Friday, September 27, 2013

Breaking habits

I had an appointment with my therapist this past week.  It had been some time since I saw her last because I had to cancel with her twice and it takes a very long time to get another appointment.  So we had a lot of catching up to do.  We talked about me being on the Jenny Craig program now, the fact that I am sleeping very well these days and the impact on my overall health (in a positive direction).  She was very happy with how things are going and then said, "Kathy, how can I help you to continue moving forward?"  In that moment, it felt like she was about to do what other therapists have done in the past - end our sessions.  That's not all what she said, but that's what I was interpreting.  Whenever I have sought therapy in the past, things would definitely get better but then it felt like the therapist would want to fade out of the picture since it appeared like I no longer needed them.  Yet, that's completely opposite of what I need if I'm being completely honest.

When I think about sharing my life with someone, whether that is a therapist, friend or man, it takes me time to get everything out.  There are huge trust issues for me, so I begin slowly and, the more I'm comfortable, the more that comes out.  During the session, we talked about how I was severely abused as a child, sexually abused as a teen and the impact those things have had on my relationships with people and with food.  Food was the avenue that I used to help me cope with intense feelings and took me away to another place where I didn't have to feel or hope or dream.  It had the ability to numb me out.  In the same way alcohol is the alcoholic, food is a drug to me.  Obviously I can't just stop eating because I need food to sustain my life, but now it's about being healthier and changing bad habits into good ones.  So when the therapist asked me how she can help me, I thought about it for a minute and told her I need continued help with changing negative behavior.

How exactly can negative behaviors be turned into positive ones?  That seems like the question of the ages
for me.  My therapist told me it takes practice, practice, practice.  She was encouraging, though, because she said it is possible to do.  It won't be easy, especially with behaviors that have been a part of me for my entire life, but with honesty and patience, it is within reach for me.  I have always gone to food to cope and one of the biggest reasons is my lack of love and respect for myself.  For other people, I can give of myself one hundred percent, without question.  My friends and family know I am always there for them, for whatever they need, and that I will love and support them unfailingly.  Yet, when it comes to myself, it seems as though I live by different rules.  When I look in the mirror, I convince myself that I'm ugly, that I'm not smart enough, that I'm really an unlovable creature.  Do I want to admit that?  No, but it's my truth if I'm being as honest as I know how to be.  I convince myself of that when I think about how my ex-boyfriend treated me and how other men seem to not be interested in me.  My ex used to always tell me how beautiful I was to him and I never believed him.  Perhaps I didn't want to believe him.  I convince myself that I'm alone a lot of the time because friends don't want to hang out with me, not because they're busy with their families or that I had been busy with school.  There's just such a huge part of me that believes things have to be perfect, even though intellectually I really do know that things can't be perfect.

As I move forward with my therapy sessions, I need to continue to speak my truth, no matter how painful that might be.  It means I need to say out loud the things I have thought about myself in private.  The things that I don't want to talk about are the very things I must talk about.  Otherwise, I will continue doing the weight loss dance for the rest of my life.  It's like a literal cha-cha-cha with the scale ... up, down, up, down, cha-cha-cha.  I know there are so many people out there in the world, even those reading my words right in this very moment, who understand precisely what I'm talking about.  It's a dance to a song that never seems to end, one that makes you exhausted and you wrinkle your nose every time the tune is played on the radio.  As the title to my blog always reminds me, now is finally the time.  I will only be victorious if I take the skeleton out of the closet and own where I'm at, even when it's unpleasant.  I have come leaps and bounds in so many ways, so I know that if I continue to stay the course and not back down out of fear, I will continue jumping over the hurdles that I encounter.  It's so crazy to me that I'm just spilling my guts all over this blog, but I have to say that this is incredibly healing for me and, I hope, for you, too.


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