Thursday, December 8, 2011

Slipped

No, I didn't eat chocolate or fall on the ice. I've slipped into a funk is all. I'm depressed and tired. All I want to do is sleep. If I'm honest, I probably need a good cry. I know I do, but I don't even feel like making the effort, and it seems to be one of those times where starting will lead to a big mess of not being able to stop. In other words, there's a lot of buried shit I don't want to be digging up right now. Sometimes I need to wallow and be depressed, so if you're looking for butterflies and rainbows shooting out of a unicorn's ass, this is not the blog post to read right now.

I'm still reading this book about co-dependency, Codependent No More. It's making me feel kind of crummy about myself, especially after going around thinking I did the best I could in several situations, which I suppose I did. I guess awareness is good, but it never feels all that great to look at mistakes you've made and know that your best ended up being pretty shitty. Looking back is hard, especially when it's too late to do anything about it. I hate going through books or brochures and thinking my picture should be somewhere in there. On the other hand, "next time" which there hopefully won't be, I'll be more prepared, in theory anyway. I'm all for change and believe people can and do change all the time, but in terms of relationship or friendship issues, change can only occur if both parties are willing to make the effort and communicate. In instances where there's complete communication breakdown, it will never happen, obviously. The best one can do is to let it go, realize past mistakes and make sure to not repeat them. It is so much easier when communication isn't a problem, but even with open communication, relationships can be difficult. Sometimes expressing needs, especially for women, can be a challenge. We're not taught that it's OK to do, because who wants to be labeled as needy or demanding? Too often, we are mocked or put down for stating our needs or trying to set or create boundaries. For people who tend to have codependency issues, it's even more difficult, because we often don't even know what we are feeling and have a hard time putting our feelings into words. And when we don't deal with these feelings, they get repressed. That ends up hurting us in the end. Oh but we are good at reacting. More on that later.

This book has been great about pointing out all my flaws, which seems to be a theme lately. Still, I'm continuing to read it, because I need to face reality. I'm at a low point anyway, so it's sometimes a good place to look at changes that need to be made. The book focuses on other people's addiction, and with any addiction, it's easy to get lost and not know the "right" thing to do. People often confuse cause and effect in these cases. Many times before, I've explained how difficult it can be when the focus is on a reaction and not the action that caused it. Apparently, being there and "care-taking" isn't the way to solve anything though. This is a strange concept, because while it's just fine to care and take care of someone, it's not good to sacrifice yourself in the process and become a caretaker. It's a big mistake. I learned it from my mom, of course, watching her with my dad. There was this sense of duty that she had to be there and help and take care of...and then resent it like hell. But it's difficult to attempt to do the right thing, thinking that something good will be the result and have it backfire nearly every fucking time. That's where it all starts. And when things don't change, that's when a hard to stop and very unhealthy cycle gets put into motion. It seems so simple to let someone else be, allow them to fall, fail, stumble and possibly get hurt. Just mind your own business, right? Stop meddling, getting in the way and mostly just stop being there for once. The problem is when you care, it's very difficult to turn away. How do you turn your back on someone knowing the possible consequences? I know I held out hope that my dad would stop drinking until the day he died. He never did, but I still had hope. What I'm learning is that, in trying to control an out of control situation, you end up being the one controlled. What a twister, eh? But letting go is not easy. Shifting focus back on yourself after placing it in all the wrong places takes work.

One of many great quotes in the book I'm reading is this one by Thomas Wright: " I suspect codependents have historically attacked social injustice and fought for the rights of the underdog. Codependents want to help. I suspect they have helped. But they probably died thinking they didn't do enough and were feeling guilty."

