Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Head like a hole?

I ended up watching a bit of the Bolder Boulder race on Monday. Later, I went for an hour jog, not feeling all that great. I was in a funk the rest of the day, and my foot was a bit swollen. For some reason, I have been extra tired lately. All of this made the usual mixed emotions I get watching races more pronounced. It's true that I have been doing what feels like too much running around and work, but I think I might be fighting something too. So, today I am taking an extra and unplanned day off. I seem to need that every 4-6 weeks, even though I tend to take a full day off at least once a week. It's sometimes hard to allow myself that, even if I know I need it, just because I know I'm not training like I used to. Somehow I can get caught up in feeling like I don't "deserve" it, despite what my body is telling me.

I sometimes post in a running forum, and recently there was a thread about addiction. Many people don't see eating disorders as true addictions, but there are definite similarities. I don't know what the right way is to treat addiction. I don't even think there is a one right way for everybody. Sometimes AA helps people, and it seems others get by without it. Most people seem to think "tough love" is the best approach. I'm just glad I had a soft place to land with my issues, because I don't think I would be here otherwise. Countless times, people told my mom to take a this kind of approach with me. "Kick her out, let her fall," they said. She didn't. I think there absolutely has to be a way to set boundaries, yes, but that there can also be compassion and kindness in that. Most addicts I have known hate themselves far more than anyone else around them could. The last thing they need is a kick in the balls. A gentle shove in a new direction? Maybe, but I don't believe that it's necessary to cut ties completely, let them fall or force rock bottom to come more quickly in order to "help" an addict. Anyone who can provide unconditional love, set reasonable boundaries and offer support in these situations is a saint though. I wish I had it in me. I can't really say that I do at this point.

In my own case, I can't even count the number of times I relapsed with the eating disorder. In that way, it was very much like an addiction. However, even at more reasonable weights, I never felt quite right in my head. It was years down the road before I could feel a bit better with my thinking. After being voted most likely to succeed in the outside world after my second stay in a hospital, I relapsed in an ugly, hardcore way, complete with a botched and very lame suicide attempt. Looking back, I realize that being flooded with more and more anti-depressants was having the opposite effect, which is common for people who are bipolar. I shouldn't have been on Prozac, and yet my therapist kept increasing my dose as I became more frantic and depressed. Soon I wasn't even close to the person I had been before all the pills. So the attempt was more of a cry for help than anything. I generally don't do things half assed, but that time I definitely did. Then when I was sent back to the hospital for a short stay, I encountered another patient who had been in the hospital with me earlier. Apparently, our relapses coincided just perfectly. It was then that I realized just how difficult the illness anorexia is to conquer, and also just how fucked up the thinking of anyone with the illness can be. Some people may know about the fear of gaining weight that goes along with anorexia. It can get to such an extreme that even the thought of licking stamp or an envelope becomes a question of calories. Well, taken to an even more absurd level, this girl who relapsed at the same time I did eventually became afraid to swallow her own spit. It was tragic seeing her enter the hospital at a more normal weight, and then notice her again later, looking ghostly pale and emaciated, passing out on occasion due to dehydration. Coming out of the most extreme anorexia, I was put on anti-psychotic drugs. I kept thinking, "Dude, I'm not having a psychotic break from reality. I know all too well that what I'm doing is fucked up. I just can't seem to get out of this hell." But drugs were the way to go in extreme cases back then. So I was loaded up and sent on my way. Of course I didn't stay on the drugs very long, and, in a risky move, stopped cold turkey. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. Getting off the massive doses allowed me to return to myself a little bit. My thinking became more clear again, and I was able to make better choices. Still, there was no denying the chemical component of the illness, and I was lucky to find a few supplements that worked for me, keeping my moods more stable and my thoughts from becoming excessively dark again.

Wow. I can see that I'm not in the greatest head space at the moment. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. Sometimes even knowing that I'm doing the right thing can still feel a bit uncomfortable despite how far I have come. I think there's a fair amount of disappointment in knowing where I once was with running and where I am now too.

This really has nothing to do with anything mentioned earlier, but maybe it's good to change the subject.

I like my music messy. I know that's not an official genre of music, but I'm thinking there are a few songs that will get the point across: TV on the Radio- I was a Lover, The Slew- robbing banks, and quite a few things by Beck. It's interesting that crazy, sudden and even jarring sounds in music can be interesting and intriguing, but people often don't like sudden wild movements in life. Don't rock the boat, mess up the untrodden beach or snow, and god forbid you show your strong side contrasted with your vulnerable side. I don't know. Lately some NIN completely uncensored is what resonates with me. Today is a tough day. I'm blue, and need to figure out a way to keep from slipping down a hole. I hope that the break from routine will do me good and not make things worse. Wheww. Odd that sometimes being tough can mean backing off and not pushing through.

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