Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It seems so odd to me that, at 42 years of age, I am just now beginning to learn about myself: who I am, what I believe in, what I have not been allowing my self to feel, etc. Why does it take a professional to help me figure this all out? Because I haven’t been able to do it on my own, that’s why.

At my last therapy session, I learned about something called Learned Helplessness. Yep – it was a new concept to me too; you can actually learn to be helpless. And I am not talking about the damsel that is always being tied to the railroad tracks (although she could probably use counseling as well – why does she always wind up with men that tie her to train tracks? But I digress…). This is my kind of helpless; the paralyzing can’t make a decision because I am afraid to move ahead with my life kind of helpless.

This was an actual study performed years ago by leading psychologists. Two dogs were placed in two cages, side by side. Each cage was identical with a metal floor and a lever inside. At random times, the floors of both cages were simultaneously shocked with electricity (**see note below) for an uncomfortable length of time. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of hopping and dancing around being done by the subjects as they tried to escape the shocks coming from the floor. During the course of said hopping about, dog A accidentally tripped his lever, stopping the flow of current to both cages. In short order, dog A learned that tripping this lever would always stop the scary and painful waves radiating from the floor and would immediately hit it whenever they started. Dog B, however, never learned this lesson – even though he also had a lever and it would also stop the shocks to both cages - and eventually he just gave in to depression and just lay there and endured the pain and fear, never trying to avoid it or stop it, just waiting for it to end.

Guess which dog I am?

This was a real eye opener for me. That is basically a blue print for how I live my life. I just sit still, waiting for the pain and the fear, never knowing why it comes or what to do about it when it does. Therefore, I am paralyzed with fear of living on the whole. I have just been sitting still on the sidelines of life, dealing with the depression by not dealing with it, just waiting for it all to end.

And speaking of dog illustrations, my therapist has me write essays about my feelings on certain subjects. She had me write about what I gain from staying overweight, and what I will sacrifice by loosing it. I will put that essay on my other blog if you want to check it out. But at one point I was describing my relationship with food by using the illustration of a mistreated dog; no matter how much I abuse food – ignore it, talk bad about it, kick it to the curb, neglect it – it is always there for me, waiting to be loved, wanting to please. My therapist read that part, paused to look me dead in the eye, then re-read the section substituting “I” for “it”. I was really saying how no matter how much I am ignored, talked bad about, kicked to the curb and neglected, I am always there – waiting to be loved, wanting to please, waiting, waiting, waiting to be thrown some scrap of kindness and affection, some sort of confirmation that I exist and am worthy. I burst into tears and cried and cried; it still hits me hard as I write this and the tears well up again because it is true.

I live my whole life scared to move about in it because I am afraid I will say or do something that will offend someone, somewhere. If I say this thing, will I offend someone? If I do this thing, will my family loose respect for me? That would probably be appropriate if I was planning murder or a bank robbery, or if I planned to perform sexual favors for the entire city of New York. But these are just simple everyday things that I am thinking about. When I am waiting to make a turn into traffic, I often wonder if the driver of the car behind me is angry because I am taking too long. I have entire conversations with this person in my head about how I am just trying to be careful and that I can’t go because there are too many cars coming, etc. I find that I am constantly exhausted by this line of thinking; it affects me everywhere! At work, in the grocery store, driving on the road, talking to my friends, family, strangers. Everywhere I go and everything I do is affected by this. And it isn’t just because of my weight. I think my weight is a symptom of all the other stuff, but it just adds to the CRAZY mix. I could be packaged – for enough servings of Crazy for the whole family, just add water and stir!

So I am starting to implement some new ways into my life. It is hard to turn down the crazy and look for the lever in my cage, but I am pretty sure that I know where it is now. I just have to have the strength to reach for it. It is up to me and within my power to change this, and I am determined to do it.

