Six Feet Under

Hold me now
I’m six feet from the edge and I’m thinking
Maybe six feet ain’t so far down

Have you ever been so low that, as you drive over a bridge, you envision yourself driving off? I have.

I told the boy. The one that I’m interested in. And guess what. He isn’t. He is dating someone else. Who he likes.

“He’s just a boy.” My friends say. “You’ll find someone.”

He’s not just a boy, though. He is representative of every single person in my life who has ever rejected me. He appears to want to stay my friend, but honestly, that doesn’t matter to me right now. It hurts too much.

I have never, in my adult or teenage life, felt attractive. Perhaps for one fleeting instant I felt pretty in my bridesmaid’s dress for my friend’s wedding, but that went away as soon as I looked at my legs, or my arms, or when people started taking pictures, or when I passed a mirror.

“When you find the one, he won’t care what you look like.” My friends say. “It’s about personality.”

It is. I agree. But there has to be an attraction there too. That’s the way we’re built. And I cannot believe or accept that anyone could ever find me attractive. The girl he likes? She is skinny and pretty. She seems nice, which makes it worse because then I can’t listen to the green monster inside me and hate her guts.

I am so tired of being heartbroken. I am so tired of feeling not good enough. I am so tired of feeling like I am unimportant. I am so tired of being the fat friend with the good personality. I am so tired of being unhappy. I am so tired of feeling worthless and that I am undeserving of love and affection. The older I get, the more difficult it is to believe that a loving relationship is in my future. And it fucking sucks, frankly.

So, those are the moments when you find yourself standing at a crosswalk on a busy road, wondering if maybe you should jump in front of the oncoming semi.

“It’s always darkest before the dawn…”

The above is from “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine, although it’s an idiom that has been around for a very long time, well before Florence.

My anxiety has been slowly getting better, but it’s an up and down process. Most mornings I no longer wake up with a sense of dread, but these days it seems that my anxiety has been replaced with sadness or, some days, numbness.

All I want, at this point in my life, is a baby. I have baby fever, constantly, because I am terrified that I will never have one. All of my romantic pursuits thus far have either fizzled or imploded in spectacular fashion and it rather dampens one’s spirit. Yes, there is still the guy that I currently have romantic feelings for, but his behaviour thus far suggests that he doesn’t have any romantic interest in me. I don’t know, since I haven’t asked him, but I’m frankly tired of having my heart broken, so the idea of pouring my heart out to yet another person who doesn’t love me back is almost as unappealing as plucking out all of my eyelashes, one by one.

I deleted my Facebook a few weeks ago. I tell most people that it’s because it’s a time-waster (which it is) but mostly it’s because I cannot stand that all of my friends are getting engaged or married or having babies. Three are pregnant as we speak, one just had a baby girl last week, six had babies last year, three got married last year, five are going to be married in 2017 and two will be married in 2018 (so far!).

I feel like I’m not a real adult. I spent most of my twenties either travelling or doing temp jobs, meaning that my resume is full of gaps. I don’t own a car, I don’t own property, I’m not in a relationship (nor have I ever been in one), I live with my parents, and the pitiful sum of money in my bank account is set aside for tuition for next year. I’m hoping to get scholarships for this next year, but if I don’t, then I will graduate with approximately $0 to my name at 29 years old.

I look at the people that I grew up with and it seems like everyone else has their lives at least somewhat together. Most are in careers by this point, not jobs. Most are married, or at least dating. Many have children. Most own their own property. All of them have lived away from home at least once, for a decent amount of time. I don’t have any of those things, not to mention that I am a) overweight and in a perpetual cycle of self-loathing because of it and b) am a disorganized mess, but every time I look at all of the stuff I have to do, I get anxious and overwhelmed.

I feel like I’ve failed. That I have slipped up somewhere along the way, and that my punishment is that I won’t be able to live a normal life, to get married, and to have kids. I thought, when I was younger, that I wanted to be a nomad and live in exotic places, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that really, all I want is the house in the suburbs (or the country, even better) with a picket fence and a big yard and four children and dogs and cats and maybe some chickens. I don’t want to be a housewife, per se, as I do very much love the career that I am pursuing, but if I had to pick between my career or children, I would pick the kids every single time.

