Monday, November 9, 2009

Breaking the cycle...

It isn't the things that are happening to us that cause us to suffer, it's what we say to ourselves about the things that are happening.
--Pema Chodron

Last week, I was struggling BIG TIME with staying sane. Like it was all I could do to keep my shit together on a semi-regular basis. My mood swings had gotten so out of control that I was starting to doubt my sanity. No really. Like I was actually wondering if I was bi-polar or not. I was working so hard to keep it together during the work day that I had nothing left in the evenings.

The thing is, I have promised myself to NOT eat through the emotions/anxiety. So I didn't.

But I still felt the emotions and then, in the panic of the moment, couldn't remember any other coping skills. And here is where for the past few decades, I would've thought to myself "SCREW IT. Just have whatever you want. You deserve it. You're sad. This will make you happy." And I would've eaten whatever I wanted.

But I didn't.

Yay for me. Except that emotionally, I was a WRECK. Because I literally couldn't remember what would help me to back away from the crazy ledge I was so precariously perched on. I tried exercising through it - and although that helped a little bit, it wasn't helping enough to keep "the crazy" away. So I tried exercising a bit more, and that tired my body out, but didn't tire out my mind. Nothing seemed to help.

So I scheduled a meeting with my therapist where I pretty much bawled for an hour straight.

She gave me some great things to think about and also encouraged me to switch my birth control. According to her, you can never underestimate the effect hormones have on your body. Moreover, she gave me some clarity as to how some of my anxiousness may be because I'm not sure that I'm okay with my relationship with the BF.

And that rather than being honest with the doubt, rather than LIVING in the moment with the doubt, I was just freaking out. I was distracting myself and exerting control on every little thing. Because I didn't want to look at the relationship closely and ask myself if it's what *I* wanted. I'd way rather blame every little thing on me.

In this situation with the BF, rather than realizing that things aren't feeling quite right and sitting and being with those feelings (and then self-soothing myself out of them), I opted to concentrate on how they just weren't right. If they weren't right, then it MUST be my fault. Nevermind that I've never promised to be any different than what I am. Nevermind that I've been authentic. Nevermind that almost any woman in a relationship would want the same thing. If things weren't going right, then it's MY fault. Things aren't working because I'm stupid, dumb, and a failure.

The berating of myself? It's MY cycle. It's within my comfort zone because it's all to familiar.

And as I look back on my life, I can see all the times where I actually may have fucked things up - with friends, with boyfriends, with my family, or with perfect strangers. But I can also clearly see where I've blamed myself for those things even when they weren't my fault.

So clearly, I'm comfortable with the cycle of Anne = SHIT. What I'm not comfortable with is having self-confidence and asking myself what I want when it comes to relationships (friendships or otherwise).

When I realized this, I did something pretty important.

I stopped. I felt the feelings. And then I realized that I can CHOOSE to feel the same way and to repeat the cycle, or I can change my mind. I can decide that although I'm not perfect, I am worthy of love - from others, but more importantly - from myself.

Pema Chodron, an author that I really like, writes that we should practice being present. That doing so allows us to almost pause our life. So I've been practicing that during the past few days...and I'm finding that somehow by actually living with the fear is helping dissipate it.

I'm changing my mind. I'm choosing to realize that I am not a failure. I simply cannot be to blame for everything wrong with every relationship. I am human. To expect otherwise IS insanity.

In other news, I finally changed the birth control. And without going into it, my body's reaction to me taking out the Nuvaring is pretty amazing (albeit disgusting). My body is clearly appreciating that I'm not utilizing that method any longer. As an added benefit, I'm not feeling the swings of emotions as much (if at all) and I'm so much happier that that is the case.

The scale shows that I'm up slightly from two weeks ago (I didn't get to weigh in last week) and I'm okay with that too.


Melyssa said...


I certainly can relate! I love Pema Chodron I get her calender every year and look at every single morning to help myself stay present and avoid my own (shit)cycles.

POD said...

I didn't know there was a Pema calendar. how commercial. I still love her. ANd her quotes. I want to go to her castle.

This post reminded me of me of course which is a basic issue/problem. I mean, you think you are the cause of all the difficulty, and so do I...think I am the cause of what fails and always evaluate what I could have done differently, and then I read through your post thinking about how much this reminds me of me instead of being present I'm thinking of me as usual.

Miss E said...

Great post, Anne. So glad you're doing what we all need to do.

In other news, I've moved.

I don't know if it's private or not, yet, but it will be. So at some point, I'll give you a password. :)

Megan said...

Hey Anne, I've been lurking around your blog for a couple months now, and I really enjoy it! I just wanted to say that I had a very similar experience with the nuvaring a couple years ago--random fits of crying, anxiety attacks, depression. I felt like I was going crazy and was in therapy for several months with very little benefit, but within a month of stopping the ring I felt perfectly fine and back to normal. Glad to hear that the same seems to be happening for you!


Amy Pousson said...

amazing and inspiring stuff as always, anne.

Sunkissed Cheeks said...

"My mood swings had gotten so out of control that I was starting to doubt my sanity. No really. Like I was actually wondering if I was bi-polar or not. I was working so hard to keep it together during the work day that I had nothing left in the evenings." - I feel like I wrote this myself. Sums up my last week. I'm going to look into how my BC is effecting me too. As always - Thanks for sharing :)