Posted by: innerpilgrimage | March 22, 2014

A Whole Lot of Changes in a Short Period of Time

I get intense anxiety when I face off with huge changes in short periods of time. These changes get me looking at myself, what I am trying to control but cannot.

The first change is that I am moving off old technology onto a newer one. I hate changing technology. It feels like I just get used to something and I am forced to move on because of planned obsolescence. The last change I experienced was moving from a netbook to a tablet device. I’m back on something which is like a netbook but has a removable tablet screen. My tablet is nagging me incessantly to update information, but I don’t want to. With the anxiety that my personal information is going to be bid out, I’m not comfortable with it whatsoever. I even have a sticky-tab over my camera, after learning that others unknown to me can take over my computer’s camera. It’s crazy out there, and no magical thinking can keep me feeling safe. Even though this is a necessary change and a generally positive one, I still feel the stress throughout my body and mind.
The next thing is that I am anxious about escrow on a home. It’s not easy. Honestly, it is terrifying, and I don’t want to think about it. I keep worrying that–at any moment–escrow will fall through. I fear the potential devastation I’ll experience if this escrow doesn’t go through. I fear looking forward to the day when it’s over. As I am encouraged by program to live one day at a time, I have to take this to heart in my actions. I want escrow over, and it’s not happening any time soon. So, I feel tense. Even though this is a necessary change and a generally positive one, I still feel the stress throughout my body and mind.
My last food plan, even abstinent as I have been this whole time, caused me to gain weight. I started walking regularly, but it hasn’t done enough to really mantain my weight–which appears to creep up maybe two to five pounds a month. So, I changed my food plan again, closer to my original food plan. It’s an approximately 2,000-calorie diet, still balanced, and has half of the discretionary calories that the previous one did. The new one has 600 calories of grains, 300 of dairy, 120 of fruit, 150 of vegetables, 400 of protein, and a discretionary calorie bank of 500 calories. I’m holding on to this new food plan until the end of escrow, just to have something sane to hold onto. My minimums are half of that, to keep myself from starving myself into a high. Though this change is a positive one, I still feel the stress throughout my body and mind.
So, I’m coming to understand that even the apparently good can cause the kind of stress that makes me want to act out compulsions or anorectic behaviors. I have found that when I have a sane food plan, I do feel more relaxed. The food plan, as written, may not outlast escrow, but it is a comfort to have something sane to reach toward as my life feels insane because of the changes. I never believed that the transitional periods between something uncomfortable but reassuring in its sameness and something positive that I want to embrace in my life were potential problems. Oh, I’ve given it lip service. I have talked a big program about how I may not have wanted to be a compulsive anything-er yet could not stop because the familiar was so familiar. I wanted to change yet I wanted things to stay the same because I knew what I had with it. Oh, it may have been stress-inducing, but my hope at the initiation of a transitional period caused more anxiety and more pain.
Yes, I do believe that along with the seemingly bad, the apparently good can cause enough stress to want to act out. Perhaps that’s one of those weird addict truths, that I will eat when I am sad, angry, lonely, tired . . . or even happy. It’s that transitional period which does me in. It’s stepping out of swimming in my sea of comforting idealism and living in the land of reality.
Life is about change. I may think I’m staying the same, but I change every day. This discomfort is part of nature, and I want to feel comfortable embracing the flow of life. Perhaps that’s the comfort of living one day at a time, because a single day rarely has such dramatic changes. It’s generally part of a flow. In the past week, however, I have gotten knocked around . . . by good stuff. Isn’t that crazy, that this good stuff that’s in my life is producing anxiety?
Well, part of that anxiety is that the good has come with some seemingly bad which I have acted on to hopefully maintain that transition toward the apparently good. I suppose maybe that’s the point of changing my food plan for the month as I deal with my personal tension over leaving behind a computer system I got used to in order to learn a new way of acting on a computer than reacting to it and dealing with my intense anxiety over having unpleasant surprises over the escrow invigorating me to act on keeping the escrow moving forward one day at a time. I feel so much fear that I want to run and hide.
Didn’t I learn once that anxiety can make a person gain weight? Yeah, there’s supposed to be a connection, and I can totally see it. The potential connection between cortisol and the craving for starches and other comfort foods has been studied; like all good scientific studies, there are believers and naysayers. However, I personally experienced cravings and ate starches to the edge of my plan and into my discretionary calories. So, maybe there’s some merit–at least in my personal experience. Anyway, I reduced my daily starch intake on the new plan by 1 serving (100 calories), and I have found myself more mindful of my food.
