Saturday, March 19, 2005

The search for answers

[Note that I've disabled comments for this post. I don't know how long for, but right now I need to be able to write without worrying what anyone thinks. Not so long ago, no one read what I wrote and, while I love the interaction with all of you, I'm afraid that it's made me loathe to face some hard truths because I was afraid of your reactions. At this point, I'm in survival mode, so it has to just be about me again.]

Saturday night. The post that's been at the edge of my consciousness for weeks. The thoughts, jumbled and incomprehensible until now, suddenly coming together in a terrifyingly clear picture. My confidence, so green, still young and tender, shaken and battered. My heart racing and full of fear. Suddenly, it's as though I'm facing the perfect storm for a compulsive/emotional overeater. More food. More food. More food until it stops. Until this fear, this aching feeling of not being enough, stops. But, of course, it won't stop. Nothing will make it stop, certainly not a binge, not wishing that I felt better, and not writing sham posts about a cheery outlook that just doesn't exist anymore.

How long have I been feeling this way? Tough to know, really, because my true understanding of how bad it is only became clear for me this afternoon on the way home from Junior League training. It was only when the realization hit that I've been as good as bingeing for days now and been on the verge for weeks that it all made sense. When I asked myself what's going on, the answer was clear: I'm scared.

I'm scared that it's all not enough. That losing weight, being healthy, getting fit, my work as a CASA, going back to school, my newfound (and, obviously, easily-shaken) confidence, none of it will ever be enough. Would anything be enough? Is there enough of anything in the world to fill the huge, gaping hole inside me? I know there's not enough food. (Been there, tried that.) I don't believe there's enough love, either, although any man that got involved with me would surely soon tire of my constant need for reassurance that he really loved me.

I don't know if there's something inside my brain - some on/off switch or secret compartment - that allows these thoughts to go away temporarily, because I had been feeling really good for a while there. Happy, with myself and my life. (No, it's not all been a lie.) I don't know if it was some event or a certain set of circumstances or just the right amount of time or what, but something unleashed this terrible beast and I'm flipping out thinking that I will never get it all shoved back in the box where it belongs.

Hang on. Hang on just a little second. I think I've got a lead on the source. Things started going wonky around the same time I bought my new car. The monetary commitment, especially the stress around all of the things I'm going to have to give up in order to afford it, started pushing my emotional eating buttons. I am someone who absolutely must be in control (or have the illusion that I am) and my financial life is most certainly not in my control at all. I felt pushed into buying the new car - my old one just couldn't go on much longer, if I wanted to get anything for it I had to sell it quickly, it wasn't going to pass smog inspection (which was due the day after I sold it) - and it left me feeling helpless and scared that I'd bitten off too much. From looking at my old patterns of overeating, I know that the helplessness was a huge trigger for me, so this all starts making a lot more sense.

What to do, what to do? I'm taking steps already to ensure that I'll be OK for a few months at least without any sacrifices and that buys me some time to figure the rest of it out. Surely it's a good sign that I've figured this out (I think), right? I can't lose everything I've worked so hard for. I've come too far this time, I've seen The Promised Land, I can see it still, just beyond the horizon. I know it's there and I know I'm meant to get there. Perhaps I haven't got it all figured out, but I've gained a lot of tools since the last time I was here and, if nothing else, I want it more this time. I just need to remember why and how I managed to get here.

I can do this. I know I can. One foot in front of the other. One meal at a time.