mental health day

It’s been a rocky time lately… I’ve been so off my game with my eating, completely stuck in an unhealthy rut. It’s to the point where I’m eating horrible things without even really craving them–I’m just doing it out of habit, or because it offers a small bit of comfort or distraction. I don’t even know how long it’s been by now, but long enough that I can tell I’ve gained more weight and my digestive system is starting to react pretty unfavourably. It’s not long before my TrueNorth visit though, so I need to dial it in and get back on track.

I feel like I’ve been so uncentred ever since our trip. It took a good week just to get back on track, get E back on track, and start to feel a semblance of normal again. But then I had a car accident about a week ago. E was in the car with me. It was horrible and terrifying. We were the third car in a 5-car pileup on a very busy freeway in the middle of rush hour. I’m so thankful that we’re okay, although I do have some whiplash in my neck. I feel bad that the car is totalled, although not devastated since it was old and it was time for us to get a better, more reliable vehicle. I feel worst, though, about E and putting her through that. She bounced back pretty well, but she is on edge whenever I brake quickly. I am similarly anxious and paranoid when driving now too. I’ve been having trouble sleeping and keep replaying the last seconds before the accident over and over again in my head. We did get a new vehicle (not brand-new, but new to us). I even had a dream that I crashed the new vehicle. Needless to say, it was traumatic. It’s been a huge hassle dealing with all of the repercussions and that, along with the trauma, has made me feel really mentally exhausted and unstable. So I’ve been struggling with that.

Another area in which I’ve been struggling is thinking about pregnancy and being around others who are. Two more moms in my online mom’s groups just found out they’re pregnant. It’s hard every single time this happens–I feel such a rush of jealousy and, unfortunately, anger. Obviously these are not emotions that I enjoy or endorse. But they happen and they’re there and I feel them strongly. It gets to the point where I can’t even offer my congratulations because it wouldn’t feel genuine. Maybe I just need to get off of social media completely. It’s not their fault, and I like them all as people. It’s just in this particular area, my emotions turn dark. It feels so unfair, especially since for one of the moms, this is her second baby since we all had babies E’s age–her 5th baby in all. It doesn’t feel fair. Why have I had all the problems and heartache that I’ve had, and some women just sail through fertility and childbearing without a single problem? Even women who are more unhealthy than me end up having perfect babies. It’s very difficult. The only positive in all of this is that I’m immensely grateful for E. I love her with a ferocity that can’t even be described.

Because of all of this, and how mentally unstable I’ve been feeling lately, I’m so happy that my TrueNorth trip has become a reality. I’ve booked the flights and it’s really going to happen. More than anything, I’m looking forward to getting my health back on track. I’m under no illusions that it will be easy, and I’m also already contemplating how my life will need to be different once I return home. I’m accepting the fact that I probably have an eating disorder. I’m a binger. Thankfully not a purger, or an anorexic. But the binging is going to take its toll on my life and health (it already has). I’ve been trying to be realistic and brainstorm how I’m going to manage that once I’m back home from TrueNorth. It might mean I need to find a Food Addicts Anonymous group, or perhaps do some intensive work on my own. I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably can’t dabble in the foods that trigger me. I need to be honest with myself and understand that I probably can’t ever eat those foods again in my life because they will set off a binge that could last for months (or years, which is where I seem to be now–almost a 5-year binge, to be honest). That reality is scary. But then the question is: why? Why does it feel scary to say: I will never eat a piece of chocolate or cheese again. Why is that scary? Why does food have such a hold on us? Of course, I know why. But that doesn’t diminish the fear. That sounds like an addict talking, right? And that’s what I am.

But back to TrueNorth… I’m having conflicted feelings. Don’t get me wrong–I think this is absolutely the right decision for me. I’m going to gain so much. I’m not second-guessing my plans to go. I’m just feeling scared about being away from J & E for so long. I hope J can function okay without me around to do all the little things like manage E’s mornings (pick-ups and drop-offs), and do all the cooking and dishes, etc. I think he will be fine, but I just feel bad because it’s a lot to make him go through for 3 weeks. I’m also scared because, in the past, I haven’t done well when I’ve been completely on my own for a significant amount of time. I will have people at TrueNorth to interact with, so hopefully it won’t be too bad. But they’re not MY people like J & E are. I will miss them desperately.

On the flip side, though, I’m incredibly excited. I have a stack of books to take along with me–some of them deal with eating disorders, and others are memoirs about people who have lost a lot of weight, or women who’ve gone through hard experiences (like miscarriage, hospital stays, etc). I have a list of things that I’d like to do that I never have enough time for in a regular week. I’d love to start writing a memoir, brainstorm more artistic projects that I’d like to start working on. I’m excited to just relax. Deeply. I won’t have anyone else I’ll need to worry about, just myself. I hope to sleep a lot, do relaxing things like watch shows and read books. I plan to spend time outside in the sun every day in order to bump up my vitamin D levels. I just want to feel rejuvenated. Of course, I need to be realistic, too, and understand that I’ll probably feel crummy a lot of the time because of the fasting. But I’m going to approach this with a positive attitude and view it as a time to heal myself in every way possible.

I had a great evaluation at work, plus a $2000 raise in my salary. I can hardly believe I’ve been there for a year already. I’m pleased to have this positive evaluation. I feel grateful for the job, even though my enthusiasm for it feels pretty absent a lot of the time. I could accomplish so much more if I had energy for it. Regardless, I appreciate having the job and I appreciate my boss. So at least that’s a spot of positivity in my life.

I do still have a lot of dreams and goals. I’m hoping that my time at TrueNorth will unleash them and that I’ll be able to harness some newfound energy and passion. I constantly feel like I’m living behind a heavy curtain or something. It’s like things are muffled. I have passion, but no drive. Everything feels heavy and grey and so hard to accomplish. Instead, I want to feel vibrant and full of energy. I think if I focused on the artistic pursuits that I’m interested in, I would automatically feel happier, more energetic, and more driven to live in a healthy manner. I’m excited to explore the possibilities.

It’s Friday. I took a “mental health” day. I feel a little guilty about it. At the same time, though, I feel like I need it. I’ve been sleeping so poorly, so I’m exhausted. I’m not finished dealing with all of the accident stuff.

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