Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Healthy Dose of Honesty - Part 2

In my previous post I wrote about my struggle with what I call undiagnosed depression and a food addiction. I've been learning a lot as I go through this and I've turned to my Savior for His help because I've come to realize in a way I've not previously known that I am truly nothing and can do nothing without His help. I've been listening to talks from various church leaders, uplifting music, and reading inspiring messages.

Today I "happened" (can we say "tender mercy"?) to see this post on Facebook. I'm glad I found this for a couple of reasons.

1. It helped me see that I'm truly not alone. Not only is Jesus with me on this, but there is at LEAST one other person who, though the reasons for our addictions are not the same, we share a very similar experience.
2. It helped me to share what I wrote the day following a terrible night. I had initially written it just to keep for myself to look back on and remember and learn from. But I needed to share it; it's not always about keeping up appearances. Sometimes I need to be REALLY real.
3. It helped me to feel that I can make this. I'm not perfect, far from it in fact. Actually, I found her story as I had just finished shoveling some candy in my mouth. Talk about a guilt trip, but it wasn't the bad kind where I berated myself. It was the kind where I openly realize that I made a choice, that I can correct it, I'm still loved, and though I slipped (again) I'm still trying.

Thank you Becca A., wherever you are, for taking the time to share your experience!

A Healthy Dose of Honesty

If you’ve ever tried to overcome an addiction or a bad habit of any kind, you know that it can be a joyful experience in terms of progress, but it can also be very challenging and frustrating as you slip back into old ways and feel a sense of failure. I’ve been going through my own hard time recently. Below is what I wrote the day after one of these hard times.  

It's 6:15 AM, my alarm goes off and I am instantly dreading the day. I try to think of the good things that are worth getting out of bed for, but I feel no motivation. I put on some peppy, happy music in hopes that it will help lift my spirits. It works, I crawl out of bed and wander to my closet/bathroom/vanity (it’s all the same area anyway). I look at myself in the mirror and try to smile, but all I see is pain in my eyes. It takes about 10 minutes for me to feel truly motivated to get ready for the day. By now I’ve started listening to the Book of Mormon and I’m feeling peace and love and all of a sudden feel that I might actually make it through this day. I notice that I haven’t made my bed and do that before I remember that I need to say my morning prayers (that is actually planned; I find that if my bed is made I leave my room without thinking about praying). I kneel to pray, give thanks for my blessings and for the opportunities I have, and ask for help to just be kind to others and to myself, to feel peace and for help to fight the internal struggles I’m facing.

I make it through a great day. I smile and feel good for most of the day, though if I’m not careful my internal feelings begin to surface and threaten to destroy my peace. I fight harder to continue smiling and not let anyone know what I’m feeling. I’m determined to keep my mood and attitude level, knowing that if I falter too far to one side or the other I will not only lose this peace I’ve fought to keep, but also feel that I’ll turn one more time to food for consolation. 

Everyone sees the outside smile, hears the answer that “it’s a great day”, and sees the results from over a year of watching my weight and working out. Inside is a constant struggle to maintain that appearance. What people don’t know is that I fight what I call undiagnosed depression. I’m afraid to talk to a doctor because I’m afraid of being prescribed meds when I feel I should be able to handle this. I feel the darkness closing around me and I know I have to fight that much harder. 

The other night I felt this coming on again. I was fighting and felt I had really won. But in a moment I found myself feeling frantic as I downed a large-ish bag of M&M’s. The whole time I told myself to put them down, to walk away, to go work out, to call mom, to do ANYTHING that would keep me from doing what I knew I would regret. But now it was too late. I stood in my kitchen holding an empty container, instantly hating myself for giving in when I know I can be (and have been) strong and resist these ridiculous temptations. 

I’m supposed to walk 5 miles that night, but all I can bring myself to do is sit in my chair and cry. I cry because I’ve given in to my weakness, I’ve ignored my conscience, I’ve hurt my body and not done what I know I should have done. I cry because I want to be better but feel so lost. I cry because I’ve done better in the past and feel like I’m failing consistently now, that I’ve lost what I worked so hard to gain.

