I have had a little trouble adjusting to my new life. Sometimes I feel like an alien on this planet. I started rapidly gaining back the 200 pounds I once lost between the year 2000 and 2001. My life shut down slowly, first I lost my Mother, then got married because I was terrified of being alone. I juggled my Beauty Shop, a new and very difficult marriage, all while I was caretaker for my Aunt and Father with Alzheimers until they both died, as well as my Husband. Now I do not want to sound like a victim, because I made some pretty bad choices, the little bit of family I had left, disassociated themselves from me, when I needed my family the most. If I died, there is no one to send a sympathy card to, let alone plan my funeral.
While I struggled through this, I lost a lot of friends. I was not fun to be around. When I was not crying, and depressed, I was eating. I made a train wreck out of everything and almost every relationship around me. I was desperate, then became full of self pity, a victim, and then very bitter. I would have ran away from myself too, if I was friends with me. The few friends that stuck with me, are truly angels. They saw past my pain, and loved me anyway. I will always have a special place in my heart for them.
I slowly quit participating in my own life and ended up spending my days in my bed, alone all day, weighting 537 pounds. it was like falling into a coma. I did not see a way out. But somehow, I felt a tiny seed of hope. I held on to Philippines 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. and the verse my Mother always gave me when I got discouraged, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Now I am not going to preach you a sermon, but this is an important part of my road to recovery. Sometimes is all we need is a thin string of hope, to get us through a tough time.
The last 15 years are painful and terribly lonely, a bit of blur sometimes. The thing I was not prepared for is the adjustment back into the world. Technology has changed society greatly. The biggest change I see is social. I’m not use to talking on the phone with someone who is multi-tasking. Shopping and driving while talking on the phone. In fact, it seems that driving time is the designated time to make a phone call. I often do not feel the full attention of the person I am speaking to. The calls get dropped, or if we both speak at the same time the phone mutes it. Hearing the ding ding ding while a person gets in their car. It’s taken a while for me to not see this as rude. Gone are the days when a phone call was personal, private, and a moment of real connection. Texting seems to be the preferred means of communication. It is simple and quick. Communication these days seems to be more about transferring information rather than nurturing relationships.
But the biggest adjustment for me is church. I’m not sure I will ever adjust, or ever be understood again. My church family was always a soft place I could run to. And all while I was in my “Fat Coma” I counted on returning to that place of refuge and my “tribe”. The services are a lot to adjust to. The show business-like services, seem to feed the egos of the performers. Repetitive music lyrics, work the emotions of the saints up to an emotional climax. All while in the dark, with special light show. The church announcements are on a video, on the giant theater screen up front. It feels a little like “The Hunger Games” to me. This I can get use to. I don’t love it, but I can adjust. I just might complain a little. (OK a lot)
The thing I miss the most is the sense of family. The knowing I will never have to go through something alone. Having a sense of belonging, and oneness. Feeling loved and understood, even when I struggle. Knowing I will be missed if I don’t show up. I fear I will never fit in again. There is a cog missing that I can not put into words. It’s not intentional. It just evolved. The deep caring, the kind of caring where my most valued relationships, worship under one roof corporately has morphed into superficial, programed, casual yet friendly.
As I type this, I just noticed I have been weeping, and mostly the whole time I have been writing. I am a bit taken back at how deeply sad I am about this loss. I am coming to terms that we can never go back. Never. But I missed the transaction period, so it all hits me like a ton of bricks. I think I can see clearly, part of the reason people who lose large amounts of weight have a 98% chance of gaining it all back within a couple of years. The expectation and disappointment of what we believed was security, has changed. For me it’s my church, for some it might be community, work, or neighborhood.
But regardless of how hard the adjustment may be, I never want to go backward. I will persevere. There are some beautiful things that are happening in the world today. Good things. Like, I can have and maintain close relationships with people that live thousands of miles from me. I am learning so much about other cultures and lifestyles. Even in physical isolation we have the ability to connect. When these things are used for good, they can be powerful tools to living! And that living, is getting better and better each day. With the technology, I seem to learn something new everyday.
I believe I am destine to experience these losses, and have this awareness so I can help others who are struggling as well. No health professional or social worker can possibly understand this adjustment for someone who is losing a large amount of weight. The physical adjustment is hard enough, but feeling insecure in a new world is a big challenge. It seems logical that the knee jerk response would be to get resentful, then run back to the comfort of food, and dissapear. No matter how hard the adjustment may be, binging and over eating is never worth the isolation and misery it brings. Be healthy and happy everyone!