But is what we do really helping? I suggested it before but it is stated so well in the book that codependency at its core is primarily reacting to and being affected by someone or some situation outside yourself. That doesn't mean you can pass the blame. Getting away from the need to rescue and be a caretaker can be difficult, especially when feelings are involved. For men, the knight in shining armor syndrome is common, and for women, well, we're just good at putting our needs 2nd while we tend to others. We look at the potential of someone and tend to avoid the reality of who they are. In stepping in to take care of someone, we are clearly stating that we don't think the other person is able or willing to take care of themselves or change. We allow them to be the victim. Can you love this person exactly as he or she is with no "but ifs"? It goes both ways too. I've been told I have some nice qualities, but it's likely the negative outweighs the good. It's good to know that it's fine to help when someone is down and needs some extra care. All healthy relationships and friendships have some give and take. That's normal. Rescuing and caretaking have a different flavor. Oddly enough, those who rescue can easily slip into wanting to be rescued too, as uncomfortable as we tend to be in that role. It gets tiring attempting to be a super-hero who fails and fails and keeps right on failing. I think sometimes when you're thrown into a situation you never ever thought you would face, it's impossible to predict how you will (re)act. We all want to feel loved, heard, respected and acknowledged and we also want to be able to provide that for someone else.

Too often, misunderstandings occur when we assume what the other person is thinking or make assumptions about a person's actions. Much of it comes back to communication. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was young was assuming that my dad could control his drinking-that if he loved me enough and wanted to he would stop. Now, deep down I know this is far from the truth, a ridiculous idea. It was impossible to not be affected when he drank though, especially when he said and did really awful things. Ultimately, it's not easy or maybe even possible to develop any kind of trust when someone says one thing and does the opposite. Every time my dad promised he wouldn't drink and did anyway, it was a let down. Over time, forgiveness, especially when apologies eventually stopped, became more difficult. Forgive and forget leaves us too vulnerable and at risk for getting hurt again. And then we heap the guilt on for not being able to keep forgiving, but we tend to keep on loving. These are habits though- ones that can eventually be broken. It all starts with awareness, and sometimes in the throes of chaos, awareness isn't easy to have. Sometimes it only comes once the dust has settled.

I bring these things up, because they relate to eating disorders. Often those who can't express how they feel and continually step into a role of a caretaker are susceptible to falling into disordered eating patterns. The more we can be aware of patterns in our lives that contribute to feelings of low self-worth and excessive guilt, the more we can work on changing them. It doesn't feel good to be in a position of doing what you think is right when the outcome is anything but. They key is to keep moving forward after addressing what habits don't work.

I haven't been working out much. Between the awful cold going into the surgery, the depression and the surgery itself, I have lost motivation. The cast makes biking difficult and is very uncomfortable. I'm mostly just trying to get through the days. I'm sleeping an absurd amount, but I feel like I need it.

Uggh-the news is hard to watch today.

I need another nap. It has been a really, really rough week.

I heard there was some big issue with the water in the Vegas R&R marathon. Yikes. My friend ran the stiletto race inside, but that was unrelated.

4 comments:

  1. Lize, When I have been depressed, it those things that are unresolved and have not been processed that have become triggered. Whatever the triggering event, it brings us right back to our most vulnerable state, even it that was us as a child. My god, your surgeries have been painful and stressful. It has left left your body in a state of repair and you unable to do what you love to do. You know I have been going through the injury stuff for the last 3 months. Being off balance with physically, exponentially increases the your sensitivities to daily issues. Sleep is healing in itself. It's self soothing. I am in the same boat. Low sense of self worth at times. It was an eye opener to myself only a couple of weeks ago that one communication sent me to a tumble of despair and content with ending my life. You are absolutely right, the key is to keep moving forward after learning what hasn't worked. Making your life meaningful begins with loving yourself. I now that sounds trite, but when you make yourself matter, it does slowly build on the base for better self worth. You are now way alone in dealing with these issues. I am dreaming of the future when we can run together again!

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  2. Thank you so, so much, Deborah! I really appreciate your comment and needed to hear that. Tomorrow will be better. I hope it won't be long before we are running together. :)

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  3. Oh, Deborah said something very wise. Definitely listen to her :) I'm sorry you're going through a tough time, but it might be a productive tough time, one that helps you build the life you want...

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