Hope for the hopeless
June 7, 2015 6:36 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the worst rut of my life and I am hoping it will help to put some of the gory details out there and ask for advice/encouragement/anecdata from impartial and hopefully wise strangers. I know there must be some way to fix my problems, but at this point it's a matter of finding that way and believing it is possible.

I recently turned 30. I am a morbidly obese woman --- 5'6", around 300 pounds. I am majorly addicted to food. Even though I hike three miles and do situps and weight training most days, I can't put down the sugar long enough to see results. I've been circling the same five pounds for years. I've tried lots of diets but avoided bariatric surgery becuase of cost and risk and also because I know someone like me would probably find a way to binge back up again.

I'm on my second marriage and it is committed and non-abusive, but feels emotionally empty and broken since we lost our son to stillbirth about 2 years ago. A second pregnancy also ended in miscarriage. My doctor feels strongly neither of these were due to my weight and says it is okay for me to try to have another baby --- if I do, I'll have to be watched closely due to a suspected incompetent cervix and it terrifies me thinking I might have another late loss. I do want a biological family very much but I feel like I don't deserve it and I'd just fuck it up like I fuck everything else up.

I've been working in call centers for 10 years -- a lot of it has to do with limited social skills (not sure exactly what's wrong with me, but I'm definitely not neurotypical.) I'm very good at my job metrics-wise and have jumped through all the hoops asked of me to gain promotions, but it always seems to come down to the fact that I don't know how to properly play the social game. I get high praise and feedback on interviews, but don't get selected for jobs.

I dropped out of college 10 years ago due to anxiety issues and my family imploding back home, and have tried to go back, but like many things I try, my anxiety is so severe and my self-discipline is so low that I can never finish.

I declared bankruptcy 5 years ago and am still struggling to pay back student loans. My husband and I have enough combined debt and bills that even though we make $70,000 a year, we pretty much break even and have no savings except for a small 401(k).

I've tried a lot of different therapists and a lot of different medications and even multiple hospitalizations. I've found that while they always produce massive bills (that's a big part of our debt, my psychiatric "care") they either leave me the same as I was to start with or worse off. I've been diagnosed with a smorgasbord of different mental illnesses in the last 15 years, starting after my best friend died from a mysterious grand mal seizure.

I hate myself and feel overwhelmed every day. It's a real mark of desperation to post this here, but I feel like even a random stranger could probably give me better advice than my current therapist, who thinks what I need is to watch "The Secret."

I guess what I'm really hoping for is a wizened sort of doppelganger who was once in a situation similar to mine, got out of it, and was happy again. I can hardly remember what it feels like to be happy, if I ever did feel it.
posted by dissolvedgirl22 to Human Relations (25 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Secret ????

Yeah, get another therapist.

I'm a veteran of the IVF palaver and what you are feeling resonates with me - fertility, loss, anger, but also a lot of despair. I recommend trying to find a therapist who is really well versed in attachment theories. All of what you have written here reminds me how much I got to 'heal' with the help of someone recommended by my hospital, who was interested in building my sense of self awareness that my past, is past. It's hard, and it's always there, but the first step for me was seeing a really good therapist to help me stop doing all the things you are doing to stop the deeper hurting. Good luck my friend.
posted by honey-barbara at 6:46 AM on June 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm a veteran of the IVF palaver and what you are feeling resonates with me - fertility, loss, anger, but also a lot of despair.

I want to come back and say more later but I wanted to add to this that self-hatred also commonly goes with infertility, pregnancy loss, and stillbirth.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:50 AM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


No strategies, no winning words or blazing insights, just want to let you know that I'm with you, I am sorry you're hurting this way, that it seems like it's all closing in on you.

I kindof hope maybe you and your husband can go walk in the forest here on this late spring day, if it's pretty where you're at; a walk in the woods on a pretty day can be a tonic, if even for just those hours.

You're in my thoughts, here on a sunny Sunday in Austin, I'm wishing for you good things today.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:09 AM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm so sorry that you're in this state now, but thank you and big kudos to you for reaching out. It's a great first step, no matter what happens.

A lot of clients I get are on overwhelm, and I can spot that in you.
There's JUST TOO MUCH AAAAHHH WHAT THE HELL!?

Take a deep breath.
Relax.
You can do this.

For overwhelm, I recommend Baby Steps, Bob (remember the movie "What About Bob?" It's awesome and a great laugh).

It's the Big Things that are freaking you out, so it's going to be The Little Things that can save you.

