling a bit giddy about this amazing dress and how it looked on me and how pretty it is.  And then…(I tell you, I am on a roll)…I thought, “Well, what if it isn’t just the dress that is pretty? What if me being in the dress is part of what makes it pretty? What if I am pretty?”  This is kind of an earth shattering concept and one that at the moment, I don’t buy into.  But….then I was thinking about how I think my body is disgusting.  And then…Then I had the beginnings of what is perhaps an epiphany.

What if it’s not me that is disgusting and wrong?  What if the sexual abuse was disgusting and wrong, but when it happened I was to young to differentiate?

Yup.  That’s something to think about.

And then I thought about this and thought maybe I would post it again:

 

 

Femininity

I have a secret.  I love girly-girl things.

And girly-girl terrifies me.  Right down to the very traumatized preschool-me core.  And this is part of why I hate my body.  And hate being female.

I was thinking about this on Wednesday, when I was turning some pants into capris for summer wear and added a little bit of ribbon along the hems.  I am tickled with the little bits of ribbon, they are so pretty!  But at the same time, I was/am really aware that I added a smidge of femininity to my pants  which is really scary to me.  I can’t handle being female as it is just the un-safest thing for me.  And anything feminine just advertises the fact that I am female.

Plus of course, I think my body is disgusting.  So, even if I wanted to look feminine and pretty, it isn’t going to happen anyway.  So…why bother?

But it doesn’t prevent me from looking at girly things on websites and in catalogs and wishing for the me-that-I-will-never-be.  Which of course is a trap as it just makes me hate myself more.  It’s sort of like psychological self-harming.

Sometimes, I am kind of amazed at how much of my world has been framed by my sexual abuse.  It’s like everything became black and white.  Being female is bad. Being feminine is bad. Men are scary. The world is unsafe. My body is gross. I hate who I am. Etc, etc.  It’s like everything changed….Or at least my perception of everything.

I know that I am a fucking mess right now. And I am glad the AT is helping me pick up the pieces.  I am glad my PNP is prescribing me meds so that I can tolerate the therapy process. And I am glad that they and the rest of Team Heidi (including friends and family) are supporting me so that I don’t kill myself with my ED…or kill myself period.

But this is a crazy-hard journey and it is wearing me out. 😦

 

Sometimes It Catches Up With Me and The Appointment and Knitting

Sometimes It Catches Up With Me

I was sailing through triple deck appointment day yesterday…Things were going well and I seemed totally under control.  But when I was driving home after appointment #3, my fingers were hurting me.  One of my Heidi-habits is that when I get really stressed/anxious/nervous I pick at skin around my fingernails…Any little bit of hangnail becomes a victim of me picking at it (shredding it) until it is really sore and/or bleeding.  Sooo…I had peeled back hang nails on three fingers.  I know I did one during the Nutritionist appointment, and one during my PNP appointment…Not sure about the third. I realized that I was more stressed than I had thought.

When I got home from my appointments, I lasted about five minutes before I crashed.   Basically, I collected the eggs, let the dogs out, had a drink of water and then was overwhelmed from all the emotions from all my appointments.  I resorted to one of my more benign coping methods…I collected the dogs and went to bed and took a nap.  I haven’t taken a “stress nap” in quite a while.  But I needed to escape from the feelings.

The Appointments  

Art Therapy was really good.  He pushed me super hard and that was okay.  Sometimes, I need super hard pushing….Not necessarily every time I go, but sometimes it is good.  He did something pesky though….When talking about people from whom I got negative messages as a child, he used the term, “abuser.”  Using the term “abuser” acknowledges things that I would rather just ignore and not feel anything about.  That word makes it too real and I don’t like it.  I can’t go there….I feel too much like I will fall apart.

My PNP appointment was good.  She did something unexpected…She apologized for missing the significance of something I said to her years ago.  I appreciated her apology, but more than that, I appreciated her making the observation that led her to her conclusion and that she was in tune with what was happening and then was able to reflect on it.  To me, that is an example of a good provider.  We also discussed why I said in my blog that my PNP appointments are “easy.”  The word “easy” does not imply simplicity or lack of meaning to my appointments, but more that her appointments are the least painful of my other appointments.  Plus, I know I am 100% safe with her…That makes seeing her “easy.”

