Long and kind of choppy

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So, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  That’s what we talked about in our WW meeting this evening.  How people were going to reduce the total number of points that that one dinner costs them.  Me?  Doesn’t matter.  Not going.  Nope.  No Thanksgiving here.  It will be just another regular day.  Why?  Let me explain.

All my life food has been an issue.  The making of food, the eating of food, the burning off of food.  There have been endless comments about food.  Endless, heart-hurting comments about weight, personal appearance, motivation, laziness, body image.  There have been newspaper clippings and magazine articles about the same that show up in my mailbox unsolicited from my grandparents, so that even when they weren’t around to criticize me, I would know they had been thinking about it.  Shame from afar.  Nice.  Anyway, you name it, I’ve heard it (or been forced to read it).  I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I’m just telling you how it’s been.  So it boggles my mind that on 3 days out of the year (Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas), that this food and weight obsessed family of mine chooses to let one meal rule an entire day (or two or three).  I just don’t get it.  I don’t get the hypocrisy.  I don’t get the complete shift in ideals.  And I don’t need the aggravation or the stress.  I don’t need the comments; if I’m reasonable in portion size, I get commentary about portion control and if I indulge, I get calorie, fat and nutritional commentary about what’s on my plate.  Over the years, I have come to not even enjoy the actual food that these holidays are associated with.  The turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes and salads are all just a bitter reminder that I am not now, nor will I ever be, the person that my grandparents had hoped for.  I know that’s putting a lot of responsibility on a cooked bird, but at this point, I don’t think I could even choke it down.  If I were going.  Which I’m not. 

So, here’s how I see next weekend happening.  There will definitely be Starbucks.  There will definitely be a movie or two.  There will be at least one pajama day.  There will be toenail painting and napping and tea drinking and music downloading and bubble bathing and hockey watching and anything else that I can think of to reinforce and reward the good in me and the good job that I’ve been doing.  I am going to turn this Thanksgiving, into a Lady-Shanny-Love-Fest.  And it will NOT revolve around food.  I will be thankful for everything that I have and all that I’ve done.  I will be thankful for my friends, for this website, for hockey, for my bird, for my weight loss, for getting rid of baggage, for my mom and my sister.  I will toast my thankfulness with my pink water bottle and my thankfulness will be no less important or meaningful just because there is no ‘occassion food’.

I don’t feel like I’m quite done writing yet, so we’ll move onto another topic.

I don’t want to freak anyone out, but this website is completely honest, so here goes!  Last year at this time I started to struggle with what would ultimately turn into a very black depression.  When I finally went to my doctor, I admitted to him that I was having some ‘not good’ thoughts.  I described it in detail to him (I feel no such desire to do that again) and he diagnosed me with moderate to severe depression with a serving of ‘involuntary self-harm’ (like the food reference?).  A lot of really crappy stuff happened all at once and I was nowhere near able to deal with it.  We had a large number of people let go from my company (downsizing).  They didn’t let them go all at once, they sort of scattered it over a period of months, so just when you had adjusted to the last 3 or 4 people to leave and had stopped thinking about it, they did it again.  Then, on November 3rd, we had a major explosion at our plant that seriously injured one of our employees, a friend of mine.  He was admitted to VGH with first, second and third degree burns and ultimately had to have skin graft surgery.  I spent a lot of time driving back and forth to the hospital (30 minutes each way) so that he wouldn’t be alone.  I saw some gruesome injuries on a close friend.  I watched this friend be in pain and there was nothing I could do.   I watched a big, muscular boy lay in a hospital bed.  That killed me!  Not to mention that this was the same time that I was working my tooshy off to keep our customers satisfied.  During this time, I was really torn about ‘the guy’ and my feelings and actions.  I was trying to soak up every minute I could with him because somehow our relationship had changed and I felt worse about the whole thing that I had to date and strangely every encounter that we had, I just felt a little crappier.  I tried to put a good spin on it in my head, but I wasn’t fooling myself.  Then, in January, a very good friend of mine was let go from the company.  He was told that his job as Plant Superintendant had been eliminated but that if he wanted to keep employment with the company, he would go work back east.  This friend had just recently purchased a house with his girlfriend and so was commuting every weekend from here to North Carolina.  In the short time that he was in that job, we had become ‘chat-buddies’.  We talked about everything all the time and regardless of topic, always managed to laugh in the end.  I felt his absence so vividly in the first couple of months that it made my heart ache.   So I was the walking wounded.  Literally.  I never missed a day of work, no one ever knew.  Or so I thought.  The spur to go to the doctor was that I had missed a bunch of our beer league hockey games in a row and I didn’t really care but I was getting calls from some of the guys on the team asking where I was.  Also, some random guy at work came up to me and asked me if I was alright because my ‘eyes look sad these days’.  And so, I became one of millions of medicated depressed people.  Thank God!  Thank God that there is medication for that.  Thank God that medication has come such a long way as to be so incredibley effective with few side effects.  Thank God that for one brief second, the black cloud lifted and I saw enough light to shine the way to the doctor’s office. 

