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The Realization That This Is How It Is: Getting Jacked up #2

For those of you who stopped by yesterday, thank you. Yesterday’s post paints an image of how I am feeling, in a general sense, now in my life. Something I am very thankful for. I write posts like those to keep reminding myself what true health, happiness and nourishment means to me, especially maybe when those thoughts start to dwindle.

Like… last week.

Last week, guys, was brutal.  

I got jacked up.

Again. 

 

If you are new here, no, I did not coin that term. But it is one that’s become part of my vocabulary. Glennon first wrote about getting “jacked up” when she found herself back in her muck of old coping mechanisms and emotions, and the anger she felt in the realization that she is “still dealing with this shit.”

Needless to say, I have not been doing very well. 

I knew this month was going to be hard. With moving, I knew I was going to be thrown completely offmy routine and would be grappling for a new one. And even before that would be possible, I knew there would be a month where I’d be too busy to have time for much of anything. I knew it was going to feel messy. I know I don’t deal well with not having any time for “my things.” I anticipated some possible struggles. Of course, you always hope that maybe this time, you would have progressed a little further. 

But what I’ve realized is that it’s been more than just the lack of time that has been so triggering. This time the anxiety, I think, has stemmed more from… get this…. feelings.  Ha

Hard feelings. 

At the beginning of the week, I learned that I did not get a part in the show I really, really wanted. Not only did I really want it, but I just thought I was a pretty solid candidate.  I worked really, really hard on my piece in anticipation for this audition. I paid for coachings. I paid for studio time. All for this audition which I really thought I’d get. 

Soon after I learned that I did not get any of the auditions for the mass of submissions I had written earlier this fall. A group of professional companies were doing joined auditions for their seasons next summer, and I had taken a lot of time to write to each one individually. I wrote probably eight submissions, and not one of them asked to see me. Not. One. So I missed out on my chance to audition for all the jobs I dreamt of having next summer, and for all the companies that I strive to work for. I had already started working hard on a couple of pieces in expectation of getting at least one of these auditions. 

So. Really, these two things just knocked me down hard. I felt hurt, confused, and worried about my career. I feel totally embarrassed for how long this is taking me, compared to others, and that maybe I’m no where near as “good” as I think I may be. I feel totally scared that I’m completely joking myself and this will never happen. And most painfully, I just feel really really hurt because I just want these things so badly. 

I’m not complaining for pity sake. Absolutely not. This is my career and what I “signed up for,” if you will. It’s an incredibly shitty and hard industry but there’s not an ounce of me that wants to quit. I’m just using this space of mine to be totally honest about my feelings and say that I worked really hard and it really really sucks. Done. 

True Feelings From the Acting Industry. #actorlife #emotions #itshard Click To Tweet

 

SO. What then happens with these feelings??

 

I can see it very clearly. Unfortunately just because I see it doesn’t mean I choose, or am able, to stop it. 

 

PHASE ONE

 

Feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment transform themselves into anxiety. 

This anxiety then transforms itself into anxiety about unrelated, yet easier to feel things: food

     

 

Just like that, I’m back to past thoughts, and they once again become all encompassing. 

I am absolutely having thoughts of wanting to not eat anything. This is not happening, but I definitely have thoughts of wishing I could just eat nothing. Last week, I caught myself wishing I had the “self control” or “will power” to just totally empty myself.  In my head, this would somehow make me feel better about myself. Maybe it’s a punishment for feeling “worthless.” I don’t know. Ironically anxiety makes me feel hungry, so I’ve been eating just as much, if not more, than I usually do, and of course this leads to a whole other guilt-ridden mind f*ck. 

Why am I wired this way? Why am I wired so that difficult feelings somehow transform themselves into not wanting to eat!? 

I wished I had the self control to not eat. How anxiety transforms itself. #jackedup #anxiety #recovery #eatingdisorder #copingmechanism Click To Tweet

 

PHASE TWO…. which is really where the “jacked up” phase comes in

 

Wanting to exercise, and not being able to. 

