Monday, July 13, 2009

Stalled Labor

I had a dream Tuesday night. I was pregnant and in labor. And in labor. And in labor. For days. The labor was not progressing. I kept asking the nurses to check me and see if I was getting any closer but I wasn't. I was really frustrated. Then I made a tiny bit of progress and I remembered how much the epidural hurt. All of a sudden I began to feel really terrified about giving birth and I didn't want that baby to come out at all.
In dreams, being pregnant symbolizes an aspect of yourself that is growing and developing. You may not be ready to talk about it or act on it. It may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal. So the fact that my labor is stalled means this goal is something I'm having trouble bringing about. Yet when I make some progress, the fear of the pain makes me not want to have the baby at all. This made such absolute perfect sense to me because it's exactly where I'm at in my life.
I was in a really lousy mood on Weds, as evidenced by my last post. Tuesday evening I was triggered by an event which progressed into a barrage of self-hatred, beating myself up for everything I am and everything I do. I was sharing this with Susan on Weds night and describing the frustration of not being able to pull my life together. I'm unhappy with so many things, I feel like I'm constantly in some state between disorder and disaster. I can't focus on anything. For instance: I want to sit down and pay the few bills that can't be done online. I pick up the bills, I go to sit down at the table. Bianca has her toys all over the table. I begin to pick them up and then I see she's taken off her socks and left them on the floor which reminds me I have to do the laundry so I go upstairs to get the rest of the dirty clothes when I remember I never put that box in the attic. I drop the socks, go into the attic where I see a box of craft supplies which reminds me Jen and I were going to take stock of what we had and see if we could pool & sell it. So I take that box down from the attic and put it on the table where I was preparing to sit & pay my bills and then I'm flustered and overwhelmed. So I have something to eat and do nothing. I describe the same type of things at work. I seem easily overwhelmed and like I'm going in circles, never making any significant headway. And then I feel disgusted and ashamed that I can't seem to do what I need to do. So I put it all away in denial-land where I stuff it down firmly with food and engage in some useless, mindless activity which then solidifies the belief that I'm a useless piece of crap. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Susan asks me the question I dread. Do you think this has anything to do with your addiction? She tells me what I described is a classic addict behavior. I've done some web searching but not really come up with any model of "classic addict" signs. I do see that addiction to any substance contributes to anxiety, avoidance, being easily overwhelmed. Maybe that's what she means.
"Food addiction is a contemporary term used to describe a pathological disorder; the compulsive, excessive craving for and consumption of food. This condition is not only manifested by the abnormal intake of food, but the intake and craving for foods that are, in themselves, harmful to the individual. While society and the medical profession have readily understood alcoholism and drug abuse, it is only in recent years that there is an equal acceptance of the fact that persons may be addicted to food in the same way. (I'd argue that point....but that's just me) When any substance is taken into the body regardless of its potential for harm or in excess of need, that substance is said to be abused. Individuals who abuse substances in such a way are addicts; these persons become physiologically and mentally dependent upon certain substances, in this case food. Food addiction, as with any other addiction, is a loss of control. The individual understands that their way of eating is harmful, but continues the destructive behavior. The phenomenon of food addiction is both physiological and psychological. Many individuals have what may be termed 'food allergies.' These are trigger foods which when ingested cause negative symptoms and changes in the body but at the same time provoke cravings. The individual, for instance, the diabetic, may be made 'sick' by the intake of sugar, but will still continue to crave it and eat it in excess, with adverse effects. These chemicals mimic the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, and have thus been termed 'exorphins' which produce a narcotic-like effect. Individuals may be suffering from depression, low self-esteem or loneliness; they will find a high when ingesting large quantities of food or certain foods such as salt or chocolate. The immediate high gives way to a sick feeling or guilt, leading to more depression. Because the addict is out of control, he or she will turn once again to the same eating patterns in a conscious or unconscious effort to feel better."
That pretty much says it. I want this cycle to stop but I don't know how to make it stop. And I don't know where to turn. I want to do it myself because that's just my MO. Do it yourself. Be strong. Be self-sufficient. Be *Perfect*. Don't need anyone or anything. Don't lean on anyone. Don't open up to or be vulnerable to anyone. It leads only to rejection and pain and strengthens my perceived need to isolate. My horrible experience with Renfrew was a perfect example of why I don't want to reach out for help. Yet I sit here ready to admit, IN MY HEAD, that I cannot do this alone. I am at that point where I can accept, IN MY HEAD, that I am powerless over the addiction. Yet, in my HEART, I still want to believe I can do it. I can make it work. I am strong enough to beat it. And every day I have this battle realizing my head knows where it's at but feeling like a failure because I can't defeat this by myself. All the while **terrified** to reach out for help. Terrified to fail. Terrified to change. Terrified to succeed. Part of me is so ready and the other part of me wants to bury my head in the sand.
When I think about the logistics of it, I am definitely overwhelmed. Food addiction is something that's NOT widely accepted as an addiction. In the eating disorder community, it's still characterized as "Eating Disorder; Not Otherwise Specified." Heath insurance carriers don't recongnize it as an addiction and therefore programs and payments are severely limited. There are a couple eating disorder clinics around here but they don't offer the same programs for food addicts as they do for, say, anorexics and bulemics. So where does this leave me? Here are my options to consider in some combination:

