The easy way out…I don’t think it means what you think it means
So here’s the thing about not eating compulsively. You feel everything. Absolutely, positively everything. There is nowhere to hide. And for a person like me, well…that can suck. As I have mentioned before, I am insanely sensitive. Any feeling is a lot for me to handle. I’m so incredibly in love, and I am so grateful for it. And so happy! But it’s intense. I’m saying that even my joy is a little overwhelming.
But when the feelings are fear, anxiety and shame, the kind of feelings I have around money, I want to turn off, shut down, and forget all about everything.
When I was eating compulsively, when things got scary or overwhelming, (which was all the time, frankly) I would eat a lot of sugar. And that would wrap me in a cocoon of carelessness. That would shut everything off, and I could drift away to oblivion. If I was worried about how I was going to pay my electric bill, I would eat a cake, and suddenly, it didn’t matter how I was going to pay my electric bill. In fact I didn’t pay my electric bill. I just got super, crazy high on sugar, and hoped it would somehow go away. What often went away was my electricity.
When I stopped eating compulsively and got sober from sugar, I started paying my bills. I had to. When I wasn’t high as a kite, it was too scary to not deal with things like that.
When I don’t eat sugar or eat compulsively no matter what is going on in my life, it means I can’t get numbed out when I don’t want to deal with things. I can’t check out. I have to sit there in awful feelings that make me crazy and scared and sick. But it turns out I can’t. I can’t just sit there. I can’t handle crazy, scared and sick for too long. I have to do something. And not just something. Something productive.
So it’s tax time, and I had a scary experience. I was trying to do my taxes myself, and things were not computing. Thousands of dollars not computing. And I was in a panic.
I knew that this didn’t make sense. But I didn’t know how to fix it. And panic makes it so that the fact that I don’t know what the solution is means there must not be a solution. And money, especially money and the government, are loaded for me. It’s one area of my life that I still have a hard time dealing with head on. I’m working on it. But it’s a tender issue, thinking about what I’m “worth”. It brings up a lot of insecurity.
But I couldn’t just sit there. Because there was no cake. And no numb. I had to do something not food related. So on the advice of my boyfriend, I called an accountant. And she told me I was missing a document.
So I called my employer. And she said that she didn’t think she had that document, but she’d check her records.
And she did. She had the document. The whole time and didn’t realize.
In other words, it was all fine. And I spent my time panicking. And worrying myself sick. Because it’s taxes. And money. And that stuff is scary to me.
But I didn’t eat!
See, if I ate a chocolate cake, I wouldn’t have made it to the point that I understood that it was all fine. I would have passed out in a food coma. And not done my taxes. Then I would have had to justify and rationalize why I wasn’t going to do my taxes. I would have actually caused a situation that was “fine” to become “not fine”. I would have let it get to the point where it became a mess to clean up, rather than a situation to deal with.
There is a woman who tells me, “Food is the problem. Everything else is just a situation.”
This was a situation. It’s not anymore. It has been dealt with. I got through without eating over it. And really, I got through it because I didn’t eat over it.
I’m a big, emotional chicken. But when I don’t eat, I take brave actions. Even if I don’t feel so brave. Because when I’m awake and aware, when I’m alive in my life, being brave is the easy way out…