So why am I telling this story?  Because Thanksgiving fell right around the time that I was feeling my worst, but was as yet unmedicated.  I remember going to my mom’s and how terrible I felt and how sad and…..well, terrible.  If you’ve never been in this place, I can’t describe it to you.  If you have, you know how sad and drown-y and absent it feels.  It’s different than just being a little blue.  It’s a full-body, helpless, devoid place to be.  I had never been there before and I do NOT want to EVER go back.  I was fortunate, I was able to get over the worst of it with medication and then go off the anti-depressants within 6 months.  I think these last few weeks have been the final stage of the recovery.  But, I am a little gunshy and I’m not willing to set myself up for a situation that I know is going to tax my emotional reserve.  And that is another reason why I’m not going to Thanksgiving.  I hope that eventually I won’t associate that holiday with the culmination of a bunch of really bad stuff, but if I do, I will just continue to make that weekend Lady-Shanny-Love-Fest.  Gifts accepted!

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10 Comments

  1. Ms. Karen said,

    October 2, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Yaaaaaah! The food things! As a youngster my mother would put me on diets because I was a chunky little thing. Of course, she would also fix dessert and portion control was, well, there was no control. Read: no leftovers.

    I’ve always had issues with food, and because I’m far from dainty, I hate the family gatherings where food is the focus. Especially when I’ve spent the day cooking my arse off, haven’t eaten a damn thing that whole time, then load my plate at the table and suffer “the looks.” It’s hard to enjoy food when you know every bite is measured.

    Recently I talked to my chiropractor and he suggested this diet from Australia, “Ultra Lite.”

    Yeah, it’s one of those where you eat very little and have to take suppliments. Ok, wait, how about we eat a little bit less of what we have been eating, but enough to nourish our bodies, and skip the stupid suppliments? ARGH!

    I have found that there are times when I MUST have chocolate. I would go into the kitchen and say, “I cannot have chocolate because I’m on a diet” then eat everything else in sight just to cure the craving. It didn’t help. So, I bought a bag of kisses and if I crave the chocolate, I have two kisses. The craving stops and I’m not out foraging in the kitchen and eating anything slower than me.

    Your reasons for staying away from Thanksgiving are sound and I hope you can stick to your guns and not succumb to any guilt they may try and slip under your door.

    P.S., I really like the theme of your blog. It’s very nice. The color rocks.

    Take care.

  2. willamina said,

    October 3, 2007 at 6:58 am

    your plan for thanksgiving sounds very reasonable, healthy, and well-thought-out. good for you!

    also, i have been in that dark place you describe from last year. sometimes i still revisit it. i’ve been on various medications to treat mood disorders for about 8 years now and it’s always great to read about someone coming out of depression. so thank you for sharing that. and do treat yourself kindly. maybe when i feel a bit tougher i will share about the very worst times in my struggle with depression.