Of course these disappointments and this huge change in routine has been timed perfectly with having no time to exercise. Huge double whammy. In other cases, not exercising has been fine  – times when I am excited or stimulated positively, and therefore feeling good about myself, I do not feel the urge. I know that I am at a better place with movement. Except, maybe, when my emotional world is rocked. This anxiety that gets spiked leads to wanting to exercise as a way to feel better about myself and so then if I can’t… I get angry. Which goes to show maybe exercise is still more of a coping mechanism than I like to believe…

Is it the fact that I’m not exercising that is causing the most anxiety? Or is it just that this is how I want to cope with the anxiety about other things and the fact that I can’t is making it worse?

I think it’s both. 

When I’m jacked up and the anger phase sets in – because I can’t get rid of my anxiety in the ways I want to – I become short and crabby and angry toward those I love. Like Dan and my mom.  I feel angry at Dan and have been miffy to Mom, all because I know I am at unrest with myself. 

My stomach is tight, my jaw is constantly clenched, and I feel guilt for every. single. little. thing. 

 

PHASE THREE…the after math

 

Letting the anger take over and finding a way to give in to your coping mechanism

It takes over and nothing else matters. 

I did a couple at home workout videos. I ended up pulling a muscle and felt physically awful for the rest of the week. 

And there it is, folks. 

Getting jacked up and reverting to coping mechanisms. Leads you right back where you began. 


 

Its just…. it’s the realization that this is how it is for me. This is how I struggle and this is how I cope with things. Five years ago I didn’t see the connections so clearly, but although I’m a lot more aware of what’s going on, it doesn’t mean the psychological manifestations have gone away. This is what happens. And I will probably continue to see this repeated pattern for a long time to come. Less and less frequently, I hope, but I know it will be something I continually have to fight.  Linking up with Thinking Out Loud. 

How I Cope With Difficult Feelings #eatingdisorder #exercise #recovery #copingmechanism Click To Tweet

Tell me,

Are you aware of your coping cycle??

 

Last side note: I feel these posts are important for me to write for a few reasons: 1) They help me make sense of things and get my brain back into a rational place 2) I hope they can serve as solace for anyone going through something similar to know they are not alone.  And most importantly 3) I hope any medical professionals out there can read posts like this and gain a better understanding of what may be going on underneath the crippling effects of any sort of disordered eating or exercise addiction – in order to then be able to better help those who are struggling. 

 

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18 COMMENTS

  1. danielle | 16th Nov 17

    wow this is incredible, i’ve been RIGHT here with you this whole time and didn’t even know we were both in this boat together. at least now i know for sure i’m not alone. i’ve been dealing with an injured calf, of course it got more injured when i was frustrated about not being able to run, then over worked it doing cycling. WTF. yes girl, yessssssss i get it. i really really do. the deal is for me, exercise really is a stress relief and i am a sensitive B when i can’t release my stress. this week i did make progress by telling my husband before hand that i’m feeling very sensitive, and please know that i’m injured and very frustrated. i seem to take all of my worries in the world and focus them into my running, and if i can’t run i don’t know what to do… at least for a bit, until i can remember how i dealt with stress before i was running. i was living a good life so i KNOW i can deal with this. WE can deal with this. all of this… just know that you’re not alone. that everyone has their ways to cope and not always in best ways. you and i are not horrible people at all. we don’t need to control our food or bodies…
    maybe we can meditate? i know we can get through this… you’re loved. we’re both loved! hugs to you

    • Cora | 18th Nov 17

      “exercise really is a stress relief and i am a sensitive B when i can’t release my stress.”……

      I can’t tell you how much you mean to me, Danielle. Thank you for making me feel less alone, for sharing your honesty, and reminding me that my struggles do not make me a bad person. It is hard to remember,some days. Thank you so much for this.

