Running Out Of Noughts

Well, I first of all have to say thank you to everyone who took the time to write to me after Friday’s post. As the day went on, my shoulders got squarer, and I definitely felt less guilty about the three bowls of pasta consumed by that lady which, according to y’all, were not my fault. You might remember a blog post back in the early days called The Sorry See-Saw. I was weighing down the heavy end again and watching all the sorry roll towards me when it really wasn’t my fault, but you lot are definitely my voice of reason.

I hope she doesn’t check out my Shitbird page this week, that’s all I can say. She’ll be apoplectic and probably chucking stuff at the screen if she does, because last week wasn’t pretty and of course it’s reflected in the number.Β I’d about got myself back in the zone by the end of the week but it’s all gone to shit again over the weekend.

I got a call in the early hours of Saturday morning to say mum was on her way to hospital, and I mean it was the full blue-flashing-lights job. She’s had a nasty chest infection over the last week which has seen her feeling a bit grim, but she took another tumble on Friday evening which shook her up and she was struggling to breathe. I shot out of bed as soon as I got the call, pulled my pants on – backwards as it turns out – and almost beat the ambulance to the ER.

We were there all night. She got admitted, and has been hooked up to oxygen and I.V. antibiotics ever since. She’s responding quite well, and thankfully the CAT scan ruled out anything sinister as a reason for yet another fall but they diagnosed pneumonia, and we all know how that can turn out when it grabs a hold of a frail octogenarian whose tank is already running on empty. She’s had a really crap few months.

When I finally headed home on Saturday after mum was settled and sleeping, the need to eat a mountain of crap was overwhelming. I drove home via the supermarket and all I could think about was going home to bed with a box of double caramel Magnums. The Asshole voice was screaming at me that things were too serious for just one box so I bought two and I ate the whole fucking lot in one sitting.

I headed back to the hospital later on, sat and held mum’s hand for a while then went and cleared my head with a swim before ordering Chinese food and eating till I almost popped.

Yesterday was supposed to be better, only it wasn’t. We spent time at the hospital with mum, and she seemed a little bit better, but she’s so tiny and frail in the midst of this big nosy ward. She’s very hard of hearing, and it’s a strange environment with no familiar faces so she’s scared and a bit confused and it’s heartbreaking leaving her there, but we’re not allowed to stay. Turning straight to my drug of choice seemed like the only way to get through the rest of the day and I pretty much ran out of noughts on the calculator when I tried to tot up the number of calories I’d consumed by the time I stopped eating.Β Shit.

Sundays are nearly always good days because they’re my ground zero, you know? The start of a new week and an opportunity to start a clean untainted sheet. Well, this week’s sheet already looks like the dog threw up on it, and it’s only minutes into Monday.

I’m going to try and reset again…it’s all I can do. My focus has to be on my mum, with a little bit left over for me. I’m going to try and find an hour somewhere in this day to take solace in the pool instead of the food cupboard. I just keep reminding myself that this too shall pass.


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21 thoughts on “Running Out Of Noughts

  1. Hi Dee, Here always :). We all fight how we can. I think that we turn to food instead of people because we don’t want to sound so darned whiny all the time, or we don’t think they have the time or can understand our quagmires. So, to keep up we fall apart at the pantry. These times seem forever ongoing, but trust me, they eventually pass. Hang in there!

  2. Wow, all of these “Replies” to you, Dee – I am always poaching from this trout stream of yours. And heartfelt thanks to all. Mary gave me lots to chew on, yeah?

    One thing is, hell yes the me that feels moderately on-point with the food plan, IS the me that feels stronger and more calm: being on the track isn’t just another chore and burden I’m piling on myself.

