Depression and Emotional eating
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Ok, I'm depressed.
My mental health challenges have resulted in many of my life's failures, including my ability to stay active, eat right, stay motivated and avoid gaining weight!
Well, I'm working, I'm washing my clothes, and 'am presenting well'. So that is a good thing. I'm not thinking of 'offing' myself. At present.
And I'm falling behind on other aspects of my self care the last 2-3 weeks.
And life is wonderful! I have jobs I love, I have a social life with friends in my mental health community, I seem to be getting over my girlfriend dumping me, I'm in counseling, getting my teeth fixed, I'm in a healthy weight webinar and other wonderful programs and classes, I have three great creative opportunities coming my way this year. Things should be hunky-dorie, right?
Life is grand, ain't it?
Its at these times, when I stop running around like a screaming banshee, in a constant state of mania, and I catch my breath, that I realize that I'm quite depressed.
I've always been like this. I used to blame it on my inability to stay emotionally vulnerable when I was married--I just didn't trust my wife with my innermost feelings, as I felt she was too judgmental, ya know. And I've been a performer all my life. After every play closed, or a performance was over, I went into depression.
I have a day-gig to pay the rent, and you know, EAT. Yet I really devote my entire being to preparing for some sort of performance. There's nothing wrong with that--I don't want to waste an audience's time. I want them to enjoy. I want to give the best show I can.
Live performance of any kind is the best kind of entertainment. So, I prepare, I rehearse, I give the best performance I can with my current awareness... and then the show is over. And I go into a spiral of depression and self-loathing. Welcome to my life.
Even when I have another upcoming performance that I'm preparing for, I still grieve the loss of a moment in time that was... special. I take performing that seriously. I'm kind of obsessed about it. I'm not an OCD perfectionist. I just put a lot of emotion into performing. It is where I am most... at home.
I've often said that home... is just a place I hang my hat. My real home... is the theatre. It is a forum, a temple, a sacred space, to me.
It actually makes me feel better just sharing this stuff. My heart grows when I'm in touch with who I really am. Maybe that's the reason for my off-and-on depression-- I find it hard to "be" when I'm not preparing for, or doing, performance.
Just 'being' is very hard for me. I've yet to fully embrace and operate in: the joy in simply being. Learning mindfulness is helping. When I'm mindful, when I practice mindfulness, the moment is at first scary, since what comes up is self-loathing and self-hatred.
What comes up first is negative self talk. And when I allow myself to have that, and to step away from that, without negating it, and allow it, but to really step back in my mind for just a tiny moment, and realize that I am creating that self-hatred in that moment, it's when I actually begin to 'see the light.'
And that is not who I am--it's what I have created in my life--but it doesn't have to be the end result.
When I allow the negative feelings and the angers and fears underneath, I realize that I've felt alone most of my life. Sometimes the being alone is fine. Me and God- we be cool. And sometimes I'm incredibly lonesome. I do miss touching a wife/girlfriend, and having her actually enjoy that. I miss that, terribly.
My cat supplants my need for human contact, and yet--not really. It's nice to be my cat's furniture--he jumps on me and head bumps my hands and face and then parks himself on my chest, next to my face, facing away, his little 'cat-engine' just vibrating away. He's there for 20 minutes or so, then gets a bee-in-his-bonnet and scurries away to find that the next adventure awaits, some other place in my house, his jungle.
A pet's seemingly unconditional love for me is wonderful--it calms me, centers me and causes me to breathe easier and relax. A pet, after their needs are met, are prognosticators of 'the-now'. I used to say that the dog was 'happy' and my wife corrected me--they are content. Simply content in that moment.
I wish I was more like my cat.
Does being with my cat cause me to make better food choices; does he make me want to do exercise more? Well, not really. Vacuuming my house can be wonderful aerobic exercise--yet my pets have always been mortally afraid of 'the vacuum monster'. Their experience of large, loud, scary things that move around, being existentially threatening can be traumatizing to some degree. Animals don't like loud human-created noises. My animals have always ducked under the bed or a chest of drawers on July 4th and New Year's Eve. I have this neighbor who has a cannon--I kid you not--an actual miniature cannon. And being 300' away from this cannon--when he sets it off--it friggin' triggers PTSD in ME, let alone my cat. He stays in hiding for several days.
So, I get depressed. And the last coupla weeks I've not exercised, I've pigged out and I've gained weight. And yesterday I got terrible news about my student loan--my income has NOT increased, but my student loan monthly payment HAS gone up.
Oh, don't we love stress: how do we deal with stuff over which we have ZERO control? Like, do I have to cancel my internet? See, I live hand-to-mouth. Any ADDITIONAL bill is an existential crisis, do you feel me???
So, the cycle continues. I'm 63 years old, 6'1", I weigh 292#, and I'm fortunate: I still don't have diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
I'm doing one of my weight webinar goals this week: Recording all my food in Spark People.
The other goal this week: Will I do aerobic exercise 3X, will I do resistance exercise 2X this week? Well, it's Wednesday, the goals are due next Monday.
We shall see. I'll figure all this **** out. Will I have to take on more hours in my three jobs? Yes.
Welcome to my world. Sometimes a nightmare of my own creation. Sometimes bliss.
BE. HERE. NOW.