I am afraid of the future, that I won’t get what I so desperately want. I think that’s the root of my anxiety, to be truthful, or at least it plays a huge factor: I am terrified of being alone. The thought of living on my own is appealing, but it also brings about crippling anxiety. The idea of never getting married and never having children is one that makes me cry almost every time it crosses my mind and these days, it seems like I can’t escape it.

I’m seeing my therapist on Thursday, so I’m hoping he can help me work through this, but right now the world feels really dark and lonely. Here’s to waiting for the dawn.

 

When life gives you lemons…

I have been doing pretty well lately, I think. My anxiety is still a huge problem, but I have a great therapist and I am slowly learning how to better handle my emotions, mostly by recognizing when I’m having a panic attack and calming myself down.

Healing, however, is not linear…and today was shit.

So, there is this guy…

The last time there was a guy, he broke my heart into a million pieces. We spent a ton of time together, just the two of us, and we talked every single day about everything, leading me to believe he felt the same way. He did not. And he knew it. He misled me for months until I finally got the courage to tell him I wanted a relationship, at which point he told me that oh, by the way, he knew the whole time that I was in love with him and he liked spending time with me because I am “awesome” but that he doesn’t want a girlfriend. Ever.

So, needless to say, I am very hesitant when it comes to dealing with men. It took me months to get over THAT BOY and I don’t care to ever repeat that situation.

Fast forward 10 months and I meet this guy at school when we are paired up by our professor. I wasn’t attracted to him at first, to be honest. He is an attractive guy, certainly, but there wasn’t really anything…until we started talking. And then I figured out how much we have in common. So I thought, hurray, I found someone new and I wasn’t even looking.

Today, however, I’m not so sure. I am beginning to be concerned that he has a drinking problem. More than once he has failed to show up for get-togethers that he assured me he was attending, with no explanation, because he was drunk. These were group plans, mind you, so it’s not like he left me sitting alone in a restaurant. But still, it rubs me the wrong way and I find it deeply concerning that alcohol is a reoccurring theme.

Yeah, okay, we’re in college. And yeah, okay, he likes to have fun with his buddies. But something doesn’t feel right and my heart is breaking because he isn’t the person that I thought he was…and because I am very concerned for him right now.

Has anyone ever dealt with someone with an addiction? I feel like I don’t know him well enough to ask him about it, and I don’t want to say anything until I have more information, but I am alarmed and very sad, frankly.

So…cue the anxiety. Cue the panic attacks. Cue the idea that he doesn’t really like me and that he is getting drunk because the thought of spending time with me while sober is just that awful. I know it’s probably not about me, but when someone that I really care about doesn’t show up for plans we made, I immediately assume it’s because of me. That I’ve done something, that they secretly hate me. I know it’s ridiculous. I know it’s irrational. But self-loathing runs deep.

Slow and Steady…

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!

King Lear, Act II, Scene iv.

I love Shakespeare. I know many people don’t, but I love it…watching it, that is. Shakespeare is meant to be watched, not read, that’s the huge mistake that the education system has made. But I digress.

I did a Shakespeare acting class a few years ago and one of my classmates was given King Lear’s monologue from that scene to perform. I could not quote the rest of the speech, nor anyone else’s, for that matter, but I remember that one line because it speaks of that which eludes me…patience.

I have a really hard time waiting for things. “I want what I want when I want it” is something that I find myself saying a lot. I think that’s probably the reason why I am such a control freak perfectionist, I want things done exactly how I want, exactly when I want, and I dislike waiting for things that I want. Weight loss is a biggie.

I have spent many, many years trying to lose weight. Almost 20, in fact. I would bet that I have tried to lose weight hundreds of times over the years, in many ways: the cabbage soup diet, the all-fruit diet, Atkins, Whole 30, no sugar, no carbs, no gluten…so many. In high school, I alternated between killing myself on the treadmill every night to going without food almost all day to try and lose weight. Did some of them work? Sure. For a short period of time. But none of those lasted, nor did the results. None. Why? Because I wanted a quick fix. I wanted to lose 20 lbs a week. I wanted to “be skinny” by such and such date and so I didn’t want to wait, I wanted results NOW. Had I been patient, had I worked out consistently (and at a reasonable pace) and slowly changed my eating habits, maybe I wouldn’t be here now. But I am, so I’m trying to learn patience.

