Some family dropped by yesterday for a visit. The Depression Brothers: Anxiety, Anger, and Loneliness. Can’t call them old friends because I don’t really like them that much. But they’re part of me, just like family. (Truth be told, as much as I dislike them I still like them better than my brother Rick, but that’s an entirely different story: one I’m not allowed to tell.)
But anyway, they’ve been hanging around for the last couple of weeks. Work has been incredibly frustrating, but since I have an acknowledged addiction to continuing to get a paycheck, I won’t go into details. The specifics don’t matter anyway. There will always be something. That’s how work life works. That’s why they call it ‘work’ instead of ‘screwing around doing fun things.’ Sufficed to say it’s not healthy, in a mental hygiene sense, to spend your days trying to outwit the witless — to try to beat a system that really isn’t a system because there are no rules that endure from one day to the next. You really start to question yourself: “Is this place really that screwed up, or is it me? Is there something I’m missing? Something I ought to be doing?”
Loneliness joined the party yesterday. Not loneliness, really, but the memory of loneliness. When I dropped Carla off at the airport yesterday, a lot of bad old memories came flooding back. It made an already difficult day that much more surreal. I wasn’t alone all day. I work with entirely pleasant people, and there is a lot of laughter around here. The good kind, not the gallows humor kind. But the intensity of my reaction early in the morning was enough. It opened the door.
So I had my three visitors who came in like old buddies who you used to hang out with but eventually decided to leave behind because they weren’t good for you. We revisited some old habits. Ones involving food. A couple of birthdays were being celebrated and there was food. Cheese balls that contained the precise amount of crack necessary to be addictive. Caramel covered peanuts. Them’s good grazing. A bit of cake. Oh, and pizza for lunch. By the time I left work, I was anything but hungry.
So of course I picked up some BBQ to take home with me. Big ol’ plate of it.
An odd thing happened when I was eating that later in the evening. I was about half done and I was saying to myself that I should stop because I was getting full. I even set it aside. Maybe finish it later in the weekend.
And then I said to myself that I shouldn’t.
And this is the important part of the story because this is where I kicked out my visitors. I could have gone the self-pity route. I could have gone the self-loathing route. I could have rationalized it by putting what I had away and having it later. Heck, I could have even thrown it away and patted myself on the back for some act of courage. Instead I went with the physical revulsion route. I forced myself to finish what I was eating. It was unpleasant. I wanted it to be unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, what was left wasn’t a freakishly large amount or anything, but it was more than I wanted right then.
There was a time that gorging myself like that would have given me psychological pleasure, but this time it was anything but pleasure. Whatever psychological lift the eating had given me was long gone, and all that was left was the reality of the behavior. I tasted everything and it didn’t taste that good. It had earlier. It didn’t now. I finished and looked at the empty to-go container and said “Well, I’m glad that’s done with.”
I stayed up a few more hours to let things digest, then went to bed.
When I got up this morning the last thing I wanted to do was eat. I wanted to get to the pool. I wanted to do my five shakes, a bar and a whole lot of water. I wanted to move and to get to work and start taking on some of the crap I’ve been dealing with head on. When I hit the pool I attacked each exercise. I went at each one as hard as I could. I went back and did some over just because I could. Because I wanted to. Because I could. Because I liked it. All the reasons I like to eat, but without the downside.
I was in the water about an hour and a quarter all together. Maybe six or seven of that spent on stretching and such. The rest of the time was work. And it felt good. Much better than the eating the day before.
It’s about 5:30 PM now and I’ve been pecking away at this now and then when I get a chance. I’m a little hungry. Not super hungry, but a little. After being so stuffed last night, it feels kind of good. Love it when a plan comes together.
It’s been a busier than expected day. Mostly good stuff, and the not good stuff is so typical that it barely registers anymore. I have been 100% compliant today and I plan to stay that way. I feel better today than I did yesterday, and that’s why my three little demons have gone. Sure, I miss Carla, but she’s coming home Sunday and missing someone is different than being lonely. Anxiety? Anger? If you’re not one of these things in this world, you’re not paying attention. The question is what you do with it. Yesterday I ate it. Today I left it in the pool.
I like today better.
Which is why I know tomorrow will be fine.