Tag Archives: emotions

I don’t have an eating disorder?

Depositphotos_1583346_XL.jpg220. That is what the scale says. Either I need a new scale or I need new clothes. This time two years ago I was probably about 170. Even one year ago I was probably 190. So much regret. By September, 2014, I was 140. Most was loose skin, but I was happy to fit my hands, fingertips nearly touching, around my waist. I could see my backbone, I had chiseled cheekbones and a jaw line. I had thin wrists and you could see the tendons in my hands when I flexed them. I almost had a fly gap if it weren’t for the additional fatty tissue! For the first time since I was a teenager, I could buy clothes that said size 4 or 6 and size small. It was so much easier to find clothes to wear and I had a fun time doing it. (Especially at Savers and their awesome Alfred Dunner polyester clothes.) Now I’m back to where I was in high school, still wanting to dream my fat away. Wondering why I am this way and knowing ultimately it is my fault. It’s so easy to pass blame when you’re feeling shitty and eating frosting out of the container.

I can’t say that I had an eating disorder in 2014. So many things happened so quickly. I ate more than I ever had, it just happened to be all fruits and vegetables. I watched my calorie intake like a hawk and I was 100% more active than I am now. I was also on about six different antidepressant medications, was slowly suffering from serotonin syndrome, and ultimately lost my job because of a breakdown.

It’s taken me this long to write about this, but maybe I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, it was my own doing. Or at least most of it. It started when I downloaded the app Fitness Pal and would log every calorie possible. I was so meticulous and had my meals planned. On top of that, I was taking a colon cleanse pill every day. I didn’t work out excessively, the weight would just fall off. On the weekends I would visit my sister in Norwell and work outside in the garden and in the chicken coop. Underneath the heat of the sun one day, I nearly had heatstroke. On the days spent up north with the chickens, I allowed myself an iced chai latte. Full of sugar, I knew I would be burning off the calories by working outside, if not by sweating it out during the hot summer.

careerBut by the end of the summer, the fall semester at my school started and I signed up for a class.  I had a very difficult time concentrating at work and at school. By September I was nearly 135 lbs. My coworkers who at first complimented me on my weight loss, now looked at me with great concern. My skin was yellow and I started looking gaunt in my face. I had many breakdowns at work and ultimately landed myself in the hospital with an unintentional overdose of prescription medications.

A year later when I requested my medical records from McLean Hospital, they stated my physical appearance as underweight and anorexic. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, in my opinion. But, then again, it was an outsider’s observation. The patient is always biased against his/her shortcomings.

It is now May 19, 2016. I weigh in at 220 lbs. I am miserable, depressed, anxious, tired, weak, and full of frustration. I am not motivated at all. I am on less than half of the medications prescribed two years ago, and I’m still working on tapering off of them. I’m sitting in a Starbucks while someone, who I can only guess is a manager or district manager, interviews a potential employee for the new Starbucks opening closer to where I live. I have been saying for the last year that I would love to go back to working for Starbucks, but my illness is so unpredictable, how could I? No one would hire someone if they knew ahead of time that there would be inconsistencies in their work, despite the strength of their job ability.*

School is over for the spring semester. My new “job” will be to write a memoir over summer break. Despite the difficult times of having no motivation, I hope to have a rough draft by September. A very rough draft. Fighting my own demons and writing how I speak will be my biggest obstacles. So I will write in public in order to drown out my own negative thoughts and discouragements. Although I can hear someone whistling…

My side note of this entry is: There is a man sitting next to me. He is either picking at his nose and flicking it, or biting his nails and or cuticles and flicking that. I have such an urge to look over to quell my curiosity, but there is no way without being so blindingly obvious. And so I must take another clonazepam to help me through.

~Miss Misery

*There will be a follow-up post discussing the stigma against mental illness.


Sadness Inside & Out

Monday night, David and I went to the drive-in theater to see the new Pixar movie, Inside Out. I laughed, I cried, I went emotionally numb, I was scared of my own feelings and then ultimately experienced an overwhelming sense of revelation to the inner workings of my mind.

SADNESS_Fullbody_RenderI was pleasantly surprised about the concept developed for the plot of this movie. The story follows the emotional roller coaster that is the prepubescent life of a young girl named Riley dealing with the struggles of moving to a new city, starting a new school, and leaving her friends and past life behind. The cast of characters that are the makeup of the young girl’s emotional mainframe each represent a primary emotion: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and of course, Sadness. Within the emotional universe where they live are lands of long-term memory banks, a train of thought, the subconscious, and Personality Islands including: Honesty Island, Friendship Island, and Goofy Island. There are valuable core memories and memories that fade and are subject to the clean-up crew who collect and dispose of useless, old memories (albeit leaving a few bizarre memories that most of us recall at the most unrelated moments–memories of information that would be useful to a pop-culture wiz who probably had been subjected to years of subliminal messaging). All of these memories are literally colored with their corresponding emotion that was present at the time: anger-red, disgust-green, fear-purple, joy-yellow, and sadness-blue.

Without revealing too much about the premise of the movie, there is a breakdown in the balance of the emotions; Joy and Sadness become a focus and get lost within Riley’s mind. Each consecutive emotional disruption corresponds with what life event Riley is experiencing; although instead of her actions controlling her emotional mind, the characters of her emotional mind quickly react and decide what she should be feeling at the time and how she should respond to certain stimuli. The entire movie is a metaphor in-plain-sight, allowing the viewer to think about their own emotional mind while enjoying a frolicking animated Pixar movie. I couldn’t help but wonder throughout the movie if the writers were themselves psychologists, and whether they based the movie off of the understandings of Mindfulness that is so prevalent throughout Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.

The world needs more movies like this one, especially during times of great hardship. There are more tragic, sometimes preventable, causes to breakdowns in our family systems today and more impeding situations such as technology that stunt the healthy growth of a nurturing, balanced family. An emotionally needy child that goes unnoticed may develop skewed perceptions of future relationships and of his/her own self. Although Riley grew up in a balanced environment, she is still controlled by her many emotions that react to the situational changes in her life. This means that even though someone may have had an emotionally nurturing childhood, he/she can still be subject to irrational automatic thoughts. This movie encourages the viewer to reflect upon his/her emotional reactions and how his/her automatic thoughts may not be the rational ones.

My current research study is partially comprised of the teachings of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)–where you focus on your automatic thoughts and determine whether they are rational or not, whether there is factual evidence to support them or whether they stem from an overactive emotion. The Emotions in the movie react without rationalizing the situation. This causes a chain of events in the breakdown of the little girl’s emotional state until she eventually becomes numb.

We’ve all been there before. We’ve all been controlled by Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, and of course, Sadness. Some people experience one emotion stronger than the others and this is what the movie teaches us: All of our emotions are Sadness_Julieimportant, and there is a time when focusing on one emotion over another is appropriate, but not to allow this to happen all the time.

Now when I find myself falling down into that deep melancholic hole, I try to picture(when I’m aware of it) my emotions as these animated Pixar characters, and which one is taking total control. It helps me to personify intangible feelings. If I can put a face to a name, I can work to organize and understand my thoughts and thought processes. So for now, I’ve put Sadness on my desktop, my cell phone, and on my shoulder. The artists at Pixar have created a tiny character that illustrates my depression almost perfectly–even down to my blue hair.