Day 106

6PM:

I was ready to stop at Day 100.  I rethought that today.

I was tied up in knots about a couple of phone calls coming down today (my brother’s involuntary hold being appealed, a giant project grant).  I had lunch with Workout Friend and had trouble sharing food (he didn’t want it anyway, but it took some effort to offer him some of my food, which I want to and usually do = connects to the Day 103 entry about not realizing my feelings, especially hunger).  I tried testing my one-rep-max today, as my grandfather’s workout schedule dictates, but I just didn’t have enough energy to do it (psychological and physical wear will do that to you).

Clearly, some of my strategies aren’t working.  My stress level is riding high right now.  My threads are very worn.  I have three candles to burn and one more to add for today.  My body was crying out for some reprieve, my mind screaming for a way to ameliorate this crumpling-up, this feeling of being scrunched in a giant elastic ball…

I wanted to write.  Not only did I want to write, but I felt that without writing, I would not be able to sort out the discombobulation that is my head right now.

That’s kind of cool; it shows the power of habit.  When I didn’t let autopilot guide my writing (writing sporadically – at best – and when I NEEDED to, which is what I had done for the four years preceding these 106 days, as opposed to every day), but instead made a conscious effort to do it as a tool, it became a habit.  Now, it has become something that I miss – and moreover, something that my emotional stability and mental well-being misses – when I don’t write.  I find this when I don’t work out or do a cardio session for a couple of days, but I always chalked it up to the eating disorder parts of my brain.  Maybe I now write because it is the tool in my belt, always on hand and constantly in use, as opposed to the one in my toolbox, taken out when the job requires.  Maybe I don’t need to feel self-conscious about wanting to work out, because it falls under the same umbrella (it is funny how the need for writing doesn’t cause this anxiety, but physically-based tools do).  Maybe it is just my mental health needing it.

I have made my mental health a priority and now, I understand how it feels when my screws are loose and I’m not using the tools – the ones that I know I have looped into my belt – to tighten them, to make them right (AKA righty tighty!).

Day 105

8:30AM:

I did it!  I had a reasonable amount of alcohol last night (a beer and a double of bourbon, prompted by writing “only 4 portions” on a piece of paper and sticking it to the liquor cabinet as a not-so-subtle reminder), which meant that I slept quite well, without the wakefulness or anger that has accompanied my nights for about two weeks (AN ASIDE: yes, there is a direct correlation with my brother’s situation).

I feel better, more rested.  I am glad that I was able to not get annoyed at my wife’s loud breathing as we slept.  I am grateful that I was able to wake up a half hour before my alarm and because I wasn’t annoyed, could hold my sleeping wife for that half hour as opposed to get pissed off about the noise.

However, I also feel like the sludge is more visible.  I could always see the (happy) imperfections of my house; that isn’t what I’m talking about.  I mean that the sludge – the qualities of the place that I work that make it cold, that prevent it from being a home and that make it abhorrent to my emotional self (I so very much wish that I didn’t feel that word was appropriate in this circumstance) – is clear.  I can see the people that pass by without saying hello, I see the people who ask how you are doing and don’t wait for the answer, I see the loneliness in the mirror as I wish there was more to this place.

I will grow professionally and I know that.  But my emotional self just needs to grip tight, find the happy moments (a student success, a cool project, a great lesson) and use them to carry me through the sludge.

Jeez, this was supposed to be a happier entry…

Day 104

4AM:

I have been drinking way too much recently.  I am confident enough with what I know to say that I have been drinking too much recently.  I have been having about 6 portions of alcohol a day for the last week (about 9 shots of whiskey or an entire bottle of wine).  I get to sleep very easily, but I also wake up very easily (something that much booze will do to your bladder…).

And I am angry when I do wake up…

And I am grumpy in the morning…

And I feel like crap for much of the day…

And it goes against my being emotionally connected to my wife goal…

And it goes against my strength training goal…

And I still do it…

I want to stop tonight.  Not sure how, but I will have the strength and courage to change.

Day 103

1PM:

Right now, as I wait for my lunch to finish microwaving, I am asking myself whether or not restrictive-based eating (as I’ve said before, any system of eating is) has restricted my cognizance of my hunger.

For example, I would not say that I am extremely hungry right now, even though I haven’t eaten since 7AM.  However, I just yelled in the air at the fact that I spilled a little bit of my lunch out of the microwaved bowl…  I wouldn’t exactly say that this is me having a clear mind.  This is the type of behaviour coming out of a HUNGRY PERSON.  So what does it say about my emotional cognizance and awareness that I cannot even tell that this reaction is coming?

I also found this to be the case a few days ago.  I called my grandparents to talk to them about my brother and (oh, by the way, I didn’t eat dinner and it was 8:00PM) lost my shit when my grandfather got a little overzealous about his opinions.  The opinion isn’t important, but the fact that I interrupted him and was less political about expressing my (justifiable) offence to his position, that fact is what is important right now.  This completely snuck up on me.  I didn’t think that I was capable of that level of anger and frustration at the time = lack of emotional cognizance and awareness.

Perhaps it is just when I haven’t eaten and I don’t realize how it impacts my feelings.  I can obviously connect the restrictive eating to this (again, I’m not hugely restrictive, but to someone with my predilections, it is a dangerous door to keep open; I always have the potential to fall off the slippery slope down the cliff of disordered eating habits; while we feel this is a sustainable eating pattern, it is also one that is wrought with this potential and therefore something that we have to be aware of existing and make sure that it doesn’t interfere with our goals like sharing good food together and finding interesting things/places to eat).  And maybe I can stretch this logic to when I haven’t rested and I don’t realize how it impacts my feelings.

