It isn’t always easy because we all possess “secret places;” those spaces we don’t reveal; too embarrassed or ashamed to admit out loud. Like you, I have a firm moral center; therefore my “dark places” are not deep black, more appropriately they are shades of grey. Who knows, if I let them loose to be washed in open sunlight, I might learn they’re simply “off-white.”
That belies the issue: I’m not proud of them.
That’s part of the human condition; none of us have achieved absolute self-acceptance. Sure, we don a strong veneer, and generally, we’re pretty good about keeping in place our mask. Yet, it’s still one foot in front of the other on the road to self-acceptance, occasionally stumbling in potholes.
Lately, I’ve been in a funk.
It originates when I wake up with foggy, upsetting recollections of distressing dreams. Although they evaporate with the morning light, an unsettling, discomforting residual coating on my psyche remains. The day commences with me drained, overwhelmed, and leery of what may come. In effect, my attitude “sucks,” which is unlike me.
We all go experience that, passing it off to “one of those days,” or a “rough patch.” But when does it become “normal,” and one realizes you’re no longer who you were, but rather who you have become?
One thing leads to another, and I end up attempting to enhance my outlook by falling back on an old habit — for me, that’s eating. Logically, will it help? No, of course not. But it has nothing to do with rationality when you’re stuffing granola bars in your pie hole at 11 PM. That is naked raw jagged emotion; I’m “medicating,” pure and simple.
Medications have side effects.
In this instance, it’s weight gain. When I gain weight — especially self-induced — I become depressed. When that happens, I seek more “treatment,” leading to more pounds, which… Well, you see the cycle.
Should this be happening to someone seeking my counsel, I’d ask, “What precipitated this change in behavior? When did it start?”
My answer: October 25, the day I was hit by the car while riding my bike.
Inner critics are always caustic and brash; mine is no exception, so he stomps his way to the forefront: “Really? That’s what’s bothering you, something that happened six months ago? Get over it. Stop being a crybaby. Suck it up; get on with your life!”
Then I realized I’m probably suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (and mild depression). I’m embarrassed to admit it. It’s unmanly. I should be able to cope better. I mean, come on, it’s not like I was pinned down in a firefight in Afghanistan. In the big picture, I’m ridiculously lucky. Sure, I flew through the air and landed on my noggin. But I walked out of the emergency room five hours later. Put it in perspective!
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not making excuses for my lack of self-restraint. I’m attempting to illuminate the opaque. We feel what we feel, period — for better or worse. We deny it or accept it. Should we choose to change it, the latter is our only choice.
Relief comes with acknowledgment; it forces our attention to what can be changed — and what cannot. The past? It’s over. It’ll take however long it takes to come to grips with it. The future remains unwritten. As for the present, that’s all we’ve got.
I’m eating better again. I’m even thinking about getting back on my bike. It’s time.