When it comes to your diet, don't swear off sugar forever, just don't have it for this meal.
When it comes to your exercise, just walk today. Lift some weights today. Stay hydrated today.
When it comes to your finances, keep track of what you spend today.
When it comes to your relationship, find something awesome about your husband today and tell him.
When it comes to your education, do one thing today that will move you closer to studying something that you love.
When it comes to your mental health, meditate or just pray and be quiet for just 5 minutes today.

When it comes to your therapist, just say NO to The Secret. I do not see that woo-woo type of magical thinking getting you from where you are now to where you want to be.

I wish you always the best.
I hope you will be kind to yourself as you would be kind to your best friend in the world.
I hope you will be patient with yourself as you would a toddler just learning to walk.
I hope you will be positive and hopeful as you greet each sunrise and take the small steps necessary to creating a great life.

You can do this.
I know this.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2015 [31 favorites]


Big hugs to you.

Bariatric surgery does have risks, you're right. And re-gaining weight after surgery can happen, you're right about that too.

However. Consider whether or not this isn't depressive "nothing's going to work out anyway" thinking telling you not to have the surgery for those reasons.

The surgery could also re-set your relationship with food, right? That's another possibility, isn't it?

And it may not be the surgery, maybe it's a new job or going back to school. I think if you make something big happen in one arena, things will get better for you overall.

And nthing get rid of The Secret Therapist. That person is not helping you at all.

XOXO
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 7:54 AM on June 7, 2015


Nothing deep here except what I have found helpful in my life, is to take life in small chunks of time rather than project out scenarios over long runs.

For diet, rather than think about radical change and losing 4 pounds a month for two years, just look at it as today I will avoid sugar/carbs/fat/whatever.

Think about what you can and cannot control and only concern yourself with what is in your immediate control.

And, accept that we all make mistakes.
posted by AugustWest at 7:58 AM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, Incompetent Cervix isn't usually suspected until AFTER MULTIPLE losses... but after its suspected you can get a cerclage operation at the start of your second trimester and many many many women go on to have babies.... Incompetent Cervix doesn't mean you can't carry a baby to term. I'm also not even sure that its as rare as doctors think it is (1-2%).... I think that the number of losses is higher than we initially think because the ones lost in weeks 20-23 are considered miscarriages and the losses 24 weeks on are considered preterm births... but I digress... I just want you to know you are far from the only one who has gone through this and there is hope.

I even know someone who wasn't a candidate for cerclage but had strict bed rest (her cervix was 2mm at 23 weeks but stabilized)
posted by catspajammies at 8:12 AM on June 7, 2015


I hope we're able to give you some useful suggestions.

You mentioned trying multiple therapists. Did they all do talk therapy? If so, consider trying a different type of therapy (along with getting rid of The Secret therapist). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very helpful in treating anxiety.
posted by JackBurden at 8:21 AM on June 7, 2015


The advice here is fantastic and best of luck on your journey to whole body health - both mind and body (you can do it!!). However, can I also recommend you start listening to the Half Size Me Podcast? Probably from about Episode 50 onwards (the earlier ones are great - but she really hits her stride by Episode 50). Truly inspirational, positive, motivational podcasts.
posted by apennington at 8:35 AM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's desperate to ask us for ideas. It's you trying to find more resources.

Have you tried DBT? It was helpful for me because it has so much to do with increasing coping skills in a way that's very concrete. Even the best therapy is often more murky, which is fine, but it's great to add in some step-by-step things you can do. Plus part of it is radical acceptance.

Stay away from The Secret and similar. Not just because it doesn't work, but because the Law of Attraction is a really great way to punish yourself for your own perceived inadequacy if you aren't totally living the life you want.

One of the things that stood out most for me in what you wrote was that it seems like you don't offer yourself much compassion. Mostly I just wanted to point that out. If you can't get to a place of greater compassion to yourself, maybe you can at least start by wanting to get there? Or something like that.

Are there support groups where you live for women who've gone through fertility issues / stillbirths? Something like that or maybe a grief group could be helpful. I know you said social stuff is iffy, and I get that, but I find it easier to socialize with people who are more likely to get it.

Finally, how is your sleep? Sleep apnea can make it very hard to lose weight and can also cause mood problems, especially if your oxygen gets low. I'm in the early days of using a cpap and the adjustment is hellish, but I'm excited to sleep well for the first time in my adult life. If you're able to look into a sleep study and haven't already, it's worth a try to at least get data on things like oxygen level at night.

