November 16, 2010

Honesty

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A few days ago, Amy gave me an award on her blog. honest scrap award It's for honest blogs, and I'm very grateful for receiving this award.

I'd like to pass it on to Jess (whose honesty I admired greatly when she decided to stop posting her weight with her DDGbD updates, saying it took the focus away from her fitness progress), Lesley (who is amazingly honest with describing her struggles with binge eating), Jayme (whose Fat Jayme/Fit Jayme conversations I can completely relate to), and Tim (who talks about his experiences at the gym with incredible ... detail, let's just say that).

And so, here are ten honest things about me and my life:

(1) I am always completely honest in this blog. Which may not sound like much, but in my real life, if you met me on the street and asked what my name is, you're likely to get any of a thousand responses not including Mary.

I do this because (2) I hate feeling exposed and vulnerable. Saying my name is Helen or Judy allows me to feel an odd sense of protection.

And that's one of the reasons why I think I have hit this emotional wall this week - (3) now that I'm losing weight, I am starting to feel unsafe. Not necessarily physically unsafe, but more mentally and emotionally. I'm losing the physical shield that I've used for so long to make myself "invisible." People are starting to talk to me, to sit next to me on the bus. And that scares me.

(4) For the longest time, I believed that my obesity was going to kill me, likely before I turned 30. At 23, I was in the winter of my life. And now that my terminal sentence has been overturned and it appears that I'm going to live, there are new things I am going to have to deal with. I'm no longer a hopeless fat depressed person - I'm taking control of the fat part - which leaves me with the depression I've ignored for so long.

So, (5) yesterday I called and made an appointment to talk to a therapist. I already feel a little better knowing I have a plan and that I'm going to talk to someone who specialises in exactly what I'm dealing with.

I haven't seen a therapist in years. We used to go after my parents got divorced, and then (6) I was required to go to therapy my freshman year in college because of a very deep depression. I did *not* attempt suicide, though I spent a night in the hospital getting observed. I was just really swamped with all the new changes in my life - going to college, living away from home, meeting new people, etc. - and it was too much for me to handle. I'm alright with one change at a time, but too many can get me feeling overwhelmed.

I'm really glad I got help then, and that I am going to get help now. I can't do this on my own just now, and I want to take care of things before they get more serious. (7) There is a history of serious mental illness in my family, including an uncle who got so overwhelmed with stress that he had a mental breakdown and became schizophrenic. I'm very aware of these genetic strikes against me, and so usually when stress gets to me, I have become very good at recognizing that I need to step back and take care of myself for a while. This time, with my weight loss, it is a bigger problem than I can handle on my own, and it will be an issue for a long time, so I am calling in some reinforcement.

My appointment is next Monday, and so to tide me over until then, I got a little notebook and started taking notes about things I'd like to bring up. For example, any specific weights I remember from growing up - specifically (8) the 100-lb. gain in the two years after my parents got divorced, which was the birthplace of my problems with binge eating disorder.

I'm very hopeful about therapy, and I'm really looking forward to posting some good news here again. (9) Writing in this blog has been crucial to my success so far - so many times I have given up because the task seemed so daunting and I felt so alone on my journey. I didn't think I was strong enough to go it alone. The incredible support I get from my blog community has helped me see that this is not only something I can do, but that I am never alone through this. I love your advice, your critiques, your empathetic stories, and even just your readership.

These have been some pretty heavy honest things, I admit. So, lastly, a silly one. (10) I was once on the Disney Channel. When I was in middle school, I was part of a puppeteer troupe that taught third graders about AIDS (nothing heavy since they were so young, mostly stuff like "you can't catch it by holding hands"), and we were filmed as part of a Disney-produced documentary about AIDS. I'm on screen for a total of about three seconds, but still, it's my favorite thing to stump people with when playing Two Truths and A Lie.

6 comments:

A Girl Who Loves Cupcakes said...

Hi, I got here by way of Amy and I just wanted to say that I love your honesty. I myself have problems with anxiety and stress and have to be medicated. Though, I haven't met a therapist I've liked, I've got a great online support network that I can talk to when things get too stressful for me. I look forward to reading about how your therapy goes, maybe I will try again to find one that I like.

Jessica said...

Thanks for passing the award to me :) Very sweet of you! Good luck as you begin your therapy. I think it will be great to have someone to discuss the emotional changes.

Amy said...

This post makes me smile. Mainly because I think you have such a good head on your shoulders - more than you probably know. You are handling every wall you hit with such a logical and rational approach. I think therapy is so important for anyone who struggles with anything. I think mental health is all too often taboo.

I really wish I could afford a therapist or had benefits that included one!

I've read quite a few of these now, and can't believe the way it brings out this deep emotional stuff!

Life as a Caterpillar said...

Aw, thanks for the mention Mary! I was trying to think of a topic to blog on tonight rather than just 'here's what i've done this week, here's what i weigh this week' and now i have something i can write about! Thank you!

xx
lesley

Tim said...

Thanks for giving me the award! Wow! I didn't even have to pay you to give me this award either. Sweeeeeet! LOL

Seriously though, I really do appreciate it when my blog gets recognised by other bloggers. The only reason I probably wrote on here is because of the fantastic people who comment on my blog and offer lots of great advice. I can see why people enjoy being part of this blogging community.

I just want to say that I think your blog is excellent and your posts are filled with honesty, passion and come from the heart.Keep up the great blog, I really do enjoy reading it and good luck!

jayme @ Losing Half My Weight said...

thanks for the award, mary! now i need to figure out how to get it on my page. :o)

wow...what a great post and i'm sorry that it's taken me a few days to respond. i'm intrigued by your statement about feeling unsafe.....and i'm curious if i'll encounter that since the safety thing has been such a big part of my journey thus far.

but i'm super-proud of you for booking an appointment with a therapist and facing the depression issue head-on. lots of good can come out of that, so i'll look forward to hearing about your progress. hang in there! you are and will continue to be triumphant!