Flexibility is another, as I am a perfectionist. I never expect perfection from others. In fact, I would say that I am very forgiving of others’ mistakes. But mine? No way. So sometimes I give up. I can’t do it perfectly, so I just stop doing it. I can’t tell you how many times I have vowed to exercise for 30 days in a row or 6 days a week for 60 minutes at a time and then I failed…so I got frustrated and quit. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the reality that I have to deal with.

The biggest thing that I have learned along this journey is not about calories or exercise or weight loss or health. It is to be kind, to be patient and to be forgiving…of myself. I am trying to work out at least 5 days a week and to make the best possible food choices I can, I really am. But am I going to beat myself up if I skip a workout? No. Am I going to starve myself the next day if I “slip up” and eat a burger or a cupcake? No. Because this has to be a realistic change. There is no way that I will be able to go the rest of my life without drinking a Coke or having cake and ice cream or eating french fries and a cheeseburger. No way. There is also no way that I will be able to work out 7 days a week for 60 minutes for every single week of my life. I certainly want to live a healthy lifestyle, but I also want to have children. If I workout 7 days a week for 2 hours a day, no doubt I will lose weight, but can I do that with a baby? No. Could I do that if I decided to go to graduate school? Probably not. Maybe some people could do that forever, but not me.

I have had a lot of problems with anxiety lately, so I’ve started seeing a therapist to help me work out my problems. One of the issues that has come up is my perfectionism. I hold myself to an unattainable standard, meaning that I am constantly disappointing myself, leading to depression and even more anxiety. I have started to learn how to take care of myself when this happens: reading a good book, watching a funny tv show, snuggling with my cat…all that stuff. Taking care of myself also means that I forgive myself when I “slip up”: miss a workout, have a “treat” more often than I should…all that. It’s hard. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Loving yourself, treating yourself with kindness…it sounds easy.  But for me, it’s really not. I’ve spent so many years hating myself, being mean to myself and holding myself to unrealistic expectations that it’s become a habit…and habits are hard to break.

So, I say again…”You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!”

One step forward, two steps back…

So…I have come to the realization that I do not have to be skinny to be happy, that I do not have to be 130 lbs to be beautiful, and that no number in the world should dictate my happiness.

Easier said than done, however.

I suffer from chronic, debilitating anxiety. Usually, it’s enough under the surface that I can handle it by breathing or talking to a friend or even just having a nap. Sometimes, though, it gets so bad that I feel like I can’t breathe. I can’t stop crying, I hyperventilate, my stomach is full of knots and I feel like I will either lose my mind completely or die.

Most of the time, to an outsider, it’s irrational. Lots of people get nervous or anxious about everyday things, but I bet that most people don’t understand what it’s like to let your imagination truly run away with you…it’s terrifying. Horrible images play in your mind, negative thoughts run through continuously, and you feel like you will never be happy again. You almost want to die just to make it stop…I’ve had those thoughts before. I’ve never attempted suicide or even made a plan…but when my anxiety is bad, there are times when I think “If only I were dead, then this would all be over”.

It’s an awful, awful place to be. Exercise helps anxiety, in fact, it’s one of the most effective treatments for it. However…it’s really REALLY difficult to motivate yourself to exercise when you feel like utter garbage. When you’re lying there wishing you were dead, usually the thought of putting on gym clothes and sweating on a treadmill ranks next to strutting naked down the busiest street in your city.

I’ve been exercising relatively regularly these days. Not as much as I want, but usually at least twice a week. I also got a FitBit for Christmas and so I’ve been trying to get in 10,000 steps every day, but it’s difficult sometimes.

So…we’ll see. I’m searching for a new therapist at the moment, as I don’t think that mine is working out very well. We just talk…which is okay, but I can do that with my friends. I need more.