It’s in this moment that I feel like I need to read or listen to something. I open the addiction recovery plan found in the LDS Library. I’ve looked at the first chapter before when I felt that I food was becoming my addiction but I hadn’t done anything more with it. I begin reading the text, reading the scriptures it points to, and answering the questions posed. I begin to feel the light of hope, to feel the Spirit telling me that I’m okay, that I can begin again, and that this moment and these feelings don’t have to be permanent. 

I watch the video entitled “Because of Him” and I cry again, this time because I KNOW that I’m not doomed, destined to feel a failure, or alone. I KNOW that because of Him I can repent and change, and apply the atonement of Christ to change my heart and help me overcome these things I struggle with.
Then I watch a Mormon Message entitled “The Savior Wants to Forgive” and then listen to a program called “Conversations” (both found on the Mormon Channel). I listened to two episodes, the first by Elder Rasband of the Seventy and his wife, and then with Brother and Sister Howell whose son Brady was killed in the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11. As I listen I feel further inspired to get up and be productive. I have guests coming the next day and my house is a disaster area. I start to clean and organize and the words “a house of order” come to mind (from a scripture found in Doctrine & Covenants 109:8) and I feel the Spirit surround me. 

After previous times of binge eating I’ve emptied my cupboards and taken away all temptation, but this time is different. I begin to see that completely prohibiting myself only leads me to binge more later, so as I listen to the story of the Howell’s and how they coped with the loss of their son I package small portions of all the remaining snacks in my cupboard (even the raisins…turns out I love raisins!!). As I’m doing this I feel/think of the words from this same scripture verse in Doctrine & Covenants, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing”, and once again I feel the Spirit touch my heart.

It’s now almost 10 o’clock and I need to be getting ready for bed. I go to my room and start my night routine. As I stare into the mirror I see my red eyes and tear-stained face, I have a different feeling. I feel that I’m worth it. I feel like I have hope and a desire to begin anew tomorrow. I feel like it’s all going to be okay. A thought pops in my mind that I have window markers laying around someone and I begin the hunt. I need to do this. I find the markers and return to my mirror. I write “Because of Him…” on the glass and stand there and allow thoughts of what I can do and be because of Him to flow through my mind. I begin writing a few on the mirror. I smile, looking again at myself in the mirror and noting the light in my eyes that has seemed to be absent for some time. I know that tomorrow is going to be a great day. And it isn’t just something I’ll say, it’s something I truly feel.

Doctrine & Covenants 109:8: Organize yourselves; prepare every needful think, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

Monday, April 21, 2014

...Then I Would Walk 500 More

Here we go again! Last year I set a goal to walk 500 miles in a year (if you missed it you can read a bit about that experience here, here, or here). In 2014 I attempted to give myself a bit of a break and committed to working out a minimum of 30 minutes 4 -6 times per week and I've done pretty well, but I've been feeling like I needed to push myself again, to set another REALLY big goal. And here it is...

Between now (being April 19...I'm a little behind) and my birthday on August 11 I want to walk ANOTHER 500 miles! I have 113 days to pull this off which means roughly 5 miles per day. I know I'll have to do a bit extra to reach this because I take Sundays off, but I'm really EXCITED about this.

But there is something that excites me even MORE!! One of my vendors came in today. I haven't seen him in several months and he noticed that I had lost some weight (always nice to hear) and we began chatting about how I had done it. Then I told him about this new goal and he's going to do it with me!! He lives a few states away but he is going to track his miles as well.

But it doesn't end there!! A few coworkers heard the two of us talking and after he left came around the corner asking if we were really going to take this challenge. I then invited them to join us as well and now our group is up to four!! In fact, three of us are going to start walking on our lunch break (who knew there was a track less than a mile from our office??)!

So here is YOUR invitation!! You don't have to walk 500 miles, and you don't have to have the August 11 deadline that we have. You may not want to have a fitness goal, perhaps your personal need is an earlier bed time, or portion control, of more service time. Whatever it is for YOU, set a goal today! But if you do want to join our walking group, lace up those shoes and get ready! Here in southern Georgia it's about to get REALLY sweaty!

I would love to hear what you are doing! Visit my other blog, leave a comment and let me know!