The Nutritionist appointment was NOT easy.  I don’t need to go into too much detail as you have heard it all before.  What I will say is that I am sooo sick of being told, “It is up to you” that I could scream.  The next person who says it to me may get an unfiltered-Heidi response.  It’s like my N (and my Primary Physician, she has said it too) thinks I can just magically snap out of it…that it is easy to quiet the eating disorder and lay it to rest.  Only…It doesn’t really work that way.  And then when she says “It is up to you.” I feel this intense pressure, like I have to change and do it immediately….but it’s just not happening and then I feel like a failure.  Ugh.

Knitting

I didn’t get done as much waiting room knitting as I expected to yesterday.  I ran two quick errands between appointments and both happened to be in stores with the sssllllooowwweeessttt checkout lines on the planet.  A run-in-and-out purchase should not include 15 minutes of standing in line. <eye roll>  And as much I appreciate a personable cashier, the cashier should not be having long conversations with patrons when there are five people waiting in line.  <double eye roll>  However, I did have a lovely chat in one of the stores with another lady standing in line to buy some yarn. We discussed chocolate (we were standing in front of a chocolate display), the yarn we were purchasing, dye lots, our projects, and she shared that just that morning, she became a great-grandmother for the second time.  (Yes…for someone who has social anxiety, I am pretty friendly when I feel safe.)  It did help pass the time.

Despite the errands, I got a chunk more done on the green kimono sweater.  I am loving the yarn and how the sweater is knitting up.  I showed my PNP how you fold it into a kimono and let her admire it. 🙂  I should be done with it by the end of today (the knitting part, then I have to seam it and do the finishing work on it.)

My Family Of Origin And Food

My Family of Origin and Food

I have been a bit reluctant to blog about this because I am aware that it will highlight some of the dysfunction in my family of origin…But I am guessing that I am sort of a walking symptom of that dysfunction and it isn’t really any surprise that my upbringing was sort of fucked up.  And since I tend to lay it all here on the blog…Why not add more?

I am not sure how old I was when I became aware of food as an issue in my family.  You know, you grow up a certain way and you think that it’s normal…You don’t even question it.  So…I don’t know when my awareness slid from “this is normal” to “this isn’t normal.”

My dad was a clearly dysfunctional eater.  He was/is extremely obese and had very odd eating behaviors.  He ate excessively and drank sugared soda like it was water.  That was kind of normal.  Odd things were like mixing brown sugar and water into a sort of slurry and drinking it.  Or drinking salad dressing.  Weird.  Not normal.  I easily understood that!  I don’t know what drove him to his eating habits…he wasn’t heavy when my parents married.  Clearly something changed dramatically for him.

My mom was also obese when I was growing up.  She wasn’t heavy either when they got married…Her eating habits and soda drinking  were excessive, but did not appear to be dysfunctional in the same way as my dad’s.  Except of course her dieting.  She tried all sorts of diets.  She lost weight here and there, but never kept it off.  Not until the early 2000’s when she had a gastric bypass.  She lost lots of weight then…And while the amount she ate changed, what she ate never actually changed.  She kept eating the same old crap.  Subsequently, she has very slowly, but steadily gained weight.  And so she talks about dieting again.

Ever since I remember, my mom has tried to micromanage my dad’s eating habits and weight. She still does it now. It is kind of ironic as she both micromanages him and enables him…She buys crap for food, which they both eat…But then she tries to keep my dad from eating too much of it.  We will have dinner at their house and she will scold him about what he is eating or about him having a second or third helping…She will even slap his hand away as he will pick at the food on the table non-stop.  As soon as her back is turned, my dad will wolf down food…Which my mom will then notice and chide him for.  It is awkward to watch.  It also does no good…She has only driven him to be worse and it has become a sort of game/power struggle to them.

I remember when I was young that my mom even wanted to chain and padlock the fridge shut to keep my dad from eating.  I can’t remember if she actually ever did it, but I feel like when I saw my dad drinking the brown sugar it was because he didn’t have access to other food.  But my memory is hazy on some details.

Now…that was the tone and dynamic in my home.  But there were other really bizarre things too.  There were “special foods” that children were not allowed to eat, basically, only my mom was allowed to eat them.  This ranged from junk food like Pepperidge Farms cookies to actual healthy foods like fresh fruit.