Best of luck to you. Let us know how you're doing.
posted by mermaidcafe at 9:12 AM on June 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Apologies for the length here. Here's my story and I hope it helps and I have a few ideas at the bottom. I was abused as a kid, dropped out of university. I married a great guy but I will say that we were attracted to each other for both positive and negative reasons. I spent my 20s and early 30s feeling like a freak failure, messing up a second attempt to go back to school, struggling in jobs. I got therapy and worked my ass off (after a bad therapist found a good one), started to feel some ground under me. Struggled with infertility, finally got a pregnancy to stick.

My daughter died due to a cord accident that was missed by the L&D team; we took her off the ventilator. Man, that sucked. Knocked me on my ass for a good couple of years. 10 years later I have two boys and a really good, if imperfect life and still go through stuff but I would say yay joy.

There is such a difference between surviving and living, between moments of being self-critical and living in self-hatred. You totally can do this.

Here are the things that I've learned and I want to share with you, knowing that some will work for you and some won't and all of them are so easily written on the Internet, so hard to maintain.

1. I am okay. You are okay. You wrote that whole thing about your life being a mess and I see: Someone who is active, actively seeking to have a good life, in a good if strained relationship, who has dealt with a lot, who has kept a job that is really hard for 10 years, who is responsible. You clearly have a lot of strengths. I am sorry that you are feeling so tired and hopeless and heartsick and that your therapist is offering the most blame-y bullshit going.

2. What I was most angry about for my daughter who did not get to live was not that she would not grow up debt-free, "together," professionally at the top of her game or thin. It was that she never got to really feel the love of her family, the sun on her face, see the beauty in a forest walk, taste chocolate ice cream, feel her body move strongly under her, dance in our living room until she fell down laughing. I am some weeks more successful and some weeks less successful at this, but I try to live the life I wish she'd had, laugh at something that is funny (Netflix even), dance in my bedroom and taste one amazing taste (mangos were yesterday) every week. Just that. Nothing huge.

3. I am so, so sorry you and your husband are going through the suckiness that is infertility and loss. It sucks. You are only 30. If it works for you, I encourage you to take 6 months on birth control as a break from having that monthly wondering, just to breathe. I had 12 confirmed pregnancies, 3 live births, 2 surviving kids and we did some breaks in there to focus on the living-now and I am glad. I had my last at 40. You do have a bit of time. You do not have to be perfect to have kids though. You are struggling with something that is happening to you.

4. What do you like to do, that fills your heart? For me although I like being on the Internet answering this and I like to read and laugh at movies and watch stuff, I need to make stuff. So, I try to make something every week. It might be bread or 3 paragraphs of writing or whatever but just one little thing. For a while though it was taking beginner guitar. For my husband it's martial arts. Something that is optional that you can feel you are progressing a bit at.

5. For me, I deal with anxiety and I find some CBT techniques helpful. That might be something to look into. I also agree with Major Matt Dixon's list but I would start with finding some of the cheap joys around you, like that corner of the city you live in that you love or the poster shop that has the print you like to look at.

Basically, I would take a little bit of time to find something you like every day, a small pleasure. Once that is giving you a tiny boost, then sure, there are steps you can take on these things but...you will work that out.

For me some things to read: The Dear Sugar archives although I have to say I didn't love Wild, which is from the same author, maybe because I am a bit oppositional about that type of memoir.

It's dated but M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Travelled helped me like 15 years ago, when it was also dated. Also writings from Leo Buscaglia, Carl Rogers, Marion Woodman, SARK, Pema Chodron...all of these are flawed things, but they deal with 'how to have a good life' in some way. Also, with a lean towards writing/creativity, Natalie Goldberg's Long Quiet Highway and Wild Mind, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.

For loss, Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking was kind of stunning. I haven't read Blue Nights yet.

Hang in there.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:14 AM on June 7, 2015 [37 favorites]


My heart goes out to you - it's not easy dealing with a situation like this.

I would be wary of surgery. Even when successful, it makes a permanent change in your body which affects your ability to eat normally (and absorb nutrients) after having lost the weight, and even then, it is not always successful. My uncle had surgery - he's lost very little weight, but now has poorer health. It's essential for those whose choice is surgery or death/severe disability. But it sounds like you are not at that point - you're still young and mobile. You sound a lot like my mom who was your size and who, at age 30, could walk for miles. But the weight did start to adversely affect her health as she moved into her 50s, and she started losing her mobility and energy. She moved like someone 20 years her age.

