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October 2017

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sorrow

Not a good day.

I've been crying a lot today. I think/hope it's just my usual monthly bout of major depression. But it seems to have been triggered by this article "The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study -- the Largest Public Health Study You Never Heard Of"

Basically, Dr. Vincent Felitti needed to find out why 50% of the participants in his obesity clinic dropped out. The first surprise was that the people who dropped out were loosing weight. Why would people who were succeeding in the program quit? He started interviewing the drop outs and discovered that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) were very common, and that these experiences are linked to every major chronic illness and social problem that the United States My ACE score is 3.

The obese people that Felitti was interviewing were 100, 200, 300, 400 pounds overweight, but they didn't see their weight as a problem. To them, eating was a solution. (There's a reason an IV drug user calls a dose a "fix".)

One way it was a solution is that it made them feel better. Eating soothed their anxiety, fear, anger or depression - it worked like alcohol or tobacco or methamphetamines. Not eating increased their anxiety, depression, and fear to levels that were intolerable.

The other way it helped was that, for many people, just being obese solved a problem. In the case of the woman who'd been raped, she felt as if she were invisible to men. In the case of a man who'd been beaten up when he was a skinny kid, being fat kept him safe, because when he gained hundreds of pounds, nobody bothered him. In the case of another woman -- whose father told her while he was raping her when she was 7 years old that the only reason he wasn't doing the same to her 9-year-old sister was because she was fat -- being obese protected her. Losing weight increased their anxiety, depression, and fear to levels that were intolerable.

For some people, both motivations were in play.


That pretty much describes me. Eating is immediately soothing to my constant stress. And being fat makes me feel safe from male aggression.

I have been working on trying to change my self-soothing behaviors. But that is hard. They say that addicts need to "hit bottom" before they can change. I can see that. You need to reach a point where your coping strategy is causing more pain than it is is relieving before it is worthwhile to change it. Where that tipping point is depends on how much pain the strategy is treating.

My stress levels used to be so bad I couldn't even see them. It was like those bars on a stereo that measure the sound, my stress sensors were so maxed out they never moved. Now that I'm on 375mg of Effexor daily, my stress levels have decreased to a level where I can actually see movement. Some days are better than others. I can tell if something is stressing me and step back.

Then there is the blood sugar and crossed wires. When I haven't eaten in while I start to feel irritable and have trouble concentrating. When I'm hungry I feel angry. (I've been like that since high school at least. Being diagnosed with diabetes was a relief. It finally confirmed a blood sugar problem I had known I had for years.) And when something happens that makes me feel angry or sad my stomach hurts. Eating makes my stomach feel better. When I'm angry I feel hungry. In either case eating makes me feel better immediately.

Then there is the protection of the weight. I remember an incident in high school where some boys picked up a girl and dumped her into a trash can. I remember thinking that I was glad I was heavy enough that they couldn't do that to me. I couldn't make myself grow taller but I could make myself heavier. That was also when I started dressing like a boy. I was really hoping that if I could look and act like a boy I would not get raped or suffer any of the other abuse men heap on women. Unfortunately my breasts really prevented me from ever passing as a man. But that didn't stop me from trying.

People have been telling me that my weight is bad for my health since I was a teenager. Unfortunately, I suffer from major depression. Once a month I really want to be dead. Dying is my fall back position if things get too bad. Telling me that my behavior might kill me at some unspecific time in the future is just another perk for me. When I'm depressed I want to be dead. At least I won't be in pain anymore. It sounds like a good plan.

My friends keep telling me that they will be sad when I'm dead and they want me to put it off as long as possible. And I appreciate that. When I'm depressed knowing that people care about me really does help. It's hard to complain that no one cares abut you when you have have someone to complain to. :) But friends don't pay your rent (most of the time. I have had friends put me up when I was unemployed) Luckily for me my mom is willing to subsidize my rent, I literally don't know where I would be without her. But at the end of the day I go to bed alone.

I wish I could just shut my head off on the bad days. I would try to sleep through it but I end up tossing and turning and crying. It's hard to breathe through a C-PAP when you are crying. I should really talk to my doctor about Valium for those days.

I'll look into some "coping with trauma" books. The only "coping with anxiety" strategies that helped were deep breathing and just recognizing that I was feeling anxious, I hope the trauma books have more to offer. (One of the recommended coping mechanisms is connecting with people and community. Too bad most of my anxiety is triggered by people.)

Comments

Divine Intervention

Can we try it? A healing circle? I'm down. You bear enormous burdens my dearest. I pray the God and Goddess help you to bear them. I have a toxic relationship with food as well, and I'm dealing with it as well. I hope and pray you live for a long time because you bring such joy to my sojourn here on Earth.

Re: Divine Intervention

Connecting is supposed to help, so yes. Did you and Barb pick a date for our next meeting?

Re: Divine Intervention

Right with you here. And I will second the chemical assistance. You've lived under such stress and fear your whole life. Sometimes a pill helps. Sometimes it helps a LOT. Talk to your doctor and see what they can give you. Provided, of course, it doesn't interfere with your other medications.
People come and people go. Sometimes they die and are gone forever. But, provided you have the means, there is always food.

So yeah, I fill massive voids in my life with food. And I am sorry you have so much pain in your life, Zahde.
You are one of the people who has been very generous and nurturing for me when I needed it. Thank you.

I'm greedy-I want more of you, for longer, too!

Because you really, REALLY add to the world, unlike so many others I see you only detract from it.....sounds like you are going through really soul-searing emotions, and hope anything I say only helps, because I would never ever want to make your pain worse.

Re: I'm greedy-I want more of you, for longer, too!

Thank you. :)
I have had success with EMDR therapy...but i am unsure if it's the emdr itself, or if it's the accompanying meditations that go along with it. It's still under peer review as a therapy, i think, but it's worked for me, specifically in dealing with trauma and defusing the tension that goes along with the PTSD aspect of it.

I, too, am comforted by my weight and can only do so much and lose so much before i freak out. I've decided to keep going until i get a little nervous but not actually at the freakout stage, and then hold it there as long as i can...until i get comfortable enough to head to the next level.

I'm only having moderate success. I feel like i like my weight at present, and i would like to lose more, but i can't make the gym a high enough priority yet. I'm working on that mindset...but it's really a slow process, and one stranger flirting with me yanks me months backwards.

What i'm saying is, you're certainly not alone, and i think i feel some of the things you feel, and i'm sorry you feel them too, and i love you. I think you are a beautiful person and a gentle soul. But most importantly, i love you.