One of the “special foods” injustices that I clearly remember was foods my mom would eat in the car.  My mom would stop at farm stands and get fresh peas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries….Yummy, delicious, drool-worthy items.  My sister and I would sit in the back seat and beg and beg for some…If she bought a pint of raspberries, we might get 2 or 3 berries each (to shut us up) and my dad would get a handful and my mom would eat the rest. It was never fair.  And my sister and I knew it.  Talk about feeling like a second-class citizen.  We weren’t worthy of having good food.  And how hard would it have been to buy two pints of berries, one for the front seat, one for the back seat? But I don’t think my mom did a good job of looking past her own wants.  (Clearly!)

And as a slight topic shift….The day I went strawberry picking with SS (The event that earned her the Social Strawberries pseudonym) she had Pixie with her.  When we went to the farm stand to pay and SS and Pixie spotted some raspberries and bought them.  And then SS did the most “normal” thing.  Of course, Pixie wanted some raspberries and wanted them right away, so SS found a little container, poured some raspberries in it and gave them to Pixie to eat.  I admit, I felt a little pang when I watched it.  That interaction highlighted how normal people would do it.  I felt a little…I don’t know…That pang was sort of a wistfulness for what I didn’t have.  If I recall correctly, SS even offered me some raspberries…Normal behavior again and even courteous!

K…back to my family dysfunction….So my mom’s dieting…Mostly, I ignored it.  But when I was about 14, I got sucked into it.  My parents decided to go to Nutrisystem.  It’s a diet place that supplies food for you to eat and weekly “support” meetings.  I got dragged along.  I don’t remember if I wanted to go or not…Or if I had a choice or not…But I feel like maybe it wasn’t really my choice.

The program actually had teen meetings for the “support” meetings…But my parents were never big on accommodating/putting effort into meeting my needs (my sister was not part of this diet…I don’t remember why not).  So…I had to go to the adult meeting with my parents.  Not only was it totally awkward and I was totally out of place and not age-appropriately supported, but….I had to be at the same meeting as my parents. (Not a good set-up for being honest and processing eating issues.) I basically remember about three things from that diet. 1. The food was crap (and it frightens me now to think of what kind of fake sugar and processed crap were in those little foil pouches of “food”), 2. I was ashamed, ashamed, ashamed at being part of the “support” meetings and with all those grown-ups, and 3. I knew my dad was going to fail at the diet because he may have changed what he ate, but he didn’t change his eating habits…So, instead of eating a whole bag of chips, he ate a whole bag of baby carrots…Meaning that when the diet fizzled out, he went right back to eating his whole bag of chips.

Did I lose weight? Probably, but it wasn’t enough of an impact that I actually remember it. Did I learn anything? Just more body shame/self-loathing.  Oh yes…and I learned that I was a failure at self-control and dieting. And…by not being accommodated for the teen meetings, it also reinforced that I wasn’t important.

As a kid who had developed emotional eating as a survival skill, basically I spent most of my middle school and high school years feeling guilty and ashamed for what I ate.  Heck…I didn’t even need to produce the shame myself as my parents did a good job of shaming me for it.   Food/eating and being fat was yet another example of how I was not good enough, didn’t do anything right and….Failed at “Pretty is as Pretty does.”

Do you think I could have ever been good enough for my mom? That I could ever be the child she wanted me to be?  The bar was so high.  And every time I tried to reach it…I just got kicked down. I was never ever good enough. Never.

Is it a wonder that I think that my parents hate me?

It’s good thing I was plucky kind of girl…because when I write all these history posts and actually see the stuff I grew up with…I just have no idea how I made it out of my family of origin as an actual functional human being.  But I can clearly see how I ended up with my self-esteem issues and perfectionism and self-loathing and eating dysfunctions, etc.

And then I always think…All of this was on top of the sexual abuse that I experienced when I was little girl.  How did I even survive at all?

Knitting

Since it was so cold yesterday (today is balmy in comparison at -10) and since I am processing the history blog posts, I spent a lot of time knitting.  I got a couple rows done on the striped square.  But…I got tons done on the kimono sweater. I have to finish the second sleeve and then knit the second front panel and the knitting will be done!

0215160650

0215160651