If you’re reading this, bear with me. This is some serious, but short, word vomit.
I am hesitant, and fretful. This space has not been put to very good use over the last few weeks, despite my best intentions. I am feeling particularly down on myself, frustrated that I have so little to offer the world. I feel anxious and, admittedly, short-tempered.
I feel like I am definitely not the best version of myself I could be, but I don’t know how to change that, or even if I have the spirit to do so. I’m tired a lot. I have a bunch of grand ideas, and despite having nothing but time on my hands, I lack the energy and talent to implement them. All I want to do is curl up on the couch. I recognize this is not the best method to improve one’s self. I get it. Getting out of the hole you dug for yourself is not an easy task.
I’m not a wordsmith. I don’t know. I’m just saying I’ve dug myself a warm cozy burrow, but it’s kind of gross and dark down here and I’d like to come up, now. Obviously I’m not the first person in the existence of mankind to feel this way.
I’d like to think another PURGE OF ALL THE MATERIAL THINGS might help. It’s possible. It’s also possible that being back in class will solve some of my anxiety issues. Schedules are good. I need a schedule. Change of diet? Sure. That definitely wouldn’t hurt anything. But I don’t know if these changes are just bandaids, or if that even matters. What’s wrong with a bandaid, really? Let’s patch this mess up so we can focus on more important things.
We’re going to pretend that the word “right” is in quotation marks.
There are a lot of things they don’t tell you if you’re a teenage girl with an eating disorder. In fact, if your anxiety prevents you from seeking any kind of serious professional help, they won’t tell you anything. Because there is no “they.” So maybe they do tell you. I don’t know.
But I will tell you.
They don’t tell you that over a decade of alternately starving yourself and purging will wreck your metabolism. And your teeth. You will very rarely smile for photographs (or agree to be photographed, for that matter) for that very reason. They don’t tell you that even when you’re back to a healthier weight, this behavior will probably carry on well into your twenties, especially if it’s symptomatic of your anxiety and depression (and not because of a need to fit in/feel pretty). And they definitely don’t tell you that when you’re thirty, and you weigh more than you ever have, following a “diet plan” of any sort will be impossibly difficult. Because your brain doesn’t actually know how to measure intake without going completely and utterly bonkers.
That’s a thing that’s happening right now. I am a little embarrassed about it.
I am demonstrably out of shape, and I am physically uncomfortable with my current weight. These are facts. Diabetes runs in my family. My mum was overweight. Those are additional facts. A normal, healthy human being ought to be able to come up with a workable, reasonable plan of attack regarding these issues without turning into an obsessive weirdo. I kind of assumed, now that I’m a for serious adult, that I would be able to handle keeping very loose tabs on my eating habits. Very loose is apparently not a thing that exists in my brain. What started out as an innocent exercise in eating “right,” in the course of two days, snowballed into a game of cutting numbers wherever possible, and planning my meals down to the last calorie. Those of you who know me well will tell me that I should have known better. You are correct. I’ve been down this road before. Thankfully, by day three, my for serious adult brain recognized the potential problem, and all food/exercise tracking apps have since been removed from my phone. So on a positive note, I’ve definitely changed for the better. Because in the past, I would have just continued with the obsessive behavior. At least I have that going for me. That’s why I can write about this, now. It’s embarrassing and frustrating, but it’s okay. I’m okay.
Now, I could make the argument that our whole modern food system is out of control, and that food tracking and calorie counting is inherently disordered. And I have, will continue to. But that doesn’t really solve anything. And there are a million people who will tell me I’m wrong. You do you.
So I am at kind of a weird crossroads, right now. I actually need to lose some weight for the first time in my life, and I have to be careful to do it in a way that’s going to be safe. It has very clearly (and quickly) been determined that for my sanity’s sake, I can not track anything. I can make better choices when it comes to food, and to be more active, but I have a really hard time wrapping my brain around not keeping track of any of that. Like how does that even work!? I am a born list-maker. Despite being in a generally good state of mind (I talked about that here), the habits that I spent years of my life cultivating are really darn hard to break. For now, I’ve decided to put some gentle limits on myself (like chill out on the wine and snacking), and make more of an effort to be physically active in ways that do not require measurement. Activities like hiking and going for walks or short runs actually seem okay, as I find these kind of relaxing. I’m also making more of an effort to drink enough water and consistently take my supplements. Without iron, I’m completely useless.
In the end, it all comes down to trusting my body, which is something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. I do know that right now, I don’t feel right in the space I occupy, and I sense that feeling itself, for possibly the first time ever, to be genuine and not part of that weirdo eating disordered brain. That’s almost an accomplishment in itself.
I got this. I think.
Thanks for listening/reading. I appreciate you.
I want to talk depression for a minute.
