Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sick and triggered

I dropped the ball.

Rather, I had a surge of pain in my gut and the ball was knocked casually from my fingers by gravity. This has been the story of the last several weeks, where misfortune on top of misfortune have simply begun to pile up and I'm drowning in my circumstances. Now, for a while I put on my big girl pants everyday and "did it anyway" as Mary Kay would have advised, but when I got the flu and had a fever for going on 10 days, that determination kinda went away for a while; it was subsumed by the feeling that the next thing is going to be shingles followed shortly thereafter by death.

I stopped taking my temperature on Saturday. It was still hovering around 100 degrees, but I had pretty much stopped caring. I took the day and rested (cuz, Jewish), then Sunday morning jumped right into a busy day of community and family doings. I even went to yoga. Today I jumped onto my work necessities, interspersing that with teaching Fiery how to make a casserole so he can be more gluten-free with home-cooked food with less effort. By 6:30, I wanted to die, but I pressed on because people were counting on me.

When I got home, I took my temperature. 99.8. Again. Or still, I don't know. I immediately knew that I had overdone it over the last couple of days, but I don't know what else I'm supposed to do. If I don't work, I don't get paid. If I don't get paid, neither do my bills... but that's not even it. If I'm not working, I'm not happy. The week I spent on the couch was devastating, and I still haven't recovered from it emotionally. So, needless to say, being sick triggers me.

The helplessness, mostly. But even when The Emperor* was trying to take care of me, (in amidst all of the other things calling his attention, including being sick himself), I started feeling guilty about it. I pulled myself up off the couch and started cooking for myself. This is after arguing with him about whether I needed to eat, whether I was going to, and that I didn't want anything. His concern over my diet triggers me too, and not because he ever harasses me for eating: he gets on my case for NOT eating. 

Why would that flip you out? You ask. Well, because food flips me out. It does. All of these digestive issues that I have, plus my history of disordered eating, makes my relationship with food tenuous at best. My recent forced conversion** to a low-fat vegetarian diet (as if it wasn't already hard enough to feed myself with the Celiac) has devastated my appetite. My emotions on the issue makes it worse, and I haven't been eating enough to knock out whatever has my temperature up 2 degrees from normal.

The thing is, I've been ignoring the hunger signals. I feel hungry, but being faced with all of the emotionally charged decisions and limitations just sends me right back into disorder mode. It's infinitely easier to ignore the fact that I'm hungry (and then later cure the shaking and fog with a smoothie that has a subsistence amount of nutrients in it), than it is to deal with the emotional weight of the decisions I have to make about food. But, because I'm in disorder mode, I don't think "hey, it would be easier to deal with this now than it will to have an emotional breakdown in a couple of hours".

Then there's the lecture that follows. The programmed lecture is about how I'm fat, fat people are impossible to love, fat people are unattractive/gross; I'm lazy; need to make better (read: fewer) food choices; and I'm completely, 100% to blame for the "extra weight". So, because of this programming, when The Emperor is telling me that I need to eat, that he's worried about how little I'm eating, that it causes him a great amount of anxiety, that he doesn't understand... all I hear is the lectures and criticisms from my childhood bullies. He means well, wants me to be healthy (not skinny: healthy) so that I can work and so that I can be happy.

It's hard to deal with genuine love when you come from a background of abuse (I think people who are moving beyond their abuse know that, but precious few other people do); and I vacillate between utter admiration for the men who love me (specifically The Emperor, who has given me so much) and utter hatred because they trigger me without meaning to and don't understand why I get so upset about things that seem random and harmless. There's a different sort of helplessness here, but in that state my need to protect myself doesn't really see the difference between being loved and being harmed.

All this is to say, I dropped the ball. I know I did, but I didn't really have any choice. When we say "g-d first" in Mary Kay, that means taking care of g-d's instrument too. I know that I can get it back and make some amazing things happen, but the last two months just didn't go how I wanted or planned - and not for lack of working. Sometimes shit just happens and there's nothing you can do but got to the doctor. Sometimes you can't just suck it up and make phone calls while lying on you back on the floor; sometimes you can't see far enough into the future to make booking calls.

So when you can, you should.

*I contemplate, sometimes, simply calling him Ten, but that's not necessarily fair.
**gall bladder issues; doctor's orders are no meat, eggs, onions, garlic, or booze. I'm not having surgery. Don't even think about suggesting it.

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