Chipping Away at Distortions

I wrote this weekend while in the midst of a breakdown. I don’t feel ambivalent about it. I’m here for the first few baby steps toward getting myself righted from that lean in the wrong direction. I don’t often write when I’m having an episode where I feel… out of options. I can’t say I was suicidal because I wasn’t. I just wanted to fade away and not exist anymore or never have existed. I know the difference because my intrusive thoughts are specific and repetitive. This is part of having had obsessive compulsive disorder. I still have obsessive thoughts. Not neurosis, where one thinks things need to be even or neat. That isn’t OCD, where people cannot move thoughts out of their head and it causes them to behave in a compulsive manner. My doctor once said that I make everything neat on the outside so you can’t see how messy it is on the inside. That’s kind of the best way I can explain it. I took a picture this morning since I changed my hair, but also because I was feeling like I look much better when I’m not crying:

Not crying. Fully clothed.

What am I doing to help myself through the distorted thinking?

I’m identifying the thoughts that I’m having and matching them with a cognitive distortion. There’s actually a really helpful article I’ve used before and I have bookmarked as “first aid.” The Article Is: 10 Proven Methods for Fixing Cognitive Distortions. Using notes from when I was using Noom, but having learned them in therapy and in psych class, the most common distortions are:

  • All or nothing [Black\white] Thinking: classifying things in only 1 of 2 categories
  • Mind reading: predicting what others think or will think
  • Unhelpful rules: Adhering to strict rules that disturb progress
  • Justification: Linking two unrelated ideas to justify an idea
  • Delusional thinking: Convince yourself of something you don’t believe to justify decisions
  • Exaggerating thinking: Making a situation bigger than it is.

Now I identify what is inarguably true, and what is based in opinion about and reframe it. Obviously, my thoughts on either being fat or skinny are black and white thinking. I can be healthy without looking the way I think I should because that idea is an unhelpful rule. My thinking is exaggerated in that I gained weight, but my clothes actually do fit the same. I need to think on a scale of 1-100 how likely it is that I gain back over 40 pounds from a slight gain over a few weeks. That’s probably not over the 10’s in how realistic I’m being. I can also point out that my fear of regaining all of the weight is irrational since everyone tends to fluctuate especially women at certain times of the month [and it was that time last week]. I am trying to find different ways to say things to myself. I need to stop “shoulding” myself and work with “I would like to.” I’ve asked myself if I would be so hard on a friend if s/he came to me with similar issues and I know for a fact I would not. That’s a clear doubt standard and I need to be as kind or harsh to myself as I would be to someone else. Finally, I am asking myself: “how will these thoughts benefit me versus how will they harm me?” It is pretty easy to see that believing I won’t progress could hurt my progress more than help.

There are some other methods I intend to apply to this, but this is so far much of where I’ve gone with the most recent emotional reaction to my own thoughts.

What am I doing to help the situation right now?

My husband took my scale away and the battery out of it, so even when I found it, I can’t use it. This morning, I was not amused. I even took a picture because I was feeling lost without it.

My scale is noticeably missing.

I’m going to work through what happened and try to prevent future occurrences the best I can. I wanted to share that I’ve not given up or given in to my negative thinking. I definitely let myself go too far into the negative this time. I intend to use affirmations to help myself out.

  • I am proud of myself
  • I am doing my best
  • I am successful
  • I am strong
  • I choose to be happy
  • My thoughts become my reality
  • I am healthy will make healthy choices

I know people say it’s ok to break down once in awhile, just don’t stay there long. It’s true. I just didn’t want to have when I felt was a complete meltdown.

I’ll check in again soon. Thanks for reading!

Self Image Distorted

Let’s start out with a picture of myself immediately following an inexplicable weighing of myself at the END of the day. My daily weigh in is usually as soon as I get up and only then.

Crying? Yes. Naked? Also yes.

I’m uncomfortable showing this side of me because I see emotion as weakness. For me, to be perceived as having weakness is more embarrassing than being seen naked. I don’t want people to think they can hurt me and that’s how I prevent it. Something really upsetting must have happened. Someone must have said something really cruel that hit a nerve. It was me. My reaction upon seeing my weight on the scale, and I said it to myself quietly without thinking, was “You should just die.” Instantly, the tears flowed. I was unable to leave the room. I stepped into my closet and collapsed next to my clothes and just cried. Then, I decided I needed to capture that reaction; To pause that moment in time to analyze it later. I needed to pick it apart so I wouldn’t get emotional again.

I briefly spoke to my husband about why I was upset before laying down for the night. I asked him not to give me the usual “I think you’re great,” argument because this wasn’t about how I’m seen by anyone other than me and that I hated my body. I explained to him that this is the only thing I have control over in my life and I’m failing miserably. I woke up this morning, weighed again, cried again, and forced myself to go to the gym to work out. I was able to hold my composure for the workout and socialize a bit after. I searched around for someone I could talk to about feeling down, but I couldn’t even think about it without tears coming into my eyes. I started to feel like falling apart again, went out to break down in my car, and left. I got home and started to clean up and stepped on the scale again. I tried to reason with myself that it’s impossible to gain 6 lbs in a week, but the damage was done. My husband demanded I stop stepping on the scale to which I responded, “What if one time it isn’t bad?” I’ve mostly been okay since then, but I can’t stop thinking about it and I feel like I’m holding back a river of tears.