I watched my mom struggle with trying to lose weight for 35 years. She was also a food addict. In 2007, she lost about 80lbs following a very strict low-carb diet, monitored weekly by a private clinic. It wasn't easy: she had to think about every single meal or snack, couldn't eat out, had to learn new ways to cook to make food she would like out of just vegetables and egg whites.

This weight loss was inspiring - and that was the healthiest and happiest I'd seen her since I was young. She could walk for an hour again, rather than just 15-30 minutes.

But she did gain it all back. After reaching her goal - being thin enough to fly comfortably to Britain - she didn't continue to pay for the expensive private monitoring program, and also fell back into eating the way she had before. Her body seemed to just be all the more efficient; eating what would be normal portions, she nonetheless rapidly gained weight.

Maybe her program was too quick; others said that it had a high re-gain rate. But the initial program: very high on low-carb vegetables, with moderate low-fat protein (and the ability to make tasty things out of those), made her feel amazing and improved her blood sugar levels (she was pre-diabetic). The weekly monitoring - having someone to check in with who was both knowledgeable and supportive - along with supplements to make sure she wasn't missing any essential nutrients, really seemed to help her stick with it. I think that if she'd stayed with the post-loss maintenance program, perhaps she would have done better. Her goal - visiting Britain for the first time, to see me and travel - also helped. Reaching that goal may have taken away her drive to keep the weight off, especially as she worked long hours and had a lot of stress.

But what did work for her: egg white omelets with lots of sweet peppers and tomatoes, vegetables lightly
fried in a non-stick pan with only a spray of oil, using cooked celery where she might have used onions or potatoes. She had a recipe book that helped. This, along with exercise, was how she lost the weight - but it's also how she probably needed to eat for the rest of her life.

Sadly, my mom has since lost her re-gain weight, but I wouldn't recommend the method: when she was 56, she had a stroke. It was caused by a clot in her leg, itself caused by lack of mobility and diabetes.

My mom is a living caution story for me: I'm already overweight (5'6", 180lbs), but I fear gaining any more and I know that I would be healthier with 20-30lbs less. This isn't about body shaming, but I want to have children and be healthy into my 40s and 50s.

posted by jb at 9:15 AM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


On the subject of weight loss surgery, I really liked Jen Larsen's book. It's interesting because it is not strongly pro or con surgery; it's an in-depth, if very individual, look at weight issues from a smart, funny woman.

You have gone through so much. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling somewhat broken down by it all. I agree with the consensus that you need a new therapist. Maybe you and your spouse could go together for a while, to help process things less separately and see how you can help each other? It sounds like there is a lot of love there, but you have experienced a series of things that break down relationships. I really hope things get better for you.
posted by BibiRose at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think call centres, and lots of corporate environments, aren't so great for thoughtful, sensitive people who struggle with water cooler politics. (Sorry; I looked at your 2010 question, where you mentioned that a supervisor described you as a highly competent employee with an "inquisitive" inclination. Ok, we all do have to learn to play the game to a certain degree, but there are environments and jobs that actually reward you for asking questions and wanting to improve things (to a point, obviously). I think you'd be happier, and probably better paid, if you could find a way to direct your natural inclinations towards an in-demand, specialist skill-set.

I dropped out of college 10 years ago due to anxiety issues and my family imploding back home, and have tried to go back, but like many things I try, my anxiety is so severe and my self-discipline is so low that I can never finish.

"Self-discipline" isn't a real thing, as such. It's a noxious and morally judgemental idea. At bottom, though, it describes skills and habits, which can be acquired or improved, once gaps are understood. If you got the right help in identifying and addressing gaps, you'd get a different result. Maybe you could test the waters by taking just one course, and getting assistance with academic issues specifically, when you're in a little better place emotionally?
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:18 AM on June 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


One of the things I have learned is that unresolved trauma from the past (you have had a lot of loss) can stick around and other issues (anxiety/depression/eating disorders/etc) are sort of like the symptoms of it. A good therapist who specializes in trauma and a support group (if the therapist can find one for you) are a way to get on the path of working through it. So that's what I would look for. I enjoy reading a lot of advice columns and websites around the Internets but with trauma issues.. a lot of suggestions are sort of band-aids, you need a trained professional who specializes in this specific thing.
posted by citron at 10:58 AM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, big *hugs*

You have been through so much more than most people ever have to deal with. Please acknowledge that things have been genuinely tough for you and that you deserve care and love from others and from yourself.