Herein lies the worst of it, however. This isn’t about eating too much or too little but that I am gaining muscle and my clothing doesn’t fit as well because I am gaining muscle mass. This is good; this is an action plan working in concert with a food plan. The problem is that I want the scrawny thighs I had before which didn’t touch despite the extra skin generated by losing 100 lbs. Well, when I press my knees hard together. When I rest my knees together, there’s daylight visible between my thighs. However, I don’t see the joints as easily as I did a year ago, and I am terrified that I am back to my starting weight. I’m not back to my starting weight. I am just not anorexically thin on a huge frame. Hell, I have no idea how much I even weigh right now–only that because I have a toosh and muscles in my legs, I am upset. Because I have extra skin on my stomach which hangs like empty curtain swags when I lean forward, I look at my body when I stand upright and am terrified that I let it all get away from me. I conveniently forget that when I started OA, I wore a tight men’s size 48-waist pant. Not even a 46. A 48, and I was straining the comfort-fit elastics on the waistband. So, it’s probably closer to 50 or 52. Well, depending on the pants, I am in a 32 or 33 or 34-inch waist. Why? Because I have accumulated some muscle in my once-flat butt (not the theoretically sexy flat behind, but literally no deviation between lower back and thighs flat) and muscular thighs from walking instead of pipe-cleaners covered in skin. The curves in my body were minimal before, from my bones sticking out farther than my waist could–even with skin. Ugh, sometimes leaning forward and seeing that extra skin hanging makes me long to phone a plastic surgeon to see how little scarring I could come away with just to have that skin trimmed so maybe I can fit in those pants. Which I can’t, because it’s not my stomach but my backside which causes problems in the men’s jeans I have to wear because I have a really damned tall inseam (about 34 inches). The tall women’s “mom jeans” I own are a size 6 and still fit. I probably could go online and order whatever size is a 32-inch waist from a tall women’s store and come back with a great fit on my overpriced jeans. I just dread the reality . . . that instead of being a proud US size 6, I will end up a self-loathing size 12.
That’s vanity, not sanity. Thank you, whoever in the world decided to trash women’s minds with fashion-plus-BMI psychosis. If I’m not so thin that I am sickly, I’m not healthy–according to both measurements. I become less-than too easily in my codependent thinking, and I end up wanting to say, “Screw it!” and get high on sugar and fat and carbohydrates.
Yes, I have binge fantasies involving that quart-sized container of Nutella and a spoon. Thank goodness that I got early-on that “If I really still want it, I can have it tomorrow,” safety valve when I have intense cravings on my food plan. When I want something sweet-salty-fatty too much? I am pretty sure it’s not about having a taste of something to simply indulge a little. When I want it in bulk? It definitely isn’t about having a taste of something but a desire to be comforted by something that (1) did comfort me once but (2) cannot and will not comfort me now.
So, I walk it off. Does the walking help? Not always, but I’m tired when I get home.
I just hate what my healthy body looks like, because I drank the anorexia-body mental poison and perhaps find that so comforting if only because an anorexically thin body tells me that I am showing the world I am in fluffybunnies control–like I perceived being morbidly obese showed them I was way out of control. What’s funny is that I think perhaps gaining that weight was more controlled than not. I chose the food, I consumed it, and I kept consuming. I went out of my way to the store to buy it, for the purpose of consuming it and telling the world to go fluffybunny itself. I knew what healthy was; I didn’t want to be any part of it because people would tell me to pass on through healthy into death-by-denial . . . the anorexia. The strict self-denial is uncontrollable, the beating myself up because I cannot see healthy no matter where I stand on the range of this whole mess.
I don’t know. It’s getting easier, however, to start talking in terms of personal experience instead of absolutes based on ideals. Those ideals were established because I had one trauma or repeated traumas which made me decide they were carved deep in stone and unassailable. The Addict’s Commandments, as it were, a list of every bit of self-loathing and the rules and rituals which surrounded each and every one.
Evolving as a person isn’t easy when one wants things to stay the same. There’s no going back to that filmy haze of denial. I can’t go back to the binge eating and whining that I don’t understand how it happened. I know how it happened. I just hate sometimes that my curtain of magical thinking has been torn up and there’s nothing for me to hide behind any more. It’s disheartening, yes, that the escapes which worked before are failing all around me.
Even as those system failures enhearten me, because it means that when there’s nothing left for me to hide behind–just like there were no more excuses to stay out of the OA rooms in September of 2009–something in me will change and I will make a real and lasting change.
Even if that change means I’m not involved in twelve-step any more.

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