Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm An Angry Fat Girl

I've officially hit the big time. Onederful Bound is the featured blog on today's Angry Fat Girlz site! I always wondered if I ever got picked, which post and what statement would be picked out for consideration. I thought maybe it would be when I finally hit 199, supposedly the purpose of this blog.

But someone much wiser and introspective picked me when I fell flat on my face, or should I say when I started scraping myself off the floor after my fall. That's the real point of this blog -- to keep myself going even after I screw up.

Another mindful day under my belt, and another drop on the scale as I de-bloat from my excesses. It's going to take a while to get back down to 206, let alone my previous low of 204.5. I may as well take my time and be patient, and I'll get there eventually.

This journey has definitely been a massive test of my patience. It's taught me a lot about having to wait for results, to not give up when I don't receive instant gratification. Having learned this with the weight loss, it's carried over into the actual eating, too. I've come to the realization I can wait an hour, a day, a week, even a month before having a certain kind of food. It's now a regular thing to have lunch or supper delayed a few hours and it isn't the end of the world, and I don't have to stuff my face with filler because of it. I've actually started to let myself get hungry, and even wait a while before eating, which was a situation I avoided at all costs in the old days.

This morning started off oddly when I received a call from a friend who needed to find help for a family member who is dealing with depression and anger. I suppose I am the expert on these kinds of things in my little circle, so I'm the one people call. I don't consider myself an expert, per se, but I know I'm one of the few people I know who is open and honest about dealing with depression and not ashamed to say I go to therapy. So I guess people feel comfortable asking me questions and getting advice.

It also made me look again at what I'm dealing with right now, which is a lot of anger and frustration. This is a change for me; in the past I took all these feelings and suppressed them, and I either ate through it, or it brewed and fermented into a life-draining depression. While I know it's good that I'm feeling these emotions instead of stuffing them down, it's still a little frightening.

Anger has always been scary to me. I remember years ago I tried group therapy for a few months while my regular therapist was on maternity leave. It was a group of young adults my age, including a Vietnamese guy who had been adopted by Americans at the end of the Vietnam War. This guy had serious anger issues, and one night during group he exploded violently. Our therapists (a married couple), took this opportunity to analyze everyone's reaction to his outburst, and when they came to me they wondered why I shut down.

At the time I couldn't understand why this was odd. If someone is angry and violent, isn't it natural to want to protect yourself? My method of self-protection was to become invisible, to avoid falling into the angry person's line of fire and become a target. I thought it was crazy to confront the angry person, and I had no desire to become a victim of their wrath.

This tells a lot about me, my history and my food and weight issues. I learned the invisibility method as a child, hiding from a bipolar, alcoholic parent whose mood swings were unpredictable. I also learned what it felt like to become the target of their anger when I didn't keep my opinions to myself.

And what better way to become invisible than to get fat? This was a byproduct of the eating that had become my comfort and solace during our family's roughest periods, and while part of me bemoaned my fat, there was a definite benefit to it. It kept me safe and padded in my little cocoon, especially from relationships with the opposite sex. For years I had the tug of war of wishing I had a boyfriend, yet relieved that I didn't have to open myself to someone and risk being hurt.

So here I am now: I've lost more than 120 pounds (130 if you subtract the bloat), I haven't had a serious case of depression in four years, and now I'm married. Things have changed so much, but I often feel like my head is still trying to catch up with my life. I relied on the eating, the fat and the invisibility for so long, and I'm still in the learning stages of new ways to cope.

We come back to the anger. Okay, so I'm allowing myself to get angry. But what do I do with it? Sometimes I can direct it into positive avenues, like these marital discussions when I get things off my chest. But last Friday my anger felt out of control and I found myself hollering and literally shaking with it. I was near tears at least twice that day. Instead of feeling empowered by this anger I felt scared and sad. I guess because nothing good came of it. Nothing got resolved, it didn't help me or anyone around me.

I guess that's what scares me the most. I finally feel like I'm getting a grip on the depression, but then I wind up getting so bogged down with anger that it takes over my life. Lately the only emotions I seem to feel are anger or exhaustion (is exhaustion an emotion?). The anger does get subdivided into harried, irritated, frustrated and resentful, but wow, what a negative bouquet I've collected. When I do finally get a moment for myself, I feel empty and tired. There's nothing left for me.

Wow. I guess it's no surprise I collapsed into the food like I did when I read over this. I'm not saying it's good, but it's understandable. It's amazing I'm not still in the thick of it. But all the hard work I've done seems to be paying off. I know there are other ways of dealing with this than eating, and I'm doing my best to put them into practice. I had a productive hour with Dr. K. yesterday, the exercise helps to blow off some of the steam that builds up, and this blogging enables me to really explore what I'm feeling instead of medicating it with pizza and brownies.

For those of you who have come here today for the first time because of the AFG link, know that I'm not always this down in the dumps. I truly think I hit bottom this past weekend and I'm now slowly on the upswing again. Onward and upward, right?


Beula said...

Meeee tooo. I was shocked when I saw my words on AFGZ over Easter. I am newish and oddish and didn't think I would qualify. Just goes to show....

Angry, angry heifer. That is how I think of me. Not flattering I know. I want to be an angry, angry bull. I want my anger to have the power to affect change, or to at least scare the crap out of someone. I want laser like anger.

I also avoid confrontation because of past experience. Angry people break children. I know my current confrontations will not result in violence, but the ingrained threat remains.

Yes exhaustion is an emotion. Takes a lot of work to hold anger down.

I also love Dawn French. Have you seen Clatterford? She is great in it. So is Jennifer Saunders.

Lori said...

Patience. I'm in short supply of that myself and getting angry doesn't get me anywhere at the moment. What's annoying to me is that when I do lose my temper, nothing changes. I just look foolish and being ignored makes me even angrier.

I usually either shut down or get very angry. Gee, I wonder where I learned those two habits from? Dear old dad gave me the explosive temper and dear old Mom gave me the silent, sulking treatment.

You're doing well, Andrea. I mean, you have those dogs, your daughter, your husband, work, household responsibilities, etc.

I know I don't have my mind catching up to the rest of my life. I still miss the Idiot Man and wish I could call him now (WHY?!), I still reach for the 3X clothes and I'm now mostly in 1Xs, I still see myself fat, etc. etc. I still even sit on my bed and think I'm going to get up and run around my apartment but not at the moment.

If someone could figure out a way to get our minds in sync with our bodies, they'd make a fortune.