No Reason

From Chicago Med Season 1, Episode 12:

Dr. Charles: You’re one hell of a performer. I mean, a real trouper. Keeping it up for so long, selling this idea you think who you need to be all the time, carrying around the weight of that performance…isn’t it tiring? Aren’t you exhausted?

The patient: I have absolutely no excuse to be sad.

Dr. Charles: You don’t need a excuse, man. You’re a human being.

This quote really resonated with me. I have been pretty depressed lately, but keep beating myself up for feeling that way. I keep saying to my therapist that I don’t understand why I am so sad. Objectively everything in my life is going well – I am in graduate school, I have a job, I have a boyfriend, I have great friends, a great family etc. I look around and see people that are less fortunate than me, and feel guilty that I am still sad and hopeless despite everything that I have. Logically I know that when you have depression you don’t need a reason to be depressed, but I still often feel bad about my mood being so low. So, it was nice to hear the line about not needing an excuse to be sad.

In addition, I could really relate to the first part of the quote. I am exhausted all of the time, and find being around people particularly draining. I think it is because when I am around people I put on this act that everything is ok. I act happy and energetic, and then come home and collapse. Dr. Charles is right that putting on that performance is exhausting.


What If?

From Season 1, Episode 6 “If Tomorrow Never Comes”:

Meredith: I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I’d say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear is just of making a decision, because what if you’re wrong? What if you make a mistake you can’t undo? Whatever it is we’re afraid of, one thing holds true: that by the time the pain of not doing the thing gets worse than the fear of doing it, it can feel like we’re carrying around a giant tumor…Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore, until we finally understand for ourselves…that knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake beats the hell out of never trying.”

I am absolutely horrible at making decisions, and I think a lot of that has to do with fear. I am always worried that I am making the wrong decision, even if it’s something minor. As a result, I often put off making decisions until, by default, sometimes the decision gets made for me.

Even when I do make a decision, I often spend hours, days, or even weeks second guessing whether I made the right decision or not. As Meredith says, this can lead to feeling like you are carrying around a huge weight.Even after a decision is made, I still carry around the “what if?” and wonder if I truly made the right decision or not. I wish I could get to a point where I could make a decision and just leave it be. That is definitely something I am working on, but am not quite there yet.

I think it is helpful though to keep in mind what Meredith says about having to make our own mistakes, and that idea that a mistake is not the worst thing in the world. I will make the wrong decision sometimes, but that is ok. I can learn lessons from those mistakes so that I don’t make them in the future.

They key is I have to let go of this constant “what if?”. There are always going to be unanswered questions, and there is always going to be fear of not doing the right thing. While it may seem like constantly analyzing and second guessing my decisions will lead to making the right choice, often all it does is keep me spinning. Being able to let go and just try to roll with what seems to be the best, as opposed to over analyzing and asking all the “what if” questions in the quote, might just lead to the sort of mental freedom and peace that I crave so badly.

Feelings Are Not Facts

I try to stay away from political issues on this blog, but this was just too good to pass up. This past week on Last Week Tonight John Oliver pointed out some flaws in the Republican Party’s logic that really touched on something I’ve been working on recently.

My therapist pointed out that, for whatever reason, I tend to take eating disorder feelings as facts. I think “I feel like I’m gaining weight, so I must be gaining weight” or “I feel like I don’t need this many exchanges at this meal/snack, so I must not need them.”

This past week, John Oliver played a clip of Newt Gingrich doing the exact same thing during an interview with CNN! The interviewer tried to point out that statistically speaking (according to FBI statistics), Americans are safer than they were 8 years ago. Mr. Gingrich countered with the “fact” that Americans don’t feel safer. John Oliver points out that feelings don’t equal facts. If they did, then that would basically mean that candidates can create facts because they can create feelings.

Anyway, while watching this interview and thinking “Newt is being ridiculous” I realized that I do the same thing with the eating disorder. Furthermore, it made me think that the eating disorder is like Donald Trump – it’s a big bully trying to scare me. It tries to convince me that I will be safe with it by playing to my biggest fears, but there are no concrete ideas or facts behind the words. That realization makes me want to fight harder. I won’t let Donald Trump scare me with his words, so I need to do the same with the eating disorder!

Here is the clip. The part I’m talking about starts around minute 6:


Don’t Give Up

House Season 5, Episode 23 “Under My Skin”:

House: Why don’t I feel scared?

Wilson: I’d say you’re unaware of what you’re feeling at this moment.

House: I feel like crap. My life if falling apart, but I don’t feel scared. Not of the rehab, anyway…It won’t work.

Wilson: You want it to work this time…House, it’s your only option.

House: What do I do if my only option won’t work?

Wilson: You don’t give up.

The above exchange occurs after House admits to Wilson that he is having hallucinations, and all causes other than his Vicodin addiction have been ruled out as the cause for the hallucinations. Thus, he agrees to go to rehab, and is packing when him and Wilson have the above conversation.

Lately, I have been in kind of a depressive funk, and it is making everything a lot harder in terms of ED recovery.Thankfully, my life is not falling apart. I am still managing to work despite the depression, and I have amazing friends and family. But, just like House, I feel more like crap than I do scared. I would say that unlike House, there is a part of me that is scared, but overwhelmingly, I just don’t feel well (physically and mentally). Perhaps what Wilson says about not being sure of what House is feeling holds true for me too. House is probably unaware of what he is feeling due to the drugs, but for me, it’s the depressive funk clouding my emotions.

Regardless, I will say that I can relate to the hopelessness House seems to feel. I feel like I am out of options. I’ve done inpatient and PHP a bunch of times, and although they have helped, I am often unable to sustain the gains I’ve made. I’ve also done IOP that is more focused on the mood stuff than the ED, and again, while it has helped me learn certain things intellectually, it hasn’t really translated into lasting behavior change. I currently have a wonderful outpatient therapist, but even she is frustrated with how I continue to get caught in the trap of the ED.

As corny as it sounds though, hearing Wilson say “you don’t give up” actually helped me feel a little better. I may feel as if I have no more options, but I have to keep reminding myself that giving up is also not an option. I may feel right now like nothing will work, but it will. So thanks Wilson, for giving me a little boost on this Friday morning 🙂