    Second thing, my adorable GF was visiting with me last year, & glad for me, for the joy I was deriving from my own, personal weight & body journey. We cooked meals together, tooled around sightseeing, and ate out, a couple of times. I was not being obsessive or adolescent or distant or weird – yet she asked, Are you going to keep going on this indefinitely? I keep thinking that question, see, because I treasure her & will always be reachable to her thoughts & concern & love & insight. But fock if I can make anything more cogent and useful of that, however-many times I revisit that query, & my answer. Answer: Yes! Friends, here’s the reason for us crafting our SUSTAINABLE eating plans, for developing strategies for our transformed, custom-fitted, enviable lives. Blog! Write & cogitate. Swim, walk, go to the grocery store in the middle of the night, feel how manageable it feels to bring home no self-scuttling trigger products. Give the trigger recliner a wide berth. Go to sleep & feel recharged. It’s been a fairly fucked up 2017, I so understand. Us too, we suffered a bit of a setback – my old man is trying to get a heart attack digging out the Nephew’s business after a company truck full of expensive equipment got stolen. Mature, indispensable pet cat had to Cross the Bridge (I don’t have to say, shattered); and this old broad got the sack (from perhaps the last paying job of my life). The govt wants a pound of flesh since they were cutting us a social security check but have repented of it, and Honey needs a shoulder rotator cuff surgery… which… well maybe we can put it off, let’s just say there was so much to suddenly pay out of pocket when he simply got the preliminary imaging that was ordered. We suffer from unanimous situational Tourette’s almost every evening when we tune in national news.

    Oy! Enough. Loving you loa, Fleury

    1. Oh Fleury, you too, hasn’t 2017 just been a fetid stinking turd of a year, I mean really..? Your poor puss and all that life crap coming atcha…big hugs from across the pond. Things can only get better, right? We’ll keep walking forwards, ‘cos that’s what we do πŸ™‚

  3. Okay, so yesterday I felt like I delivered a harsh truth about your commenter, and today I am going to say something to you which sounds very hard but I mean it in the gentlest possible way: you need to find a way of coping with stressors which doesn’t involve binge eating.

    I know you know this already, and I know it feels like while crises are ongoing is the last time to work on yourself and your food issues but it’s the only time. Life is stressful. It’s horrible. It’s painful. Bad things happen, people we love get sick, or move away, or die. You have to find a way of weathering the storm without hurting yourself even more in the process. On aeroplanes, they say that in an emergency you need to fix your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else with theirs. The reason is because if you’re running out of air, you’re not bringing 100% to helping those around you, and everyone suffocates.

    This sounds heartless, but your priorities are screwed up. It needs to be you first, then your mum. You need to take care of your basic needs first, and then you can be there for her. Not because you’re more important than her, but because there are doctors and nurses supporting her and nobody is supporting you β€” you’re the only one who can do it. Would your mum want to know that you’re damaging yourself with food over her? Is it helping her to heal? You feel like it’s enabling you to be there for her, but realistically you’re probably bringing less to the table because you’re so busy doing emotional and physical damage control after a binge episode. If you take a step back, why would you want to add to the fear and pain you’re already experiencing over your mum by piling on guilt and shame and stress related to binge eating? It makes no sense! It’s like a pay-day loan for comfort: you get a small comfort loan by bingeing, and then you have to pay it back in spades just a few days later and it might even affect your longterm comfort levels. Vicious, vicious cycle.

    That said, don’t beat yourself up. I know the above sounds like I’m beating you up, but I’m really not β€” just trying to shine a cold light on things. There’s so much guilt and shame associated with bingeing. You need to forgive yourself. Imagine a beloved friend has come to you with this problem and they’re crying their eyes out over it, how do you react? You probably don’t say, “Well, you’ve fucked it up and now you’re going to have to reset. Get on with it.” You put your arm around her shoulder, let her cry it out, and say, “It’s okay. You’re human. Everyone makes mistakes. You’re going through a lot right now, and the way you reacted is not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. You didn’t hurt anyone. It’s just food. Tomorrow is a brand new day, and I’m going to help you come up with a plan for getting through it.” Research shows that people who practise self-compassion and self-forgiveness are more successful with behaviour change, so it’s not just that it feels better β€” it’s more effective too. I think a lot of people are afraid that if they forgive themselves they’ll never change, so they need to punish themselves emotionally so they won’t do it again. That doesn’t work. I know that from experience.