  2. Kat | 16th Nov 17

    Sometimes it’s like you and I are the same person. Only you are clearly vastly more talented than me in many, many ways.
    It’s taken me years to figure out my coping cycle and yet sometimes I still don’t even realize when I’m in the midst of it. Then it’s like a light bulb goes off and I’m like, “well crap – that happened again.”
    But this right here says it all – “Getting jacked up and reverting to coping mechanisms. Leads you right back where you began. ”
    I feel like I’m in a constant state of “starting over” and while sometimes I am upset that I’m in that spot once again, I’m also blessed to be given another chance. Maybe one of these days I won’t have to start from square 1 again.
    Kat recently posted…Thick & Creamy Vegan Hot ChocolateMy Profile

    • Cora | 18th Nov 17

      …. just as you are way more talented than ME in many, many ways.

      I’m sending you so much love, Kat. I feel like we’ve both been going through a rather heightened time in these past two weeks. Some increasing and returning struggles. Not sure what the deal is with “now,” but we’ve been in it together.So yes, basically we are just the same person <3

      Yes. It takes over and we often don't know where we've been until the light bulb goes off at the end. Maybe next time I feel the cycle STARTING, I will shoot you an email and you can remind me where I will end up if I keep on it. And maybe you can do the same. Love you lots and lots. Keep fighting girl.

  3. chasetheredgrape | 16th Nov 17

    My brain still wants to trick me into these feelings whenever times get tough. The only advice I can give you is to do exactly what you have done. Write them down, acknowledge what they are and then try and rationalise with them. Why are they wrong? Why should the answer be something different? And these rationalisations pull me out every time now. So it’s not that I never feel that way, it’s just that I know my go-to in terms of how to cope.
    You also have to realise that for anyone that would be a crappy week and we would all struggle. Also don’t forget that what you ‘see’ in terms of others getting ahead of you in your career path is simply us seeing the ‘perfection’. They may have got those auditions/roles but I guarentee its not all sunshine and roses in their life too.

    • Cora | 18th Nov 17

      “Why should the answer be something different?”…..you know when someone says a word, or rephrases a question, that somehow lights this bulb in you and makes everything a bit clearer? You just did that for me. Wording this question for myself, this way, somehow really helps me to rationalize my way back to “cora brain.” Thank you Jen. As always. Thank you for supporting me even through my “crazy” times and irrational posts.

      Your Tuesday posts these past few weeks have been remarkably significant. Comparing myself to others… letting go of jealousy… all that you have been touching on are what I have been finding triggering and struggling with lately. When other life stress is involved, my ability to fight these feelings is just lessened. Anyway. Your posts have mean a lot – thank you.

  4. Emily Swanson | 17th Nov 17

    Finding out my coping cycle has been tough too, and I love that you wrote it out like this for us Cora. It’s so true that I go to not wanting to eat anything when I’m disappointed or sad, but I’ve been reminded again and again that God is in control, and no matter what He is my Heavenly Daddy, and He’s working it out. It’s tough, but when I get into reading His Word, I’m so comforted and that often quells the strong negative emotions and helps me to eat and nourish. <3
    Emily Swanson recently posted…Comment on Being Yourself On Instagram Without Focusing On Numbers by Claire B.My Profile

    • Cora | 18th Nov 17

      <3 always thinking of you, Em. Keep fighting those thoughts away.

  5. Lisa | 17th Nov 17

    Whoa, girl. I feel ya. I’m an avid reader but am rarely able to pull together a cohesive comment. But this post… I’m so right there with you. These past few months have been ROUGH. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this, and that I’m super grateful for your honesty on this blog. All we can do is to keep fighting this, and hope that one day it gets a little easier! Sending positive vibes your way!