I have some eye puff going today.

If I were really trying as hard as I thought, I’d have less fat and I’d have more muscle. I saw my body composition from last weekend and I’d gained fat and lost muscle. My bathroom scale says I weigh five more pounds than I did when I had that weight/composition. I weigh 10 pounds more than I did 3 weeks ago and I gained an inch each on my waist and hip measurements. It’s pretty obvious that even though I’m counting calories and rarely deviating to beer or an ice cream bar, I’m not working hard enough. I don’t deserve to enjoy deviations anyway. I must not be pushing myself enough at the gym because I’m not as strong as I used to be. I’m completely consumed by choosing food, ignoring hunger, hating my body, and wondering why I just can’t get it right. Why isn’t anything working?

This is not normal. This isn’t healthy. I’m so obsessed with my physical appearance that I don’t care about any of the things I can do. I don’t know what to do to make myself stop. I’ve been obsessed with being thin as long as I can remember and I’ve never been thin enough. I’ve tried to shift my mind to what I can do. That’s why I ran my first half marathon. It’s why I started doing crossfit. It’s why I still try. It always falls back to knowing that my body won’t look the way I want because I don’t work hard enough at it.

I’m not fishing for compliments or sympathy. I know this is mental illness. I know why I don’t do emotions. I know that this is all distorted thinking. I even have a set of worksheets to help me out of this. I just needed to say something and put it out there that I’m not always ok, but I’ll be ok; That sometimes, I’m my own worst critic even when I’m pouring my whole self into something.

Thanks for reading.

Spinning, Twirling…Whatever.

My positive spin muscle has been tested lately. I can see the positive in the situations that I’m facing, but it doesn’t necessarily make the crappy things less real. It makes them a little more bearable.

After rupturing part of the plantar fascia on my left heel, I’m finally out of my soft cast. I’ve spent 8 days weaning out of the support of the walking boot. I see the doctor again in a couple of weeks. For the time being, I can’t do anything in which I would come up on the ball of my foot allowing my heel to leave the ground. I also can’t run, jump, or stretch my foot too aggressively. Gentle stretches it is, then. I’m getting really frustrated with not being able to run. I miss that time by myself outside. The positive spin on that is I don’t have to bundle up and brave the negative wind chills to get my run time. I’m also not in pain like I was prior to the rupture and the couple days after.

I mentally feel “not quite right”. My head is in the wrong place. I’m having trouble with eating right and I’ve gained 7 pounds and I’m being really hard on myself about it. I don’t like the way I look or feel in my clothes. I am discouraged. Why do I try so hard at being fit and healthy if I don’t look fit or healthy? I haven’t been yo-yo dieting or deviating from my plan for any sizable time and I still look like a fluffy suburban housewife. I hate that after 2 years of work, I don’t look the way I think a hard worker should look. I often want to give up on counting macros and calories and stop eating. I haven’t had energy for sitting to rest my foot some days. I try to make sure I get a healthy snack in when I start to feel lightheaded. I get enough calories and mostly in the right categories. I sneak in snacks when I feel overwhelmed. I’ve not given up and I’m sticking with my meal plans even though there’s a part of me that is discouraged.

It doesn’t help that I can’t do things at the gym because of the injury and my restrictions. I feel weak. I am often reminded that if I go against what I’m supposed to, I’m just delaying the healing or prolonging the injury. I’m mostly patient. I understand these things take time. I’m just not patient lately. I’ve dealt with injury in the past. I trained for a marathon fresh off of my right foot injury. It was kind of a disaster, but I finished that race with training help from a friend.

Knowing I finished that race is one reminder that pulls me through the frustration. I embraced the shitty situation and got through it. I improved from there and I look back at it as more of a starting block than a hurdle. Probably because I never figured out hurdles, but that is not my point. I pushed off from that point and I endured and only got better at running afterward.

I’m not a fan of starting over. This time, I’m not starting cold. I’m warming up and am going to go for my goals when I get the “go ahead.” No false starts from me. I actually do have experience in that. One good thing is that I’ve been an endurance athlete in my adult life. I know I have to pace myself. With a little patience and a lot of dedication, I’ll be back to myself [and hopefully better].

I think my point is that I haven’t given up on positivity. I turn my thoughts in that direction when I find myself getting negative. My attitude determines the outcome by ensuring that I look at the possibilities and see opportunities. Shitty stuff happens. Sometimes, I’m still going to get discouraged. The point is that I don’t give up when I feel that way. I keep pushing, I take ownership, and I focus on the goals. I still put in the work.

“Trust Hard Work”