1. Overeaters Anonymous (OA) which is a viable option and I'm looking into meetings. Last I looked, the local meetings were not conducive to my schedule. But I'll look again. And, there is that whole "higher power" thing that still makes me want to cringe and run screaming. I'm going to try to look past that right now.

2. A psychiatrist versed in eating disorders who may be able to prescribe medication(s) with proven results in cutting down cravings.

3. A nutritionist, again versed in eating disorders, who can "represent" food for me and help me attempt to establish a healthy relationship with food, something I have never had.

4. Holistic/Natural remedies. I am strongly driven to try acupuncture as a stress reliever, energy mover and an assistance to my recovery.

5. Energy Tapping to also help in changing or removing the energy associated with my cravings and urge to binge.

6. Counseling, of course, as continued support in my recovery and to help in learning new coping tools.
Okay, so #5 & #6 - no brainers. Easy to accomplish. #1 is going to be a challenge but I will give it a try. Susan did say that if I can get to a number of OA meetings in the beginning I could then switch over to AA or AlAnon meetings since they use the same 12 step program. They are generally easier to find. If I can get to one that is local to my office then I don't have to worry about child care and that alleviates a huge obstacle. She did, however, suggest the "90 in 90" which is 90 meetings in 90 days, generally considered as an alternative for people who are unable to go to a traditional rehab facility. I don't know about that.
#2 - the thought of trying to find this type of person, of telling my story and talking about my addiction with a stranger AND taking more meds really doesn't appeal to me on any level. But having reduced cravings does sound good. Still, I think I will put this one at the bottom of my list and resort to it if #4 & #5 don't help. #3 - oh yuck. Yuck. Yuck. The most I can consider for this one right now is to talk to a friend of mine who works in that field. #4 is something I really desperately want to give 100% to trying. It presents an enormous logistical challenge in location, timing and expense. In any case, I just left a voicemail for the natural health center to call me back. I mean....if I'm going to make a commitment to doing this, then I just need to do whatever is necessary. My boss is super cool and I know he would give me leeway with hours & time off if I need it.
Key words here "if I'm going to make a commitment to this." Am I? Because every time I think I'm ready, I talk myself out of it within hours and conveniently lable the prior resolve as a moment of temporary insanity. I think I'm really afraid to fail. I have enough shame already just being what I am. I don't know if I can take the added shame of failing in my attempt to be something better. I think I don't believe that I CAN be different anymore. And I'm really scared to let go of my addiction because it serves as my friend, my relationship, my comfort, my shield and my protection. Despite the fact I know it's hurting me immensely and robbing me of health, joy and life, I'm really afraid to be out in the world without my security-blanket. I know I can't change if I don't try but I'm so afraid to try that I feel near paralyzed.


mile191 said...

Wow, what a dream. I hope you are dealing well. I am hosting the blog carnival this month. Come join in if you would like. hugs, mile 191

Ethereal Highway said...

In my experience, the addiction, if resolved, will only be swapped out for some other destructive thing unless the root that drives it is dealt with.