Hi Journal & Friends,
Quite a few years ago I was bitten by a Brown Recluse spider. Apparently it crawled into our nice warm waterbed, bit my hip during the night, and sneaked away before morning. I was fine when I went to bed... the next morning had a crater starting to form on my hip. The bite of that kind of spider causes necrosis of the tissue, and it keeps on dying, quickly eating a hole into you, unless you DO something.
I didn't know what it was, but it hurt, so I went to my doctor the next day. He took one look and said "I know exactly what that is, that happened to my son!" So I was able to get it treated right away, and it finally healed. Physically, that is.
But it did something to "me". After that, if I saw a spider I would react in a physical way. I actually felt sick to my stomach, my heart raced, and I felt like I was going to pass out. It was sooo embarrassing, but it seemed I had no control over this panic-attack type reaction.
I finally told my doctor what was going on, and he told me how to get over it.. by using desensitizing techniques. I had to start by looking at pictures of a spider. At first even a PHOTO of a spider sent me into a panic attack. But I was determined to get over this, and gradually I could look at a spider picture, and not over-react. I still did not LIKE them, but they didn't set off a physical reaction.
Later, as they appeared "in the flesh", I gradually took back my "power" by gleefully squashing them!
Why do I bring this up?? Because I am still thinking of Dayne's post (here) about how we react to pressure. I first wrote about this Thursday (HERE). But this feels important to me, like there is more there for me, and I don't want to miss it.
It's as though this is a piece of my puzzle. I knew I used food as a drug, as an escape, a diversion, all that. Happy, sad, mad or glad, was a reason to eat. But the worst to resist, for me, was the stress eating. My reaction to pressure, or stress, was to escape... and my means of escape was food.
I can remember one time considering getting down that dusty bottle of rum from the cabinet. It had been there for probably 5 years, from the Christmas I made rum balls for gifts.
But you know what stopped me?? The way I abused food, I just knew if I started back drinking, I would end up a raging alcoholic. In my B.C. days (that's "before Christ" for all you non-religious-fied folks) I used to drink and do the pot party rounds. I can even remember a couple of years ago wishing they would legalize pot, so I could "veg out" without calories! How sad and desperate is that?! I conveniently forgot that when you smoke pot, you ALSO get a huge case of the munchies. Sigh. Seems like I had to face my issues after all, and not run from them.
Back to Dayne's post ... The athlete he talked about had learned to interpret pressure in a positive light. He even went so far as to say he LOVED pressure!! He connected it not with a negative, like I did, but with the positive OUTCOME... with WINNING the game. He must have quite the competitive streak, because he seemed delighted about the fact that most people do NOT perform well under pressure, and that gave him a distinct advantage.
I am not interested in the competitive advantage, but I AM interested in how changing my interpretation of pressure will help me. If I really viewed it as a positive, I would no longer have that inner response to run from it, AS THOUGH IT WERE A SPIDER. If I can change my automatic response, then I am thinking it will remove a huge reason that pushes me to overeat.
I have learned all kinds of cognitive behavioral techniques that have helped me get this far, substituting OTHER things instead of eating.
In fact, I had planned a whole post on it... new payoffs for new behaviors. The ways I have learned, without using food, to achieve emotional relief, physiological calm, and stave off the desire for immediate gratification.
But... wouldn't it be great to REMOVE a huge chunk of the core problem, so I didn't even NEED to struggle with it?? I am talking again about the way I interpret pressure. If I didn't view it as a negative in the first place, I think a large percentage of my drive to overeat would be eliminated.
So, I am back to the question:
When pressure puts a mirror to your face... what do you see?
To help me remember my answer, I picked an acrostic:
S.A.S. (I like it... it sounds sassy)
Right now I am having to consciously think of this. But I am hoping that in time, it will really sink in and transform my response to pressure. Instead of wanting to dive head first into a tub of mac n cheese, I will be thinking: oh boy, I wonder what this will help me achieve??
I am still looking for a visual, since I think better in pictures. The picture of me strapped to a lit Roman candle or a rocket shooting up into the sky, crossed my mind... but nah. I didn't like the coming down part. I'll keep thinking.... :-)
From Dr Phil's book: "Our filters powerfully influence the interpretation we give to the events in our lives."
My verse for today: "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer."
My quote for today: "Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." --William James
Enjoy the Journey,