Sunday, 22 October 2017

The lure of coping mechanisms old and new

In my previous post, I illustrated the way I feel like a car on ice - I've lost traction and it feels like going into a spin is just a matter of time.

Now, this isn't a sudden, new thing; it's built up over months, until finally the penny dropped in my head. I'd been going, running, slipping and sliding and instead of stopping to think what's going on, I turned to coping mechanisms. I see this so clearly now! But in the months leading up to this realisation that I need to actually put some commitments down, I found myself desperately trying to fix myself somehow.

Because it had to be me that's wrong, right? Too lazy / disorganised. My first instinct is to find the problem within myself, and fix it. My second instinct is to do the ostrich: focus on something completely unrelated and hope that the actual issue will go away.

So at first, to fix myself, I started making plans. A well planned day wouldn't get away from me! I knew what I was going to do when, what I would clean on which day, what I'd cook each day of the coming week. None of that was a bad idea as such, except that I failed to account for the fact that I'm not a robot and sometimes I'd really need a moment to have a cup of tea on the sofa instead of mopping the floor. No time for slacking like that in my plan - so I'd fail at keeping up with it and try harder next time. Except I'm still not a robot.

Grace. Plans are good, organising is good, but when I'm overcommitted and unable to allow for a break now and then, I need to consider that maybe all the things I'm planning and organising aren't realistic to achieve... ouch.

And so after trying for way too long to organise my way out of overcommittment, I found myself going down a well worn old path to escape thinking about things - to do the ostrich. I had thought that perhaps this path would have grown a few brambles by now, as I had avoided it for many years.... but it's still here and wide open as ever, I found.


Like any old addict I almost sleepwalked straight back into the familiar misery of disordered eating. I walked right across several lines in the sand that should have sent claxons blaring in alarm - cutting out food groups; telling Mr. I was going to do XYZ (I have made a promise to myself to keep the morass of my body/ food issues away from him as I wouldn't want him to see what I see when looking at me); weighing often; compensatory eating ("been good all week, I deserve a treat") and loss of control.

Those things aren't easy to admit but if I've learned one thing in my recovery it's that they fester and grow in the dark. Secrets kill.

So what's pulled me up to consciousness?

I'm not sure, is the honest (and frightening) answer. Perhaps the years of freedom and recovery, becoming used to healthy behaviours, eventually kicked into my subconscious with a resounding HELL NO. Or maybe having the kids, needing to be fully present for them, stops me getting absorbed the way I used to be. Or maybe, just maybe, I have God to thank. He's the one that got me out of the food mess all those years ago, after all.... and though he did warn me that if I really wanted to go back then I could, I know he wouldn't just wash his hands of me.

I have to trust that he can and will take me back to the fork in the road where I turned towards self-destruction to distract myself from life. Life is for living, it's for being fully present!

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Thanks so much for sharing!