But is everything connected?  How far can I extrapolate this logic?  Have I restricted so much (food being obvious, but I have also been putting my feelings aside about work-crap for close to 18 months and about my brother – so I can be the person he deserves – for about a month) that I am starting to get emotionally disconnected?  I will have to keep an eye on this…

Day 101/102

I’ve been thinking about what I want in my life, what we want in our lives.  After speaking with my wife about her struggles to keep her goals in mind, I suggested that she start her day in front of her hope wall, which is essentially a list of what she wants out of her life and our lives, what she wants to be.

In the same way, when I fall into the automatic way of living as opposed to conscious living, I lose sight of the goals, tools, etc.  This auto-pilot mode contains the behaviours I fall back on and get caught in when I don’t have enough time or enough energy (that’s why I’m sure this will be a reminder of previously-written goals).  If I got out of auto-pilot mode, on what would I like to focus?  When that comes to emotional/psychological things, those are easy for me to identify.  I also want to write down the physical goals, so that I can remind myself in tough times that abs aren’t more important than building connections.

GOALS FOR MY (PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, HOLISTIC) SELF

  • Be emotionally available for my wife, to have the energy to have sex and intimate conversations
    • THEREFORE… I must sit down and rest to reduce stress
  • Be able to readily connect to my feelings, connecting thoughts to them so that I can express and address them
    • THEREFORE… I must journal and take the time to understand the impact of circumstances on my feelings (level of food fuel in my system, level of fatigue)
  • Be able to look up and enjoy the things I am grateful for and appreciative of
    • THEREFORE… use my mantras to “look up” and remind my support system (especially my wife) to remind ME
  • Be happy with who I am, comfortable and not anxious with my beautiful intricacies (i.e. desire to be physically healthy, to eat healthy and good food, to explore foods and healthy living, inability to sit down for long periods of time, with what I want to read,  make decisions and trust their success/failure)
    • THEREFORE… not quite sure about this one, journaling and talking about it does seem to help though
  • Be able to run, run long and run hard
  • Be able to strength gain, so that I can continue to connect to my grandfather through his workout system
    • THEREFORE… fuel my body sufficiently to do these things, gauge my fitness based on improvements in these and not in the mirror or on the scale
    • THEREFORE… I don’t know the perfect sets and reps, my grandfather does
  • Have time to read
    • THEREFORE… prioritize/schedule it!!!

Day 100

My reasons for needing this today are inconsequential, at least in comparison to the things on this list.  In fact, the things on this list are so important to me that I won’t write much more than I need, so as to not dilute their beauty with mundane introductions:

My Happy List

Sharing food with or finding cool stuff for my girl (or pretty much anything else that will make her eyes smile)

Helping someone

Cookies and Lego with my nephew

Tea or soup when I’m perfectly cold (temperature-wise or emotionally, the latter often fixed by Mom)

Finding little reminders of people’s love and care (emails, phone messages, texts, pictures)

The first crack of fresh air into a room or the car when I’m overly stuffy

Driving through puddles (obviously with no one there, because that’s just mean)

Watching Dad be playful with the dog, reminding me that he needs to intentionally find his happy sometimes too, often with the simplest ways being the most effective

Searching others’ happy lists

Breaking down the walls and barriers and minefields (ok, that metaphor gets a little lost with the last one, but no one is perfect) that my blackness has to offer, listening to it scream for mercy and cry for its existence, until all that’s left is its gurgling, choking on its own bile

ANIMALS!

photo (2)

Day 99

8AM:

What if it were all to end tonight?  What if there was no tomorrow, no next day or next hour or next minute?  What if that last interaction was the last greeting, the last goodbye, the last show of affection?  What if there was no next chance, no opportunity to make it right?  What if it were all to end right now?

Wouldn’t I trust that everything we’ve worked on up to this point has been worth it; that I’m not a recovering recoverer but have been in recovery all along – just a single, imperfect recovery, one that (when it is about just us) gives us everything we could ask?

Would I worry about that extra piece of chocolate and not want to throw it up or that I may or may not be gaining/losing body fat?

Wouldn’t I spend the extra twenty dollars to buy a book for a friend?

Would I care that the floors have specks of fluff on them from the blankets we used to stay warm last night?

Wouldn’t I take the time to appreciate how our cats always find the warmest spot in the house, even if it is on the top of the couch cushion, awkwardly teetering between falling amongst them and toppling off the couch?

Would the world feel as abusive, the people in it as cold, their flaws as hurtful?

Wouldn’t I leave the house with nothing but love in my heart, kisses on my breath and warmth in my soul?

Would I need to be the most exhausted at the end of the week, more so than is healthy?

Wouldn’t I take the time to ask myself: what did I do to find my happy today?

When I first heard the song, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” by Alicia Keys …

If I had no more time

No more time left to be here

Would you cherish what we had?

Was it everything that you were looking for?

If I couldn’t feel your touch

And no longer were you with me

I’d be wishing you were here

To be everything that I’d be looking for

I don’t wanna forget the present is a gift

And I don’t wanna take for granted the time you may have here with me

‘Cause Lord only knows another day is not really guaranteed

So every time you hold me

Hold me like this is the last time

Every time you kiss me

Kiss me like you’ll never see me again

Every time you touch me

Touch me like this is the last time

Promise that you’ll love me

Love me like you’ll never see me again

… I was sitting at the shoulder press machine at the gym, and I cried.  Tears came to my eyes thinking of the times I have not walked into my wife’s work when I needed to have her face brighten up my dismalness, stopped by the heartbreaking betrayal of the past.  I ran in that day; that was the day I decided I was the one still suffering, that I was the one still victimized by the affair, and so I ran in and gave her a kiss, for me.

I heard it again driving to school today and it had the same effect, not making me question anything I had done particularly, but just a general view of things: what if the last time was the last time?