beyond food issues: first of many?
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
I know that in treating eating disorders-compulsive overeater/binger was my habit-, one principal that I agree with very much is expanding the image of oneself, and the habits, beyond the disorder label. I know it can be a fine balance, but a worthy pursuit for this lifetime I have only a few decades left of. Each person must determine how to walk that wire, but I believe that after all the years of relative success I have had, it is good for me to keep being able to see that I have enough of what I need in place that I can and should turn more of my mental space over to other pursuits. Being totally concerned with eating or not eating can be a debilitating addiction, too, in my opinion. That is for another blog.
In the meantime, here are some pursuits I believe are helping me develop a respect for my total self.
My survey meditation class is going ok. I took it five and a half years ago. Much was promised back then and I did not have good results. (It is offered by a Harvard trained brain researcher who supposedly came up with what he calls a strategy "cocktail" that is supposed to move practitioners along the meditative development continuum much faster and farther than is normally expected. The vast majority of meditators never get even close to what the original practices were meant to achieve.) I was desperate for some relief from my anxiety, easy anger, self-deprecation, etc. and felt even worse when the strategies did not help at all. (I was worn out with traditional psychology's offers, too. Believe me, I have sampled plenty!) I was just in too much of a war zone with work back in 2015, work that I was not that well -suited for temperamentally. But it's over now and I am reaping the financial benefit even if I am still recovering. (I think I would have suffered similarly if I had left my career earlier and then had to face budget issues. I had lived on the edge for a decade before that job and couldn't face that again.) I feel a little sad that it doesn't look like this course will work to the extent the promoters like to extol even this time around, but I can feel SOME progress this time, and that alone is good news. I am very aware that I have lots of reasons to feel more grounded in my life, yet often don't, and many of the traditional avenues to that I have put a huge amount of effort in to without great results, either. So I am doing my best to take on the inside job even beyond psychology, to the territory of peace that surpasses all understanding without any particular religious or spiritual leaning. His research shows it is possible, so onwards I go.)
I've gotten involved in another Shakespeare reading group. (I am in three with readings spread out and in one official acting class with real Shakespearean actors! I am the only amateur in that one, but I paid my money, too! Only two more sessions of that.) Shakespeare is actually not something I planned ahead of time to get really involved in but I do like it and certainly feel for me it's a better way to occupy myself than some of the mindless things online I can get sucked into for hours. I think it's really good for my 67-year old aging brain to have to juggle so much at time, though for whatever reason, I do actually find a fair amount-certainly not all!- of the language accessible. But approaching unfamiliar language, deep literary devices, ethical and societal questions, stopping at times, discussing with others, getting things figured out: all of these I think are recognized by cognitive researchers as valuable ways to preserve thinking/memory that doesn't come from watching even engrossing TV or movies. In exchange, I do pretty simple crosswords! Although I was an English teacher, I don't have a huge amount of patience for crosswords even though I like doing ones I can complete without too much having to leave things blank for long. So that is something I find myself doing when I need a fix to lower anxiety for a few minutes. (Spark can do that for me, too. It feels safe, but can be a double-edged sword as well.)
I also have another acting class tonight. For this one, I am learning to play a Southern woman who befriended and corresponded with Patsy Cline. So not Shakespeare! But heartfelt and touching. I recorded myself, being a little careful because I thought if I were more exaggerated, it would sound like I was making fun of the accent. But hearing it back, it sounded like someone doing a terrible Southern accent! I look forward to playing with that over the next few weeks.
And now off to do some walking in sunshine to help augment my vitamin D therapy. I was found to be at 23 on a scale where 30 is considered to be the minimum, the test for that given because I am one step below officially having osteoporosis. I added a capsule and my health provider also gave me a prescription for a limited 12-week high-dose regimen as well. Reading of older women having compression fractures- I did not know you can get a fracture without falling or even hitting a bone hard!- has spurred me to take more consistent action. And I sure live in a climate to get sun outside, so there isn't much excuse. So another identity I wish to develop beyond eating issues if an active sexagenarian. Not an athlete, just able to be brisk and consistent. My mother always walked fast, but didn't do it consistently. Broke her hip at 79, and limped for her last ten years. I have no guarantee I can have things turn out differently, but now that I know what I know, I at least have a chance to play my hand differently.