    • Cora | 18th Nov 17

      Lisa – never the need to be cohesive here!! I love a good wordy-jumble. Thank you so much for commenting. I’m so sorry your past few months have been hard. Ugh. Its amazing how it can come and go and we never know when it may come or how long it will stay. Sending you lots and lots of strong thoughts your way, to keep that real Lisa burning brighter than any other Lisa that wants to shove her way in. <3

  6. Evangeline | 17th Nov 17

    I never thought about a specific coping cycle. I can pinpoint unhealthy coping mechanisms, but I usually stop there. It’s pretty amazing that our brains are sensitive enough to initiate coping mechanisms when hard feelings surface. But it’s frustrating that the ineffective cycles are initiated often more frequently than the effective ones. Come on brain.

    I think my coping cycle starts with 1) an uncomfortable/”everything is falling apart” feeling, 2) isolating myself/feeling guilty, 3) trying to regain control, 4) realizing the kind of control I am looking for isn’t making me feel happy or comforted 5) everything feels like it’s falling apart again.

    Like you pointed out recently, it’s all messy. Love your willingness to share (it is most definitely a solace for me) the messy parts.
    Evangeline recently posted…Comforting recipes to make over the holidays.My Profile

    • Cora | 18th Nov 17

      It is totally fascinating. Subconsciously our minds and bodies can enter that “flight or fight” response in order to protect us – whether that be from physical stress or emotional stress. Its so strong that we hardly have control over it. Problem is, we have to convince this super powerful part of ourselves that we can protect ourselves in OTHER ways, so then steer it in another direction and get it to trust that this other route will also, be okay. Because as I think we are both learning, this other kind of cycle just gets us exactly back to the place we were trying to leave.

      Thinking of you lots during this time, Vangie, and sending you lots of strong thoughts to beat away – or sit with – those uncomfortable feelings.

  7. Elizabeth McNeill | 18th Nov 17

    Hello, Cora.

    I am really lost for words. Whenever I am in troubled waters, It usually doesn’t kick in not until a day or two. This article is just so pure.

    • Cora | 25th Nov 17

      Hey Elizabeth,

      Yes – the delay in consciousness is real. For me at least when I am not doing well, the rational thoughts are so overpowered by the other – angry – thoughts that they barely stand a chance. And then they rear their little scared heads in a few days later. Thank you so much for reading. Wishing you all the best <3

  8. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 22nd Nov 17

    Hit the gong, you TKO’ed this round.
    I know that I am taking advantage of this pregnancy to do what I want. And I know that when I am no longer pregnant, I am going to have to fight very hard not to let myself overthink everything. The problem for you and me is that we are too self aware.
    And that makes us angry at ourselves at times.
    xoxo
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Pre-Thanksgiving Catch Up (Injury Update, Fun with Friends, and Yums)My Profile

    • Cora | 25th Nov 17

      Maybe though rethinking “I am taking advantage of this pregnancy to do what I want,” to “During this pregnancy I am giving myself, and doing, everything that I know I deserve and need,” could be a bit more beneficial? And then when you are no longer pregnant, you will just be in a different phase where you will shift those things you “need” to where you are then.

      Gah being too self aware. Blessing and a curse? Not sure which one more so..

  9. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 24th Nov 17

    You impress me so much. Most people can’t even identify the hard feelings or the cycle of behavior that stems from the same, and here you are mapping it out. Granted I know seeing it doesn’t necessarily make you feel better….yet, but it will get easier to understand in the future. The more you realize what you’re doing, the more you’ll understand it’s just a poor coping mechanism. What you really need to a concrete coping mechanism that doesn’t involve food or exercise. Perhaps baking therapy, coloring, dance parties, journaling, meditating, all the things you can do to make yourself feel better while still mentally processing the hard emotions. You got this.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Week in Review: The Extrovert Edition (#109)My Profile

    • Cora | 25th Nov 17

      It is absolutely getting easier and easier to see, which actually these days is making it easier to understand, show myself compassion for, and even stop mid cycle. Never easy. Never feels “good.” But I know it is a huge step. I can totally see it as a coping mechanism. Now I just need to move on to phase two, which as you suggest, is choosing and finding those other ways to cope. That one is really hard…. especially in those tough, non stable times.

      But baking and playing in my planner have been really good ones 🙂

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