**NOTE: in spite of the last paragraph, I have to submit to the crazy and add this little note. In case you are wondering, no – it does not make me happy that animals are experimented on that way. I do feel it is cruel. But – having said that – I didn’t do the experiment nor did I ask for it to be done. But it is done and there is nothing I can do about it now. So chill out.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just trying to hang in there

Well, I managed to sell one of my bracelets below; I sold the one with the matching earrings! Yay! Now, if only I could sell the rest of my stuff. Oh well.

It has been colder than HECK here! Normally we are in the mid 60's at this time of year; two weeks ago it was 83; for the last week and a half we can barely break 30. We've even had a couple of inches of snow!

I decided to add another blog that will mostly deal with my weight loss journey. You can find it here, and I also added it to the right side of this blog. It will have my food journals, track my weight loss, before/after pictures, etc.

Otherwise, nothing much new going on.


Sunday, October 4, 2009


Not feeling so hot this weekend; had a migraine yesterday. I was able to go see my therapist, but the migraine struck in the middle of our session, so I just came home and went to bed. Today I am just taking it easy and watching football.

Here are some bracelets I made and have just listed in my eBay store; I made them a few weeks ago and just now was able to clean off my computer desk enough to get to the scanner!
Please to enjoy:


Friday, October 2, 2009

Never give up on the day…

Wednesday night was a bad night; I had a binge episode and the rest of the night was one huge pity party blowout, complete with the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth. It was spectacular in its patheticness (is that a real word?). It left its mark on me the next morning as the depression was oozing from my pores and was painfully obvious to anyone who happened to glance in my general direction. I had a really hard time keeping my composure throughout the day, and my lunch hour was spent in tears, weeping, and screaming in agony at the cosmos in general. I’m sure you get the general idea.

I had been writing my post throughout the day as I usually do, trying to capture the helplessness that I had felt the night before. It was full of accusations and finger pointing, past regrets, and general “poor me” crap and “if only” scenarios. Even in my profoundly depressed state of mind, I thought it was waaaaaaay to depressing to post! Even though I write honestly, the main goal is to be encouraging at the same time; that post would not have served any purpose at all.

My point in all of this is: sometimes good things still happen, and you don’t really realize it. Now, a few of these things that happened are nothing truly outstanding in the scheme of life. But, when you group them all together and stand back and look at the entire collection as a whole, it really changed how I felt. I didn’t really even notice them at the time they were happening, but when the BIG good thing happened at the end of the day, it made it easier to see them. Kinda like one of those pictures that are all dots, and you finally focus your eyes just right and the picture that was there all along POPS out right at you!

  • I was cleaning out a really old email box for an email address that I don’t even use anymore and found a recent email advertising a sequel to my all-time favorite computer game: Zuma. I had been hoping for the last several months that eventually a sequel would be made. The email was from MSN games and said that it was $19.99 to purchase, plus I would get a 40% off coupon for the next game I purchased. When I got home and went online to purchase the game, it was actually only $14.95!
  • I was looking at one of my favorite online cross-stitch websites and discovered that one of the patterns I had been eyeballing was on sale – 50% off! I bought it.
  • My bankruptcy attorney called me; he had gotten together, in person, with the debt management gal and decided that he would handle my bankruptcy. He kept referring to the collection agency that is not being co-operative as “those bastards over there”. Instead of charging me his standard $1800 fee, he is only charging me $500 (after first saying he would do it for $600) and he is letting me make payments to him, AND he is not going to wait until I pay him in full to file. This will stop the judgment the collection agency filed, and instead of getting their money paid in full over time, they will now get squat.
  • When I got home from work, I found my Nordic walking poles that I was sure had been stolen out of my Rodeo because I couldn’t find them. I had unloaded them from the opposite side of the truck than I normally do, and they were leaning into the corner where I couldn’t see them. I had almost bought a new pair off of eBay the other day, but they didn’t have the correct height.
  • I remembered to grab my checkbook and book of stamps so I could actually MAIL my rent today, on time (instead of driving across town to my icky landlord's home to drop it off).

So, when I got up today, I said – today will be an AWESOME day. Because look how bad yesterday started out, but look how good it ended!