Battling the Feelings Voltron
Welp, I did get my blood test results back (remember that?) and sure enough: my Vitamin D level was quite low. So I’ve been taking a D3 supplement, plus I moved up to a higher dose of antidepressant, and I feel so much better now that I can’t believe how long it took me to notice that I was feeling so off. But that’s the thing about depression — it’s only after you’re back to feeling like yourself that you realize how much time you spent feeling like someone else, or no one at all.
Getting my emotions back in check and feeling like Myself, of course, makes me aware of how much other baggage I’m still hauling around. Yesterday I had my second-ever (routine, no worries) mammogram, and while it was a completely straightforward mammogram experience, it brushed up against a layer of Body Issues, a big clump of OMG BODY WTF that’s been hanging out just below the surface, and got it all stirred up and angry.
So I’ve been working on untangling all the individual pieces of that so I can work on them one by one, because if I don’t they all join forces into one giant Feelings Voltron, and Feelings Voltron is undefeatable. Here are some of the pieces I’ve identified, which you’re welcome to not read since Thar Be Feelings and really I’m only writing this for my benefit anyway:
1. I’m fat. I believe I’ve mentioned this here before. What I haven’t mentioned is that — I keep getting fatter. In my twelve months of working on eating intuitively, I’ve continued gaining weight at the same rate as I did when I was dieting (yes, I gained then, too), or when I was eating all my feelings. At this point it’s pretty clear my weight gain is going to continue independent of my eating and exercising habits, and my doctor, rightfully concerned, has referred me to an endocrinologist to try to figure out what’s up. My ability to accept the shape and size of my body is shaky sometimes anyway, and trying to develop solid body acceptance of a body that keeps changing is extremely emotionally draining — not to mention the worry that there may be something seriously out of whack that’s causing this. (My appointment with the endo isn’t until late April; I’ll keep you posted.)
2. Yoga is hard, y’all. I’m still going to yoga class at the Y once a week, and practicing several times a week at home, and can tell that I’m improving…but so many years of not exercising regularly, or exercising like crazy for a month or two and then quitting when it didn’t make me lose weight, have left me pretty wimpy and out of shape, and I’m continually caught off guard by how difficult it is. I already feel pretty vulnerable about being visibly fat at the gym (and by the way, this piece about being fat at yoga is AMAZING), and I’m having to step away from the class nearly every week to quiet my self-talk (“What are you even doing here, fatty? You should be home on the sofa, eating chips, because your body isn’t cut out for this, obviously” — my self-talk is a real bitch) and get my breathing under control. So it’s physically a lot of exercise, yeah, but a lot emotionally too.
3. The mammogram experience itself was a real challenge. I mean, it’s physically uncomfortable, sure, to have to stand perfectly still while your breasts are mashed between plastic plates; but I was caught off guard by how very exposing and violating it felt to have the tech picking up my parts and putting them where she wanted them. She was very sweet and super-professional, and I knew exactly what I was doing there, but it rattled me more than it did last time. Add to that having to put a number to how much weight I’ve gained since my last mammogram five years ago (necessary for my file, she said, so the lab doesn’t think they’re looking at someone else’s films), and especially having to detail my family history of breast cancer (mother diagnosed age 34, deceased age 37; maternal aunt diagnosed age 60), which bumps into grief over my mom’s death and concern about my own mortality — 34 doesn’t seem very far away at all anymore.
So there we have it: the disassembled, component pieces of my Feelings Voltron, which I now have to keep isolated from each other so I can wrestle with each of them separately and keep them from reforming. Here goes.