I’m not much of a blogger and I’m certainly not a gifted one. Mostly, I string together semi-understandable, semi-grammatically correct sentences that are faintly related to each other. I started my blog a year ago this month and so I was going through the early posts. This was one of them.
This was a painful one to write. I think I actually wrote it in 2014, not 2015 and I probably just uploaded it in 2015. But what that post was really about was my dramatic weight loss. In 2013 I had weight loss surgery and in 2014 I had lost 100 pounds. I didn’t look the same. I had to re-introduce myself to people who had not seen me since the surgery. They didn’t recognize me.
I was angry (really? ya think? lol) when I wrote that post. The constant comments about my changing body drove me insane. Obviously, the comments were positive but they embarrassed me and upset me. The constant compliments on my new clothing choices confused me and I never knew how to react.
So I reacted by being angry and upset. I remember chiding people about their comments regarding my physical appearance. They did learn to stop, but I think they never understood it. I remember not feeling understood. After all, why was I not exultant about what was happening to my body?
It is 2016 and I am not angry any more. At least not about the body changes or the clothing compliments. Now, I’m more focused on the baggage that doesn’t melt away when the pounds melt away. I’m more focused on dealing with the expectations that I had about what life would be like when I became slim and more physically attractive to men. I thought that I would have had a romantic relationship with someone by now, and that has not happened. I thought my dysthymia (mild, chronic depression, less severe with fewer symptoms than major depression) would have eased up.
So I’m thinking that maybe I’m angry about that right now. 2016 is probably going to be all about adjusting my expectations about my life. As far as the baggage goes, it’s probably time to unpack my suitcases and deal with the contents!
This morning I was thinking about pain and how it makes you grow as a person. How it makes you resilient. Because pain, both physical and emotional, is a great teacher. It shows that you can endure, get through, and survive.
Today, I am thinking about physical pain. In the past 10 years, I have had 3 surgeries and a broken shoulder. I had my gallbladder taken out on an emergency basis after suffering several years of undiagnosed back pain. I broke my shoulder and it went undiagnosed for several months; PT for it was brutal. I had gastric bypass — that involved both physical and psychic pain. Now, I am recovering from a tummy tuck and a breast lift.
What will all this teach me? What will your pain teach you?
I think one of the biggest things I have learned (especially with the bariatric surgery) is that you can fix yourself physically, but it really brings your emotional and mental baggage to the forefront. Changing your body doesn’t change your emotional or psychological make up. You still have to deal with all the things that made you overweight in the first place. 2 years after my gastric bypass, I think that I still work on my emotional life very hard. I still struggle to overcome self-esteem issues. I still have the desire to eat large amounts, even though I have gotten used to not eating that way. I struggle with the boredom that cooking and eating and dining out used to cure. I work daily on coping skills and activities that keep the boredom demon at bay.
Today, I am learning that this process may never end. Pain will always be my teacher. I will always be learning the lessons.
These are the coping skills that I have from the bariatric surgery:
Exercise (esp walking and taking exercise classes)
Leave the house! Go do something!
Call a friend!
In the early days and months after my bariatric surgery, the “leave the house” coping skill was fundamental and important to me. I frequently went to exercise classes — combining two coping skills.
I’m thinking about adding more. Because some of my coping skills are becoming less interesting to me (like the knitting, though I am still knitting — just not as much)
Everyone has coping skills, regardless of whatever your life is presenting to you (maybe your life is going great! smile emoticon ) …what do you like to do?