Overwhelm is right. I would put everything except one thing on the back burner for 6 months to a year (after you dump your terrible therapist).

I agree with cotton dress sock, and if I were you I would prioritize school right now. You are 30 so you have 10 years to work on kids, and a break from the trauma of infertility might be a good thing. Your weight may not feel great, but you are healthy and mobile. There's some time to work on that too, and certainly dieting is easier when you are not incredibly depressed! No wonder you want sugar, it's probably helping you feel better.

Focusing on school and then getting a better job can help you lay a better financial groundwork for your family and help you motivate towards a positive goal. Once you are doing better in that area think about trying to conceive again and then think about weight after that. All of it at once is just too much for anyone to deal with.
posted by Sockowocky at 11:01 AM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


hope for the hopeless ... it terrifies me ... I do want a biological family very much but I feel like I don't deserve it and I'd just fuck it up like I fuck everything else up. ... I guess what I'm really hoping for is a wizened sort of doppelganger who was once in a situation similar to mine, got out of it, and was happy again.

teeny tiny fragment: Sleater-Kinney's 'Sympathy', inspired by how Corin Tucker felt when her son was born 9 weeks early; he survived, but the song is still dark, and pretty clear that outcomes in such cases are unrelated to what anyone deserves. While maybe you're cursed, unwise, hopeless, Satanic, whatever -- meh, hope is found in still desperately caring and nurturing (which has to include nurturing yourself).

it's a campy rock song but at least it's not The Secret OMG WTF DTMFA
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:02 AM on June 7, 2015


Ps- I realize my comment about "multiple losses" sounded like yelling.... Sorry! But I only meant to emphasize it because not all gynecologists measure the cervix in the second trimester.
posted by catspajammies at 11:30 AM on June 7, 2015


Just so much love from here. I don't know you but I'm sending you tonnes of warm, kind thoughts. Life is tough and sometimes it just becomes overpoweringly tough. The good news is that you are here, you are articulating things, and you are reaching out to people. All those things are positives, I assure you.

Matt's reply is fantastic - it is easy to feel overwhelmed when you want to change everything about your situation, but his advice to focus on right here, right now is just so good.

Change one little thing every day - it could be what you have for lunch today and tomorrow oit could be doing the dishes straight after dinner. Some days you won't be able to change anything and that's okay. Small steps. Be kind to yourself.

And then the next day you go for a walk or you wear your favourite outfit even though it's just a normal day. Small steps. Be kind to yourself.

Instead of letting life overwhelm you with all the things that are wrong, overwhelm yourself with all the things that are right. Be average at work and instead be excellent at singing in the car. Get some samples of perfume from the beauty counter. Watch your favourite film again. Small steps. Be kind to yourself.

And get another therapist who listens and cares. Keep a journal and write five good things that happens to you every day ("the sun was out, I met a cute cat, my partner made chilli, I took out the trash"). Your brain chemistry is not your fault, so small steps. Be kind to yourself.

And then when things are just that little bit not-so-bad, write a list. Topic? The two things that you really want to change about your life. Be brave and be bold, but only choose two things. Then itemise what you need to do to achieve those goals - remember small steps are key. and every time you experience a set-back for whatever reason, return to self-care until you are strong enough to continue.

Small steps. Be kind to yourself.

x
posted by kariebookish at 11:38 AM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


It was so nice to read all of this. For some reason, I thought the general response was going to be something along the lines of r/fatpeoplehate or radio silence. It relieved my anxiety a bit to say the things I feel most ashamed about and have other people who don't even know me not react negatively and give really good suggestions. If anyone has anything else to say, I'm all ears but if not, thank you so much! AskMe is an awesome supportive community.
posted by dissolvedgirl22 at 2:57 PM on June 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Just in case it helps boost your self-esteem a bit:

even though I hike three miles and do situps and weight training most days, I can't put down the sugar long enough to see results. I've been circling the same five pounds for years.

Hello, your weight has been stable for years. This is a not-insignificant result of your own actions.

