[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, February 15, 2012]
Today was therapy session day . . .
I brought the viola with me because I wanted to stop by the music store while I was in the “big city” to get the broken string replaced. We have been experiencing a frigid cold snap this week and our temperatures are staying well below freezing, even during the warmest part of the day. So, I carried the viola with me into the conscious business group and subsequently into Edward’s office so it wouldn’t have to sit in my car in the extreme cold.
Also, I wanted the people at the music store to help me with my tuning issue . . . that would be hard for them to do if the instrument was extremely cold when I showed up to the music store with it. So . . . I just carried it around with me all morning.
Anyway . . . Edward and I went through our usual greetings and I kicked off our conversation by filling him in on the latest news tidbits . . . I told him I’ve been doing a bit better with not binging and I’ve been going to the gym some . . . I’ve been getting more stuff done because the depression hasn’t been as intense lately . . . I told him about my blog being involved in the doctorial candidate’s research for her dissertation . . .
And, I told him about the developments with the personal trainer, Kyle . . . that I had had a conversation with him about him working with me on my fitness . . . and that I had done research on him and had discovered he has dealt with some tough stuff in his life, which leads me to believe he could handle my emotions that may come up for me when (and if) we work together . . . that he seems to be a pretty “awake” guy . . .
Me: I think he would be good to work with . . . I think he will be a good fit for me.
Edward: Congratulations on reaching out for help from a quality resource!
Me: Thank you!
Edward: I’m curious . . . what would you like to gain from hiring a personal trainer?
Me: Well, I really enjoy doing activities like hiking, dancing . . . playing racquetball . . . rock climbing . . . stuff like that. Right now, I can’t do them because when I do, I can last for about five minutes and then I’m too exhausted to continue. I exhaust so easily because I’m so overweight and out of shape. I haven’t been able to do those things for years – since I’ve been in therapy.
Hiking is so important to me, it is such a spiritual thing for me – it is my church. I ache so intensely to get back out there into the mountains. But, I’m out of shape and I get out of breath so easily . . .
But, it is more than that . . . I could go walking on level ground and then I could last longer . . . it is more that I have trouble pulling myself out of the depression mode and getting out there to hike. It takes so much effort to do that . . . it is all I can do to just take care of the minimum day-to-day stuff . . . basically, I’m in survival mode most of the time.
Anyway . . . I’m hoping I’ll feel better if I work out on a regular basis . . . if I work out effectively . . . I think I’ll feel better and be more inclined to do that kind of stuff if I’m in better shape.
Edward: So, am I hearing that one of your goals is to lose weight?
Me: Well, of course! Part of being able to do that stuff would be I would need to lose weight so I could do them . . . and I want to feel better and be healthier and not binge eat.
Edward: Am I understanding you to say that you still binge-eat?
Me: Yes. When I’m overwhelmed with emotion – like after a session – I’ll numb the emotions with ice cream.
Edward: After our last session, did you binge?
Me: Yes, the last session kicked off another binge. In the weeks before our last session, I had not been binging for the most part, so the session revved it up again. But, it was not that bad of a binge, thankfully.
Edward: How long has binge-eating been part of your life? Did it start in childhood, or later in adulthood . . . ??
Me: I guess it has been part of my life to some extent since I was about ten or eleven years old . . . I was earning my own money and could buy candy without my parents knowing . . . I would sneak the candy into the house and eat it under my covers after everyone had gone to bed. That’s when I discovered it had a calming effect on me. I’ve continued using sugar – especially chocolate – in that way ever since.
Since I’ve been in therapy, I’ve been binging like I’ve never binged before and I’ve gained something like 50 pounds in that time. I think it has been worse since I started therapy because the therapy work has been intense – I’m dealing with some pretty tough stuff.
But, also, before I started therapy, I had other numbing mechanisms . . . or maybe they were distractions that kept me from having to pay attention to my emotions . . .
Edward: For example . . . ??
Me: Men . . .
I spent a lot of time dressing up, putting on make-up, going out to the bars, dancing, drinking, flirting . . . going home with random guys and having drunk sex . . .
Then, there came a time when I got disenchanted with all of that and stopped it – I started therapy shortly after that. Stopping those behaviors removed a huge coping mechanism . . . I was left with eating and picking my skin as my only established numbing mechanisms.
At that point, I withdrew from the social scene and went into this kind of hibernation . . . I would go on two- to three-week binges where literally, everyday, all I would eat would be twinkies, ice cream and coke . . . I mean, literally, that is all would eat for several weeks until my body would totally shut down.
Before I got into therapy, I had never binged like that. But, now I do . . . although, in the past few months, I’m not doing the really “bad” binges . . . it’s more like maintenance binging . . . a little bit each night before I go to bed as a way to deal with everything . . . I usually binge more right after a therapy session.
Edward: Was that the case when you were in therapy with Mark?
Me: Yes. Although, I was still drinking some when I was in therapy in Mark . . . I’d go to the bars and flirt . . . but, I wouldn’t go home with anyone . . . that was the last vestiges of my promiscuous behavior. And then I stopped doing even that much.
Edward: How long were you in therapy with Mark?
Me: Eight months the first time, then I was away from him for a year, during which I had a couple of months with Dr. Barb. Then, I went back to Mark for two or three months, and then I started working with you right after that.
A lull moved into our conversation . . . I found myself wondering why he had taken us down that line of questioning. I’m not sure if he was gathering information to help himself put the pieces together – the cause and effect – in his own mind, or if he was trying to get me to talk through this history as a way to help me develop my own understanding of my own story . . .
If the latter was the case, the conversation was in vain . . . I didn’t gain any additional insight. Hopefully he did.
[Continued in the next post . . . ]