I know, what a downer. Sad trombone.
Here’s a thing. It’s kind of important. A depressed person isn’t always unhappy, and depressed people aren’t “negative.” They don’t need an attitude adjustment, and they don’t need to simply be thankful because “other people have it worse.” Gosh, you’re right. Can you imagine? That suddenly makes everything all better. Thank you.
Depression isn’t a mood. In fact, depressed people do have actual moods, too. You know, like normal people. Depressed people have good days and bad days, good and bad moments, even. Sometimes my world is completely black. Sometimes it is beautiful and glowing! Yes, I can be happy. But usually the world is a little gray. I am okay with that. I am okay with okay. That’s a tough one for people to understand. I get that.
The important thing for me is that my general world outlook doesn’t really change. I tend to think that people are mostly good, even on my black days. I can tolerate social interaction on mostly a day to day basis. I function. I’ve held down jobs, and nurtured relationships. I am kind to others, and I am generally a positive person. But guess what? My positive attitude doesn’t make my depression or my anxiety disappear, because “good vibes” aren’t a cure.
Depression can become manageable, certainly, but it doesn’t really go away. Therapy and medication can help. Sometimes. For some people.
I used to believe that my inconsistent and fluctuating bleak sadness and incapacitating anxiety were due to some fault of my own, something I had somehow done wrong and had to figure out a way to set right. I wasn’t doing enough good for enough people. Basically, I spent a lot of my time feeling confused and guilty (which is why that whole “other people have it worse than you” thing doesn’t help). When I was younger, I convinced myself that nightly panic attacks about the fear of my own death were probably normal and nothing worth mentioning to anyone. In fact, I didn’t mention them to anyone, ever, until only a few years ago. Apparently it’s not normal. Surprise.
Thinking about the process required to find an actual solution, if one exists for me, sends me into a whirlwind panic. I have learned to trust myself. I don’t leave the house on bad days. I’ve altered my diet a bit. I’m better about remembering to take a daily iron supplement, because my anemia makes the physical symptoms of depression worse (yes, there are physical symptoms). Like I said, I function. And I am okay. I guess I just want people to know that functioning and being okay can sometimes be enough. My darkest days are few and far between, and I have learned how to cope. I do, in fact, find happiness in the smallest things. I smile when I feel like smiling!
I am appreciative, thankful. I try to put good things out into the world. Lots of (not all, because I can’t and will not speak for every person) other depressed people do the same. But we are still depressed. And honestly, that’s okay. It’s your mind; it’s your body; it’s your life. It’s not anyone else’s. And you get one.
Once upon a blogtember, I wrote a brief post on easing anxiety. I thought it might be nice to revisit the theme of that post, and round up a few external resources for relaxation. Sometimes, after a difficult day, I need a little extra help finding my center. Share some of your tried and true relaxation or calming tips in the comments. ♥
– Online and on Devices –
silk – interactive generative art
rainfor.me – listen to the sound of rain in your browser
guided meditations from the Chopra Center
I find guided meditations really helpful, since I have a difficult time getting my mind off of all the minutia floating around in there. Having something to listen to keeps me focused on the moment. Like anything else, I think practice will make it easier. I try to practice mindfulness and intent with all things, but I would be lying if I said it was easy. I’m always so distracted. Even if I can recognize what’s important, that doesn’t mean I can focus on it.
– Books & Paper –
The Big Book of Mandalas coloring book
– Tactile and Aromatherapy –
tegu – magnetic wooden blocks
I lost my pocket set, and I really miss them.
Some of these things may seem a little bit childish, but I think having a healthy and appropriate way to regress a little bit actually helps keep me in the now. Play helps me let go of tiny anxieties and remember what’s important.
This blog has many purposes. I am not a baker, a foodie, a DIY maven, or even a beauty product junky or a fashionista. I’m not an amateur photographer. I am not a graphic designer. My family is small (it consists of Timothy and a tortoise). My current job is a semi-miserable inbetweener. I am shy, and awkward, and not very pretty. I am not an expert in anything. I am intelligent, but sometimes have a hard time communicating. I am an introvert. Sometimes I am too angry, or too anxious. I am also sometimes incredibly depressed. None of these things make for good blogging. What is there left to share? This place continues to grow.
The things that do find a way onto this wordspace, in some form or another, are the things I care about. These are the things I want to share.
I’ve made a list, included mistakes and misthoughts. This is girldust. I do not want to pigeonhole this space, or myself.
Thanks for stopping by. My name is Naomi, and this space is made of girldust. This blog is a picture of my comfortably scattered life on the coast of Maine. I'm trying to be a slightly better version of myself every day. I like old houses, reading, the ocean, ghost stories, and museums. You can learn a little bit more about me here.