Does anyone else deal with anxiety and depression? Have any of you ever tried CBT or DBT or meditation? I’m hoping to find something that will help me…

Progress Update – as of March 12, 2016

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 312.1 lbs
Loss: 2.5 lbs
Current BMI: 48.9
Loss: 0.4

Yay, we’re down again! Truthfully, I think this is likely because I was sick and not through much effort on my part, but hey, it’s all good.

I have some VERY exciting news to share! I recently went for my annual physical (although it’s not quite annual since I haven’t had one since 2014) and my doctor expressed concern that my weight had gone up since she last saw me. Since I have a chronic disease called poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS for short) and it can become worse with weight gain (as well as cause weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight, hurray!) she wanted to address it.

She put me on a program through my healthcare system that pairs me up with a nurse who specializes in weight management. When I met with this nurse, Julie, the next week, she explained it to me. Basically, it’s a program that’s designed to be completed in six months. In those six months, I will attend sessions about things like emotional eating, nutrition, managing cravings, how to cut down on sugar etc. AND I will also be assigned a trainer who I will meet with once a week for 12 weeks to develop an exercise regimen. And, best of all, it’s FREE. (Thank you Canadian healthcare!)

I’m so excited. I had been toying with the idea of getting a trainer for a long time but I balked at the cost. I had no idea this program even existed, so the idea that I can get such incredible, professional support and help for free is just amazing to me.

I feel like I’ve fallen off track, spiritually. I was bogged down by anxiety and depression and I worried too much about what other people think about me, I invested so many time and energy into their emotions and feelings that I left nothing for myself, so I was unhappy and very drained. But I’ve decided, it’s time for ME. I’m young, I have no dependents, so now is the best time for me to reconnect with myself and focus on my own needs. I have enrolled in yoga, meditation and knitting classes, I’m planning a trip to Asia in May and now I’m starting this new weight loss program and I am unbelievably excited! 2016 is shaping up to be pretty wonderful!

Cheers, happy losing!

Progress Update – as of March 5, 2016

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 314.6 lbs
Gain: 2.0 lbs
Current BMI: 49.3
Gain: 0.3
Bust: 53 inches
Gain: 1.0 inches
Waist: 56 inches
Loss: 1.5 inches
Hips: 56 inches

I feel like I’m living on a roller coaster, emotionally and physically. I’m up in pounds, but down in measurements, apparently. Although I generally take the measurements with a grain of salt, since I can never be sure if I’m measuring in the exact same spot every single time.

I am feeling really depressed and I can’t seem to snap out of it. I think I know why, though. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Here we go…

When I was 20, I was sexually assaulted at a party by someone that I knew, someone that I thought was my friend. It wasn’t rape, but there are other things you can do to someone. I was so shocked and scared that I didn’t know what to do, so as soon as he was done I just left the party and got in my car and cried.

I never told anyone. Not for 6 whole years. I pretended like it never happened. I blamed myself. “I shouldn’t have been alone with him. I should have been more clear that I didn’t want it. I should…I should…I should…” So many excuses. I made excuses for him: he didn’t know what he was doing, he must have thought I wanted it, he was really drunk. But it was not my fault. I did nothing to make him believe that I wanted his sexual attention and being drunk is not an excuse to take advantage of someone, especially when that person is clearly trying to get away from you.

I saw him, for the first time in 6 years, last August. I had succeeded in putting it out of my brain, for the most part (although my relationships with men have always been awful, which should have been a clue) but when I saw him, it all came flooding back. I started having nightmares and crying all the time and I think now I’m realizing that most of my weirdness has to do with the fact that I’ve never properly dealt with it.

Being assaulted made my body my enemy. I was overweight before this happened, but between then and now, I have gained 100 lbs. I have never let a man touch me since then. And I grew to hate my body, which is so incredibly sad.

This whole process has made me realize why I am the way I am and how I could get to this weight. I take responsibility for where I am, physically, I know that nobody forced me to eat the way I have, but there is a reason why I did and I think that I probably cannot get into a healthy mindset permanently until I deal with underlying issues.

The moral of the story? Talk about stuff. Don’t hold things inside. Get help.

Cheers, happy losing!