    Let yourself cry if you need to, Dee. The next time you feel the overwhelming urge to binge take a few seconds first to ask yourself what you’re trying to avoid feeling. You’re probably feeling guilty that your mum is alone in the hospital, that she’s going through this pain and trauma alone, and afraid that you’re going to lose her β€” if not now, then in the next few years. It’s extremely frightening and it’s okay to be afraid. These are uncharted waters. You can break down and cry over it. If you still feel like you need to binge, then okay. It’s probably too big an ask to let go of your coping mechanism straight away in the midst of all this. But don’t beat yourself up if you do. It’s all part of your story.

    Dr. BrenΓ© Brown talks about the various ways people push away their painful emotions in her book Rising Strong. Stop me if this sounds at all familiar:

    “Numbing hurt. Numbing has been a constant in my research since the beginning. Picture emotions as having very sharp points, like thorns. When they prick us, they cause discomfort or even pain. After a while, the mere anticipation of these feelings can trigger a sense of intolerable vulnerability: We know it’s coming. For many of us, the first response is not to lean in to the discomfort and feel our way through, but to make it go away. We do that by numbing the pain with whatever provides the quickest relief. We can take the edge off emotional pain with a whole bunch of stuff, including alcohol, drugs, food, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, gambling, affairs, religion, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, and the internet.”

    She also talks about ‘square breathing’ or ‘tactical breathing’ as a way of focusing and self-centring during times of extreme emotional hardship. You could try this next time you’re alone and feel the need to self-soothe with food: breathe deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold it for a count of four, breathe out through your mouth for a count of four, hold it for a count of four, and repeat. Again, if you find you still need to binge, that’s okay. If you forget to breathe, that’s okay. Forgive, pick yourself up, try again next time. (Swimming is an excellent way of meditating also. Count breaths. Breathe in, four strokes, breathe out, four strokes.) You’ll be okay, kid. Use the time when you can’t be with your mum to work on this stuff, and be there for her when you can. And stop being so hard on yourself.

    1. Mary, thank you a thousand times for what you just did. I needed to hear it and it now needs to marinate. I held it together today and I’m nourishing my body and soul with sleep tonight, not cake. I’m so lucky that you would take the time to do that for me πŸ™‚

      1. Prayers for you and your mother, Dee. and for what it’s worth I think Mary was spot on. I’ve read some Brene Brown, but hadn’t run across the square breathing technique. I’m going to try that…….

        1. Thanks Tib, and yes I agree…that’s what I love about this blog, that we can all find things that help and draw inspiration from each other ?

      2. Hey, that’s okay. I’ve been working on my own demons a lot lately, so these thoughts are swirling around in my head all the time. It’s helpful for me, too, to write them down.

        I’m glad to hear you got a good sleep (I hate that it’s true that things usually look better in the morning, but it usually is), and I hope that your mum gets better soon and you start to feel better too!

  4. Hi Dee–It’s me, Anne from Maryland. We’re living parallel lives across the pond, it seems. My 94-year-old mom, with end-stage Alzheimer’s, suffered a mishap at her assisted living facility back in August, was hospitalized with a fractured tibia, went to one nursing home, and then another, and was then taken into hospice care. And this was the third hospitalization in about 20 months. Her first was for sepsis and pneumonia, which was truly scary. The second for blood clots in her leg, also very alarming. I know exactly what you are enduring and how desperate and sad you must be feeling. These repeated traumas can take such a toll on our elderly loved ones and on ourselves, because we feel so helpless. I can only advise you to be gentle with yourself and to make every effort to keep yourself feeling well, so that you’ll have the strength and fortitude to deal with all that will come your way. My thoughts are with your dear, much-loved mother.

    1. Anne, thanks so much for sharing, and yes it seems we are living the same life I guess we just have to crack on and cope the best we can, no matter how tough things get! Love to you and your mum πŸ™‚

  5. Hugs and prayers to you and your mother. Maybe trying telling yourself that this is no time to fall off the wagon, everything else is going bad, at least your eating plan can be the one thing under good control. It might help.

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