Also, nthing cotton dress sock: I am highly educated and your exercise regimen makes me wish I had your "self-discipline".
posted by feral_goldfish at 4:34 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I struggled with food issues for a long time, and what really clicked for me was that diets just don't work. I read "Breaking out of Food Jail" and "Fat is a Feminist Issue" and I honestly can say that they changed my life dramatically for the better. Also, read anything by Pema Chodron. Best of luck to you.
posted by caoimhe at 4:43 PM on June 7, 2015


I'm coming in late to say that pregnancy loss and infertility knocked the hell out of me. I had a stillborn daughter (severe preeclampsia/Class I HELLP) and multiple miscarriages afterwards. Most women in your situation feel horrible. Most go on to have children if they want them. And if you turn out, like me, to be one of the rare ones who have something genetically wrong and can never have kids (probably something as yet unknown about my auto immune system, they think) then you can still eventually find joy in your life.

After the stillbirth I was 60 pounds heavier and had suffered so much damage, I could barely walk across the house. The miscarriages after that were terribly hard on me physically. I had no idea how to dig myself out. This kind of pregnancy loss is isolating and terrible, and it poisons everything. Please be aware that the kind of self-hatred you describe is (sadly) normal.

The advice to change one small thing every day worked for me in the end. It took me 4 years to lose the weight (dieting doesn't work-- I had to hack my habits) but it's stayed gone for more than 5 years now. My marriage didn't survive my recovery, but by then I was strong enough to manage that too.

You may get more support from a group which specialises in pregnancy loss. I couldn't find a therapist who worked for me either, but I joined an online pregnancy loss group, and this helped me a great deal.

Today I am in my 40s, debt free. I have a large circle of friends, live in Hong Kong and I run marathons. If you had seen me in my 30s you never would have imagined I could be the woman I am today. I still mourn my daughter. I will mourn her every single day for the rest of my life. But I don't make her alive by not taking care of myself. You need to take care of yourself.

Big hugs, if you like them.
posted by frumiousb at 4:43 PM on June 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh my goodness. I am so sorry you are going through all of this. I don't have anything really very new to say except--nthing what everyone else said about infertility and pregnancy loss each being very traumatic experiences. Loss compounds and grief grows exponentially with each new one. You have experienced a lot of loss in your life, including the death of your friend and your pregnancy losses. These things can also be hell on a relationship.

Seconding frumiousb's comment about maybe finding an IRL/online pregnancy loss group. If you can talk to other women who have been through what you have, it can be remarkably freeing. It helped me a lot to hear other women express the same thoughts and feelings I had been having, and to know I was normal. And to hear what had helped them heal.

Big hugs. It is possible to heal and get better. This is an enormous thing you have been through. Please be kind to yourself! You are doing the best you can.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:17 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Somewhat random set of thoughts:

1) My son was stillborn at 34 weeks. It took me at least six years to not have it stab at me multiple times a day; ten years before I really accepted it. And I was lucky enough to have another baby two years after he died. It is completely normal for you to still be suffering, especially with a miscarriage on top of that.

2) Some people do best by overhauling their life and changing everything all at once; it gives them a chance to “start over” in a sense and the new beginning helps keep them optimistic and motivated to keep up good habits. I think it’s a great idea if your personality runs that way. I, however, can not maintain the energy needed to do that. What works better for me is to pick one thing I’m going to focus my attention and willpower on, and be easy on myself for everything else. Sometimes I only pick one COMPONENT of the thing I want to change. When I wanted to improve my diet, for example, I started by not eating sugar, since one cookie will make me eat all the cookies and I’m better at abstinence than moderation. While I transitioned to not eating sugar, I let myself eat anything else I wanted; I might binge on chips and cheese for a week, but that kept me from feeling deprived, and soon things settle down so I’m content to not eat sugar and am not destroying my body with other foods instead. Then I’ll move on to paying attention to calorie intake. (And then repeat it all again after Christmas when I let myself eat all the cookies, but after doing it once, it’s 10x easier the next time.)

3) If I were you, my first focus would be on my marriage. If you have an awesome relationship to lean on, everything else feels better. If your personalities are such that talking/ processing what’s going on directly isn’t the best way to go, start by thinking of one way to better connect with him each day. Give him a massage, ask him to make dinner with you, watch a movie together while holding hands, pack a lunch for him.

4) This is a quirk of my own personality, so ignore it if it’s not relevant to you, but I find reducing expenses to be my favorite way of improving my financial situation; I have more control over it than I do over my income and it feels like a creative use of my own time rather than selling more of it to an employer. And you may be living a pared-down enough lifestyle that this isn’t something you can do much of. But there was a period when I brought down the living expenses of my family of three to $12,000 a year, and it provided a great sense of freedom to be less beheld to employment.
posted by metasarah at 6:59 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


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