  3. Lady Shanny said,

    October 3, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Girls rock! Willamina and Ms. Karen, you girls ROCK!

    Ms Karen: You said what I couldn’t seem to find the words to say last night about enjoyment of the food through the ‘looks’. The constant judgement, even when they aren’t saying anything doesn’t exactly enhance the meal. And what the hell kind of doctor recommends a starvation diet? Je*&s Murphy! When will people get it? IT DOESN’T WORK! That makes me want to go and scream it from the rooftops. You are MAKING IT WORSE in the long run. ARRRG!

    Williamina: I have found that the honesty that I force out of myself for this website is incredibly helpful. That said, I couldn’t have done it until now, I wasn’t ready. So when you are ready, I’ll be here to listen/read with no judgement. And take your own advice, darling. Treat yourself kindly!

  4. MamaBearJune said,

    October 3, 2007 at 11:01 am

    I am so sorry your family treated you like that. I think you are smart to just avoid the whole situation. I’ve battled depression before and it most definitely is not a good place to be. My daughter has struggled with it, too, mainly after we moved from TX to CO. I’m glad you got the meds you needed.
    On my blog, I constantly sing the praises of “The Abs Diet for Women” which is not really a “diet.” It’s a lifetime of eating healthy and eating foods that help you LOSE weight. It’s helped me tremendously!
    I’ll be praying that you will be able to make Thanksgiving a joy-filled holiday with lots to be thankful for.

  5. JanB said,

    October 3, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I wish that I had the strength and courage to do what you are doing for Thanksgiving. I will be suffering through making a huge meal for everyone and not being able to eat what I really would normally have. But I have plans. I am going to make all of my own favorite things that are good for me now and have them instead. Maybe I will even splurge and get shrimp and broccoli from the chinese place and while they are all stuffing themselves, I will be knowing that I will get on the scale the next day and cheer. I will not have screwed myself.

    You do what you need to do for yourself. That’s important.

  6. Lady Shanny said,

    October 3, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Again, GIRLS ROCK!

    MamaBearJune, thank you so much for the prayer. That NEVER comes amiss. I’ll be checking out your website after dinner. And the family? It’s really only my grandparents and they aren’t horrible people, just really misguided. Unfortunately their mis-guided-ness has wreaked havoc in me.

    JanB, it really did take some courage to decide to just forget about the family dinner. I am a people pleaser. I don’t like making waves and I don’t like disappointing people. I worried that by my saying ‘Not going’ that they would think it was an opening to try and convince me/beg me to come. But I am first. And nothing terrible will happen if we don’t all sit around the table and eat turkey together. You, enjoy that shrimp and brocoli. It should taste even better sprinkled with that pride about getting on the scale the next day. I do not believe there is any reason to void an entire week of hard work for one dinner. Honestly, who thought this crap up?

    Rock on ladies!

  7. Bev said,

    October 3, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    What they do to you doesn’t just ruin it for you….know what I mean?

  8. Tarable said,

    October 3, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    This is kind of dark and not a cheer-you-up kind of post – but it’s about depression and how it feels.

    http://moneymakesthespermgoround.blogspot.com/2007/04/depression.html

    Sometimes you can take comfort in knowing that others can relate.

  9. Tarable said,

    October 3, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    And I know that by posting that link that I take the risk of some people who know me IRL will know that that is one of my blogs.

    I only ask that if you read it and you know me, you respect my personal privacy – especially at work. It’s a very sensitive part of my life.

  10. Lady Shanny said,

    October 3, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Tarable! I’m moved to tears! That should be published anywhere and everywhere for everyone to read. Anyone who has ever suffered, who knows someone who has suffered or who has given someone who is suffering some uneducated, unwarranted ‘advice’ should read that.

    That was very brave of you to put the link up here. As for the person that we know in real life? He will definitely NOT be saying ANYTHING to you about it. He is an decent, considerate man….don’t worry about that…….


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