Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Excerpt From Lose the Baggage, Lose the Weight: A Piece of Me: You Can't Bury the Past

"PTSD is not something you want nor is it something you're aware of while it is happening. It sneaks up on you and can devour you if you don't get help."~ LPS
A Piece of Me: You Can't Bury the Past
Feelings and emotions we think are long-forgotten can come back at any time. It happened to me after a mentally deranged former student cornered me in my classroom. Following that incident, I found myself haunted by my past. My emotions were out of control. I felt alone, anxious, ashamed, guilty, hopeless, overwhelmed, ugly, and unworthy. When I felt threatened, I had heart palpitations. I dreamed of being chased or assaulted, with flashbacks of past abusers.
I cleaned obsessively, purging my closest and my dresser drawers. I got rid of anything that reminded me of teaching, which I had loved. I stopped smiling. I lacked joy. I was isolated from friends and from doing activities I normally enjoyed.
I felt disconnected from those closest to me. It was difficult to concentrate, to sleep, and to eat. I was a mess. At times, I walked for hours. I felt numb. I'd tremble uncontrollably. I would only go outside if someone accompanied me. I felt cold. I dropped weight without trying. I didn't recognize myself. I felt out of control.
My skin turned gray, my legs gave out often, and I would fall on my snow-colored carpet. When I fell close to the bed, I would grab the covers tightly and pull my body up to a standing position. The paralysis would only last for a minute. Then I'd return to my daily routine. Sadly, part of that routine was lying in a fetal position on my bed with covers over my head to muffle the sounds of my crying. My clothing hung like drapery. I found my reflection repulsive, and a taste like that of a dirty ashtray made it difficult for me to eat. Any loud sound startled me. My reactions were frightening. I'd lie hibernating in my bedroom with one sliver of light. I was afraid. I didn't know what was happening. I'd cry until there were no more tears. I'd see things. I was convinced that crows were haunting me. Evil surrounded me. I could feel it. I was scared, and I needed help. I prayed, and God put me in the hands of caring doctors.
"You are not crazy," they assured me. "You are suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). You have to open the box, so you can move on."
I tried to keep it closed, but it didn't help. So I surrendered everything to God and the memories rushed out like a roaring spring river. After I took back my senses, I realized I had forgotten that God was always with me. I began to understand that my emotions were normal reactions to extreme stress. My problems were the result of what happened to me, not because of anything I had done.
I learned from experiences that many weight issues and eating disorders issues are the result of situations or circumstances beyond our control. It is up to us to find solutions to our problems and not run from them. Denial is dangerous! Life is full of surprises. It doesn't always go according to plan. Bad things happen. Parents divorce. Good, hard-working employees lose their jobs. Life requires that we dig deep and remember our goals and dreams. There's where the original P.I.E.S. (physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual) philosophy formula can help. (A formula I created as a youth for survival.)
Original P.I.E.S. formula
Desire
+
Motivation
+
Commitment
+
Flexibility
+
Acceptance
= Change
For most of my life, I followed that formula. But for a time, I let emotions take over. This enabled others to control and have power over me. It also influenced how I saw and felt about myself. It created havoc with my self-image and self-esteem, something I would have never allowed before workplace harassment.
Determined to get my life back, I had a good, old- fashioned come-to-Jesus conversation followed up a prayer to God and request to the universe. It reminded me that pain must be managed, not stuffed in a box. This light-bulb moment prompted me to find the motivation to share what I learned about self-image, self-esteem, nutrition, fitness, eating disorders, and life.
Emotions can be managed. So can your eating habits. It's not going to be easy. However, it can be done. It must be done. Before we enter the world of eating disorders, try to determine whether or not you use food to cope or fuel.