Three years ago, I started seeing a therapist. Not for me, but for my oldest son who was having a great deal of difficulty dealing with school. He'd developed some ticks and was displaying some pretty out of control behaviours at school. So, among other things, we sought out someone to counsel him and help him deal with these big feelings. She could see that I was not particularly put together at the time and suggested that she see me too. Well... insisted is probably a better world. So, I did.
I was falling apart. I was just getting over a case of shingles (stress related), I wasn't sleeping well (and not because Finleigh was awake), I had a hard time breathing sometimes, I was constantly feeling like something bad was going to happen and I couldn't figure out why. Finleigh was done with the tube feeding and aside from a few delays, I thought she was fine. So why was all this stress bubbling to the surface now? The therapist suspected it was delayed stress.... like my body had forgotten how to relax and was now in a constant state of hyperarousal. Always in fight or flight mode.
Stupid hypothalamus. Stupid amygdala. Stupid primitive brain.
What I didn't realize at the time was that Finleigh was just beginning her behaviours. I thought that tube feeding and searching for answers was stressful, but I had no idea what was to come. Or rather, what had already started. Those damned tantrums. This cute, miniature cupid-like creature that was my daughter was turning my life upside down and I didn't even realize it. The waking up at night. The bodily waste spread all over her room most mornings. The getting into everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
Did I mention the tantrums? That's the hardest of all.
In reading back over my past posts, I came across one where I had stress eaten after one of her early tantrums (not that I can find it now). I mused about how grateful I was that Finleigh didn't do that all the time because there was no way I'd be able to keep the weight off if I had to deal emotionally with those behaviours all the time.
That post was telling.
I am an emotional eater. I just am. Despite how badly I'd like to change that about myself. Despite how sometimes I am able to avoid doing it.
So, not a wonder that I've gained something like 40 pounds.
Today, after leaving special needs gymnastics class early because she was having an epic tantrum... I realized I had a large Ikea chocolate bar in my purse. What woman doesn't carry a large chocolate bar in her purse? That is - after all - essential. She was still screaming at the top of her lungs in the car as we drove home and I was SO angry, so I popped open that cheap chocolate and proceeded to eat the whole thing. All 550 calories of it. All the while knowing I should not be doing it. All the while not caring a flying fig.
But I think I'm getting off course from my original thought. Therapy. It helped. And then we were both mostly better, so we got to stop going. Most of my physical symptoms had pretty much gone away, except for my emotional eating. That stayed. Obviously.
A couple years later, the physical symptoms of stress are back. And its almost unbearable. I don't panic like I used to. I'm much calmer. But my body is not happy.
I am not happy.
This life with a special needs child that I cannot control is taking its toll on me.
And that, I suppose, is my story for today.